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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Lampert View Post
    Magic Device Traps completely negate the idea that the guidelines on item creation are guidelines for the DM to ESTIMATE prices rather than rules for the PCs to abuse.
    The DM is specifically allowed to disagree with magic device trap elements. From DMG page 74:
    When you and the player have agreed on what spells and other elements the trap contains, you can determine the cost of the raw materials for the trap and the CR of the trap.
    If you don't like what the PC is trying to do with a magic device trap, simply don't agree to the spells or other elements.

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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Lampert View Post
    Magic Device Traps completely negate the idea that the guidelines on item creation are guidelines for the DM to ESTIMATE prices rather than rules for the PCs to abuse.
    The DM is specifically allowed to disagree with magic device trap elements, and empowered to set the cost. From DMG page 74:
    When you and the player have agreed on what spells and other elements the trap contains, you can determine the cost of the raw materials for the trap and the CR of the trap.
    If you don't like what the PC is trying to do with a magic device trap, simply don't agree to the spells or other elements. And the DM determines the cost and CR.

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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    This is more of a personal pet peeve than anything truly broken, but Legion of Sentinels in PHB2. I had a player who was very fond of this spell, which is very difficult to use because nowhere does the spell description actually give stats for the sentinels. The Short description in the Spell List gives their damage, but IIRC the long description, usually very thorough, dosn't tell the DM what exactly to do.

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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
    The DM is specifically allowed to disagree with magic device trap elements, and empowered to set the cost. From DMG page 74: If you don't like what the PC is trying to do with a magic device trap, simply don't agree to the spells or other elements. And the DM determines the cost and CR.
    That language is not in the SRD. Nor do I believe it is in my first printing 3.5 DMG (not with my books).

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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    That Crab x2
    Iron Heart Surge
    Truenamer
    Dust of Sneezing & Choking x2
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    PaO duration/Alter Self/Polymorph/Shapechange
    Trap Sense x2


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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    Actually, Traps in general deserve a vote for poorly written mechanics.
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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    Well, first thing, I'm going to put a negative vote towards theAntagonize feat. It's not at-will, it provides a useful effect, and it doesn't work against anything immune to mind effects. It might be a bit MMORPGish, but it's not all that broken.

    For for broken things, I'll put in another vote for Cancer Mage, double that if the Festering Hate disease is included in that. As amusing as the concept of the Muscle Wizard is, +2 Str each day is ridiculous.

    I'll also toss one toward the Choker and its extra standard action every turn.

    Lastly, I'll toss two toward the Sublime Chord, and its full sorcerer+full bard shenanigans, and I'll save the last four for later.
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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    For now I'm considering this separate from the existing Planar Bubble entry, despite wishing to fold them together.
    That's fine. I mean the class as a whole, not just the planar bubble feature. There's plenty of other badly designed, broken stuff about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    By this do you mean the current "LA rules" entry, or something a little different? For now I'm assuming the former, but correct me if I am incorrect.
    I mean the fact that monsters have both level adjustment and racial hit dice, and that the majority of the time, monsters with both RHD and LA are vastly underpowered compared to classes of the same level, while a select few are vastly overpowered compared to classes of the same level.
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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    Some awesome discussion going on here.

    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Okay, I'm speaking in ignorance here so I might be out of line, but I think this might be less broken than people seem to think it is (though it could still qualify for bad wording, so this isn't a neg-vote or anything yet). Curmudgeon pointed out on the Simple Rules Q thread that you can't initiate a stance while unable to move or unable to take actions, so while IHS is still quite broad, it doesn't cure the truly nasty conditions like Stunned or Petrified, because you can't use it while affected by such things. Again, please ignore me if everyone already knows this, I'm kinda late to the party with all of 3E and still haven't even read Tome of Battle.
    Already warbladed on this one, but my problem with it is, in fact, that it can't cure the truly nasty conditions, while it can cure stupidly broad and scarcely negative conditions like "I'm a drow and the sun is shining on me". What's a DM supposed to do with that? (At least it's practical to use it to break charm, as AGC shows us; it also shows us another aspect of its wording stupidity, for free!)

    I had interpreted JoAT as proof that having a half-skill rank gave you the ability to use the skill, since you were trained in it. I know there's at least one rule that says otherwise, but JoAT might have been intended to override that rule, and they just weren't explicit as they should have been (though again that does qualify as bad writing).
    [...]
    No argument here; if free metamagic was an easy across-the-board thing it might be cool, but having some able to get it and others not is pretty awful.
    Are these votes? If not, you still have two votes left.

