View Full Version : why homebrew 3.5 stuff?

2010-06-24, 12:45 AM
you might find this question odd, but why homebrew with 3.5 I mostly just see how stuff is not quite right and it needs to be changed or up graded because its too weak. SO I ask why?

2010-06-24, 01:14 AM
You see things that aren't quite right or need changing because the homebrew forum is the engineering floor where unfinished works are brought for criticism and feedback. Even the Dodge Viper or Lamborghini Diablo were at one point just shaky prototypes in need of fine-tuning.

As for why we build them? If you could drive a Diablo that you built yourself, wouldn't you do it?

2010-06-24, 01:16 AM
Because it has a fascinating complexity that simply isn't mirrored by 4e. Don't get me wrong, I like 4e, but I prefer to play it than to homebrew for it. Although 4e is more balanced, 3.5 has so many more options. With 3.5 you can come up with all sorts of new, ingenious mechanics, but with 4e you're always stuck on the same path. This can mean that 3.5 is unbalanced and tricky to play, but it makes it a dream to homebrew for.

2010-06-24, 01:16 AM
And sometimes its just fun. I don't even play 3.5, and still homebrew stuff ocassionally.

2010-06-24, 01:17 AM
It seems to me like you've answered your own question. Also, it's not like people who homebrew don't play, they homebrew to play. The two go hand in hand.

Also I enjoy homebrew, much in the same way that I enjoy worldbuilding. That's what drew me to D&D, the capacity to create entire fictional worlds that have actual mechanics for gameplay behind them.

2010-06-24, 01:24 AM
Not sure, but vaynor I think you meant they homebrew

2010-06-24, 01:36 AM
I think I've seen a homebrew for like all the basic classes + many others just because they suck in one way or another, then while you have done better you can always make it more powerful, which in a way defeats the point its unbalanced system defeats its self, you can never make a character that is just the right strength for their is no balance or am I wrong?(which I have been known to be from time, Ok you got me all the time)

2010-06-24, 01:45 AM
The point of homebrewing is not to make your characters more powerful. The point is to allow you to create, in terms of the game of D&D, the character you envision in your head. And all the other characters you can possibly imagine.

As I mentioned earlier, that's what I love about D&D, the creation aspect of it. In a video game, you get to choose from different classes. Barring updates, those classes remain constant and you have a choice between them. Homebrew eliminates that choice, allows for endless possibilities, and opens the door to ingenuity.

2010-06-24, 02:12 AM
Many "fixes" for the higher powered classes are actually power DOWNS...
I enjoy the creative aspects of homebrewing myself... the engineering (I am a... mostly unemployed mechanical engineering, so I have to find other outlets for my creative urges).

2010-06-24, 02:22 AM
3.5 is delightfully modular. You can tear what you don't want out and put new stuff in. Besides, they add a nice way to make it your own. Why should every world use the same spells, the races, the same classes?
No reason at all if you don't want to.

2010-06-24, 02:38 AM
I agree with that: the point of most homebrew is not making something more powerful. It's making a character concept possible that was not possible before.

Look at, say a PrC contest. The point of making a Shadowcaster/Incarnum hybrid class is not making a character more powerful. IT's that some day, a player sat down and said "Man, I'd like to play a Shadowcaster/Incarnum hydrid." or "Man, I'd like to play Character X from famous medium Y, too bad there's no class representing his abilities."
And even more often, a DM sits down and says "I wish there was a fey with the ability to do Z". That's how monsters get created.

2010-06-24, 05:20 AM

...why not?

Zeta Kai
2010-06-24, 06:31 AM
Because it's not there. :smallwink:

Seriously, this is a question that cannot be answered simply, & would have no value if it could. Everyone has a different answer for themselves as to why they create. The mechanics of D&D 3.5 are warped, perverse, & woefully unbalanced, but they facilitate creativity & variety quite well. The point of homebrew is not to make more powerful game elements, just as the point of being a DM is not to defeat your players: it is trivial to so, & for almost no real benefit. It is a creative endeavor, which means that its purpose is self-encompassing.

Why create? To create.

2010-06-24, 07:15 AM
You are right, that much Homebrew is self-defeating from a balance POV. The reason for this is because the system is too mutable for such things and combat strength is far favoured over other things in the game. Monte Cooke wrote an excellent article about this in Kobold Quarterly issue 5.

The where and the why of homebrewing is mostly because we can, and in many cases, have to in order to get the game to be playable the way we like it. It's rule 0 in action:

Magic is too powerful? Fixed!

Melee needs some more nifty stuff to be entertaining? Fixed!

The rules say that i can't drag all of my players into an Illusionary scenario with no save? Screw that!

