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Thread: 3.5e or Next?

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default 3.5e or Next?

    Hello playground!

    After a once off crazy dice throwing adventure one night while I was backpacking through Thailand; nostalgia and a desire to express some creativity has driven me to manifest a dungeons and dragons game.

    I have convinced a group of my friends to give it a go, one or two of whom have played once before and am now writing an adventure to hopefully get them hooked.

    However, now at the point of actually stating out the adventure and exploring different apps that might assist in my DM'ing I'm considering whether to forge ahead with my 3.5e routes or try Next as it seems to have a decent rap and there's lots of apps to assist a DM.

    The adventure is a first level adventure for 4-5 characters and including a campaign plot hook that could go on to becoming an E6 campaign with adventure plots thought out up until level 6 and a certain open endedness available for continuing play.

    Can playgrounders weigh in on my choice between 3.5e and D&D Next? Even all these years later (13 or more) I still remember so much about 3.5 but it seems in the modern world of apps I could benefit from some of the content generation and encounter management available from the apps for Next.

    What do you think?
    Stay with what I know?
    Learn the new thing?
    Last edited by Sm3gl; 2018-06-10 at 01:16 AM.

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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    First of all, it's 5e, not Next. Next was a dumb branding thing that everyone ignored.

    3.5 is a horrendous broken mess with a dizzying amount of options for people that enjoy breaking the game over their knee. 5e is kind of bland and shallow and soulless. Pick your poison.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Koo Rehtorb View Post
    First of all, it's 5e, not Next. Next was a dumb branding thing that everyone ignored.

    3.5 is a horrendous broken mess with a dizzying amount of options for people that enjoy breaking the game over their knee. 5e is kind of bland and shallow and soulless. Pick your poison.
    As mentioned everyone's a newbie so not likely to try to break anything. Also it would be level 1 and an E6 campaign if it progresses (so maximum level 6).

    Pathfinder is the other option that I would be comfortable with. I just want to weigh the learning that I would have to do for a newer system vs the free resources available for systems other than 3.5e.

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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sm3gl View Post
    What do you think?
    5e is a lot less work for the DM. At level 1 the difference isn't so big. But at lvl 6, it is significant. 5e is also a lot more forgiving on new players about workload, but if you add enough help to the new players, it's not like you can't make it work.

    Stay with what I know?
    That's what I would do in general. Kinda lazy, but you go with what you know.

    Learn the new thing?
    I suggest doing this, too. And then picking the one you prefer. But I suppose you don't have the time or inclination for both at this point.

    My clear opinion is that 5e is my preferred system. Hardly flawless, but it's simpler and cleaner than 3.5. But not everyone agrees, obviously. The only way you can be sure is to try both.

    As mentioned everyone's a newbie so not likely to try to break anything.
    It's not like you have to try to break 3.5. One guy plays a druid and happens to pick Natural Spell, and another plays a fighter going the Spring Attack route... Crying ensues.
    Last edited by hymer; 2018-06-10 at 03:19 AM.
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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sm3gl View Post
    As mentioned everyone's a newbie so not likely to try to break anything. Also it would be level 1 and an E6 campaign if it progresses (so maximum level 6).

    Pathfinder is the other option that I would be comfortable with. I just want to weigh the learning that I would have to do for a newer system vs the free resources available for systems other than 3.5e.
    Since Pathfinder is on the table, I would personally advise picking it. Its' SRD has everything you need to play.
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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by hymer View Post
    5e is a lot less work for the DM. At level 1 the difference isn't so big. But at lvl 6, it is significant. 5e is also a lot more forgiving on new players about workload, but if you add enough help to the new players, it's not like you can't make it work.


    That's what I would do in general. Kinda lazy, but you go with what you know.


    I suggest doing this, too. And then picking the one you prefer. But I suppose you don't have the time or inclination for both at this point.

    My clear opinion is that 5e is my preferred system. Hardly flawless, but it's simpler and cleaner than 3.5. But not everyone agrees, obviously. The only way you can be sure is to try both.


    It's not like you have to try to break 3.5. One guy plays a druid and happens to pick Natural Spell, and another plays a fighter going the Spring Attack route... Crying ensues.
    What about 5e compared to Pathfinder?

