D&D 5E Some Gems I Have Forgotten In The DMG

dave2008

Legend
What's the rest of your sheet look like (if there's more)?
Sure! Just realize that most of this sheet has more to do with our homebrew rules. Here you go!

Page 2:
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dave2008

Legend
It would be nice to have a Fighting Style that was just "Enemies that you damaged during your last turn trigger an Opportunity Attack if they attack anyone but you."
There is an issue in that you only get 1 reaction. IRRC, reactions were unlimited in 4e, and that made the fighter very sticky. Ideally I would see the fighter with striker and defender subclasses that could be further augmented with fighting styles and feats. Maybe a defender fighter gets extra reactions that can only be used on OA.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I can't say I've seen that here on ENWorld but, then again, I skim quite a bit when I see particular names that often bring a lot of negativity to conversations - so perhaps I've selectively missed such posts.
Its a big community. There is always someone (usually several someones) with strong opinions and who seem overly invested in their vision of a game, or who just enjoy being snarky. I think it is human nature to feel those comments as more impactful than they probably are. Like you I've learned to selectively "miss" such posts if they are overly mean spirited or are taking the thread in a direction I'm not interested in. I will say, however, that ENWorld is overall quite civil compared to many other forums. The result of clear and consistent moderation.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I think it would make more sense to add them to adventures or campaign setting that uses them as central theme (Out of the Abyss, Curse of Strahd etc) much like ToA had its own list of diseases and special rules for Death Saves.

Sure, but can be useful for those who make up their own adventures or run a more improvisational style game, but who don't want to make up their own tables or make up things on the fly.
 

Technically it would be more attempted to play with rather than actually played with. But I'd say something like a dozen? And several more that I did not even bother with because they made this stance so clear.
I'm having a hard time parsing this. You "attempted" to play with a dozen - what does "attempted to play with" mean? You joined for a session and didn't come back? Played a few sessions then decided it didn't jive with your style? Showed up for 5 minutes, realized it wasn't going to work, and walked out? Did none of these dozen-ish DMs give you a general overview of what was and what wasn't included in their campaigns before having you even sit down at the table?

It's also...I mean come on. How many people have you seen on this forum who get real super testy about anyone even mildly "assuming" that they'll be able to take feats? This is not some strange, alien thing. LOTS of 5e DMs treat really basic "optional" rules like they're stinky garbage.
I honestly don't recall anyone getting super testy specifically on the subject of feats here on ENWorld. Perhaps you mean DMs getting super testy about player assumptions in general? That seems to ring a bell.

IMO and IME, most assumptions can be taken care of with a solid session zero and/or a solid, concise 1 or 2 page overview of the campaign rules. Any DM getting super testy needs to take it down a notch or three and simply make sure the players are informed before sitting down to play. Importantly, a DM should work with players to make sure their characters meet the guidelines that have been established for the campaign (something that would have been a nice gem to include in the DMG, apparently, but at least it is in Tasha's).

Beyond that, stuff will of course naturally come up during game play that might be cause for disagreement. As a DM, if this happens, I make a ruling in the heat of the moment so we can move forward with the game and, between sessions, we discuss how it will be handled going forward, if necessary.

I mean, I'm sure there's some of that. This is being worn pretty openly, as noted above. I admit that a portion of this is that yes, I did have some player-made homebrew that I was shopping around to try to find a game where I could playtest it (fully open to the idea that it would need fixes).
And...? Did any of the DMs you encountered have any suggestions for fixes when you told them you were fully open to the idea of doing so? Or is it that none of the DMs you encountered wanted to deal with a homebrew PC at all in their campaign? If it is the latter, do you believe that makes them unreasonable DMs?
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
It would be nice to have a Fighting Style that was just "Enemies that you damaged during your last turn trigger an Opportunity Attack if they attack anyone but you."
As I'm always looking to buff the FS, I think that giving part of the Sentinel feat as a FS would be decent, maybe to replace the pretty bad Protection FS?
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
Sure, but can be useful for those who make up their own adventures or run a more improvisational style game, but who don't want to make up their own tables or make up things on the fly.
Sure. Ideally, if WotC wasnt all set on their classic ''trilogy'' of books, I'd go for something like:

Book of challenges
  • Monster Manual per type
  • Non-monster challenges (traps, enviromental effects)
  • Designing your own monsters and challenges, NPC traits and motivations
  • Dealing with monsters without violence/social interaction rules
  • Exploration/travel rules
  • Encounter design
  • XP (variant: 3 pillars Xp)

Book of Delvers
  • How to play, ability scores and how to use them
  • Creating a character: classes and races
  • Spellcastig
  • Variants: Spellpoints, scrolls/potions mishaps. harder identification
  • Variant: Feats, multiclassing
  • Damage, Dying, Healing (variant healing, meat grinder mode etc)
  • Actions (variant: improvising action, marking, disarming etc)
  • How to roleplay
  • Downtime activities
  • Exploration rules-lite (roles and their effect)
  • Equipment
  • Retainer and Loyalty
  • Magic Items

Book of Worldbuilding
  • Creating your world
  • The Planes
  • Pantheon
  • Creating your own magic items
  • Dials: all variants seen the DMG (speed factor, proficiency die, etc)
  • Domain management
  • Tables for everything and nothing
 

teitan

Legend
Technically it would be more attempted to play with rather than actually played with. But I'd say something like a dozen? And several more that I did not even bother with because they made this stance so clear.

