D&D 3.5 - Houserules

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D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by ^^Truth on 30th October 2008, 9:39 pm

Current Houserules.

Class

Druids - Can only spontaneous summon creatures of their alignment, or True Neutral.

Skills/Feats

Skill Purchase - All skills can be bought one for one. However Cross-Class limits still apply.

Intimidate - Strength or Charisma can be used to physically, or mentally, intimidate a subject.

Martial Weapon Proficiency - Grants familiarity with all martial weapons, rather than just one.
Combat Reflexes - Grants a minimum of +1 additional AoO per round.
Run - Lets the PC/NPC with the feat, retain his dexterity bonus whilst running.
Natural Spell - Is banned.
Reserve Feats - Are all banned (complete mage).

Spells

Spell Components - Are not required, unless deemed expensive. Maybe particular to the campaign.

Spell - Summon Monster/Nature's Ally/Undead - Summoning spells must be learnt/memorised by individual monster type. I.E. Summon Hellhound, rather than by bulk. Clerics can only memorise/summon spells of their Gods alignment or True Neutral. Monsters summoned roll init and act on their turn next round. The first round does not count for the purposes of the spell's duration.

Spell - Detect Poison - Works as Detect Magic, but in a 5' radius.

Cleric Spell - Restoration/Lesser/Greater - Heals 1HP back per caster level.
Cleric Spell - Neutralise Poison - Now heals temporary ability damage suffered via poison.

Wizard Spell - Fly - Is now a 5th level spell.
Wizard Spell - Greater Invisilibility - Is now a 6th level spell.
Wizard Spell - Overland Flight - Is now a 7th level spell.
Wizard Spell - Arcane Eye - Now has a casting time of one round.
Wizard Spell - Clairaudience/Clairvoyance - Now has a casting time of one round.

Rules

Wizards - Use the 3.0 system for prohibited schools when specialising.
Prestige Classes - Only the first does not count against multiclassing reductions

Damage Reduction

Aligned Law/Chaos weapons will also overcome damage reduction with certain highly aligned creatures at the DM's discretion. - Mostly Applies to Tanarri/Baatezu, their DR should read, DR - Good/Law/Cold Iron, or Good/Chaos/Silver.

Other

DMing - DMs recieve the average XP they award for their own PCs. This is so DMing doesn't have a hugely negative impact.
DM's do not receive XP for solo sessions.


Last edited by ^^Truth on 24th February 2011, 1:00 am; edited 26 times in total
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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by ^^Truth on 30th October 2008, 9:39 pm

Future Houserules.

Class

Skills/Feats

Spells

Break Enchantment - Casting time changed to 1 round. Removes one negative spell per casting from one subject per level.

Rules

Other


Last edited by ^^Truth on 9th March 2011, 10:20 pm; edited 5 times in total
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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by ^^Truth on 30th October 2008, 9:50 pm

Wished Houserules. (my opinion)

Class

1. Fighters - Fighter bonus feats, can be selected freely without the usual attribute requirement. This only applies to their bonus feats, not the racial ones everyone recieves for free. All other requirements remain. Reason: Currently an 18th level warrior with 11 INT, cannot learn to effectively defend himself because of requirements (Combat Expertise, INT13+). Silly.

2. Fighters - Recieve 4 skill points a level. Reason: Fighters tend to need a lot of skills and have nothing in the way of special abilities, an extra 2 skill points a level would make them a little more useful out of combat.

3. Thieves - Should get D8 HP, rather than D6. Reason: This is due mostly to the fact that they're non-spellcasting class and generally have to be involved in melee more often. Possible: Could include Bard as well, on grounds of being a shit, weak class.

4. Clerics/Druids - Should get D6 HP, rather than D8. Direct swap with rogue-types. Based on the fact that both have ranged and combat attacking magics. Reason: Cleric is currently the most powerful PC class. High HP, High AC, good saves and full spellcasting capabilities (and don't get me started on wildshaped druids and lightning bolting eagles). Note: It's my belief that spellcasters should be easier to kill than mundane types.

5. Clerics/Druids - Should be allowed to use the Sorcerer's system for magics, using their spells known and spells available tables. Reason: Seems like it'd be cool, especially for a more primative cleric.

Skills/Feats

6. Skill Synergy - Is currently broken, usually offering a lot more for putting two points into a semi-useless skill, in exchange for the bonuses recieved. Example Bluff 5 Ranks grants +2 diplomacy, sleight of hand, intimidate and disguise checks. Synergy makes somewhat sense however. Suggestion: Reduce bonus for synergy to +1.

Spells

7. Counterspelling - Counterspelling can be activated in advance, but the caster counting looses his next action in advance. Reason: Counterspelling is never used, because it's limited and technically difficult to achieve, yet is an awesome spellcaster mechanic. True spell battles.

8. Spell - Detect Poison - Should use the same system as detect magic. Reason: Currently only effects one person/object, thus useless.

9. Cleric Spell(s) - Restoration/Lesser/Greater - Heals back 1 HP per level of the caster. Reason:Make them slightly more attractive for memorisation.

10. Wizard Spell - Scorching Ray - Deals 3d6 damage per beam, rather than 4d6. Reason: Powerfully broken spell.

11. Magic Item Creation Feats - Do not recieve a cost deduction. Reason: Lower mass production of magical items and increase general buying price for PCs/NPCs.

Rules

12. Five' Step - Provokes an AoO if stepping away from an opponent. Five' Step is broken currently and leaving combat is what the WITHDRAW action is for. Spellcasters and melee weak PCs/NPCs should not be relying on a magical game mechanic to remain unharmed and spellcasters/ranged opponents should have more thought involved in their actions/positioning.

