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View Full Version : DM Help Not Allowing Homebrew Except My Own: Is It Cool?



BrokenChord
2014-03-01, 09:55 PM
Basic question, were I desiring to host a PbP here to test some homebrewery of mine, would it be wrong of me to ask for no homebrew other than that which I was testing? Would potential players be justified in their anger towards me, should they feel any?

AMFV
2014-03-01, 10:11 PM
It's your game, and you're inviting people. As long as you're up front about what the conditions are for playing, I can see no reason that anyone should be able to gripe.

Tanuki Tales
2014-03-01, 10:12 PM
It's your game, of course, but if you're allowing your own, untested homebrew while barring the use of potential more refined works...well...

It's your game.

Gavran
2014-03-01, 10:14 PM
I'd say that being unwilling to look at other people's homebrew while including your own is a bit unjust. But you're still the final arbiter in what's balanced, what's setting appropriate, and what constitutes an appropriate PC for your game.

BrokenChord
2014-03-01, 10:21 PM
I'd say that being unwilling to look at other people's homebrew while including your own is a bit unjust. But you're still the final arbiter in what's balanced, what's setting appropriate, and what constitutes an appropriate PC for your game.

I see where you're coming from, and I tend to agree. My biggest concern with this is that I'm pretty bad at judging balance on a glance, so I wouldn't want to leave people waiting a week per homebrew class/race/template/whatever for me to get back to them, and just eyeballing it and leaving it in good faith that the players won't swindle me *still* leaves me pretty unsure how balanced my own thing is, since whatever game is being played might be balanced to an entirely different degree than the homebrew thing if I don't take significant time to compare the two first.

So I agree with you on principle, but I feel it's somewhat of an impractical viewpoint for me, due more to my own flaws in judging-at-a-glance capabilities than any inherent logical flaw.

AMFV
2014-03-01, 10:30 PM
You should also definitely be forthcoming about the fact that you're using the game to test your own homebrew, which will create differing assumptions and perhaps a differing playstyle, it may also inspire your players to be more attentive in reporting issues with them. And it will give you more leeway to use only your own homebrew, since you should know how that interacts with the rules in general before bringing in a slew of other interactions. Since you can assume that others that may eventually use your homebrew may or may not use the alternative rules.

Gavran
2014-03-01, 10:38 PM
Hm. Saying you're not very good with balance would make me question using your own homebrew. :P But, balance is of perhaps greater than average importance to me.

Some options, maybe:

1) Let your players decide together whether or not each piece of homebrew seems balanced. Still at the mercy of good faith, but at least it's the good faith of more than just the person most likely to immediately benefit. :P

2) Find someone/make a thread asking for help judging the relative power levels of suggested homebrew. A bit slower probably, but I imagine there are people who would do it. I know I and at least a few others who are better at it than I would look into such a thread if it showed up in the 4E forums. If it's 3.5 stuff like your sig vaguely implies, you've got a much larger group of people who might help. Maybe not so much an option if it's a less popular system.

3) Run it with just your homebrew. There are more players than DMs anyway, and it doesn't make you a monster or anything. You'll lose some players who have a homebrew they really like/want to try out, and it's not a perfect situation, but it's still one more game people can play. Definitely be straightforward about your goals in this case. You're not obligated to run a game for anyone after all, and if people really have a problem with not being able to use other homebrew they can find another game. I very much doubt you'd be lacking players because of it. (Though again, I play 4E. There seems to be less of us. YMMV.)

XionUnborn01
2014-03-01, 11:28 PM
It sounds like you're trying to test your own homebrew with the campaign. If that's the case, I honestly think it would be a better test if you didn't use other homebrew because you get a feeling of how it ranks along official material.

If you were just running a game and were only allowing your homebrew, I would have to agree with the others and say it's probably going to come off as 'high and mighty' so to speak, not wanting to use other people's. Most brew on these boards at least is pretty well reviewed and usually there's some sort of agreement on the general tier placing of the class and overall power.

BrokenChord
2014-03-02, 01:27 AM
Hm. Saying you're not very good with balance would make me question using your own homebrew. :P But, balance is of perhaps greater than average importance to me.

Ah, I really appreciate your post in general, but I think you misunderstood me. I don't think I'm bad with balance at all. I think I'm bad at eyeballing balance. I generally spend several months asking around on forums and/or scouring books myself seeing how anything I've homebrewed interacts with everything else. I'm not so good at telling whether or not something is balanced within a period of time that would be reasonable for an actual game; for example, given, say, a feat or a spell, I'd need about three days of clicking everything around in my books to figure out if it appears balanced, and I might need as much as a month for a class; several months if it also comes with its own spellcasting/maneuver/whatever system. Which, again, is not very practical to trying to work into an actual game.

I don't mind unbalanced homebrew, personally, but if I'm not 100% certain about the balance level of the other homebrew I'm allowing it will throw off my balance detector for the thing I'm testing, which kind of defeats the point of actually testing it out.

