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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Zombie

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    Default 3.5E house rules?

    I've been playing 3rd edition (or 3.5) since it came out. I never moved on to the later versions or PF for various reasons, and by now my familiarity with the system makes it so that I can focus more on the actual play than the rules. That being said, I definitely recognize that 3.5 has some warts and wrinkles. Over the years I've developed a few tweaks here and there to help iron out what I see as rough spots in the system. I also keep abreast of the new rules. PF2.0 has some great ideas, like the 3-action round. If anyone has seen Level Up over on ENWorld, I really love some of the changes they are introducing around monster descriptions and exploration.

    Is there any interest in discussing rough spots and potential improvements? For example, here's an easy one. It seems minor, but it really helps everyone at the table feel like they have something to contribute in random situations.

    Background Skills: Skill points for most characters are extremely limited. In addition, some skills are just really rarely utilized, such as Craft. To help alleviate that, every PC gets 1 extra skill point per level that can only be spent on Craft, Profession, Speak Language, Perform, or Knowledge. No more than 1/2 of these skill ranks can be put into any one skill.
    Last edited by Schmoe; 2021-08-30 at 07:43 AM.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmoe View Post
    I've been playing 3rd edition (or 3.5) since it came out. I never moved on to the later versions or PF for various reasons, and by now my familiarity with the system makes it so that I can focus more on the actual play than the rules. That being said, I definitely recognize that 3.5 has some warts and wrinkles. Over the years I've developed a few tweaks here and there to help iron out what I see as rough spots in the system. I also keep abreast of the new rules. PF2.0 has some great ideas, like the 3-action round. If anyone has seen Level Up over on ENWorld, I really love some of the changes they are introducing around monster descriptions and exploration.

    Is there any interest in discussing rough spots and potential improvements? For example, here's an easy one. It seems minor, but it really helps everyone at the table feel like they have something to contribute in random situations.

    Background Skills: Skill points for most characters are extremely limited. In addition, some skills are just really rarely utilized, such as Craft. To help alleviate that, every PC gets 1 extra skill point per level that can only be spent on Craft, Profession, Speak Language, Perform, or Knowledge. No more than 1/2 of these skill ranks can be put into any one skill.
    I agree. If I would start a new party I would give everyone a few skill points which they can put in back ground skills. Profession I would make a class skill for all classes.

    Non of the parties I play in use XP. At a certain point the DM decides it's time to level up. Anything above level 15 takes at least a few years to reach.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    ElfWarriorGuy

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    I like the homebrew idea of a background skill, and I like the choice of skills given, but I'd remove Knowledge from the options offered. I find Knowledge skills are much more useful than the rest, have use in combat, and can be used with Knowledge Devotion or a bunch of prestige class prerequisites.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Some knowledges have combat applications, but others don't. Arcana may tell you what the monsters you're fighting are, but Architecture and engineering sure won't.

    In terms of the houserule, one thing I would suggest is to roll back the idea that specializations are separate skills for most of those skills. Perform should get you one performance type per rank, not require you to buy up "Trombone" and "Tap Dance" separately. Knowledge, again, should probably be an exception, as the different knowledges do have some value. But you don't need different Craft skills for PCs.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    ElfWarriorGuy

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by RandomPeasant View Post
    Some knowledges have combat applications, but others don't. Arcana may tell you what the monsters you're fighting are, but Architecture and engineering sure won't.
    Maybe make Knowledge: Architecture, Geography, History and Nobility as part of the list of background skills, but other knowledge skills are excluded.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    I dunno, it seems this is a dis-incentive to play skill-based classes.

    One of the reasons people play bards is for bardic knowledge; one of the reasons people play rogues is for a ton of skill points. Considering that none of the skill-based classes is game breaking (tier 1 or tier 2) do the skill-based classes really need a nerf?

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    IME, "quality of life" house rules like those mentioned by the OP are more common than balance house rules. Plenty of tables don't even realize their quality of life bugfixes are house rules at all! Usually it's the removal disliked things such as massive damage, multiclass xp penalties, fireball being a wealth destroyer/related item rules, misguided applications of the primary source rule*, and so on. If we're talking about more proactive changes, I often (but do not always) see things like:
    - Giving away certain feats for free to everyone, e.g. Power Attack, Combat Expertise, Weapon Finesse.
    - Bumping the skill points for mundane 2+int classes to at least 4+int (and/or having more ways to get more skill points).
    - Making detect magic/identify work like Pathfinder (or just handwaving identification altogether).

