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

    So, upon discovering a few more errors, I constructed a spreadsheet and went through the whole thread again. Everything should be sorted out now....

    Quote Originally Posted by Morph Bark View Post
    It makes sense, but consider that with several of the ones that are high up on the list in amount of votes are so high up not because many people voted for them (in most cases), but that several people simply allocated 3 votes to these options. Limiting votes to up to 2 per option OR allowing more downvotes per option per voter would be fairer and more balancing, allowing the filtration of not-so-bad options, while keeping in the ones that actually are really bad.
    Hmm. Double-checking the votelog, only one of the top ten has any negative votes at all (drowning). There are five negative votes in total. So I don't think negative votes need a wider range, really.

    I'm somewhat loath to limit positive votes at this point without a strong consensus, given the amount of adjusting that would be necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tavar View Post
    Read the first post, and noticed that Chicken Infested is listed. Isn't Chicken Infested an April Fools Joke, so the lame fluff and crunch is somewhat expected?
    Lame is one thing, but stupidly broken is quite another. It's a flaw that actually acts more like an Su feat or something, and it combines atrociously with spell component pouches (which are kinda stupid on their own, but not actively dangerous). Basically, I don't demand that a joke entry be sensible, fluff-wise, just that it not have such far-reaching consequences.

    Quote Originally Posted by Suddo View Post
    Bloodlines are pretty terrible and I didn't see them on the list. There's that handbook, I think by BreakMyCampaign, explaining how you can gain level but not and abuse them and argue that they are more like a buyoff then an actual level (as in you pay the amount of XP for the level but it has no LA so you can take the level as normal).
    I'd say the design was pretty decent, but the writing was very unclear, which is enough right there to deserve an entry.

    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Come to think of it bloodlines are really incredibly terrible. Neat idea, absolutely atrocious execution. I think I need to transfer two of my votes to them, from whatever else I have more than one vote on. In fact, make it three votes for now - I'll withdraw my vote for Complete Psionic in general, since Erudite and EW Mind Blade are the only things in that which seriously burn my toast (yeah the Divine Mind is crap, but it's at least somewhat interesting crap, and I found the Synads and Telaire interesting, while most of the rest I haven't read). So that plus one Erudite vote and one WBL vote go into Bloodlines for now, until the next time I remember something even more painful.
    PS - you might consider alphabetizing the votelog, if it doesn't qualify as too much busywork. Could save yourself some searching down the line, your call.
    Hmm, I might do that, yeah. It'll probably help for anyone who wants to double-check, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by QuickLyRaiNbow View Post
    You could combine this with Ex/Su/SLA. Natural abilities are the forgotten child, the fourth member of the triumvirate.
    Ah, good idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by LordDrakulzen View Post
    First vote- Feral template, in successive paragraphs it mentions Hit dice as either monster HD or just HD, but it's abilities go off of HD, but which ones?

    (If books in general were allowed I would vote all possible for Savage Species, as it lies in it's own edition i lovingly call 3.25 where some things are old, some things are correct with what was coming out soon, and others only exist in Savage Species. Namely the winged template basing the flight maneuverability on Dex, and only that template having that)

    I'll send 2 votes to the Manyfang Dagger from Curmudgeon.

    2 votes for Dust of Sneezing and Choking.

    2 Votes for VoP from BoED- allows you to carry plain clothes, spell component pouch, non magical bag, and simple weapon... the heavy crossbow is a simple weapon that costs 50 gp, but I'm not allowed to have a holy symbol of the deity that I've dedicated my life to?
    The worst part is that according to some quote I remember seeing, the restriction on holy symbols was actually intended.

    1 for Wish- the spell- I can create any non-magical item worth up to 25,000 gp. Followed by I can create a magical item, or increase the properties of an existing item (no price limit given)

    1 for Paladin code.

