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D&D 3E/3.5 Why the change in DR from 3.0 to 3.5

Belzbet

First Post
Personally I liked 3.0 DR. 3.5 DR is almost ridiculous to me. If a creature has DR 30/magic a level 7 PC to LV 20 PC can bypass it. If DR is DR/magic it becomes almost useless. And it is almost easy to get your weapon keyed to an alignment. So special material is the only important thing you need to consider, in terms of DR (and what melee PC doesnt carry both a +1 cold iron and silver weapon with them at all times, at least the melee PC that does the most damage [especially after level 10 when they can easily afford these items]?) I personally Dm with 3.0 edition DR rules. A creature with DR/+3 is a much biggerr threat to a level 8 party than DR/magic. What do you guys think about the change form 3.0 to 3.5?
 
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Jon_Dahl

First Post
Well I have to disagree with you. I find it a bit more creative that you have to combine damage types with magic and special materials to be able to bypass different sorts of DRs. It would interesting to know how many weapons you'd actually have carry in order to be prepared for every single monster (from published books). In case of DR/+3 etc. it was more one-dimensional. Moreover, it didn't permit lower level PCs to reasonably challenge higher level monsters. I think forcing players to cover different angles is better than to tell them "you need a powerful magical weapon which you can't have right now".

In my next session I will pit my players against a spellstitched undead. Its CR is 6 and my players are currently at 8th-level without any +2 weapons. In 3.0 its DR would've been DR5/+2 but now it's DR5/magic silver. I'm not trying to make an edition war here but I hope you can see that this encounter would be unfair in 3.0, even though the CR is adequate.
 

Belzbet

First Post
Well I have to disagree with you. I find it a bit more creative that you have to combine damage types with magic and special materials to be able to bypass different sorts of DRs. It would interesting to know how many weapons you'd actually have carry in order to be prepared for every single monster (from published books). In case of DR/+3 etc. it was more one-dimensional. Moreover, it didn't permit lower level PCs to reasonably challenge higher level monsters. I think forcing players to cover different angles is better than to tell them "you need a powerful magical weapon which you can't have right now".

In my next session I will pit my players against a spellstitched undead. Its CR is 6 and my players are currently at 8th-level without any +2 weapons. In 3.0 its DR would've been DR5/+2 but now it's DR5/magic silver. I'm not trying to make an edition war here but I hope you can see that this encounter would be unfair in 3.0, even though the CR is adequate.

I see where you are coming from. But I do not think that a DR5/+2 creature is unfair to a party of level 8 PC's (even if no PC's has a +2 weapon). Also i do not thinks that 3.5 DR is that creative since PC's know which materials will bypass DR. I dnt want to make an editions war either but in 3.0 DR is much like SR, either you can beat it or you cant if you cant the creature is much harder (which I dont think is a bad thing). That enables DM's to create hard encounters [PC.s usually have the power or resources to combat any enounter of their party level]. In 3.5 DR is nothing likeSR its contigent on your weapons not your ability (to create a +3 weapon you must be at least CL 9 {i think} but you can buy a cold iron weapon at level 1; so in 3.0 you must be at a certain level {i.e. you must attain a certain ability}to beat a creatures DR; in 3.5 you simply must have a +1 weapon of a certain material and maybe a certain alignment).
It gets even more ridiculous at epic levels. Why would a lv. 22 PC with a +6 sword beat a 100HD creature with DR 20/epic?
 
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Ashtagon

Explorer
3.0e: Must have a +3 weapon to beat this monster

3.5e: Must have a magic adamantine weapon to beat this monster.

Both: Must be this tall to beat this monster.

Same problem, different criteria. Deckchairs on the Titanic.
 

