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Thread: To harsh? [3.5]

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    Default To harsh? [3.5]

    So My last campaign ended.. and my group and I are working on starting a new game. As resident GM. I was thinking about running an older style game of 3.5. I want to shoot for a 2nd ed/1st ed feel, specifically the gritty-ness of it.

    I already plan on making the setting low low magic... Magic items being super rare.. though potions being more common (kinda re fluffing it as alchemy).

    Any way I was thinking about making these house rules and I wanted to know the balance of it.
    All full casters(full casters being any class that has spells and doesn't have a 0 in there spells per day) don't get bonus spells for high ability scores.
    I was also debating about using the Armor as damage reduction Variant rule from UA. though I'm not sure how balanced it is.

    I'm not sure how i would tone down Psionics. I know i would have to throw out TOB. and potentially binders as well.

    I was also thinking about doing a 28 point buy... but im not sure.

    any way what are your thoughts?
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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Why do you have to throw out ToB?

    Really only 3 of the schools use anything close to magic. And those are denoted as "Su" abilities.

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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffles View Post
    Why do you have to throw out ToB?

    Really only 3 of the schools use anything close to magic. And those are denoted as "Su" abilities.
    don't want to start a flame war but me and my group Don't see TOB as gritty enough. plus a few of my players just call it weebo fighting magic... regardless of if a character is non western influenced. so its just easyer.
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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Instead of attempting to re-balance everything, why not some sort of E6 type game? Also, an interesting idea I saw being thrown around in a 'gauging interest' thread was to allow E6 to grow into gestalt somehow, allowing characters to grow without their power being too substantial.
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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Godskook View Post
    Instead of attempting to re-balance everything, why not some sort of E6 type game? Also, an interesting idea I saw being thrown around in a 'gauging interest' thread was to allow E6 to grow into gestalt somehow, allowing characters to grow without their power being too substantial.
    Ya I've seen that... I am a huge fan of E6.. i may run it E6 style.
    not sure though... I can't remember if my players like it or not.
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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Tome of Battle does have a definite 'Heroic Fantasy' feel. If you're going gritty, it makes sense.

    No bonus spells for caster would work, but the pacing would also have to come in here. I'm understanding 'gritty' as 'desperate' here, so although they may feel nice and safe in downtime, once you get the ball rolling you've got to take control away from them with regards to when they can rest and when they can't. By the end of the day, they should feel paranoid and threatened and glad to see a safe haven.

    I would second E6 too.
    Last edited by Ryuuk; 2009-12-01 at 03:35 PM.
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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Moving on...

    1) Ban full casters entirely. Noncasters get outshined in high-magic settings, low-magic just means they're meat. The only casters should be half-casters like Bards, Paladins, and Rangers. Possibly Psychic Warriors, they're the closest thing Psionics has to a half-caster. I'd allow Adepts too, after removing Polymorph and Heal from their spell lists.

    2) Either give players inherent boosts to their attacks/damage as they level (say they're blessed by the gods or something) or be prepared to modify pretty much every monster you throw at them after level 5 or so - the math in 3.5, such as it is, assumes that players have magical gear to supply bonuses.


    Or just use E6. It's quite cool.
    Last edited by The Glyphstone; 2009-12-01 at 03:37 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Why not just ban full casters outright, and go with half-casters? Even in core, the Bard can provide arcane support (Not as effectively as the wizard, mind, but that's why it's low magic!), the Paladin can provide some of the divine stuff (Such as a bit of healing, especially with Lay on Hands), and the Ranger can provide some of the divine stuff that is out of the purview of the Paladin.

    Edit: Ninja'd pretty soundly ;(
    Last edited by mikeejimbo; 2009-12-01 at 03:37 PM.
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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by RagnaroksChosen View Post
    I already plan on making the setting low low magic... Magic items being super rare.. though potions being more common (kinda re fluffing it as alchemy).

    Any way I was thinking about making these house rules and I wanted to know the balance of it.
    All full casters(full casters being any class that has spells and doesn't have a 0 in there spells per day) don't get bonus spells for high ability scores.
    I was also debating about using the Armor as damage reduction Variant rule from UA. though I'm not sure how balanced it is.
    Low magic hurts Melee way more than casters, even casters who lose 1 spell per level per day. Casters don't need toys, or can make the ones they need.

    I would start by increasing the stat bonuses. Give PCs +1 to an ability per level after 4th, in addition to the normal +1 per 4 levels. Call it an enhancement bonus, meaning that it doesn't stack with buffs, and limit it to +1 for every 3 levels (rounded up) on any given stat. Given the caster modifications, that should help melee, and keep characters on track without stat+ items.