    And my last vote is for... Damage Reduction and it's unstackability.
    If my class grants DR x/b, my feats can grant DR x/c, my armor can grant DR x/a. Why can't they all be there whether it says they stack or not? Case in point- Roll with it, Adamantine Fullplate, heavy armor optimization(or specialization, forget which), and Survivor all give DR x/-, yet none of them work together, though they all represent either internal toughness, or years of training to avoid damage.
    DR is ... inconsistent with the general stacking paradigm, and annoying, but at least it's fairly clear how it works, and doesn't usually cause serious problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Answerer View Post
    Savage Species does indeed have a lot of problems.

    Bloodlines were definitely another good call.
    These both votes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doxkid View Post
    The entire Heroes of Horror book. Mostly because it was poorly written, poorly proofread and once it was out, it was left to rot without errata.
    Hmm. Care to be more specific? (I have, for now, included the vote, but I'd prefer to change it.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    That's RAW for you; 100% Rules-Legal, 110% silly.
    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    "Common sense" and "RAW" are not exactly on speaking terms
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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
    The worst part is that according to some quote I remember seeing, the restriction on holy symbols was actually intended.
    Non-cloistered Clerics probably don't want VoP anyway since it means giving up armor, which is the cleric's main advantage over the wizard (apart from not needing to actually learn spells and not having a spellbook that can be stolen). But I find it hard to believe they actually wanted to make it completely impossible for a VoP cleric to cast the vast majority of cleric spells; at that point they might as well just have said "Clerics cannot take this feat".

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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
    Non-cloistered Clerics probably don't want VoP anyway since it means giving up armor, which is the cleric's main advantage over the wizard (apart from not needing to actually learn spells and not having a spellbook that can be stolen). But I find it hard to believe they actually wanted to make it completely impossible for a VoP cleric to cast the vast majority of cleric spells; at that point they might as well just have said "Clerics cannot take this feat".
    Your point on armor is well-taken, for both clerics and paladins. Also, there's an orison somewhere that summons a holy symbol for rounds/level; arguably that works, but is pretty subpar. (DMM: Persisting that would be amusing, though.)


    The weird thing is, of course, that clerics/paladins/etc are the characters that I at least would expect to want the feat the most for fluff reasons (and fluff is the only possible reason to take VoP anyway). So why did they design it to shut them out?

    Edit: The WotC article I was vaguely referring to, which indicates that the difficulty clerics have is not particularly unexpected.
    Last edited by TuggyNE; 2012-07-12 at 03:06 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    That's RAW for you; 100% Rules-Legal, 110% silly.
    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    "Common sense" and "RAW" are not exactly on speaking terms
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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    So why was Lucid Dreaming suggested? I just looked at it again and it seems fine to me. They say right out that the more abusive applications are impossible.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Amoren View Post
    I'd call out the errata for the naztharune rakshasa. While better than the base (which meant that naztharune would only have 1d6 sneak attack until they took levels of rogue) it was instead changed to them getting the sneak attack of a rogue of their total hit dice.

    So, class levels taken afterwards will continue to grant sneak attack. Go rogue/assassin and gain double the sneak attack progression!
    I'm not disputing this inclusion on the "Worst-Written" list. However, because it is written poorly that's not the only way to read the erratum.
    The naztharune rakshasa’s sneak attack ability is equivalent to that of a rogue of a level equal to the creature’s Hit Dice.
    Taking it as written, you get exactly that amount of sneak attack: additions from other sources would be overridden because it's a racial feature that's computed based on total HD after you've included everything.

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

    Whelp, I'll just work with what I got.

    Downvote Iron Heart Surge.
    Downvote Hulking Hurler.
    3 votes for Polymorph.
    3 votes for Epic Spellcasting.
    1 vote for Ex/Su/SLA/Na.
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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    This is too small a deal to be worth one of my votes, but I'll mention it in case someone else wants to chime in on it: a flying creature with the Hover feat and Large size creates a dust cloud while hovering near the ground. Within the cloud, a creature that wants to cast a spell needs to make a Concentration check - the DC of which is based on his own HD. The only other thing I can think of which punishes you for having higher HD is Truenaming, so I thought this was worth tossing out a mention.

