D&D 3E/3.5 [3.0] Why did they do a 3.5 version?


Staff member
One of my favorite things about the newer edition was the change in weapon sizing rules. I didn’t like them at first, but they grew on me (no joke intended)- the revision made more sense.

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Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
yes you did. And you can also play a commoner class.
And you can also race vs a Ferrari with your Fiat 128.
None were as weak as a commoner, nor did they compare to playing a Fiat 128 racing a Ferrari.

Hyperbole on the Internet is so 2008.


Pedantic Grognard
I'm looking at 3.0 for the first time in ages. It seems fine on the surface. What were the major problems that justified the release of 3.5?
There weren't any major problems fixed. There was a pile of errata-level changes, a handful of things that were maybe too much change for a mere errata that were moderately improved, a few changes that seemed like they were for change's sake, and a desire to resell the core rulebooks.


3.0 had a lot of well meaning zero step unintended consequences & some truly "wtf how did that get printed!" overpowered stuff that others have mentioned already. 3.5 sanded down those rough edges and added some extra growth/customizing iirc. 3.0 was generally almost compatible with 3.5 but using it in a 3.5 game was often like using too much UA content in a 5e game where some was fine & some was really bad but just kept getting worse. That and TSR needed money.


I recall the spell harm being singled out as particularly overpowered as well...the 3.0 version was a touch spell with no saving throw that dropped a (non-undead) creature - no matter how many hit points it had - instantly to 1d4 hp. So all you had to do was touch that 660-hp Great Wyrm red dragon, cast a harm spell on it, and then a 1st-level wizard oo
You mean like it was in 1st and 2e. And yeah Allllll you had to do was touch the intelligent 660hp red dragon, who knew what clerics could do, had magic resistance, great saves, and could fly over breath weapon, fly over spell, land claw, claw, bite, wing buffet most likely save and the kill the cleric anyway. Nvm, the magic resistance vs the 1st level mage when you had to be around 10th level to have a chance of saving vs the fear.

No 3.0 design as stated by the devs was balance was not their job. Dms got content and they were responsible for balancing their own games. There were things far more in imbalancing than clerics and magic users in the official splat books.. 1st level barbarians with 10/hd battle cat mounts that had claw, claw , bite and barding for instance. 3.5 was the end of assuming it was the DMs job to run his own game. Every thing since has been an attempt to put rails on the game so everything is "played correctly"
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Rotten DM
The spicy meatball has the truth. And the truth will set you free. For the small price of........


Neither was the NPC Warrior class.

The 3.0 Ranger, Paladin and Monk weren't much better than the Warrior. And the Bard not much better than those three.
The fighter is definitely added to that list. A fighter was just a warrior with d10 HD (which match the ranger) instead of d8 and a few bonus feats.

A rogue is arguably there too with their low HD, not optimal BAB, and sneak attack main feature that does not work against half of the expected opposition (undead, constructs, elementals, oozes).

This is kind of the non full caster/full caster divide.

And when it comes down to it, a warrior could do all right on the non full caster track with just their full BAB and heavy armor.


Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
They continually fixed polymorph without revising the edition.
Sure, but most people felt there was a lot more to fix than just haste and harm - like the ranger, the bard, the increasingly dominant strategy of stat boosting spells + metamagic, etc. However, even all those fixes didn't extended nearly as far as the changes made from 3.0 to 3.5 and could have been handled in a supplement book. There was definitely another (or more) motives at work - I'm inclined to believe that they involved $ at the brand/corporate level and some form of OCD-like drive to push what 3.0 started into something even more regularized around a particular vision of how the rules should be structured at the designer level.


Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Neither was the NPC Warrior class.

The 3.0 Ranger, Paladin and Monk weren't much better than the Warrior. And the Bard not much better than those three.
I disagree, but we've now established people are using hyperbole on this topic. And it's not helpful.

All four were meaningfully more powerful than the warrior class. I guess the argument is they were on the weaker end of the core class spectrum. But something is always on the weaker end of the spectrum. That were certainly not "unplayable" and no new 3.5 edition was needed to make them playable or even enjoyable as classes.


I seem to remember they tweaked a few classes (paladin? ranger?) to make a 1 level dip less attractive - so you needed a 2 level dip instead.

Also the "clarification" of the charge rules meant that in 3.5 the Ride By Attack feat no longer worked by RAW (something about having to charge directly up to something in a straight line, and then continue in the same direction, which resulted in you having to carry on through the opponent's square.)

I did like the way they "cleaned up" the monster rules to make them more consistent with the character rules.

I bought 3.0 then 3.5 and then Pathfinder, and had a lot of fun with each system. With the benefit of hindsight, we'd probably have been fine just sticking with 3.0 - but that would have made taking part in forum discussions and the like a lot more difficult!

There were all kinds of problems with 3.0, more than I feel up to enumerating (or, in some cases, can probably recall after all these years). Some weren't as visible at lower levels as they could be, so some people never saw them. How successful 3.5 was at addressing the set as a set is--debatable.

DnD Warlord

Yes: but its strongly advised to add the Warblade, Crusader, and Swordsage from Tome of Battle to your list.
The last 2-3 years of 3.5 the only way we continued was to make the classes

Crusaider replace paliden
Sword sage replace monk
War blade replace fighter
Warlock warm age dread necromancy (I think I am missing one) replace wizard
And no druids or clerics

DnD Warlord


No druid or cleric means lots of out of combat cure light wound wand healing as the go to.
That was it

there was a healing strike manuvers and other classes could pick up healing or potions or wands... but stopping CoDzilla kept the edition going until just before 4e was announced...

funny story we had given up and moved to a retro clone that we were nodding fo all of 1 campaign... mid campaign was the gen con announcement. We had already said never again to 3.5 so 4e was a good send

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