New campaign...Which books?

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Hi

Starting a new campaign in the Dark Sun setting. My group, who consists of old veteran players, loves to make characters that are optimized to the extreme....And in previous campaign's I as the DM had some problems with this, also because I used to allow all material available from WotC.

1) I don't make campaigns to let the heroes feel like overpowered heroes (my players know this)

2) I am a DM who makes encounters after what makes sense to the campaign. And they are not for the benefit of specific characters or to balance out the overpowered "put in any class name".

Because of this my players come up with characters that's too powerful for the campaign. I've told my players that I don't want this in the new campaign, and they understand. Now they would like to know what kind of books I allow in the game, and this is where I hope you can help me.

Since it is a Dark Sun campaign, the campaign setting book is of course allowed (which I like a lot by the way). I also think the PHB3 is necessary for Dark Sun. Besides those two I like PHB2. The core PHB is of course essential. What made the huge difference in previous campaigns were the so called "splat-books" (Martial Power, Arcane Power etc. etc.). Should I simply wave those book off, although I know some of my players will come up with different reasons why exactly their character should have some sort of feat/power from one of those books? Or shoul I simply strict the campaign to only use PHB, PHB2, PHB3 and the Dark Sun campaign setting?

Thanks for your help
If you are going to disallow any sources, stick to your guns after you do so.  PLayers will want this or that from the forbidden sources and beg you for it.  If you let one get away with it then anther will want it, then another, etc, etc.

I think I would allow:
-PHB I, II, III
-HOFK, HOFL, HOS
-DSCG 

I would play Dragon arcticles by ear but be rather strict on them.

You could also dissallow alot of races since this is Dark Sun.  
What if they could only be Human, Halfling, Mul, Dwarf, or Elf 
I'd actually talk with your players about their characters for the setting. Come up with what they WANT to do, and then decide from there what they are ALLOWED to do. Book availability should be character specific if you're going to restrict in my opinion, because it limits without crushing creativity. What to do in regard to Dragon content is up to you on this though.

That being said, the "Player's Handbook" series (1-3) and the "Heroes of" series (Forgotten Lands and Fallen Kingdoms) are core products, so they should always be in no matter the setting. Though do feel free to limit certain things accordingly from each book. With no Divine powers to call upon in Athas, Clerics and Paladins aren't as needed, though it would be fun to see what a player can come up with to sell it for an Athas setting

I'd pull back to the PHB series, and if you use essentials Heros of..  Then allow people to use material from another book on the condition that they run it by you first. And specify most of what you will allow is build options, not a couple of powers here and there. Shapechange druid for example.


I'd also allow the adventurers vaults just to give the new classes some equipment options.


Honestly though, if you give an example of some builds you think are the approperiate power level, you should be able to trust that your group will stick to it. (I know that is not always the case)

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"

I'd also allow the adventurers vaults just to give the new classes some equipment options.



I'd normally agree, but Athas isn't a very magic item intensive campaign in regard to PCs. Doesn't seem to fit with what is considered "standard" for the campaign setting.
In a Dark Sun setting, you might want to consider allowing the Psionic Powers and Primal Powers books, as these are more the source of magic in Athas than any other source. But especially the Psionic Powers book, because Psionics are a common thing in the world of Dark Sun. For example, in my Dark Sun game, we've got an Ardent, a Battlemind, and a Monk, and they all take things out of the Psionic Powers book.
Because of this my players come up with characters that's too powerful for the campaign. I've told my players that I don't want this in the new campaign, and they understand. Now they would like to know what kind of books I allow in the game, and this is where I hope you can help me.


What books you allow won't really make much difference. If your players are going to optimize the characters they can figure out how to do it with whatever books you give them. Twin Strike is one of the most powerful abilities in the game and it's straight PHB.

Rather then trying to restrict their power levels, you should adjust the game world a bit. If the characters are heavily optimized, then adjust the monsters up a bit to compensate. Increase their attack bonus, damage or HP a bit or throw in an extra monster or two to groups, without adjusting up the XP.

This is assuming all of hte characters are roughly equally optimized. If there is a disparity between the optimization level of characters you have a different and more serious problem.

2) I am a DM who makes encounters after what makes sense to the campaign. And they are not for the benefit of specific characters or to balance out the overpowered "put in any class name".


At some point your going to have to do this no matter what. Starting at Paragon and pretty always at Epic, you have to adjust the monsters and challenges to what the party is good and bad at.

Jay

I think you should just have the characters optimize away and make encounters after what makes sense to the campaign.

Just increase the level of the encounter if your PCs are breezing through them.
You can do this by doing several things:
- Pick monsters that are higher levels.
- Level up the monsters that you were planning to use.
- Put more monsters in encounters. 

The second option will fit best with making encounters after what makes sense to the campaign. A +1 bonus to AC, attack and damage and a bit more hit points will probably not even be noticed by the players, but it will increase the challenge for their optimized characters.

And yea, if there is a disparity between optimization levels of the PCs it's a different issue.
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Because of this my players come up with characters that's too powerful for the campaign. I've told my players that I don't want this in the new campaign, and they understand. Now they would like to know what kind of books I allow in the game, and this is where I hope you can help me.


What books you allow won't really make much difference. If your players are going to optimize the characters they can figure out how to do it with whatever books you give them. Twin Strike is one of the most powerful abilities in the game and it's straight PHB.

Rather then trying to restrict their power levels, you should adjust the game world a bit. If the characters are heavily optimized, then adjust the monsters up a bit to compensate. Increase their attack bonus, damage or HP a bit or throw in an extra monster or two to groups, without adjusting up the XP.

This is assuming all of hte characters are roughly equally optimized. If there is a disparity between the optimization level of characters you have a different and more serious problem.

2) I am a DM who makes encounters after what makes sense to the campaign. And they are not for the benefit of specific characters or to balance out the overpowered "put in any class name".


At some point your going to have to do this no matter what. Starting at Paragon and pretty always at Epic, you have to adjust the monsters and challenges to what the party is good and bad at.

Jay

Pretty much agreed.

Also, consider not focusing on straight up combat. Make it an aspect of the encounters, obviously, but give them tasks and obstacles that they can't deal with using pure combat prowess.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy