Techniques to offset perceived inequities among player characters derived from differences in capability.

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41
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11answers
3k views

Is there a limit to Rule 0?

Rule Zero: All other rules can be changed by the GM. I appreciate that there is a massive amount of work that goes into be a GM and the last thing that any GM wants or deserves is to have his ...
28
votes
13answers
2k views

How does a DM correct the balance after accidentally giving the players too much gold?

Inspired by some of the answers to Pitfalls of using the optional 'XP for Gold' rule in a Basic D&D Retro Clone game? As DM/GM, you slipped up and ended up giving the PCs significantly ...
28
votes
12answers
2k views

What to do when your character is just too good?

I'm playing in the Paizo Pathfinder Jade Regent adventure path and we're having a good time so far (campaign blog and session summaries). However, as my character has gone up in power I'm now ...
27
votes
12answers
4k views

How to balance a very-low magic campaign

Recently, my players and I got kind of bored with the fact that Pathfinder relies heavily on magic items than martial prowess for fighting classes. I realize and accept the fact that spellcasters are ...
27
votes
7answers
1k views

What makes a character/creature/power/ability/etc. over-powered?

In generic terms, what makes something, regardless of what game it's being used in, over powered? I hear the term a lot, and while I can recognize it when I see it in-play (often due to someone ...
24
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7answers
2k views

How to encourage a player's creativity without breaking the game?

I've just started a new D&D 4e campaign with a new group of players. One of my players came straight from 2nd edition, and has never played 4e before. She doesn't seem to grasp the layer of ...
23
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4answers
2k views

Monster Manual 1 - Is it balanced? Should I balance it?

I've been DM'ing a little lately 4 edition D&D and of course I'm confused again: My first adventure was a big question mark, I didn't use the exact guidelines for creating an encounter and ...
22
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10answers
1k views

How do I balance game interactions between a giant mecha that can level cities and its pilot?

I have had recurring trouble with a subject I like, and would like to implement into my games, but can't find a good way to do so: mechas (big huge robots) From a system point of view, it is usually ...
22
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5answers
2k views

Balancing Spellcasters; Spontaneous Casters versus Prepared Casters

So ask any optimizer and they'll almost always tell you the same thing: in 3.5 classes that prepare spells are better than spontaneous spellcasters. It's generally not thought of as even a contest. ...
21
votes
2answers
7k views

Has 5e fixed the balance problems of the monk at all?

Many people believe that the monk has balance issues (and is underpowered) in 3.5e and Pathfinder. The goal of this question is not to debate that point but to see what changes the Monk has undergone ...
19
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3answers
4k views

Is the old “Linear Fighters Quadratic Wizards” problem still around in 5e Basic?

(This question is a comparison to 3.x, though things might have been different in 4e) In 3.5e there is a large power and capability gap between fighters and wizards that fighters couldn't hope to ...
18
votes
5answers
484 views

Is it plausible that characters can invent devices in a medieval setting, and how should one balance it?

To illustrate what I mean, let me give a quick example: In The Dark Eye, there is a Staff Ritual named "Hammer des Magus" (no idea what the term is in English). Its effect is that everything ...
17
votes
7answers
16k views

Is two-weapon fighting only as a full-round action balanced versus fighting with a two-handed weapon?

One of the players in a Pathfinder game in which I am playing is arguing that characters should be able to get the additional attack for fighting with two weapons when attacking as a standard action, ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Are Strength and Dexterity balanced in Vampire the Masquerade? If not, how can I fix it?

Since Revised edition, I have found that Dexterity is a very powerful trait and that Strength is not so important. Dexterity + Wits determine initiative, which is a big advantage in combat. ...
16
votes
9answers
539 views

How can I encourage my group to become more well rounded?

My gaming group tends to each go in their own direction for character creation. Sometimes this leads to great games where folks are strongly opposed on dramatic elements and character interaction is ...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

How to help my low-level spellcaster PCs feel more useful

My party right now consists of a pair of incredibly optimized characters (a half-orc fighter and a ranger/scout), one fairly well optimized character (a swashbuckler who's thinking about mutliclassing ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

How can I offer players a balanced opportunity to take powerful races, without adjusting their level?