    *
    Spoiler
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    Basically, if the GM's game includes book X, and within X is a rules update Y which contradicts the PHB, and the GM does not explicitly change Y, then of course we're using Y. Don't be silly.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant
    I want tools to use in the game, not a blank check to do what I want. I can already do what I want.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by Murg View Post
    I dunno, it seems this is a dis-incentive to play skill-based classes.

    One of the reasons people play bards is for bardic knowledge; one of the reasons people play rogues is for a ton of skill points. Considering that none of the skill-based classes is game breaking (tier 1 or tier 2) do the skill-based classes really need a nerf?
    I doubt any skill monkey would feel like the Fighter is stepping on her toes if said Fighter gets to be good at repairing his own weapons or cooking dinner for the rest of the party. Having one skill point per level that can be spent on moderately-fluffy options doesn't really hurt skill based classes.

    An argument may be made for Knowledge skills and how they affect Bardic knowledge, but I suspect one extra rank per level isn't going to make you be on par with a Bard unless you were already investing in those skills.

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by Murg View Post
    one of the reasons people play rogues is for a ton of skill points. Considering that none of the skill-based classes is game breaking (tier 1 or tier 2) do the skill-based classes really need a nerf?
    I mean, they get more skills too, and frankly rogue has nowhere near the skills they need because of how subdivided 3.5's skill system is. To accomplish the traditional basic rogue things, you need Hide, Move Silently, Search, Spot, Listen, Disable Device, and Open Lock. That locks down 7 of your 8 skills, just for the basic role of "scout ahead and bypass traps/locks". Nevermind if you want to play a con artist type (Bluff, Intimidate, Diplomacy, Sense Motive), or an infiltrator (climb, balance, use rope, maybe swim). Hells, it doesn't even give you Sleight of Hand for picking pockets (a classic rogue thing that isn't generally relevant in dungeons)
    I follow a general rule: better to ask and be told no than not to ask at all.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by pabelfly View Post
    I like the homebrew idea of a background skill, and I like the choice of skills given, but I'd remove Knowledge from the options offered. I find Knowledge skills are much more useful than the rest, have use in combat, and can be used with Knowledge Devotion or a bunch of prestige class prerequisites.
    I do agree that Knowledge skills can be pretty useful, and even have combat applications! That said, I didn't think this would cause too many issues because:

    a.) Nobody is going to get a lot of ranks in a Knowledge skill from this ability (at most ranks = 1/2 your level), so probably won't rely on it for combat applications
    b.) There are a lot of Knowledge skills. So what if the Fighter with an Int modifier of +0 has picked up a couple ranks in Knowledge Planes? There are lots of other things to know, and a specialist will know it better.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by Murg View Post
    I dunno, it seems this is a dis-incentive to play skill-based classes.

    One of the reasons people play bards is for bardic knowledge; one of the reasons people play rogues is for a ton of skill points. Considering that none of the skill-based classes is game breaking (tier 1 or tier 2) do the skill-based classes really need a nerf?
    I did think about this, but in the end decided it was worth a shot. My reasoning was that:

    a.) Skill-based classes also benefit from this. It turns out they are just as skill-starved as other classes, and it helps them make more well-rounded characters.
    b.) The skills available really aren't stepping on the toes of anyone else.
    c.) Even with skill-based characters in a group, I never had anyone take Craft: Carpentry before this. The look on a sorcerer player's face when they can use a background skill is priceless.

    I definitely went into it as an experiment and willing to pull back, but so far I haven't found that it detracts in any way from skill-based characters.
    Last edited by Schmoe; 2021-08-30 at 10:42 AM.

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    PirateGirl

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by pabelfly View Post
    I like the homebrew idea of a background skill, and I like the choice of skills given, but I'd remove Knowledge from the options offered. I find Knowledge skills are much more useful than the rest, have use in combat, and can be used with Knowledge Devotion or a bunch of prestige class prerequisites.
    Maybe remove the ones that have that combat function, but leave stuff like Knowledge: Architecture, Knowledge: History, etc.?

