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73

Speaking as a Rules Lawyer (I try to think of myself as a good guy, i.e. "how can the rules let you do what you want to do"?) and the occasional TD, I've found a couple simple rules work out. No checking the rules on your turn. Look it up while you're waiting. That includes the DM - if you ask the DM if you can do something, you get their best guess; we're ...


64

Here's a technique I've used. When I invite people to a game I tell them that the game we're playing is a homebrew system called "Valadil's Game" which is loosely based on D&D. This does a couple things. Firstly, it scares off rules lawyers who want to play RAW. I figure those players aren't compatible with my games anyway and I'd rather just nip ...


62

A good way to analyze the differences between the two distributions is to imagine a head-to-head contest between characters. First, suppose you have two identical characters, A and B, rolling off against each other with d20. They tie 5% of the time; 47.5% of the time one wins; 47.5% of the time the other wins. In contrast, if you use 3d6, ties occur 9.2% ...


49

Honestly the best option here is to talk to your DM. Since it sounds like the rest of your party agrees with you on the matter of the fumble tables, it might help if you had at least one other player to back you up, although probably no more than that to avoid making the DM feel overwhelmed and defensive. Explain that you as players don't find the fumble ...


40

First off, those little +1s and +2s are going to be much more important. Being flanked is suddenly a matter of, say, a 50% increase in their chance to hit you rather than a 10% increase. You noticed this with Aid Another, but it'll come up other places as well. Any power that forces an enemy to grant combat advantage becomes much, much more powerful. Being ...


39

How do I tell the players "This house rule sucks and we shouldn't do it anymore?" That's exactly how you do it! Say, "This house rule sucks and I think we shouldn't do it anymore." If they object, well... then they don't mind the paperwork. If they agree, then you don't have a problem. Either way they don't feel cheated, because they're part of ...


39

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder I’ve always found that the most difficult problem with appearance stats is that it’s supposed to be one single stat, that applies to all people. Even within the human race, there are people attracted to others that I’d personally find ugly, even repulsive, and people who would find those I am attracted ...


30

The most important thing I do to achieve this, I think, is to communicate to my players that, while I am responsible for handling the actions of their enemies, I am not their enemy. In fact, I am on their side, because what we are all working to do is enjoy ourselves and put together some bits of story worth remembering. A lot of factors go into this, from ...


25

Good News! There's actually a template for that in the official rules - see here. That link contains all the information on creating a lycanthrope template for any were-thingy you can think of :) The specific details for a were-rex follow. rule quotes are shown like this specific details will appear below them like this. Creating a Lycanthrope ...


24

No, there is no good balance reason The designers may have imagined there was; it’s conceivable they considered the option of Weapon Finesse as your 1st-level feat (or Weapon Focus, Exotic Weapon Proficiency, Quick Draw, and so on) to be important advantages of full-BAB classes. I tend to believe it was more of an “imagery” thing, though ...


23

I'm going to reword the question: How could you, as a GM, help me, as a PC, learn to relax about the rules? This answer is written in a completely subjective "appeal to Brian" case study. I hope that it tells a persuasive story. T-2: Before the character When I join a group, I expect to discuss how the group works with the GM. I'm very aware of different ...


22

That's actually not even a house rule — it's by the book. See pages 179-180 of the Player's Handbook, which discuss monster knowledge checks. On page 180: Monster Knowledge: No action required — either you know the answer or you don't.


22

These are bascially listed in order from “smallest and easiest” to “biggest and hardest.” Step One: Eliminate the lost spellcasting level at 3rd There’s literally no reason for it. At the time, it may have been believed that there were advantages to spontaneous casting that demanded it as a balancing factor, or, as rumored, Monte Cook may have just hated ...


22

I strongly recommend that you urge your DM to ditch fumble and critical tables altogether. It sounds like this will be difficult to do, but you’ll find the game much improved – and, I think, so will he. This is because... Critical and fumble tables have myriad problems The Dungeon Master’s Guide even strongly recommends against them, for good reasons – and ...


22

What you're describing isn't "the DM made up a rule". They didn't make up any rules at all. What you're describing is the fact the DM created some people in the world you're playing in, and decided how they worked. This is basically what the DM is there to do in D&D. Your DM decided they didn't eat human or monkey. Presumably, the DM isn't comfortable ...