13. Massive Damage - Massive damage is ridiculus as a set number (50 damage). You can overkill an 800 HP beast of a dragon with 50 damage the same you overkill a goblin. Suggestion: Make overkill threshold CONx3, alternatively 75% of maximum HP.

14. Prestige Classes - Prestige Classes should count towards normal class levels for multiclassing. Reason: They're classes too, I see no reason why they're exempt.

Other

15. Helmets - Helmets should offer additionary protection, but reduce the ability to see and hear effectively. My suggestion is that they grant bonus AC versus Critical Hit Confirmation rolls and those rolls only. An example below. Thought: Critical hits strike a weak spot, the usual one is the head, thus helmets help defend against critical hits.

Light Helm - Skullcap, Padded Coif, etc. +1 AC Critical Confirm rolls, -1 spot/listen checks.
Medium Helm - Chain Coif, Open-faced Helm, etc. +2 AC Critical Confirm rolls, -2 spot/listen checks.
Heavy Helm - Great Helm, Kettle Helm, etc. +3 A Critical Confirm rolls, -3 spot/listen checks.

16. Masterwork Armour - Should provide a small damage reduction bonus to make it more useful. At current masterwork armour is only useful for enchanting purposes or stealthly PCs/NPCs. Suggestion: Grant MW armour a damage reduction bonus of 2/- and increase the cost to that of a master weapon (+300 GP instead of +150 GP).
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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by Tromador on 31st October 2008, 12:40 am

My thoughts on all of that...

Classes


Fighters - Fighter bonus feats, can be selected freely without the usual attribute requirement. This only applies to their bonus feats, not the racial ones everyone recieves for free. All other requirements remain. Reason: Currently an 18th level warrior with 11 INT, cannot learn to effectively defend himself because of requirements (Combat Expertise, INT13+). Silly.

Disagree: Some fighters are quick, clever, nimble. Some are slow, strong hulking. Your suggestion creates all fighters equally and removes consideration of stats. With this we could have a fighter who is extremely intelligent to get more skills, highly dextrous, charismatic, but with poor strength performing great cleave.


Fighters - Recieve 4 skill points a level. Reason: Fighters tend to need a lot of skills and have nothing in the way of special abilities, an extra 2 skill points a level would make them a little more useful out of combat.

Disagree: Fighters get tons of extra feats, that's their class benefit. They excel in combat at the cost of being less useful out of it. If you double their skill allowance where is the balancing penalty? Having said that, a few extra skills for a fighter isn't going to badly break the game.


Thieves - Should get D8 HP, rather than D6. Reason: This is due mostly to the fact that they're non-spellcasting class and generally have to be involved in melee more often. Possible: Could include Bard as well, on grounds of being a shit, weak class.

Neutral: Rogues get a lot of skills, so I'm not sure this is entirely justified. Really, they shouldn't be in the vanguard of combat, but should probably be more opportunistic, looking for that backstab opportunity. Extra HP will in my opinion tend toward tanking rogues which isn't their role at all. Bards possibly yes, as it would make a hopelessly shit class a bit more attractive.


Clerics/Druids - Should get D6 HP, rather than D8. Direct swap with rogue-types. Based on the fact that both have ranged and combat attacking magics. Reason: Cleric is currently the most powerful PC class. High HP, High AC, good saves and full spellcasting capabilities (and don't get me started on wildshaped druids and lightning bolting eagles). Note: It's my belief that spellcasters should be easier to kill than mundane types.

Disagree: Clerics have the role of being backup tanks. They get the metal armour and the ability to stand toe to toe for a short while. Lower the hit points and you have a dude in full plate armour who is loathe to engage and keep enemies off squishier targets. Druids of course, get the wildshaping, but are limited to non-metal armours - if lightning bolting eagles bothers you, then ban the feat which allows spellcasting in wildshape, rather than nerfing the whole class.

Overall, I'm not in favour of a major class rebalancing. The classes are the way they are after extensive playtesting by many experienced groups.


Clerics/Druids - Should be allowed to use the Sorcerer's system for magics, using their spells known and spells available tables. Reason: Seems like it'd be cool, especially for a more primative cleric.

Sounds like a "Favoured Soul", Complete Divine, Page 6.

Skills/Feats


Skill Synergy - Is currently broken, usually offering a lot more for putting two points into a semi-useless skill, in exchange for the bonuses recieved. Example Bluff 5 Ranks grants +2 diplomacy, sleight of hand, intimidate and disguise checks. Synergy makes somewhat sense however. Suggestion: Reduce bonus for synergy to +1.

Neutral: I don't pick skills to create synergies, though if appropriate I do take advantage of them. I don't much care either way.

Spells


Counterspelling - Counterspelling can be activated in advance, but the caster counting looses his next action in advance. Reason: Counterspelling is never used, because it's limited and technically difficult to achieve, yet is an awesome spellcaster mechanic. True spell battles.

Not exactly sure what you mean, as to be honest, I don't really understand counterspelling. I think the system is a bit broken in any case, relying on wizards having the appropriate counters to each others magic but I'm not sure what the solution is.


Spell - Detect Poison - Should use the same system as detect magic. Reason: Currently only effects one person/object, thus useless.

Agree: I'm good with this, but lets not use the 60' range cone shaped emanation of Detect Magic, but instead use the 5' cube of the detect poison as a general statement of area of effect. Bear in mind that although a person takes up a 5' square in combat, they don't have to if standing next to each other for a poison scan.


Cleric Spell(s) - Restoration/Lesser/Greater - Heals back 1 HP per level of the caster. Reason:Make them slightly more attractive for memorisation.