    I'd also add the house rule my DM uses, which is, in essence, to remove the "class skills" concept entirely. Characters just pick 20 skills as their personal skill list.

    Giving almost all characters too few skill points to make any meaningful or interesting choices, plus hammering them even more if they pick the "wrong" skills just seems to me like yet another "not-being-a-wizard" tax imposed by the system.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoodbyeSoberDay View Post
    IME, "quality of life" house rules like those mentioned by the OP are more common than balance house rules. Plenty of tables don't even realize their quality of life bugfixes are house rules at all! Usually it's the removal disliked things such as massive damage, multiclass xp penalties, fireball being a wealth destroyer/related item rules, misguided applications of the primary source rule*, and so on. If we're talking about more proactive changes, I often (but do not always) see things like:
    - Giving away certain feats for free to everyone, e.g. Power Attack, Combat Expertise, Weapon Finesse.
    - Bumping the skill points for mundane 2+int classes to at least 4+int (and/or having more ways to get more skill points).
    - Making detect magic/identify work like Pathfinder (or just handwaving identification altogether).
    Yeah, and oftentimes these make the biggest difference. Another quality of life change I've added is Weapon Groups. Similar to Pathfinder's (I think). I took inspiration from Pathfinder weapon groups, but didn't pay too much attention when I wrote down my rules. Some weapons are in multiple weapon groups.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Zombie

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by RexDart View Post
    Maybe remove the ones that have that combat function, but leave stuff like Knowledge: Architecture, Knowledge: History, etc.?

    I'd also add the house rule my DM uses, which is, in essence, to remove the "class skills" concept entirely. Characters just pick 20 skills as their personal skill list.

    Giving almost all characters too few skill points to make any meaningful or interesting choices, plus hammering them even more if they pick the "wrong" skills just seems to me like yet another "not-being-a-wizard" tax imposed by the system.
    I'm DMing for two groups of relatively new players. To that end I've resisted making really dramatic changes, as I'd like the players to have pretty good footing on the rules and not have to question everything they read in the PHB. That being said, yeah, I think skills are definitely an area open to improvement. 2 skill points/level for a Wizard is a lot different than 2 skill points/level for a Fighter, or even a Cleric.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmoe View Post
    Background Skills: Skill points for most characters are extremely limited. In addition, some skills are just really rarely utilized, such as Craft. To help alleviate that, every PC gets 1 extra skill point per level that can only be spent on Craft, Profession, Speak Language, Perform, or Knowledge. No more than 1/2 of these skill ranks can be put into any one skill.
    Quote Originally Posted by pabelfly View Post
    Maybe make Knowledge: Architecture, Geography, History and Nobility as part of the list of background skills, but other knowledge skills are excluded.
    I've done exactly this is my current campaign, except for the bit about no more than half ranks in a given skill, and that I've also excluded the Perform skills which can be used for Bardic music. It doesn't come into play particularly often, but it provides a bit of colour to characters who are mostly just about killing things. One of them now keeps any cool-looking body parts from things he kills and sports a dire badgerskin 'pimp coat' among other accessories.

    It sometimes saves them a bit of money here and there (the Druid carved his own wooden breastplate to cast Ironwood on for example) but nothing that makes much difference at mid-high levels.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    I mean, they get more skills too, and frankly rogue has nowhere near the skills they need because of how subdivided 3.5's skill system is. To accomplish the traditional basic rogue things, you need Hide, Move Silently, Search, Spot, Listen, Disable Device, and Open Lock. That locks down 7 of your 8 skills, just for the basic role of "scout ahead and bypass traps/locks". Nevermind if you want to play a con artist type (Bluff, Intimidate, Diplomacy, Sense Motive), or an infiltrator (climb, balance, use rope, maybe swim). Hells, it doesn't even give you Sleight of Hand for picking pockets (a classic rogue thing that isn't generally relevant in dungeons)
    Yeah, this. I think the next campaign I start I'm either giving everyone (except maybe tier 1 classes) 2 more skill points per level, or else borrowing from PF and combining some skills so their skill points go further.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by RandomPeasant View Post
    Some knowledges have combat applications, but others don't. Arcana may tell you what the monsters you're fighting are, but Architecture and engineering sure won't.
    Unless, perhaps, you attack a gazebo?
    Last edited by Quertus; 2021-08-30 at 11:44 AM.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    I generally consider PF2e a cautionary tale, being a road paved with good intentions.

