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WhatThePhysics
2017-01-18, 05:31 PM
Let's be real. D&D 3.5 is fun, but it can also be very annoying and arbitrary. With this in mind, I'm going to try slaying some sacred cows to make it simpler and more enjoyable. Due to the sheer size of the system, and the lack of easy accessibility for many sourcebooks, I'm only going to focus on the System Reference Document (http://www.d20srd.org/index.htm).

So, here we go! :smallsmile:

1. No player character can have an Effective Character Level higher than 10.

2. All Skills are treated as Class Skills.

3. There are no penalties for, or restrictions to, multiclassing.

4. No Class is prohibited from, or penalized for, having any alignment.

5. Barbarians: They gain Fighter Bonus Feats at levels 4 and 8 in that class. Variant Barbarians that exchange Rage for Favored Enemy, Archery Combat Style, Improved Archery Combat Style, and Archery Combat Style Mastery (as ranger) do not gain these fighter bonus feats.

6. Clerics: They can decide whether they spontaneously cast cure or inflict spells, and whether they turn or command undead. These choices are independent of one another, as well as the Cleric's alignment.

7. Druids: They are not prohibited from, or penalized for, wearing metal armor, carrying metal shields, or teaching the Druidic language to a nondruid.

8. Fighters: They gain Fighter Bonus Feats at levels 3, 5, 7, and 9 in that class. Variant Fighters that exchange fighter bonus feats for Sneak Attack (as rogue) do not give up these particular fighter bonus feats.

9. Monks: Their Wholeness of Body class feature can heal enough hit point damage to bring the Monk to maximum health. For the purpose of dealing damage to creatures with damage reduction, unarmed attacks by 10th level Monks are treated as weapons with the same alignments as the Monk.

10. Paladins: They are not bound by their Codes of Conduct, and may accept henchmen of any alignment. They are not prohibited from associating with those of opposed alignments, or those that consistently offend their moral codes.

11. Prestige Classes: Arcane Archers aren't limited to elves and half-elves. Dwarven Defenders aren't limited to dwarves. Would-be Assassins don't have to kill someone for no reason other than to join the assassins. Would-be Blackguards don't have to make peaceful contact with a summoned evil outsider. Would-be Psion Uncarnates don't require some instruction by another Psion Uncarnate. Would-be Pyrokineticists don't have to set fire to a structure of any size just to watch it burn. Would-be War Minds don't require some instruction by another War Mind.

12. Spellbooks: A spell only takes up one page, regardless of its spell level.

13. Components: Spell component pouches don't exist. Spells that used to require material components without a price no longer require them.

14. Suffocation: Falling unconscious from suffocating never heals hit points.
5. Class Features: Aspect Of Nature, Aura of Protection, Bardic Music, Cause Disease, Chain of Defensive Posture, Chain of Personal Superiority, Deadly Touch, Defensive Roll, Dimension Step, Energy Substitution, Enhance Attribute, Extended Enchantment, Fiendish Summoning, Lay on Hands, Mirror Image, Nimbus, Overcome Resistance, Planar Banishment, Prescience, Psionic Charm, Psionic Dominate, Rage, Ranged Legerdemain, Rebuke Undead, Remove Disease, Resistance to Energy, Shadow Illusion, Shed Body, Smite Evil, Smite Good, Special Mount, Turn Undead, Transmutable Memory, Whirling Frenzy, Wholeness of Body, and Wild Shape can be used an unlimited amount of times per encounter and day.

11. Paladins: They are not bound by their Codes of Conduct, and may accept henchmen of any alignment. They are not prohibited from associating with those of opposed alignments, or those that consistently offend their moral codes. Their Lay on Hands class feature can heal enough hit points to bring a living creature to maximum health, or deal enough damage to instantly kill an undead creature. Their Deadly Touch class feature can deal enough damage to instantly kill a living creature, or heal enough hit points to bring an undead creature to maximum health. Opponents subjected to harmful versions of Lay on Hands and Deadly Touch can make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 paladin level + paladin's Cha modifier) to halve the damage dealt.

13. Spellcasters: When a spell is cast, the spell slot is not expended.

14. Manifesters: They are always treated as having enough power points to manifest powers.
Changelog
1.0.1: Thread created.
1.0.2: Added item 14 to 1.0.2. Discarded items 5, 13, and 14 from 1.0.1. Edited item 11 from 1.0.1.

Bacchante
2017-01-18, 08:10 PM
13. Spellcasters: When a spell is cast, the spell slot is not expended.

14. Manifesters: They are always treated as having enough power points to manifest powers.
Out of all of these, I'm going to address these two.

