D&D 3E/3.5 3rd Edition Revisited - Better play with the power of hindsight?

I think 5e concentration would work great in 3e games, reducing buff stacking and limiting offensive magic to one ongoing effect, still leaving room for lots of zaps and heals.
For self-buffs, probably. I remember our 3E game always included morning and pre-combat buffing phase where the casters would boost everyone to maximum capacity. These mechanics of course also contributed to "CoDzilla", but also made Fighters, Rogues, Rangers or Barbarians and similar non-spellcasters more powerful, so the spotlight felt a bit more shared in combat than it might otherwise be.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

TwoSix

Dirty, realism-hating munchkin powergamer
For self-buffs, probably. I remember our 3E game always included morning and pre-combat buffing phase where the casters would boost everyone to maximum capacity. These mechanics of course also contributed to "CoDzilla", but also made Fighters, Rogues, Rangers or Barbarians and similar non-spellcasters more powerful, so the spotlight felt a bit more shared in combat than it might otherwise be.
If you can't have a flying, invisible, hasted wizard, are you really playing 3e? :)
 

Pedantic

Legend
For self-buffs, probably. I remember our 3E game always included morning and pre-combat buffing phase where the casters would boost everyone to maximum capacity. These mechanics of course also contributed to "CoDzilla", but also made Fighters, Rogues, Rangers or Barbarians and similar non-spellcasters more powerful, so the spotlight felt a bit more shared in combat than it might otherwise be.
Particularly with 3e's longer buff durations, the intent does really seem to be trading spell slots for stats at the beginning of the day. You're deciding how many spells to take as actions and how many to take as buffs.
 
Last edited:

MuhVerisimilitude

Adventurer
For self-buffs, probably. I remember our 3E game always included morning and pre-combat buffing phase where the casters would boost everyone to maximum capacity. These mechanics of course also contributed to "CoDzilla", but also made Fighters, Rogues, Rangers or Barbarians and similar non-spellcasters more powerful, so the spotlight felt a bit more shared in combat than it might otherwise be.
Ok hear me out I just had an idea.

The "problem" with 5e's concentration mechanic is really that it does discourage using concentration spells. The thinking was: Let's make buff stacking difficult. This thinking is good, but I think the method used to reach that goal wasn't that well chosen.

What if, instead of limiting how many buff spells a particular caster could cast, we limit, to one, the number of active buffs on a particular character? A character with 1 buff on them will have to either resist future buffs, or abandon old buffs when new spells are cast on them?

This encourages buffs, because the casters will have an easier time casting them, but it discourages excessive self buffing and buff stacking in general.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
Ok hear me out I just had an idea.

The "problem" with 5e's concentration mechanic is really that it does discourage using concentration spells. The thinking was: Let's make buff stacking difficult. This thinking is good, but I think the method used to reach that goal wasn't that well chosen.

What if, instead of limiting how many buff spells a particular caster could cast, we limit, to one, the number of active buffs on a particular character? A character with 1 buff on them will have to either resist future buffs, or abandon old buffs when new spells are cast on them?

This encourages buffs, because the casters will have an easier time casting them, but it discourages excessive self buffing and buff stacking in general.
Something like this would be better than what we have. I hate how, if I want to buff my allies, I'm suddenly limited to a very small amount of spells I can use for anything else. Cast Fly on the Fighter? Now I'm basically spamming cantrips. Bleah.
 


ssvegeta555

Explorer
You could limit the amount of buffs you can benefit from at any one time equal to your Con bonus. Your body can only have so much magical energy flowing through them.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
I mean, what's wrong with dumping all your buffs on your Fighter/Barbarian/Ranger anyways? Not a damn thing. 3.5's issues occurred because they made those targets not the best target for buffs, since they handed out powerful self-buffs to Clerics and Druids that put them over the top. So yeah, when you have Divine Power and Righteous Might (and to a lesser extent, Divine Favor) that makes a Cleric better than a Fighter at raw numbers, sure someone might get the idea that buffing the Fighter might not be as effective. Or the Druid's Wild Shape for that matter, when just turning into a black bear gives you Barbarian Rage and 3 attacks per turn.

Get rid of those, and action economy alone makes buffing the martials the ideal strategy- sure you can spend a turn to Bull's Strength yourself and get the benefits next turn...or you could buff the Barbarian and he can attack right away.*

*Barring stuff like DMM Persist of course.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I mean, what's wrong with dumping all your buffs on your Fighter/Barbarian/Ranger anyways? Not a damn thing. 3.5's issues occurred because they made those targets not the best target for buffs, since they handed out powerful self-buffs to Clerics and Druids that put them over the top. So yeah, when you have Divine Power and Righteous Might (and to a lesser extent, Divine Favor) that makes a Cleric better than a Fighter at raw numbers, sure someone might get the idea that buffing the Fighter might not be as effective. Or the Druid's Wild Shape for that matter, when just turning into a black bear gives you Barbarian Rage and 3 attacks per turn.

Get rid of those, and action economy alone makes buffing the martials the ideal strategy- sure you can spend a turn to Bull's Strength yourself and get the benefits next turn...or you could buff the Barbarian and he can attack right away.*

*Barring stuff like DMM Persist of course.

Late in 3E I used a van last. Divine metamagic was on it along with anything that cheated metamagic cost.
 

I have played 3.5e for over 13 years, and I have never had any issue with it. As a DM, I only limited my players regarding certain feats and spells. No wishes, no flying, no perma waterbreathing racial ability (unless temporary by potion or spell, or druid shapeshift). This was because I ran an aquatic campaign, so I chose to always make water a hazard that felt dangerous.

But me and my players played to epic level, to the point where our Druid could summon an Elemental Monolith the size of Godzilla. It meant having to scale the challenges accordingly. At a certain point, the CR system breaks down a little. I tended to always balance my encounters at +2 of what the rules said would be appropriate for their party level.

Heck, we even added our own rules for firearms, which worked fantastic. I also added random encounter tables, random weather, mass combat rules, a random drunk table, new weapons and items, ship upgrades, new monsters. We customized the heck out of 3.5e, though never straying from its core rules.

Yes, at some point all the addition of bonusses became a little cumbersome. But I was never under the impression that 3e was a badly designed system.

My advice to run 3.5e games:

-Use party wide experience
-Restrict spells or abilities that can seriously derail your campaign, such as wishing.
-Increase or decrease the recommended CR of foes based on your experience with the strength of the party.
-Only make your players roll dice if the outcome of an action is uncertain. Don't make them roll spot checks in an empty corridor.
 
Last edited:

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top