    I'm not really counting votes; I think it's more like a measure of certainty. I'm putting one vote toward things that I find dubious, two to thinks that are definitely screwy, and would put three toward something that was utterly and completely absurd. I have yet to see anything that I'm certain would be worth three.
    That's more like what I intended, yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by sonofzeal View Post
    Actually, I want to add two votes to Void Disciple.

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    1) Void Suppression. No-save-just-lose for 90% of the monsters out there, and 95% of PCs. Just switch their Int and Str, or Con and Cha, and laaaaaaugh.

    2) Moment of Clarity. Grant an ally any feat for a few rounds. Worth noting is that you specifically can't grant Ancestor feats, but Epic feats are, apparently, good to go. If you can't find a way to horribly break this, you aren't trying hard enough.

    3) Sense Void. Okay, so you can sense stuff anywhere except across planar boundaries, at the cost of a piddly Spellcraft check. This raises a whole series of questions: can others sense you when you're like that? Since you're leaving your body, can you use purely mental actions in that state? Can you move around? How long does it last? Does it count as a divination effect? What can block it? RAW's lack of statement implies very dire answers...

    - There's no listed method of detecting if someone else is using this.
    - There's nothing preventing the use of mental actions in this state, and there's not even a mention of it requiring concentration.
    - There's no method of moving (but see the previous)
    - There's no limit on duration given.
    - It's never referred to as a divination, nor as scrying, despite the obvious similarities.
    - Given that, there's no RAW method I've heard of to block it, short of planar boundaries. Illusions work, though.

    In other words, it's potentially "Scry and Die" on steroids. Can't be blocked, can't be detected, doesn't require familiarity, never runs out, and by RAW your mind is actually there, meaning you can start chucking out whatever mental action whatnots you happen to have available with zero fear of reprisal.

    Basically, Sense Void is god mode. A Planar Sheppard//Beholder Mage would have reason to fear a Void Disciple.

    Gah.
    Now that is an impressive list. That's right up there with love's pain, in fact. (Which I am going to add, despite having no votes left to put on it.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Morph Bark View Post
    So we can't put two or three downvotes on one of the choices?
    Not at present, no; if you really want to do this, make your case for it, and I'll consider.

    I don't think it would be too helpful, because the main purpose of downvotes IMO is to even out a few careless entries that don't fit all that well, not to deal with suggestions that many people agree with and some disagree with very strongly. Does that make sense?

    Quote Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
    Manyfang Dagger (Serpent Kingdoms, page 152): 3 votes
    Hmm, I don't have Serpent Kingdoms, so you'll have to explain this one to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Lampert View Post
    Drop Monk from my list and add Magic Device Traps.
    Monk is mearly moderately inneffective and poorly synergized. Magic Device Traps completely negate the idea that the guidelines on item creation are guidelines for the DM to ESTIMATE prices rather than rules for the PCs to abuse.

    When: "Of course I can build a trap of Cure Minor Wounds activated by someone reaching into it on my spell-pouch. I don't want some undead messing with it." is one of the LESS abusive uses of a rule you know it's got problems.
    As I see it, this mostly exposes the problem that trap costs don't make a whole lot of sense; they're engineered for a specific use (hurt PCs dungeon-crawling) and don't work well in other niches (hurt NPCs, help NPCs, help PCs, etc). In particular, they're easier and cheaper than wondrous items to break (action/gold/wish) economy with.

    Quote Originally Posted by molten_dragon View Post
    I mean the fact that monsters have both level adjustment and racial hit dice, and that the majority of the time, monsters with both RHD and LA are vastly underpowered compared to classes of the same level, while a select few are vastly overpowered compared to classes of the same level.
    The distinction between this and LA rules seems small, but I'll separate out your vote anyway.
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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    Isn't there a race that get's both full Sorcerer and Cleric casting and a bergillion other ability's, so much that it's over powered even for it's insane LA? Can't remember what it's called.
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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    I know there was a Black something or other that had Wizard casting on par with the total ECL it gave.

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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by deuxhero View Post
    I know there was a Black something or other that had Wizard casting on par with the total ECL it gave.
    Ethergaunt. And I'd like to throw another vote on Void Disciple, and around three on the Sarrukh.
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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by deuxhero View Post
    I know there was a Black something or other that had Wizard casting on par with the total ECL it gave.
    Black Ethergaunts?