It's also...I mean come on. How many people have you seen on this forum who get real super testy about anyone even mildly "assuming" that they'll be able to take feats? This is not some strange, alien thing. LOTS of 5e DMs treat really basic "optional" rules like they're stinky garbage.


I mean, I'm sure there's some of that. This is being worn pretty openly, as noted above. I admit that a portion of this is that yes, I did have some player-made homebrew that I was shopping around to try to find a game where I could playtest it (fully open to the idea that it would need fixes).


Both of which are fine (though as I have said, I am super not keen on changes of that sort when they're already in play.)

On reflection, I should note that there is one area where (official) variant rules are embraced almost to the point of replacing the usual ones: resting and healing, to make either harder and less frequent. Though even there it tends to get replaced by whichever even more strident houserules the DM fancies on that front.


Because it's an attitude that has made my gaming more frustrating and more difficult, and because it has led to what I see as a dominant gaming culture opposed to some of the things I see as important to a healthy game.


Ah, that's right. I remember now that I'd looked at it and thought there was some kind of issue, but it's been a while.


No real comment on the benefits or flaws of the flanking rules specifically. Just noting that this is kinda in the direction of what I was referring to. This seeming need to emphasize "yeah, don't trust anything the book tells you, you never know what's in the game unless the DM explicitly tells you," with a frequent side of "sorry we can't give you any advice AT ALL because of that."
But that’s the point, it’s the DMs game. The whole design philosophy was on the table before the game launched that they would be providing a core game and then bells and whistles that can be turned off and on so that the game could be played how the individual table wants to play it. You want to play with all those options turned on then by all means do so, nothing is stopping you from doing that but don’t sit in judgement of people who choose not to or tables that say “well that’s an optional rule and we don’t use it”. That’s precisely what you did. You just “badwrongfunned” people for not playing how you want to and looked down your nose at them. If you aren’t having these conversations with the DM beforehand then you need to start doing that. The one instance in my story, flanking, was an oversight that he had been missed in the discussion of what dials were active and we used that moment to decide if we were going to use flanking or not as a group. We did not.

The only rules you need to play are the Basic D&D rules. Not even the three core rule books are needed.
 

I'm having a hard time parsing this. You "attempted" to play with a dozen - what does "attempted to play with" mean? You joined for a session and didn't come back? Played a few sessions then decided it didn't jive with your style? Showed up for 5 minutes, realized it wasn't going to work, and walked out? Did none of these dozen-ish DMs give you a general overview of what was and what wasn't included in their campaigns before having you even sit down at the table?
Even before the pandemic, I almost exclusively played online. This means applying for games. DMs present their pitches (or, rarely, players present theirs and hope a DM likes it enough to pick it up). I filtered through a much, much larger number than that dozen I quoted, skipping over any that were either (a) clearly not for me, so there was no point in applying to begin with, or (b) clearly not interested in what I was looking for. I also did what I could to select game pitches that were compatible with the fluff and crunch of my choices for race, background, class, etc.*

That still left quite a few games, where I would ask up front if the DM was open to testing content I had designed, explicitly saying that I would welcome changes (even, if truly necessary, some before play even got started, though the goal was to try the thing as close to what I wrote, since I can't truly call it "balanced" unless I test it). Having already preselected against those who would oppose such things on principle, most (though not all) did not reject it out of hand, but several said something like "let me think about it" and then came back a day or two later with some variation on "no, sorry, no homebrew I didn't write." Among the dozen or so that remained, only two or three actually demonstrated that they had read my work (one asked if I was willing to drop a ribbon-y feature that they felt could be unbalanced for their specific campaign, since it was focused on jungle exploration; another said they liked one of the optional homebrew spells at the end of the document and appreciated the effort I put into selecting art and proofreading it, but had no further criticism). Zero of the dozen-ish DMs that got to this point of sounded like they'd want the kind of play I look for, had a compatible pitch, (allegedly) open to homebrew, and (claimed to have) actually read and approved it, actually did so; I was accepted into none of their games.

And, like I said, this was already after filtering through many, many more games that were either clearly not a good fit, explicitly rejecting things I wanted (e.g. "no feats," which is way commonll, much to my chagrin), or not even willing to consider homebrew content of any kind unless it came from the DM herself.

*If you consider it relevant, I was intending to play a silver dragonborn dragon sorcerer, gold bloodline, with some kind of "comes from old-money families but didn't inherit any of it" background, inspired by a couple cool images I saw online. My homebrew, a Silver Pyromancer PrC, explicitly forbids multiclassing to or from Warlock, for both thematic and balance reasons, so my interest was to play a pure Sorcerer other than those five levels.