I'm planning to run a Planescape game in 3.5 and want to offer players the opportunity to play unusual characters within the system. Ideally power level wouldn't be a concern, but some players might ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

How can you balance a system without making it bland?

In one of my long-term PvP LARP games, we've done a lot of work trying to balance the system we're using, either by banning certain "classes" or "powers" or by altering their specs slightly to make ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

My players almost die in my encounters every time. Does this mean my encounters are too hard?

I'm running my first campaign with three friends. This is the first time any of us have done any table-top role-playing. I'm working the party through the H1: Keep on the Shadowfell campaign using ...
13
votes
3answers
5k views

Are 5e Rangers competitive with other core classes?

Rangers have a lot of flavor and interesting utility spells and abilities. However, it's not clear from a quick reading of the class whether they are mechanically competitive. Their Beast Master ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Balancing a monk variant with full base attack bonus

I'm gearing up for a 2-person campaign (my wife and myself, with myself as DM). The party will be two characters, with occasional hirelings/NPCs. One of the characters will be a DMPC (we've run one ...
12
votes
10answers
2k views

Should I allow a Wondrous Item on level 1 character creation?

I'm starting a new 3.5 campaign, using only the 3 core books for character creation, and starting all my players off at level 1. One of my players has written a (rather good) backstory for his ...
12
votes
5answers
433 views

How can I balance an enemy that my players might encounter at different levels?

My story revolves around 8 angels that my players must defeat. The thing is I want them to look for them in no particular order. How can I balance an enemy easily in advance, since they may encounter ...
12
votes
4answers
900 views

How can one prevent the gadgeteer edge in Savage Worlds from becoming overpowered without banning or nerfing it into oblivion?

According to the text in the Deluxe Edition of Savage Worlds, the Gadgeteer edge available to weird scientists (WS) allows a player to indefinitely accumulate devices at a rate of one per session, ...
12
votes
4answers
451 views

In FATE, what is the relative value of each characteristic?

There are a lot of FATE variants out there, but most have a few common types of characteristics in common: a number of aspects, a base number of fate points (refresh), skills/abilities, stunts, and ...
11
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6answers
2k views

How much can/should a single owned item be worth at most?

How much can any single possession take up a character's wealth? For this question, I'd like answers that operate under the presumption that wealth-by-level isn't a minimum but instead a target. I've ...
11
votes
5answers
420 views

How can I stop a large level disparity from being a problem?

In my campaign, my players each have several different characters at the home base. Every session, they pick which one they want to play. However, some players always use the same one and so have more ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Balancing a mixed game in nWoD

Jadasc raised a great point here. There are few problems that can challenge a mage that won't completely outclass a vampire, unless the vampires are extraordinarily experienced or well connected ...
11
votes
7answers
2k views

Ways to solve balance problems with a Master Summoner

I'm currently running a pathfinder game and am running into balance problems with a Master Summoner. It's a low level game (started from level 1) and the summoner is currently level 4 but about to ...
11
votes
2answers
313 views

What's the easiest way to adjust a module intended for 5 players so that it can accommodate 6 players?

I'm playing with a 6 character group in the H series of modules, Keep on the Shadowfell and Thunderspire labyrinth, which are both intended for 5 players. Frankly the combats are usually too easy, ...
11
votes
4answers
480 views

Rules modifications for Exalted Clinches

In the basic rules for Exalted a successful clinch allows the attacker to do the all of following: Squeeze the target for damage Reduce the targets DV to zero Changes the tick on which the target ...
11
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2answers
328 views

Assisted healing (and Inspiring Leadership) game balance

I renamed this question because I didn't estimate the problem correctly, which actually seems to be localized to assisted healing. The old title was "How do I restrain Inspiring Leadership". (Strands ...
10
votes
9answers
2k views

Two players compete for same role - how do I balance this?

I have a D&D 3.5 group of four players, the classes are; Wizard, Rogue, Barbarian, and Swashbuckler, the level of the players is 4. (Having no healer is part of the game, not part of my question) ...
10
votes
6answers
367 views

How to deal with broken combos?

