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View Full Version : Homebrew and 3rd party: Do you use them?



Hzurr
2008-12-10, 03:20 PM
So while looking around in the "WotC shocked me" or whatever that thread is called, many people mentioned that 3.XE would survive forever, because of the mass of 3rd party material for it that is still being made. And this made me think.

In your game, how much do you use homebrew and 3rd party material? I'll be honest, I very rarely use 3rd party stuff (I think the sole exception is a Pathfinder game I'm in, which I guess is 3rd party). I occationally use homebrew stuff, but I think I can count the number of times I have on one hand. Maybe one and a half hands. Don't ask how I got the half hand.

(note that when I say homebrew, I mean things like homebrew classes, races, feats, etc. For some reason, I don't really count "worldbuilding" in the homebrew section of my mind.

Overall, I personally think the reason for this is that most of the 3rd party stuff I've encountered is kindof crap, and I'm honestly not creative enough/don't trust myself enough to homebrew. Those few exceptions to homebrewing I mentioned were done for players who I knew wouldn't abuse them.

So what about you? How much homebrew & 3rd party stuff do you use in your game?


random sidenote musings that don't really relate:
Does 2nd party material exist? It seems that in general, the perspective that is numbered "2" is rarely used. Things usually aren't done from a 2nd person narrative viewpoint, you rarely hear of 2nd party publishers (the rare exception is occationally in the video game market). Are there any 2nd party rpg publishers at all?

Immutep
2008-12-10, 03:27 PM
While i agree with you on the front of "Homebrew doesn't include world building" I think that alot of the homebrewing used is as a result of creating a different world.

As for third party material, I've never used it. don't think i ever will (but who knows?)

I'm simply sticking with 3.5 edition because of

1) I've spent alot of money buying books, i'm not going to abbandon them.
2) I've spent alot of time reading books and learning rules, i don't want to start from scratch again.
3) The people i D&D with feel the same way.

Jasdoif
2008-12-10, 03:29 PM
random sidenote musings that don't really relate:
Does 2nd party material exist? It seems that in general, the perspective that is numbered "2" is rarely used. Things usually aren't done from a 2nd person narrative viewpoint, you rarely hear of 2nd party publishers (the rare exception is occationally in the video game market). Are there any 2nd party rpg publishers at all?I believe material you produce for your own use would be considered "second party". It would become 3rd party if published, or 1st party if you happen to be the owner of the game system.

Tengu_temp
2008-12-10, 03:29 PM
Does 2nd party material exist? It seems that in general, the perspective that is numbered "2" is rarely used. Things usually aren't done from a 2nd person narrative viewpoint, you rarely hear of 2nd party publishers (the rare exception is occationally in the video game market). Are there any 2nd party rpg publishers at all?

I'd say that the DM is the second party publisher. For a loose definition of publishing.

Skjaldbakka
2008-12-10, 03:32 PM
I do very little homebrew for short games, and extensive homebrewing for long-running games. Which typically includes completely redesigning the magic system to fit with the cosmology of the game.

Eldariel
2008-12-10, 03:41 PM
I do extensive homebrewing constantly, along with participating in some long-standing projects online and trying to use the fruits of their labor whenever possible. Mostly, I combine AD&D and 3.5 though, because I find that while 3.5 did a lot of things right (or had the ideas right - that's where homebrew comes in), there's a lot that's better in AD&D too (arcane magic, for one; also, combat structure) and thus I really prefer the mix to either.

But yes, after a quick glance, I allow most homebrew tools in character creation as long as they're in line with the rest of the campaign. Homebrew classes, PrCs and especially making concepts work with the new, superior systems (such as ToB) are what really makes 3.5 work out for me.

Morty
2008-12-10, 03:45 PM
My group doesn't use much homebrew, although my DM's got big plans for houseruling our game, mostly Two Weapon Fighting and shields.

Matthew
2008-12-10, 04:10 PM
I do not really make much use of third party resources for actual game rules, but monsters, adventures, and settings are another story. I think when people say that D20/3e will live forever as a result of the open game license the latter is what they are referring to, rather than the former. The Pathfinder project is looking to fill the eventual need for a published simulacrum of the game rules at the moment (and walking a difficult line between innovation and compatibility), and Paizo are also pushing forward bits and pieces on the side, such as Monte Cook's Collected Book of Experimental Might (http://paizo.com/store/byCompany/m/malhavocPress/paizoPublishing/v5748btpy860b).

I was in my local game store last week, and was surprised to see just how prominently the Pathfinder material was being displayed, a significant contrast with D20 material such as Necromancer Games' Wilderness of High Fantasy (which I bought for 20, reduced from 40). The official D20/3e Dungeons & Dragons supplements are dying a death, but it seems that there is a D20/3e Fantasy niche to be carved.

Fax Celestis
2008-12-10, 04:15 PM
In any game I play in, "second-party" (homebrew) is generally allowed and third-party is allowed on a case-by-case basis, with Mongoose, Sylvan, and Goodman generally being approved without serious thought.

AslanCross
2008-12-10, 04:21 PM
I cherry-pick 3rd party material if it helps level the playing field. For example, I use the Pathfinder rogue, fighter and ranger in my long-running campaign to give the players and NPCs who've been left behind by the party's crusader in terms of damage dealing. It's worked so far.

I've also downloaded a couple of free adventures in case I need to run a game that I can't really prepare for.

Satyr
2008-12-10, 04:23 PM
It is not a real campaign without a set of rules that is customized for it. Massive houseruling is not only fun and helpful to catch the specific mood that the campaign wants to represent, it is also a sign of those rolepayers who make their own ideas and are not completely dependent from authority input. And have the required time at hand.

The D20 products i found most impresive were all not published b WotC. The best D20 setting is probably Midnight. Iron Heroes and Conan D20 are both much better sets of the rules. One of the most helpful tools for campaign creation is Magical Medieval Society, and the best further evolution of the game (as in more 4th edition than 4th edition) is Mutants and Masterminds. None of those books was published by WotC, all of them are very recommendable.

RTGoodman
2008-12-10, 04:27 PM
As a DM, I've certainly used homebrew and third-party material (mostly just monsters), but I've NEVER had any players ask about using either (even when I've given them the option). That could just be the groups, though, since they even refuse to use ToB stuff or MOST of the stuff from the Complete and Races series.

As a player, I've been allowed homebrewed PrCs and stuff occasionally (like, twice), but not often. I'd say a good 80% of my groups or MORE don't allow anything homebrewed and ALMOST nothing 3rd-party (except stuff like the Iron Kingdoms or Conan d20 settings when they play in those).

Matthew
2008-12-10, 04:32 PM
In any game I play in, "second-party" (homebrew) is generally allowed and third-party is allowed on a case-by-case basis, with Mongoose, Sylvan, and Goodman generally being approved without serious thought.

Who are Sylvan?

Prometheus
2008-12-10, 04:38 PM
Yeah I pretty much agree with Fax. Certainly anything that I make the players can use, and I'm always glad to welcome homebrews - with some well-know homebrewer's going to the front of the line.

I play with the idea that whatever character sketch a player comes up with, we should be able to find a way to make it. Should it not exist in RAW, I'll find an appropriate homebrew or make it myself.

arguskos
2008-12-10, 04:40 PM
I make a lot of homebrew for my players. I tend to not use much 3rd party stuff, I just make my own (or nick from here :smallwink:), but that's because I don't usually want to slog through most of it, though if a player presents it to me for approval, I tend to allow it, provided it won't split the universe in half or anything.

Tacoma
2008-12-10, 04:51 PM
RAW is broken in more places than a goblin's dinner plates. In order to even play 3E / 3.5E you by definition are homebrewing at least a little, just to patch it up. But every system is like that. And one of 3E's great strengths was its systematization of previously ad hoc rules which lays bare the methods of game design and makes it accessible to the DM. I'd say 3E, in addition to requiring homebrewing, encourages it.

That said, at least 1/3 of what you see in my games is homebrewed. NPCs, magic items, spells, feats, monsters, plot, adventures, location, etc. Under this umbrella I include things I invented that someone else coincidentally also invented and published. If you leave out spells it's probably closer to 1/2.

See, 3E is very plug-and-socket when it comes to homebrewing. You make a list of every roll and modifier possible, and every way a rule can alter that, and you shuffle the mass into feats and spells. Magic items follow from spells, except those that shouldn't be spells, which become artifacts. Let's say I make a feat:


Inertial Aura [General]
Prerequisites: CHA 16, Arcane spellcasting ability

You can generate an aura in a 5' radius per point of CHA bonus. This aura gives all creatures in the area a -4 Initiative penalty. You can turn your aura on or off on your turn, and can continue emitting it while sleeping or unconscious. You can have only one Aura feat active at one time. Toggling or changing auras is a Free Action.


I just made that up. Someone else might have done the same. To say they or I have copyright over any feat that does the same effect is crazy. If someone takes my text, then sure that's copyright violation. But just making a feat that makes nearby people have an Init penalty is a homebrew.

I went through the big feat list once (the one on the Wizards site) and made up my own stats for all the feats. I'd call that homebrewing. I was just inspired by their feat names.