I honestly don't recall anyone getting super testy specifically on the subject of feats here on ENWorld. Perhaps you mean DMs getting super testy about player assumptions in general? That seems to ring a bell.
Perhaps it is the fog of memory, but I distinctly remember some folks in the "exotic races" thread (for example) using some rather...strident...language for any player who has the temerity to want to play a non-"core four" race. I won't name names for the sake of not stirring up old drama. But there were some folks who got stern mod responses for it. That, to me, speaks of a testiness that goes well beyond simple stuff.

IMO and IME, most assumptions can be taken care of with a solid session zero and/or a solid, concise 1 or 2 page overview of the campaign rules. Any DM getting super testy needs to take it down a notch or three and simply make sure the players are informed before sitting down to play. Importantly, a DM should work with players to make sure their characters meet the guidelines that have been established for the campaign (something that would have been a nice gem to include in the DMG, apparently, but at least it is in Tasha's).
Okay. Now how do we refactor this for the online group search, since as noted, that's basically always how I have had to look for games even before the pandemic, but now most folks have to look for games this way.

Beyond that, stuff will of course naturally come up during game play that might be cause for disagreement. As a DM, if this happens, I make a ruling in the heat of the moment so we can move forward with the game and, between sessions, we discuss how it will be handled going forward, if necessary.
TBH this at least sounds irrelevant to what I'm talking about, so I don't have much to say about it.

And...? Did any of the DMs you encountered have any suggestions for fixes when you told them you were fully open to the idea of doing so?
One. Out of several dozen games I examined and about a dozen games I applied for, exactly one had constructive criticism, and that one was only to avoid a potentially theme-disruptive ribbon feature. At 5th level, meaning character level 10 at the lowest, my Silver Pyromancer gets a ribbon feature, immunity to disease. That DM thought that this ribbon might be actually powerful or unbalanced in a game focused on jungle exploration, and thus asked if I was okay with removing it. Seeing as it's mostly a fluff feature, I was comfortable doing so; it is of course sad to drop a ribbon, but I had no desire to disrupt a campaign premise.

In every case, including that one, I was clear that adjustments the DM considered appropriate were cool, but that starting out more or less as I wrote it would be nice so I could get good playtest info. I worked pretty hard to keep the features in line with, but distinct from, the features of official classes, races, feats, etc. I'm confident it is already pretty well-balanced, but confirmation is always a nice addition on top of such confidence...and if that confidence proves wrong, I want to fix it, not dig in my heels. I genuinely believe in serious playtesting.

Or is it that none of the DMs you encountered wanted to deal with a homebrew PC at all in their campaign? If it is the latter, do you believe that makes them unreasonable DMs?
Well, as stated, I did everything I could to filter out DMs who wouldn't be interested from the word "go." Hence why I spent several months trying to find a game and applied to such a large number of them (mostly on GitP and Myth-Weavers). Even with those efforts, I came up completely empty-handed. This wasn't a casual effort, I was really sincere about trying to find a game that would work and had plenty of respectful conversations about it. Ultimately it never worked out. That it failed to do so despite the amount of time and effort I put in is what led me to conclude that yes, my initial perception (based on forum discussions like this) was on fact pretty accurate. 5e DMs are overall very traditionalist, often extremely so, and will rather pointedly refuse or ignore most "optional" rules, unless they personally deeply love those rules (most of them being of the "make days deadlier, rests harder and less frequent, and resources generally restricted" variety). Good luck even getting them to use "official" third-party content (as in, published by a professional company like Drop Dead Studios or Goodman Games), let alone player written homebrew...but they'll be totally cool introducing their own homebrew, occasionally without even drawing attention to it until it becomes relevant.

In case anyone actually cares what homebrew I wanted to test, here it is. (Hopefully the images load correctly; they were very slow to load on my phone.) As stated in the opening section, it is directly inspired by the Silver Pyromancer PrC from (3rd edition) Eberron. I am relatively proud of it, in the sense that I think I did a good job making it, covered both the thematic and mechanical bases that I should have, and that it only really needs small tweaks or adjustments to be a solid, focused but not overpowered, option for players to use. The spells are mostly of my own design, though some are inspired by actual spells from 3.5e. (I also neglected to include the Artificer as an explicit "you can do this if you like" option, but in theory they qualify eventually, once they get 3rd level spells. Not that I think very many people willingly play 5e's Artificer...)

The only rules you need to play are the Basic D&D rules. Not even the three core rule books are needed.
Like I said. A disdain for "optional" rules is a gamer culture element I have detected in 5e DMs. Is that not what this statement is?
 

dave2008

Legend
Like I said. A disdain for "optional" rules is a gamer culture element I have detected in 5e DMs. Is that not what this statement is?
I guess we run in different circles. I've seen an explosion of optional and variant rules for 5e. I skipped 2e and 3e, but definitely an order of magnitude more (at least) than I saw for 4e. Every check out the UA reddit? Just tons of optional rules that people use in their 5e games, not to mention everything on DMsGuild. The optional and variant rule culture of 5e seems to be incredibly strong to me.
 