Agree: It's a subtle change, breaking nothing.


Wizard Spell - Scorching Ray - Deals 3d6 damage per beam, rather than 4d6. Reason: Powerfully broken spell.

Disagree: It's a ranged touch. The average damage is therefore much lower than 4d6, there are issues with shooting it into melee and so on. Most recently used in missing Zert's seer (ok, DM was generous enough to catch an enemy grunt in the crossfire, but anyway), and doing zero damage to Sorscha, but taking out the pub. It's a nice spell, but only if it hits.


Magic Item Creation Feats - Do not recieve a cost deduction. Reason: Lower mass production of magical items and increase general buying price for PCs/NPCs.

Disagree: This is just a price hike on items in general. PCs now pay full price and NPCs just charge even more. If availability of enchanting is too high, then GM should pass less GP to party in loot. This would also impact on XP costs, where XP invested is a function of GPs required to construct. In game terms, this should significantly lower availability of all magic items. Why would an enchanter make a magic sword for a fighter, investing time, money and his soul into it, for low rewards. If this is adopted it must have an impact on the world in general, or it becomes a nonsense.

Rules


Five' Step - Provokes an AoO if stepping away from an opponent. Five' Step is broken currently and leaving combat is what the WITHDRAW action is for. Spellcasters and melee weak PCs/NPCs should not be relying on a magical game mechanic to remain unharmed and spellcasters/ranged opponents should have more thought involved in their actions/positioning.

Disagree: You can only 5' step if you take no other movement. You can't 5' step to avoid AoO, then have another 30' of running away. Withdraw *is* the correct action for running and again has its own rules about AoO avoidance.


Massive Damage - Massive damage is ridiculus as a set number (50 damage). You can overkill an 800 HP beast of a dragon with 50 damage the same you overkill a goblin. Suggestion: Make overkill threshold CONx3, alternatively 75% of maximum HP.

Agree: 50 is a very arbitrary figure. I would be happier with something likek CONx3 than 75% of total though. Unlike many combat systems, D&D doesn't have a one hit kill mechanic on crits, it's all based on attrition. Expecting a PC to do (in your example) 600 points of damage in a single hit is unrealistic. Some multiplier of CON (x3 or perhaps 4) is a good compromise.


Prestige Classes - Prestige Classes should count towards normal class levels for multiclassing. Reason: They're classes too, I see no reason why they're exempt.

Disagree: Certain prestige classes can only be achieved if you are already multiclassed. Such prestige classes are therefore automatically penalised. Prestige classes with only 3 or 5 levels cannot be balanced in levels with other classes in a multiclass environment. The XP penalty is designed to stop PCs taking odd levels of all kinds of classes to create a stupid mishmash of ridiculously over engineered levelling schemes. A normal 10 level prestige class is intended as an evolution of the primary class(es). Having said that, if someone for some reason wants 2 prestige classes, then yes, I think the penalty should apply.


Other


Helmets - Helmets should offer additionary protection, but reduce the ability to see and hear effectively. My suggestion is that they grant bonus AC versus Critical Hit Confirmation rolls and those rolls only. An example below. Thought: Critical hits strike a weak spot, the usual one is the head, thus helmets help defend against critical hits.

Light Helm - Skullcap, Padded Coif, etc. +1 AC Critical Confirm rolls, -1 spot/listen checks.
Medium Helm - Chain Coif, Open-faced Helm, etc. +2 AC Critical Confirm rolls, -2 spot/listen checks.
Heavy Helm - Great Helm, Kettle Helm, etc. +3 A Critical Confirm rolls, -3 spot/listen checks.

Neutral: I could live with this, having no particular opinion either way.


Masterwork Armour - Should provide a small damage reduction bonus to make it more useful. At current masterwork armour is only useful for enchanting purposes or stealthly PCs/NPCs. Suggestion: Grant MW armour a damage reduction bonus of 2/- and increase the cost to that of a master weapon (+300 GP instead of +150 GP).

Disagree: Find something else. Having played a warlock with even 1 point of DR, I can assure you that any kind of DR is a massive bonus. Magical 5/magic DR armour costs 9000GP. You suggest 2/- for 150gp? I don't see it.
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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by The Dark Power on 31st October 2008, 12:58 am

I can see alot of thought has gone in to this, but I tend to agree with Trom's statement - the rules have been thoroughly playtested and I see no reason to alter a vast array of rules, many of which I can't recall actually being a problem in any games I've played now or in the past.

I'm not as familiar with the rules as I used to be and routinely have to look stuff up on the fly. Having a whole bunch of house rules is gonna further confuse stuff I find difficult enough wading through as is.

Some of these changes seem to make sense, for example the 50hp massive damage thing, but I don't recall that ever actually cropping up in a game.

However, alot of these changes seem quite arbitrary, why increase greater invibility's level whilst leaving regular invisibility untouched?

I think a more sensible approach is to give the DM ultimate discretion in these matters - if we ever end up fighting such a huge creature, for example, I'd be perfectly happy for the DM to decide the existing 50hp cap is innappropriate in that situation.

Much easier than changing a load of rules for theoretical situations that may not occur.

Having said that, small changes like that I could probably live with if everyone else was in favour, but big stuff like changing clerics hit dice? No way.
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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by illumination on 6th November 2008, 3:18 am

Im going to post twice, once adding a few things which i think have been forgotten, then my response to the above. I should say that my inclination on this is one of caution, the playtesting by the professionals is indeed a good point. However, where things are just plain daft I see no reason to be dogmatic about the rules. It is OUR game after all.

But generally I am with rules as I am with laws and governments - Less is more.

Anyway, Ill chuck this here for now but might edit it into Baat's posts once its accepted.