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

    3 votes to the Truenamer, because a class written that poorly should of been burned at the stake, and had its ashes tossed into the sea.
    3 votes to the Sarrukh's Manipulate Form ability. What I find insulting more than "DM Fiat - The Special Ability" is the fact that they gave the accursed thing an LA score - that means what when the designers were so high on god knows what, they also wanted people to actively USE this garbage. At a level when everything is already falling to ruin because of Epic Spellcasting. The hell?
    2 votes to the Polymorph line. That wreck was broken from start to finish.
    1 vote to Heroes of Horror. Archivist AND Tainted Scholars AND, hell, the entire Taint system. All horrid.
    1 vote to drowing, 'cause that was written poorly as all get-out.
    And lastly, 1 vote to the Candle of Invocation. If you give away a 9th level spell out before 17th level, then you deserve all the grief you get.
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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    Oh, and speaking of Vow of Poverty, I just noticed the Apostle of Peace in his gold-plated robes.....

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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
    But I find it hard to believe they actually wanted to make it completely impossible for a VoP cleric to cast the vast majority of cleric spells; at that point they might as well just have said "Clerics cannot take this feat".
    A Spell Search comes up with 927 Cleric spells, of which 586 do not require a divine focus. So most Cleric spells work just fine. Excluding a holy symbol is right in line with excluding a spellbook: it's a significant limitation, but not the same as excluding a class.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGeckoKing View Post
    3 votes to the Truenamer, because a class written that poorly should of been burned at the stake, and had its ashes tossed into the sea.
    No, it should have Flesh to Stone cast on it, have Transmute Rock to Mud cast on that and have purify food and water cast on the mud.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGeckoKing View Post
    1 vote to Heroes of Horror. Archivist AND Tainted Scholars AND, hell, the entire Taint system. All horrid.
    Dread Necromancer is awesome though.
    Last edited by deuxhero; 2012-07-12 at 11:09 AM.

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

    @ Gecko: Speak for yourself, I love the Archivist.

    @ Tuggyne: Switch one of my 3 votes into a neg-vote for either Archivist or Heroes of Horror in general.

    Quote Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
    A Spell Search comes up with 927 Cleric spells, of which 586 do not require a divine focus. So most Cleric spells work just fine. Excluding a holy symbol is right in line with excluding a spellbook: it's a significant limitation, but not the same as excluding a class.
    Excluding a spellbook does exclude the Wizard class, but your point is taken. While most of the best cleric spells require a holy symbol, you're not exactly playing optomized with VOP anyway, and you can at least function (probably about as well as a Monk, but still).
    Last edited by willpell; 2012-07-12 at 11:43 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    Lame is one thing, but stupidly broken is quite another. It's a flaw that actually acts more like an Su feat or something, and it combines atrociously with spell component pouches (which are kinda stupid on their own, but not actively dangerous). Basically, I don't demand that a joke entry be sensible, fluff-wise, just that it not have such far-reaching consequences.
    So your complaint against the April Fools joke is that if you actually use it instead of treating it like an April Fools joke then it stops working right? That's kind of like complaining that if you give Wizards unlimited spells per day that it breaks the game.
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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
    Excluding a spellbook does exclude the Wizard class, but your point is taken.
    It doesn't, actually. A Wizard with Eidetic Spellcaster ACF (Dragon # 357, page 89) has spells stored in their memory instead of a spellbook. Upon taking Vow of Poverty all those spells remain. The Wizard could not buy the special incenses needed to add extra spells after taking VoP, but would receive the standard 2 "free" spells known per level thereafter. So again a big hindrance, but not an automatic exclusion.