    Include lots of mundane items with bonuses. A super masterwork sword can be +1 or even +2 without being magical.

    Give the PCs bonuses for training. Nothing huge, maybe a couple of extra feats over the course of their career, and bonuses to some skills. Again, this is to try to keep the PCs from falling way below where the game expects them to be at given levels. I would look at the Vow of Poverty feat (which itself is not as good as level appropriate magical items) and think about how many of those bonuses, or similar bonuses, you could refluff into being non-magical rewards for superior gear or training.
    Last edited by Gnaeus; 2009-12-01 at 03:42 PM.

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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Glyphstone View Post
    Moving on...

    1) Ban full casters entirely. Noncasters get outshined in high-magic settings, low-magic just means they're meat. The only casters should be half-casters like Bards, Paladins, and Rangers. Possibly Psychic Warriors, they're the closest thing Psionics has to a half-caster. I'd allow Adepts too, after removing Polymorph and Heal from their spell lists.

    2) Either give players inherent boosts to their attacks/damage as they level (say they're blessed by the gods or something) or be prepared to modify pretty much every monster you throw at them after level 5 or so - the math in 3.5, such as it is, assumes that players have magical gear to supply bonuses.


    Or just use E6. It's quite cool.
    1. Ya i was thinking about it... or atleast limiting on what casters are avlable.. i have a few players that are die hard wizard players... or atleast the imagry... i may use the adapt and or magewright(from ebberon) instead... that may work...

    2. I disagree with you on this issue... I think around 6-8ish is where you need magic items. though that is heavily dependent on which monster you throw at the party...
    I've played in games where we didn't see a magic item (other then pots and scrolls and expendables like that) untill 7th or so... we did fine... had 1 casualty... Pretty heavy combat game to boot.

    though I'm trying to guide my players away from the we are pcs and there for win no matter what mentality. couple of my players are fromn 2nd ed where you run from/get around through non combat 50% of the encounters.
    When the end comes i shall remember you.

    I sorry i fail Englimish...(appologise for Spelling/Grammer Errors) Please don't correct my spelling or grammer eaither.

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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Hypothetically one could replace full-casters with artificers and only allow them to make very limited items that are not weapons or armor, and then only allow enchantments on weapons that can be passed off as very good craftsmanship such as keen.

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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    There are alot of variables that can change when you need items, though. For instance, if you have alot of spell support, you can go longer. Also, if you face more normal humaniods, it's not too big of a problem.

    Another option is to increase the Masterwork range. That way you can still give players something, but it doesn't feel magical.
    Last edited by Tavar; 2009-12-01 at 03:46 PM.
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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Why not play 2nd Edition?
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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by RagnaroksChosen View Post
    don't want to start a flame war but me and my group Don't see TOB as gritty enough. plus a few of my players just call it weebo fighting magic... regardless of if a character is non western influenced. so its just easyer.
    In other words you are just to lazy to re fluff it yourself. Oh well.

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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by RagnaroksChosen View Post
    2. I disagree with you on this issue... I think around 6-8ish is where you need magic items. though that is heavily dependent on which monster you throw at the party...
    I've played in games where we didn't see a magic item (other then pots and scrolls and expendables like that) untill 7th or so... we did fine... had 1 casualty... Pretty heavy combat game to boot.
    .
    There's definitely room for argument as to where the cutoff point is, since it depends heavily on what the party makeup is and what monsters are encountered. after a certain point though, magic items are essential for non-casters just to keep up; this can vary from 5th all the way up to 10th or 11th, depending on players. After that range is over, items are essential simply for the noncasters to stay within shouting distance, let alone contribute nearly as effectively - the casters just have too many tools in their toolbox for the mundanes to match them.

    Banning full casters solves this problem for the most part, but there are still things to consider. For example, incorporeal enemies become much more dangerous if the party only has a single +1 weapon between them and the Ranger can only cast Magic Weapon 1/day. Enemies with DR/Magic or worse, DR/Law-Chaos-Good-Evil, will be incredibly hard to bring down. It's the old matter of knowing your party and what to bring as a challenge to them, but amplified considerably, since their 'power level' is lower than what the game assumes to be standard.
    Last edited by The Glyphstone; 2009-12-01 at 03:54 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by gdiddy View Post
    Why not play 2nd Edition?
    Thats a good question.
    To be honest I like 3.5's skill system better. and even though i know there is a player option to make it 3.5 esc (as far as skills and combat goes) I like thaco way to much and my players don't.
    Plus they have started to master the 3.5 system.. and i don't want to change up systems just yet.


