D&D 4E Is there a compiled Broken 4e Bits?

catsclaw227

First Post
I love 4e, but I also acknowledge that it has a some broken parts.

Is there an ongoing compiled list of things that people have reported as broken or have houseruled?

I am not looking for a thread with arguements about if something is broken or not, just a list of broken powers, items, builds, etc that someone feels is broken, why and what their fix is.

The individual broken parts may be debatable, but they're something someone thought didn't work well, so they houseruled it.
 

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There is no definitive list and you won't find any single one thing that people can all agree on is broken. 95% of the stuff people house rule is just their opinions of what they didn't like.

There are a few things that are fairly consistently deemed quite cheesy. For example Lasting Frost plus Wintertouched which can be used with cold powers to create a pretty solid lockdown situation.

Stacking of penalties to saves is probably the most often cited thing and if anything is agreed on pretty consistently it is that you can create several builds that can get very reliable lockdowns with for instance an Orb wizard using sleep at high levels with a few extras thrown in. There are other ways to get the same effect though so it isn't really specifically orb wizards.

There are some issues with stacking static damage modifiers sky high and then combining it with multi-hit powers like RoB or Blade Cascade. Usually achieved via Reckless or Bloodclaw weapons and augmented with anything that will allow you to regain an encounter or daily power use. As to whether its broken or not is arguable. I've seen dual wielding ranger builds that can hit single round damage totals that can go over 1000 points. Of course at level 30 that kind of thing is almost to be expected and many of those types of characters are hard pressed to do much if their trick doesn't happen to work either.

There are a couple of Epic Destinies that can create issues as well. Punisher of the Gods can be interpreted to allow infinite damage in certain situations. Of course you can easily find ways to rule around that. The Demigod ED is widely considered to be cheesily OP as well. One or two others could be problematic.

You will find a pretty fair number of people that will insist that BRV fighters are brokenly OP, but it is by no means a universally held opinion.

There are those who would consider double weapons in general to be OP and thus falling into the cheese category, but at worst they are slightly better than other choices. The worst example there is either Tempest Fighter with double sword/axe/flail and any double weapon except double sword combined with RoB. That last one can provide a pretty serious amount of damage once per encounter, if you can land several hits. It is probably safer to consider RoB OP for its level and double weapons being somewhat OP in the right hands. Considering you see plenty of people not using double weapons when they theoretically could IMHO it is only a problem if people push it. There is no real consensus on what the best fix is either, aside from just ignoring them.

In any case a good charop player can definitely extract some significant advantage out of the rules, but it is pretty difficult to say that any single one thing is responsible for that. Overall even the most optimized characters are only modestly stronger than a reasonably built character most decent players will be running. Its not like you can build a PC that can just drag the rest of the party around for a ride.

You will find a zillion threads arguing various rules interpretion issues as well. There are plenty of minor areas where particular powers or corner cases or specific uses of a power that aren't explicitly ruled out can be either unclear or seem unfair/OP to some people. Teleporting enemies for example. There is nothing really forbidding you to teleport them straight up in the air or off a cliff. Yet there are some fairly low level ways to do it, which can definitely get some people's noses bent out of shape.

There are some people who will tell you that certain skills can be abused. For example it is possible to start with some rather significant skill bonuses. 20 stat = +5, trained +5, background +2, skill focus +3, racial bonus +2 will give you +17 and with some skills a human can go a bit higher starting out. Apply that to intimidate and combine with a very rigid and literal interpretation of using it in combat can lead to something of a headache character to deal with. You could nerf intimidate in combat, but it seems a shame to do that since it can be used with no problems. If a player insists on building this sort of character it just puts a bit more burden on the DM to balance out what they are allowed to do with it vs letting the character go too far.

Finally there are plenty of areas where the DM will simply have to rule certain things. For example the fighter utility power Rain of Steel. Does it apply damage to an invisible enemy? Only the DM can say what the answer to that is. Some are convinced one way or the other, and some of us would say it can't be answered by RAW.