You want to be able to play a guy with lasers for eyes and rocket boosters for a bum? We'll see what we can do.

In many ways, failure to alter the D&D [or any RPG for that matter] system to suit your needs is failing to be a good GM; why homebrew? Because we're GMs.

2010-06-24, 08:37 AM
I homebrew in 3.5 because the system allows for fine tuning a creation. It has enough complexity to make it a challenging skill and has enough artistry that nearly anything you think of can be created. I've never played 4e so I can't speak for it.

With 3.5 you can take any creature or item from any book, TV show or movie and replicate it using the rules without having to fundamentally change the creature or item. The OGL was a brilliant move on WotC's part and allows anyone to become an instant game designer.

Not all the homebrew stuff is to my taste. I'm less interested in new classes and prestige classes than I am in monster creation. Mostly, I'll be talking about monsters creation, but you can apply the fundamentals to any portion of homebrewing.

I like making monsters but I also like to help people design monsters so that they are better. That doesn't mean substituting my idea for theirs. It means taking their ideas and making it fit in the rules so that the ultimate creation is better than the prototype.

Most of the professional game designers aren't great monster designers. Just read the reviews by John Cooper at Enworld on the 3.5 material that he reviewed. He chewed the statblocks apart and then spat out the corrections. Most monster books have mistakes in them that are easily fixed. For nearly every book, I've a list of errata that goes with it. A lot of Mr. Cooper's hard work shows up in those official erratas, Wizards of the Coast included. You should take a look at his "Cooper's Corrected Creature Codex" for the mistakes that he found.

Here's an example of his text:
I made a couple of changes to the aboleth mage. Besides correcting its hit points, Fort save, and Will save, I also swapped out one feat for another and moved around some skill points.

So the professionals get it wrong too. In fact, they get it wrong a lot. The nice thing about the rules in 3.5 is that you can see where the statblocks are wrong. It's all math based. Creature Type give you base number of skills and then you modifiy for abilities, synergy from feats, racial bonuses, etc. It's complex but unified. Ditto for feats. From there you get some special abilities and qualities but the rest can be pure imagination.

Vorpal Tribble has been running monthly monster contests. It's a friendly competition, but more importantly while the competition is on-going, we (mostly VT and I) point out statblock errors and make suggestions so that all the monsters shine. It makes the judging harder, but it also teaches good monster creation. Some of it is math but the harder stuff is design.

We have some pretty awesome game designers here. Some of us are strictly amateur, but I've seen some better stuff here than I've seen in professional books. I've worked on some of the bigger projects with people I don't even know in real life. Each project has been a learning experience. Just critiquing the contests every month is a learning experience. I've had the pleasure to work with some fascinating designers, people I would never get to know in real life. It's good to hear other people's perspective on things. It keeps me on my toes and hones my skills too.

I owe a lot to the homebrewers here and especially Bhu, Vorpal Tribble and Zeta Kai for graciously allowing me to work on their projects. Thanks guys. You've made this a lot of fun.


2010-06-24, 08:58 AM
Because of the challenge- I like finding ways to word things and make them work.

So homebrewing let's me do that.

2010-06-24, 09:12 AM
For me, it's because I love 3.5, and it's as simple as that. 4e is all very well and good, but it's emphasis on balance and (in my opinion) cold and logical mechanics make it more of a wargame and less of the game I love. However, 3.5 is oddly balanced, and often lacks the ability to make the sort of character I wish to play.

Hence, homebrew. It allows me to twist the game into the area I want to play it, at whatever level of power I wish (or my GM dictates). It's more open that 4e: my options are basically limited, rather than confined to the very unyielding framework of 4e.

I've done 4e versions of most of my classes. I think I get the feel across. But, while I'm happy with the work, I always prefer the 3.5 version (well, there might be ONE exception). The 3.5 version has more character, more variety, and, to me, is a more artistic work. :smallbiggrin:

2010-06-24, 09:37 AM
Why homebrew? Are you going to ask a Warhammer 40k player why he spent time converting a model to add some character to it? Or why he stracth built a commander who doesn't even have legs (that is my favourate model from my collection)? To me it is about the pride about having created something. I believe it feels a lot more sastifying to look at a coustem class/ACFs/spells that you made yourself instead of a complex collection of classes and prestige classes to give you access to nearly every ability your idea has (or even a realtively simple one, especially if you cannot get the build to match your vison). That is why I convert minitures and why I will be proud of any creation I enter into a contest, even if it gets no votes.

2010-06-24, 09:46 AM
Also bear in mind that any game system has it's problems. 4e has power imbalances, and many things just don't work as they should (the grapple rules, for instance). There's not a lot of variety. So I also homebrew for 4e, for the same reasons I homebrew for 3.5e: to bring the power level of a class up or down to where I feel it should be, or to introduce something unique into a game that otherwise can't encompass it. Maybe introduce a new mechanic to spice things up, for example.