The first one is... inadviseable for so, so, so many reasons. Like... whoo boy. But the latter gives me bigger issues.

Part of the balance of psionics is the game is built into the fact that their powers are variably effective. A L1 power can be just as damaging as a L9 one if you're willing to boost it to L9 strength. This is meant to counterbalance the fact that they get less powers. This change you are proposing is basically like saying, "Wizards can now prepare L9 spells in all slots!"

It's dumb. That's dumb.

WhatThePhysics
2017-01-18, 08:55 PM
Out of all of these, I'm going to address these two.

The first one is... inadviseable for so, so, so many reasons. Like... whoo boy. But the latter gives me bigger issues.

Part of the balance of psionics is the game is built into the fact that their powers are variably effective. A L1 power can be just as damaging as a L9 one if you're willing to boost it to L9 strength. This is meant to counterbalance the fact that they get less powers. This change you are proposing is basically like saying, "Wizards can now prepare L9 spells in all slots!"

It's dumb. That's dumb.

Due to effective character levels being capped at 10, many game-breaking effects have been removed. While I recognize your concern, and agree that v1.0.1 would certainly unbalance things, my intention is to systematically rebalance and simplify D&D 3.5. This is not intended to be the final draft, but a crude starting point. I'm currently contemplating further changes to continue this trend, such as severely limiting the rate that new spells and powers are learned.

Djinn_in_Tonic
2017-01-18, 09:07 PM
2. All Skills are treated as Class Skills.

3. There are no penalties for, or restrictions to, multiclassing.

4. No Class is prohibited from, or penalized for, having any alignment.

All reasonable. No issues here.


5. Class Features: Aspect Of Nature, Aura of Protection, Bardic Music, Cause Disease, Chain of Defensive Posture, Chain of Personal Superiority, Deadly Touch, Defensive Roll, Dimension Step, Energy Substitution, Enhance Attribute, Extended Enchantment, Fiendish Summoning, Lay on Hands, Mirror Image, Nimbus, Overcome Resistance, Planar Banishment, Prescience, Psionic Charm, Psionic Dominate, Rage, Ranged Legerdemain, Rebuke Undead, Remove Disease, Resistance to Energy, Shadow Illusion, Shed Body, Smite Evil, Smite Good, Special Mount, Turn Undead, Transmutable Memory, Whirling Frenzy, Wholeness of Body, and Wild Shape can be used an unlimited amount of times per encounter and day.

Some of these have huge balance issues. Smite Evil, Wild Shape, Lay on Hands, and Turn Undead specifically will hugely change the environment at low levels.


6. Barbarians: They gain Fighter Bonus Feats at levels 4 and 8 in that class. Variant Barbarians that exchange Rage for Favored Enemy, Archery Combat Style, Improved Archery Combat Style, and Archery Combat Style Mastery (as ranger) do not gain these fighter bonus feats.

7. Clerics: They can decide whether they spontaneously cast cure or inflict spells, and whether they turn or command undead. These choices are independent of one another, as well as the Cleric's alignment.

8. Druids: They are not prohibited from, or penalized for, wearing metal armor, carrying metal shields, or teaching the Druidic language to a nondruid.

9. Fighters: They gain Fighter Bonus Feats at levels 3, 5, 7, and 9 in that class. Variant Fighters that exchange fighter bonus feats for Sneak Attack (as rogue) do not give up these particular fighter bonus feats.

10. Monks: Their Wholeness of Body class feature can heal enough hit point damage to bring the Monk to maximum health. For the purpose of dealing damage to creatures with damage reduction, unarmed attacks by 10th level Monks are treated as weapons with the same alignments as the Monk.


Probably all fine.


11. Paladins: They are not bound by their Codes of Conduct, and may accept henchmen of any alignment. They are not prohibited from associating with those of opposed alignments, or those that consistently offend their moral codes. Their Lay on Hands class feature can heal enough hit points to bring a living creature to maximum health, or deal enough damage to instantly kill an undead creature. Their Deadly Touch class feature can deal enough damage to instantly kill a living creature, or heal enough hit points to bring an undead creature to maximum health. Opponents subjected to harmful versions of Lay on Hands and Deadly Touch can make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 paladin level + paladin's Cha modifier) to halve the damage dealt.

You just let them use this ability at-will, and now it can heal people to full health or instantly kill an opponent as a standard action? That's absurd. Paladins will never use weapons -- it's MUCH more useful to just wait for someone to fail this save.