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

    It might be too generalized but collectively the most broken rules are the Rules for Monsters such as Challenge Rating, Level Adjustment, Treasure, Special Qualities & Attacks and also Alignment, Environment and Organization. All of those Even though they are probably intended to be just guidelines for the DM players have to deal with them if they want to use the polymorph spells or play monster characters. Many sources also add to and revise the Rules for Monsters but there doesn't seem to be any grand design to this and these changes and contradictions end up making things even more complicated. And last but not least the actual content of Special Attacks and Qualities often seems badly written or designed (like the "Regeneration" ability of Tarrasque).

    I think it is brokenness of the monster rules which breaks many individual monsters such as the Adamantite Horror and that crab (CR, in these cases), the polymorph spells and several other things like Ability Focus. So if you think it is appropriate then add 3 to Rules for Monsters and 1 to polymorph since it has it's own problems even if the most glaring ones are attributed to Rules for Monsters. If Rules for Monsters is too broad then 3 to polymorph since that it is the most common and troublesome way of having to deal these things and 1 to LA & RHD.

    I don't know if this is errataed somewhere but prestige class requirements seem very broken and often it seems to be nigh-impossible to avoid losing your classes. Ur-Priests, for example, have a Special requirement that they must not be able to cast divine spells but the first level of Ur-Priest gives them divine casting? So the only way you could keep your class features would be low wisdom but that in turn makes the class itself somewhat pointless? So 3 for Prestige Class Disqualification.

    Experience point penalties are just lame and unbalanced in effectiveness. Thankfully experience point costs of creating magic items are often pretty minor but the experience point penalty from multiclassing is incredibly annoying. 2 for Multiclassing Experience Penalty.

    I don't like the "cheap" movement from things like Travel Devotion & MIC swift movement items and 5ft. steps & immediate action movement is even worse. So 1 for Instant Movement or something like that. Similar to Multiclassing Exp. Penalty and PRC disqualification system imho the game would just be better if Instant Movement was not that common.

    I mostly voted on rules instead of single items such as IHS as I think it is much easier to avoid those than, for example, prestige classes or unfavored multiclassing at all. There are many variant rules with significant problems but they are variant which reduces the amount of problems they cause.

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

    I give three votes to the Alignment Rules.
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    No rule should cause infinite controversy. (Yes, infinite. ) And if there was such a rule, at least it shouldn't be one of the most fundamental rules in the game, one which interacts with so many other rules, and defines roleplaying itself. The ripple effect is staggering.

    The alignment rules are so vague, that they are open to all sorts of interpretations. But not vague enough (or deliberately), to at least let every group and DM handle it as they see fit, possibly depending on the campaign. They are meant to be followed in all games in the exact same way.

    Some are completely counter-intuitive (for example, murder is not an evil act unconditionally, but theft and using poison are). Some are unnecessarily restrictive (you can't build a Barbarian who puts honor first and is duty-bound to his tribe and his shaman, because Barbarians MUST be Chaotic). And the distinction between Good, Evil, Law and Chaos in the various "aligned" elements in the game is arbitrary. (The admittedly gross Avascular Mass is an Evil spell, but equally horrible spells that burn people alive are not. Deathwatch is an Evil spell for no apparent reason. Using Planar Binding to bind an angel is Good. And so on.)

    But the main flaw is the concept itself. The most subjective and controversial topic in the game is presented as an objective and universal cosmic force, which governs reality regardless of culture, setting, cosmology or story genre. Ouch.

    One negative vote to the Trap Sense special ability.
    One vote to the Flat-footed rule.
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    The argument for Trap Sense is that, without Uncanny Dodge (which comes later), it doesn't even work. I disagree. Trap Sense gives you a bonus to reflex saves, which doesn't go away when you are flat-footed. So even without Uncanny Dodge, it works just fine for traps such as pits, and things that explode. And there are a whole lot of these.