Honest Tiefling
2014-03-02, 01:55 AM
Even if she was bad at balance, she's not going to get any better at it by not trying.

Perhaps I am really easygoing or hypocritical, but I think it depends more on how you do it then what you allow. If you accept honest criticism and are upfront with what you wanna do, what's the harm? If others don't like it, well, you can't please everyone and you can't test it otherwise. If someone is going to do you a favor they can't start tacking on additions after all.

Unless you are being overly restrictive with what is allowed. Core (Or whatever is appropriate for the system) plus the homebrew will likely give enough options. Going further then that would probably be weird unless you have a REALLY good idea.

Then again, I am running a campaign with only my homebrew, so take the above with a grain of salt. I've also never played in a game where homebrew was allowed. I can't even remember the last time I've played with third party now that I think about it.

Makeitstop
2014-03-02, 02:16 AM
It sounds like you're trying to test your own homebrew with the campaign. If that's the case, I honestly think it would be a better test if you didn't use other homebrew because you get a feeling of how it ranks along official material.
I'm going to agree with this. As long as you are clear that this is a playtest, not just a regular campaign with your homebrew thrown in, it should be understandable. You are definitely better off testing your homebrew using 1st party material. Adding other homebrew only complicates things.

Brookshw
2014-03-02, 02:19 AM
Adding my voice to the its done crowd. If the campaign's to test run it then defeats the purpose to not test run it.

Yora
2014-03-02, 03:24 AM
I never use other peoples homebrew. Occasionally I take an idea someone else had and make my own adaptation of that idea for my campaign.

Airk
2014-03-02, 09:02 AM
I'd say that being unwilling to look at other people's homebrew while including your own is a bit unjust. But you're still the final arbiter in what's balanced, what's setting appropriate, and what constitutes an appropriate PC for your game.

Honestly, no, for the purpose of the game as stated, it's completely not appropriate to allow random other stuff. If you are testing something, you want to test THAT SOMETHING, not that something in a mess of other variables that could completely skew your findings.

Anyway, I'm actually a little astonished that even OUTSIDE the context of a test, that anyone can reasonably oppose this. BrokenChord is the GM. The GM decides what is allowed in any given game, whether that's official books, homebrew, or whatever. There is ZERO grounds to question. "That's the kind of game the GM wants to run." is more than sufficient answer. If you don't want to be in that kind of game, don't play, but it's not "unjust" of the GM to want to run the kind of game they want to run. Rather, the opposite. It would be "unjust" to ask the GM to run a game they DON'T want to run.

AMFV
2014-03-02, 09:06 AM
Honestly, no, for the purpose of the game as stated, it's completely not appropriate to allow random other stuff. If you are testing something, you want to test THAT SOMETHING, not that something in a mess of other variables that could completely skew your findings.

Anyway, I'm actually a little astonished that even OUTSIDE the context of a test, that anyone can reasonably oppose this. BrokenChord is the GM. The GM decides what is allowed in any given game, whether that's official books, homebrew, or whatever. There is ZERO grounds to question. "That's the kind of game the GM wants to run." is more than sufficient answer. If you don't want to be in that kind of game, don't play, but it's not "unjust" of the GM to want to run the kind of game they want to run. Rather, the opposite. It would be "unjust" to ask the GM to run a game they DON'T want to run.

I agree, however I'd like to add that it may be acceptable to ask for something to be added or included if it wasn't discussed before, and possibly even if it was "I know you said, no homebrew, but I found this really awesome thing, would you at least take a look at it?" is an entirely reasonable request, although the DM has no obligation to concede to it, again I agree, I just wanted to add that discussion is important and saying that there's no grounds to question, is probably a little bit of an exaggeration.

Airk
2014-03-02, 09:38 AM
I agree, however I'd like to add that it may be acceptable to ask for something to be added or included if it wasn't discussed before, and possibly even if it was "I know you said, no homebrew, but I found this really awesome thing, would you at least take a look at it?" is an entirely reasonable request, although the DM has no obligation to concede to it, again I agree, I just wanted to add that discussion is important and saying that there's no grounds to question, is probably a little bit of an exaggeration.

I agree. It's always acceptable to ask as long as you are prepared for possibility that the answer may be 'no'. If you're not prepared for 'no', then you probably shouldn't ask.

Red Fel
2014-03-02, 09:49 AM
I'm going to agree with the "as long as you're upfront about it" crowd.

As a rule, I raise an eyebrow when only certain elements are permitted/excluded; if that concerns "my homebrew yes but everything else no," that eyebrow goes all the way into my hairline.

But in this case, SCIENCE! No, really. As long as you're upfront about it, I think it's perfectly legitimate to want to balance your homebrew against canon material only. Several points:

1. Be brief. Keep the campaign short. If you find out your homebrew is rubbish, or overpowered, there will be conflict between those players who took it and those who did not. Keeping the campaign long enough to examine how your material interacts with canon, but short enough to avoid any huge discrepancies in power, is a good way to hold things together.

