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Simple House Rules for

Better Combat
Compatible with Dungeons and Dragons 5e

Compiled by Monty Martin and Kelly McLaughlin


Better Critical Hits

Better Healing Potions
The Bloodied Condition
Minion Monsters
Better Critical Hits
When you score a critical hit, roll for damage
normally. Then determine the maximum damage
you can roll with your attack before applying any
modifiers. Combine the maximum result with your
rolled damage, and then add any modifiers. This is
your critical hit damage.

For example, a character wielding a longsword with 16 Strength

who scores a critical hit would deal 8 + 1d8 + 3 (STR mod)

Better Healing Potions

When you would normally roll one or more dice to
restore hit points with a Potion, you instead use
the highest number possible for each die. For
example, instead of regaining 2d4+2 hit points
when you drink a Potion of Healing, you regain 10.

This rule makes healing potions more significant and valuable. In

our campaigns, characters may purchase potions of healing
from esoteric merchants, but only 1d6 are available at a time.
Larger settlements and cities may have stronger potions
available as well:

Potion of healing 50 gp each

Potion of greater healing 100 gp each
Potions of superior healing 500 gp each

Note: We do not recommend combining this rule with house

rules which permit consuming potions as a bonus action.
Page 251 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide describes
the Flanking rules. This system encourages
teamwork and tactical positioning in combat.

We implement flanking as a +2 bonus to attack rolls against a

flanked creature, rather than Advantage.

The Bloodied Condition

A character is bloodied when the character's hit
points are equal to or less than one-half the
character's maximum hit points, rounded down.
One-half the character's maximum hit points,
rounded down, is referred to as the character's
bloodied value.

For example, a character with 50 maximum hit

points has a bloodied value of 25, and is bloodied
whenever the character's hit points are equal to or
less than 25.

A great way to expand this house rule is to have monsters with

recharge abilities regain those powers automatically when they
become bloodied. You might even home-brew monsters,
spells, class features which can only be used while blooded, or
have additional effects when used against a bloodied creature.
Minion Monsters
Minions have only one hit point. A missed attack
never damages a minion. When a minion is
subjected to an effect that allows it to make a
saving throw to take only half damage, it instead
takes no damage if it succeeds on the saving
throw. Minions always deal average damage, and
never have legendary or lair actions.

Minions are disposable cannon fodder monsters. Using the

minion rule is a great way to speed up combat encounters with
a large number of creatures who swarm the PCs.

Choose simple creatures as minions to keep play brisk. Avoid

using monsters with the Multiattack or Spellcasting traits as

Use this table to find the recommended CR for a minions for a

character of a given level.

Quick Monster Matchup by Challenge Rating

One PC of a given level is equal to this many monsters of a
given CR:

Characte Solo 1x 4x
r Level Monster Monster Minions
1st 2 1/4 --
2nd 3 1/2 --
3rd 4 1/2 1/8
4th 5 1 1/4
5th 8 2 1/2
6th 9 2 1/2
7th 10 3 1/2
8th 11 3 1
9th 12 4 1
10th 13 4 1

Characte Solo 1x 4x
r Level Monster Monster Minions
11th 14 4 2
12th 16 5 2
13th 17 6 2
14th 18 6 2
15th 19 7 3
16th 20 7 3
17th 21 8 3
18th 21 8 3
19th 22 9 4
20th 23 10 4

If a monster ’s challenge rating lies between two values on the

table, increase its hit points and to use it as the next highest