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D&D 3E/3.5 What do you ban? (3.5)

I have yet to ban anything for any of my groups. Before we play, I sit them down and tell them that anything they can do, the NPCs can do and that shenanigans won't happen unless the PCs use them first. I run fairly high-power games, so any self-nerfing that happens isn't all that extensive (most of my parties keep using shapechanging, wraithstrike, DMM, etc., the only one they forgo being disjunction), but I've found it works out better if you let the players choose what's "too much" as long as you can handle the consequences.

Agreed. My ban list is anything that requires Exhalted status. It imposes restrictions on the game world that I don't want. Beyond that, goose & gander.


There are some things I have changed, though--especially teleport. When teleporting to a location you can only port to a place you have actually been or studied an image specifically prepared for the purpose of guiding teleportation. (Such an image can only be prepared by someone capable of teleporting to the location in question.) You're free to teleport blindly to an x, y, z offset from your current location but this is realistically only useful for short-range work or else overland stuff. Scry/buff/teleport does not work offensively but it *DOES* work defensively--if you're in the bad guy's lair and he knows it he can scry/buff/teleport in because he knows his lair.
 
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Dandu

First Post
It seems tame at level 6. And yet it's available at level 3-4 iirc...
Given it's AoE, a caster can only use it without hurting his allies if the caster is 1. Close to his targets and 2. without support.

Casting a full round spell under these conditions is likely to turn out very badly for a 4th level spellcaster.
 



Vegepygmy

First Post
I can't think of anything Core that I've banned, but I do require that my players have stat blocks figured for any alternate forms (such as from polymorphing or wild shape) they are going to use, which makes those abilities much more manageable.

I also have a general rule that players must get DM permission before they can use anything non-core, and there are some things I would never approve, so I guess you could consider them banned: wraithstrike and triadspell come to mind, and I'm sure there are feats and prestige classes I consider broken, but I can't recall what they are.
 

aboyd

First Post
Triadspell is ban-worthy? I always found it so lame that it wasn't even worth taking. I compared it like this: If I take a 5th level Summon Monster, I can get 1d4+1 monsters from the 3rd level list. Or, I can use Triadspell to get three 3rd level Summon Monster spells, which gives me 3 monsters from the 3rd level list. That might seem like it's kinda even, except that using Triadspell costs me 4 rounds of casting.

Maybe I have it wrong, but I just don't see the awesome in it. Help?

EDIT: Nevermind. I typed "triadspells broken" into Google and it referred me to posts here on En World... written by me. Apparently, I am very, very, very tired. :)
 
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amnuxoll

First Post
It's been a while since I ran a 3.5e game. My approach was to require approval for anything outside of the core rulebooks, but I usually ok'd any requests for such.

I nerfed these feats: Power Attack, Spirited Charge

I banned or nerfed these spells: glitterdust, grease, entangle, black tentacles, deathward, Holy Word (and equivs) and anything polymorph.
 

GreyLord

Hero
It depends on whether I'm the DM or not. If not, I don't ban anything.

If I am the DM, it depends on the campaign. Typically...I only allow what's found in

The core rulebooks
The Complete books
PHB 2
Dungeonscape (probably because I have a factotum fetish, he's the real jack of all trades).

Except for that, if it's a Forgotten Realms 3.X game, anything in those are allowed. If we are going 3e instead of 3.5, the equivalent of the complete books (like Sword and Fist) are allowed.



Typically, outside of FR, the following modifications are in the game...some for simplicity, some to keep me sane on book keeping.

We use Unearthed Arcana options.

All skills are chosen at first level...with alternates if you ever multiclass. We play with the max skill points option from UA

You are only ever allowed to multi into 3 classes period...and they all have to be different areas (like Warrior, Wizard, Cleric, or Warrior, Rogue, Wizard...no Fighter/Rangers).

Any Prestige classes must be planned from the start (goes along with the max skill ranks idea). You are an apprentice or initiate into that organization. Whether you suceed and become one of them is dependant on you...and how successful you are in the future (aka...if you meet the prereqs you get the prestige class when ever you want to start taking levels).

If you want to suddenly change direction and multiclass into something unplanned, you can do so ONCE in a campaign...IF YOU HAVE A GOOD ROLEPLAYING reason to do so...(aka...no...I just felt like it to pick up such and such a skill). Note: If you plan from the beginning that you are a Fighter/Duskblade or whatever...no such penalty/reasoning exists. It's part of your gameplan from the beginning.

I have that races have a different psychology than humans. Elves are NOT simply humans with pointed ears. This psychology and different outlook is why we use the options from the DMG restricting certain races from playing certain classes. In addition, you better play as if you are a different race. NO...I'm an elf but I act like a human. Act like the elf you are.

