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“Check out my new homebrew item!”
“Would you want to play this homebrew class?”
“I homebrew all my games.”
Experienced Dungeons and Dragons players throw around the term “homebrew” all the time. It can be hard for beginners to understand. It’s hard enough understanding the rules as written! (These are also known as RAW.) So what exactly does homebrew mean, and what exactly does a D&D 5e homebrew look like? Find out in this beginner’s guide.
Homebrew. D&D. 5e. What does it all mean?
Here’s the short definition of homebrew as it relates to Dungeons and Dragons (also known as D&D):
“Any content within a Dungeons and Dragons game that cannot be found in an official rulebook.”
Official rulebooks include (but are not limited to):
How do you know if it’s official? If it’s published by Wizards of the Coast, the company that owns and creates new Dungeons and Dragons materials, then it’s official. If it is not, it is considered homebrew.
That means homebrew can relate to a lot of things. Items, classes, races, and maps can all be homebrewed. For example, if a game is not set in the Forgotten Realms, it’s (generally) homebrew.
In other words, any unofficial content is homebrew.
It is worth noting that you can create your own campaign or your own one-shot and have that be the only thing that’s homebrew. Many games available on Dungeon Master’s Guild use items, maps, and more that come from the official rulebooks. The only unofficial part is the game itself.
So what does 5e mean?
5e is the abbreviation for 5th Edition. If you have only played a few games of Dungeons and Dragons, and they were recent games, most likely you played the 5th Edition. It is the most recent edition and the most popular. For more terms, visit our post on finding a D&D group.
Does my game have homebrew content?
Ask your Dungeon Master (DM) if your D&D 5e game has homebrew content. If your DM is using one of the official games such as Dragon Heist, there is a good chance your game does not include homebrew content. If, however, your DM has written a game just for the players, then odds are better that the content within the game is homebrewed.
Sometimes it’s not easy to know which content is homebrewed and which is not, though. Maybe you’re watching a live stream of D&D and can’t easily ask the DM. Sometimes a player will use the stats of an official class but dress it up a little differently. This is known as “reskinning” content.
Ask yourself these questions to quickly decide if something is homebrewed:
- Is the game set in the Forgotten Realms?
- Does the race or class appear on D&D Beyond without the homebrew tag?
- Have experienced players heard of this content?
If you answered no to any or all of these questions, then odds are high that your game has homebrewed content.
Another way to tell is if something seems like a joke. This is not a hard and fast rule, but if an item or a monster seems unbelievably ridiculous, there’s a greater chance someone homebrewed it.
How do I add homebrew content to my game?
A lot of D&D 5e homebrew content exists because it’s so easy and fun to do! To add homebrew content to your game, follow these tips.
Tip #1: Use other’s content first
I know you’re excited to get your homebrew content out there. Without a lot of experience, though, it can be difficult to understand what makes good homebrew content.
If you make an item, you want to balance it. Don’t make it so overpowered that your game no longer has any challenges. Similarly, you don’t want to make a monster that can kill your players in one round, or vice versa. As a newer player, you might not know how to do this yet.
There’s also a lot of amazing homebrewed content out there already. To find some of it, check out our Pinterest board below. You can also find great content at DMs Guild and Unearthed Arcana. Some DMs and players also enjoy using random generators like this one.
By using other’s content first, you will begin to understand what makes good homebrew content and what does not.
Tip #2: Start small
Change just one thing about an official item or monster and you will have made your first piece of homebrew content! If you introduce a healing potion, for example, you might change one of the dice that a player uses to heal, or you might make it specific to a certain kind of healing.
For monsters, you can change something a monster is resistant in or vulnerable to based on the setting. You can take an animal, like a bear, and make it ideal for dungeon crawls or graveyards by making it undead. Merge the stats with a zombie, and/or make it vulnerable to radiant damage. Instantly you’ll find yourself with a terrifyingly awesome homebrewed monster.
Starting small also means starting with less important items. A magical ring is less likely to cause problems in the game overall than a player using an untested homebrew class for the entire game.
Tip #3: Get feedback
Whenever we create something on our own, be it an adventure, homebrew content, or anything else, it can help to get feedback from others. After creating your homebrewed content, share it with some trusted friends and D&D players for feedback.
To get the best feedback possible, ask specific questions about what you want to know. Are you wondering if a monster would overpower your current party? Are you wondering how much your magical item should cost and who it would be ideal for? The more specific your questions, the better feedback you’ll receive.
For more information on finding and creating quality homebrew content, check out this post.
Homebrew content can add a lot of fun and flavor to your D&D 5e game. As you become more experienced, you will want new challenges and to try new things. If all of this is super overwhelming to you, don’t worry: there’s plenty of content to enjoy in the official rulebooks. Just know that whenever you’re ready to branch out and try something new, homebrew will be there for you.
Hi there! I’m Kristen Seikaly. I’m a game writer, a Dungeon Master, and like you, I love tabletop games. Visit our About page to learn more about me.
