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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by fallensavior View Post
    This is a long list. Accrued from 18 years of rulings and bugfixes.
    I will disagree with vlad here. My gripes are two-fold, one objective, one subjective.

    In fact I see 3 sets of rules:

    * The obvious ones, like no multiclass penalty, which I also do.
    * The badwrongfun ones, like no evil characters or the out of character bit.
    * The "address the symptom, not the root cause" rules. Why are animated shields and rings of evasion banned for example?

    Overall I would hate my time at your table.

  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by pabelfly View Post
    Free feats are often geared towards "feat taxes" - feats that most characters (martial especially) need to take to function...
    In my house rules, the 'feat tax' feats are not free outright, but free with the purchase of high stats...

    Str 16 or higher gets you Power Attack
    Dex 16 or higher gets you Weapon Finesse
    Con 16 or higher gets you Diehard
    Wis 16 or higher gets you Zen Encumbrance*


    (* use your Wisdom score to calculate your carrying capacity, because you really grok how to pack a suitcase )

  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    I have no idea of how well this would work in practice, but it feels like a fairly easy (though probably rather work intensive) way of fixing that problem might be to assign each feat a point value and have characters get "feat points" every time they would've gotten a feat. That way it's up to the individual player whether to pick a single great feat or a bunch of lesser ones.
    This'll get you started: SonofZeal's GitP project fixing SKR's Feat-Point System

  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    My local group recently started a 3.5 campaign, and our GM has instituted a few house rule in this go around:

    -Bards and Rangers get the Rogue's Trapfinding ability.
    -Paladins may use smite with ranged weapons.
    -Favored Souls can trade in their class flight ability for the Paladin's turn undead ability at character creation.
    -Creating magic items/potions with a CL of 1 no longer costs Exp to create.
    -When taking the Leadership feat, you must pick either the companion or the followers. You do not get both.
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  5. - Top - End - #95
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by martixy View Post
    I will disagree with vlad here. My gripes are two-fold, one objective, one subjective.

    In fact I see 3 sets of rules:

    * The obvious ones, like no multiclass penalty, which I also do.
    * The badwrongfun ones, like no evil characters or the out of character bit.
    * The "address the symptom, not the root cause" rules. Why are animated shields and rings of evasion banned for example?

    Overall I would hate my time at your table.
    The game is not intended to have evil PCs. That should be fairly obvious. It doesn't explicitly ban them, because some people are into treachery, backstabbing and pvp and such. At least as a change of pace. And if you want to run that kind of game, I'm not going to pooh pooh you having fun your way, but you should probably clearly advertise it as an evil campaign. I'm not interested in running that kind of game, so I have stated it loud and clear to prospective players that if that is what they are looking for, they should look elsewhere.

    Getting people to speak in character helps with immersion. Sometimes newbie players try to give their character's dialogue like they are writing a book instead of acting it out. Sometimes problematic players try to pull shenanigans and then claim they were speaking OoC when it goes poorly. These are things that have come up in actual play, so to make expectations clear, into the document it goes.

    I consider anything that is a no-brainer obvious option that every character will take no matter what to be OP. Heavy Fortification goes into this bucket as well as Animated shields and Rings of Evasion. They are not a symptom of anything, they are the OP thing. I have ran multiple campaigns where every PC (and at a certain level, every opponent) gets evasion from the ring if not class features. That doesn't make things more fun or interesting. It makes things more fun and interesting if you have to be certain classes (that anyone can add levels of to their build!) to have evasion, if you have to be an ooze or elemental to be immune to crits, and if you have to take Improved Buckler Defense to add a shield with your hands full.
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  6. - Top - End - #96
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by fallensavior View Post
    The game is not intended to have evil PCs. That should be fairly obvious. It doesn't explicitly ban them, because some people are into treachery, backstabbing and pvp and such.
    Iíll rate this comment one Red Fel out of three. A conflation of disruptive character with evil character. The lawful good paladin can easily be a vehicle for treachery (it is my duty to report this crime even if the party will suffer) and PvP. Undermining the party doesnít have an alignment, unless thereís a third axis for likelihood of winning an adventurerís Darwin Award by chopping at the lifeline that is your party. Just like you donít bring a pacifist to the dungeon grinder game, you donít bring a Paranoia character to D&D unless itís been explicitly flagged for PvP.