This keeps the levels and classes at a level where I can usually know everything that they are able to do and track it all. Everything else I can counter as a DM.

Be a munchkin as a Druid...WOW...where did this monster that has a 10,000 DR/Magic (or whatever I make up) with it, which in this case means ANY damage caused by magic or RESULTS of magic, inclusive of buffs that add their damage, attack bonuses...etc. to it. In addition it reflects all that damage back on the person using the shapechange, buff, spell...etc. Wow...what a terrible creature...I'd run away from it...but that's just my advice...do as you will. Basically, if they go crazy...I can normally use anything in my imagination with rule 0 to counter it and balance out the party, so all players can feel like they are a benefit to the party if they wish to participate (so no one sided Wizards, Clerics, or Druids rule the day...it is a party thing where all work together to build on their weaknesses and strengths).

Other than that, feats, weapons, spells, whatever they want from the books above...they are all allowed.

Occasionally I'll run a Corebooks only campaign...it should be obvious what is or isn't allowed in that.

I also occasionally run a stronger UA campaign, where we use the generic classes from UA (Warrior, Spellcaster, Expert) along with choices for the prestige classes (Bard, Ranger and paladin).

Occasionally I also allow Gestalt characters to be run alongside with normal characters...but they take 2x the XP to advance to the next level.

So I run the gamut of totally open in Forgotten Realms...to more closed games.
 

DumbPaladin

First Post
In our campaign, we've banned exactly one spell:

Wraithstrike (SpC)

There's a similar spell that's higher level in the Spell Compendium, but it only allows you to make one melee attack per round as a touch attack, which is of the same power as a Heartseeker Amulet, which is also not horribly broken. It took 5 minutes of conversation for the group to agree that we'd rather not come up against a horrible monster with the ability to cast this spell at will ... so we wouldn't either.

I think our DM, should we switch to Pathfinder, will take out Evard's and a couple similar spells that really slow down gameplay ... but I don't expect major disqualifications.
 

Sorrowdusk

First Post
I can't think of anything Core that I've banned, but I do require that my players have stat blocks figured for any alternate forms (such as from polymorphing or wild shape) they are going to use, which makes those abilities much more manageable.

I also have a general rule that players must get DM permission before they can use anything non-core, and there are some things I would never approve, so I guess you could consider them banned: wraithstrike and triadspell come to mind, and I'm sure there are feats and prestige classes I consider broken, but I can't recall what they are.


These are just spells here though-
What about Incense of Meditation?
Candles of Evocation?
 

Nagol

Unimportant
About the biggest ban was Metamagic rods as written -- they've been houseruled to offer the feat for use 3 times / day instead.

A few spells have been altered somewhat but are still available: Alter Self, Polymorph, and Disjunction still function just slightly differently.

Now if we're talking about restricting optional material, that is very common.

The base campaign is core-only with only a few of the presented prestige classes available though other homebrewed PrCs exist.
 

Celebrim

Legend
Celebrim, why did you ban the Druid Class?

That is almost worth a thread all to itself.

a) The Druid has serious balance issues. It's effectively a 'jack of all trades' class, capable of divine and arcane spellcasting, as well as being an effective melee combatant especially with the support of its animal companion. The problem is that especially in 3.5, it's no longer a 'jack of all trades, master of none', but a 'jack of all trades, master of all'. Particularly with the ever expanding spell-lists and the fact that 'crowd control' beats 'direct damage' in 3.5, you were looking at a healer that could nearly or equally match an arcane caster in utility and which at the same time was also likely to be the toughest melee combatant in the party. It had a tendency to overshadow the entire rest of the party, and that violates the fundamental rule of role-playing ("You can't be good at everything.").
b) The Druid is too tightly bound to a specific flavor to be considered a base class. We aren't dealing with a broad archetype here. We are dealing with a narrowly defined wilderness/elemental themed spellcaster with a fixed ideology and very strong thematic ties to North European animistic magical practices (as we imagine them) in particular. It could not serve as the general case of an animistic, spirit worshiping spell-caster. To get there you had to come up with all sorts of variant druids. It just didn't work. One of my tests of a base class is whether you could make a whole party of them and feel that they didn't particularly step on each others toes. Druid just felt too narrowly defined. You didn't play a character who mechanically happened to be a druid. There was essentially one druid and everyone played a copy of it.
c) It may have started out as an attempt to model spellcasters in the Kalevala or something of the sort, but like the 'Barbarian' it had become it's own defining trope. It was a class that was fundamentally rooted in the D&D class itself. It was its own self-referential archetype, and to me that negated alot of the mythic power of the class.