EDIT: I don't buy third party books. I might pick up an interesting one and flip through it in the store. If anything strikes me as wonderful I'll remember it and write it down when I get home. But the nuggets of gold lie amid the Otyugh's other offerings.

brant167
2008-12-10, 04:53 PM
I homebrew a great deal. The last game I ran had about 120 pages of notes for races, classes, places, and setting. It was a real interesting setting built around gestaulted rules, but eh, half of the players showed up for 4 games in a row so I pretty much scrapped the project. I plan on running it again when I find a local group who can commit to a weekly game.
Currently, I have a group of 6 who I am running a Scarred Lands campaign for. I highly suggest it to other dm's. Its good fun and much more detailed and is more interesting (in my opinion) compared to eberron and forgotten realms.

AKA_Bait
2008-12-10, 05:00 PM
Honestly, I hardly ever use third party material (unless it's online) as the few times I have actually paid for it I have been severly disappointed by what I got.

That said, I use a homebrewed monster from the forums here in virtually ever session I run and frequently homebrew my own PrC's, items, and spells either just as flavor for the setting or to help my players get the mix of abilities they want.

Waspinator
2008-12-10, 05:37 PM
There's some third-party settings I am a fan of (Etherscope, Dragonstar, Iron Kingdoms, Dragonmech). Also, Pathfinder and Dungeon Crawl Classics have some neat modules in them.

Fax Celestis
2008-12-10, 05:45 PM
Who are Sylvan?

Spelled it wrong: Silven Publishing (http://silvenpublishing.blogspot.com/) put out some stuff then quietly collapsed. I liked their stuff.

lisiecki
2008-12-10, 05:50 PM
No... Dear god no

this stems from an old GM i had, who would randomly make things up
And NEVER tell the players why these things had been made up, or how they worked

Epinephrine
2008-12-10, 05:51 PM
I homebrew constantly, and am not afraid to completely rewrite classes.

In the campaign I am running right now the two of the PCs have rewritten classes, and the other has a couple of homebrewed feats. The DMPC has a homebrewed feat as well, and several NPCs (of the recurring variety) are benefitting from rewritten classes. Many base rules have been changed, such as casting defensively and tumbling, and I'm toying with switching from d20 to 2d10, to add a bit of central tendency to the rolls without going as far as 3d6 does.

I happily use 3rd party material, if it fits/balances well. If it doesn't, it can be adapted.

Matthew
2008-12-10, 05:57 PM
Spelled it wrong: Silven Publishing (http://silvenpublishing.blogspot.com/) put out some stuff then quietly collapsed. I liked their stuff.

Ah right, yeah. They were quite good. Their catalogue got absorbed by 12 to Midnight, as I recall.

Fax Celestis
2008-12-10, 06:06 PM
No... Dear god no

this stems from an old GM i had, who would randomly make things up
And NEVER tell the players why these things had been made up, or how they worked

I would think that would indicated "bad DM", not that "ZOMG AWL HOMEBRU IS TEH SUX".

That could just be me, though.

lisiecki
2008-12-10, 06:33 PM
I would think that would indicated "bad DM", not that "ZOMG AWL HOMEBRU IS TEH SUX".

That could just be me, though.

You weren't there man
You didn't see what happened
you didn't see what they did to johnny...
It was like being trapped in some subterranean fantasy ****ing Vietnam

Tacoma
2008-12-10, 06:35 PM
Spelled it wrong: Silven Publishing (http://silvenpublishing.blogspot.com/) put out some stuff then quietly collapsed. I liked their stuff.

At one time I was prodding Silven with proposals. She seemed interested, but it fell through because of lack of interest on my part related to her unwillingness to contribute substantially. Guess it was good to stay out of that relationship.

Matthew
2008-12-10, 06:38 PM
Heh, heh. That phrase is gaining increasing popularity on the old interwebs; Kids Just Don't Know How to Crawl Dungeons These Days (http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=14234) and a review of the parody itself (http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=33043).

Kurald Galain
2008-12-10, 06:39 PM
I do homebrew all the time, actually. Yes, including rules.


Anyway, it was to be expected that a substantial amount of people who own 3E rulebooks would be unwilling to spend money on a new edition. WOTC is betting on the idea that it's an expanding market, and that the big money is in new customers, not upgrading existing ones. Paizo is betting on the opposite.

lisiecki
2008-12-10, 07:34 PM
I would think that would indicated "bad DM", not that "ZOMG AWL HOMEBRU IS TEH SUX".

That could just be me, though.

Ya, BTW its nice to see that the level of articulation i displayed was at that level. I must have mistaken Do you use them? for How much do you love them?

horseboy
2008-12-10, 07:35 PM
Hmm, Redbrick is Earthdawn's 3rd publisher, does that count?