    @Gnaeus: Ya i was thinking about something along those lines as good quality being a +1 to hit and masterwork being +2 to hit.
    I also may increase the feat acquisition a bit to every other level...

    if i did e6 it would give them an extra feet to play around with before getting them with exp.
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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    If you want a AD&D feeling game...

    -Arcane casters don't get bonus spells from high intelligence.

    -Magic items can't be bought in stores. You either have to order them directly from someone who can make them or adventure and hope you find it.

    -A wizard's beginning spell layout is random. Wizards only get 1 free spell per level.

    -Fighters, Paladins, and Rangers can move their full speed and multiattack.

    -Humans can't multiclass and if they do they can no longer advance in their original class.

    -Core only. Nothing else.

    -You know what? Just play AD&D.

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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    check out the campaign setting "midnight" it's kinda like playing a group of jews with swords anno 1945. The world is overtaken with darkness, the gods no longer channel spells and as for magic...well everyone can use it with the right feats. thing is, you don't (not even the spellcaster class) get very high in spell levels and magic is more difficult to use and exhausting.'

    all classes except from fighter, barbarian and rogue, swoop, right out the window! And helloooo, new classes! defender (essentially monk with honour code) channeler (spellcaster. chooses wether he want to use wis, cha or int as his caster abillity. also need a high con as magic is exhausting) then there's the rangerish... thing...and the...the guy who kills undeads... hrm... I should have read those parts better...
    and every race have three or more subraces. even humans. the human closest to PHB human start with two bonus feats and +2 in one stat of his choosing and -2 in one stat of his choosing.
    etc etc.

    GO CHECK IT OUT
    Last edited by Shademan; 2009-12-01 at 04:03 PM.
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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffles View Post
    In other words you are just to lazy to re fluff it yourself. Oh well.
    to do that i would have to change there maneuvers from per encounter abilities to per day abilites...
    as well as limit it to warblades and crusaders... i ususaly allow my fighters to have the weapon aptitude ability thing warblades get where they can refocus there weapon specific feats.
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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Low Magic works as long as you keep on top of passing out magic items that are essential, such as healing effects and +1 equipment to overcome DR & hurt incorporeal stuff.

    I would consider adding weapon focus/armor focus feats that you take once and then scale with level, so fighter-types aren't having a hard time hitting/getting hit. I mean, once a wizard hits level 10, even without bonus spells from a high ability score, using second level slots to cast invisibility or mirror image is rather trivial. The fighters don't really have that luxury, you know?

    Alternatively, or in addition, have mastercrafted weapons and armor that add +1 to +3 on attacks, damage, armor.

    Also introduce stuff that adds circumstance or alchemical bonuses to saves and resistances, damage reduction, etc. As it is, equipment made from mundane but extraordinary sources, such as dragon hide, is exceedingly expensive with little benefit. Let the players be resourceful and salvage things like poison glands and hides to make better equipment out of. Consider greatly expanding what masterwork tools do, and handing out a lot of +2 circumstance bonuses for clever thinking or using of tools.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffles View Post
    In other words you are just to lazy to re fluff it yourself. Oh well.
    No, ToB allows you to do really cool stuff all day long, which is the exact opposite of 1e/2e.

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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Shademan View Post
    check out the campaign setting "midnight" it's kinda like playing a group of jews with swords anno 1945. The world is overtaken with darkness, the gods no longer channel spells and as for magic...well everyone can use it with the right feats. thing is, you don't (not even the spellcaster class) get very high in spell levels and magic is more difficult to use and exhausting.'

    all classes except from fighter, barbarian and rogue, swoop, right out the window!
    have both the secound and 3rd edition of that setting. Great great setting. I think they gave the pcs to much resorces with bloodlines and super races, but I love the flavor.

    @jmbrown: ya not that much like 2nd ed
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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Try taking a step from the d20 modern and make full spell casting only an option at a higher level: basically make wizard into a prestige. It fits the legends and even gandalf to an extent: wizards were dudes good with steel as well as magic.

    See Merlin for example. Some legends have him training Arthur with the sword, and others had/have him killing Morgan LeFay with his sword, rather than the tree binding thing.

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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Myrmex View Post
    No, ToB allows you to do really cool stuff all day long, which is the exact opposite of 1e/2e.
    Note to self, never touch AD&D, that's a ****ing horrible way to do things.

    RagnaroksChosen-Alot of these changes are going to hurt anyone that doesn't cast magic.

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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by RagnaroksChosen View Post
    have both the secound and 3rd edition of that setting. Great great setting. I think they gave the pcs to much resorces with bloodlines and super races, but I love the flavor.

    @jmbrown: ya not that much like 2nd ed
    and here I spend time and...well...time typing all that and you allready know it
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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Vic_Sage View Post
    Note to self, never touch AD&D, that's a ****ing horrible way to do things.

