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 »

The Isle of Dread

By Jeff Q on May 30, 2001


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 »

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 »

Magic Item Tables

By Angelo on September 9, 1999


1d100 Sword
01-13 sword+1, +3 vs dragons
14-26 sword+1, +3 vs lycantheropes
27-39 sword+1, +3 vs undead
40-49 sword+1, +3 vs spellcasters
50-59 sword+1, +3 vs regeneration
60-65 sword+1, cure lt wounds 1/day
66-71 sword+1, light 1/day
72-77 sword+1, darkness 1/day
78-82 sword+1, locate object 1/day
83-86 sword+2, flames on command
87-90 sword+2, charm person on hit
95-97 sword+1, haste user 1/day
98-99 sword+1, drain life energy (1d4+4)
100 sword+1, wishes (1d4)

For type, roll 1d20:
1-3 two-handed
4-6 short
7-10 bastard
11-20 normal

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Topics: Equipment | No Comments »

Optional Rules for Classic Games

By Angelo on September 6, 1999

Written by Angelo and Jeff

Here are some optional rules that you may want to adopt in a more basic type campaign (which I find more fun). When deciding on a rule, go for whatever is more fun or will make a better story-line in the game.


Even though it may not be fair to my old players, I think I might adopt this system also. Just roll 9d6 for each phsyical (STR, DEX, CON) and mental (INT, WIS, CHA) attributes and then let the players choose where they want to put them. Allow players to trade 2 for 1 between the 2 categories. If you want, you might consider just rolling 10d6 for each category to give a better chance of getting good scores. Also, don’t roll ability checks much, if at all. Too much rolling dice makes the game too random and not enough story. If you can’t base it on a saving throw, you probably shouldn’t roll it. How creatures react to players should be based on how the players have acted, not on a charisma check. See the rest of this entry…

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Topics: Rules Hints & Tips | 1 Comment »

Prudence Decor

By Angelo on September 24, 1996

Prudence found herself in darkness and silence. A splinter of light split the abyss with a radiating warmth. What had been moist, dark, and cold was dispelled by an awesome power, giving a dry and warm light. Prudence drew her sword, the Luckblade, in preparation for what might come. Though she was in fear, she could sense that there was no danger here.

A misty cloud formed. At its center, a clear pool. Prudence gazed into its still waters, a forever deep baptismal font. She seached forward with her fingers. Their dance formed rings upon the water, disturbing the stillness. Within the waters she witnessed a cave amidst a grassy plain with but one tree directly in front of her. The tree was dry and withered with moss and fungi feeding off of it. Yet it stood. Entwined about it was a serpent who had sucked the life from it and from the man who now lay at the base of the tree.

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Topics: Myths & Legends | No Comments »