My Revised 3rd Edition

In hindsight, I’ve come to regard the 3.5e rules revision of D&D 3rd edition as a mistake. Revising the rules was certainly the right call, but the arguments that have been made by many people about many of the specific changes are really convincing to me. These days, I think it’s a much more interesting thought to run a 3rd edition campaign with my own revisions again instead of dealing with the 3.5e rules.

The following are my thoughts on adopting or rejecting certain changes introduced by 3.5e and 5th Ed.:

  • Replacing creatures’ Face with 3.5e’s Space. Yay, spherical cows!
  • Dwarves’ movement speed is always 20 ft., regardless of their armor or load they carry.
  • Keeping 3rd Ed.’s Damage Reduction and Energy Resistance values.
  • Keeping 3rd Ed.’s weapon tables, letting small characters use daggers like short swords, and short swords like longswords. Not quite as realistic for many weapons because of blade shapes and weight distribution, but it allows magic weapons to be used by people of other sizes than the creators.
  • Clerics, druids, paladins, rangers, and wizards prepare spells like in 5th edition. (A number of spells of any level equal to their class level plus spellcasting ability modifier. Spells remain prepared after casting.)

And here’s the genuinely new additions:

  • Prestige Classes are off by default. They are exclusively for secretive orders and only shared among members.
  • Lets try actually applying the XP penalties for multiclass characters. I don’t think anyone ever actually did that. ;)
  • Initiative is rolled for the entire group instead of individual characters. The roll is made by whichever character makes the most sense in a given situation, like the one in front of the marching order or the back of the marching order, the one being on watch, or the one who first draws a weapon in a confrontation. If more than one character could roll initiative for the group, the roll is made by the character with the highest initiative modifier. (Group initiative greatly increased turn speed by letting players think about their turn at the same time and avoiding them getting distracted when they have nothing to do for several minutes on end.)
  • When the PCs are first noticed by NPCs or creatures, a 2d6 reaction roll is made to determine their initial reaction. (2 immediate attack, 3-5 threatening violence, 6-8 waiting for the PCs’ move, 9-11 avoiding confrontation, 12 offering help.) If a PC approaches and greets a group of NPCs or creature, the 2d6 roll is modified by the Charisma modifier.
  • Creatures and NPCs must make a DC 15 Will save when the first member of their group goes down in battle, when their group loses half its members, and when their leader is taken out of the fight or become frightened. (Must flee from combat, -2 to attacks, checks, and saving throws if cornered.)
  • Spells and effects with durations measured in rounds last for the entire combat in which they are cast. Durations measured in minutes last for the whole scene in which they are cast. Durations measured in hours last for the entire day on which they are cast. (No longer having to track which spells expire in which round.)
  • When attempting to hide from other characters or move silently as a group, the opposed skill checks are made by the character with the highest modifier to Listen or Spot and the character with the lowest modifier to Hide or Move Silently. The same principle applies to other opposed skill checks between two groups of characters when applicable.
  • Characters can carry a number of items equal to their Strength score as a light load, twice their Strength score as a medium load, and three times their Strength score as a heavy load. 100 coin and one daily ration of food and water count as one item each. Two-handed weapons and armor counts as two items or more.
  • Removing all the large exotic melee weapons. They are all stupid!

One thought on “My Revised 3rd Edition”

  1. This is pretty much how I run my 3.0 campaigns. I never much liked 3.5 as the changes seemed trivial.

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