4e just really doesn't have significantly broken things and while some things probably are somewhat OP the game is good at living with that. With the possible exception of Punisher of the Gods and stacking of save penalties you can really play OOTB and not have problems. And those 2 issues are ones that won't rear their ugly heads before Epic play anyway, so it isn't like you need to run and fix them before you start.
 



infocynic

First Post
Well, there's a lot of answers because lots of people find different things broken:

I'm copying & pasting from my house rules document I keep at G-Docs...

TOO STRONG:

Warforged (our fix: no embedding components, must make death saves as normal)
Fighter: The Tempest Fighter technique and the Battlerager Vigor Fighter class build options are banned. Both of these are insanely powerful. Tempest has damage on par with a TW Ranger, but has the benefit of better AC, more HP/surges, and can mark. BRV fighters generate so many temp HP that they are nigh-invincible at times (most of the time, in fact, and they give up very little to do so).
* The Invigorating and Rattling keywords still work as described on MP 7.
Wizards:The Orb of Imposition class feature is banned. O-R-B spells broken!

Penalities and Bonuses
1. All penalties and bonuses will be typed by default, unless specifically ruled to be untyped. There's a lot of weird stacking issues going on that makes things better than they should be. This helps keep things sane and allows access to more magic items by default.
2. The Penalty and bonus types and when they apply are as follows are available in the obscure rules document. In general, know that powers (from class, race, etc.) grant power bonuses (or penalties) and items grant item bonuses, and feats grant feat bonuses, and bonuses or penalties of the same type don't stack.
3. For now, feats will use the bonus types (or untyped) as indicated in the feat, but all feats that impose a penalty use a feat penalty type.
4. Magic items that grant a bonus to damage grant an item bonus (including changing a bonus from a different specified type) unless specifically ruled otherwise by the DM.

Minions:
1. If a minion is damaged by an attack roll which hit (the minion does not need to be the target of the attack, but the target must otherwise be legal), it dies. (Example: Cleave (Fighter At-will 1, PH 77) deals damage to an adjacent target equal to the fighter's STR modifier if the attack hits. Since this damage is only applicable if the attack roll hits, the damage kills the minion.)
2. If a minion is damaged by any means other than #1 above (e.g., automatic damage from a flaming sphere, aura, etc.), it is bloodied. If the minion is already bloodied, it dies instead.
3. "When you kill an enemy ..." or "When you bloody an enemy..." powers or abilities do not work on minions, except as noted below.
4. When you kill a minion, any player with a "When you kill an enemy ..." power can roll a 1d4. On a 4, the player with the power or ability may activate it normally.

Powers in general/wording issues:
1. "An attack" is considered the entirety of a standard, move, minor, immediate, or opportunity action, no matter how many attack rolls that consists of. (This typically matters for powers that give a bonus "to the next attack" or for "an attack that does not include ...")
2. Rerolls (such as those granted by Elven Accuracy or Second Chance) come with all the bonuses and/or penalties of the original roll, plus any additional ones that apply to the reroll.

Specific powers
1. Righteous Brand (PH 63) uses your Charisma modifier to determine the power bonus. Also, the power bonus only applies to the next melee attack made before the end of your next turn (instead of all melee attacks).
2. Dual Strike (MP 7) is banned. See notes on Tempest Fighter, above.
3. Storm of Blades (PH2 56): change "against the target or against another creature" to "against another creature within reach" and "your Constitution modifier" to "half your Constitution modifier". Repeat after me: attacking 8 times with one encounter power is not kosher.
4. Hurricane of Blades (PH2 60): replace "five" with "three" and add ", no more than two attacks per target." to the end of the Effect line.

