View Full Version : [3.5] If you could make your own Player's Handbook...

2010-03-27, 03:41 AM
So, I've seen claims that core 3.5 is broken, and I've seen claims that splatbooks help fix core and claims that splatbooks help break core (because 'it's not without it').

That's not what this topic is about, this is about 'designing' your own 'core' 3.5.

So, you're designing your own player's handbook. It can be as flavorful or as 'flexible' as you would like, but here are some basic things you probably want to mention:

Races Included
This can be races with LA's. Feel free to link to 'fixed' or 'balanced' races, or to exclusively use 'printed' races.
Classes Included
It'd probably be simplest if you used only classes from sourcebooks, but no one is stopping you from linking to online sources. This "player's handbook" would include prestige classes.
Skills Included
Assume that every skill from any cited book is included; will you merge, omit, or add anything to that?
Feats Included
Instead of assuming every feat from cited books are included, only assume core 3.5 feats are included.
Other Character 'Options' Included
This can be racial substitution levels or any other miscelaneous information a player might want to use with their character (templates? I don't know, you tell me!).
Spells or Powers
Assume that only spells in the 3.5 SRD are included. If you feel like a spell/power should be added from somewhere else, or that a spell/power included should not be, note that! This is probably a good section to have modified spell lists, if you feel so inclined.

Those are the topics I'm most interested in, but feel free to include your version of any other 'chapter' found in any book, or make your own.

Wings of Peace
2010-03-27, 04:41 AM
So, I've seen claims that core 3.5 is broken, and I've seen claims that splatbooks help fix core and claims that splatbooks help break core (because 'it's not without it').

That's not what this topic is about, this is about 'designing' your own 'core' 3.5.

So, you're designing your own player's handbook. It can be as flavorful or as 'flexible' as you would like, but here are some basic things you probably want to mention:

Classes Included
It'd probably be simplest if you used only classes from sourcebooks, but no one is stopping you from linking to online sources. This "player's handbook" would include prestige classes.

Those are the topics I'm most interested in, but feel free to include your version of any other 'chapter' found in any book, or make your own.

All the classes from Expanded Psionic's Handbook, Magic of Incarnum,Tome of Battle, and Tome of Magic as well as the current Core Classes (excluding Monks).

2010-03-27, 05:51 AM
Actually, I do.

Races: Humans, Elves, Gnomes, Orcs, Lizardfolk, Nezumi, Shifter, Planetouched templates.
Classes: Barbarian, Fighter, Psion, Psychic Warrior, Ranger, Rogue, Shaman, Shugenja, Wilder.
Skills: Deception (Bluff + Disguise), Perception (Listen + Search + Sense Motive + Spot), Persuasion (Diplomacy + Handle Animals + Intimidate), Stealth (Hide + Move Silently + Slight of Hand), Thievery (Disable Device + Open Lock).
Feats: Core + XPH
Rules: E6.
Equipment: No breastplate, plate, and full plate.
Spells and Powers: Mostly PHB and XPH up to 3rd level. Some homebrew.

And everything highly refluffed.

2010-03-27, 06:31 AM
I have sometimes wondered how a Corebook for Serpents and Sewers (http://wiki.faxcelestis.net/index.php?title=Serpents_and_Sewers)would look and feel like...

The standard three - humans, dwarves, elves, certainly, guidelines for the development of own species, and of course an agreeable list of Background Traits (http://wiki.faxcelestis.net/index.php?title=Serpents_and_Sewers:_Background_Tr aits) for the the further individualisation of characters.

13 classes should work, replacing each classic core class with a bit more fun and better balanced S&S equivalent:

Barbarian -> Berserker (http://wiki.faxcelestis.net/index.php?title=Serpents_and_Sewers:_Berserker) (Berserker Smash!)
Bard -> Adventurer (http://wiki.faxcelestis.net/index.php?title=Serpents_and_Sewers:_Adventurer) (Jack of all trades)
Cleric-> Commander (http://wiki.faxcelestis.net/index.php?title=Serpents_and_Sewers:_Commander) (some kind of leader who can 'buff' other characters)
Druid-> Pathfinder (http://wiki.faxcelestis.net/index.php?title=Serpents_and_Sewers:_Pathfinder) (wilderness expert)
Fighter-> Man-at-Arms (http://wiki.faxcelestis.net/index.php?title=Serpents_and_Sewers:_Man-at-arms)(balanced, well rounded warrior)
Monk-> Martial Artist (http://wiki.faxcelestis.net/index.php?title=Serpents_and_Sewers:_Martial_Artis t)(a decent monk!)
Paladin -> Defender (http://wiki.faxcelestis.net/index.php?title=Serpents_and_Sewers:_Defender) (slow, resilient warrior focused on defense)
Ranger-> Archer (http://wiki.faxcelestis.net/index.php?title=Serpents_and_Sewers:_Archer) (Ranged Weapon Expert)
Rogue-> Thief (http://wiki.faxcelestis.net/index.php?title=Serpents_and_Sewers:_Thief) (stealth expert)
Sorcerer-> Bravo (http://wiki.faxcelestis.net/index.php?title=Serpents_and_Sewers:_Bravo) (fast and mobile very aggressive warrior)
Wizard-> Base Spellcaster Class (doesn't exist yet)

Then take Wizards Clerics Druids and the like and turn them into prestige classes based on the generic spellcaster.