    So Trap Sense is not completely worthless before 4th level (as in, "it doesn't work at all"). It may be underpowered and overspecific (even with Uncanny Dodge, many traps have Will or Fort DCs and aren't affected by it, while the bonus itself is no big whoop anyway), but that's another matter - a matter of general game balance. And when it comes to that, a mostly flavorful class ability is the least of our problems.

    Finally, I believe Trap Sense isn't to blame for the vanishing AC bonus either. I blame the counter-intuitive definition of flat-footedness. IMO, it's entirely possible to have not acted yet in the initiative order, but be perfectly capable of reacting "normally", ready to strike or evade at a moment's notice. For example, when you are in the process of disarming a trap, you are on your toes and ready to duck - because you know the bloody thing may detonate instead. It makes no sense to be flat-footed at that point. Especially since, by RAW, if you disarm a trap under the much worse circumstances of being in the middle of combat, you aren't flat-footed any more! Crazy.

    Here's a relevant FAQ:

    If a trap needs an attack roll to hit, is the attack against your normal AC or flat-footed AC?

    Technically speaking, any attack made against you before you’ve taken your first action in combat, or any attack made by an attacker you can’t see, uses your flat-footed AC. Most trap attacks fall into one or both of those categories, and thus by a strict reading of the rules should treat their target as flat-footed.
    Of course, any trap that doesn’t fall into either of those categories would use your normal AC. A wall scythe trap that activates every round of combat wouldn’t treat its targets as flat-footed once they’d taken an action.
    Note the words "technically" and "strict reading". My take on this? The Sage (or whoever gave the answer) acknowledges that the rule makes no sense whatsoever. A boulder you weren't aware of falling suddenly on your head? Sure, you're flat-footed. But a 6-foot-scythe swinging like a pendulum in plain sight? Why on earth can't you apply your Dex bonus to AC against its first attack?

    And it's not just traps. The same rule applies to all non-combat situations. Take avalanches. If you are Hasted, you improbably lose your bonus to Ref saves against an avalanche. You can see a huge ball of snow rolling towards you, but you can't react normally because "technically" you are flat-footed. Unless of course you are already in the middle of combat. Then yes, you can defend yourself properly against the avalanche. As I said, crazy.

    So Trap Sense is innocent. Traps in general are innocent. But Flat-footed is guilty, and not only for that. While the definition is absolute (you either are flat-footed or aren't, you can't be flat-footed against one foe but not against the other), it is often confused with the "lose Dex to AC" condition, applying against specific threats. And the misunderstanding isn't the players' fault. There are many abilities in the game that cause a foe to become "flat-footed against this attack" or something similar. (So you can't make AoOs against this attack? What does that even mean?) Apparently, game designers themselves confuse flat-footedness with losing Dex to AC. This can't be a well-thought rule.

    Therefore, I give one vote to the Flat-footed rule - for being unintuitive and confusing, and causing silly paradoxes left and right.

    Two votes to Iron Heart Surge.
    One vote to the polymorph line.
    One vote to Invisible Blade prereqs.
    One vote to the Diplomacy skill.
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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    The polymorph line has displaced Iron Heart Surge for #2, probably by shapechanging into a choker for extra votes standard actions. Trap Sense, Void Disciple, and Hulking Hurler have lost their status, being supplanted by Manipulate Form ("now I have the 7th-Place Ex ability") epic spellcasting ("I research a spell to move up a spot, Spellcraft DC 0"), and candle of invocation ("O efreeti, give me what I desire: a position among the top ten").

    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    This is too small a deal to be worth one of my votes, but I'll mention it in case someone else wants to chime in on it: a flying creature with the Hover feat and Large size creates a dust cloud while hovering near the ground. Within the cloud, a creature that wants to cast a spell needs to make a Concentration check - the DC of which is based on his own HD.
    Spell, spell-like ability, power, psi-like ability, and certain skills would all require the check, I believe. So yeah.

