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D&D General what is the worst homebrew you have seen?


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billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
One fecund source of bad home-brew is a little too much specific knowledge unleavened by game play considerations. I'm sure we've all encountered it - the player at the table who has some more advanced or in-depth knowledge of a topic that will bristle at the abstraction approach a game makes. They have trouble letting the minutiae they know go in order to make the game playable.

Example 1: Back in the 2e era, some people compiled a Netbook of Proficiencies. It was a mix of convenient reference for non-weapon proficiencies that appeared in a variety of sources as well as home-brewed examples. Someone, undoubtedly full of their hard-won, amateur knowledge of heraldry (I'm betting a membership in the Society for Creative Anachronism was involved), broke specific aspects of heraldry out into separate proficiencies of Blazoning, Differencing, and Draftsmanship to bloat the Heraldry proficiency from 1 slot to 4 slots and making it a burden nobody would want to play (with the possible exception of the person who designed those who, no doubt, felt their effort validated by needing FOUR slots to master).

Example 2: This is from personal experience. A friend of mine home-brews up variations on character classes for his personal setting. Most are OK, if a bit over powered. But that's a calibration for everything so it, more or less, works out. The specific problem in this case was with some bardic music options and his background as a musician (he has published CDs and taught music, so it's a significant expertise). His knowledge of performance had him pretty much requiring concentration on every form of bardic music, meaning a bard who wanted to inspire courage had to keep using his standard action to do so, even just to give his companions a +1 morale bonus for more than one round. It really hampered the action economy for the bard and party in general. This is a player who normally understands the action economy and working it from the player's perspective, but here, his expertise in musical performance overrode how cumbersome it had become to play that bard.
 
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Mad_Jack

Legend
When I was about twelve or so, I used my vast knowledge of D&D to kludge together a Transformers RPG... :rolleyes:
Although I must have written about 200 pages of it, it was apparently so bad that I've repressed all memory of it aside from one or two of the basic ideas, lol.
Decades later, I'd look at various elements of games like CAR WARS and RIFTS and go, "Y'know, I should have done that."
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
Even with Adventurers League rules today, I've found that some people don't have the firmest grasp on what counts as Adventurers League-legal.
I still remember one time I ran a Living Greyhawk session at GenCon. I had a couple of foreign dudes there early. They were pretty cool. Since we were waiting for more people to show up, I asked to look at their characters, and the one guy had things I'd never seen in the campaign before. I asked about it, and his buddy said, enviously, "Yeah, he got a new book." And they showed me a third party supplement with some truly broken classes and items in it. It turns out they were under the impression you could use any book that you owned to make your character. I informed them about the rules of the campaign, and the guy quickly rewrote his guy while the other players were showing up. We ended up having a great time, but whenever anybody says they think having that many rules is unnecessary for an Organized Play campaign, I remember those guys and think about the absolute chaos that would result from an OP campaign with no limitations...
 

Heh, the explosion of third-party products in 3e could've created such a mess without organized play rules.

I can remember rolling up to a convention in the early 90s and just using whatever high-level AD&D character I had at the time, as did everyone else. It wasn't complete chaos, but it wasn't far from it.

I still remember one time I ran a Living Greyhawk session at GenCon. I had a couple of foreign dudes there early. They were pretty cool. Since we were waiting for more people to show up, I asked to look at their characters, and the one guy had things I'd never seen in the campaign before. I asked about it, and his buddy said, enviously, "Yeah, he got a new book." And they showed me a third party supplement with some truly broken classes and items in it. It turns out they were under the impression you could use any book that you owned to make your character. I informed them about the rules of the campaign, and the guy quickly rewrote his guy while the other players were showing up. We ended up having a great time, but whenever anybody says they think having that many rules is unnecessary for an Organized Play campaign, I remember those guys and think about the absolute chaos that would result from an OP campaign with no limitations...
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
Heh, the explosion of third-party products in 3e could've created such a mess without organized play rules.

I can remember rolling up to a convention in the early 90s and just using whatever high-level AD&D character I had at the time, as did everyone else. It wasn't complete chaos, but it wasn't far from it.
I tried to run a large game back in the 2e era, Dragon Mountain. I had about 20 people playing, it was total chaos. And the characters they showed up with! Like the guy with a Mul Gladiator with a page and a half of psionic wild talents that his buddy claimed he saw him roll up.

Of course then, in actual play, he proceeded to do silly nonsense like use Detonate on an orc's boot, and ask why the orc didn't take the d10 damage from having his boot explode. :rolleyes:
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Homebrew that I've actually seen in a game I played? A DM had a 6 sided die that had body parts on it. If a monster critted a PC, he'd roll the body part die to see what was "critically hit". Roll "left arm"? Your arm was disabled at best, chopped off if he felt like it. Roll the "head"? Decapitated. Every monster from a lowly kobold to the toughest demon was suddenly granted a vorpal weapon.

Part of it too was that he'd always make it sound dramatic and go "ooh that's bad" ... but every option was pretty much as bad as all the others. In addition if a PC critted a monster the die was nowhere to be found.

I think he was just tired of DMing and messing with us to see how long we'd put up with it until we quit. It didn't take long.
I used to have that die, but I never actually used it for crits.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
Homebrew that I've actually seen in a game I played? A DM had a 6 sided die that had body parts on it. If a monster critted a PC, he'd roll the body part die to see what was "critically hit". Roll "left arm"? Your arm was disabled at best, chopped off if he felt like it. Roll the "head"? Decapitated. Every monster from a lowly kobold to the toughest demon was suddenly granted a vorpal weapon.

Part of it too was that he'd always make it sound dramatic and go "ooh that's bad" ... but every option was pretty much as bad as all the others. In addition if a PC critted a monster the die was nowhere to be found.

I think he was just tired of DMing and messing with us to see how long we'd put up with it until we quit. It didn't take long.
I used to have that die, but I used it for every attack. We used charts from Dragon magazine, other 'zines, or homebrew charts we made for differing types of attacks, and also for critical hits. Arms Law (from RoleMaster -- but originally a product for AD&D 1E!) which codified all of that stuff was an instant hit with our table.
 

I think I need Ibuprofen just thinking abut trying to run that game!

I tried to run a large game back in the 2e era, Dragon Mountain. I had about 20 people playing, it was total chaos. And the characters they showed up with! Like the guy with a Mul Gladiator with a page and a half of psionic wild talents that his buddy claimed he saw him roll up.

Ah yes, the boot, one of the deadliest weapons in the 2e PHB.
Of course then, in actual play, he proceeded to do silly nonsense like use Detonate on an orc's boot, and ask why the orc didn't take the d10 damage from having his boot explode. :rolleyes:
 

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