    As for 3.5e house rules one of the biggest undertakings is addressing some of the needless fiddly details. One thing I didnít see mentioned yet at a glance was retroactive skill points for changing INT. Systems that produce different character results for varying the order of your inputs are generally a headache, just avoid this.
    Martialsí concepts donít evolve past the mundane
    High levels arenít just lower levels with bigger numbers
    Martials have the tools they need for relevance

    Pick 2

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xervous View Post
    As for 3.5e house rules one of the biggest undertakings is addressing some of the needless fiddly details. One thing I didnít see mentioned yet at a glance was retroactive skill points for changing INT. Systems that produce different character results for varying the order of your inputs are generally a headache, just avoid this.
    This problem mostly arises when building character directly at higher level, and whose INT score changes between level 1 and whatever the actual starting level is. Playing a character from level 1 to level N doesn't incur in any problem regarding assigning skill points.

    Of course, it is weird we have retroactive hit points but no retroactive skill points.

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    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    For me, any significant problem I have with 3.5 is solved by E6.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by D+1 View Post
    For me, any significant problem I have with 3.5 is solved by E6.
    E6? What is that?

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    ElfWarriorGuy

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmoe View Post
    E6? What is that?
    Short version, E6 has character levels cap out at level 6. After that, you get a feat every so often. Level 6 is about the level where martial characters and casters are roughly the same level of power, so it can be pretty good if you want a somewhat balanced, low-power game.

    There are more expansive rules elsewhere and there can be some differences in rules since it's a homebrew system.

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    Telonius's Avatar

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Here's the usual houserules I use. I've played around with some other things, case by case, but these are generally pretty useful. They don't fix every problem, but they try to fix some of problems in Core that are really unbalancing, stupid, or just plain un-fun.

    Spoiler: House Rules
    Show
    Character Creation
    - One free 18. Roll 4d6 five times, rerolling any one, once. (If it comes up as another one, it was meant to be). Drop lowest die result. Arrange as desired. (Mulligan if less than a collective +7 bonus).

    Race
    - Half-Elves get one extra skill point per level.
    - Half-Orcs lose the CHA penalty and gain a +4 racial bonus to Intimidate.

    Class
    - Remove favored classes. Multiclass is free.
    - There can be Lawful Barbarians, Lawful Bards, and Chaotic Monks.
    - All Clerics are Cloistered Clerics.
    - Clerics gain proficiency with their deity's favored weapon. (War domain still gives them the Weapon Focus feat).
    - Fighters get 4+Int skill points per level.
    - At level 5, Fighters gain the "Adaptable Focus" class ability. Once a day Fighters can spend 1 hour practicing with a weapon to change the kind of weapon for which they have Focus or Specialization. This designation lasts until the Fighter spends an hour to change the weapon focus again.
    - Paladins take the alignment of their deity (if any) and must act as a prime example of the ideals of their deity, philosophy, or cause.
    - Monks get full BAB, proficiency with Gauntlets (which are also a Monk weapon), and can spend time/gold/xp enchanting their own body as though it were a weapon/armor.
    - Sorcerers get free Eschew Materials at first, and their HD improves to d6.
    - Rogues get an additional Rogue Ability at level 20.
    - Rangers and Druids trade animal companions.
    - Knowledge (Religion) and Knowledge (Geography) are now on the Druid class skill list.
    - Druids use the Shapeshift variant (except for the animal companion, as described above).

    Skills
    - Open Lock and Disable Device are rolled into one skill, Disable Device (based on Dexterity).
    - Balance and Tumble are now one skill, Acrobatics (based on Dexterity).
    - Listen and Spot are now one skill, Perception (based on Wisdom).
    - Hide and Move Silently are now one skill, Stealth (based on Dexterity).