2. Be scientific. Players may feel they have to take your homebrew in order to play in the campaign. You should advise them to play what they want to play, but request that at least one player (but less than all!) take the homebrew. If all of them play it, there's no control, so make sure you have a balance.

3. Be consistent. Once you've set up the homebrew for purposes of the test, don't go back and change it. This is another reason to keep the campaign short - multiple short campaigns let you tweak your homebrew without having to change it mid-campaign. If you change the rules in mid-flow, it leaves a sour taste.

4. Be fair. This plays into "be scientific" above - this homebrew may be your baby, but it may still be rubbish. Don't bend over backwards to give advantage (or disadvantage) to any character using your material. Be as even-handed as possible.

5. Be clear. As mentioned above, be upfront with the players. Tell them that this is a test of the homebrew, explain your expectations, and reiterate the points above - you want to be brief, scientific, consistent, and fair. As long as you make matters clear, I can't see any problems.

Ziegander
2014-03-02, 09:51 AM
Basic question, were I desiring to host a PbP here to test some homebrewery of mine, would it be wrong of me to ask for no homebrew other than that which I was testing? Would potential players be justified in their anger towards me, should they feel any?

Since you're starting the game expressly to test your own homebrew, and since you're not denying other homebrew on the grounds of balance, I think it's only natural and fair to use ONLY your homebrew. You can't exactly judge the merits of your homebrew if you have to account for how it plays with the game as written and also with any amount of unspecified other homebrew. Feel free to hard ban other homebrew. If players are interested, they'll bite, and if someone has hard feelings, explain to them that the point is to test your homebrew. If they still give you grief, tell them to shove off.

NotScaryBats
2014-03-02, 10:47 AM
Agree that it's fine and not off-putting at all to me, but would it be best to use like 2 homebrew characters and 2 regular characters to see how they stack up to one another, or all homebrew vs regular monsters, or what?

I've never playtested a homebrew before.

If you've got, like, a homebrew martial adept class, would you want to run it alongside a Crusader to see how they measure against each other?

Food for thought.

veti
2014-03-02, 03:53 PM
I'm pretty sure the rules-as-written-in-full are unplayable (seriously, who runs every rule from every splatbook? and does anyone not give monks proficiency in unarmed strike?). That's not a system-specific point - I must have played at least 20 different game systems, not counting homebrew variants, and all of them needed tweaking - usually on the fly - just to meet minimum standards of plausibility or playability.

The only difference between you and every other DM out there is, you're being a bit more explicit and up-front about what's changed.

valadil
2014-03-02, 06:55 PM
It doesn't matter what thi thread thinks. As long as you can find a full party who is interested, it's cool.

That said I might open up the policy in areas with no direct conflict. If your home brew rewrites magic, don't allow other magic. But if your home brew says nothing about new base classes and somebody shows up with a home brewed class there's no harm to your test coverage in allowing it.

Mark Hall
2014-03-03, 07:09 PM
Basic question, were I desiring to host a PbP here to test some homebrewery of mine, would it be wrong of me to ask for no homebrew other than that which I was testing? Would potential players be justified in their anger towards me, should they feel any?

I think it's perfectly acceptable though, as others have said, it's appropriate to say you're looking to test stuff; means players will be more likely to give you feedback as you like.

Jay R
2014-03-03, 07:35 PM
I can't imagine running a game any other way. I have occasionally had somebody suggest a home-brewed rule that I liked, and therefore made part of my game. But then it's part of my home-brew.

Morph Bark
2014-03-03, 08:09 PM
Basic question, were I desiring to host a PbP here to test some homebrewery of mine, would it be wrong of me to ask for no homebrew other than that which I was testing? Would potential players be justified in their anger towards me, should they feel any?

In many cases where people ask questions about what to allow qua homebrew in their games, I am often quick to link the Homebrew Tier Compendium in my signature. :smalltongue:

This time, not so much, because it's all about premise when it comes to games you organize, especially PbP ones on the board. Your premise is "we'll be testing homebrew I made", which is an entirely valid premise and will likely only attract players who are actually interested in playing your homebrew.

If this were with a previously established group in real life, I'd consider it unjust, but in the context you offer, the situation is different.

Averis Vol
2014-03-04, 03:20 AM
yea its cool, and if the only reason you're doing so is so you don't get swindled by a player, make sure it's from a reliable homebrewer or has gotten a lot of feedback. Normally if a piece of brew didn't get much review, it was either uninteresting, or not mechanically interesting, or was just really, really bad. So you don't really have to do any eyeballing yourself, just read the comments :P

Lorsa
2014-03-04, 07:07 AM
Short answer: Yes.

QuidEst
2014-03-07, 12:22 PM
Yep! Just treat it as, "Normal rules, but hey, I also have some stuff of my own if you want to use it. Lemme know what you think about it if you use it." In general, I'd just view it the same as house rules. Using your own house rules doesn't require you to look at others.