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

Thomas Shey

There’s probably a sweet spot, but I’m thinking it’s probably better to avoid messing with durations and limit the number of active buffs/debuffs a character can be affected by at any time.

I know talking about it is the debbil to some 3.5/PF1e people, but PF2e's approach, which was keeping the number of modifier types down to a dull roar while still not going to the extreme of what D&D5e did seems to work pretty well. I never saw modifier bloat there (conditions could sometimes be a different story...)

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From experience, limit the buffs to no more than 3. If you're generous, 4. It allows you to keep dispel effects useful without bringing the table to a halt.


I really hated tracking spells that lasted 1 round/level in combats.

It was very fiddly, required active upkeep tracking every round, and usually ended up not making a difference as the combat usually ended before the spell did at mid to high levels but occasionally fights would last long enough for it to become relevant.

I was quite happy to change things to encounter duration and not sweat it.
We use graph paper. Outline the squares (one square per round) and then fill them in with a marker as the rounds go by.

I tried set durations for spells. They helped but not as much as I would like (the crux is people wanting to use the effects and not prepping either personally or preparing the team).

Kirthfinder offered options for smaller numbers via a Diminishing Returns rule. Essentially, bonuses to d20 rolls or base 10 scores pass +5 were halved (so a +13 bonus became a +9 bonus) and bonuses couldn't go higher than a +20. After dealing with bonus stacking nonsense for the last 2 years in my 3e campaign, I'm seriously considering this for my next campaign.


3E did many things right.

But two things mean I'm never going back:

* The martial - caster divide

* The complex way you build NPCs

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