I'm playing a 3.5e D&D game with a generally a classic sandbox fantasy homebrew setting. The party contains one very experienced player who's playing a rogue who is determined to acquire an adamantine weapon so it'll let him bypass hardness below 20 and coupled with agile riposte and parry make him an untouchable killing machine.

I've discussed this with some of the other players in private and I'm worried that his minmax build, playstyle and damage output will make him the centerpiece of the group and the rest be just spectators. I want to keep him in my campaign as he's part of our IRL friend group and I know he's generally a skillful player so I'm eager to see how he can solve the problems I throw at him. How do I run this party well without letting him basically be the party's unrequested one-hit-kill bazooka?

The character is chaotic evil and has a tendency to run off and do things on his own.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Parry? I am not sure precisely what that option is, or where it’s found. Which is quite a statement, considering my expertise in this area. There is an Off-hand Parry feat; is that what you mean? \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jan 1, 2017 at 22:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan There's the feat Parry (Dragon #301 36), and, for those hunting for it, there's also the feat Agile Riposte (Dragon #305 75). (Both, by the way, predate the 3.5 revision therefore are subject to "minor adjustments" by the DM (see Why a Revision? on DMG 4).) \$\endgroup\$ Jan 2, 2017 at 0:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is the problem with his behavior (your last line) or with the fact that he might be too powerful? Because, unless your party is all formed by fighters, I can assure you he won't be that powerful at all. I'd suggest you try to simulate a mid level fight with his full build and see how it goes. You might find yourself in the opposite situation, where he's too weak compared to the rest of the party very soon, depending on your party composition. \$\endgroup\$
    – BgrWorker
    Jan 4, 2017 at 8:30

2 Answers 2


First of all, everyone in the game is entitled to have fun. That’s why it’s a game. If you weren’t having fun, you wouldn’t be playing.

That applies to the rogue as well as anyone else, but ultimately the odd-man-out who is causing problems for everyone else is more wrong than a group that’s otherwise enjoying themselves.

You have to accept, first, though, that the correct answer to the situation may be not playing together. Friends don’t always all want the same thing from a game. I certainly have a few close friends I nonetheless have decided to not play with (and vice versa); the things we want from the game are too different.

For example, someone who constantly wants to go off and do their own thing away from the party, and has personality/alignment conflicts that they do nothing to alleviate and cause problems for the party and make the campaign difficult to continue? That’s the kind of person I would choose not to play with. And I know people like that who would not play with a group that would stop them from doing that. I know others willing to compromise. You need to know where your group stands.

A good place to start, often recommended here, is the same page tool. Using this can give your group a better idea of what everyone wants from the game.

It may be that you are all on the same page, and the rogue player is just better at it. Or it may be that the rogue player and other players want very different things from the game, that the others don’t want characters at the level of competence that the rogue has (or, at least, don’t want to invest in mechanical rules-knowledge sufficiently to create such characters). I’ll address both.

The rest of the group wants, or at least is willing, to get better?

Have the rogue player assist the others, the DM too perhaps, with how to optimize their characters better. Ultimately, this rogue? Really not that optimal. An adamantine weapon is a pretty common tool for mid-to-high-level adventurers, and Agile Riposte is not a good feat at all. For that matter, the rogue is a pretty mediocre class.

So you can potentially catch up to this rogue pretty well if you are so inclined. As DM, favor intelligent, magical enemies, and this rogue will have little response. His Will is probably poor and his Fort is likely little better. For that matter, for all he’ll have above-average touch AC, it still probably won’t be all that good. If you bring heavy magic, particularly on reasonably tough chassis (like, say, a dragon), you may very well overwhelm this rogue, it might be too much.

The rest of the group is not interested in keeping up with the rogue?

This is where you have to start compromising, or agreeing to disagree and play separate games. Lay down some houserules for limiting power; it’s best if you can establish a good baseline of what you expect rather than saying “I’ll know it when I see it”—that’s probably not fair to the rogue player (personally, I probably would walk rather than try to play that particular guessing game). But that can also be really difficult to articulate, especially when new to the game. You don’t necessarily know what is or isn’t powerful (e.g. this rogue, who isn’t all that powerful at all in the grand scheme of things, but seems that way from your perspective), so you can’t accurately describe the power level you want.

Alternatively, you lay down your concerns and problems, and decide whether or not you can trust the rogue player to get along better. Don’t be intimidated by his supposedly-superior experience—his rogue isn’t actually that well-built and his behavior with leaving the party and causing alignment headaches implies, at least to me, a certain amount of immaturity. His experience, whatever it is or isn’t, doesn’t entitle him to dictate the game to everyone else, and it definitely doesn’t entitle him to have his fun at everyone else’s expense.


For combat issues, things may not be as bad as you think. Rogues are usually not high-damage characters, even when optimized. I'm not familiar with the specific feats you mention, but it sounds like your rogue is going to be good at defeating a single opponent that relies on melee weapons which can be destroyed. There are lots of combat situations where this technique won't be useful. Even in situations where the technique is useful, it's not obvious to me that it would be a broken one-hit kill thing. I recommend you try it a couple of times and see if it's actually the problem you think.

(There's a certain type of player that enjoys talking about the path their character will take, but this doesn't necessarily mean that the path will actually be game-wreckingly broken.)

If it does turn into a problem, an easy workaround for the adamantine weapon is to use monsters or NPCs that don't rely on melee weapons.

You've mentioned that the character is chaotic evil and likes to do things on his own. This is a bit more of a red flag. Many groups don't like it when one player slips away to do his own thing, because that character monopolizes the DM's attention; the rest of the party might enjoy watching his antics, but they might be bored for the duration.

If your rogue is having bad effects on the group right now, you might consider adding a house rule making it harder for one player to leave the group and do his own thing. Maybe tell him if he wants to do his own thing he should schedule a side session with just you and him?


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