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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by Metahuman1 View Post
    Isn't there a race that get's both full Sorcerer and Cleric casting and a bergillion other ability's, so much that it's over powered even for it's insane LA? Can't remember what it's called.
    There's Phaerimm Hatchlings, 1HD and +2LA who get Sorcerer Casting equal to their total Character level as SLA's.
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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    Are these votes? If not, you still have two votes left.
    They were not votes. I'll think about the last two.

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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    There's Phaerimm Hatchlings, 1HD and +2LA who get Sorcerer Casting equal to their total Character level as SLA's.
    Black Ethergaunts also come to mind.

    EDIT: Swordsages everywhere.
    Last edited by Amphetryon; 2012-07-10 at 07:13 PM.
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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    My ten votes will be allocated as follows:

    Polymorph and associated spells - 3
    Natural Abilities - 2
    Contact Other Plane - 2
    Truenamer - 1
    Diplomacy - 1
    Lucid Dreaming skill - 1

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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    ...Iron Heart Surge is beating Truenamer? No. Not even kind of sort of, just no.

    IHS is somewhat problematic and ill-defined. Truenamer is flat-out missing critical pieces of information and was clearly never tested at all.

    Also, anyone who does not list Manipulate Form as #1, it seems to me, is simply wrong.

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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by gorfnab View Post
    Archivist (HoH) and Healer (MH) would like to have a word with you...
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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    For me, most of my things are Core. Truenamer isn't, but it's an entire class that doesn't function. It's the drowning rules of classes. The other is Lucid Dreaming, which can basically allow for risk-free assassination, or, more potently, use Diplomacy without actually ever meeting the target. By sleeping, you can make everyone who's subject to mind-affecting effects while asleep (so maybe when buffs are down!) a Fanatic follower.

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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by Answerer View Post
    ...Iron Heart Surge is beating Truenamer? No. Not even kind of sort of, just no.

    IHS is somewhat problematic and ill-defined. Truenamer is flat-out missing critical pieces of information and was clearly never tested at all.
    This. Consider my vote cast for Truenamer.

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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    This was intentional and more or less reasonable; there's a sidebar in one of the books which explains their logic. CR and ECL measure different things; a monster doesn't care whether its powers are usable once per hour or once per day, because you'll usually kill it or be killed by it within an hour of meeting it. But for a player the difference is huge, since the once per hour power can be used in like eight fights before an adventuring day might end. There are doubtless other ramifications of the difference. CR is for monsters that are there to be killed; LA is for creatures that can be played. I would like it if they had provided LA for all monsters (just earlier today I was thinking about a clairsentient Udoroot who telecommutes to the dungeon), and they could have put more thought into how much LA a given monster race or template is worth (+2 for Celestial, are you kidding me?), but the concept overall isn't a bad one.
    I think you misunderstand my issue here. A LA template is LOWER for a CR monster than it is for a player. If memory serves (It might not, I've been playing Pathfinder and GURPS for a while now) a Half-Dragon template adds +2 CR to a monster.. but +3 LA to a player. Why? it's more powerful on a monster, which as you say is there to kill or be killed.

    Yes LA, ECL and CR measures completely different things, but once you want to apply a template to something it turns into a huge friggin mess.

    And I take back the thing about Favored Souls being the only ones with a split stat, it was meant to be an exaggeration to get my frustration across, but apparently that doesn't work to well when typing in the middle of the night. :p

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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Lampert View Post
    That language is not in the SRD. Nor do I believe it is in my first printing 3.5 DMG (not with my books).
    It is in mine (First Printing: July 2003).

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    Hmm, I don't have Serpent Kingdoms, so you'll have to explain this one to me.
    A two sentence SK quote is all I need:
    Manyfang Dagger: This +1 dagger looks like a normal masterwork dagger, but when it hits, three phantom blades briefly whirl into existence around the main blade, stabbing and slicing the same target, then winking into nothingness again. A manyfang dagger thus deals quadruple damage on each successful hit, or quintuple damage on a critical hit.
    Multiplying Damage

    Sometimes you multiply damage by some factor, such as on a critical hit. Roll the damage (with all modifiers) multiple times and total the results. Note: When you multiply damage more than once, each multiplier works off the original, unmultiplied damage.

    Exception: Extra damage dice over and above a weapon’s normal damage are never multiplied.
    If you've got non-dice bonus damage, a Manyfang Dagger will multiply it on every single hit. At level 13 a Rogue hitting with a +1 dagger could deal 1d4 +1 (from weapon enhancement) +6 (from Strength bonus) +7d6+13 (from sneak attack with Craven) +5 (from Knowledge Devotion); that's 1d4 + 7d6 +25 (average 52) with no critical. With a Manyfang dagger the +7d6 wouldn't be multiplied, but the +25 static bonus would instead become +100 on every successful sneak attack; that's 4d4 +7d6 + 100 (average 141.5).