    Feats
    - Remove the +1 BAB requirement for the Weapon Finesse feat
    - Weapon Focus grants a bonus equal to Fighter Level/5 (minimum 1). Greater Weapon Focus doubles the bonus.
    - Weapon Specialization grants a bonus equal to 2*(Fighter Level/5). Greater Weapon Specialization doubles the bonus.
    - Metamagic feats do not take more time for spontaneous casters
    - Natural Spell is stricken from the game.
    - The Two-Weapon Fighting feat now scales to include extra attacks with each iterative Attack. Improved Two-Weapon fighting lessens the penalty by 1 for each attack. Greater Two-Weapon fighting lessens the penalty by an additional 1.
    - The Rapid Shot feat now scales to include extra attacks with each iterative Attack. Manyshot lessens the penalty by 1 for each attack.
    - Toughness grants you HP equal to your current HD.
    - Delete the phrase ďand use the charge actionĒ from the Ride-By Attack feat. Ride-By Attack will function as the mounted equivalent of Spring Attack.

    Spells
    - The following spells are stricken from the game: Shapechange, Polymorph Any Object, Wind Wall, Contingency, Knock.
    - Divine Power is no longer a standard Cleric spell. It is still on the War domain list.

    Miscellaneous
    - Fractional BAB and saves for multiclass characters.
    - Starting characters may choose race or templates totaling +2 LA. Buyoff is available.
    - SR does not have to be turned off in order to receive a beneficial spell.
    - All adventurers are issued the following items free, not counted against WBL:
    1 Handy Haversack, 1 MW armor or MW weapon, 10 trail rations (kept in the haversack), 1 spellbook (if a wizard), 1 holy symbol (if a cleric or paladin)
    - When making a mounted charge, the mount is not required to make an attack (though it may do so if beneficial).
    - Dust of Sneezing and Choking does not exist.
    - There are no Vorpal weapons in my game. If you ever encounter a Vorpal weapon, you can be assured that you will soon be facing a Jabberwocky, which will be an epic-level foe.
    - Donít try to break the game. I reserve the right to say no to any race/feat/class/PrC/equipment/whatever combination. If youíre not sure, ask; Iím willing to work with you if itís not too ridiculous.
    - Add Pun-Pun as an over-deity of Cheese, Exploits, and Metagaming. Pun-Pun is aware that he is a god in a fictional gaming world. Anyone that slips something past me in an attempt to break the game will bring down his wrath. He is jealous of his ultimate power, and will personally act to prevent any player/character from approaching it.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    A similar house rule I've implemented in a few games and which my players seem to like is what I've dubbed "background kits": basically, at character creation everyone can pick a "kit" from a list. Each kit is a thematic ensemble, consisting of a "minor feat" (any of the ones like Agile, Deft Hands, Negotiator, Stealthy...), a thematically appropriate minor privilege (such as treating a skill as always being a class skill, picking an extra language, having a daily reroll or a +2 competence bonus on checks thematically related to the background), and a simple trinket relating to the kit.

    It doesn't particularly affect game balance, allows player some further customisation and a chance to pick up feats they otherwise would never consider and can help in establishing a backstory.

    It's by no means a groundbreaking or original idea, but I've found it's fun and flavorful. I make no claims to the various kits I've come up with to be balanced with each other, but I haven't found games in a which a character has a "bigger" privilege such as a reroll and another simply gets to have an "always a class skill" on to lead to problems or conflict.
    Last edited by Silly Name; 2021-08-30 at 06:16 PM.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    I pretty massively buffed skill point acquisition in my system. Put it more in line with hit dice, so no one has less than 4 + INT (basically every class I just moved up by 2) and Rogues I put all the way up to 12 + INT.

    I have Perform and Craft skills at 1/2 a skill point for each rank to encourage their use, and because my setting is extremely music focused.

    I also did away with class skills entirely.

    I don't know if I necessarily recommend all of this in a vacuum--I've got 10+ years of other houseruling that probably makes this look a little less extreme in context--but my players actually have and use the fun skills like Forgery or Decipher Script and I get a LOT more out of sheets reflecting characters' actual realistic backgrounds when players aren't just putting every available point into class requirements and Spellcraft.

    So I guess my stance is that your changes are likely to be fine, and if anything could probably be toned up without too much worry. As long as you're making sure the classes focused on having skill points still have the most skill points by relevant margins, rising tides float all ships.
    Last edited by ManicOppressive; 2021-08-30 at 06:57 PM.
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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Zombie

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by pabelfly View Post
    Short version, E6 has character levels cap out at level 6. After that, you get a feat every so often. Level 6 is about the level where martial characters and casters are roughly the same level of power, so it can be pretty good if you want a somewhat balanced, low-power game.

