The House Rules: List of the Skull & the Eye House Rules

Few weeks ago I posted my house rules for concentration and before that my own adaptation of inspiration. These are but some of the house rules my group plays with. Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition is surprisingly easy to modify. While I understand many of the rules in the core books are there for balance, my goal with my players if fun. So here all the other house rules we are using for The Skull & The Eye, along with their sources and how we came to use them.

Rapid Quaffing: See Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting page 117, but basically changes grab a potion off their own persons and drink it as a bonus action. Honestly, we were playing with this before it was formalized in the Tal’Dorei book or even knew it was used on Critical Role.

Seriously, buy this book!

Arduous Rally: The second rule I have snagged from Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting (page 118). This one allows for 5 minute short rests with some distinct penalties. It has not been used in my campaign yet, but I could see times in the past where my players would have really found this handy. It is a way to keep the action going but allowing some sort of respite.

Critical Hits: We use the Critical Hit Decks for GMs and Players by Nord Games. The archer damn near put out a dragon’s eye using this. Adds a lot of flavor without much effort. Instead of doubling the damage dice, you pull a card, look at the type of damage (including magic) and do the effect. Also the critical hits scale with tiers. This extends to saving throws, as rolling a 1 on a save that fails gives way to a card being pulled and applied.




Death Saving Throws: If an effect gives you a bonus to all saves, like bless or a cloak of protection, it applies to the death save. If that brings the total to 20 or above, you get up with 1 hit point. Rolling a 1 on a Death Save results in potential Lingering Injury, not two failures.

Injury Rules: Here are the causes of having to roll for a Lingering Injury

  • Going below 0 hit points.
  • Losing half or more of your hit points from a single attack.
  • Rolling a 1 on a Death Saving Throw (this replaces the two failures).

From here we are using a version of the “Expanded Injuries” from Xanathar’s Lost Notes to Everything Else (see my review here!) on pages 53-55. A saving throw is made with a d20: a 10 or above is a success and nothing else happens. On a 9 or lower, a roll of the Expanded Lingering Injury chart is due. This is a saving throw, so bless or similar effects that help or hinder all saves do apply.

If you have not picked this up yet, do it now!

I should mention that the effects of this table are used whenever an injury results from the Critical Hit Decks.

Inspiration: you can read all about our house ruled inspiration here.

Concentration: Another house rule we have hammered out over time that can be read about on That said, we have added a special element that concentration checks are not needed against damage that you have resistance to. This alleviates the stoneskin issue vs infinite goblins.

Two-Weapon Fighting Style: This is a big revision, so bear with me. The fighting styles are great, but two-weapon does almost nothing. Also giving up a bonus action for a fighter is a big deal, as they can second wind or quaff, etc. Now I get that trade off, but still feels silly for the full attack from someone trained to have to blow that bonus action.

The Two-Weapon Fighting Style for our game adds the following: When using two weapons, if one of those weapons is a light melee weapon in one hand, you can make an extra attack with the light weapon as part of the attack action instead of as a bonus action.

Furthermore the Dual Wielder feat adds the following: When using two-weapon fighting, if you have the two-weapon fighting style, have the Extra Attack class feature, and are wielding at least one light melee weapon, you get an additional extra attack with the light weapon as part of the attack action.

Effectively this allows a 5th level character to have four attacks a round (two with main weapon and two with light weapon).

Here is a little chart I put together to show how this scales on average. Honestly, it keeps two-weapon fighting as a real option for fighters and rangers. And so far the ranger and samurai have used it well while certainly not overshadowing any other characters.

My little crummy sheet trying to figure approximate average damage for the various configurations.

There you have it, my little slice of heaven. With a few years of 5e under my belt and two full campaigns finished (one as a player!) we are stoked to see how these rules help us realize our characters, stories, and have an overall good time! I will admit, listing them all out like this makes them seem like a lot yet we have streamlined and play with them so naturally.

Casting Time: You can cast as many spells as you want in a turn of any level, provided you have the appropriate action. Removes the restriction on page 202 of the PHB.

Try some of these out or let me know what kind of house rules you play with on Twitter @OnlyPlayWizards.