    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    @ Tuggyne: Switch one of my 3 votes into a neg-vote for either Archivist or Heroes of Horror in general.
    Let me see if I've got your current lineup correct:
    CPsi Mind Blade (1), Erudite (1), Favored Soul (1), Illumian power words (1), polymorph (1), soulmelds (1), Trap Sense (1), bloodlines (2), Heroes of Horror (-1).

    Quote Originally Posted by Tavar View Post
    So your complaint against the April Fools joke is that if you actually use it instead of treating it like an April Fools joke then it stops working right? That's kind of like complaining that if you give Wizards unlimited spells per day that it breaks the game.
    My philosophy is that even jokes should have a grain of truth in them, and even silliness should make sense in a way.

    Or, to put it differently,
    Humor is the only test of gravity, and gravity of humor; for a subject which will not bear raillery is suspicious, and a jest which will not bear serious examination is false wit.
    When I make a joke monster, I do my best to ensure it can be treated seriously if desired. And yes, if there was an April Fool's article in which wizards were given unlimited spells/day, I would be upset at that too!

    Quote Originally Posted by Featherman View Post
    If Rules for Monsters is too broad then 3 to polymorph since that it is the most common and troublesome way of having to deal these things and 1 to LA & RHD.
    Yeah, that's what I'll record.

    I don't like the "cheap" movement from things like Travel Devotion & MIC swift movement items and 5ft. steps & immediate action movement is even worse. So 1 for Instant Movement or something like that. Similar to Multiclassing Exp. Penalty and PRC disqualification system imho the game would just be better if Instant Movement was not that common.
    You ... don't like five-foot steps?

    Quote Originally Posted by HeadlessMermaid View Post
    I give three votes to the Alignment Rules.
    One negative vote to the Trap Sense special ability.
    One vote to the Flat-footed rule.
    Two votes to Iron Heart Surge.
    One vote to the polymorph line.
    One vote to Invisible Blade prereqs.
    One vote to the Diplomacy skill.
    An interesting perspective on flat-footed, to be sure. Rather well-reasoned too.
    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    That's RAW for you; 100% Rules-Legal, 110% silly.
    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    "Common sense" and "RAW" are not exactly on speaking terms
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  18. - Top - End - #168
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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    3 votes for the flatfooted rule.

    It being the only one so far that I thoroughly agree with.

    Maybe I have the wrong mentality for this discussion, but... a rule with two possible interpretations, one of which leads to an obviously undesirable outcome - doesn't bother me at all. Similarly, something that can be interpreted different ways in different settings, I tend to see as a good thing.

    Then again, I tend to DM rather than play, so I'm used to just making a judgement that seems to good to me and getting on with it. Getting saddled with a DM who didn't agree with me might make all the potential ambiguity more of an issue.

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

    Looks right.

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

    3 votes to Truenamer. Tyndmyr has shown that you can make it function, but there's no question on how poorly-written it is. Just the introduction is infuriating, because the consonants they use for Truenames are English with apostrophe seasoning, even though you're supposed to need at least a page as a guide on how to pronounce them. This is before you get into mechanics.

    3 votes to Manipulate Form. Pun-pun is a household name in the min-maxing circles.

    3 votes to Epic Spellcasting. It outright tells you to make stuff up, while being nonfunctional when you follow its rules.

    And because I want to be a special snowflake: 1 vote to Geomancer's Spell Versatility. It lets you switch the "parameters" of a spell, and then fails to explain what a parameter is.

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

    Geomancer?

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

    The theurge-trap prestige class from Complete Divine.

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

    Man, every time I come up with a neat idea for a new standard class, it turns out to already be the name of a PRC. First the Exemplar and now this.

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

    Its trick is that it's a merely useful Cleric gish prestige class masquerading as a ****ty theurge prestige class.
    Last edited by eggs; 2012-07-12 at 10:21 PM. Reason: Anyspell is your buddy

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

    I rejiggered the categories a bit; in particular, Base Classes are now distinguished from Prestige, and monstrous and racial Abilities are merged into one. Any suggestions on breaking up the Rules entry would be appreciated. None of the Top Ten have changed places, although there are several 6-vote entries surging up, and more than half a dozen with 5.