13. Spellcasters: When a spell is cast, the spell slot is not expended.

14. Manifesters: They are always treated as having enough power points to manifest powers.

This is actually worse than the Paladin feature, and that's saying something. This is unlimited healing. Unlimited damage. Unlimited utility. You're basically saying that a Fighter with 4 extra feats is the equivalent to a Druid with unlimited healing, unlimited Wild Shape, and AoE Flame Strike for 10d6 damage to a group every round.

Even worse, my Wizard can easily do the following:

Improved Invisibility
Fox's Cunning
Fly
Polymorph

And he can have these all running at 7th level while firing off Fireballs once per round forever. The fighter, meanwhile, gets a +7/+2 attack routine and 7 feats. Wheeeee.

These rules absolutely SHATTER balance into a million tiny pieces.

Djinn_in_Tonic
2017-01-18, 10:22 PM
Deadly Touch/Lay on Hands: Let's say these are moved from 2nd level to 7th level. See below for further modifications.

Smite Evil/Smite Good: Let's say the clause "They add their Charisma bonus (if any) to their attack roll" is removed.

Rebuke Undead/Turn Undead: Let's say Bolstering, Turning, and Rebuking Undead only lasts 1 round.

Wild Shape: Let's say the clause "Each time you use wild shape, you regain lost hit points as if you had rested for a night." is removed.

Wild Shape is still probably overpowered (as it can make the Druid almost as good as the fighter), Turn/Rebuke lose more of their actually utilitarian benefits but are just as strong for things like Nightstick shennigans, and the Paladin still gets +level damage against all evil foes, which is probably still too strong.



Let's say the number of hit points they can heal/damage with each standard action is equal to their paladin level their Charisma bonus.

That's still infinite healing (although everyone has that), and potentially large amounts of damage. This DOES mitigate it somewhat, but I'd have to run the specific numbers vs. the expected attack routine. It's better, but still problematic.


Let's say Clerics, Druids, Sorcerers, and Wizards only learn 1 spell with each level, including 1st level. Exceptions to this would be the Cleric's domain and spontaneous Cure/Inflict spells, and the Druid's spontaneous Summon Nature's Ally spells. Let's say the Spellcraft DC for a Wizard to learn a deciphered spell is 20 + the spell's level. Let's also say that Psions only learn 1 power with each level, including 1st level.

This makes them less utilitarian, sure. It would cut Polymorph (and Polymorph alone) from that list. However, Wizards and Clerics would still be the game's most powerful class by a large margin. Even 10 spells can be hugely overpowered if you pick the right 10. All you've done is make them less interesting to play -- instead of having options, you have a smaller number of infinite-use "I win" buttons.

WhatThePhysics
2017-01-18, 10:22 PM
Some of these have huge balance issues. Smite Evil, Wild Shape, Lay on Hands, and Turn Undead specifically will hugely change the environment at low levels.

Deadly Touch/Lay on Hands: Let's say these are moved from 2nd level to 7th level. See below for further modifications.

Smite Evil/Smite Good: Let's say the clause "They add their Charisma bonus (if any) to their attack roll" is removed.

Rebuke Undead/Turn Undead: Let's say Bolstering, Turning, and Rebuking Undead only lasts 1 round.

Wild Shape: Let's say the clause "Each time you use wild shape, you regain lost hit points as if you had rested for a night." is removed.


You just let them use this ability at-will, and now it can heal people to full health or instantly kill an opponent as a standard action? That's absurd. Paladins will never use weapons -- it's MUCH more useful to just wait for someone to fail this save.

Let's say the number of hit points they can heal/damage with each standard action is equal to their paladin level their Charisma bonus.


This is actually worse than the Paladin feature, and that's saying something. This is unlimited healing. Unlimited damage. Unlimited utility. You're basically saying that a Fighter with 4 extra feats is the equivalent to a Druid with unlimited healing, unlimited Wild Shape, and AoE Flame Strike for 10d6 damage to a group every round.

Even worse, my Wizard can easily do the following:

Improved Invisibility
Fox's Cunning
Fly
Polymorph

And he can have these all running at 7th level while firing off Fireballs once per round forever. The fighter, meanwhile, gets a +7/+2 attack routine and 7 feats. Wheeeee.

These rules absolutely SHATTER balance into a million tiny pieces.

Let's say Clerics, Druids, Sorcerers, and Wizards only learn 1 spell with each level, including 1st level. Let's say the Spellcraft DC for a Wizard to learn a deciphered spell is 20 + the spell's level. Let's also say that Psions only learn 1 power with each level, including 1st level. Exceptions to this would be the Cleric's domain and spontaneous Cure/Inflict spells, the Druid's spontaneous Summon Nature's Ally spells, and the Wizard's 0th level spells of the universal and specialized schools.

Would these changes help?