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- For Player Characters
Along with being intended to be used by player characters, dungeon masters are encouraged to use this section to design and run playing sessions and to take improving, reviewing, or removing templates into consideration in their campaigns.
Aberrations, beasts, humanoids, oozes, undead, and many others. (2406 items)
By swords, sorcerery or something else entirely! Your choices have never been greater. (1975 items)
Your history has so many choices! (440 items)
Need to buy anything? The sales are a wide selection of armor, weapons, adventuring gear, magic items, tools, mounts and vehicles among others. (5033 items)
Spells for all levels of gameplay. (2723 items)
Subraces, subclasses, feats, and variants for both races and class features alike. (4077 items)
Anything you can do, I can do better. (105 items)
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Along with being intended to be used by dungeon masters, player characters are encouraged to use this section to discover possibilities in their campaign by asking your dungeon master about implementing pages from this section into the campaign.
New worlds and their associated options. (124 items)
Monsters, non-player characters, and templates. (3690 items)
Details on the planes of existence and terrains. (46 items)
Charms, blessings, epics boons, spells of legend, hidden skills, and more. (11 items)
Traps and other artificial stumbling blocks. (85 items)
Natural impediments to an adventurer. (56 items)
Afflictions to make the PCs sick, or to rot or turn into goo. (80 items)
Towns, dungeons, empires and more. (189 items)
Stories and dungeons to challenge your players. (50 items)
Combat actions, supplemental, transformational, and radical variant rules. (332 items)
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Phenomenal cosmic power. (355 items)
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Contact the administration and learn about some of the contributing guidelines.
Player's Handbook Errata at WotC.
Leftovers, anyone? (121 items)
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Pick up the dry cleaning. Walk the taxes. File the dog.
The Homebrewery is a tool for making authentic looking D&D content using Markdown. It is distributed under the terms of the MIT License.
The easiest way to get started using the Homebrewery is to use it on our website. The code is open source, so feel free to clone it, tinker with it. If you want to make changes to the code, you can run your own local version for testing by following the installation instructions below.
First, install three programs that the Homebrewery requires to run and retrieve updates:
install mongodb (Community version)
For easiest installation, follow these steps:
- In the installer, uncheck the option to run as a service
- You can install MongoDB Compass if you want a GUI to view your database documents
- Go to the C drive and create a folder called "data"
- Inside the "data" folder, create a new folder called "db"
- Open a command prompt or other terminal and navigate to your mongodb install folder (c:program files\mongo\server\4.4\bin)
- In the command prompt, run "mongod", which will start up your local database server
- While MongoD is running, open a second command prompt and navigate to the mongodb install folder
- In the second command prompt, run "mongo", which allows you to edit the database
- Type to create the homebrewery database. You should see
- Type to create a blank document. You should see
- Search in Windows for "Advanced system settings" and open it
- Click "Environment variables", find the "path" variable, and double-click to open it
- Click "New" and paste in the path to the mongodb "bin" folder
- Click "OK", "OK", "OK" to close all the windows
install git (select the option that allows Git to run from the command prompt)
Checkout the repo (documentation):
Second, you will need to add the environment variable to allow the project to run locally.
You can set this temporarily in your shell of choice:
- Windows Powershell:
- Windows CMD:
- Linux / OSX:
Third, you will need to install the Node dependencies, compile the app, and run it using the two commands:
You should now be able to go to http://localhost:8000 in your browser and use the Homebrewery offline.
Running the application via Docker
Please see the docs here: README.DOCKER.md
Running the application on FreeBSD or FreeNAS
Please see the docs here: README.FreeBSD.md
Standalone PHB Stylesheet
If you just want the stylesheet that is generated to make pages look like they are from the Player's Handbook, you will find it in the phb.standalone.css file.
If you are developing locally and would like to generate your own, follow the above steps and then run .
Issues, Suggestions, and Bugs
If you run into any issues using The Homebrewery or have suggestions for improvement, please submit an issue on GitHub. You can also get help for issues on the subreddit r/homebrewery
You can check out the changelog.
This project is licensed under the MIT license. Which means you are free to use The Homebrewery in any way that you want, except for claiming that you made it yourself.
If you wish to sell or in some way gain profit for what's created on this site, it's your responsibility to ensure you have the proper licenses/rights for any images or resources used.
You are welcome to contribute to the development and maintenance of the project! There are several ways of doing that:
- At the moment, we have a huge backlog of issues and some of them are outdated, duplicates or doesn't contain any useful info. In order to help you can mark duplicates, try to reproduce some complex or weird issues, try with finding a workaround for a reported bug or just mention issue managers team to let them know about outdated issue via .
- Our subreddit is constantly growing and there are number of bug reports: any help with sorting them out is very welcome.
- And of course you can contribute by fixing a bug or implementing a new feature by yourself, we are waiting for your pull requests!
Anyway, if you would like to get in touch with the team and discuss/coordinate your contribution to the project, please join our gitter chat.
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