How flexible are the rules?

It is not surprising that in Dungeons & Dragons, a game that emphasizes creativity and invites players to design their own adventures, the rules are a hotly debated topic. Many dungeon masters play it fast and loose, bending some rules in favor of fun. Other DMs are strict adherents to the rules. There is always a debate about which rules are important, which rules should be added and which players can forget.

The Dungeon Master ultimately has the final say on all rules, and it’s up to him to decide what happens in the shared fantasy world. Changing the rules too much, however, can either lead to an unbalanced game or a completely different game. For new DMs and those looking to know which rules can be more flexible, here’s how to figure out where the limit is.

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Balance is important in D&D

The rules of J&D give balance to the game, keep players challenged while having fun. However, given the random nature of the dice rolls, this balance is not too delicate for a change in certain rules to destabilize it. Even though the MD used the dating tools found in books like Xanathar’s Guide to Everythingthe difficulty of the same encounter can vary a bit and still be a good time for players.

This leeway gives DMs the ability to be creative in their encounters. Modifying monster stat blocks, hit points, and even damage types are all examples of how flexible DMs can be with game rules. However, modifying a monster’s abilities too much could upset the balance. For example, changing a piercing wolf’s bite attack to force damage might be a fun creative choice, but it will bypass a barbarian’s rage resistance against piercing damage, which can be dangerous if you’re on the move. is done without intention.

Not only are balanced encounters important, but overall balanced play is essential as well. There are a lot of give-and-takes between players and the world, and player characters have a lot against them. If the rules of the world change or become more dangerous for them, the characters’ abilities to repel and survive must be adjusted accordingly. When creating encounters or a hazard world, the rules keep the game within a healthy range.

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Receive player approval when changing rules

Enter a game of J&D, especially with a new DM, players generally expect to play by the rules. Whether they read the Player’s Handbook and other Fifth edition books or you’ve been playing for years, there’s usually a general understanding of the rules and how the game works. and flexibility with which he is comfortable.

J&D is a game of imagination, so if the rules or agreements are changed mid-game, the shared view of the world can be distorted. Instead of a fun game, it can end up looking more like a bunch of kids playing pretend: immature and confusing. For example, if during an encounter a goblin shoots a player character in the foot and the DM decides that this causes the character’s speed to drop by half, it would kind of come out of nowhere if the party hadn’t not decided to play in Par ici. Changing the rules can sometimes take away player agency, especially when changing crucial character abilities.


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Bend the rules instead of breaking them

Rules such as how far to fire a bow and how to calculate a spell save DC are relatively immutable. These are the foundation of the game, and changing them would require changing many other rules in order to keep the balance intact. The violation of the rules mainly occurs due to a misinterpretation of the Fifth edition books. When a DM doesn’t understand how exhaustion works, for example, some characters can fail crucial skill checks or even die. Other rules are much more flexible and can be modified to fit any table. These include rules such as how to roll ability scores and hit points, where some DMs don’t allow scores below a fixed number.


First and foremost, the best advice for understanding which rules to strictly follow and which to circumvent is to discuss them with other players beforehand. When playing, decision questions will appear in different situations and with different parties. It is important to be flexible both as a player and as a DM and to keep an open mind to differences of opinion.


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