    There are more expansive rules elsewhere and there can be some differences in rules since it's a homebrew system.
    Ah, I see. I could see how that avoids many of the problems, but it also would feel like a very stifled game to me. Thanks for the explanation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Telonius View Post
    Here's the usual houserules I use. I've played around with some other things, case by case, but these are generally pretty useful. They don't fix every problem, but they try to fix some of problems in Core that are really unbalancing, stupid, or just plain un-fun.

    Spoiler: House Rules
    Show
    Character Creation
    - One free 18. Roll 4d6 five times, rerolling any one, once. (If it comes up as another one, it was meant to be). Drop lowest die result. Arrange as desired. (Mulligan if less than a collective +7 bonus).

    Race
    - Half-Elves get one extra skill point per level.
    - Half-Orcs lose the CHA penalty and gain a +4 racial bonus to Intimidate.

    Class
    - Remove favored classes. Multiclass is free.
    - There can be Lawful Barbarians, Lawful Bards, and Chaotic Monks.
    - All Clerics are Cloistered Clerics.
    - Clerics gain proficiency with their deity's favored weapon. (War domain still gives them the Weapon Focus feat).
    - Fighters get 4+Int skill points per level.
    - At level 5, Fighters gain the "Adaptable Focus" class ability. Once a day Fighters can spend 1 hour practicing with a weapon to change the kind of weapon for which they have Focus or Specialization. This designation lasts until the Fighter spends an hour to change the weapon focus again.
    - Paladins take the alignment of their deity (if any) and must act as a prime example of the ideals of their deity, philosophy, or cause.
    - Monks get full BAB, proficiency with Gauntlets (which are also a Monk weapon), and can spend time/gold/xp enchanting their own body as though it were a weapon/armor.
    - Sorcerers get free Eschew Materials at first, and their HD improves to d6.
    - Rogues get an additional Rogue Ability at level 20.
    - Rangers and Druids trade animal companions.
    - Knowledge (Religion) and Knowledge (Geography) are now on the Druid class skill list.
    - Druids use the Shapeshift variant (except for the animal companion, as described above).

    Skills
    - Open Lock and Disable Device are rolled into one skill, Disable Device (based on Dexterity).
    - Balance and Tumble are now one skill, Acrobatics (based on Dexterity).
    - Listen and Spot are now one skill, Perception (based on Wisdom).
    - Hide and Move Silently are now one skill, Stealth (based on Dexterity).

    Feats
    - Remove the +1 BAB requirement for the Weapon Finesse feat
    - Weapon Focus grants a bonus equal to Fighter Level/5 (minimum 1). Greater Weapon Focus doubles the bonus.
    - Weapon Specialization grants a bonus equal to 2*(Fighter Level/5). Greater Weapon Specialization doubles the bonus.
    - Metamagic feats do not take more time for spontaneous casters
    - Natural Spell is stricken from the game.
    - The Two-Weapon Fighting feat now scales to include extra attacks with each iterative Attack. Improved Two-Weapon fighting lessens the penalty by 1 for each attack. Greater Two-Weapon fighting lessens the penalty by an additional 1.
    - The Rapid Shot feat now scales to include extra attacks with each iterative Attack. Manyshot lessens the penalty by 1 for each attack.
    - Toughness grants you HP equal to your current HD.
    - Delete the phrase ďand use the charge actionĒ from the Ride-By Attack feat. Ride-By Attack will function as the mounted equivalent of Spring Attack.

    Spells
    - The following spells are stricken from the game: Shapechange, Polymorph Any Object, Wind Wall, Contingency, Knock.
    - Divine Power is no longer a standard Cleric spell. It is still on the War domain list.