I guess we run in different circles. I've seen an explosion of optional and variant rules for 5e. I skipped 2e and 3e, but definitely an order of magnitude more (at least) than I saw for 4e. Every check out the UA reddit? Just tons of optional rules that people use in their 5e games, not to mention everything on DMsGuild. The optional and variant rule culture of 5e seems to be incredibly strong to me.
Oh, there's plenty of people making such content.

I just very rarely see anyone willing to use it. Which was my point. Despite 5e being (even I admit!) more amenable to creating homebrew content, 5e DMs are (IME) if anything even more reluctant to use it than 4e DMs were. I've had several 4e DMs work with me to house-rule stuff, or adapt around player input, etc. My experience with 5e DMs, over the course of multiple years of joining or trying to join games, has been a far lower proportion. As in, about the same total amount...despite the fact that I've at least considered applying for easily ten times as many 5e games as 4e games. (The irony of course being that I'd really rather play 4e, but I can't playtest content made for 5e without, y'know, playing it.)
 

Even before the pandemic, I almost exclusively played online. This means applying for games. DMs present their pitches (or, rarely, players present theirs and hope a DM likes it enough to pick it up). I filtered through a much, much larger number than that dozen I quoted, skipping over any that were either (a) clearly not for me, so there was no point in applying to begin with, or (b) clearly not interested in what I was looking for. I also did what I could to select game pitches that were compatible with the fluff and crunch of my choices for race, background, class, etc.*

That still left quite a few games, where I would ask up front if the DM was open to testing content I had designed, explicitly saying that I would welcome changes (even, if truly necessary, some before play even got started, though the goal was to try the thing as close to what I wrote, since I can't truly call it "balanced" unless I test it). Having already preselected against those who would oppose such things on principle, most (though not all) did not reject it out of hand, but several said something like "let me think about it" and then came back a day or two later with some variation on "no, sorry, no homebrew I didn't write." Among the dozen or so that remained, only two or three actually demonstrated that they had read my work (one asked if I was willing to drop a ribbon-y feature that they felt could be unbalanced for their specific campaign, since it was focused on jungle exploration; another said they liked one of the optional homebrew spells at the end of the document and appreciated the effort I put into selecting art and proofreading it, but had no further criticism). Zero of the dozen-ish DMs that got to this point of sounded like they'd want the kind of play I look for, had a compatible pitch, (allegedly) open to homebrew, and (claimed to have) actually read and approved it, actually did so; I was accepted into none of their games.

And, like I said, this was already after filtering through many, many more games that were either clearly not a good fit, explicitly rejecting things I wanted (e.g. "no feats," which is way commonll, much to my chagrin), or not even willing to consider homebrew content of any kind unless it came from the DM herself.

*If you consider it relevant, I was intending to play a silver dragonborn dragon sorcerer, gold bloodline, with some kind of "comes from old-money families but didn't inherit any of it" background, inspired by a couple cool images I saw online. My homebrew, a Silver Pyromancer PrC, explicitly forbids multiclassing to or from Warlock, for both thematic and balance reasons, so my interest was to play a pure Sorcerer other than those five levels.


Perhaps it is the fog of memory, but I distinctly remember some folks in the "exotic races" thread (for example) using some rather...strident...language for any player who has the temerity to want to play a non-"core four" race. I won't name names for the sake of not stirring up old drama. But there were some folks who got stern mod responses for it. That, to me, speaks of a testiness that goes well beyond simple stuff.


Okay. Now how do we refactor this for the online group search, since as noted, that's basically always how I have had to look for games even before the pandemic, but now most folks have to look for games this way.


TBH this at least sounds irrelevant to what I'm talking about, so I don't have much to say about it.


One. Out of several dozen games I examined and about a dozen games I applied for, exactly one had constructive criticism, and that one was only to avoid a potentially theme-disruptive ribbon feature. At 5th level, meaning character level 10 at the lowest, my Silver Pyromancer gets a ribbon feature, immunity to disease. That DM thought that this ribbon might be actually powerful or unbalanced in a game focused on jungle exploration, and thus asked if I was okay with removing it. Seeing as it's mostly a fluff feature, I was comfortable doing so; it is of course sad to drop a ribbon, but I had no desire to disrupt a campaign premise.

In every case, including that one, I was clear that adjustments the DM considered appropriate were cool, but that starting out more or less as I wrote it would be nice so I could get good playtest info. I worked pretty hard to keep the features in line with, but distinct from, the features of official classes, races, feats, etc. I'm confident it is already pretty well-balanced, but confirmation is always a nice addition on top of such confidence...and if that confidence proves wrong, I want to fix it, not dig in my heels. I genuinely believe in serious playtesting.