    Is there enough online free resources to play 5e or are material purchases required?

    Thanks everyone for your feedback and help 😊

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    Default Re: Starting with Pathfinder, 3.5 or 5e?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sm3gl View Post
    What about 5e compared to Pathfinder?

    Is there enough online free resources to play 5e or are material purchases required?

    Thanks everyone for your feedback and help 😊

    The

    free Basic rules,

    and the

    Systems Reference Document

    are enough for a great game, read 'em, run Lost Mine of Phandelver from the Starter Set, and your pretty good to go!

    If you're in Antarctica and can't get the Starter Set

    here

    is a big list of adventures, some are "pay what you want".

    The same sorts of resources are available for Pathfinder, which is very nearly the same rules as 3.5 D&D.
    .
    AFAICT, the main difference between them is that 5e is a little easier to start as a new player because you don't have to select a Feat to play a Fighter.
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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    I personally would probably go 5e for new players, starting at level 1, and not going past level 6. Even if all else were equal, 5e is much more front-loaded than 3.5 and to a lesser extent Pathfinder, so players will develop many of the hallmark features of their classes much faster and therefore will struggle less with the process of feats, spells, and prestige classes that a 3.5e character is distinguished by.

    And, as mentioned, all is not equal between the two systems. 3.5e is much more breakable, and even with new players, there is a risk that the person who chooses Druid could well outshine much of the rest of the party. This will however be less of a problem given that the level is so low--some classes (read: Fighters and Monks, and maybe Rogues) will struggle even in the level 4-6 range next to cleric, druid, and wizard, but overall it'll be less of a problem than in a longer campaign where the low-tier classes become either irrelevant or an actual impediment to higher-tier characters. Furthermore, 3.5e characters are notably more fragile than those in both Pathfinder and 5e--I usually start any 3.5e campaign at 3rd level to avoid the issue.

    However, 3.5e and to a lesser extent Pathfinder are much more flexible and even enjoyable in a lot of ways. As one of my old DMs pointed out, there's a certain satisfaction in knowing that you can turn your gnome wizard into a battleaxe-wielding berserker if you wanted to. For players who aren't going to optimize ridiculously, there's a lot of fun to be had, and as previously mentioned a lot of flexibility advantage. Pathfinder keeps a lot of these benefits while toughening up characters a bit and boosting lower-tier classes a little (more to give some satisfaction and tricks other than feats than to actually make them compete with higher tiers). However, there is less published material out there, which means that it's more hit-or-miss in terms of whether there exist skills, feats, etc. to describe a given character concept.

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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    Since players are all newbs anyway I'd say that your own inclinations are more important than theirs. E6 is certainly a good choice to solve almost all the serious issues with 3.5. Your own familiarity with what issues do remain with it will prevent them from becoming a problem. It is better that the DM be at least AS familiar with the rules as the players if not more so. If you're going to be teaching the players the rules yourself then it's better IMO that you not be engaged in learning them yourself at the same time. If it were possible I might say go ahead and join a very active 5E game for a while before bringing players in to start your own game so that you can learn it yourself to the point where you can run it with reasonable familiarity and competently teach it to others - but that's not likely to be practical. In which case, I'd say 3E.

    As far as tools goes, there are plenty. 3E has been around since 2000 and is still heavily played (certainly in the form of Pathfinder if not also as 3.5 itself). But an E6 game again should reduce the need to rely upon software tools to assist in running the game. There's also the question of resources that you can provide to the players. If you can hand a few 3.5 PH's to the players because you already own them, that's a vote in favor, but if players would need to buy their own in any case or go online to SRD's then it becomes a wash between 3.5 and 5 on that score.

    Your own familiarity with 3.5 should give it the edge for a one-shot or short-duration campaign, but 5E is (obviously) the current edition in print, and if any new players ARE going to stick with D&D for the long term, it might be better if they were to start with the current edition.

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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    I'd recommend trying both. I prefer 5E to 3.P, especially when it comes to DMing.

    But no reason you can't do both, running two separate adventures. Unless that's too much work for you, in which case, I'd advise 5E, for it being way easier to DM.
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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    5e is basically E6 spread out over 20 levels, with less content for it written up and no functional skill system or quality beastiary entries in the books. If you're willing to homebrew all of the stuff 5e is missing, AND you're fine with the baked in power level, it can be good. If either of those is untrue, don't bother.

