Ring of Force is runing my game.

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This is a 3.X question, someone with some offical rabble or understanding please for the love of Gygax, help me.

The situation.

One player in my group is trying to apply real world logic to a ring of force shield, saying its a hologram and dosen't take a shield slot, even though every thread (Fan created/ruling) says its a shield slot. They both persist in claiming its a ring slot, and they can wear it along with armor, even though as far as I understand it, it is a deflection bonus and only the highest deflection bonus counts for armor class calculations. 

They also claim that bracers of armor are wrist slots not body armor and do not count against armor class and that I am being 'a jerk' becuase I am not letting them stack the two, even though all of the SRD/etc information claims its treated as a heavy shield, as if it was armor and so forth. Nothing I say will end this argument and it has completely derailed many games.

 Condensed argument: 

Player: Your mechanics break down when faced with logic
DM: your logic dosent apply to the rules of the game. real physics and such do not apply to a fantasy game. normally you're on the other side of the fence about this exact argument and call anyone who says this a idiot, there is no reason for you to be doing this now.
Player: It's a projected, weightless solid hologram you can wear anywhere, unlike a shield which requires an arm due to weight
DM:  and it says multiple times its a shield, ring, rings are worn on the finger. that projects as spell that replicates the function of a metal item, minus the weight. its not a hologram its a plane of force like a magic missile.
Him:So we accept it's not a shield. So it doesnt take up a shield slot
DM: yes it does.
Player: it uses a ring slot
DM: do bracers of armor use a armor slot?
Player: They use a wrist slot
DM: they use a wrist/armor slot and give a bonus to the armor slot for calculation. These items appear to be wrist or arm guards. They surround the wearer with an invisible but tangible field of force, granting him an armor bonus of +1 to +8, just as though he were wearing armor. Both bracers must be worn for the magic to be effective.  as though were wearing armor. you cannot stack them.  same concept applys
Player:  and produce a delfection all over bonus. Like a ring of protection. A shield isn't deflection. It's AC indicates your ability to move a solid piece of something around to protect yourself
DM: it counts as armor slot/shield. it says so in the description.
Player: Ring of forceshields don't its a ring slot
DM:  An iron band, this simple ring generates a shield-sized (and shield-shaped) wall of force that stays with the ring and can be wielded by the wearer as if it were a heavy shield (+2 AC). This special creation has no armor check penalty or arcane spell failure chance since it is weightless and encumbrance-free. It can be activated and deactivated at will as a free action.
DM: see the part, as if it were a heavy shield, shield sized, shield shaped. its a shield slot.
Player: No it is not. it is a hologram.
DM: ....

This has been ongoing, even when I linked offical eratta from the wotc archives about the way armor works, just becuase the ring was not mentioned -exactly-, I am incorrect and he claims I am using something he calls Rule 0, whatever that is, and I am trying to cheat them out of armor.


Help? 

One player in my group is trying to apply real world logic to a ring of force shield, saying its a hologram and dosen't take a shield slot, even though every thread (Fan created/ruling) says its a shield slot. They both persist in claiming its a ring slot, and they can wear it along with armor, even though as far as I understand it, it is a deflection bonus and only the highest deflection bonus counts for armor class calculations. 

They also claim that bracers of armor are wrist slots not body armor and do not count against armor class and that I am being 'a jerk' becuase I am not letting them stack the two, even though all of the SRD/etc information claims its treated as a heavy shield, as if it was armor and so forth. Nothing I say will end this argument and it has completely derailed many games.


Before I begin, I'd like to establish my take on that ring.

Technically the official statement isn't that it takes up a shield slot, it's that it takes a free hand. From the official FAQ:


Does the shield of force created by the ring of force
shield (DMG 232) require a free hand to use, or can I use it
when wielding two weapons or a two-handed weapon?

The item is silent on the issue, so the Sage believes it
appropriate to assume that the ring’s shield functions just like a
normal heavy shield (except for the lack of armor check
penalty or arcane spell failure chance). Thus, it requires a free
hand to gain the shield’s benefit.

Of course, a character wielding a weapon in that hand
could activate the ring after making his attacks for the round
(thus gaining its benefit while enemies attack) and deactivate it
at the start of his next turn (allowing attacks with that hand).
While you wouldn’t be able to use the shield hand to make
attacks of opportunity while the shield was active, you’d
otherwise be nearly as effectively protected as if the shield
were active continuously.



Since "shield" isn't one of the magic item slots, all that matters is the free hand. And I'll point out below where your team's argument breaks down and why you're right with this in mind.

Furthermore, it is a shield bonus to AC, not a Deflection bonus. It's like the Shield spell, not the Shield of Faith spell. It won't stack with any shields they're actually wearing (but it will stack with the substantially more expensive Rings of Protection). This proves important to counter your team's reasoning.


Condensed argument: 

Player: Your mechanics break down when faced with logic
DM: your logic dosent apply to the rules of the game. real physics and such do not apply to a fantasy game. normally you're on the other side of the fence about this exact argument and call anyone who says this a idiot, there is no reason for you to be doing this now.



To be fair, the rules aren't intended to model real-world physics. If you wanted to handle real-world physics, you'd probably have every summoned monster enter the world on fire due to the spontaneous increase in enthalpy provided by the spell, or you could create a small fusion bomb using Shrink Item, nested Minor Creation spheres, and water. Or just pull a trick from this thread. When he complains, get him to admit you're right or he suffers the consequences of the breakdown.