Well, as stated, I did everything I could to filter out DMs who wouldn't be interested from the word "go." Hence why I spent several months trying to find a game and applied to such a large number of them (mostly on GitP and Myth-Weavers). Even with those efforts, I came up completely empty-handed. This wasn't a casual effort, I was really sincere about trying to find a game that would work and had plenty of respectful conversations about it. Ultimately it never worked out. That it failed to do so despite the amount of time and effort I put in is what led me to conclude that yes, my initial perception (based on forum discussions like this) was on fact pretty accurate. 5e DMs are overall very traditionalist, often extremely so, and will rather pointedly refuse or ignore most "optional" rules, unless they personally deeply love those rules (most of them being of the "make days deadlier, rests harder and less frequent, and resources generally restricted" variety). Good luck even getting them to use "official" third-party content (as in, published by a professional company like Drop Dead Studios or Goodman Games), let alone player written homebrew...but they'll be totally cool introducing their own homebrew, occasionally without even drawing attention to it until it becomes relevant.

In case anyone actually cares what homebrew I wanted to test, here it is. (Hopefully the images load correctly; they were very slow to load on my phone.) As stated in the opening section, it is directly inspired by the Silver Pyromancer PrC from (3rd edition) Eberron. I am relatively proud of it, in the sense that I think I did a good job making it, covered both the thematic and mechanical bases that I should have, and that it only really needs small tweaks or adjustments to be a solid, focused but not overpowered, option for players to use. The spells are mostly of my own design, though some are inspired by actual spells from 3.5e. (I also neglected to include the Artificer as an explicit "you can do this if you like" option, but in theory they qualify eventually, once they get 3rd level spells. Not that I think very many people willingly play 5e's Artificer...)


Like I said. A disdain for "optional" rules is a gamer culture element I have detected in 5e DMs. Is that not what this statement is?
Honestly, I think you might be expecting internet strangers to put in a bit more work than they want to.

Let’s say I was a DM recruiting players for a campaign with 4 to 6 player spots. I get 9 responses from folks who are willing to play with options from the official books and I get 2 responses from people who are proposing a home brew character that needs fixing … yeah, no offense, but I’m going the easy route if I don’t know any of these players.

Therein might lie your solution. Play a non-home brew PC in a one-shot or even a short campaign to see if you gel with the group. After establishing that connection, see if the group would want to do some PC home brew. It might be an easier sell to people you know you play well with already.

Good luck
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
"no, sorry, no homebrew I didn't write."
Which is a perfectly reasonable and practical position that has little if anything to do with traditionalism.
My homebrew, a Silver Pyromancer PrC, explicitly forbids multiclassing to or from Warlock, for both thematic and balance reasons, so my interest was to play a pure Sorcerer other than those five levels.
Yeah I wouldn't want to parse someone's homebrew PrC in a game that doesn't have PrCs, either. At least not for someone I don't know.

Has nothing to do with how comfortable I am with things I've built, and thus know inside and out.
That it failed to do so despite the amount of time and effort I put in is what led me to conclude that yes, my initial perception (based on forum discussions like this) was on fact pretty accurate. 5e DMs are overall very traditionalist, often extremely so, and will rather pointedly refuse or ignore most "optional" rules, unless they personally deeply love those rules (most of them being of the "make days deadlier, rests harder and less frequent, and resources generally restricted" variety). Good luck even getting them to use "official" third-party content (as in, published by a professional company like Drop Dead Studios or Goodman Games), let alone player written homebrew...but they'll be totally cool introducing their own homebrew, occasionally without even drawing attention to it until it becomes relevant.
I've seen dozens of games using third party stuff, optional rules from Xanathar's and Tasha's, and homebrew from the UA reddit and DMsGuild.

Maybe there is a difference of culture amongst online DMs and other DMs.
Like I said. A disdain for "optional" rules is a gamer culture element I have detected in 5e DMs. Is that not what this statement is?
How? How on earth does that statement lead to "disdain for optional rules"?
I guess we run in different circles. I've seen an explosion of optional and variant rules for 5e. I skipped 2e and 3e, but definitely an order of magnitude more (at least) than I saw for 4e. Every check out the UA reddit? Just tons of optional rules that people use in their 5e games, not to mention everything on DMsGuild. The optional and variant rule culture of 5e seems to be incredibly strong to me.
Yeah that stuff has a huge following of people using that material in their games.
 

dave2008

Legend
Oh, there's plenty of people making such content.

