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View Poll Results: Do you allow variants?

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  • I don't allow any variants. If it's not in the PHb, you can't play it.

    11 7.75%
  • Variants from the SRD are fine. Thugs or Cloistered Clerics are welcome.

    33 23.24%
  • I allow you changing some class skills or a single ability if you explain why I should allow it.

    83 58.45%
  • Paladins with Rage, Wildshaping barbarians, fighters with Familiars... anything goes!

    15 10.56%
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    amanodel's Avatar

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    Question DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    How do you feel about the players who want to twist classes for their purposes?

    For myself, I usually allow mostly everything as long as it's not game-breaking or stupid, no matter if it was in a book or my player thought of that.


    Self-made, official variants, or none?



    (I hope this will come out as a poll, I never started one before.)
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  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Eldred's Avatar

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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    I simply never allow any variants, unless its in an official sourcebook and I don't consider it overpowered. Anything which I see as questionable or unofficial, I don't neccessarily trust because its more likely to be overpowered - and I loath powergamers. Of course, this is all a matter of opinion.

    Also, your poll is working fine.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
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    Planetar

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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    I prefer to stick with core rules whenever possible. It's what the standard adventures are designed for, after all. Also, I've generally had bad experiences with modified and homebrew classes - either the player ends up super-specialising his character to a ridiculous degree (I'm sorry, but I just don't believe that your character has spent every day of his waking life training to be an adventurer) or the player ends up unintentionally crippling his character by taking off a class feature that he later finds that he really needed. Or both at once.

    I'll only allow variant characters if I honestly believe that the player will be more happy and will have more fun if I do. If I know that you really love werewolves and have a detailed werewolf character that you really, really want to play, then that's fine. What I hate are the players who try to take off every single class ability that they don't think is maximally powerful, and replace it with one that is. "Why yes, the save DC for the 1st-level spells of my 1st-level character is 20 - what's wrong with that?"

    - Saph

  4. - Top - End - #4
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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    I prefer to stick with core rules whenever possible. It's what the standard adventures are designed for, after all. Also, I've generally had bad experiences with modified and homebrew classes - either the player ends up super-specialising his character to a ridiculous degree (I'm sorry, but I just don't believe that your character has spent every day of his waking life training to be an adventurer) or the player ends up unintentionally crippling his character by taking off a class feature that he later finds that he really needed. Or both at once.

    I'll only allow variant characters if I honestly believe that the player will be more happy and will have more fun if I do. If I know that you really love werewolves and have a detailed werewolf character that you really, really want to play, then that's fine. What I hate are the players who try to take off every single class ability that they don't think is maximally powerful, and replace it with one that is. "Why yes, the save DC for the 1st-level spells of my 1st-level character is 20 - what's wrong with that?"

    - Saph
    Amen to that!

    I also want to add that, unless you are DM'ing in some convention, chances are you know your players well (they are supposed to be your friends, right?), so you know who has a tendency towards powergaming and who doesnt, and you can adjust your tolerance accordingly.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
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    Chimera

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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    I've played in one game where at the start of character creation, the DM asked if there were any tweaks we wanted to make to our characters. This was far from a complete over-hauling of the class. However, there was always a trade off. You could loose one class skill, and gain another in it's place, so long as you had a good reason. For example, our party barbarian got rid of Ride as a class skill, and replaced it with Tumble. He wrote a rather large paragraph explaining why this happened.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    I've never had anyone request it, actually. I would allow it to fit a character concept, as long as it was appropriately powered.
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  7. - Top - End - #7
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    Ali's Avatar

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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    I prefer to stick to what is in the Player's Handbook. No one has ever requested it of me though, either.

  8. - Top - End - #8
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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    Question was about Minmax, in the way "I traded my literacy for another +1 to hit". More the way "I want to create a ranger with shield and sword, not with TWF, can I swap that three feats?" or I want to play a Paladin who'd use Righteous Zealous Fury as a barbarian rage, "can I trade my horse and lay on hands for that?" or can I play a barbarian shaman-esque character? I'd drop some rage if you allow me some Wildshape". So changing a class ability for something largely equally powerful class' ability.

    For myself, I allow my players do such things, and I actively encourage them to ask for them if they feel they'd like to play the character that way. Or when I know that certain class abilities are going to be no use never in the campaign, I even ask them if they'd like to change that one, so they won't be too weak.
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  9. - Top - End - #9
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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    Inspired by the customizability of D20 from the start, I've always allowed players the option of tweaking their class to better fit their concept. It's never really come up in my games.