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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grek View Post
    5e is basically E6 spread out over 20 levels, with less content for it written up and no functional skill system or quality beastiary entries in the books. If you're willing to homebrew all of the stuff 5e is missing, AND you're fine with the baked in power level, it can be good. If either of those is untrue, don't bother.
    5E is basically a more focused D&D experience, with a slower rate of content coming out but a much higher quality in each piece. (Modules notwithstanding.) It's much more intuitive to use, not requiring massive amounts of time spent looking at tables and delving books and instead focusing on actual gameplay, as well as having CR be a better indicator of what's actually going on. (Note: Read the rules on how CR actually works. A CR X monster is not supposed to have a chance of killing 4 Level X players in an ordinary encounter, and is mostly meant to drain resources.)

    It does have less of a spread than 3.P, but it gains the ability to actually sit down and play without having to make sure everyone is on the same power level, even if they're the same level. A party in 5E of a Druid, Monk, Wizard, and Fighter will work just fine out of the box. The same thing in 3.P has a good chance of ending up with the Druid dominating, the Wizard doing well, the Fighter doing okay, and the Monk sucking.
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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grek View Post
    5e is basically E6 spread out over 20 levels, with less content for it written up and no functional skill system or quality beastiary entries in the books. If you're willing to homebrew all of the stuff 5e is missing, AND you're fine with the baked in power level, it can be good. If either of those is untrue, don't bother.
    I would like to emphasize that first thing and elaborate: probably don't try to apply E6 to a 5e game. E6 is a 3.5/PF thing; the core assumptions of the game, assumptions which E6 relies upon, differ in 5e. If you play 5e, just play with regular 1-20 leveling -- the power curve in 5e is extremely shallow, so, as Grek says, it's functionally already E6 if you're playing 1-20.

    That said, if you are looking for an E6-style experience, unmodded 5e innately caters to it better than adding the post-hoc hack to 3.5 does.

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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grek View Post
    5e is basically E6 spread out over 20 levels, with less content for it written up and no functional skill system or quality beastiary entries in the books. If you're willing to homebrew all of the stuff 5e is missing, AND you're fine with the baked in power level, it can be good. If either of those is untrue, don't bother.
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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grek View Post
    5e is basically E6 spread out over 20 levels, with less content for it written up...

    Both sound like good things to me.
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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    My vote is for 5e but it relay up to personal preference. 3.5 has so many more options and a lot more freedom, however it is a constant unwinnable struggle to keep everything balanced. 5e I feel is so much easier to keep balanced, and also does away with a lot of silly rules that I feel broke the immersion and bogged the game down. It does however have a lot less option to draw from. I believe however that it is also a lot easier to home brew for without breaking something, and too many people fail to realize that the written rules can easily be refluffed in so many different way to adapt to what you need them to do.
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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    People who like 5e are gonna tell you to play 5e. People who like 3.5 are gonna tell you to play 3.5.

    I'll tell you right now that system's not gonna matter to a good DM. You should just stick to what you know.

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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    I prefer 3.5 and I'm going to tell you to give 5e a shot.

    Not because I think it's better, but it's easier to introduce new people to and almost all of the resources you need to do a game are really easy to get a hold of and the players can even create characters without paying for anything by using DND Beyond.

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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    I'm throwing my hat in the "whatever you're most comfortable running" category.

    Now as for personal preferences, as a player or GM, if I was forced to choose i'd pick 3.5 over 5th. Not because I find it's the more solid game. Far from it. 3rd ed is a mess and neither 3.5 or pathfinder solved the issues inherent with the system.

    But for all it's warts, I find myself far more engaged on a gameplay level with the 3e line of games. 5th ed just failed to grab my attention in any meaningful way. I'd rather play a broken, if fun, game then a solid, but boring, one.

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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    To me it depends on the attitude of the players. Do you expect them to want to learn all the rules, or are they more than happy about being told what numbers to add and what to roll by the DM?

    If the former, then I would choose 5e because it is easier for new players. If the latter, you can just cruise on your old knowledge of 3.5 if you don't want to learn any new rules.