I just very rarely see anyone willing to use it. Which was my point. Despite 5e being (even I admit!) more amenable to creating homebrew content, 5e DMs are (IME) if anything even more reluctant to use it than 4e DMs were. I've had several 4e DMs work with me to house-rule stuff, or adapt around player input, etc. My experience with 5e DMs, over the course of multiple years of joining or trying to join games, has been a far lower proportion. As in, about the same total amount...despite the fact that I've at least considered applying for easily ten times as many 5e games as 4e games. (The irony of course being that I'd really rather play 4e, but I can't playtest content made for 5e without, y'know, playing it.)
Sorry to hear that. It has not been my, very limited, experience. I come from a much more collaborative culture, so I guess that is what I assume / see when I look at all the homebrew options. When we homebrew we do it as a group. I am the DM, but house-rules and homebrew are discussed and decided on as a group. Of course I am an old-school DM (30+ years) so I don't were that optional rules will break my game. That may have something to do with it.
 

teitan

Legend
Even before the pandemic, I almost exclusively played online. This means applying for games. DMs present their pitches (or, rarely, players present theirs and hope a DM likes it enough to pick it up). I filtered through a much, much larger number than that dozen I quoted, skipping over any that were either (a) clearly not for me, so there was no point in applying to begin with, or (b) clearly not interested in what I was looking for. I also did what I could to select game pitches that were compatible with the fluff and crunch of my choices for race, background, class, etc.*

That still left quite a few games, where I would ask up front if the DM was open to testing content I had designed, explicitly saying that I would welcome changes (even, if truly necessary, some before play even got started, though the goal was to try the thing as close to what I wrote, since I can't truly call it "balanced" unless I test it). Having already preselected against those who would oppose such things on principle, most (though not all) did not reject it out of hand, but several said something like "let me think about it" and then came back a day or two later with some variation on "no, sorry, no homebrew I didn't write." Among the dozen or so that remained, only two or three actually demonstrated that they had read my work (one asked if I was willing to drop a ribbon-y feature that they felt could be unbalanced for their specific campaign, since it was focused on jungle exploration; another said they liked one of the optional homebrew spells at the end of the document and appreciated the effort I put into selecting art and proofreading it, but had no further criticism). Zero of the dozen-ish DMs that got to this point of sounded like they'd want the kind of play I look for, had a compatible pitch, (allegedly) open to homebrew, and (claimed to have) actually read and approved it, actually did so; I was accepted into none of their games.

And, like I said, this was already after filtering through many, many more games that were either clearly not a good fit, explicitly rejecting things I wanted (e.g. "no feats," which is way commonll, much to my chagrin), or not even willing to consider homebrew content of any kind unless it came from the DM herself.

*If you consider it relevant, I was intending to play a silver dragonborn dragon sorcerer, gold bloodline, with some kind of "comes from old-money families but didn't inherit any of it" background, inspired by a couple cool images I saw online. My homebrew, a Silver Pyromancer PrC, explicitly forbids multiclassing to or from Warlock, for both thematic and balance reasons, so my interest was to play a pure Sorcerer other than those five levels.


Perhaps it is the fog of memory, but I distinctly remember some folks in the "exotic races" thread (for example) using some rather...strident...language for any player who has the temerity to want to play a non-"core four" race. I won't name names for the sake of not stirring up old drama. But there were some folks who got stern mod responses for it. That, to me, speaks of a testiness that goes well beyond simple stuff.


Okay. Now how do we refactor this for the online group search, since as noted, that's basically always how I have had to look for games even before the pandemic, but now most folks have to look for games this way.


TBH this at least sounds irrelevant to what I'm talking about, so I don't have much to say about it.


One. Out of several dozen games I examined and about a dozen games I applied for, exactly one had constructive criticism, and that one was only to avoid a potentially theme-disruptive ribbon feature. At 5th level, meaning character level 10 at the lowest, my Silver Pyromancer gets a ribbon feature, immunity to disease. That DM thought that this ribbon might be actually powerful or unbalanced in a game focused on jungle exploration, and thus asked if I was okay with removing it. Seeing as it's mostly a fluff feature, I was comfortable doing so; it is of course sad to drop a ribbon, but I had no desire to disrupt a campaign premise.

In every case, including that one, I was clear that adjustments the DM considered appropriate were cool, but that starting out more or less as I wrote it would be nice so I could get good playtest info. I worked pretty hard to keep the features in line with, but distinct from, the features of official classes, races, feats, etc. I'm confident it is already pretty well-balanced, but confirmation is always a nice addition on top of such confidence...and if that confidence proves wrong, I want to fix it, not dig in my heels. I genuinely believe in serious playtesting.


Well, as stated, I did everything I could to filter out DMs who wouldn't be interested from the word "go." Hence why I spent several months trying to find a game and applied to such a large number of them (mostly on GitP and Myth-Weavers). Even with those efforts, I came up completely empty-handed. This wasn't a casual effort, I was really sincere about trying to find a game that would work and had plenty of respectful conversations about it. Ultimately it never worked out. That it failed to do so despite the amount of time and effort I put in is what led me to conclude that yes, my initial perception (based on forum discussions like this) was on fact pretty accurate. 5e DMs are overall very traditionalist, often extremely so, and will rather pointedly refuse or ignore most "optional" rules, unless they personally deeply love those rules (most of them being of the "make days deadlier, rests harder and less frequent, and resources generally restricted" variety). Good luck even getting them to use "official" third-party content (as in, published by a professional company like Drop Dead Studios or Goodman Games), let alone player written homebrew...but they'll be totally cool introducing their own homebrew, occasionally without even drawing attention to it until it becomes relevant.