To deal with this, the Druid was replaced by a slightly tweaked version of the Green Ronin 'Shaman' (from their 'Shaman's Handbook'). That class was stripped of some of its nonessential conventions, and because the class no longer had to go out of its way to avoid stepping on the Druid's toes, druidic magic could be migrated into the class as options. So, if you wanted to play a 'druid', you could by customizing the 'Shaman' get most of the way there, but the resulting character wouldn't so completely overshadow the rest of the party and especially the non-spellcasters.
 
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Celebrim

Legend
Planar Binding is pretty rough.

It can be made less broken if you actually force the spellcaster to bargain with the spirit he summons. It doesn't hurt to tweak the spell so that it depends not on HD but CR so that the caster can't abuse low HD high magic creatures.

Most of the problems I see with the spell usage described by other DMs come from what I see as the DM being overgenerous with the idea that the creature doesn't mind being summoned and is eager or willing to help. Compelling the creature to give you wishes would pretty much count as 'unreasonable service', and even if the creature was willing you'd almost certainly be dealing with 'monkey's paw wishes' from the compelled creature.

A common use of the spell is to summon Imps for their Commune ability, which more or less gets you access to pertinent information regarding anything. This can trivialize many non-combat scenarios.

So, you ask a devious fiend to commune with some outer planar being on your behalf (presumably a greater devil of some sort), and that outer planar being is itself likely manipulate the truth and the fiend who is so compelled is likely to lie or withhold critical information from the answer, and you think that this trivializes the situation?

Summon a Glabrezu and take his monthly Wish spell.

Unreasonable service. The Glabrezu would likely outright refuse and be within the wording of the spell to do so. And if he doesn't, heaven help you (literally) from the results of a wish compelled unwillingly from a fiend. Talk about something likely to twist the wording of the spell - the DM woudln't even be being much of a RBDM to do so in that case.

So, right before that, if your party can't kill a CR13, summon an Archon and request he help you with your next encounter against a demon or devil, something they're happy to do (so it should succeed).

So you think Archons are completely happy to help a diabolist consort with fiends? Especially those that do things like the following...

Bind a Succubus and have her seduce the local King/Lord/Magistrate/High Priest and you have blackmail against them, which again can trivialize a lot of non-combat encounters.

First of all, how in the world do you think society treats a diabolist that summons up fiends to seduce soveriegn monarchs? Second of all, how long do you think a society would last if they didn't take protections from this vary obvious thing? Do you think your character is the very first wizard/cleric to ever think, "Gee, I can get phenomenal power by summoning up a fiend! I could even mind-control the King, forcing everyone to obey my commands!" I mean that's 'Evil Plot 101', and like Paul Maud'Dib learned dozens of words for poisons and how to avoid them and never ate without a poison sniffer hovering over his food, in a world with Planar Binding you can believe that the sovereigns wouldn't go anywhere without at least some sort of 'Protection from X' about their person.

Summon an Efreeti for unlimited wishes for only a 6th level spell at no real cost to the player.

Again, unreasonable command or service, and any DM that let's a player compell wishes from an unwilling creature bound only by a non-permenent spell without twisting every letter of the wish is getting what they deserve. At the very least, we are talking about winning a difficult resisted charisma check.

Take a piece of it's flesh before it leaves, make a simulacrum of it, and you've got three wishes every day for the rest of your career.

I'm not sure that I agree that an illusionary Efreeti with half normal HD retains 'grant wishes' as a power appropriate to its new HD. I'm not even sure any spell-casting ability is appropriate, but at the very least its new caster level ought to be half (6th in this case) and any spells not normally castable by a 6th level caster ought to be reevaluated. Very generously, I might consider limited wish a possibility here, but even more likely I might tell you that the thing is an illusion and granting wishes is now bloody well beyond its new power.

Erinyes have always-on True Seeing. Lillends have Identify. Planetar casts Raise Dead.

That's more like it. Those are the sort of bargains I can imagine the beings entering into, though you'd probably be better off with some sort of bribe in each case.

Seriously, the spell description requires the DM to use judgment. The DM must assign difficulties, must RP out the being according to its wishes and desires, and must decide what is 'unreasonable'. If the DM doesn't excercise judgment like that, then you can't blame the spell (entirely) for it being broken in application.
 
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StreamOfTheSky

Adventurer
But Cleric and Wizard were ok. Right...

You grossly exxagerate the power of the druid spell list, they have the worst overall list of the 4 primary casters, and swapping it wholly for the sorc/wiz list would be a tremendous boost.
 

Celebrim

Legend
But Cleric and Wizard were ok. Right...