    Not wanting disruptive players is one thing. The common overlap of evil characters with disruptive players is to be noted. But a flat out ban on evil in this context seems to not address problems like chaotic stupid, stick in the rear paladin, nor bipolar orphan hugging puppy kicking neutral to list a few.
    Martialsí concepts donít evolve past the mundane
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    Martials have the tools they need for relevance

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  7. - Top - End - #97
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    PirateGirl

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xervous View Post
    Not wanting disruptive players is one thing. The common overlap of evil characters with disruptive players is to be noted. But a flat out ban on evil in this context seems to not address problems like chaotic stupid, stick in the rear paladin, nor bipolar orphan hugging puppy kicking neutral to list a few.
    This is true... but I think "no evil characters" also acts as a signal to players that the DM isn't going to have much patience for all that other nonsense either, and more efficiently than a whole paragraph about the shenanigans that you don't want to see.

  8. - Top - End - #98
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by fallensavior View Post
    The game is not intended to have evil PCs. That should be fairly obvious.
    Ahm, no? Thereare at least two always Evil classes (the Evil paladin variants), one where being Evil is actually very highly recommended (warlock), in addition to quite a number of Evil-only feats, prestige classes and ACFs. Evil clerics exist as a specific subset of clerics too, with semi-exclusive features of their own.

    you have to be an ooze or elemental to be immune to crits
    Or a PLANT! Everyone always forgets poor planties, despite the fact that they are way cool.

  9. - Top - End - #99
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    GnomePirate

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by Metastachydium View Post
    Ahm, no? Thereare at least two always Evil classes (the Evil paladin variants), one where being Evil is actually very highly recommended (warlock), in addition to quite a number of Evil-only feats, prestige classes and ACFs. Evil clerics exist as a specific subset of clerics too, with semi-exclusive features of their own.
    While I tend to agree that the game was designed with the possibility of evil PCs kept in mind (though the assumption is obviously good PCs) I don't think the point you make is all that convincing. This isn't 5E: enemies are built using the same tool set that is used by PCs, and use the same rules. Even if there was no intent for non-good pcs to ever be played, 3.5 would still require a plethora of evil options.

  10. - Top - End - #100
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    As always, "intent" is largely the wrong framework to approach the issue. There are Evil-only PC options. But, frankly, most of those just shouldn't be Evil-only. There are plenty of protagonists who are Warlocks or Necromancers or Death Knights or whatever. But those guys are just using powers that are spooky, not actually Evil. "Evil", when it means something, means something that is really not appropriate for a protagonist.

  11. - Top - End - #101
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by RexDart View Post
    This is true... but I think "no evil characters" also acts as a signal to players that the DM isn't going to have much patience for all that other nonsense either, and more efficiently than a whole paragraph about the shenanigans that you don't want to see.
    Or they could just say "no disruptive characters" if that's what they mean. Saying "no evil characters" mean the players have to first deduce what it actually means and then figure out what sort of behaviors are covered. At least by saying "no disruptive characters" they can skip the first part.

  12. - Top - End - #102
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by H_H_F_F View Post
    This isn't 5E: enemies are built using the same tool set that is used by PCs, and use the same rules.
    And I like it that way!

    Even if there was no intent for non-good pcs to ever be played, 3.5 would still require a plethora of evil options.
    That's a fair point. A more than fair point, in fact.
    Still, it bears mentioning that when 3.5 wants to funnel players towards certain options, it's known to find ways to make that felt (LA, I'm looking at you!). The variant paladins, in the meantime, are an ease-of-access kind of thing, a way around a restriction baked into the original (contrast blackguard which does kind of look like something that wasn't intended for use by players).

    Quote Originally Posted by RandomPeasant View Post
    "Evil", when it means something, means something that is really not appropriate for a protagonist.
    Villain protagonists are a thing, you know.

  13. - Top - End - #103
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by fallensavior View Post
    The game is not intended to have evil PCs...
    Bah.
    Heck, published modules came with evil pregens for players to use, at least in earlier editions.

    Evil works JUST FINE.

  14. - Top - End - #104
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    Or they could just say "no disruptive characters" if that's what they mean. Saying "no evil characters" mean the players have to first deduce what it actually means and then figure out what sort of behaviors are covered. At least by saying "no disruptive characters" they can skip the first part.
    "No Evil characters" is also a way to communicate what sort of game and story you are interested in playing. Alignment/concept restrictions are fine as a way to ensure the party gets along and doesn't shy away from the story.