    Miscellaneous
    - Fractional BAB and saves for multiclass characters.
    - Starting characters may choose race or templates totaling +2 LA. Buyoff is available.
    - SR does not have to be turned off in order to receive a beneficial spell.
    - All adventurers are issued the following items free, not counted against WBL:
    1 Handy Haversack, 1 MW armor or MW weapon, 10 trail rations (kept in the haversack), 1 spellbook (if a wizard), 1 holy symbol (if a cleric or paladin)
    - When making a mounted charge, the mount is not required to make an attack (though it may do so if beneficial).
    - Dust of Sneezing and Choking does not exist.
    - There are no Vorpal weapons in my game. If you ever encounter a Vorpal weapon, you can be assured that you will soon be facing a Jabberwocky, which will be an epic-level foe.
    - Donít try to break the game. I reserve the right to say no to any race/feat/class/PrC/equipment/whatever combination. If youíre not sure, ask; Iím willing to work with you if itís not too ridiculous.
    - Add Pun-Pun as an over-deity of Cheese, Exploits, and Metagaming. Pun-Pun is aware that he is a god in a fictional gaming world. Anyone that slips something past me in an attempt to break the game will bring down his wrath. He is jealous of his ultimate power, and will personally act to prevent any player/character from approaching it.
    Cool. I really like a lot of these, and have a few in a similar vein (Toughness, for example). The Cloistered Cleric in particular is a great house rule. I think Druids need to be toned down as well, as they are totally over the top. I'm not sure I agree with the anti-Vorpal weapons, though :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Silly Name View Post
    A similar house rule I've implemented in a few games and which my players seem to like is what I've dubbed "background kits": basically, at character creation everyone can pick a "kit" from a list. Each kit is a thematic ensemble, consisting of a "minor feat" (any of the ones like Agile, Deft Hands, Negotiator, Stealthy...), a thematically appropriate minor privilege (such as treating a skill as always being a class skill, picking an extra language, having a daily reroll or a +2 competence bonus on checks thematically related to the background), and a simple trinket relating to the kit.
    Nice, I like that quite a bit. The background abilities in 3.5 RAW are really lacking, so anything that helps flesh out the characters I find to be a value add with very little downside.

    Quote Originally Posted by ManicOppressive View Post
    <snip>
    So I guess my stance is that your changes are likely to be fine, and if anything could probably be toned up without too much worry. As long as you're making sure the classes focused on having skill points still have the most skill points by relevant margins, rising tides float all ships.
    Thanks, and I definitely agree about keeping skill-based characters relevant. I'm sure I could have done more in this area, but as I mentioned earlier I'm resisting making too many changes with newer players.

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Zombie

    Join Date
    Aug 2021

    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    I've also house-ruled a few spells that I find particularly troubling or disappointing. Those being Darkness, Entangle, Web, Cause Fear/Scare, and the Blasphemy family of spells. I'll spare you the Blasphemy rules, as that's probably an entirely post on its own, and probably not that interesting, but here are the others:

    Darkness
    Darkness is lame. It used to actually create darkness. As written, it actually creates light! If you cast Darkness in a pitch black cave, per the spell it illuminates the cave. Thatís dumb. In order to avoid the complete shutdown of pitch black, but still not give in to the illumination nonsense, Darkness (and Deeper Darkness) are re-written as follows.

    Effect: Darkness creates an area that impedes all sources of light and vision. Within an area of magical darkness, light canít spread beyond 20í, and all forms of vision are likewise impeded to prevent vision beyond 20í. Any source of light within the area is treated as dim light. Someone within an area of darkness or targeting an opponent in an area of darkness suffers a 20% miss chance if there is a light source. Senses that do not rely on vision, such as blindsight and tremorsense, are unaffected.

    Entangle
    This spell is incredibly powerful, with the ability to lock down multiple creatures for literally 10s of rounds. As written, a creature in the center with a 20í move needs to make a minimum of 4 successful checks to escape the effect, and with a +2 strength bonus has only a 10% chance of succeeding on each check, which means it will take 40 rounds for the creature to escape. The following adjustments continue to allow Entangle to function as battlefield control while keeping the spell more in line with what a 1st level spell should do.

    Effect: Creatures must save when the spell is cast, and if they end their turn in the area of effect. Creatures that fail their save are entangled and canít move. All movement in the area of effect is at half speed. As a full-round action, an entangled creature can make a Strength check or Escape Artist check at the original spell DC to break free and make a double move. A creature gains a +4 bonus to the check for each size category greater than Medium.

    Web
    Web has similar issues to Entangle, despite the weakness to fire and flaming attacks. The following adjustments should make Web less of an encounter-ending spell while still keeping it relevant.

