Critique of Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition

By Angelo on December 31, 2007

With 4th edition just around the corner, I thought I’d give my impression of 3rd Edition and the d20 system.

Good Ideas

The d20 system has several good ideas that make it easier to understand and more easy to play.

  • Positive AC. A larger AC being better than a smaller AC makes more sense.
  • Magic. I like the idea of the effectiveness of saving throws being based on spell level. This makes more powerful magic inherently harder to avoid than less powerful magic, and it makes a lot of sense. I never liked the way a sixth level spell like Death could be simply shrugged off by a Save vs Death Ray, the easiest saving throw to make.
  • Saving Throws. Having saving throws based on “reflex” or other descriptions of how a character may actually avoid a situation is clearer.

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Topics: Rules Hints & Tips | 9 Comments »

Fighter Combat Skills

By Angelo on July 12, 2002

Let’s face it, playing a Fighter level after level can get a little boring. A good DM will include some pretty interesting magical items, but aside from that it’s likely that your strategy in battle tends to be “attack the nearest enemy.” A few things have been tried in the history of D&D to make the Fighter a little more interesting and give players something to look forward to.

The Cyclopedia’s Fighter Combat Options seem to have been a combined attempt at codifying the kinds of maneuvers that characters can make in a board game-like battle, and to give fighters a couple of extra moves so they can do something besides roll 1d20 in a fight.

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Topics: Character Classes | No Comments »

Chi Powers

By Angelo on July 30, 2001

First of all, this system may seem a little complex at first, but try to read it and see where it’s going. If it’s too much, simplify to suit your needs, but try to keep game balance (either through the rules, or through who obtains chi powers).

Chi (Ki) Powers

Chi powers increase by (level – level_you_learned_power)/2

Chi powers is an ability added for OD&D, providing much of the same kinds of ideas that psionics/sorcerors do. As psionics in D&D3, chi powers are considered to be equivalent of magic and are subject to similar restrictions (dispelled by dispel magic, cancelled by anti-magic, blocked by anti-magic shell, etc).

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Topics: Celestial & Arcane | 2 Comments »

New Weapon System

By Angelo on June 23, 2001

This system is based on the premise that characters may try to use weapons either 1 handed or 2 handed, and may have some amount of success. Wherever the damage is not applicable (n/a) it means the damage would be the same or it is impossible to use the weapon this way.

The numbers are of the format: damage (hit roll adjustment)

Axes

Weapon 1-handed 2-handed Other
Battle Axe 1d8 (-2) 1d10 (+0)
Hand Axe 1d6 (+0) 1d8 (+0)

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Topics: Equipment | 2 Comments »

New Mystic Class

By Angelo on June 10, 2001

This is a combination of the Mystic/Monk classes I have posted before.

  • Prim Req: Wis and Dex; Other Requirements: Wis 13+, Dex 13+
  • Experience Bonus: 5% for Wis or Dex 16-18; 10% for Wis and Dex 16-18
  • Hit Dice: 1d6/level, +2/level after level 9 with no Con bonus
  • Maximum Level: 16
  • Armor: None; shield not permitted
  • Weapons: Any
  • Hit Rolls: as Fighter
  • Saving Throws: as Fighter

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Topics: Character Classes | No Comments »

The Isle of Dread

By Jeff Q on May 30, 2001

by BAHUMUTH

Duch Year: 982

The huge saber crashed against the center of the iron sword, throwing its holder back a few steps, and then again in an overhand strike. The tall, plate-mailed knight brought down his steel broadsword down with all his might. The muscular, dark-skinned island-man threw his crude sword to parry, catching the broadsword at its hilt.

The Kikapa island-man, although naked, was very seasoned with his hilt less sword. Comparatively, the knight, mailed in white satin-draped field plate, definitely held the advantage. The Kikapa allowed the knight to come in at him and then fell back against the weight of the knight, causing the knight to lose his balance. He then used this advantage by stopping the collapse of the armor on himself with his leg and then swiped his sword hard against the knight’s head.

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Topics: Myths & Legends | No Comments »

Random Encounters

By Angelo on May 23, 2001

Tired of the tedious wandering monster charts in the Rules Cyclopedia that take forever to roll, and seem to produce the same monster over and over?  Try out these encounter tables instead.

  1. Roll 1d20 per day to determine if there is an encounter on that day.  Compare this to the chance of an encounter based on the type of terrain (for example there is a 6 in 20 chance of an encounter).
  2. Roll 2d10 to determine the encounter below.
  3. The DM can assume a 10% chance of bad weather when the encounter occurs.

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Topics: Monsters | 1 Comment »

Handling Poison

By Angelo on May 3, 2001

The purpose of this document is to provide the DM with a system for handling poisons that can be as complicated or as simple as desired. Different ways of handling poisons range from instant death (as found in the Dungeons and Dragons game) and the simple 1 point of damage per round (as found in video games like the Ultima series). These are both very simple, but not realistic ways of handling ALL poisons. Some games have cumbersome charts that still have their limitations. And even with a chart, poisons shouldn’t be completely random. So hopefully this document will help the DM come up with a satisfactory method of handling poisons. This is by no means a scientific analysis of poison or any attempt for reality. This is merely for game play. See the rest of this entry…

Topics: Rules Hints & Tips | 1 Comment »

The Wizard’s Codex

By Angelo on February 17, 2001

Originally published by February 2001, the Wizard’s Codex contains a collection of custom spells created by authors at Heroes Only. All of these spells have been used and tested within the gaming environment, but of course you should consider their effects on your own campaign before adopting them.

This list of spells is updated from time to time, with the “last modified” timestamp appearing at the end of the article. See the rest of this entry…

Topics: Celestial & Arcane | No Comments »

Character Class Variations

By Angelo on June 8, 2000

This is based on the idea that players and the DM will build characters for a story line, not just to suit their gaming needs. In other words, characters should have some panache or style of their own. This means the items below are not rules but rather suggestions on how one might play his own character. The player should be able to freely choose to do this, these are not rule changes. The DM may want to offer “rewards” (some are described below, if you look closely). These rewards are not experience rewards, etc. but instead take the form of some sort of reward in the story, or “good luck.” For example, one reward for being an elf and not using your power to the fullest potential (as a ranger) is that you always seem to find food in the wilderness, you are able to befriend animals more easily (not attacked by bears), and you have a faithful pet (such as a dire wolf). And such rewards can increase as you go up level, because it’s one thing to start out as a “ranger” and then not keep up with it, but someone who has been a ranger for 9 levels should at least have a dire wolf to help him. Again, this is not a rule change.

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Topics: Character Classes | No Comments »

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