    I have a campaign document where I specified that, while I wasn't going to outright ban Evil characters, the intended tone of the campaign was heavily slanted towards heroic acts and thus I was asking players to make heroic characters. I strongly believe in working together with the players, but putting restrictions on character options (which include alignments, races and classes) is an acceptable proposal from a DM. I have more than one campaign world where a PHB race outright doesn't exist or isn't available as a player option, I don't think I'm being an unreasonable DM with such proposals when stuff like Dark Sun is considered popular.

  15. - Top - End - #105
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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by Metastachydium View Post

    Villain protagonists are a thing, you know.
    Isn't there a rule that outright states if a PC alignment is evil that their character sheet is turned over to the DM and that PC becomes an NPC?

    I ignore this rule personally, but it is bothering me that I cannot find the source.
    My top question a DM should ask:
    "Why?"

  16. - Top - End - #106
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xervous View Post
    Iíll rate this comment one Red Fel out of three. A conflation of disruptive character with evil character. The lawful good paladin can easily be a vehicle for treachery (it is my duty to report this crime even if the party will suffer) and PvP. Undermining the party doesnít have an alignment, unless thereís a third axis for likelihood of winning an adventurerís Darwin Award by chopping at the lifeline that is your party. Just like you donít bring a pacifist to the dungeon grinder game, you donít bring a Paranoia character to D&D unless itís been explicitly flagged for PvP.

    Not wanting disruptive players is one thing. The common overlap of evil characters with disruptive players is to be noted. But a flat out ban on evil in this context seems to not address problems like chaotic stupid, stick in the rear paladin, nor bipolar orphan hugging puppy kicking neutral to list a few.
    It's not just the disruptive aspect, though that should not be downplayed. It's also that that's just not the type of story that I want to create/tell. So ultimately I'll have a lot more patience with the character that's roleplaying a moral dilemma.

    There is kind of an unwritten rule that you need to make a character that wants to participate/go on the adventure. So if some player ends up with a character that doesn't want to associate with the party or a pacifist that doesn't want to fight or a coward that doesn't want to take any risks; the correct response IMO is "Okay. Roll a new character."

    Quote Originally Posted by Metastachydium View Post
    Ahm, no? Thereare at least two always Evil classes (the Evil paladin variants), one where being Evil is actually very highly recommended (warlock), in addition to quite a number of Evil-only feats, prestige classes and ACFs. Evil clerics exist as a specific subset of clerics too, with semi-exclusive features of their own.

    Or a PLANT! Everyone always forgets poor planties, despite the fact that they are way cool.
    I think those things exist primarily for NPCs.

    Note how the BoVD says right in the beginning:
    Quote Originally Posted by BoVD pg 4
    HIDE THIS BOOK!
    Book of Vile Darkness is for Dungeon Masters (DMs) only. Just
    as you would keep the contents of a published adventure to
    yourself, restrict your playersí access to this book as well.
    Also, sorry, but plants are crittable with my house rules.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elkad View Post
    Bah.
    Heck, published modules came with evil pregens for players to use, at least in earlier editions.

    Evil works JUST FINE.
    To support my claim about how the game is intended to be played, I give you a quote from some of the creators:

    Quote Originally Posted by DM for Dummies
    ...we've found that, at the very least, characters in a party need to have compatible alignments. Nothing can destroy a campaign faster than good-aligned characters and evil-aligned characters in the same party deciding to work against each other. Frankly, we've found that evil alignments are best left to monsters and villains; player character parties work out better when the characters take on good or neutral alignments. Motivations for adventures are easier, the group dynamics are smoother, and the heroic aspects of D&D shine through in ways that just don't happen when players play evil characters.

    -Bill Slavicsek and Richard Baker
    (Emphasis added)
    "Ishkhaqwi ai durugnul!"
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  17. - Top - End - #107
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by fallensavior View Post
    It's not just the disruptive aspect, though that should not be downplayed. It's also that that's just not the type of story that I want to create/tell. So ultimately I'll have a lot more patience with the character that's roleplaying a moral dilemma.
    Circling back to the ďone Red Fel out of threeĒ. What is your functional definition of an evil character? What specifically do evil characters imply for you that you donít want in your games?
    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

  18. - Top - End - #108
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    I've found that specifying "No disruptive characters" is more reflective of what I'm looking for, but that I also need to talk with new players and define exactly what that means.