Under Spells:

Neutralise Poison. - Should heal outstanding ability damage from poisons (within last 24hours) as well as prevent further damage. (is currently so shit its not worth memorising)

Under Classes:

There is a standing house rule about druids and their shapechange abilities which extends it. I am not 100% sure on it but I think we ought to consider it some. I am not a fan of permanently shapechanged PCs, for a variety of reasons which should be obvious.

Under Feats:

The aformentioned feat that allows flying sparrows to call lightning etc is already banned. Or I thought it was.
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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by illumination on 6th November 2008, 3:45 am

I got into a pickle there trying to explain what im talking about, so have numbered the points for ease. If the number is down with no comments it means I support 100%.

Ok, I support:

Class

1.
2.* - +1 Skills to 3 a level I think is more of a tweak and will do.
3/4* I am in favour of addressing this imbalance, as there is indeed one, but would prefer the less drastic move to [1d7] HPs for Thief/Bard/Cleric/Druid.

Spells

7.
8.* (If we go for Trom's 5' radius only idea)
9.
10.
11.

Rules.

12.* Big big issue this. I agree the 5' step is broken, archers are a particular problem... but I worry about the effect of such a change, it would be a big move, but in principle I support it. Lemmie think about it a bit.... Smile

and finally,

15. Good rule, adds realism, easy to administrate. Too many losers shunning helmets these days. study
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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by ^^Truth on 7th November 2008, 10:36 pm

Yes, forgot those adjustments Mike. Thanks. They're added to current houserules now.

Mike: I'll agree with +3 skill points for fighters and 1d7 HP for thieves/bards/clerics/druids.

Trom/Mike: 5' radius for detect poison is fine by me.
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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by Tromador on 8th November 2008, 12:45 pm

I accept the +3 skills for fighters as a compromise and on further consideration, I'm good with helmets.
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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by The Dark Power on 8th November 2008, 8:17 pm

Thought I'd comment more fully on some of the more salient points here.

1. Fighters - Fighter bonus feats, can be selected freely without the usual attribute requirement. This only applies to their bonus feats, not the racial ones everyone recieves for free. All other requirements remain. Reason: Currently an 18th level warrior with 11 INT, cannot learn to effectively defend himself because of requirements (Combat Expertise, INT13+). Silly.

Not in favour of this one. Agree with Trom - the current set-up differentiates between the drizzt do-urdens and the wulfgars out there, this will basically make all fighters the same if implemented.

2. Fighters - Recieve 4 skill points a level. Reason: Fighters tend to need a lot of skills and have nothing in the way of special abilities, an extra 2 skill points a level would make them a little more useful out of combat.

Not in favour - they get no special abilities? What about all those feats? Is that nothing? That's a fighters special ability, they're meant to be skilled in combat. You'll notice there are also hardly any class skills for fighters, for that very reason. If you want a character with plenty of skills, use a thief, or have a character with one or two thief levels as several of us have done.

3. Thieves - Should get D8 HP, rather than D6. Reason: This is due mostly to the fact that they're non-spellcasting class and generally have to be involved in melee more often. Possible: Could include Bard as well, on grounds of being a shit, weak class.

4. Clerics/Druids - Should get D6 HP, rather than D8. Direct swap with rogue-types. Based on the fact that both have ranged and combat attacking magics. Reason: Cleric is currently the most powerful PC class. High HP, High AC, good saves and full spellcasting capabilities (and don't get me started on wildshaped druids and lightning bolting eagles). Note: It's my belief that spellcasters should be easier to kill than mundane types.

MAJOR
change and almost entirely not in favour. Thieves are supposed to be sneaking about in the shadows looking for attacks of opportunity not being stand up fighters. They're also intended to be extremely skilled pick pockets/lock picks/con men through their many skills - look at the way Saamech fights, that's basically how a thief is supposed to attack.

Your changes proposed so far detract from the skills areas and make thieves less unique by increasing fighters skill points and changing the nature of thieves by increasing their hit points and turning them into pseudo fighters which they're not supposed to be.

If you really want to increase thieves hit dice then you need to take away something from the class to balance the (not inconsiderable) advantage, perhaps less skill points? But then, oh, doesn't that make them more like simple fighters? Ah, that was why I chose my thief, because I wanted a character with alot of unique skills, not a warrior.

It does seem we're going to be approaching a situation where everyone has very similar levels of skills and hit points and not much to distinguish them from each other.

As for reducing clerics hit dice....we've been playing the game now for what...15 years? Thieves and clerics hit dice have always been as they are, I don't quite understand the sudden need for change. If clerics hit dice are reduced then again there needs to be something added to address the balance, christ knows what though. Why should I now play a cleric if I'm suddenly getting less for the same XP cost? If that change was introduced I'd be very unlikely to pick cleric as a class.

Having played a cleric recently I can tell you that the only way I got through combat in the end was through magic, every time I waded into combat I was pretty ineffective, even though I was wearing armour etc.

You also neglect mages/sorcerers who would suddenly have 50% of the hit points of every other class. Are you telling me that is not an imbalance, especially given the damage for every spell and weapon will have been balanced with the current hit dice levels in mind? If you change all the classes hit points, then you'd need to go through the whole PHB and subtlely rejig every damage roll to compensate for your changes.

The game is balanced and any change you make has a knock on effect to every other area of the game.

My main view is I'm not in favour of these changes, but if you absolutely insist then you must balance the changes otherwise
you unbalance the game.

12. Five' Step - Provokes an AoO if stepping away from an opponent. Five' Step is broken currently and leaving combat is what the WITHDRAW action is for. Spellcasters and melee weak PCs/NPCs should not be relying on a magical game mechanic to remain unharmed and spellcasters/ranged opponents should have more thought involved in their actions/positioning.