    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    Maybe I have the wrong mentality for this discussion, but... a rule with two possible interpretations, one of which leads to an obviously undesirable outcome - doesn't bother me at all. Similarly, something that can be interpreted different ways in different settings, I tend to see as a good thing.

    Then again, I tend to DM rather than play, so I'm used to just making a judgement that seems to good to me and getting on with it. Getting saddled with a DM who didn't agree with me might make all the potential ambiguity more of an issue.
    Yeah, I have a distrust for ambiguity, possibly fostered by my background in computer programming.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kazyan View Post
    And because I want to be a special snowflake: 1 vote to Geomancer's Spell Versatility. It lets you switch the "parameters" of a spell, and then fails to explain what a parameter is.
    You mean it fails to define the exact game meaning of "parameter" in this context? Because the general meaning seems fairly clear to me; "parameter" refers more or less to the tabular entries in the spell description. (I haven't read the ability in question, but that's the usage I would expect.)

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGeckoKing View Post
    (11 votes)
    You have an extra vote in here; for now I'll trim Polymorph down to 1, but any corrections you want to make?
    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    That's RAW for you; 100% Rules-Legal, 110% silly.
    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    "Common sense" and "RAW" are not exactly on speaking terms
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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    I'm fine with the votes allocated to me on the first page, but since that leaves me with 4 more and people have put up a bunch of good ideas:

    +3 to Alignment: Good and evil are bad enough, but it gets worse when defining law and chaos.
    +1 to Epic spellcasting: Even freeform needs better rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    Hmm. A plausible reasoning. I take it you're voting polymorph (3), then?
    Yes, thanks; at the time I wrote the post I was working through the reasoning and didn't double-check the max votes for a topic, but I think polymorph etc is definitely worthy of 3 votes, given my reasoning of "not only awful but unavoidably awful" for it.

    -----

    Another, lesser contender that is worth mentioning: mirror image is bad enough (frighteningly powerful for its level, not to mention the confusion it has spawned -- quick, do a Google search on 'mirror image' 'magic missile', among others), but greater mirror image (PHB II) is ... bad.

    First of all, if you have any problem with how mirror image works / protects you via-effective-hefty-miss-chance from ANYTHING that targets you until images are gone / how images can or can't be targeted, you have the same problem with greater mirror image.

    Secondly, a Quickened mirror image would be a 6th level spell*, whereas greater mirror image is a 4th level spell and is strictly superior. Not only does the greater version always fill up to the maximum 8 images, and regenerate "popped" images as long as there is at least one, but spawning the spell as an immediate action against any significant targeted attack rather than merely a swift action is so much better it's not even funny.

    *Assuming anyone used Quicken Spell by itself rather than a metamagic rod or Divine Metamagic and armor made entirely out of nightsticks.

    So... yeah. Greater mirror image pretty arguably earns a vote.

    -----

    Of course, this gets into kind of a broader pet peeve of mine -- swift and immediate actions generally. On the face of them, they stink of a backdoor revival of 3.0 haste, not to mention introducing them into a campaign creates an entire game mechanic which is generally most accessible to the game's already-strongest characters (full casters) and least accessible to the mechanically weakest characters (non-casters w/o ToB).

    For immediate actions specifically there is a style issue for me -- automatically giving casters the potential power of a Magic: The Gathering "blue deck"'s Interrupt actions. I'm fine with feather fall as a grandfathered special case (it worked just fine before we defined "immediate action" to be a general type), but otherwise I'd feel tempted to ban-by-default other immediate actions. (It would be rough on ToB characters, and I'm not sure what I'd do there.)