Djinn_in_Tonic
2017-01-18, 10:23 PM
*snip*

...did you delete and then repost this? Because somehow my response to it is now before the post itself. :smalltongue:

WhatThePhysics
2017-01-18, 10:34 PM
Wild Shape is still probably overpowered (as it can make the Druid almost as good as the fighter), Turn/Rebuke lose more of their actually utilitarian benefits but are just as strong for things like Nightstick shennigans, and the Paladin still gets +level damage against all evil foes, which is probably still too strong.

Do you have a suggestion for further nerfing Wild Shape?

I can't say I'm familiar with Nightstick. Do you mind elaborating?

Would you prefer the Smite modification be switched around, so that it's just a Charisma bonus to attack rolls?


That's still infinite healing (although everyone has that), and potentially large amounts of damage. This DOES mitigate it somewhat, but I'd have to run the specific numbers vs. the expected attack routine. It's better, but still problematic.

I'll wait for you to assess it further, if you don't mind.


This makes them less utilitarian, sure. It would cut Polymorph (and Polymorph alone) from that list. However, Wizards and Clerics would still be the game's most powerful class by a large margin. Even 10 spells can be hugely overpowered if you pick the right 10. All you've done is make them less interesting to play -- instead of having options, you have a smaller number of infinite-use "I win" buttons.

In your perspective, is this where I should stop altering their powers/spells known progressions, and start modifying the powers/spells that would be exploited under such a framework?


...did you delete and then repost this? Because somehow my response to it is now before the post itself. :smalltongue:

Yeah, sorry about that. OCD kicked in when I noticed the phrasing of the final segment, and I failed my Will save to resist the urge to make a "perfect" post. :smalltongue:

Eldan
2017-01-18, 10:49 PM
Unlimited spell slots is also really problematic with any spell with utiilty outside of combat. Divination spells with unlimited uses? Your players now know the adventure and the statblocks of every monster, if they ask smart questions. Unlimited planar binding? Enjoy your player's army of angel spellcasters or demon warriors. Unlimited Fabricate? Your player is now a billionaire. And so on.

If you want to make spellcasting less limited, consider something like slots/encounter, or something like the Short Rest in fifth edition, where a short break in the action restores spells to a caster. Evne then, you need to take out some of the worst offender spells.

The main problem with 3.5 is how much stronger casters are than anyone else. You buffed everyone except casters slightly, and casters enormously, so you made this problem worse.

Djinn_in_Tonic
2017-01-18, 10:55 PM
Do you have a suggestion for further nerfing Wild Shape?

If you're not going to hard limit the uses, then you might want to consider making a list of shapes that are permissible and shapes that aren't, removing healing from it entirely, and making sure that the feat that enables you to cast while Wild Shaped isn't usable.


I can't say I'm familiar with Nightstick. Do you mind elaborating?

It's an item that lets you use Turn Undead charges in place of spell level adjustment to cast Metamagic. Clearly this causes issues with infinite uses of Turn Undead.


Would you prefer the Smite modification be switched around, so that it's just a Charisma bonus to attack rolls?

That's not much better, as it simply makes them frighteningly accurate. I'd remove it entirely (the ability isn't fun if you don't get to worry about a resource) and just make it +Charisma to damage rolls against evil targets. Then buff or nerf as needed -- but, with infinite spells, Paladins already have a crazy buff.


I'll wait for you to assess it further, if you don't mind.

Infinite healing is OP unless you redesign encounters around it. Any monster that can't out-damage the Paladin's healing can't kill the party. Ever. That said, damage-wise it's probably below attacking, and thus will rarely be used.


In your perspective, is this where I should stop altering their powers/spells known progressions, and start modifying the powers/spells that would be exploited under such a framework?

Part of the problem is that, without resources, the game isn't as exciting. Every fight begins at 100%. You can always use the best option, every time. It's...well, monotonous.

But if you DO want that sort of "gameplay?" Then you have to nerf the powers/spells so that they fall more in line with what other infinite-use classes like the Fighter, Barbarian, and Rogue get.

Eldan
2017-01-18, 11:03 PM
Honestly, I'd say the fix to wildshape is shapeshift from Player's Handbook II. It's unlimited times per day, it offers a fixed list of bonuses and it doesn't stack easily.

Djinn_in_Tonic
2017-01-18, 11:29 PM
Honestly, I'd say the fix to wildshape is shapeshift from Player's Handbook II. It's unlimited times per day, it offers a fixed list of bonuses and it doesn't stack easily.

