191

You should cut that out. You've basically answered the question yourself in describing the situation to us: You have a requirement that characters have a backstory. If they don't bring a backstory, you write a “sadistic” backstory that “affects them badly” and “mock” them with it, and a player has confronted you that they feel bullied. (This is all your own ...


110

Yes, that was fine. You're the DM: you're there to challenge them and put them in danger, not to keep them all safe. A lot of this comes down to the kind of game you all play. Statements like "dice rolls should never kill a character" or "you should never have hidden enemies" are total BS. Those are valid agreed-upon social contract items for your group, ...


107

E6, or Epic 6, is a variant ruleset for D&D 3.5e invented on the ENWorld forums and “officially” collected in this thread. There is also a PDF version with explicit reference to Dungeons & Dragons scrubbed. And someone did a bit of work porting this to Pathfinder with this “P6 Codex”. The concept of E6 is superficially similar to the rules of the ...


105

Alright, it sounds like you have a lot of problems going on here that I'm going to address individually using the ruleset that you've chosen for your game. First off, you're being taken advantage of. There's no easy way to say this, but your friend is attempting to take advantage of you during the course of this game that you're playing. An item to double ...


93

I've been this player. It's not that I want to hog the limelight. It's just that the character customization minigame is one of my favorite parts of 3.5, and when I'm splatbook-diving for cool, obscure options and the other players aren't...you get the problem you're describing. Here are a few strategies (some for the DM, some for the problem player, some ...


92

The crab is said to come out of the waves, grab someone, and drag them back under. It has a reach of 10 ft., a grapple check that just about cannot be beat at that level, and does massive damage. It’s got astonishingly good AC, and just ridiculously high HP, for that level. It’s also faster than almost-all PCs on land, and much faster than most in the water. ...


88

Yeah, Handle Animal is Borked You've accidentally run into something that Optimizers have intentionally used to break world optimization records. Handle Animal has no real limit except the DCs required to train beasts, and finding some way to stop the beast from killing you in the meantime. With Charm Animal and the like, it becomes very possible for a ...


83

AngryGM Says Something About This Once your characters are obviously going to win, end the encounter/fight. That's tough, but I'm going to sum up what he said. (You should still read it, though) You need to figure out what the main question the encounter is trying to answer, and when the answer becomes obvious, end the encounter! Yes, I know AngryDM's advice ...


83

Although it's silly, you may be able to boil to death a red dragon The distinctions both Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 and Pathfinder make between scalding damage and fire damage is, while sort of dumb, pretty clear: both sets of rules say, "Boiling water deals 1d6 points of scalding damage...," and scalding damage isn't fire damage. (However, I suspect many DMs ...


79

There's no such thing as senseless violence, according to the one who commits it. Characters who kill or torture without at least an internal justification are crazy, not evil. You don't have a reason to kill people in the party or at random, so you don't. This doesn't make you nonevil. Also remember that just because you're Evil doesn't mean you're a ...


79

What are tiers? Tiers are a ranking of how "powerful and/or versatile" the various 3.5 base classes are, with low numbered tiers being considered more capable than high numbered tiers. It's important to remember that certain caveats apply to the rankings: Tiers assume similar levels of optimization. Someone playing an optimized "weak" class (like a fighter)...


77

I'm just going to rip the band-aid off: Find a new GM. This is weird, off-putting, more than a little creepy ("What's your fixation with stealing our clothes, dude?"), borderline abusive, and probably more descriptors in that vein. A lot of the ways players and GMs can get crosswise with each other involve mis-calibrating or misunderstanding what the ...


76

Note that this answer assumes knowledge and familiarity with D&D 3.5e. (Dis)advantage: A large number of situations and abilities where you would add a positive or negative modifier to a roll have been replaced with advantage (for positive modifiers) and disadvantage (for negative modifiers). This mechanic involves rolling twice and taking the higher ...


76

Breadth of Option Unexpected monster rears out of the darkness, clearly well beyond the battered party's ability to handle? Wizard teleports home. Fighter manages to kill the thing half to death before he gets eaten. Ambuscade! The earl's men have the party cornered, and demand they surrender - only execution awaits if they do. Wizard casts ...


76

From Experience: I have players playing evil characters, both now and in the past, and I've played an evil character a few times as well, like every time I've ever played a Drow. (That's right, those characters were enforcing the stereotype from the monster manual!) When I discover the player wants to play an evil character, I give them a simple choice: ...