    As for swift actions, I'd be tempted to actually limit swift-action casting only to spells cast via full-BAB-with-specific-spell-list classes (e.g. ranger, paladin, hexblade, duskblade, etc), so as to let some of the "lesser" classes have a small amount of "gish" capability without handing out a second spell per round to full casters (or even full-on gish).

    I just don't like the mindset of "hey! we've created a new type of action that you can take every round, only, you have to be a spellcaster to do it, otherwise you just have to sit there and waste your "immediate action" while your spellcasting buddies get even cooler than you than they already were."

    Not sure if this should really be a formal vote (A) because at least part of my objection is personal/stylistic and (B) I'm not sure about voting against an entire game mechanic, but I thought it was a point worth making.

    -----

    More on topic in terms of a specific immediate action that I find mind-boggling is the Abrupt Jaunt ACF (PHB II) for conjurer wizard-specialists.

    I mean... the default position of a familiar is sitting in a wizard's pocket granting, oh, 3 hit points or +2 Fort saves (for standard familiars, assuming you don't have access to hummingbird). Whatever.

    Instead, you could have Int-bonus-times-per-day, total immunity from attack rolls (that you see coming, at least). Also? Potential immunity from targeted spells requiring line-of-sight (if you're within 10' of something that blocks line of sight) and potential immunity from area effects (that don't extend at least 10' in every direction around you).

    Also? No mention is needed of needing line-of-sight, so you can happily Abrupt Jaunt right through doors, walls, whatever. (Or out of a grapple, even Swallow Whole, assuming it managed to happen by surprise when you couldn't Abrupt Jaunt away in the first place.)

    Also? It's a conjurer ability, never mind they are already one of the better possible specializations for wizard -- why not give them an ACF which is arguably better than all the other Immediate Magic specialist wizard ACFs added together?

    Also? A 1st level ability which arguably approaches the utility of greater mirror image, usable 3+ times per day.

    Also? It's a (Sp) ability that is (Ex).

    WHAT.

    (Sure, just teleport right out of that antimagic sphere so you can hurl your "Conjured" nonmagical-magical energy orbs back into it, why not.)

    Abrupt Jaunt definitely gets one vote. (It only doesn't get more votes because it's pretty specific and can be readily solved with one judicious stroke of a DM banhammer without really adversely affecting the rest of the game.)

    ...this should place my total votes so far at 5 (polymorph 3, gr. mirror image 1, Abrupt Jaunt 1).

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    Quote Originally Posted by deuxhero View Post
    Dread Necromancer is awesome though.
    .. poorly written in places. requiring a feat to not nuke itself, and able to fear things forever. heck, the final ability apparently doesn't even work due to a CS ruling. as a class it is good, but as a piece of writing... good god man it is sad. gonna toss 3 votes onto DN just to make the point clear. any class that feat taxes you to use it is badly written, and if you don't put durations on things... well there is a hell for people that fail to label their graph axises that I think would fit.
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    Default Re: Top Ten Worst-Written Spells, Class Features, Racial Abilities, Feats, Items, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by bobthe6th View Post
    .. poorly written in places. requiring a feat to not nuke itself, and able to fear things forever. heck, the final ability apparently doesn't even work due to a CS ruling. as a class it is good, but as a piece of writing... good god man it is sad. gonna toss 3 votes onto DN just to make the point clear. any class that feat taxes you to use it is badly written, and if you don't put durations on things... well there is a hell for people that fail to label their graph axises that I think would fit.
    I don't think Tomb-Tainted Soul was intended as a feat tax: I'm pretty sure Dread Necromancers were probably supposed to use Charnel Touch only on their minions and living enemies, not on themselves.

    Also, 2000 XP might be cheaper than a feat to you, and Necropolitan has an awful lot more to offer than does TTS. Plus Necropolitan's even in the same book...

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

    Well, I'm out of votes now, but I just wanted to mention the whole Conjured Fire line of spells. They're blasts of fire, but they don't count as invocation because they're conjuration for no reason! They conjure a physical object, just like conjured sonic spells! Um, what?
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