Not in favour of this, although perhaps less so than the other changes proposed. I have more of a problem with the combat we had with Arman, whereby every opponent that attacked him received an AoO due to his combat reflexes (or the feat that allows you to have multiple AoO whatever it's called).

Why should you get an AoO on someone when they attack you? Surely they have their defenses up since they're entering combat? That made no sense to me. Now perhaps we were doing that wrong, but I'd be more in favour of a change that saw you not getting an AoO when someone attacks you as it seemed incredible that someone would move into combat without having their defenses prepared.

Having said that I'd have no problem with the DM simply saying 'no you don't get an AoO in this instance', rather than making a hard and fast rule.

It does seem to me that people aren't exactly abusing AoO, but certainly using it in situations that it's innappropriate. I draw my sword, raise my shield and attack a thief, he gets an attack of opportunity on me. HOW? Arman throws a mug at Sorscha, she's flat footed so he gets a sneak attack with it? I think the damage went 1d3 +1d6 + 2. It's up to the DM to police this stuff, as occurred at the time.

I think we should leave it as is and the ultimate decision to allow or not should fall to the DM. There's clearly situations where the rules suggest you might get one, but it's inappropriate given the situation at hand. The dialogue should be 'DM, the rules suggest I get a AoO here, can I?' 'No, the guys inside a sherman tank. I know technically he's flat footed, but fuck off' ;0)

15. Helmets - Helmets should offer additionary protection, but reduce the ability to see and hear effectively. My suggestion is that they grant bonus AC versus Critical Hit Confirmation rolls and those rolls only. An example below. Thought: Critical hits strike a weak spot, the usual one is the head, thus helmets help defend against critical hits.

Light Helm - Skullcap, Padded Coif, etc. +1 AC Critical Confirm rolls, -1 spot/listen checks.
Medium Helm - Chain Coif, Open-faced Helm, etc. +2 AC Critical Confirm rolls, -2 spot/listen checks.
Heavy Helm - Great Helm, Kettle Helm, etc. +3 A Critical Confirm rolls, -3 spot/listen checks.

This is quite a nice idea, but you do make quite a large assumption that every crit is gonna be in the head. Perhaps a larger proportion are but certainly many won't be too. How would a helmet protect me when someone stabs me through the chest? Or near hacks of a limb?

It's clearly ridiculous to assume a helmet is going to help you in every circumstance and I would not be in favour of the rule in it's current form. If you have to have it, I would propose a % chance of the crit falling on the head rather than having a blanket rule.

The problem then is you enter the murky world of hit locations which we've tried in the past and abandoned. I would say why does having a helmet have to involve rules? Sorscha wore a helmet, I didn't need a game mecanic to convince me to use one.

Thank god I'm wearing my helmet!
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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by illumination on 10th November 2008, 3:19 am

ewwww. big post. most of it sensible. hmmm, not sure if i have the energy to respond appropriately.

vaguely speaking, i guess i understand a lot of what joe is saying. there is a risk in making such fundamental changes, to a game that we seem to enjoy quite a lot as it is. i remember making the point when discussing it with iain about thieves being quite charming as fleet footed, highly damaging, yet squishy PCs. making them more like fighters and fighters like theives doesnt sound that good at all, and i hadnt really considered it that way. but, im not a great fan of the current theme of every fighter that wants versatility taking levels in thief to address their skills problem(s).

i think, ill say that for any class changes as radical as the above to go through, that we ought to have unanimous accord, if we cant work out an agreement we should put any changes on ice for now.

i think iain has a fair point in some of the imba issues raised, but also that im instinctively with joe in the 'if its not broke dont fix it' club. and i also dislike additonal rules as a point of principle. there are enough out there to remember as it is. the aoo one is a existing problem though that id like to see sorted somehow.

as to helmets, no game mechanic is ever going to be a perfect reflection of the reality of a given scenario, the point is to encourage their use, and have +ve and -ve consequences for doing so. the solution proposed is not radical at all, and adds a bit of flavour to the game.
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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by illumination on 10th November 2008, 3:21 am

furthermore, until we actualy ever get a campaign to high level, we wont fully understand what we are doing. our experience with this rules system is 100% limited to 1-11th level, exclusively.


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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by The Dark Power on 11th November 2008, 12:10 am

Not too much to add since I've had a fair rant above!

However:

im not a great fan of the current theme of every fighter that wants versatility taking levels in thief to address their skills problem(s).

Tend to agree here, however I find it easy enough to rationalise - most classes spend most of their time with their core occupation - fighters practicing their weapons, mages at study, clerics in prayer. Thieves spend the same amount of time sneaking about/picking locks etc.

It's a shame you can't just buy a stack of skill points in place of maybe taking a feat as a fighter or a couple of spells as a mage or priest, but unfortunately that's just how the D&D game is structured; you're forced to take a whole level to get access to that level of skill points.

sunny Now here's an idea - we could introduce a new feat which when you take it gives you a stack of skill points to use. You can take it multiple times and the skill points stack up. How's that? sunny

Maybe don't allow thieves to take it though eh?

As mentioned above, I don't think jerry rigging the other classes to address that concern is the way to go.

That's all I have really on that, read on if you want to be even more speculative though.........

However (this is a what if rather than a serious suggestion)

You could, and this would be a collossal change, split up all the various class abilities into seperate buyable items.

So you start with a blank character and you have 100 points to spend. D10 hit points per level might cost you 20 points say, thief skill levels 20, backstab 30, cleric saves another 20 etc. We'd have to carefully balance it, but that'd be a way of making the system more felxible and allowing you to incorporate all the abilities you'd want without having to take levels in a class that you only wanted for a certain trait.

