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

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37
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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 ...
27
votes
12answers
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 ...
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 ...
26
votes
11answers
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 ...
24
votes
10answers
2k 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 ...
23
votes
7answers
1k 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
votes
10answers
888 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
1k 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. ...
18
votes
5answers
436 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
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
6answers
1k 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
9answers
499 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
803 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
575 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 ...
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
968 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
395 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
7answers
13k 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, ...
12
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 ...
12
votes
4answers
780 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
412 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
votes
6answers
1k 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
388 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
2answers
291 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
431 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
votes
2answers
306 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
1k 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
351 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
520 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
398 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
5answers
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
569 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
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? ...
9
votes
2answers
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 ...
9
votes
2answers
198 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
596 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
359 views

How do intelligent enemies attack based on player threat?

How do I determine how intelligent enemies attack? For beasts and plants and such, I usually roll to randomly determine a player, then attack based off that. But intelligent, even semi-intelligent ...
8
votes
1answer
303 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
950 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
252 views

How do I keep a horror-like feeling with supernatural powered PCs?

I'm going to use Savage Worlds to run a horror campaign in a modern day setting; think X-Files or Supernatural. My players all agree and are excited about the horror concept, but they want to be able ...
8
votes
1answer
618 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 ...
7
votes
11answers
892 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 ...
7
votes
6answers
433 views

Adjusting Combat Balance

My Problem My players all seem to have +5 defenses and attacks over the monsters, in addition to the health and more deadly abilities... and they're in appropriate gear for their level (+2 gear at ...
7
votes
4answers
391 views

Pathfinder Battle Royale!

A friend and I were thinking about doing a Colosseum battle to the death with our group, for game sessions when not everyone was there, or just to let people test out character builds. What we were ...
7
votes
1answer
904 views

Is giving players extra HP based on their level going to unbalance my game?

In my group, we are taking it in turns to DM. We are currently on our 2nd adventure and I am preparing to DM the next one. During my preperations, I have discovered a potential problem. Our first DM ...
7
votes
3answers
334 views

Is maximum PC hit points going to unbalance the game?

I don't like randomization in character creation/advancement, so my preference is to not roll for hit points, but to take a fixed value every level. PCGen gives me several options, and Pathfinder ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Power levels of RIFTS classes

Someone posted this link to a set of "tiers" for D&D 3.5 classes, and it got me thinking. I haven't played RIFTS in forever, and one of the reasons is the wide disparity in class power and ...