After three years of solid playing with my friends we have a bunch of house rules that we've made to mix things up, patch up characters who would otherwise be pretty useless, and overall make the game a lot more crazy fun.
Instead of putting the dynamite on yourself first and waiting your next turn to draw for it, we just toss it to the next person. Dynamites may also be stacked, with two or more dynamites out at the same time.
Our main addition with the Dynamite is the addition of cooking. Anyone with the Dynamite in front of them can choose to cook it. The first time it flips, it will go from 2-9 of Spades to all Spades cause an explosion. After that, it goes all spades plus 2-9 of Clubs, then all Clubs, 2-9 of Diamonds, all Diamonds, 2-9 of Hearts, and if you're lucky, all Hearts (instant explosion). When cooking, it only explodes if you draw what it's cooked to at the moment, not if you draw what you're cooking to.
Barrels are a hot commodity, and you can have a stack of two barrels at the same time. A stack like this is easily countered by card denial cards. Also, Barrels may be discarded to act as a Missed in those last-ditch scenarios. Very good for those times where you're at one bullet and your Barrel fails.
When we first played we had a real problem with Jail aggression; it was a bit too good to be true. Therefore, we debuffed it a bit:
A person who doesn't get out of jail can draw two cards without the need to discard to meet their health. Therefore, if you recklessly toss someone in jail, you will pay the price for your dickery by giving them extra ammunition to shoot you.
Also, if you have a Can-can in front of you that is useable, or a Cat Balou in your hand, your mistress springs you out and you may use it to immediately discard the Jail.
You can use any card with Bang effects on Indians. If it's a 1-range only Bang effect (Punch, Derringer, Knife, etc.), you must be in range to use it against the Indians.
You can dual-wield revolvers (Schofields and Remingtons) by having two of them in front of you. With this, you can shoot two Bangs a turn for their respective ranges.
You can stack rifles (Rev. Carbines and Winchesters) to make a Shotgun, which shoots only at 1 range. However, each Bang discharges both barrels, and you can play missed cards for each barrel (e.g. if you are shot with a shotgun and you play only one missed, one barrel misses but the other hits). Additional stacked rifles above two simply add range. When you use Card Denial cards, only one rifle is lost at a time, not the whole stack.
Volcanics can also be stacked to add range. Card Denial cards used against a stacked volcanic only remove one card at a time.
You may discard a weapon to perform a melee attack at 1 range. It does not count as a Bang, but you may only perform a melee attack once.
Tequilas may be used to save someone other than yourself (a la Beer effect). You must still discard a card to use it.
Dodges and Bibles
You can discard a Dodge or Bible on your turn to draw a card.
We noticed that the Pepperbox was really no different from the Knife (shoot one player at visible distance), so we made it so that the range the pepperbox can shoot is the same as the range of your equipped blue card weapon.
We patched Paul Regret up to four bullets because Dodge City created too many counters against him, with the addition of so many range modifiers/range-independent cards.
Every time a player is eliminated, Greg Digger may regain two life points. He may gain life points beyond his current max health, up to a maximum health of 8. The health cap remains 8 even if he is the Sheriff. Therefore, assuming he has 4 bullets as normal and someone dies, he gains 2 life points to a max health of 6 life points. Another death, and he has 8 bullets of health, which becomes his new capacity.
We patched him up to four bullets because with only two cards a draw, he really didn't have time to fully exercise his power before he got lit up.
At the beginning of the game she can choose a power to start with, but after that she chooses her power at the beginning of her turn. Having to survive up to a round totally powerless with three bullets really made player her a drag.
Green cards played by ghosts can simply be played directly, after we noticed that ghosts were basically rendered impotent by green cards.
Instead of choosing from the character you didn't choose first (there's probably a good reason why you didn't choose that character), we just deal out new characters for everyone to choose.
You may sacrifice two life to bring back someone from the dead. They come back on their turn with one life and two cards. Any subsequent life you sacrifice for the resurrected will go as stated by the card.
You can draw if you take a second turn with Vendetta. It was pretty useless without that, because merely playing a second Bang! or using a Green card didn't seem that satisfying.
We thought it was kind of unfair that the Sheriff always started first, so instead, starting with the Sheriff everyone draws a card until someone draws a Bang. The roulette starts on them, and it proceeds as it says on the card.
Back in the old days when we used to play with El Dorado scenarios (:P), we used to also play with a few custom characters.
Mountain Jack: Starts with 5 bullets. He gets 6 bullets of health if he is the sheriff.
Mia Steppe: Cards that affect everyone besides General Stores do not affect her. These include Howitzers, Gatlings, Indians, and Saloons.
Conrad Varner: He may keep the result of his draws for Jails, Barrels, Dynamites, etc.
You've fixed a lot of problems that I never knew existed!
In particular, I've never seen "Jail aggression"... the cards are rare enough that they hardly matter. Plus, you get out after one turn anyhow.
Are you perhaps trying to "nicen up" a game about shooting people?
Not really. We've simply made other ways to be aggressive and other ways to guard yourself from aggression.
We added a Priest character (4 life). Anyone on their turn can give the priest 2 cards to gain one life. Anyone can also at any time give the Priest two cards to avoid death (a la beer). Games last a little longer since everyone can save two cards to avoid death, but it's a ton of fun.
That seems like a really fun custom character. We've done a few, but haven't been quite as creative. :)