Likewise, a handful of Heroic Paths (http://wiki.faxcelestis.net/index.php?title=Serpents_and_Sewers:_Heroic_Paths) plus guidelines for the development of own paths should be included as well, to complete the character development with an additional layer.

Spellcasters are heavily nerfed and not entirely supposed to be player characters; in a combat they are almost always inferior to a dedicated warrior, as it should be, probably replacing spells completely and use class feature powers instead.

2010-03-27, 01:07 PM
The SRD as fixed by the Tome Series.

Plug the loopholes and exploits
Man up the non-caster classes

2010-03-27, 01:13 PM
Races Included:


2010-03-27, 01:41 PM
Races Included:


What?! Humans in the PHB!? *throws dwarf-children* Why would anyone play such a weak race?

2010-03-27, 01:45 PM
Wood Elf (+2 Dex, +2 Str, -2 Con, -2 Int)
Gray Elf (+2 Dex, -2 Con, +2 Int, no Str-penalty)
Orc (Water, without swim-speed, no Wis-penalty)
Kobold (Dragonwrought, without epic feats and Dragon-only templates)
Halfling (-2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Wis)
Goblin (-2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Int, -2 Cha)
Tiefling (Lesser)
Aasimar (Lesser)

Warblade (with improved skill list and more points)
Swordsage (with improved skill list and more points, Trapfinding is no longer required for finding traps)
Crusader (same)
Sublime Way Ranger (http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19519074/Sublime_Way_Variant_Ranger)
Sublime Way Marshal (http://web.archive.org/web/20070221040553/http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=752414)
Factotum (with natural maneuver progression at 3/4th class progression, more skill points)
Psion (standard, except few more skills)
Ardent (standard, except few more skills)
Psychic Warrior (with natural maneuver progression replacing some of the bonus feats, more skill points, more PP)
Wilder (more powers known, more skills)

As normal, except few obvious outliers combined into more useful skills (e.g. Use Rope into Survival and Appraise into appropriate Knowledge-skills). Also, races with bonus class skills as appropriate. Skill tricks are included!

Most of what's printed in 3.5 (TWF-line & S&B fixed) minus crap like Toughness, Endurance, skill-feats, etc. Or rather, those feats in fixed up versions. PHBII/ToB/Completes/XPH/Core will be mostly included.

About the same, armor grants DR, ****ty armors are given a niché, weapons are made a bit more distinct through armor vs. weapon tables.

XPH + some CPsi + Hyperconscious

Most ToB + custom schools, especially for Archery.

2010-03-27, 01:58 PM

Human, Elf, Gnome, Dwarf, Halfling, Orc (similar to the half-orc now), a variety of plane-touched, maybe warforged and shifters.


Barbarian, Bard, Ranger, Rogue, Psychic Warrior, Warblade, Swordsage, Crusader, Binder, Warlock, Beguiler, Dread Necromancer, Factotum.

If I ever got around to studying the Incarnum system, I'd probably include some of those as well, they seem interesting.


I'd more open lock and disable device to something like mechanics, remove appraise, and probably merge acrobatics and athletics. Also, everyone would get a few more skill points.

Feats, skills, powers:
If it can't be used by the above, it's probably not too broken.

2010-03-27, 03:22 PM
For races, I'd probably go with:
Human, Dwarf, Gnome, Halfling, Grey, Sun, Wild, and Wood Elves (all rolled into one entry, as in the Monster Manual), Tiefling and Aasimar (but with the stats of the Lesser versions), Hobgoblin (without the LA, and probably altered some), and Orc, using the Water Orc's ability adjustments. I'd also consider including Goliaths and Warforged.

Classes: In no particular order - Totemist, Barbarian, Ranger, Rogue, Crusader, Warblade, Swordsage, Psion, Psychic Warrior, Duskblade, Beguiler, Dread Necromancer, Warlock, and Binder.

Skills: Mostly fine, though I might give all classes a few more Skill Points. In addition, I probably would use the common houserules that roll Jump, Swim, Climb, and Tumble into Acrobatics, Open Lock, Sleight of Hand, and Disable Device into Thievery, Listen and Spot into Perception, and Hide and Move Silently into Stealth.

