Sometimes you just want to ask rpg.stackexchange for homebrews and houserules you know the experts in the site have play-tested. This site's level of expertise and backing up just can't be matched on discussion forums. In asking the question, though, it has the tendency to be put on hold due to one reason or another.

My question is, how can I successfully do this without my question being closed?

I've seen this question and it has garnered some useful answers without getting closed, so I know it's possible, just not why, or how I can replicate a similar question that won't be closed.

Is the linked question something the community would like to open up as a possibility for future questions? If so, how can an asker go about asking for houserules properly?


2 Answers 2


Requests for homebrew and houserules need to ask for actionable solutions to a specific problem; answers that draw on actual experience, which people can vote on from an informed stance.

This means:

  • Tell us what your problem is. Why doesn't the system work for you? What dilemma has led you to want to make changes? A house rule might not be the best solution, so instead ask us to help solve your problem.
  • Show your work. What have you researched? What have you tried? Why didn't those solutions work for you and your group?
  • Be explicit about your context. Your situation, playstyle, goals, obstacles, whatever seems relephant. This information doesn't just help us give you useful answers, it helps others vote critically and not by personal opinion (which is crucial to the Stack's goal of being a neatly-sorted pile of solutions).
  • Remind us to support our answers with experience. Really you ought to be able to rely on site culture for this one, but assume potential answerers are new to the site and help them out with a nudge toward the applicable guidelines.

These guidelines should indicate that we aren't good at open-ended brainstorming or helping you figure out what your problem is. Skipping this step leads to what Mxy describes as questions which "can really only be answered with frame challenges" and those are frustrating for everyone involved. For support at that stage of the process, I find the RPG General Chat is invaluable.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You made a typo in your 3rd bullet point: relephant should be relevant. I'd edit it myself, but that's not an option on Meta sites. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nzall
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 7:17
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @NateKerkhofs "relephant" is a common malamanteau dished out by this particular user. Pop into Role-playing Games Chat and you're likely to see him in his native habitat. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 23:01

With house rules questions, just like any other questions, the trick is to be at least somewhat focused and have a clear problem you are trying to solve (besides "I am curious and want house rules"). Also, such questions need to really stress Good Subjective, Bad Subjective so they're not just untested ideas, which are usually very little signal to the noise. And of course shows understanding of the rules at hand already (a house rules question when there's simply a real rules answer the OP doesn't know will get closed).

The linked question ticks both of these boxes. The poster is clearly wanting, after some research into the related rules, a playtested rule for fighting while holding one's breath. That's specific (not "cool new blast spells") and stresses real play experience. It is somewhat lacking in not clearly specifying what a best answer would look like, but it's at least decently implicit ("a rule that more realistically simulates diminished capacity from holding breath while exerting yourself"). To be better it would say more clearly that it's looking for - diminished fighting, or more limited breath-holding, or what exactly he feels like the effect is he'd like to simulate.

Here's some really good ones (good questions, good answers):

In general, like the old game-rec questions, I would actually shy away from asking "give me a house rule" and instead ask about your problem, perhaps showing you understand the area in question and saying you're open to playtested house rules. Then answers can be a playtested house rule, or they can be something else you haven't thought of. "I want a more realistic treatment of degraded ability to hold your breath while fighting." Maybe there's some existing rule or set of rules, maybe there's a playtested house rule, maybe there's just a GM technique...

Sadly in general we should downvote/delete answers that don't follow GS/BS, but very rarely a question may get closed simply because the community just can't get it into their heads they shouldn't be posting random ideas - it's unfortunate and it's not the OP's fault, but in the end if we need to intervene multiple times a day every day on some question we're likely to just cut bait on it. So definitely remind people of GS/BS when you post these to help keep your question from that fate.

This sometimes works the other way. Like this is a terrible question by these standards, but it's saved by people answering it in a better way: Hobgoblin as a player character - but effectively if a question can really only be answered with frame challenges it's not a very good question. That one could have just gotten closed without comment, and probably would today.

Of course that line is arguable. This question: Looking for an alternative to my DM's favorite fumble table is mostly answered by frame challenges "fumbles are the devil", which to me makes it hitting the line for close-because-people-can't-keep-it-in-their-pants, but clearly those answering feel that it's in the "we're saving this bad question with a frame challenge" land.


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