Celebrim

Legend
Personally I liked 3.0 DR. 3.5 DR is almost ridiculous to me. If a creature has DR 30/magic a level 7 PC to LV 20 PC can bypass it. If DR is DR/magic it becomes almost useless. And it is almost easy to get your weapon keyed to an alignment. So special material is the only important thing you need to consider, in terms of DR (and what melee PC doesnt carry both a +1 cold iron and silver weapon with them at all times, at least the melee PC that does the most damage [especially after level 10 when they can easily afford these items]?) I personally Dm with 3.0 edition DR rules. A creature with DR/+3 is a much biggerr threat to a level 8 party than DR/magic. What do you guys think about the change form 3.0 to 3.5?

Like most things that were introduced in 3.5, I didn't like it much. I agree with you that DR X/magic is pretty pointless beyond level 5 or so except in the most low magic campaigns. I also liked that 3.0 was more faithful to the design of 1e, whereas 3.5 was increasingly a departure from that spirit.

I have nothing against requiring special materials to by pass DR or regeneration when it makes sense - silver for lycanthropes, for example. But 3.X tended to encourage a golf bag mentality where you pulled out the particular combination of materials you needed to overcome the DR. That to me didn't really serve a purpose, and I preferred the way that 1e/3e had tiered the monsters according to when in your career you'd be expected to be able to overcome them.

On the other hand, I did have one critical problem with 3.0 as well and that was that typically the DR was too high of a number. I generally run with 3.0 DR, but I half its value. So, for example DR 5/+1 (rather than 10/+1) is fairly typical in my game, where as a high DR might be 15/+3 (rather than 30/+3). This makes DR less absolute and allows at least marginal brute force solutions to monsters when encountering them slightly ahead of the expected level and magical prowess. Also, I tend to make materials optional for bypassing DR, again according to the 1e standard. So, it would be more typical to have DR 10/good or +2 rather than DR 10/good and +2. That isn't to say that I wouldn't occasionally require both a material and a magical puissance, but it would really have to make sense from the mythic context.
 

Empirate

First Post
Similarly to Celebrim, I find the absolute DR values in 3.0 were much too high. 3.5 is much more reasonable in that regard. In 3.0, DR could be an all-or-nothing defense: you either did full damage, or none at all. Binary defenses = bad design, like AC or saves. In 3.5, it's more of a "this is either gonna be reasonably easy, or it's gonna be hard, but not impossible" case, which I like better.

However, DR x/magic is ridiculous at almost every level (like DR x/+1 was in 3.0). DR x/special material is interesting, but it is in fact really aggravating to put down your +3 Holy Wounding Greatsword, and get out your secondary +1 Mace, only because one is made of Silver, and the other of Cold Iron. Not even high level melee warriors are going to carry multiple level-appropriate weapons. So the melee guy (and game balance) is hurt further by the DR change. Especially when we also consider DR x/slashing etc. Those just put the hurt on even more. And they can be combined with other DRs, into something as hard to overcome as the Rakshasa's DR 15/good AND piercing, which is insanely difficult to overcome with any weapon that's actually good.

Finally, when enchantments like metalline and morphing came out, these suddenly replaced other weapon enchants as the go-to enchantments. This resulted in a) fewer really cool, flavorful enchants on your weapon, and b) DR doing less and less at higher levels. Basically, the "must be this tall to fight that monster" mindset had returned. But at least the Greater Magic Weapon doing everything 'problem' has been neutered, right? Well, too bad for Mr. Melee Guy!
 

Li Shenron

Legend
At first I thought the 3.5 version was an improvement, but later I realized that for me it was not. At best, the changes were unnecessary but they also caused some problem to the game as a whole.

It is true that 3.0 damage reduction was conceived as "mostly immune to normal weapons, or to weapons not magical enough", and there is nothing wrong with that! There are monsters immune to all spells, others immune to certain energy damage, others immune to mind-effects, others immune to some combat actions, others immune to sneak attack... Immunities require the players to think creatively. Maybe this time there's a monster immune to spells, so the Wizard has to cast other spells instead; next there are undead, so the Rogue cannot sneak attack and has to think about another strategy; and then there's a monster immune to weapons (or at least the party's current weapons) to the Fighter has to find other ways to help. How about trying to block, trip, entangle, grapple, lure the monster into a trap?

