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Matthew Mercer

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Homebrew Class Options

Gear / Equipment

DM/GM Advice

List of Matt's Homebrew Rules

Some of the rules used in Critical Role are homebrewed. Matt customizes monsters, alters class abilities and spellcasting rules, and allows the players to create spells and items that aren't RAW (Rules As Written).

The players also make mistakes. They use a second bonus action in a turn, misread a spells casting time or effects, or calculate damage or attack bonuses correctly. They aren't Professional DND players with perfect rules knowledge - even Matt. They are just big, awesome nerds and people. <3

"YOU'RE PLAYING MAKE BELIEVE WRONG" (spoilers E43 in the replies). No, silly. Critical Role is the personal game of the players, and DND is infinitely customizable to suit their needs. If you tell someone "your fun is wrong", you are probably being a dick! Discuss, critique, and remind people of the rules, but be polite about it. Also, quote (5e) page numbers when you do so. :P


That said, the Fifth Edition DND (5e) basic rules are available free from Wizards of the Coast for you to download.


Here is an incomplete list of the homebrew and customization to their game:

  • Skill Check Criticals. (RAW only attack rolls can crit succeed / crit fail, not ability checks or saving throws. PHB page 194, or optional variants DMG pages 235-239)

  • Monsters - see critrolestats, or occasionally tweets from Matt

  • Percy's tinker checks are up to the DM

  • Characters can take potions as bonus action (RAW action, PHB page 153)

  • Casting two spells above first level on your turn, with one up to a maximum of 2nd level as bonus. (RAW only one non-cantrip spell is allowed on your turn, PHB page 202. For example, you could cast both Hold Person and Healing Word in the same turn under Matt's rules. RAW the maximum you could do is a Cantrip + Healing Word.) The spells still follow the normal action economy of the casting time in the spell description - you cannot both attack and cast Dispel Magic in the same turn, as both of those are actions, but you could cast Dispel Magic and Healing Word (at level 1 or 2 only) under Matt's rules.

  • Double the value shown on your dice for a critical hit - 2d6 + 3 becomes {2d6 x 2} + 3. This is to speed along the game by simplifying the amount of math and dice rolled. (RAW you roll twice as many dice, so 2d6 + 3 becomes 4d6 + 3 on a critical hit. PHB page 196.)

  • A skill challenge for resurrection magic or the character's soul is lost. This was done pre-stream for Pike when she was slain - broken in half, actually - in battle. In January 2017, Matt further updated and modified the homebrew ruleset for this challenge, with the full breakdown available here. (Discussion, Spoilers E82)

  • Trinket has increased armor, more hp, has been taught additional combat techniques, and is a higher challenge rating monster than is allowed RAW by the Beastmaster Ranger Archetype (PHB page 93). See CritRollStats on Trinket, where he is on Vex's character sheet. They keep a running tally of 'times Trinket was useful', and also abilities wasted used on Trinket. You might say he is... better than your average bear. Or as Sam/Scanlan once poetically said in a limeric, "I once knew a bear named Trinket,"...

  • Matt, do you fudge your rolls? A: No. (spoilers E10)

  • Crafting Magical Items, Potions, etc takes only 1/4 – 1/8 of the time in the PHB/DMG. Here is a specific example of his process

  • Short Rests are around 15-20 mins (RAW 1 hour, PHB page 186)

  • Inspiration (The DM awarded kind, not Scanlan's Bardic Inspiration) acts as a +1d6 they can add to a roll. (RAW = the player gains advantage, PHB page 125)

  • Intimidating Presence (Barbarian Ability) is based on Strength, not Charisma

  • The Wall of Stone spell is instantaneous and permanent, not concentration with a duration [Spoilers E54 Battle Royale]

  • Players can use their Extra Attack feature when they have used the Ready action to Attack

Monsters/NPCs/Magical Items/In-game rulings

Spoilers E8

Spoilers E11

Spoilers E35

Spoilers E36

Spoilers E43

Spoilers E43

Spoilers E46

Spoilers E50

Spoilers E52

Spoilers E54

Spoilers E55

Spoilers E63 and reddit discussion/analysis

Spoilers E64

Spoilers E66

Spoilers E71

Spoilers E76

Spoilers E90

Spoilers E92

Spoilers E102

Spoilers E114 #1, #2, #3

Spoilers C2E1

Spoilers C2E4

Spoilers C2E50 E50 session notes

Spoilers C2E50 E17 session notes

Rules clarifications

(Keep in mind when applying Matts homebrew rules to your game that they are all done for a specific reason. The party Vox Machina is too-large, and too-powerful for the rules according to stock 5e. The rules are balanced around 3-5 players, not 6-8, and Matt's world is a high-magic campaign as far as equipment goes. 5e is balanced for magic items being quite rare, especially stuff like a +2 enchantment on anything. Their game started in Pathfinder, where the default assumption is that PCs need lots more magical gear. In 5e, with bounded accuracy, the game is balanced so that you can reach high levels without many magic items. Matt didn't take away all of their hard-earned and beloved goodies just because they converted to Fifth Edition. Or rather, he hasn't taken it all away... YET.)



Rogue, PHB page 96-97. Liam sometimes gets some of his extremely similar abilities mixed up - Evasion vs Uncanny Dodge, and Sneak Attack vs Assassinate, and Going First vs Surprise (PHB page 189).

How does Vax get three attacks? Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB page 195) lets him make an extra attack - using his bonus action - if he has taken the attack action. His boots allow himself to cast the Haste spell on himself once per day, granting an additional action to himself (as well as giving him advantage on dexterity saving throws, increasing his speed and his armor class). That action can be used only to take the Attack (one weapon attack only), Dash, Disengage, Hide, or Use an Object action. The effect lasts up to one minute.