In case anyone actually cares what homebrew I wanted to test, here it is. (Hopefully the images load correctly; they were very slow to load on my phone.) As stated in the opening section, it is directly inspired by the Silver Pyromancer PrC from (3rd edition) Eberron. I am relatively proud of it, in the sense that I think I did a good job making it, covered both the thematic and mechanical bases that I should have, and that it only really needs small tweaks or adjustments to be a solid, focused but not overpowered, option for players to use. The spells are mostly of my own design, though some are inspired by actual spells from 3.5e. (I also neglected to include the Artificer as an explicit "you can do this if you like" option, but in theory they qualify eventually, once they get 3rd level spells. Not that I think very many people willingly play 5e's Artificer...)


Like I said. A disdain for "optional" rules is a gamer culture element I have detected in 5e DMs. Is that not what this statement is?
No it isn’t “disdain” for optional rules. Again with looking down on people for different play styles you are. It’s pointing out that the game is designed for groups to play to their style whether it is 1e, 2e, 3e or 4e play styles. Not everyone wants to play in those ways and that is fine for them. What’s not fine is to look down on them or assume they have a disdain for something just because it doesn’t fit their play style for their table. You keep talking about trying to play with people and failing to find a group. Maybe you should try DMing and looking for people that want to play with all those buttons turned on. The designers designed it so you can do that just like they designed it so an old school DM can play without all those buttons turned on and even gave them buttons so that the game has that higher level of lethality and limited access to healing of older editions. Do you like those “slower healing rules” too? The gritty rules? Or do you feel… disdain for them?
 

cbwjm

Legend
In case anyone actually cares what homebrew I wanted to test, here it is. (Hopefully the images load correctly; they were very slow to load on my phone.) As stated in the opening section, it is directly inspired by the Silver Pyromancer PrC from (3rd edition) Eberron.
I probably wouldn't have wanted to run it either to be honest, seems like it has a little too much happening at each level, likely needed for you to capture the feel of the class, but still too much. If you'd made it a wizard or sorcerer subclass rather than a prestige class (those seem to have been a failed experiment in 5e, though I could still see them being used in the game) I'd be more likely to allow it in.

If I was going to consider allowing the prestige class, I'd have to see less features per level and have more of those follow current design paradigms, such as +ability mod to damage rather than the +1/die. There's actually a lot I think I'd want to remove or change, the issue with that being that then it wouldn't be your prestige class so you may end up not wanting to run it. It is cool idea for a class or subclass though, I think I once looked at adapting it, though I may be getting mixed up with another prestige class for the silver flame.
 
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When it comes to firearms in my DND games, I pretty much use a combination of the Firearms present in the DMG+Mercer's Fighter Gunslinger subclass Firearms+the Firearms/ranged weapons from Iron Kingdom: Requiem 5E for all of my DND firearm needs.
 

Oofta

Legend
Even before the pandemic, I almost exclusively played online. This means applying for games. DMs present their pitches (or, rarely, players present theirs and hope a DM likes it enough to pick it up). I filtered through a much, much larger number than that dozen I quoted, skipping over any that were either (a) clearly not for me, so there was no point in applying to begin with, or (b) clearly not interested in what I was looking for. I also did what I could to select game pitches that were compatible with the fluff and crunch of my choices for race, background, class, etc.*

That still left quite a few games, where I would ask up front if the DM was open to testing content I had designed, explicitly saying that I would welcome changes (even, if truly necessary, some before play even got started, though the goal was to try the thing as close to what I wrote, since I can't truly call it "balanced" unless I test it). Having already preselected against those who would oppose such things on principle, most (though not all) did not reject it out of hand, but several said something like "let me think about it" and then came back a day or two later with some variation on "no, sorry, no homebrew I didn't write." Among the dozen or so that remained, only two or three actually demonstrated that they had read my work (one asked if I was willing to drop a ribbon-y feature that they felt could be unbalanced for their specific campaign, since it was focused on jungle exploration; another said they liked one of the optional homebrew spells at the end of the document and appreciated the effort I put into selecting art and proofreading it, but had no further criticism). Zero of the dozen-ish DMs that got to this point of sounded like they'd want the kind of play I look for, had a compatible pitch, (allegedly) open to homebrew, and (claimed to have) actually read and approved it, actually did so; I was accepted into none of their games.

If you're someone I've never played with I would reject a homebrew class as well. I don't know you, as a DM with an open game I've always had plenty of players willing to join that don't have special requirements. I can't imagine asking to join a game while also saying I wanted to play a custom class unless the DM explicitly asked for such things. It's not a problem with flexibility, I try to do cool things for my players all the time, it's about trust. Trust has to be earned.

And, like I said, this was already after filtering through many, many more games that were either clearly not a good fit, explicitly rejecting things I wanted (e.g. "no feats," which is way commonll, much to my chagrin), or not even willing to consider homebrew content of any kind unless it came from the DM herself.