    I tried the whole "No evil characters" bit, and then I had the most legendarily disruptive CN character that you can imagine. So yeah, the former works a lot better than the latter if you've got even a small chance to talk to them before character creation.

  19. - Top - End - #109
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by fallensavior View Post
    I think those things exist primarily for NPCs.
    Sure, primarily being the operative word here.

    Also, sorry, but plants are crittable with my house rules.
    Now I hate you.

  20. - Top - End - #110
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xervous View Post
    Circling back to the ďone Red Fel out of threeĒ. What is your functional definition of an evil character? What specifically do evil characters imply for you that you donít want in your games?
    I do alignment pretty much by the book, so to quote PHB 104:

    Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit.
    ...
    ďEvilĒ implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.
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  21. - Top - End - #111
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by fallensavior View Post
    I do alignment pretty much by the book, so to quote PHB 104:
    Call me on pedantry if you like for the following.

    Kingdom A at war with a slaver kingdom B. Party member 1 wants to fight because itís the right thing to do as they see it. Party member 2 wants to fight because such popular causes are a great opportunity to win fame and riches at the expense of others who have been made acceptable targets by the articles of war. Substitute lair of goblins/spiders/dragon as needed to produce a campaign relevant scenario.

    What Iím prying for is the branch where youíre expecting the evil character to diverge from intended play.
    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

  22. - Top - End - #112
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by fallensavior View Post
    To support my claim about how the game is intended to be played, I give you a quote from some of the creators:
    (Emphasis added)
    ...we've found that, at the very least, characters in a party need to have compatible alignments. Nothing can destroy a campaign faster than good-aligned characters and evil-aligned characters in the same party deciding to work against each other. Frankly, we've found that evil alignments are best left to monsters and villains; player character parties work out better when the characters take on good or neutral alignments. Motivations for adventures are easier, the group dynamics are smoother, and the heroic aspects of D&D shine through in ways that just don't happen when players play evil characters.

    -Bill Slavicsek and Richard Baker

    2 guys hired by TSR in '91 and '93.
    Hardly "creators" of D&D.
    3.5 creators? Sure, I'll concede that. But I started playing about the same time they did (1977).

  23. - Top - End - #113
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xervous View Post
    Call me on pedantry if you like for the following.

    Kingdom A at war with a slaver kingdom B. Party member 1 wants to fight because itís the right thing to do as they see it. Party member 2 wants to fight because such popular causes are a great opportunity to win fame and riches at the expense of others who have been made acceptable targets by the articles of war. Substitute lair of goblins/spiders/dragon as needed to produce a campaign relevant scenario.

    What Iím prying for is the branch where youíre expecting the evil character to diverge from intended play.
    Why would the why matter in this case? Given objective morality, the why only matters if it speaks to objective circumstance (I killed them because they were trying to kill me!). Does your disagreement stem from trying to read subjective morals into a RAW objective system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elkad View Post
    2 guys hired by TSR in '91 and '93.
    Hardly "creators" of D&D.
    3.5 creators? Sure, I'll concede that. But I started playing about the same time they did (1977).
    This is about 3.5 in particular you know. But sure, I can call them authors, or developers, or "dudes involved in making the version of the game that I am specifically talking about" or whatever. I didn't imply they were the only creators.
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  24. - Top - End - #114
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by fallensavior View Post
    This is about 3.5 in particular you know. But sure, I can call them authors, or developers, or "dudes involved in making the version of the game that I am specifically talking about" or whatever. I didn't imply they were the only creators.
    Sure, but D&D is D&D at it's core. Versions don't matter for basic concepts like good vs evil PCs. So I disagree with their statement heavily.
    Last edited by Elkad; 2021-09-16 at 03:43 PM.

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    Daemon

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    I have no dog in this fight, but I was reading Dragon #212 (AD&D era), in an article by Eric R Noah (who I don't know from Adam) titled "Make your games more like fantasy literature", and it includes the following point:

    5. Do not allow evil-aligned PCs in your campaign. If there's one underlying theme of fantasy literature, it is that evil fails eventually. Evil characters always make the wrong choice on issues of morality. Any fantasy game that attempts to bring fantasy literature to life will support good-aligned characters and discourage evil ones.
    So I think it's fair to say that AD&D, at least, had a common mindset that evil characters are generally less appropriate, at least for the "main" type of game. Beyond that, deponent sayeth nothing.
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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elkad View Post
    Sure, but D&D is D&D at it's core. Versions don't matter for basic concepts like good vs evil PCs. So I disagree with their statement heavily.
    I mean, back in the day there were a lot of things that were dropped from the game (with good reason!) like men and women having different stat maximums and Elf being a race/class combo.