I didn't say that. However, I would say that 3.X Cleric and Wizard escape two of the three complaints I had against the Druid. If it had only been a power issue, I would have simply tweaked the Druid a little to resolve the problem. The 3.0 Druid was slightly less of a problem. But power and balance weren't my only issues with the Druid.

Wizard remains basically as it is, but suffers from lowered spell DC's (you don't add spell level to the DC to resist), greater difficulty dealing with foes at melee range (you aren't completely free to take a 5' step to leave a threat zone without drawing an AoO), and 'combat casting' is completely impossible. Also certain notorious spells are weaker, and in general my spell list is basically 'take the weaker of the 3.0 or 3.5 version of the spell'.

Cleric actually slightly outshines Wizard in many cases - we don't talk about CoDzilla for nothing. Cleric has all the new difficulties of the Wizard, and in addition Cleric is toned down getting 1 fewer spell per spell level (starts with 0+1D rather than 1+1D) and is forced to select a list of 'known spells' rather than freely being able to prepare any spell in print. Together with some slight tweaks upward for the non-spellcasting classes, I find these tend to give better balance than the stock version of the rules through a wider range of levels. Spellcasters are far from obselete, and in fact probably retain their essential quality, but don't completely overshine the party either and there is much less reason for everyone to play one of the big 4 full spellcasters.

You grossly exagerate the power of the druid spell list, they have the worst overall list of the 4 primary casters, and swapping it wholly for the sorc/wiz list would be a tremendous boost.

Perhaps, but the difference isn't enough that the other advantages of being a druid (better HD, better AC, free shapeshifting from a relatively low level, fighter-like animal companion) don't at least make up for it. The class would probably be playable with only being a 2/3rds caster similar to the Bard, and is arguably sufficiently powerful that it would still then overshine the Bard as an option.

But as I said, my issues weren't just power related.
 

Celebrim

Legend
*yawn* :yawn:

Sounds interesting. YMMV of course.

YDRID.

I'm sufficiently happy with my current tweaks to the SRD that I can honestly say that I've never been happier with any game system I've played. My players are extremely happy with the game, and have favorably compared it with their prior experiences (those who aren't new) or are begging me to run the game more often (those that are new). And I'm turning away players from the table because I can't run them all.

Oh and I would advise your parties pack a cleric (not in their pocket).

Packing a cleric is always a good idea in every version of D&D. But, you could probably get away with not having a cleric by some combination of:

a) Packing a character with a high Heal skill for first aid and long term care rolls. (What, your heal skill can't actually quickly heal wounds? How interesting.). Feats like Skill Focus (Heal) and Master Physician could help here.
b) Packing a Shaman with a Healing totem.
c) Packing 2 or more Champions with access to healing, particularly if both the Portfolios of the champion favored healing (for example Compassion and Protection).
d) Packing 2 or more Bards.
e) Packing a character with a high Alchemy skill and recipes for some curing potions.

With the possible exception of 'b', you couldn't replace a Cleric with anything on that list, but you could mix and match to obtain an equivalent or nearly equivalent healing level. A Champion with both the Compassion and Protection portfolios (plus skill in Heal) and a Bard would probably do it. Going with 'a' and 'e' would almost let you get away with out a caster, but it would be far from optimal in terms of cost and such. Probably would lose utility at high levels, but I rarely go there anyway.

Does your divine spell limitation extend to staves as well? I presume it doesnt include non-wand magic items, does it?

No, it doesn't, though the rules on magic item construction are a bit different than the standard. The main point was to remove cheap unlimited healing from the game, because I didn't like how its presence changed the game from the one I remembered in 1e.
 
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Sorrowdusk

First Post
In our campaign, we've banned exactly one spell:

Wraithstrike (SpC)

There's a similar spell that's higher level in the Spell Compendium, but it only allows you to make one melee attack per round as a touch attack, which is of the same power as a Heartseeker Amulet, which is also not horribly broken. It took 5 minutes of conversation for the group to agree that we'd rather not come up against a horrible monster with the ability to cast this spell at will ... so we wouldn't either.

I think our DM, should we switch to Pathfinder, will take out Evard's and a couple similar spells that really slow down gameplay ... but I don't expect major disqualifications.


Its allowed IMC, but the only person who uses it is the Fighter2/Sorc4/Dragonheart4 mage who likes to flame stuff and Wraithstrike with their claws. In their words, its "the only way I'd hit anything". And TBH, nobody else uses it, they dont cast it on anyone else, and no one has ever tried to do anything with it. Unspoken oath, I suppose.

Roll with it until somebody clearly breaks it. Watch out for some things, and then 'fix' them or remove them depending on severity.
 
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