72

There is no rule for this. The rule doesn't exist because D&D 3.5 largely doesn't deal with characters losing limbs or suffering similarly grievous harm, wounds being abstracted away by hit points instead. Which leads to the slightly awkward situation of there existing a lot of ways to recover from dismemberment, but no ways to lose the limbs to begin ...


71

The only rule for this that I'm aware of is the one you're already using: you can make a listen check at a -10 penalty and you wake up if you succeed. My group, and most other groups, interpret this rule to mean that you make this listen check to wake up in response to noise. If something jostles you, you still automatically wake up regardless of what you ...


70

Spells A fair number of spells prevent teleportation; a wizard will struggle to gain access to some of them, but the skill Use Magic Device and a wand or staff will solve that. The 4th-level Sor/Wiz spell dimensional anchor [abjur] (Player's Handbook 221) for 1 min./level prevents 1 creature from using any extradimensional movement if a ranged touch attack ...


69

The D&D 3.5 FAQ inherited the reputation of its predecessor, the “Sage Advice” column in Dragon magazine. The Dungeons & Dragons product line has long had two channels for rules corrections and clarifications: errata and Q&A. Rules errata are edited into the rulebooks themselves and published in later printings. The Q&A channel was originally ...


65

There are a few things you're probably glossing over that should be making this circus-collecting way harder than it has been. First, influencing an animal using Wild Empathy requires a whole minute of interaction and study, as this is the animal equivalent of Diplomacy. That can't normally be done during combat! (Incidentally, intelligent magical beasts ...


65

No, they're very different games. Anything you try to use out of the D&D 5e Player's Handbook will be nonsense to the “game engine” that a D&D 3.5e game uses. It would be like trying to put a Blu-ray disc into a CD-ROM drive: it will superficially look like it fits, but it will not function. To play in their 3.5e game, ask them what you need. They ...


65

"OK, you're refusing to accept the rules of the universe. What are the rest of you doing while he is arguing with the universe?" It really is that simple. You do not have to justify your rulings to him, and every time you argue with him you strengthen the impression (for him and the rest of the group) that his way is the only way to play, which would be ...


65

Honestly, it depends. If we're talking vague things like "he is/isn't charismatic", it would depend on his personality. For example, Johnny Bravo thinks he has high Charisma. He doesn't, but he was convinced he did because of how he saw himself. If you're playing an egocentric character, this may be the case for him as well. If your character is down-to-...


64

This question is campaign setting specific. Fortunately, thanks to the Spelljammer campaign setting, the answer is actually known for some of the major published prime worlds. Krynn (Dragonlance) and Toril (Forgotten Realms) are both planets that orbit around their respective suns and spin on their axies as they do so; At night, their suns are in the same ...


63

Yes The wording is pretty clear. There's no minimum resistance required. Any amount of resistance counts, and having it grants you immunity to lava. It's Pretty Stupid RAW is also pretty stupid. If you're immune, sure. But resist fire 2 should not block 20d6 of lava damage. That's goofy. Personally, I treat immunity as immunity and resistance as ...


63

How do the Kobolds remember which parts are trapped? Basically, this answer is about weaving the Kobold's own marking system into the narrative. It does assume you draw your own maps and don't use Dungeon Tiles or anything. Obtain 6 or so pretty looking symbols (they don't need to have meaning, but if they look Draconic it's bonus awesome) Mark every square ...


63

You get a second character. Honestly, I wanted to just stop there—that’s broken, full-stop, right there. Stack Exchange is making me write more, though. Cohorts are nearly as strong as PCs and you get all of that power for the cost of one measly feat. Feats are powerful and valuable, but “having another character” gets you a minimum of three, so you’re net ...


62

In brief, the problem with the FAQ is that it often answers these frequently-asked questions incorrectly. Even though it is an “official” publication of Wizards of the Coast, it is not, and was never intended to be, a source of authoritative rulings or carefully-considered implementation suggestions. It was intended to be a quick source of clarification, as ...


62

Whats wrong at our table? The DM and the players are not in agreement about what sort of game they want to play. In addition, it’s kind of inescapable to conclude that the DM isn’t very good at DMing, at least based on your reporting. Maybe he or she is not very experienced, or doesn’t know the system very well, and so may not realize the difficult problems ...


61

I don’t think there is a problem Barbarians kill things. That is what they do. There are lots of things they can’t kill, or can’t kill very well, and there are lots of problems that cannot be solved by killing. They are useless, or nearly so, in such situations. This situation, however, is exactly their forté. Their specialty. They were born for this. And ...


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