View Full Version : Appropriate Out of Combat Utility [Discussion Thread]

2011-05-17, 12:52 PM
So, one of the strengths of 3.5 that most people point to is its flexibility. Generally people who like really flexible characters play casters, because 3.5 casters have huge amounts of utility both in and out of combat. I mean you can teleport and fly, as well as turn yourself into the spitting image of the BBEG, can use illusions for all sorts of fun things, make infinite money with your spells, etc.

That said, it does leave the question of "What utilities are appropriate for non-magic users?". I mean, they can stealth, but that has all kinds of restrictions compared to plain invisibility. They can disguise themselves, but again compared to illusions or polymorph, it just doesn't cut it. Running/Jumping? Hah, that's funny. To gain access to a simple cantrip, detect magic, you need to be able to make a DC 50 appraise check. Don't even think about trying to heal without magic, you'll be holed up for days.

But anyway, I'm rambling. My point is, non-magic users pretty much get the short end of the stick on utility. I'm wanting to try to fix that to some degree. So what I'm asking here is what sorts of things do people feel would be appropriate for non-casters to be able to do? What major utility options do you feel every party needs to have access to, and which should be magic exclusive vs which should be non-magic exclusive? Where should the overlap be?

I'm thinking both things that can always be used such as a skill check anytime as well as limited use abilities, like skill tricks. I figure some inspiration could be drawn from those, and likely also from D&D 4e (there's skill powers there, and utility abilities that are class exclusive for every class)... but in D&D4e they went too far in the other direction, seemingly restricting everyone's non-combat options, which is one of the major complaints with it. What I'm hoping to do is get a strong medium. What I'm trying to find out is where people generally feel that medium lies. How much cool stuff can a nonmagical person do without stretching your suspension of disbelief at mid-high levels? What utilities does a mage have that could be stripped away without making it too limiting?