How to Homebrew Your TTRPGs
Homebrew gives fresh and exciting content to any ttrpg game. In fact, if you have ever made your own supplement or used someone else’s then you have already used homebrew.
But if you aren’t quite sure what homebrew is or how to get started, don’t worry. I’ll cover the basics.
To begin, let’s go over exactly what homebrew is and isn’t.
What is Homebrew?
To put it simply, homebrew is content that is made by people to share or for personal use. Anything that isn’t official, published content (such as Curse of Strahd) that can be used in a game is considered homebrew. This covers adventures, classes, races, items, and more.
Generally, homebrew creators create something new or make an addition to officially published material. For example, someone can make a new subclass or make an additional adventure for a published game.
As long as it isn’t officially published, then it’s homebrew. However, some people do publish their homebrew to share with others, and there are certain places to find it.
Where to Find Homebrew Content
Homebrew is everywhere, but you may have to pay something for it. Thankfully, there are several options at your disposal, both free and not.
Dungeon Masters Guild
The Dungeon Masters Guild has one of the largest homebrew collections around and it is partnered with Wizards of the Coast. Because of this partnership, individual creators can use the DMs Guild to publish homebrew content that uses Wizards of the Coast’s intellectual property. This means you can find additions to official DnD content as well as original homebrew adventures.
The downside? Well, you might have to buy some of it. The creators that publish to this site put a lot of time and effort into their work, so it's only fair they ask for some compensation. However, some creators will offer their material for “pay what you want” or for free.
However, if you prefer games like Pathfinder, Fate, or Cyberpunk, there’s an option for you, too.
DriveThruRPG is run by the same folks that manage the DMs Guild, except DriveThruRPG offers more than just DnD. If you are looking for some homebrew content for other ttrpg games, then this is the place to visit.
As with the DMs Guild, you may have to pay for something. This isn’t so bad because many people keep their prices fair and reasonable.
However, if you don’t want to pay for something, there are other options.
Have you ever heard “when in doubt, Google it?” This applies to homebrew as well! A quick search of “one shot ideas”, “homebrew subclasses”, “homebrew races”, or even “homebrew magic items” will produce hundreds of results at your fingertips.
This content is everywhere. If you are looking for inspiration on what to do for game night or a whole new subclass, then Google is going to be your best friend.
Then again, if you use D&D Beyond for your character sheets or even for your campaign, why not use them for homebrew content too?
The amount of free homebrew content on D&D Beyond is unchallenged. Fellow players create and submit their homebrews for other people to use as they wish. You will mostly find races, items, classes, spells, feats, monsters, so on and so forth, therefore D&D Beyond is the place to go for someone looking for homebrew.
Be sure to talk to your DM before you use anything in your game. Some homebrew isn’t very well balanced or may have to be tweaked for your table.
If you still don’t find what you want, then there is one final option: making your own.
Making Your Own Homebrew
Anyone can make homebrew content. All you need is a general knowledge of the game and what you want to do. The rest is elbow grease.
Keep in mind there are many types of homebrew content you can make, and each one requires a different amount of effort. For example, making a magical item is easier than making an entire campaign. The most important thing to remember about any homebrew you make is that you have fun while doing it.
If you need some help getting started making homebrew, be it your own adventure or not, there are a few helpful resources to check out.
D&D Beyond recently published an article about Building Your First Homebrew Adventure in 10 Easy Steps. Here they lay out the basics of how to plan your adventure and how to run it. They also have an amazing forum where you can talk to others about making homebrew such as items, races, or subclasses.
If you want some more help on creating and running homebrew adventures, you can check out our article The [Absolute] Beginner's Guide to Being A Dungeon Master (5e) here on Awesome Dice. We run over the basics of how to be a DM for beginners and have a section on finding or creating your own adventure.
Remember, don’t be intimidated! Making homebrew content isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Some of it can take a little bit of effort, but if you are having fun then you’re doing it right.
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All things considered, homebrew can be daunting for absolute beginners, but it can be incredibly rewarding. Not only does it give a breath of fresh air to veteran players looking for something new, but it can add a whole new dimension of fun and creativity to any game.
So get out there and find or make your own homebrew content today, and maybe grab a new set of dice to match! Happy playing!
-Article by Sara Cooley, D&D Enthusiast