    Maybe the hate for Evil characters should fall by the wayside to be replaced by a hate for explicitly Disruptive players. Just because those two categories can fall into the overlapping area of a venn diagram doesn't mean that they're one and the same.

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I have no dog in this fight, but I was reading Dragon #212 (AD&D era), in an article by Eric R Noah (who I don't know from Adam) titled "Make your games more like fantasy literature", and it includes the following point:

    So I think it's fair to say that AD&D, at least, had a common mindset that evil characters are generally less appropriate, at least for the "main" type of game. Beyond that, deponent sayeth nothing.
    I would like to have a serious discussion with him about fantasy litterature and the underlying themes in it, but I suppose it doesn't really matter for the discussion at hand whether he was wrong or right, just whether his attitude was a common one or not.

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuulvheysoon View Post
    Maybe the hate for Evil characters should fall by the wayside to be replaced by a hate for explicitly Disruptive players. Just because those two categories can fall into the overlapping area of a venn diagram doesn't mean that they're one and the same.
    But just because those areas can not overlap doesn't mean it isn't worth banning one. "Disruptive" is not well-defined, and very few people will intentionally set out to play a disruptive character (and most of the people who do won't be fun it play with even if they aren't being disruptive). "Has an Evil alignment", on the other hand, is very precise, and much easier to ban. IME, there are very few characters that A) have good reason to be Evil (as opposed to just being Evil because they want to be a Necromancer or something) and B) are good for the game. Even most villain protagonists aren't out there doing stuff that is capital-E evil, and those that are are generally not something I want to talk about in a social setting. Most "Evil" characters that I would be okay with having in a group are just kinda selfish ****s, and I think calling that "Evil" cheapens the term.

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    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by RandomPeasant View Post
    But just because those areas can not overlap doesn't mean it isn't worth banning one. "Disruptive" is not well-defined, and very few people will intentionally set out to play a disruptive character (and most of the people who do won't be fun it play with even if they aren't being disruptive). "Has an Evil alignment", on the other hand, is very precise, and much easier to ban. IME, there are very few characters that A) have good reason to be Evil (as opposed to just being Evil because they want to be a Necromancer or something) and B) are good for the game. Even most villain protagonists aren't out there doing stuff that is capital-E evil, and those that are are generally not something I want to talk about in a social setting. Most "Evil" characters that I would be okay with having in a group are just kinda selfish ****s, and I think calling that "Evil" cheapens the term.
    It's easier to ban Evil PCs. But is it better?

    I had a game where one of the PCs ended up sliding down into Neutral Evil territory. She was overprotective of her daughter and family, to the point where she'd let the world burn to save them. And that was fine-her family were the other PCs, and the daughter was an NPC they all cared about. I'm not sure the other players even knew she would be considered Evil, since not much happened with that. But if I followed the rule of "No Evil PCs, period," we'd've lost a really cool character.

    Now, I totally get wanting to keep a more heroic tone-that's what I generally like to do. But if it's a natural result of how the PC has been played and isn't disruptive, I see no reason to outlaw it.
    I have a LOT of Homebrew!

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  30. - Top - End - #120
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2021

    Default Re: 3.5E house rules?

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    It's easier to ban Evil PCs. But is it better?
    "Ease" is a part of better-ness. The best rule is to have no rules at all, but simply to make the best call in every situation as it arises. But we understand that doing so isn't possible (let alone reasonable), so we have rules that will sometimes produce a less-than-ideal outcome and follow them because we know that they are better in practice than simply making judgment calls.

    I had a game where one of the PCs ended up sliding down into Neutral Evil territory. She was overprotective of her daughter and family, to the point where she'd let the world burn to save them.
    This is exactly what I mean by acceptable "Evil" PCs not being worthy of capital-E evil. "I would sacrifice anything to save my family" is not a trait I would call "Evil". That's a Neutral character. "Evil" does not mean "if someone made a movie about you it would be rated R", it means "if someone made a movie about you you would be the villain". Moash pursuing a personal vendetta at the potential cost of ending the world is Evil. Adolin killing someone who is threatening his family and playing games with the survival of civilization outside a sanctioned duel is not.

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