Like I say, huge change though and would have to be carefully investigated and balanced.
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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by Tromador on 12th November 2008, 1:07 am

The Dark Power wrote:
Why should you get an AoO on someone when they attack you? Surely they have their defenses up since they're entering combat? That made no sense to me. Now perhaps we were doing that wrong, but I'd be more in favour of a change that saw you not getting an AoO when someone attacks you as it seemed incredible that someone would move into combat without having their defenses prepared.

You don't get an AoO if someone runs up to attack you. Special rules for unarmed combat notwithstanding, you provoke an AoO by two means

1: Moving OUT OF a threatened square, except when using a 5' step or the withdraw action.

Attacking someone will generally involve moving INTO their threatened square and not provoke an AoO. However, if you are fighting someone with a REACH weapon (such as Arman's Spiked Chain), then they threaten in a 10' range, so you must move into and then OUT OF a threatened square to get into range for your shorter weapon.

Practical experience from my re-enactment days bears this out. I don't care how well you think you are defending yourself, if I have a pole arm and you have a sword, I am getting an attack in on you before you can get close to me.

The disadvantage of reach weapons is that when someone is at close range, you can no longer attack (eg, you must drop your pike and draw a sword). Again my re-enactment experience bears this out. Once past the pointy end of my pole arm, I better find another way to defend against the sword and quickly.

Just for fun, Arman's spiked chain is the exception and may also be used at short range. Fair's fair though, it cost him an exotic weapon feat.

2: Performing a distracting act. e.g. Cast a spell. Stop to tie shoelaces. etc. I think this one is well enough understood that I don't need to get into a long example ridden explanation.


Normally, you may make 1 only AoO per round. Combat reflexes feat allows a character to make (1+DEX BONUS) AoOs each round. It is important to note however, the following: "Moving out of more than one square threatened by the same opponent in the same round doesn’t count as more than one opportunity for that opponent." Thus if you back from Arman, he gets one attack only, not one each for the 5' and 10' threatened squares.

From your description then, I think the combat with Arman was handled correctly. The AoOs were from his combat reflexes combined with his use of a reach weapon. This is good tactics on Iain's part, wholly correct in the literal interpretation of the rules.


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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by Tromador on 12th November 2008, 1:24 am

illumination wrote:evaguely speaking, i guess i understand a lot of what joe is saying. there is a risk in making such fundamental changes, to a game that we seem to enjoy quite a lot as it is. i remember making the point when discussing it with iain about thieves being quite charming as fleet footed, highly damaging, yet squishy PCs. making them more like fighters and fighters like theives doesnt sound that good at all, and i hadnt really considered it that way. but, im not a great fan of the current theme of every fighter that wants versatility taking levels in thief to address their skills problem(s).

I 100% agree, but is giving fighters a buff the way to deal with that. "Now you fighters need not take thief levels, because you just got a load of skill points for free by popular demand!"

It is absolutely imperative as mentioned above to keep class distinctiveness. Fighters are so busy practicing fighting (as reflected in their piles of fighting feats) that they have little time for other hobbies. Indeed, it is clear from our own party that the warriors do the most damage. Limnoch does a share, but I suspect he does more by proxy when hasting the fighters than directly from a MM.

i think iain has a fair point in some of the imba issues raised, but also that im instinctively with joe in the 'if its not broke dont fix it' club. and i also dislike additonal rules as a point of principle. there are enough out there to remember as it is. the aoo one is a existing problem though that id like to see sorted somehow.

I think the 5' step represents backing away cautiously, defenses raised, facing one's opponent. Any other move essentially requires one to turn one's back and expose oneself to attack. Remember if you make a 5' step, you can't then run. As a habitual squishy wizard, I can assure you that taking a 5' step is not a safety feature as if my spell is wrong, I get clobbered next round. My choice is to cast on the defensive and maybe have an opportunity to run (taking 1 attack), 5' step and know I'm vulnerable next round (to perhaps multiple attacks), or cast no spell and use the full round withdraw.

In fact, this is an interesting point. A 5' step leaves one vulnerable to a FULL ATTACK action from the opponent, running away is a SINGLE AoO. That is perhaps the difference and justification for allowing the 5' step, you're still taking the full hits time.

furthermore, until we actualy ever get a campaign to high level, we wont fully understand what we are doing. our experience with this rules system is 100% limited to 1-11th level, exclusively.

And this is a very important, perhaps the most important point. We can dick with the rules all we like, however the much mentioned playtesters and years of experience which ended up in Edition 3.5 of the rules certainly reflect how things work all the way to level 20 and indeed beyond. In point of fact, our experience really is somewhat limited and we have no way to know what the long term effect of radical changes may be.
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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by ^^Truth on 12th November 2008, 1:27 am

I'm not actually gonna post properly until everyone has replied (Zert), so I can see what the situation is with the rules above etc. But something made me...

The disadvantage of reach weapons is that when someone is at close range, you can no longer attack (eg, you must drop your pike and draw a sword). Just for fun, Arman's spiked chain is the exception and may also be used at short range. Fair's fair though, it cost him an exotic weapon feat.

Naah... they can just 5' step away with their reach weapon for free and make a full attack using it. Sounds fair that, don't it?

Otherwise Trom is correct.


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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by The Dark Power on 12th November 2008, 8:50 am

OK cool the AoO thing is much clearer now I thought there might eb something going on vis a vis the chain, I still find it difficult to entirely get my head around it!