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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aetis View Post
    People who like 5e are gonna tell you to play 5e. People who like 3.5 are gonna tell you to play 3.5.
    I vastly prefer 3.5e but I'd still recommend 5e for newbies. In my opinion, 3.5e is a better game than 5e in the same way Dwarf Fortress is a better game than The Sims: ultimately it is, but you practically need a PhD in the game before you can start extracting fun from it. Using 3.5e as a newbie's first introduction to D&D verges on the cruel and unusual.

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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    5e is also a broken mess. What's helping 5e in the balancing department is that it is newer and too light for many system breakers to bother playing and those that do break it tend to stop playing.

    For AD&D, DM what you know because you'll be better doing that then the shiniest newer edition. (So 3.5 or Pathfinder)

    If you are open to suggestions, I can recommend Savage Worlds with the Hellfrost setting or Rules Cyclopedia D&D (if old school dungeon crawling is your thing).

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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    3e being overwhelming for newbies and 5e being a breeze is vastly overstated.

    Pretty much every edition of D&D is simple to learn and play in the first 5 levels or so, and I've personally run games of B/X, 1e, 2e, 3e, 4e, and 5e that had new players in them (where by "new" I mean they haven't even play a cRPG and had to be introduced to the basic ideas of roleplaying and making characters) who were able to go from "What do you mean dice have more than 6 sides?" to playing their character well in just a few sessions, including someone who was able to get to the point of running a full casting-plus-melee-plus-companion 3e druid.

    Conversely, I'm running a 5e game where there are multiple players who make every single damn roll by rolling 2d20 and looking at me with puppy dog eyes to tell them which die to use (or, usually, to reroll because they didn't have advantage or disadvantage) and which of the numbers on their sheet to add. No amount of streamlining can fix lack of player engagement and investment.

    Both editions have complexity and customizability tradeoffs at low levels. Where 3e has the fiddliness of allocating skill points, 5e has more race- and class-based choices at 1st level, and both can deter new players who want to make as few choices as possible upfront to avoid being overwhelmed. Where 3e characters are relatively fragile at 1st and 2nd level, 5e characters often don't get to make meaningful character-building choices until 3rd, and both can deter new players who don't want to wait a few levels to play a "complete" character.

    Personally, I favor 3e, because 5e has very little mechanical depth, has lots of holes in the rules that need to be filled in by the DM (and not in the "here's extensive guidelines but this is left to DM adjudication" way of AD&D, just "there's nothing solid here"), and never really goes anywhere interesting. Same with vanilla Fate, for me: amazing game for one-shots and short adventures, becomes bland and repetitive if you try to run the same game for more than 3-4 sessions, and only a great group and the really crunchy Fate hacks/adaptations can avoid that.

    So the most important factor, really, is the DM's preferences. A good DM can adjust for 3e's issues and paper over 5e's holes, but they have to like and be invested in the system to do so. You can give both a try and see which you prefer, but if in doubt, stick with what you know: a game by an experienced, enthusiastic 3e DM beats a game by an inexperienced, uncertain 5e DM any day.
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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhedyn View Post
    5e is also a broken mess. What's helping 5e in the balancing department is that it is newer and too light for many system breakers to bother playing and those that do break it tend to stop playing.
    Have you actually tried making a 5e character? (Not meaning to insult you, legitimately asking).
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    Quote Originally Posted by CircleOfTheRock View Post
    Have you actually tried making a 5e character? (Not meaning to insult you, legitimately asking).
    Dozens and I played half a dozen. All half dozen of the 5e campaigns failed for our group (or we continued with a different system)

    There is a good reason 5e gets a rep for most people not playing past level 7. The game kind of starts falling apart by then. We've never had a campaign survive past level 9 and we stopped playing it.

    Edit: And no, I wasn't trying to break 5e, I put round pegs into round holes and that just happened to break everything. If I took my 3e approach of avoiding all broken stuff, I could play very little of the actual player options without hyper underoptimization.
    Last edited by Rhedyn; 2018-06-13 at 06:26 AM.

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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    3e being overwhelming for newbies and 5e being a breeze is vastly overstated.....