    Seems my players let their classes define they're concept, not their concept defining their class. If they want a warmage with more war than mage plus a bit of flair, they'll make a sorceror/swashbuckler. The character's identity is an after thought.
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  10. - Top - End - #10
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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    While I have had very few requests for this sort of thing, if you can provide good reason for the character, and I don't find that it is overpowering then I allow the change. Although I will try to make sure that you miss the ability just a little.
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  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    Absolutely. I'd much rather DM for Joseph of the Golden Boots, a Transmutation specialist with a detailed backstory, no familiar, and one extra metamagic feat than Bob the Mage, who is generic in every way and not very interesting.

  12. - Top - End - #12
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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    My players are pretty tame. I can only think of one instance where one of them wanted to change something with their class.
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  13. - Top - End - #13
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    I will look at most any varient present in a book or that is homebrewed, I'm the DM and it's my choice what gets allowed in my game, not WotCs :P

    Your poll lacks the "As long as I look it over first and decide I want it in my game" option so I'll abstain from voting.
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  14. - Top - End - #14
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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    Quote Originally Posted by prufock View Post
    I've never had anyone request it, actually. I would allow it to fit a character concept, as long as it was appropriately powered.
    You are lucky prufock. Some of the gamers I was with for a while constantly power gamed by requesting blatantly unbalanced things and then complained bitterly when I said no and, "but come on! It's in the Net Book of Greater Prestige Classes! Why can't I play the offspring of a Dwarf and an Ogre?!"

    As a result, I tend to think long and hard about variants but if they seem balanced, I'm happy to allow them provided they can come up with a semi-decent back story.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    I once said I'll try and work to make any character concept work as long as you arn't fixated on mechanics of a race or class. Often times I'll offer options that are purposely weaker then what the player wants just to make sure they want the flavor and not the power. From there I'll do what I can to make their ideas work.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    Yes, I allow some things that are just kind of stupid to be subbed for. For example: Barbarian trap sense. WTF? I give the barbarians some other stuff for that. That one is kind of a pet peeve for me, as it makes no sense for the tank to be resistant to traps.

    Familiars for hexblades? I let them get a demon in their blade instead (+1 bonus at level 4, +2 8, +3 12, +4 16, +5 20, and a bardic knowlege check to ask the demon things).

  17. - Top - End - #17
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    Core (PHB) only as default, just to keep everyone on the same playsheet. After that it's by-and-large a question of how big a degree of variance from what we're accustomed to each GM will ok.

    • SRD and splatbook mods to classes (Races of *, Complete *, Planar Handbook, PHB2) - usually approved unless it specifically contradicts setting material.
    • Setting specific expansion material beyond the scope of the current game setting (ie: FR stuff in Eberron, Eberron stuff in FR) - only with prior GM approval.
    • Dragon magazine and homebrew designs - on a 'playtest only' basis.
    • Licensed 3rd party (ie: Monte Cook, Eternity Publishing, etc.) - don't use atm.
    Last edited by bosssmiley; 2007-01-03 at 12:52 AM.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    I think it's silly to allow or disallow something based on who published the material. If the DM likes the material, and thinks it's balanced, why not allow it reguardless of who made it.
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  19. - Top - End - #19
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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    The more creative, the better! I pretty much allow anything, as long as my players can give me a good reason for it.
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  20. - Top - End - #20
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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    I always saw Barbarian trap sense as a sort of "Animal-like Caution". But that would make more sense on the druids. (Oh, like they NEED that.)

  21. - Top - End - #21
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    Chimera

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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheOOB View Post
    I think it's silly to allow or disallow something based on who published the material. If the DM likes the material, and thinks it's balanced, why not allow it reguardless of who made it.
    I think it's more of a "the DM can't know everything" kind of thing.

    If the DM goes, "sure, you can use this "Insomniac Juggernaut" class! It's more powerful the more you're awake, but I plan on letting you guys sleep every night, so it shouldn't be a big deal.


    *later*

    ...oh... there are no actual rules for sleeping? And you can just stay awake forever? And you just punched a hole in the moon? HMmmmm...

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    I may be exaggerating a tad, but my point is that with Official Material, you're less likely to get a Munchkin-combo that no one has noticed before. It's nowhere near impossible- plenty of people here can make something extremely powerful using just Core- but it's easier.


    Of course, there's nothing wrong with the DM going, "sure, but if it turns out bad, I reserve the right to make your character's head explode." That way's just a little more hassle is all.
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  22. - Top - End - #22
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Jack Mann's Avatar

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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    Indeed. I tell all of my players beforehand that I reserve the right to make them change their characters. If they've taken a feat, and it turns out broken, I have them pick out a new feat to replace it. Same with a prestige class. Or a base class.