It does seem the 5' step away is the only real bone of contention. As I mentioned before though, not entirely sure I remember that cropping up all that often?
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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by ^^Truth on 12th November 2008, 8:57 pm

It's kinda like boxing Joe. The guy with the longer reach always gets a couple of jabs on the shorter guy as he tries to get in close. Watch Lennox V Tyson for a perfect visual description. Lennox just punched him in the face all night, Tyson couldn't even get to him.

Arman is an AoO master. It's the way he was built at the expensive of any form of weapon specialisation/dedication.
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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by The Dark Power on 13th November 2008, 8:28 am

Heh, that's an apt way of putting it. From the combat we had for some reason I thought you got an AoO if you entered a threatened square, which seemed fucked up. Though yeah Arman was a fucking monster in the situation we had. Note to DMs - only have NPCs attack one at a time ;0)

I see the reach thing.

The only other circumstance I can really see someone getting an AoO on you is if they pass you by and you therefore can sometimes get a crafty blade into their ribs, so to speak.

That seems to be all the rules suggest, but I can see your point on the 5' step leaving a threatened square etc, will take some more careful thought though methinks.....
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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by Tromador on 13th November 2008, 10:17 pm

I guess my problem with AoO on a 5' step is that you would take the step, take an AoO, then take a full attack next round (opponent 5' steps back in), step back, take another attack.

If you go down a route where the 5' step causes an AoO, I would need to see it removed completely, I think.

Again, I reiterate. Taking a 5' step removes all other opportunities for a move that round.

I'm also going to bring in RL examples. You will generally see any kind of melee fights moving back and forth, someone on the defensive backing off, someone on the offensive moving forward. Certainly this is my experience from using a broadsword, rarely does one stand still.

The somewhat turn based method of combat in D&D means that my RL example is admittedly shaky, one is stepping back as ones opponent is stepping forward, on the other hand one is normally performing a full parry, until one can riposte and go on the offensive.

I think it's also important to consider why the AoO was created in the first place. There never was any such thing in D&D 2 that I remember, so I can only speculate it was brought in during the combat system rehash, to stop people hitting a monster, then running away making rude hand gestures. I suspect when the AoO was invented, the 5' step didn't exist until extensive playtesting showed a need for some tactical options. I'm very loathe to completely remove the possibility of a free 5' step.

So... I suggest a compromise of sorts.

If one performs a 5' step, one can perform a standard action as normal. This is part of the flow of a combat and does not attract an AoO.

However, if one is performing a FULL ROUND ACTION, then I suggest that one doesn't have the time for a 5' step. In that circumstance, either we say 5' step is banned completely.. OR we allow it, but it can provoke AoO.
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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by ^^Truth on 13th November 2008, 10:38 pm

Alright, I said I wasn't going to post properly until everybody replied (Zert), so I won't, but I will post properly about the 5' Step Rule.

5' Step Rule

The problem with the 5' Step Rule is that it allows certain builds no penalty for their lack of generalisation and also creates an unfair situation for a melee combatant that has gone through the effort of chasing someone down.

Archers

Take one fully specialised and maxed out archer. A bane of wizards and close-combat warriors alike. They're pumping out a ton of high damage arrows in virtually any situation or range without missing much. Finally they get closed down by the warrior, to either protect the wizard, or protect himself.

The warrior gets his single attack (charge or move/attack) and then it's the archers turn, whom can simple step 5' backwards for free and make a full attack with his bow at no penalty at all. Either pincushioning the warrior, or worse, the mage or cleric at distance. Yes, the warrior steps back in and full attacks the archers, but the archer just 5' Steps back again and repeats.

When you close down an archer, they should be drawing a sword to defend themselves, not keep on firing their bow with no penalty, that kinda removes the point of closing an archer down. If melee weapons did substaintially more damage then bows, then it'd work, but they don't, so it's broken.

Reach Opponents

Like in Trom's example. You rush the guy with the polearm, he gets a free hit on you and IF you survive you manage to get past his long weapon and right up to him. HA! HE'S DEAD NOW! ... or should be, because he's not. Like the archer, he can just 5' Step away from you and continue his full attacks. There's no penalty for mega-specialising in a polearm, because you never need to drop it, like the archer.

When a rule says that you never need to change a weapon that's either badly nerfed or unusable when a melee combatant gets to you, then the rule needs to be seriously looked at.

Spellcasters

The problem with spellcasters isn't that they can get a temporarily 5' Step away, because the fighter can close that quickly, the problem is that they can 5' Step away and cast a spell without having to make a concentration check of any kind or suffer any form of attack of opportunity for doing so. That, in my eyes, is broken.

Then we can look at some spells that futher break this apart with a 5' Step.

5' Step + Summong Monster between spellcaster and Warrior. Warrior now CANNOT get to the wizard without AoOs and with multiple summons cannot potentially get to the wizard and attack at all. (most broken one).

5' Step + Fly/Invis/Blink/Wraithform/Grease/Improved Invis/Stoneskin/Dimension Door/Entangle etc etc.

Now, I have no problem with wizards casting defensive spells to stop themselves being killed by melee combatants, but I do when they get to cast it for absolutely free AFTER BEING CLOSED DOWN without suffering either an attack of opportunity OR having to even bother to make a concentration check.

That is, my arguement agains the 5' Step and the reasons why I dislike it. What to do with it. Simple. Make moving away from melee opponents (that are attacking you) with anything other than a withdraw action an attack of opportunity.
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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by The Dark Power on 14th November 2008, 9:00 am

Yeah that's certainly very well thought out and described and I tend to agree with what you're saying.

Just a few observations:

Firstly as I said before, this is legitimate, but also rather hypothetical; I don't recall the circumstances above actually occurring.

