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 »

Spell Variations: Wizards’ Panache

By Angelo on July 30, 2002

The Color of Magic was an excellent article from Dragon Magazine issue no. 200 by Dan Joyce. I particularly liked it because it showed how the real game isn’t about rules and dice rolling–it’s about story and wonder. It explained how the mechanics of various spells (do damage, heal, improve AC, etc.) are really all the same, it’s how the spells are perceived that make the real difference. Additionally, I have found it a useful technique to tweak certain spells that seem “broken” for a particular campaign.

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Topics: Celestial & Arcane | 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 »

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 »

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.

Attributes

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 »