Based on Rob Schwalb's article Stuck in the Middle: How do you, as a player or DM, deal with choosing or forbidding broken combos in your character, group, and system?
10
votes
3answers
629 views

How should I handle nerfing a player for the purposes of game balance?

Background I run a Live Action Role-Playing game on a monthly basis (from March through November) for anywhere from 10-30 PCs (with 3 other Plot members and anywhere from 0-10 NPCs). The majority of ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I mitigate the power of Spitting Cobra Stance?

The Ranger has an encounter power called Spitting Cobra Stance that seems grossly over-powered—in one group I play in, the Ranger will enter Spitting Cobra Stance at the beginning of combat, and ...
10
votes
7answers
421 views

Differing Starting Points Levels

The GM of a GURPS game I'm playing in has set the game's point level at 150. However, he has also made the option available to take 250 or 75 points at the beginning, with the understanding that the ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Would magic 'weapons' make the monk more balanced?

The monk in D&D 3.5 (and, to a lesser extent, in Pathfinder) is generally considered underpowered. Would adding magic 'weapons' that could add enhancement bonuses and magic weapon effects to a ...
10
votes
3answers
898 views

Is a spell with an attack roll “an attack” for the purpose of Sneak Attack?

Sneak Attack says: When you attack a creature and hit, you can deal extra damage to that target if you have advantage against it or if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it and that ...
10
votes
3answers
609 views

Players rolling all of the dice in D&D 4th Ed

I was looking at the variant rules listed in the Unearthed Arcana, and noticed one that I think could work pretty well in 4th Ed. Players Roll All The Dice Basically it turns the monster's attack ...
9
votes
3answers
916 views

Is repeated playing the only way to test system balance?

I've been working on a new RPG system, a variant of Savage Worlds, for a special one-off game I'm designing for my friends. Everything is going well, but one thing I've found myself wondering more ...
9
votes
2answers
220 views

Dealing with defense in BESM

In BESM, it seems to be a lot easier to build a character capable of dealing massive amounts of damage than a character capable of taking massive amounts of damage. As a DM, I don't want to build ...
9
votes
1answer
681 views

Will magic items with raw stats break game balance in DnD4e?

I, and all the players in my campaign, are all experienced WoW players. (Multiple 85s, reminiscences of 40-man raids when your class — no matter who you were — sucked but was somehow better, etc.…) I ...
8
votes
11answers
1k views

Balancing players' rolls, not characters

I have been the worst dice-roller in my party as far as I can remember. Be it D&D 3.5, 4th Edition, or any other dice based system, the goddess of luck has always been mean to me. To give you an ...
8
votes
5answers
611 views

Last-minute system-related second thoughts before starting a game

I'm looking at starting a game with a bunch of friends. Between us, we have very little RPG experience; one of the party has played a little before (Pathfinder, I think) and I played a handful of ...
8
votes
3answers
665 views

What about “Save-or-Die” spells makes them so powerful? Are they balanced as is, or require tweaking?

On reading guides on classes, most notably caster classes, near every guide recommends that the player take the "Save-or-Die" or "Save-or-Suck" spells. Usually, these end up being status effects. I ...
8
votes
2answers
4k views

Dealing with Tome of Battle's power inflation

Wait, your swordsage can run up and stab a guy with a fireball (which he's immune to), on top of a normal attack. He can do this 4 times, and take a one round break to get a full charge again? ...
8
votes
4answers
654 views

Is heat metal too powerful? [closed]

Heat metal is a 2nd level spell that lasts 1 minute (concentration), deals 2d8 damage per round, and has no save. If a Druid casts Heat metal from hiding at 60' on a knight and dashes away, then the ...
8
votes
1answer
315 views

Help me evaluate this homebrew Pokémaster class

So one of my players dropped this bomb on me during the discussion stages for a campaign we're going to start soon - he wants his character to be a Pokemaster. Reading through the class though, it ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Is magic, hacking, or rigging vital for balance in SR4?

I play Shadowrun now and then but ignore magic, hacking, and rigging in my games. Every time I mention this to others they tell me that I should just play Cyberpunk or d20 Spycraft. I ask why, and the ...