Secondly, I've had a search on the Wizards site and there didn't seem to be any articles noting a problem as we have done, they basically just described how the 5' step worked, pretty much as it is in the PHB.

So, it seems pretty clear to me that they did this on purpose, i.e. they intend it to work in this way and it's not a mistake or an oversight/omission on their part. The question for us really is a; why, and b; does it matter?


It seems to me that they may have made it this way in order to allow each class to get an equal chance to have their attack in close quarters, wizards and warriors trading sword blows and fireballs (whatever) in a stand up fight.

Now, our view of how the classes work has always been that the spellcasters are good at long range but are fucked if closed down by a warrior. Could it be that Wizards were more of the opinion that characters should be able to duke it out in a fair fight at close quarters without one being overpowered by the other?

I've a feeling it might. I also think that the five foot step rule might, at least in part, have also been added as combat, at least the way it's described in the 3.5 PHB, is designed to be played on a grid with miniatures or counters. We don't do that that often and when we do it's always a slightly 'loose' affair, shall we say. WOTC seem to assume that all combat should be a close up affair.

I think it's basically a mismatch between how we think the game should run and how WOTC intended it to run. I don't think the rule is 'broken' as such, it just doesn't match the way we've generally assumed combat should run.

Now it's clear that some of us don't like the way that works and some of us are less sure. The question is will it matter if we change it? Well, it will clearly make mages 'weaker', or more accurately, combat more dangerous for them.

Iains arguments for the archer and reach weapons are very compelling, my mind is drawn to the way Legolas fights in the LOTR films though, shooting at point blank range, that kind of thing. The way the rules are described in the PHB seem to have that style in mind.

Not the more realistic kind of rucking we've always liked, or at least tried to have.


In references to the 'what's the point of withdraw if you can 5' step' argument, well withdraw allows you a double move away from your opponent without provoking an AoO for leaving their threatened area, where-as 5' step is just that and allows you an attack. I think there's a clear difference and use - one allows you to leave combat, the other to make you attack without provoking an AoO.


My opinion has changed somewhat from an absolute 'no way' having read everyone's comments, but I am still hesitant to make a large change such as this for (as far as I can recall) a fairly hypothetical situation and also in changing a rule which was clearly intentionally added to make combat 'fair'. I think it may unbalance things in favour of the warriors.

Let us not forget that if the change was implemented close quarters combat for wizards would become that much more lethal - every spell would require a concentration check and combined with low hit points and AC they wouldn't last long.

Now that's how we've always assumed it should work, but I think WOTC have different ideas. That doesn't necessarily mean we shouldn't change it to the way we'd like it to work, but I am concerned for the reasons mentioned above about doing so.
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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by ^^Truth on 14th November 2008, 9:45 pm

Okay. I don't want to overburden the thread with too much of my opinion before everyone has read and commented, but since we're slightly hammering out the 5' Step rule, I may as well continue.

I explained this to Trom on Icq.

Everyone seems to think this change primarily nerfs spellcasters, it doesn't, not at all. What this change most does is effect people with bows and reach weapons (halberds etc), not spellcasters at all.

People with ranged weapons and reach weapons have a choice. Change their weapon to a 5' melee orientated one, or keep using what you're using (mindlessly) and suffer an attack of opportunity. Currently their choice is change to a 5' melee weapon or keep using your current weapon for free.

That's a big change, there's nothing they can do about that.

However, spellcasters can cast spells, whilst in melee, without penalty, as long as they make a concentration check, which is the full point of the skill. Yes, this effects spellcasters (not just wizards!), but not in any way, shape or form that it does mundane melee combatants with non-melee weapons.

But since we're focusing on wizards(and sorcerers) - I'd imagine cos you can't argue for the poor cleric or druid stuck in melee, since they kick ass. Keya anyone? Diedne? - let me add that..

Wizards these days are generally well armoured, with a good amount of HPs, most of them have devilishly high concentration checks (working with their high HP inducing consitutions) and a deadly set of touch attack spells.

When combat comes along - unsure of Limnoch's general spell rooster these days - but I think you'll find Saamech has the second highest AC in the group and neither wizards are too bad off hit point wise. This is all mostly due to that fact that Wizards only need a single stat - intelligence - so they have lots of points left over generally to put into dexterity or consitution, mixed with the fableous +4 AC hour/level mage armour and mages are not bad off at all.

Looking at our current group. If Limnoch rightly has mage armour (as he should), I think you'll find that the order of AC is something like.

Arman -> Saamech -> Limnoch -> Kota -> Chell.

For HP, the wizards are obviously at the bottom of the scale, but had Arman no constitution bonus say, his HP wouldn't be too far away from Limnoch's at all.
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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by Tromador on 15th November 2008, 2:09 am

As we did discuss on ICQ Diedne is a shit example, as Serp let me get away with all sorts of crap which we wouldn't normally tolerate. Her combat was based on uber dex, ironwood armour, umpty AC items & weapon finesse on dual wielded sickles with uber damage bonuses. Not to mention luck of the Irish on hp rolls, so she ended up with more than an average fighter.

Nono... Diedne was exceptional in combat and wholly unrepresentative of anything.
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Re: D&D 3.5 - Houserules

Post by The Dark Power on 15th November 2008, 3:03 am

Written tons so I don't wanna bang on much further, but I just wanna say that any decision we make must be based on the game viewed as a whole, not on what PCs we currently happen to be using at the time. The fact that the current mage we have happens to be fairly well off in AC terms is really irrelevant.

If this change is to be made then it needs to count (and work in a fair way) for all possible PCs (and for that matter NPCs) now and in future campaigns.
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