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10 House Rules to Make Grognards Like 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons

Have you ever wondered why the D&D community was so fragmented?
Have you ever thought "Hey, 4E is the new Old School D&D!"?
Have you ever wanted a grognard at your 4E game table?
Well, I have. Some say its impossible though. Grognards are, by definition, grumpy dwarfs. They don't want to game with 4'Teens. They say it can't be done. It's against thier code of ethics. Plus, it is rumored that they will turn to stone as soon as they use a healing surge.

I disagree. These rumors all all bunk. I think they do want to game with us. I think they just are grouchy, but shy. Well, take any one of these 10 House Rules and help make your 4E game appeal to that grumpy old curmudgeon. Come on, you know we all love'em! Right?
OK.. maybe it will take all 10 of these House Rules, but give it an honest shot. You may surprise yourself...
  1. Limited Healing Surges. Limit the number of healing surges to PC's 1+Con bonus, or just set a fixed number regardless of constitution or class ("everyone gets 3 healing surges, that's it!")
  2. Halve Starting Hit Points. That's right. Start with less. In OD&D most wizards only started the game with 4 hit points, and that's if your DM was being generous.
  3. Limit the Classes to the Fab Four. OK, technically there were three in the original game, but the thief is just too good to pass up. From 4E, play only with the Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, or Rogue.
  4. Limit the Races to Three. All you need are the Human, Elf, and Dwarf races, right?
  5. Award XP for Gold. 1 gold = 1 xp. Also, drop xp bonuses for quest rewards, skill challenges, and traps. Killing things and taking their loot are the only things worth XP.
  6. Make All Encounters Deadly. When making encounters, always pretend the party is 2 or 3 levels higher than they are.
  7. Don't Scale the Campaign Setting. Take a page out of the book of Gygaxian Naturalism and design your campaign world independently of the PCs level. If those woods over there are dangerous, make them so. If that castle is inhabited by demons, make it so. There's nothing more annoying that a town frightened by a tribe of level 1 kobolds... its just laughable.
  8. Make Encounter Powers Daily Powers. This will make their use a bit more like old school one-a-day spells and abilities.
  9. Make Daily Powers Charged Powers. Make the use of a daily power drain XP, use a healing surge, or have some other charged effect.
  10. Put Away the Miniatures. Try playing without miniatures. This may seem antithetical for 4E gameplay, but it IS possible. How? Use your imagination. There's something very cool about playing D&D in a living room instead of at the game table. Try it.
  11. Try What Greywulf Suggests...
    1. Roll 3d6 for stats and then GO!
    2. Play an old school D&D module using 4E rules. Very cool... we like this. And YES.. this is the ELEVENTH house rule.. actually.. its two.. now I'm just confused.
With one or more of these house rules in effect, I think its pretty easy to recreate the deadly, resource management style game that OD&D embodied using 4E rules. Give it a shot, and let me know how it goes.


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