    RagnaroksChosen-Alot of these changes are going to hurt anyone that doesn't cast magic.
    its a different system... and though proccess behind it... you don't need a ton of abilities to have fun or RP.
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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    There's a third party game setting that pretty much obliterates magic (only the darkest evil overlords use it), and re-writes the half-caster classes. Can't remember the name off the top of my head, but it was fun in the one game I played (it was at a convention somewhere).

    Anywho, you could just limit players to Fighter, Barbarian, Rogue, Monk, Scout, Marshal, Swashbuckler, and Knight. That puts everyone on the same power level, and limits combat to smacking each other around and using Skills. If someone wants to play a Ranger or a Paladin or some other half-caster, make them use a spell-less variant, or just tell them to play a Scout or a Knight with a more elaborate code.

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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Vic_Sage View Post
    Note to self, never touch AD&D, that's a ****ing horrible way to do things.

    RagnaroksChosen-Alot of these changes are going to hurt anyone that doesn't cast magic.
    It's not that you can't do cool things all day, it's that power levels in AD&D are nowhere near as high in 3E.

    3.5's spell casters are more powerful than non-spellcasters. This is a fact. Instead of lowering the power of spell casters, Tome of Battle takes non-casting melee classes and gives them a power boost to try and compete.

    In AD&D, everyone has their own specific strengths and weaknesses. A wizard can't replace a fighter because metamagic doesn't exist, getting hit automatically interrupts casting, casting time varies, and high level magic usually have horrible drawbacks like haste possibly killing you. It's not a bad system given the rules of it as a whole but if you try to import a 2E mage into a 3E world you're looking at the difference between an Adept and a Wizard.

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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    There's a third party game setting that pretty much obliterates magic (only the darkest evil overlords use it), and re-writes the half-caster classes. Can't remember the name off the top of my head, but it was fun in the one game I played (it was at a convention somewhere).

    Anywho, you could just limit players to Fighter, Barbarian, Rogue, Monk, Scout, Marshal, Swashbuckler, and Knight. That puts everyone on the same power level, and limits combat to smacking each other around and using Skills. If someone wants to play a Ranger or a Paladin or some other half-caster, make them use a spell-less variant, or just tell them to play a Scout or a Knight with a more elaborate code.
    I was thinking about doing something along those lines. though allowing rangers/paladins/hexblades/spelltheves there spells as i do want some magic in there. I may also include dragon shamans (minus the non meta breathe -breathe feats).
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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by RagnaroksChosen View Post
    I was thinking about doing something along those lines. though allowing rangers/paladins/hexblades/spelltheves there spells as i do want some magic in there. I may also include dragon shamans (minus the non meta breathe -breathe feats).
    Well, you could also go in the opposite direction, and allow everything, but make the game world more gritty. My primary homebrew game world is based on the Roman Republic, with D&D races replacing nationalities. There is very little magic in the world, and the fantastic creatures that players encounter are strait out of the local mythology of wherever they happen to be at the moment. At first I made the players choose low-magic characters. But this lead to a sharp decline in the variety of enjoyability of combat. So then I let them play whatever they wanted to. And it made the game awesome. By making the PCs special, they became legendary heroes of the world. They were idolized/sought after (or despised/hunted by) by everyone, and had to deal with world changing events. They saw a lot of death, a lot of failure, and had plenty of resource problems (all "gritty" story features). But none of that was a function of limiting their build choices.

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    Default Re: To harsh? [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    Well, you could also go in the opposite direction, and allow everything, but make the game world more gritty. My primary homebrew game world is based on the Roman Republic, with D&D races replacing nationalities. There is very little magic in the world, and the fantastic creatures that players encounter are strait out of the local mythology of wherever they happen to be at the moment. At first I made the players choose low-magic characters. But this lead to a sharp decline in the variety of enjoyability of combat. So then I let them play whatever they wanted to. And it made the game awesome. By making the PCs special, they became legendary heroes of the world. They were idolized/sought after (or despised/hunted by) by everyone, and had to deal with world changing events. They saw a lot of death, a lot of failure, and had plenty of resource problems (all "gritty" story features). But none of that was a function of limiting their build choices.

    This brings up a valid point. Just the lack of magic items alone makes resources more valuable.. especially if magic items (when found) are more directed to the fighter types...

    I like that home brew setting, BTW.

    When you let them pick any class and what not... what type of stat generation did you use. As well did you notice a lethality difference between the two?
    When the end comes i shall remember you.

    I sorry i fail Englimish...(appologise for Spelling/Grammer Errors) Please don't correct my spelling or grammer eaither.

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