Feats: It would stay mostly the same, but I'd probably put the "terrible" feats - Skill Focus, Endurance, Toughness, and the skill-boosters - in a separate "NPC Feats" section. I would also add a few various feats from the Complete series and from Tome of Battle in.

Equipment: Mundane equipment would stay the same. For magic items, I'd include a few more weapon and armor enhancements from MIC and enhancement crystals from the same. Oh, and get rid of the Candle of invocation's Gate function.

Spells: Would include a selection of more ranger spells from the SpC.

2010-03-27, 03:47 PM
-Pathfinder Elf, Dwarf, Orc, Halfling, Gnome, Half-Elf, Half-Orc
-Lesser Planetouched (Genasi, Aasimar, Tiefling, Chaond, Zenthri, the Fiend Folio ones)
-Poison Dusk Lizardfolk, normal Lizardfolk, Lumi

-Pathfinder Rogue, Ranger, and Paladin
-Dread Necromancer
-Favored Soul
-Probably a few I don't remember.

-Acrobatics (jump/tumble/climb as one)
-Perception (spot/listen as one)
-Theft (disable device/open locks as one)
-Everything else is fine as is (probably).

Feats: God, more changes than I can actually relate. :smallsigh:

Equipment: Much heavier emphasis on mundane and alchemical gear, plenty of de-emphasis on magical nick-knacks.

Rule Changes: Many spells would be overhauled to be less breakable. Alchemy and poisons would be overhauled to be useful late into the game, and would probably have base class support.

Fax Celestis
2010-03-27, 05:00 PM
<_< Look over here. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=132683)

2010-03-27, 05:05 PM
Races Included
Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Halflings, Orcs, Raptorians, Aventi, Elans, and possibly others, these are the only ones I can think off of the top of my head. Most would be re-written though to balance better.
Classes Included
Barbarian (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=7339259#post7339259), Bard (Using a power point system with the Psychic Warrior's progresion), Druid (Same as the bard, including only gaining up to 6th level powers)), Mage (Just a Psion with a different name), Paladin (made more to be a mystical knight rather than combatant against specific alignments), Rogue, Ranger, Soldier (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=6952882#post6952882). No cleric. May include a fluff-light gish class.
Skills Included
Omit most non-core skills, since what few I know off (truenaming) I don't like much anyway. And natrually sort out what I think is wrong with the cores ones (mostly consolidation).
Feats Included
I'd probably include quite alot of non-core feats, but I'd tweek them to try and make them more balanced and weed out ones I think are obsolete.
Other Character 'Options' Included
I'd have optional rules such as adding alignment (as an optional rule, the main rules wouldn't be hardwired under the assumption they are used, and thus can be taken out without causing problems).
Spells or Powers
Using the XPH as a base, but probably add a few themed powers (such as nature based powers for the druid, most sonic focused powers for the bard etc).

Darth Stabber
2010-03-27, 06:22 PM
Human, Elf, Dwarf, Halfling, half orc, half giant, elan

Warblade (renamed Fighter)
Psion (renamed Wizard)
Bard (divine variant renamed cleric)
Totemist (renamed druid)
Crusader (renamed paladin)
Rogue (as is)
Ranger (some non-magic variant)
Dragon Shaman (slightly modified and renamed shaman)
Warlock (renamed sorcerer)
Binder (Renamed ?????)
Barbarian (with a choice of totem animal, and some added totem dependent abilities??)

Stealth (hide and move silently)
Perception (spot listen search)
Mechanics (Disable device, open lock, ?use rope?)
Appraise under appropriate knowledge, craft, or profession
Athletics (swim, climb, jump)
Acrobatics (escape artist, tumble)
Animal ken (ride, handle animal, wild empathy)

Zeta Kai
2010-03-27, 08:40 PM
Races Included


Classes Included: This is mostly Tier 3 & 4, with the Sorcerer & Psion added to fill some thematic roles. I'd very probably nerf those classes to bring them down to Tier 3.

Dread Necromancer
Psionic Warrior
Fighter (Dungeoncrasher)

Skills Included: Reduced to 18, which is literally half the normal skill list, so everyone's points will go twice as far. I'd probably leave the skillpoints/level that same for most classes (except maybe Fighter). Anyway, here's my revised list:

Acrobatics (Balance/Escape Artist/Tumble)
Arcana (Spellcraft/Use Magic Device)
Socialize (Diplomacy/Intimidate/Sense Motive)
Deception (Bluff/Disguise/Forgery/Sleight Of Hand)
Investigate (Appraise/Decipher Script/Gather Information/Search)
Lore (Knowledge/Survival)
Mechanics (Disable Device/Open Lock/Use Rope)
Perception (Listen/Spot)
Stealth (Hide/Move Silently)
Tame (Handle Animal/Ride)

Feats Included
Feats would be lumped in with class features, which would be made available to anyone & arranged into progressive trees with prerequisites. Feats & features would be purchased with XP.