Specific items:

1. The Rod of Corruption (PH 239) does not count as placing your curse and/or cursing any of the enemies affected by its property. They count as "cursed" by you for all other effects and purposes, however. Unlike WotC, we saw that one coming.
2. The double sword (AV 9) is not a light blade. Bad rogue, no cookie.
3. Bloodclaw weapons (AV 65) only work at a 1:2 ratio, never a 1:3 ratio regardless of number of hands. The power also applies only to the next attack roll (this is an exception to the general rule of "attack"="power") made with the weapon, not to all attacks you make with a power, such as with Twin Strike, etc. You may choose before each attack roll you make to apply the power (taking the damage to yourself each time) or not. Too much power for too little cost.
4. Mounts are banned. Too much headache. If the DM gives you one as a plot device, which he will almost certainly regret, you may use it.
5. The Cloak of Distortion (AV 151) is banned. If you have to ask, you obviously don't understand the system. [We're recently considering "grants you concealment against ranged attacks from more than 5 squares away"]
6. Grasping Weapon (AV 70) only works with melee attacks. Once per encounter pull soft-squishy enemy into a maelstrom of your allies is not nice. Consider a Transposing Weapon as a higher level substitute.
7. All non-neck slot items, except for masterwork armors, which grant a static bonus to a non-AC defense are banned. Your defenses will do fine with the free feats we're giving.
* Items with encounter/daily properties or powers in addition to static defenses bonuses will be available without the defense bonus at a level determined by the DM.

WATCH LIST FOR THINGS WHICH MAY BE OVERPOWERED
This section describes powers/ rules / items that we are currently monitoring closely for balance, and serves to give players fair warning that building your entire character around a trick in this section may be a bad idea.

* Reckless weapons will probably see some sort of change to reduce their power level. At least at Paragon and Epic. Or make them more reckless.
* Bloodclaw weapons may be banned outright if even 1:2 proves overpowered
* Righteous brand may still be overpowered.
* Spitting Cobra Stance (MP 47) might be restricted to "make a ranged basic attack as an immediate reaction..."
* Versatile Master (PH2 193) is broken. If WOTC does not fix this feat before paragon play, it will require Paragon Multiclassing for all benefits.
* Any untyped bonus -- it may become a typed bonus between any play sessions.
* The minion rules are on the watch list. Possible changes include: automatic damage never damages a minion, or we never have minions at all, the minions all turn into dragons and eat you, or something else entirely off-the-wall.

TOO WEAK/POOR DESIGN:
Minotaur (str and con both help fort, so the race should get a +1 ref or will, we chose race; also the goring charge encounter power is very weak, we changed it to be a minor action / special: you can take additional actions after this charge)
Expertise feats (feat tax = not fun, we give everyone an untyped +1 at 5th/15th/25th and ban expertise feats)
Defense feats (we give everyone paragon/robust defenses free, and your choice of one of the epic defense feats at 21st, and one more at 25th. You can take the third if you really want it, but most characters won't need it)
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Phb p.1-319


Hey, folks, guess what? We just had our 100,000th edition-warring threadcrap! Erik here has just won himself an all-expenses paid vacation away from EN World!

Anyone else? Step right up, the banhammer's already warmed up to send you on your way!
 

keterys

First Post
And here I was hoping someone was going to step up to defend the index (ie, p317+318)

I actually think this kind of thing - a list of options people have problems with and possible house rules - would be a fantastic thing to be in the en wiki. Ah well.

There are very few actually _broken_ things, but there are a fair number of things whose power is noticeably greater than other things at the same tier that may be worth avoiding... and when you stack a few of those things (ex: Bloodclaw, Rain of Blows) you can create situations that can somewhat break the game (by making it too easy and boring, or making it too close to rocket launcher tag so dangerous to balance, or overshadowing certain party members, etc)
 

BobTheNob

First Post
I think AbdulAlhazred Sums it up quite nicely. There are a number of cheeseball things within the game that have surfaced as deal breakers, but relatively speaking it aint all that bad (not nearly as bad as 3.5 got)

I would extend his list with a couple of other points that have caused contraversy since release (not taking an opion on them, just stating that many threads out there debating whether they are broken or not)
* Marked Scourge. Allows a fighter to place wisdom bonus to damage against a marked target. (Though Since release it has been erated to once per round)
* The avengers ability to get an armor class that puts every other class to shame

This is a good question to ask. DM's have to take responsbility for the game remaining balanced for all, and prevent cheeseball builds that just spoil the experience for everyone.
 