    Further shenanigans are possible with a Small character using a Manyfang Dagger sized for a Medium character.
    The measure of how much effort it takes to use a weapon (whether the weapon is designated as a light, one-handed, or two-handed weapon for a particular wielder) is altered by one step for each size category of difference between the wielder’s size and the size of the creature for which the weapon was designed.
    Once a Manyfang Dagger becomes a 1-handed weapon you can benefit from Power Attack; you can also wield it in two hands. All of that bonus would be quadrupled on every hit as well, even when you don't qualify for sneak attack. Power Attack for 9 with an oversize dagger and you add another +9 if you hit, or +18 if wielded 2-handed. Power Attack for 9 with an oversize Manyfang Dagger and you add another +36 if you hit, or +45 if wielded 2-handed.

    You can see that the Manyfang Dagger's contribution to damage dwarfs that from class features. That item is better than 20 levels of sneak attack from a Rogue, and 20 levels of rage from a Barbarian. As soon as you qualify for Craven (a 1-level Rogue dip) you've got most of the multipliable static bonus. At that point you might as well be a full spellcaster to add other non-dice damage bonuses to get multiplied by the Manyfang Dagger.

    Any single item which obsoletes whole classes deserves to be on the list.
    Last edited by Curmudgeon; 2012-07-10 at 08:05 PM. Reason: typo

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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by Curmudgeon
    It is in mine (First Printing: July 3003)
    Curmudgeon's from the FUTURE!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    Curmudgeon's from the FUTURE!
    Sshhhh! That's supposed to be a secret!

    Actually, it's more that my fingers have all the deftness of someone from the distant past. Hooray for Neanderthal typing!

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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    For now... one for each, in no particular order:
    • Iron Heart Surge
    • Factotum*
    • Freedom of Movement
    • Truenamer*
    • Drowning


    *I saw the "no whole classes please" thing, also that they have already made it to the list anyway.

    Also, anyone who does not list Manipulate Form as #1, it seems to me, is simply wrong.
    I dunno. Manipulate Form is completely bonkers in very clear ways, if you ask me.
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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    I know the one I was pointing out was form one of the later/less commonly used books. I think it was one of the later Monster Manuals/setting specific supplements. I've never actually looked at it though, just seen it sited on forums.
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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernir View Post
    I dunno. Manipulate Form is completely bonkers in very clear ways, if you ask me.
    I dunno, "worst-written" to me can refer to the hideously open-ended wording that they used.

  29. - Top - End - #119
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    material & internet plane
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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    To clarify my votes from earlier:
    3 each for being clear-cut badly defined effects
    Cancer Mage
    HH World Throwing

    2 for being badly or vaguely written
    Precocious Apprentice
    Thought Bottle

    Removed, since I'm just being nitpicky with these:
    Dead condition
    Hydra slaying Strike
    Last edited by ben-zayb; 2012-07-10 at 09:45 PM.
    Hanmaru Ryuuhei (Wonderful Exploits of Fillangus Doddlehop)
    Mulberry Voltaire (Murder in Adrilanka)
    Murmur (The Crowd Calls for Blood!)
    Jizi Strangebrew (Epic Goose Chase)
    Malcolm "The Professor" Dewey (BADASS)
    "Goodwin" Chebyshev (Those That Were)

    Extended Signature

  30. - Top - End - #120
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Elsewhen
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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    This is more of a personal pet peeve than anything truly broken, but Legion of Sentinels in PHB2. I had a player who was very fond of this spell, which is very difficult to use because nowhere does the spell description actually give stats for the sentinels. The Short description in the Spell List gives their damage, but IIRC the long description, usually very thorough, dosn't tell the DM what exactly to do.
    I believe that this is cleared up in the PHB2 errata.


    Quote Originally Posted by PHB2 Errata
    Page 116 – Legion of Sentinels
    [Omission]
    Should include the following text at the end of its
    description: “The swordsmen’s attacks are at a
    bonus equal to your caster level, they threaten
    critical hits on a 19 or 20, and they deal 1d8 points
    of slashing damage with a +1 bonus per three caster
    levels (max +5). They only make attacks of
    opportunity, and their weapon damage is slashing
    and is affected by damage reduction.”
    They do a small amount of damage, but they only make AoO and no regular attacks.

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