    Effect: The initial save only determines whether a creature is stuck in the web. All creatures within the area of effect are considered entangled. The Strength and Escape Artist DC to break free are equal to the spellís save DC. Remember that an entangled creature has a -4 to effective Dex. Moving within the web is as described in the spell. It requires a full-round action to make a Strength check or Escape Artist check. The creature moves 5 feet for each full 5 points by which the check exceeds 10. Creatures get a +5 bonus to their checks if they have a solid surface against which to brace themselves. A creature gets a +4 bonus to its check for every size category greater than Medium.

    Cause Fear/Scare
    Effect: Creatures of 6+ HD are no longer immune to these spells, but instead automatically make their saving throws. This means that they are automatically Shaken for 1 round. This maintains some minor relevance for the spells.

    Do other people find those spells difficult to work with or just plain jarring? For example, so many higher level creatures have Cause Fear or Scare, but it's just pointless. Entangle and Web shut down entire encounters. Darkness is actually "Shadowy Light". There are tons of other spells that could be tweaked, but I've only changed the few most egregious ones. So far the players seem to agree with the changes.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

    Join Date
    Mar 2021

    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    I still allow players to bind wounds after a fight (gaining back D4 hp), which is an old but common house rule from 1e (I seriously thought it was RAW but apparently just widely used).

    Nat 1s call for a weapon save vs breakage. Magic bonuses count as bonuses to save. (Don't give me that look, weapons break -- and there's mending spells a plenty)

    No multiclass XP penalties.

    If you want to do something, make a character, whatever, that's not strictly legal or by the book -- we can talk about it. Talking about it does not forfeit the DM's authority to make the final call.

    Nature abhors naked singularities -- if you try to leverage something flagrantly world-breaking, the Universe is going to compensate via the path of least resistance, which is almost always going to be by removing you from it. History is littered with the craters of those who wield power carelessly...

    Dice that do not come to rest on a flat surface, fall off the table, land on keyboards, etc., are over the wall, do not call -- you must reroll.

    The DM does not abide mechanics, droppers, screeners, or other attempts at dice control -- typically you will get one warning, after which you will get pointed reminders that the DM doesn't even need dice, they can arbitrarily determine outcomes. (Seriously, do not try any of this. You're not fooling anyone and I've little patience for it.)

    Oh, and above all, have fun and don't be a @#$%.


    -Jn-
    Ifriti Sophist


    PS:
    Not a house rule but always a good thing to keep in mind in my games, Napalm's Law of Magic Items:

    "If it is shiny, it probably belongs to someone. If it is intelligent, it likely has its own agenda."
    Last edited by JoeNapalm; 2021-08-31 at 09:58 AM.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Vacation in Nyalotha

    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeNapalm View Post

    Nat 1s call for a weapon save vs breakage. Magic bonuses count as bonuses to save. (Don't give me that look, weapons break -- and there's mending spells a plenty)
    Do the evil wizards have to roll fort saves or have their fingers shrivel up when I nat20 a save against their spell?
    Martialsí concepts donít evolve past the mundane
    High levels arenít just lower levels with bigger numbers
    Martials have the tools they need for relevance

    Pick 2

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jan 2019

    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    I still allow players to bind wounds after a fight (gaining back D4 hp), which is an old but common house rule from 1e (I seriously thought it was RAW but apparently just widely used).
    Heal skill check or can anyone just do it?

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2016

    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    As far as skills go: All classes get +2 skill points per level, No such thing as class skills (buy ranks in what you want), the Pathfinder skill bundles are in effect.

    HD: every class gets one die size increase except for barbarians.

    Race: All LAs are reduced by one and LA is bought off at 3rd, 6th, and 9th level.

    Spellcasting: Rangers and Paladins get Bard spell progression (including 0 and 5th/6th level spells). And I have intentionally nerfed some spells and bumped up others.

    Multiclassing: What xp penalty?

    Actions: 1 swift action, one move action and one full attack action or standard action per round (helps martials a bit).

    BAB: all classes have their BAB moved up one level.

    Rangers get animal companions at 1st level and ALL animal companions and familiars scale by character level NOT class level.

    These are the common house rules at our table. we have seven people and each peron has some of their own when it's their turn to DM.
    Currently Playing:
    Kobrea Aelwyn - An Epic Half Fey Kobold Elf Friend ;-D))))))
    Gearing up for a new Gestalt campaign ;-)

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