Yep. And that's one of the good ways to solve the problem.

tsj
2017-01-19, 12:59 AM
I suggest that you leave wildshape unaltered except for making a very restricted list of animals the druid can wildshape into... like.... rat, crow and fish

RedMetal
2017-01-19, 10:46 AM
It's an item that lets you use Turn Undead charges in place of spell level adjustment to cast Metamagic. Clearly this causes issues with infinite uses of Turn Undead.

That's not what the nightstick does. The nightstick just gives you more uses of Turn/Rebuke Undead every day, so is useless under these rules. The feat Divine Metamagic is what lets you use Turn/Rebuke in place of the metamagic level adjustment.

Jormengand
2017-01-19, 12:07 PM
I did once play a game where you never ran out of spell slots, but I did also give every mid-bab class always-on Haste and every full-bab class always-on haste and buy-one-get-one-free attacks (so yes, four attacks at full bab at level 1, up to 10 attacks at level 16 without TWF or rapid shot), as well as a +5 and +10 bonus respectively for mid- and full-bab classes' attack and damage rolls. The game still relied on spellcasters being reasonable with their spell use so as not to outshine the non-casters.

Deepbluediver
2017-01-19, 12:18 PM
Any "fix" is largely going to be be focused on what the brewer considers more broken and most important, but IMO there are no simple solutions. If your goal is "balance" for 3.5, you're basically looking at rewriting the entire PHB, including the 100+ pages of spells, 1 by 1.

Some of your suggestions are not that gamechanging but are nice quality-of-life improvements for some classes, while others could generate entire thread's worth of discussion all on their own. I'm going to try and comment on a few that I consider to have the biggest impact.


1. No player character can have an Effective Character Level higher than 10.
While imbalance tends to get worse at higher levels, capping out players here seems to restrict a lot of potential adventures.


5. Class Features: Aspect Of Nature, Aura of Protection, Bardic Music, Cause Disease, Chain of Defensive Posture, Chain of Personal Superiority, Deadly Touch, Defensive Roll, Dimension Step, Energy Substitution, Enhance Attribute, Extended Enchantment, Fiendish Summoning, Lay on Hands, Mirror Image, Nimbus, Overcome Resistance, Planar Banishment, Prescience, Psionic Charm, Psionic Dominate, Rage, Ranged Legerdemain, Rebuke Undead, Remove Disease, Resistance to Energy, Shadow Illusion, Shed Body, Smite Evil, Smite Good, Special Mount, Turn Undead, Transmutable Memory, Whirling Frenzy, Wholeness of Body, and Wild Shape can be used an unlimited amount of times per encounter and day.
Class features vary wildly in power and versatility. Some of the things you mention here could be very useful in the right situation but will otherwise sit on the sidelines a lot of time, while others will get constant usage.



13. Spellcasters: When a spell is cast, the spell slot is not expended.

14. Manifesters: They are always treated as having enough power points to manifest powers.
These basically seem like the same thing, and I'm a little confused why you think this is a good idea- limits on spells and powers were one of the few restrictions that the most powerful classes had. If you are concerned about casters running out of things to do in a day, then you should manually adjust the number of spell-slots or power points, particularly at low levels.
Alternatively what pathfinder did I think was let you cast an unlimited number of level-0 spells, which helps you out until you get to the point where you have enough spells slots to last through a typical day's worth of encounters but doesn't let you go nova in every single fight at higher levels.

Djinn_in_Tonic
2017-01-19, 01:17 PM
That's not what the nightstick does. The nightstick just gives you more uses of Turn/Rebuke Undead every day, so is useless under these rules. The feat Divine Metamagic is what lets you use Turn/Rebuke in place of the metamagic level adjustment.

Derp. Yes. Thank you. I was having a rough day, and completely spaced out. Still an issue thugh. :smalltongue:

Grod_The_Giant
2017-01-20, 11:07 AM
I'm on board with removing a lot of the roleplaying type restrictions... I'm even on board with upping the use limits on a lot of mundane abilities. However... the core idea of balance in D&D is, and has always been, resource tracking. Things like spells are theoretically balanced around the idea that while they're individually more powerful than, say, a full attack, they're also more limited. More powerful in the short term, but trailing off in the long term. Now, admittedly that balance is wildly off in a lot of cases, but it's the basic reason why spells are stronger than non-spells, and there is no way to have at-will casting in the game as it currently stands. Not without removing anyone without substantial amounts of magic, at least. If you want a fantasy adventure game with at-will abilities, D&D isn't a great place to start*. For an alternative, might I direct you to the "D&D in M&M" link in my signature?



*I mean, I guess you could run just Warlocks, Dragonfire Adepts, Binders, Tome of Battle and Magic of Incarnum classes, but that would be kind of a weird game...