    But it is easier with actual WotC material, since I'm more familiar with it. Before I'll allow things from third party sources (including homebrew), I need to sit down with them and look it through.
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  23. - Top - End - #23
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    Short answer: If you give me a good reason and I don't get a whiff of cheese from looking at your character sheet.

    I've allowed raging monks and divine bards before. The simple rule is, you gotta justify it in your character's concept, and it can't be broken hax-a-licious. Generally, you have to give up something better then you're getting, barring the odd occasion. (Raging monk only gave up Flurry of Blows and didn't get his bonus to AC while raging)

    The most important reason is character concept, however. If you want a 'shadow-style' urban ranger with sneak attack but aren't willing to give up your combat style feat line and animal companion (especially if your companion is otherwise vacent FROM your history), I'm going to want to know why, and generally, you're probably reaking of chedder at that point.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    If it is balanced, fits the concept and generally makes the player enjoy more without taking away enjoyment from others, I allow it. (That fits for anything, wether it is PrC, variant, feat, spell, item...)

    If player wants to create alternative combat style for ranger, sure.
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  25. - Top - End - #25
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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    I may be exaggerating a tad, but my point is that with Official Material, you're less likely to get a Munchkin-combo that no one has noticed before. It's nowhere near impossible- plenty of people here can make something extremely powerful using just Core- but it's easier.
    Given that power builders on WotC boards can create fifth-level kobolds with infinite power, I wouldn't say that WotC-published materials are generally balanced. The mentioned creature is only the top, there are infinite other ways to break the game with WotC material.

    Of course it can't be done easily with full-blooded powergamers. They will create classes or variants to break the moon. But those are not reasonable trade-offs. I don't let them to create a class or PrC, but I allow them to tweak mostly SRD material for their tastes, if I see those reasonable, and explained in their backgounds. If a monk wanted to trade smite evil for flurry, saying that the guy came from a very religious monastery, I'd allow it. But when he would like to do three changes, and all of them point in the same direction (ie. the increase of damage output), I'd say to think on it again, cause it smells like munchkin.
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  26. - Top - End - #26
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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    I'll allow a player to do some customizing if they can explain it to me in their character's history. Class skill swapping is usually pretty easy, class abilities can be more difficult however. As long as there isn't any overpowered issues, I'm fine with it. As others have said, I reserve the right to force that character to retire if he turns out overpowered.

  27. - Top - End - #27
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    Devil

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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    Quote Originally Posted by krossbow View Post
    Familiars for hexblades? I let them get a demon in their blade instead (+1 bonus at level 4, +2 8, +3 12, +4 16, +5 20, and a bardic knowlege check to ask the demon things).
    Nifty idea. I'm sort of partial to the PHB2's variant "Dark Companion" as a replacement for a hexblade's familiar. It has style.

    As for what I allow or disallow... Well, I guess I'm pretty arbitrary. I'll generally allow most anything from the wotc material as long as it fits in with the story. (I tend to frown on samurai in the middle of a medieval fantasy just as much as I do Paladins in an asian fantasy. Some things just really ruin the flavor of the game.)

    Minor subs aren't much of a problem for me. Class skills exchanges are usually OKed if I like the reason behind it. I'll allow spell swaps only if I really think it's appropriate to the character. Very rarely will I give a freebee though. If a player wants it, "dey gots ta pay da man foist." I try to avoid trading out class abilities whenever possible, searching for an interpretation of the current ability that fits into the new variant.

    I have allowed things along the lines of bards using Spellcraft in exchange for Perform checks on Bardic music. The same bard swapped all the Summon Monster spells from the list for Summon Undead. That was a pretty fair trade off that changed the whole tenor of the class from "campy minstrel in the woods" to "deviant with a grasp on the darker aspects of the occult." It had a very Lovecraft feel after we were done reworking it. I could almost say I was proud.

  28. - Top - End - #28
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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    I generally don't deviate from RAW when playing 3.x. If I change one thing, I'm going to want to change a lot more, then I might as well be playing my 2.x game.
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  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    Swapping summon undead instead of monsters? Wow, that's a pretty neat idea. Must try it sometimes. A zombie is much more stylish than an owlbear.
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    Default Re: DM's, do you allow ability trade-offs?

    Sometimes we allow changes. For example, making an alternate feats list for a fighter so that you can make a tank instead of a blender. You know, feats like Endurance and Improved Toughness and such instead of Combat Expertise and Spring Attack. It all depends on whether or not it's balanced, whether or not it will improve the quality of gameplay, etc.
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