"All or nothing" is a problem for players who cannot think much else than the usual do-damage tactic. So what did 3.5 do? They lowered most DR values, so that now the do-damage tactic is still viable enough that everyone in fact does that, whether they have a weapon that bypasses DR or not, because DR is mostly just a "damage discount" (point taken: the DR name is more appropriate in 3.5 than in 3.0).

Also, the +1 to +5 range (which in reality was rather +1 to +3 because in the entire 3.0 PHB only the Tarrasque has DR +5 and only the Solar has DR +4) should not be thought in the light of a party where every PC either has the right weapon or not, because many times some of them had the powerful enough weapon and others did not, so part of the team could go the damage route while the rest had to think more creatively, but the party was rarely totally prevented to beat the monster (which incidentally isn't even a bad occurrence at all! Sometimes it's nice to have an encounter where the target isn't to kill the monsters but to save your rear cleavage).

The only thing I actually prefer of the 3.5 version is the introduction of Good and Evil weapons, which I think adds diversity.

About the materials, except Silver which was always intended as +0.5 ("half magic"), I would actually prefer that a special material dealt additional damage to some type of creature instead of bypassing DR.
 

At the end of the day I think on an issue like this, its mostly down to the individual PC's. I much prefer the monster diversity in the v.3.5 MM to the v.3 MM, but you have inspired a new idea (for me, I am sure someone has thought of it before XD)

And that is to take the combination DR and mix it with a '+ X' ie, to beat a werewolf lord, which I don't feel silver is enough for in 3.5, I might make is silver and +3.

Just thought id share this in case you wanted to implement a similar system XD
 


TanisFrey

First Post
I think it was a big improvement. Sorry.
In two ways the 3.5 DR was an improvement.
1) Special metals could not be overridden by +1 weapons that the 3.0 system had.
2) Aligned weapons were added.

How ever the 3.5 DR magic was stupid. A 3.0 dragon could take on a an army and not worries about getting damaged by archers. A 3.5 dragon cannot take on the army because the archer whom stick around will be given magic arrows in 50 arrow bundles by that 3rd level mage or cleric.

They should have keep the DR XX/+X and separated the special materials plus adding in the alignments.
 

LiL KiNG

First Post
It would interesting to know how many weapons you'd actually have carry in order to be prepared for every single monster (from published books).

Pretty much just one Metalline (MIC) weapon of your choice will cover nearly all DR types.

Metalline is a +2 enchantment (meaning your weapon is already +1 or better for bypassing DR/Magic) and it allows your weapon to function as alchemical silver, adamantine, cold iron or plain steel as a command action.

Or even better there is a +3 enchantment from Tome of Magic, Shadow Striking, and it would allow your weapon to take on any properties it needed after striking a creature to overcome any DR type the creature may have.
 

Vegepygmy

First Post
A 3.0 dragon could take on a an army and not worries about getting damaged by archers. A 3.5 dragon cannot take on the army because the archer whom stick around will be given magic arrows in 50 arrow bundles by that 3rd level mage or cleric.
A 3.5 dragon doesn't have anything to fear from an army of low-level archers even with magic arrows. This is not a compelling argument against 3.5 DR.
 

Ahnehnois

First Post
I would have been quite happy to have a combination of the two. A particular demon might have DR 10/cold iron and +2 or a dragon might just have DR of 20/+5. I do wish dragons had harder to beat DR.

That said, of the two, the 3.5 approach is definitely more interesting and more balanced. So many 3.0 monsters had huge DR numbers that made them either impregnable or laughingstock depending on what weapon you had. The 3.5 version also made weapon choice and special materials more relevant, and added some much needed flavor.

The other problem with x/+x DR is that it assumes a certain wealth distribution by level, which is always a bad thing.
 