22

By RAW, no. From page 93 of the PHB: though the beast does not take any actions unless you command it to. That much is pretty clear-cut. By RAI, were it my game, I'd probably allow the beast to stand guard and engage with anyone who tries to harm the unconscious body of its master, but it would be under DM control and if I were using morale, that ...


21

D&D 3.5 actually has rules for this sort of thing: Unearthed Arcana's character traits and character flaws systems. Traits give you a small bonus for a small penalty. For example, for a fey who can't lie, you might use the Honest trait: +1 Diplomacy, -1 Bluff and Sense Motive. Flaws give you a bonus feat in exchange for a significant non-story penalty. ...


21

Some years ago I made just such a system; I've made it work for D&D, RuneQuest 2/3, Pendragon & Ars Magica, so I suppose it is reasonably generic. This is a "pure genetic" system, and does not allow for the effects of environment. The first step is to retrieve - or recreate - the original dice rolls involved in creating the parent characters' ...


20

I've played with a GM who was extremely adamant about NOT playing by the book. His method was extremely simple: players were forbidden to mention the artifacts of the game during the session dice results rules meta-information The first few times we slipped, he warned about it, then accidents would happen. We never got the meteor he had promised us, but ...


19

To preserve the probabilities exactly, the new DC should be "14 + monster defense." How I got that number So, you want to convert this: d20 + monster_save vs. 8 + caster_modifiers Into this: d20 + caster_modifiers vs. ?? + monster_save Here's how to figure out the "??" using a bit of intuition about probability: Ignore the modifiers for a ...


19

The Dungeon Master’s Guide is right to warn you about such houserules. The game was not designed for them in mind, and the game’s math reacts poorly to their introduction. In general, some of the biggest problems are that critical and fumble tables Increase swinginess, which disproportionately punishes PCs because they see many more rolls than does the ...


18

Some solutions: Give everyone a free level adjustment of +1 to +3. If they want to play a standard race, they can have an equivalent number of levels in their racial paragon class. Apply templates to the core races to raise their level adjustment. For example, all elves from a certain plane have the half-celestial template. Or, just allow PCs free level ...


18

Abstractions Before you tweak the combat system, make sure you understand how its abstraction works. A single attack roll is not necessarily a single swipe of a character's sword. Rather, it represents your character trying hard to kill his opponent for the round. It could be a single slash, or it could be a lengthy clash of steel-on-steel coupled with ...


18

Yes, it is By level 30 there are all sorts of epic tier powers available to players to regen health, have massive heals, avoid taking damage at all, or basically avoid death once per day. All of these powers are in there to compensate for the deadliness of the creatures that players will face at that point. Contrariwise Different classes (generally by ...


18

The spell needs line of sight to work (PHB, p. 285): You unleash a string of insults laced with subtle enchantments at a creature you can see within range. But that doesn't make sense! The target could still hear your magical mockings, and that's what should matter, right? Well, no, actually. The trick here is that the spell isn't actually making ...


18

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 is not well equipped to describe the world prior to the Event. If you try to do so, you’ll be fighting the system every step of the way: 3.5 is extremely high magic, and expectations of high magic are baked into the system at every turn (most especially with how CR is determined, and by extension published modules). It certainly ...


17

The Shock Treatment I run a short (one-off) game session using some (not all) of the Original D&D rule set. Each player chooses a class, race, and name; then I give them stats, "all standard equipment", and 5-10 gp (and a couple of spells for mages & elves of course); finally they choose armor and a weapon (fixed dmg 1d6) and max hp. That's it. ...


17

Alignment is a description of how you have acted in the past, NOT a restriction on how you act in the future There can be no penalties because alignment is not a straitjacket. This was one thing that 4e absolutely got 100% right (though I prefer the 9 alignments to the 5). Playing out of alignment may anger others who share your alignment, may draw the ...


17

We talked about random initiative in our group a few weeks ago. The DM mostly cited the "I do X because the boss can't act until you are done" kind of thing as a reason. There are, however, a number of drawbacks. Here's what we could see: It makes readied actions a big gamble This is, in my opinion, the biggest sin of importing randomized initiative into ...


16

Wizards has pretty carefully balanced combat advantage and flanking and it might be inadvisable to change it. Let's look at some reasons why. This makes the rogue incredibly overpowered. Instead of having to use an at-will power like Clever Strike to get CA when she is around an enemy with an ally, she now has the freedom (with no expenditure of action) to ...



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