FireLance

Legend
To be frank, I think the OP would have been better off asking for what others have found to be good or powerful game elements (and why) and then making his own decisions on whether they would be too good for his game.
 

Edrick

First Post
DM's prerogative

I'm a very laid-back DM. As long as the players are not breaking the rules, I'll go with what they do.

That being said, for any offense, there is a good defense (and for any good defense there is a good offense). If a player is exploiting a particular rule to the point where adventures are being cakewalked, then I would respond with the appropriate challenges to humble them enough to get them to understand the unrealistic nature of excessive and unrealistic optimization.

To combat a battlerager, just send in the blasters and shooters...to combat an intimidating spammer, bring in guys with high will saves (or special defenses/resistances/immunities against this sort of attack). Lasting Frost + Wintertouched? Immunity/big resistance to cold. For anything they throw at you, there's always some fun way to even the table and make for a fun and challenging adventure.

When monsters seem too weak, terrain and environmental features can make a huge difference, too.

If a player will go out of their way to put the time and skill into a character that makes specific use/abuse of some game rules, then I consider it a challenge to fight fire with fire :) DM's generally win out in this sort of battle anyway.
 

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
You should probably include skillchallenges as a broken bit, especially if ruining them straight from the book. For detailed info about why there is an issue here you could doworse than google for Stalker0

Cheers
 

Elric

First Post
I'm a very laid-back DM. As long as the players are not breaking the rules, I'll go with what they do.

That being said, for any offense, there is a good defense (and for any good defense there is a good offense). If a player is exploiting a particular rule to the point where adventures are being cakewalked, then I would respond with the appropriate challenges to humble them enough to get them to understand the unrealistic nature of excessive and unrealistic optimization.

To combat a battlerager, just send in the blasters and shooters...to combat an intimidating spammer, bring in guys with high will saves (or special defenses/resistances/immunities against this sort of attack). Lasting Frost + Wintertouched? Immunity/big resistance to cold. For anything they throw at you, there's always some fun way to even the table and make for a fun and challenging adventure.

When monsters seem too weak, terrain and environmental features can make a huge difference, too.

If a player will go out of their way to put the time and skill into a character that makes specific use/abuse of some game rules, then I consider it a challenge to fight fire with fire :) DM's generally win out in this sort of battle anyway.

This seems worse than simply disallowing or modifying certain overpowered abilities before they become a problem. If the GM has to significantly alter the way he does things to prevent X from being a problem, that is a cost in and of itself.

Let me use an example from economics: If the government placed an absurdly large tax on milk, say, $10.00/gallon, I'd stop buying milk. So I wouldn't have to pay the tax. However, that doesn't imply that the tax isn't causing me economic harm; it's causing me far more economic harm than if the tax was $0.50/gallon and I still bought a fair amount of milk (and thus paid a fair amount of the tax).
 

keterys

First Post
If a player will go out of their way to put the time and skill into a character that makes specific use/abuse of some game rules, then I consider it a challenge to fight fire with fire :) DM's generally win out in this sort of battle anyway.

No matter how many people play global thermonuclear war, everybody loses. As a default state, I think it works best if players and DMs both go into the game trying to help each other and pointing out things that seem wrong.

So, if the DM really loves throwing needlefang drake swarms and mad wraiths at the party, the PCs should mention if it makes things less fun for them. Similarly, the DM should mention that <this combination of abilities> is throwing the game balance out of whack.
 

N0Man

First Post
No matter how many people play global thermonuclear war, everybody loses. As a default state, I think it works best if players and DMs both go into the game trying to help each other and pointing out things that seem wrong.