TanisFrey

First Post
A 3.5 dragon doesn't have anything to fear from an army of low-level archers even with magic arrows. This is not a compelling argument against 3.5 DR.

Let take a 1000 archer. Assuming that 1 in 20 make the fear save leaves the dragon to face 50 archers. Magic arrows are handed out leaving the dragon to take about 2 or 3 hits a round from the natural 20s. This is assuming the a 1000 archers is composed of nothing but 1st level fighter or rangers.
 

TanisFrey

First Post
The other thing about 3.5 DR system that is stupid it why does DR applied to separate objects not stack. Example: a higher level Barbarian or someone with stone skin wears armor made from Adamatine or has some other DR built into it. The armor should reduce the damage then the persons DR should apply.

I have no problem with a person, say a higher level barbarian, whom a mage casts a stone skin onto, only gets the better of the DR 3/- or DR 10/Adamatine.
 

Tequila Sunrise

Adventurer
3.0e: Must have a +3 weapon to beat this monster

3.5e: Must have a magic adamantine weapon to beat this monster.

Both: Must be this tall to beat this monster.

Same problem, different criteria. Deckchairs on the Titanic.
QFT! The problem with both kinds of DR is that they're both all-or-nothing. You either lose a good chunk of damage, possibly all of it, or you have the right weapon and the DR might as well not exist. There's no solution to this for special material DR, but some ENworlder came up with a great house rule for magical weapons years ago:

Magical weapons bypass 5 points of DR per enhancement bonus. So if a PC with a +1 weapon hits a monster with DR 10/magic, the damage is reduced by 5. If you're looking at a 3.0 stat block, you just ignore the bonus after the slash. If you're looking at a 3.5 stat block, you just boost the DR a bit. My rule of thumb is "DR = 5 per 4 CRs."

It's simple, it's balanced, and it gives PCs another reason to upgrade enhancement rather than adding Wounding or Vorpal or whatever. Which is a big plus, in my book.
 
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Drowbane

First Post
In 3.5 DR generally means nothing. In 3.0 it meant that the wizard had something to kill that the meleers might not be able to handle alone... much like how in 3.0 Golems (infinite SR) were almost a problem for casters (disregarding teh Conjuration boom spells).
 

Vegepygmy

First Post
Let take a 1000 archer.
Sure. Where are they positioned? What range are they firing from? Is anything obstructing their shots? How many can actually even take a shot at the dragon? Where is the dragon and why on earth is it making itself a target in the first place? Where are the support personnel for this army of 1,000 archers and who is protecting them?

TanisFrey said:
Assuming that 1 in 20 make the fear save leaves the dragon to face 50 archers. Magic arrows are handed out leaving the dragon to take about 2 or 3 hits a round from the natural 20s.
Again, assuming all 50 of the remaining archers can even take a shot. And how many archers per round can the dragon kill? Why is the dragon even allowing itself to be fired upon?

TanisFrey said:
This is assuming the a 1000 archers is composed of nothing but 1st level fighter or rangers.
A safe assumption in any world that isn't ridiculously high-powered.

Look...theoretically, 1000 archers with magic arrows could pose a threat to a 3.5 dragon. But in actual play? Not a chance.
 

Belzbet

First Post
This is all core:
Human Ranger lv. 1

HP: 9
AC: 17
SAVES: Fort +3 Ref +5 Will +0

ATTACK: +4 (+1 from BAB, +2 from dex, +1 from arrows)
RAPID SHOT: +2/+0
DAMAGE vs Dragons: 1d8+5 (+2 str, +1 Arrows, +2 favored enemy) Crit: 20/X3

Ranger (Favored Enemy Dragons)

Standard Array Used:
Str 14 Dex 15 Con 13 Int 12 Wis 10 Cha 8

Feat: Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot (I know a ranger gets rapid shot for free at lv. 2 but...)
Class Features: Track, Wild Empathy, favored enemy (dragons)

Elf Traits

Items: Chain Shirt (although I dont think Armor will help this warrior against an adult dragon), Composite Longbow (mighty +2), 50 +1 Arrows. This army is funded by a wealthy man.
Longwsord and heavy shield as back up.