*If you consider it relevant, I was intending to play a silver dragonborn dragon sorcerer, gold bloodline, with some kind of "comes from old-money families but didn't inherit any of it" background, inspired by a couple cool images I saw online. My homebrew, a Silver Pyromancer PrC, explicitly forbids multiclassing to or from Warlock, for both thematic and balance reasons, so my interest was to play a pure Sorcerer other than those five levels.


Perhaps it is the fog of memory, but I distinctly remember some folks in the "exotic races" thread (for example) using some rather...strident...language for any player who has the temerity to want to play a non-"core four" race. I won't name names for the sake of not stirring up old drama. But there were some folks who got stern mod responses for it. That, to me, speaks of a testiness that goes well beyond simple stuff.

From what I remember of the exotic races threads it was basically some DMs (including me) saying "I limit races because [insert reasons here]" and always getting the response "But you could ...". Well, yes, I could. I could allow you to play a battle droid from Star Wars that used dual blasters. It might even be a fun game. It wouldn't fit the theme and history of my world. At a certain point a DM has to decide what makes sense for their campaign. If it's "strident" that as a DM I retain the right to say no, then we have a different definition of that word.

Okay. Now how do we refactor this for the online group search, since as noted, that's basically always how I have had to look for games even before the pandemic, but now most folks have to look for games this way.


TBH this at least sounds irrelevant to what I'm talking about, so I don't have much to say about it.


One. Out of several dozen games I examined and about a dozen games I applied for, exactly one had constructive criticism, and that one was only to avoid a potentially theme-disruptive ribbon feature. At 5th level, meaning character level 10 at the lowest, my Silver Pyromancer gets a ribbon feature, immunity to disease. That DM thought that this ribbon might be actually powerful or unbalanced in a game focused on jungle exploration, and thus asked if I was okay with removing it. Seeing as it's mostly a fluff feature, I was comfortable doing so; it is of course sad to drop a ribbon, but I had no desire to disrupt a campaign premise.

In every case, including that one, I was clear that adjustments the DM considered appropriate were cool, but that starting out more or less as I wrote it would be nice so I could get good playtest info. I worked pretty hard to keep the features in line with, but distinct from, the features of official classes, races, feats, etc. I'm confident it is already pretty well-balanced, but confirmation is always a nice addition on top of such confidence...and if that confidence proves wrong, I want to fix it, not dig in my heels. I genuinely believe in serious playtesting.


Well, as stated, I did everything I could to filter out DMs who wouldn't be interested from the word "go." Hence why I spent several months trying to find a game and applied to such a large number of them (mostly on GitP and Myth-Weavers). Even with those efforts, I came up completely empty-handed. This wasn't a casual effort, I was really sincere about trying to find a game that would work and had plenty of respectful conversations about it. Ultimately it never worked out. That it failed to do so despite the amount of time and effort I put in is what led me to conclude that yes, my initial perception (based on forum discussions like this) was on fact pretty accurate. 5e DMs are overall very traditionalist, often extremely so, and will rather pointedly refuse or ignore most "optional" rules, unless they personally deeply love those rules (most of them being of the "make days deadlier, rests harder and less frequent, and resources generally restricted" variety). Good luck even getting them to use "official" third-party content (as in, published by a professional company like Drop Dead Studios or Goodman Games), let alone player written homebrew...but they'll be totally cool introducing their own homebrew, occasionally without even drawing attention to it until it becomes relevant.

In case anyone actually cares what homebrew I wanted to test, here it is. (Hopefully the images load correctly; they were very slow to load on my phone.) As stated in the opening section, it is directly inspired by the Silver Pyromancer PrC from (3rd edition) Eberron. I am relatively proud of it, in the sense that I think I did a good job making it, covered both the thematic and mechanical bases that I should have, and that it only really needs small tweaks or adjustments to be a solid, focused but not overpowered, option for players to use. The spells are mostly of my own design, though some are inspired by actual spells from 3.5e. (I also neglected to include the Artificer as an explicit "you can do this if you like" option, but in theory they qualify eventually, once they get 3rd level spells. Not that I think very many people willingly play 5e's Artificer...)


Like I said. A disdain for "optional" rules is a gamer culture element I have detected in 5e DMs. Is that not what this statement is?

At a certain point you just have to accept that nobody is selling what you're looking for, at least not sight unseen. I don't see any "disdain" for optional rules. I simply think what you're asking for out of the box is asking too much. Try backing off on requests like custom classes, compromise a bit on what you play and then after the DM knows you ask for other options.
 

Therein might lie your solution. Play a non-home brew PC in a one-shot or even a short campaign to see if you gel with the group. After establishing that connection, see if the group would want to do some PC home brew. It might be an easier sell to people you know you play well with already.
Yeah. It's normal to "prove yourself" with an ordinary character in a pickup group before you can be trusted with potential wackiness.
 

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