Other Character Options Included
Well, flaws are a munchkin's bread & butter, so those are gone. Class features are merged with feats into power trees. An emphasis is placed on personal power, not item-based power (basically, it's not you plus 20th-level items, it's you plus 20th-level inherent abilities). Alignment has no bearing on one's stats; it is merely one part of one's personality description. Small, light weapons give initiative bonuses, while large, heavy weapons give initiative penalties.

Spells or Powers
Spells are more like powers: weak &/or level-appropriate, but can be augmented with increased "mana" to do better things. Mitigation of metamagic & epic magic isn't possible; if you wanna break the laws of physics, then you gotta pay the price. I think an MP-based system might be best; Vancian is just so clunky & broken. All evocation becomes elemental, with opposing axes: Fire/Water, Air/Earth, Light/Darkness. Means of becoming immune to enchantment/illusion will be much more limited. Also:

No Antimagic Fields
Limited Summon spells
No Teleport spells
Limited Divination spells
No Tanglefoot Bags
Limited Animated Shields
No Comprehend Languages
Limited Polymorph spells

I dunno, that's all I got for now. Ironically, this only bears a passing resemblance to the gaming system that I'm developing. Oh, well.

2010-03-27, 11:40 PM
If I could make my own PHB, it'd be a freakin paperback for starters.
The hardbound book that looks like a leather bound tome with a clasp to keep is shut looks cool, but raises the price too much. In fact, I'd do so with all the books released.

Classes: All the warrior, arcane and divine classes.
Classes which used different mechanics would get lumped into one or two additional books. Psion, ToB, Incarnum etc.
I know they're fun to play, and often quite powerful, but they're a shift from regular D&D classes, so should have something to designate the difference.

The standard PHB races (altered to equally powerful), plus an alternate version of each race, one which is different, but not especially stronger or weaker than the standard versions. ex: What's the point in having 5 different gnomes, if the most recently published one is categorically better than all the others, in power an flavor?
Would say include a few of the more iconic templates. My opinion: Half-dragon, half-celestial, half-fiend. Aasimar, tiefling, genasi. The aasimar, genasi, and tieflings I believe should be templates that can be applied to a given race, not specific races.
Half fiends of all races should be able to have genetic throwbacks in the far future.
As it stands, a halffiend dwarf has descendants who are full blooded dwarves, for eternity. A tiefling dwarf cannot exist, and if he does, he's obviously not a dwarf, because he's shaped like a freaking human.

2010-03-28, 05:42 AM
I'd release two copies: a paperback and a copy which actually is a leather-bound tome with a metal clasp. It would be damn cool, and very few people would be able to afford it.

2010-03-28, 07:13 AM
I'd replace all core classes with whichever homebrewed versions I'd find appropriate. Probably Szatany's Ultimate Classes, since this project contains all of core classes and seems to work nicely. This way, I'd have a tried-and-true set of classes that is somewhat balanced. Various out-of-core classes are nice to have, but I think they belong in splatbooks.
Regarding feats and skills, some feats would have to be made scalable and some skills would be merged.
Races I'd leave as they are, I'd just give half-elves and half-orcs some actually useful racial features.
I'd probably give some spells and powers a well-deserved smackdown, such as teleportation, and the nerfing casting classes would recieve would probably help.

Eternal Drifter
2010-03-28, 01:54 PM
Races Included: Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Goblin, Half-elf, Halfling, Half-orc, Human, Kobold, Orc
Notes on Races: Perhaps remove a couple ability penalties from each race, and give Humans a +2 to one ability of their choice

Classes: Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rouge, Sorcerer, Wizard
Prestige Classes: All in the current 3.5 DMG, including Red Wizard, and Dragonslayer from Dragcomicon
Notes on Classes: Balance them so that they are all equal, and the poor Fighter is not overshadowed by the Swordsage (which will be removed)

Skills: The same as core.

Feats: Add one feat to core: Daylight Adaption, which removes sunlight sensitivity from the Goblin, Kobold, and Orc races (I'm still keeping their light sensitivitiy, even though they are in core; this removes this racial problem at the cost of a feat that may be tempting to use elsewhere)

No additional character options in Core (saving that for the first few 'splatbooks')

Spells: Same as before in core... but in the DMG, add a couple from Explantars of Evil for exclusive use by the villians.

Anything else?