Wood Elf Fighter Lv. 1

HP: 11
AC: 16
SAVES: Fort + 3, Ref +3 Will +0

ATTACK: +5 (+1 from BAB, +3 from dex, +1 from arrows)
Rapid Shot: +3/+1
DAMAGE: 1d8+3 (+2 str, +1 Arrows)

STANDARD ARRAY USED:
Str. 14 (+2 racial) Dex 17 (+2 Racial) Con 12 (-2 Racial) Int 11 (-2 Racial) Wis 10 Cha 8

FEATS: Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot

Elf Traits

ITEMS: Chain Shirt (although I dont think Armor will help this warrior against an adult dragon), Composite Longbow (mighty +2), 50 +1 Arrows. This army is funded by a wealthy man.
Longwsord and heavy shield as back up.



Adult Green Dragon:
So I dont have to write out the stats we will take the stats of thesult green sample dragon they give in 3.5 MM.
It has 230HP on average.

AC 27 (so only a crit can hit them, so they get hit by 5% of the arrows)

ATTACK: The attack modifier for all of the dragons natural attacks is higher than the archers AC (so a dragon only misses on a natural 1, or 5% of the time)

DAMAGE: its bite attack does on average about 20 damage (at a minimum it does 11 damage, and since the archers do not have toughness or a high Con. that is sufficient to kill any archer in one hit, we could make the archers con higher and str. lower but the dragons would still on average do 20 damage which is enough to kill even a Con. 18 fighter with toughness in one hit)

We will say that the archers are spread out enough (every archer is at least 55ft from any other archer)that the dragon can only kill one of them at a time with its natural attacks and breath (a spell might hit two of them at once though, but an adult green can only cast level 2 spells)

We will also say that the dragon can move fromone archer to another and attack all in the same round (it has 15ft reach and can move 40ft)
So, at minimum it will take the dragon 50 rounds to kill all 50 archers that are not effected by frightful presence. But to take into account move time and critical misses we will say that it will take the dragon 53 rounds to kill all 50 archers (a VERY generous number, since conditions would probaly be different and the dragon would probably take shorter to kill the archers)

Each round one of the 50 archers dies except, lets say,round 25 and 50)

Every Archer fires a rapid shot each round even if the dragon threatens it. Each attack has a 5% chance to hit. Out of 100 attack roles 5 of them should be hits.
On average the human rangers will do 9 damage and the elven fighters will do 7 (or a human ranger without a composite bow).

LEts say the archers are rangers also lets say the dragon is the last creature to go in combat:
On round 1 and 2 the archers do 81 damage (63 if the are fighters or rangers without composite bows) total (45 on round one 36 one round two).

On round 3 the archers do 36 (or 28 damage without composite bows; there are 49 archers now) and they collectively get 98 hits so about 4 or 5 hits each doing 9 damage on average (or 7 damage on average for fighter or for a ranger without a composite longbow)
On round 4 the 47 archers left will collectively get 94 attacks 5% of which are actual hits (5% of 94= 4.7, so we will say they get 4 hits)
So, on round 4 the archers will do about 36 damage (28 if fighters or rangers without composite bows)
The dragon is down to 77HP (or 111 with fightersor rangers without composite bows). This will continue and the dragon will die.

However the conditions are vey idealized: EVERY ranger has dragons as their favored enemy AND rapid shot, the archers are spread out enough so that the dragon can only kill one and the dragon gets no cover, also this is merely an adult dragon (a great wyrm has over 700HP so may be able to survive all 50 rounds) (range is not an issue since critical hits are the only attacks that matter)
On the other hand some of the other 950 archers will snap out of being frightened within 10 rounds and then the dragon will be in BIG trouble. I dont think even a great wyrm dragon can take on 900 archers firing at it if the archers are sufficiently spread out
 
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