So, if the DM really loves throwing needlefang drake swarms and mad wraiths at the party, the PCs should mention if it makes things less fun for them. Similarly, the DM should mention that <this combination of abilities> is throwing the game balance out of whack.

I think you are under the false impression that most people are reasonable and cooperative. This kind of crazy talk would never work! ;-)

But seriously, good advice.
 


keterys

First Post
I've similarly heard that RRoT and RoB is getting looked at - Bloodclaw too, if memory serves. I want to say the latter two was direct communication on a forum by Greg Bilisand as items coming up for errata, and that RRoT was a more friend of a friend talking to someone at WoTC so less reliable.

I believe Unicorn's Touch also got a post by someone official in reference to LFR games suggesting that it would get changed, but to just run with it for now. Hmm - might have been LFR campaign staff, but also might have been Chris Tulach or Mike Donais. Wasn't paying enough attention.

I haven't heard anyone talk about Storm of Blades but it sure does seem a bit off.
 
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Caliban

Rules Monkey
I'm starting a 4e home game soon, and these are the house rules I'm planning on using at the moment:

House Rules

Powers

Guileful Switch: takes a standard action instead of a minor action.

Rain of Blows: Make 2 attack rolls against the same target, use the higher one. Hit does 2[W] + Str damage, and you make a secondary attack against the same target or a different target that does 2[W] + Str damage.

Touch of the Unicorn: (Swordmage Utility 6) This power can only heal damage taken within the last 10 minutes.

Feats

Righteous Rage of Tempus: Minor action: If the next melee attack you make before the end of your next turn hits, it does +1[W] damage on that single attack.

Weapon Expertise, Implement Expertise, and Focused Expertise: All characters gain their choice of one of these feats as a bonus feat at 5 level. It may be retrained to a different version of the feat.

Skills

No changes at present.

Equipment

Off Hand property: only grants bonuses when making an off-hand attack (as specified in certain ranger and fighter powers). This means that Tempest fighters gets +1 damage with melee and close attacks made with the primary weapon, and +2 damage to melee and close attacks made as an off-hand attack.

Double weapons: have a primary end and a secondary end. The Primary end is the larger damage die (if they are different), the secondary end has the Off-Hand property. You can choose to attack with either end of the weapon, but the secondary end doesn’t gain any benefit from the off-hand property if it is not making an off-hand attack.

Double Axe: change damage to 1d10/1d8.
Double Flail: change damage to 1d10/1d8. You hit yourself with the secondary end every time you hit an enemy with the primary end. (Seriously, who thought this would be a good idea?)
Double Sword: change damage to 1d8/1d6. Primary end is Heavy Blade, Secondary end is Light Blade.
Urgosh: Primary end is Axe (1d12), Secondary end is Spear (1d8). Dwarven weapon training gives a damage bonus with the primary end; Eladrin Soldier training gives a damage bonus with the secondary end. Either feat will grant you proficiency with the Urgosh.
Double Shortblade (new weapon): 1d6/1d6, Weapon Group: light blade, Properties: offhand, defensive.

Magic Items

Bloodclaw weapon: the power can only be used on one attack (made with that weapon) on your turn per round.

Reparation Apparatus: Does not work on Living Constructs.

Power Jewel: Only one power jewel may be used between long rests by a single character.

Rod of Reaving: does not deal damage on curses that are spread by the Rod of Corruption or similar effects.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I believe Unicorn's Touch also got a post by someone official in reference to LFR games suggesting that it would get changed, but to just run with it for now.

I can't seem to get my head around this it is a weak divergence from the design paradigm in 4e but not actually significant in most contexts, heck if it was 10% of hit points, it would fit the games design better (yet be more powerful). Limiting the use of encounter powers when outside of an encounter... doesn't seem at all unreasonable (case by case issues might arise).
Doesn't really seem worthy of an erata. So the unicorn force is a little unquenchable .. and unconquered that's what unicorns are all about.
 

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