What does ‘Homebrew’ mean in RPGs?

You might have heard the term ‘homebrew’ bandied about the game table or on your favorite forum. It’s actually nothing all that complicated. It simply means player-created. The word derives from home brewing beer and has taken on its own life when it comes to tabletop RPGs.

“Homebrew” can refer to a lot of things in the pen and paper world. You could have a homebrew world or homebrew campaign, which just means the DM created it themselves rather than buying it. You could have a homebrew race or spell. In fact, the DM’s guide goes over how to create your own creatures and spells and abilities.

It often refers to specialized rules for dealing with situations or even replacements for the ‘official’ rules. If you don’t like death saves, you might go with a homebrew system like death’s door, which causes a character to lose a hit point each round they are below zero and for them to die at negative ten hit points.

For DMs, homebrew rules can be very important, especially if they are running their own campaign. These player-created rulesets can help deal with issues the official rules didn’t adequately cover.