    Then please tell me an equivalent "training wheels class" that's as east to play as a 5e WD&D Champion Fighter or any TD&D Fighter

    When I've asked at the 3.5 sub-forum I was deluged with suggestions of spell-casters and non-PHB classes.

    The 3.5 Fighter forces me to choose Feats, and the Barbarian to deal with "Rage".

    AFAICT, a 3rd level Ranger in 3.5 WD&D is simpler to play than a 5e WD&D Ranger, so that's a plus for 3.5, but both the 3.5 and the 5e Ranger scale up the complexity considerably after 3rd level.

    I agree that 5e is more complex than many adherents argue it is, but having the Champion Fighter sub-class and, most importantly, having Feats be optional makes it easier for me to keep playing after 3rd level than 3.5.

    Going both Ranger and Rogue could extend upwards the levels of how long I could play 3 5 without options fatigue and cognitive overload, if I could understand the 3.5 "Flanking" rules, but I don't so I don't.

    I do agree that a Paladin 2/Ranger 2/Rogue 2 in 3.5 would probably be simpler to play (if one just accepts not Sneak Attacking ever) than a Battlemaster Fighter 6 or most of the 5e classes (the 5e Paladins can be suprisingly simple if one only "Smites" and doesn't cast spells, but AFAICT the 3.5 Paladins doesn't have that option).

    But the thing is the class that is simple to play in 5e (Champion Fighter) is obviously that, but may still contribute to the Party success, at least to 10th level, and if you want high complexity and options in 5e the Wizard is an obvious choice (and as obvious for me to stay away from).

    A simple "training wheels class" for 3.5 is not obvious to me, I just know that with Feats Fighter is not the "go to" class for me that it is with every other version of D&D.

    3.5 lacks and needs "training wheels" (which I don't see in Pathfinder either).

    Oh, and as a side rant, most "fixes" that I see for the Champion in the 5e Sub-Forum and the Homebrew Sub-Forum don't work for me, and they just look like "Battlemaster 2.0's", and I really hope that 6e doesn't go in that direction.
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  27. - Top - End - #27
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    The 3.5 Fighter forces me to choose Feats, and the Barbarian to deal with "Rage".
    Have you considered not selecting any feats at all, or spending all the feats on for example Toughness (+3HP). Sounds simple enough for you.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Faily's Avatar

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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    I'd say Pathfinder, but that's mostly because I find it the most accessible of the options here with plenty of websites and apps to help out.

    Also because I find Pathfinder to be the most customizable for people. If you have players who have new, talk to them about what sort of character they'd like to play and nudge them in the direction of Archtypes suitable for their idea. Like if a player says "I wanna play an elf magic user who focuses on nature and plants" you could point them to the Druid racial archtype for elves that gives them a Plant Companion instead of an Animal Companion.

    If players are relatively new, there's no need to worry about imbalances or potential broken-ness, imo and ime, as it tends to be the more experienced players who break stuff.
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  29. - Top - End - #29
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    2D8HP's Avatar

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    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pelle View Post
    Have you considered not selecting any feats at all, or spending all the feats on for example Toughness (+3HP). Sounds simple enough for you.

    Yes, but:

    Quote Originally Posted by Crake View Post
    Except that 1 can still overshadow a fighter built in the same vein. Imagine a clueless fighter picking feats like toughness...

    Quote Originally Posted by AnimeTheCat View Post
    .....assuming a fighter that takes trap feats for bonus feats and toughness for character feats...

    And when I asked Why don't I just play "Redgar"? the majority there and at other threads said "no", and many have even suggested playing a 3.5 Warlock instead, as if my wanting to play "a character like the Errol Flynn version of Robin Hood" somehow suggests playing Faust!

    If you want to play a bow and sword wielding PC, then 5e just looks easier to learn to me.

    If you want to play a spell-caster on the other claw, then both 3.5 and 5e look too complex for me, and I suggest playing 0e/1e or B/X instead.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2017

    Default Re: 3.5e or Next?

    Yeah. All those people dissuading you from just taking Toughness feats assume you want a character that can contribute equally as a spellcaster. Is that really important to you? If so, playing a Fighter at all is pointless in 3.5, unless the others are passive players or have pity on you and hold back...
    If not, just take Tougness (or other passive benefits) and play along.

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