2010-06-24, 10:14 AM
The point of role playing to me is to create a world of your own imaging. To me, not doing at least some homebrewing defeats the purpose of the entire exercise.

2010-06-24, 10:39 AM
The point of role playing to me is to create a world of your own imaging. To me, not doing at least some homebrewing defeats the purpose of the entire exercise.

I'll second that! Quote For Truth, or whatever that statement is...

2010-06-24, 12:18 PM
Heck, I don't even play and I still like to homebrew stuff for 3.5!

The only way I can put it is that it's just fun.

That's all there is to it for me, that's why I homebrew. Because it's gives me pleasure.

2010-06-24, 11:36 PM
I homebrew for 3.5 D&D the same reason that I homebrew for other games I play. I have ideas that I think would be interesting, and they are going to rattle around in my head and drive me crazy until I let them out. Sometimes they work, sometimes they fail epically.
Building the world, and by extention everything in it, is part of the fun of the game.

Chainsaw Hobbit
2010-06-24, 11:37 PM
I don't even play 3.x anymore but I still hombrew for it, I do it for fun.

2010-06-25, 07:52 AM
I think I've seen a homebrew for like all the basic classes + many others just because they suck in one way or another, then while you have done better you can always make it more powerful, which in a way defeats the point its unbalanced system defeats its self, you can never make a character that is just the right strength for their is no balance or am I wrong?(which I have been known to be from time, Ok you got me all the time)
That's precisely the point of homebrewing. To fix that, since there's not enough official stuff that works how it should.

2010-06-25, 08:10 AM
Strictly speaking all 3rd party books are homebrews that are comercially published. And even splatbooks are homebrews that are published by WotC.
Not much, if any, difference in quality.

Morph Bark
2010-06-25, 08:16 AM
"Because I can."

2010-06-25, 11:17 AM
3.5 or Pathfinder (my current choice) is more of a simulation. The rules have more of a structure a dm takes responsibility for because it defines the game world.

4.0 is a miniature game. It has elements of 3.5 but the parts don't seem as connected so the results of tinkering are less interested.

There is a lot of 3.x homebrew so sometimes it seems easier to reuse or adapt other work but sometimes you still create or recreate to get closer to your own idea.

The added plus of 3.x is that because of the structure it is more helpful to get other opinions on it. In 4.0 I feel like I'm designing a game card and then the only questions are usually power level. Mostly power level is much more boring than world significance. That's where 3.x shines.


2010-06-26, 10:42 PM
I'll echo what many others have said:

1) Because I can
2) Because I find the challenge of doing so to be a hell of a lot of fun
3) Because I have all these ideas that simply have to get out
4) Because it's fun (yes, I know I already said that, but felt it to be important enough to bear repeating)

Strictly speaking all 3rd party books are homebrews that are comercially published. And even splatbooks are homebrews that are published by WotC.
Not much, if any, difference in quality. Actually, I think many homebrews might be higher in quality...

2010-06-26, 10:44 PM
Because, for me, you want somrthing, and you cant find anthing close enough to it in the books. I tried once but i cant get the knack for it.

2010-06-26, 11:00 PM
Why homebrew?

Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the technology. We have the capability to build our own best game. Dungeons and Dragons will be that game. Better than it was before. Better, stronger, faster.

2010-06-27, 10:59 AM
Well, I often homebrew after messing around with a random generator of some kind, looking at the result, and thinking "that would be kinda cool in D&D...".

2010-06-28, 09:37 PM
in my opinion 3.5 is the best format that d&d have implemented and there are a lot of core books whit classes base and prestige, adventures compendiums etc that gives to d&d an infinite posibilities but... when wizards show off the 4.0 format the system changes a lot more like a MMORPG i play some d&d 4.0 and i dont like it -_- i think is to limited so i stuck on d&d 3.5 and homebrewing to get the infinite posibilities that imagination can give, and i check up the phatfinder books they have much to offer to the old system 3.5

2010-06-29, 01:50 AM
4e is good, but I think they changed things that were perfect as they were, like the alignments. While 4e has made improvements in some ways, I think that 3.5 is still better overall, both to play and to homebrew.

Mystic Muse
2010-06-29, 01:56 AM
Okay, no turning this thread into an edition war now.

We do it because it's fun. Or at least, that's why I do it. I'm going to ask my GM if he'll allow me to play the Pyroclastic dragon homebrew me and a few others made if he doesn't okay my Eldritch theurge. (The character can't be chaotic or evil.)