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D&D Blog Hop: Day 11

Written by Darkwarren - Published on February 11, 2014

dnd40hopbadgeDay 11: First splatbook you begged your DM to approve?

Don’t think I ever really had to beg for one. But we do have a story about DM’s and accepted splatbooks from our gaming group that later became infamous.

Imagine a D&D bachelor party where our long-standing group’s current DM is the bachelor we’re celebrating. So I offered to run a Character vs. Character Arena style death match complete with a huge arena map from Dungeon magazine #303, January 2003. As characters are taken out of commission the players would then retire to the living room to enjoy some Xbox gaming. It was a blast. Until our DM’s favorite character Izzi, a Halfling thief melee combat-cuisinart, got completely grappled by a spell from the 3.5 Spell Compendium: Shadowy grappler: Sorcerer/wizard 6, Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level), 1 round/level (D), Will partial, automatically grapples, etc.

Izzi was a tumbler. Izzi would flank and with his tiny Halfling-sized dagger could do massive amounts of damage once he flanked his opponent. Shadowy grappler held Izzi fast, he failed a few grapple checks and then could not escape: shut right down. Needless to say, Izzi did not win our first and only Bachelor Party Battle Royale. Our DM, angry, frustrated, and a little inebriated, promptly declared that Jeff Grub’s Spell Compendium did not “collect the most popular spells in the D&D game and presents them in one easy-to-reference tome but rather was COMPLETE and TOTAL bull$#!%.  Moreover it would no longer be available in any campaign he ever ran.  Ever.

Later that week, when we all got back together to play our regular game, we all thought that he had been joking. However he was indeed a man of his word and no longer allowed a single spell from that 288 page book. He eventually softened – slightly – and allowed our spellcasters to use some of those literally 1,0001 spells. But, spells were only allowed only if the player brought the spell forth to his attention and then specifically asked his permission. Begging? Nothing so dramatic. But I do remember actually pleading with him a few times.

It’s been more than a year since he’s DM’ed a campaign and our group has been playing Pathfinder instead of 3.5. But I’m still not convinced that he would allow us access to that book even though this happened more than 5 years ago.

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Written by Darkwarren

Matt W., aka Darkwarren, has been roleplaying ever since his older brother introduced him to the red box set when he was 7 years old. Since then he has game-mastered SSDC’s Battleords of the Twenty-third Century, WEG’s Shadowrun and Star Wars, and of course Dungeons & Dragons in a variety of forms. At thirty-four years old he takes turns on both sides of the screen with the group that he helped found in 2000 when 3.0 hit the stands and has met every week fairly regularly ever since. Currently they have been running a variety of the Paizo Adventure Path scenarios, so that’s his wheelhouse. He was almost famous when two of his adventures were green-lighted for possible publication right before Paizo relinquished the rights to publish Dungeon magazine.

Matt also has years if experience in improvisational comedy, fiction, and non-fiction writing. He is currently working and studying to attain a master’s degree in theology, to enhance his career as a religious studies teacher. Lastly, his greatest passion is his family, especially the three sons and dog that he shares with his wife in upstate New York.

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4 Responses to “D&D Blog Hop: Day 11”
  1. Purplemur says:

    I don’t think we ever had to beg to use books outside of the core or third party stuff, though we did have a few that required a bit of discussion on how to use them.

    My favorite non-core rulebooks ever were the Second Ed. Player’s Option books. http://www.amazon.com/Players-Option-Advanced-Dungeons-Rulebook/dp/0786901497

    Swap out stat points for ultimate min/max fun? Check! (Even broke each stat into two sub-stats that could be even further min/maxed.)
    Add “disadvantages” to gain benefits? Check!
    Create hybrid classes by picking and choosing abilities? Check!
    Ridiculous off-balancing character tweaks? Check!

    These rulebooks were absolutely insane. At first glance they seem like a fun way to add more depth and customization to your characters. They include ways of giving wizards hand-to-hand fighting chops, or maybe your rogue would like a couple of psionic abilities, or perhaps your fighter has a diplomatic side. Great! Let’s do this.

    Only…once you really start gaming the system, you realize that you can really start piling things on. Oh, I get a +2 to my Str because I’m blind in one eye, giving me an obvious boost to my muscle power. Of course I do. ;)

    The games we ran with these unbalanced characters were actually a lot of fun, but I don’t think I would allow the books in a normal campaign. The extra work required by the DM to present anything close to reasonable challenges got to be too much pretty much immediately, and only got worse as our characters gained levels and really started getting powerful. Gotta love it!

  2. Darkwarren says:

    Nice, Purplemur. I never played with the Player Options but I think it was so popular it lead to a lot of the core parts of 3.0 and d20 iterations.

  3. MythicParty says:

    Wow, those aren’t core but they’re not a 3PP crapbaby either. Straight TSR folks.

  4. FullovStars says:

    As i’ve mainly been the DM over the years and always believed in house rules over core, if a player wants to bring something new to the mix – as long as it doesn’t mess with the world view or game balance I have always allowed it.

    We divided the D&D levels by 4 over a decade before DnD online brought it popular attention. No more huge jumps of hit points and skills as you hit the – for example – 2000 xp mark. More like a little gain every 250 xp. Also i don’t give xp for treasure unless you donate it or destroy it or roleplay around it. we found this way you can play around 4 dungeons per level instead of one, which makes every characters career so much longer.

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