Player: It's a projected, weightless solid hologram you can wear anywhere, unlike a shield which requires an arm due to weight
DM:  and it says multiple times its a shield, ring, rings are worn on the finger. that projects as spell that replicates the function of a metal item, minus the weight. its not a hologram its a plane of force like a magic missile.
Him:So we accept it's not a shield.


The player is correct here, oddly. It does not use a "shield slot" - but only because there is no shield slot. Technically it is considered a held/carried item - the MIC makes this explicit, since every shield is considered "-- (held)". You can hold as many items as you have hands, and no more. Just as you have no "weapon slot". You could actually fight with two weapons and two bucklers simultaneously, though this wouldn't be good (-2 TWF penalty even with the feat, plus two separate untyped -1 penalties from the bucklers - you aren't hitting much). 

With this in mind, the rest of the conversation is moot: This is actually the only point where he's right, but he's right because of a technicality. The item takes up a ring slot, but projects a shield that " can be wielded by the wearer as if it were a heavy shield" with a few very specific exceptions. The need to hold the shield isn't one of those exceptions - he still needs a free hand. 

Imagine it like, say, the Gauntlet of Infinite Blades. This is a hand slot item that can create daggers (held items). Does this mean you can fight with three daggers (one in each hand, and one in the hand slot from the gauntlet)? Of course not! It means the item in the slot creates an item in your hand. The shield from the ring works the same way - basically it gives you a force shield that you steer with your arm.

This has been ongoing, even when I linked offical eratta from the wotc archives about the way armor works, just becuase the ring was not mentioned -exactly-, I am incorrect and he claims I am using something he calls Rule 0, whatever that is, and I am trying to cheat them out of armor.


Rule Zero is "The DM can change the rules", more or less. (It got its name, ostensibly, because "Check with your DM" comes before "step 1" of character creation in just about any game.)

But that aside, you aren't cheating him out of armor. Let's consider both interpretations.

The first, the wrong interpretation (his), involves the projected shield being like a Shield spell, not taking up anything except the ring slot for the ring itself. He gets a +2 shield bonus to AC from the 8500gp ring. If he straps another shield to his arm, he can use it to get extra armor abilities (expensive, inefficient, and generally not used by anyone), but all of those shields would provide a Shield bonus to AC and would not stack with the ring. Thus, if he strapped on just a +1 heavy shield, the ring would have no benefit whatsoever.

The second, correct interpretation (yours) involves it requiring a free hand to manipulate. However, activating and deactivating the ring is a free action (not even a swift action, but a free action, which is uncommonly good) so, as the Sage noted, you could even enter the fray with the shield and a two-hander, switch it off (free), switch your grip (free), fight with a two-handed weapon (stronger Power Attacks), and then switch your grip and turn the shield back on. It's only a +2 Shield bonus (which, remember, is bypassed by touch attacks), so it's not much, but the free-action toggle is amazing

In neither case are you cheating him out of AC. 

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These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Bleed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Thanks! That was an amazing reply. 
Yep, Tempest has pretty much covered everything I would have said.  Much of the benefit to AC is quite simply covered by the lack of stacking for the items in question.  For example, even a hecatoncheires using a shield with every one of its hundred arms still only gets to apply the highest shield bonus to its AC.

There is, however, a slight benefit to wearing bracers of armour and a suit of normal armour, since the bracers can apply their armour bonus against incorporeal creatures that ignore the armour bonus of normal armour.  It's not usually considered worthwhile as a general tactic, though.
If he straps another shield to his arm, he can use it to get extra armor abilities (expensive, inefficient, and generally not used by anyone), but all of those shields would provide a Shield bonus to AC and would not stack with the ring.

The multi-shield thing is actually less expensive than the alternative due to spreading shield enchantments across multiple items and it allows you to have more enchantments than would normally fit on a single shield, but it's a niche case (only useful for shield enchantments that use a +X bonus instead of a flat gold piece cost) and you have to handle the drawbacks of both shields.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
Yep, Tempest has pretty much covered everything I would have said.  Much of the benefit to AC is quite simply covered by the lack of stacking for the items in question.
If he straps another shield to his arm, he can use it to get extra armor abilities (expensive, inefficient, and generally not used by anyone), but all of those shields would provide a Shield bonus to AC and would not stack with the ring.

The multi-shield thing is actually less expensive than the alternative due to spreading shield enchantments across multiple items and it allows you to have more enchantments than would normally fit on a single shield, but it's a niche case (only useful for shield enchantments that use a +X bonus instead of a flat gold piece cost) and you have to handle the drawbacks of both shields.


By "expensive" I wasn't talking in terms of raw gold values - I meant that the opportunity cost (WBL) is higher, since you're still dedicating quite a lot of gold into defensive abilities. While there are a lot of good shield abilities out there to apply, I don't think too many characters are going to want more than two or three of them, even with this approach, and that's supposed to be justifying carrying a second entire shield. (That is, when you say "compared to the alternative", it's cheaper, but the alternative compared to the standard approach (of only a small number of shield abilities) is a high cost to begin with. Your method makes an inefficient and expensive alternative much less expensive, to the point where it's interesting - but still pricey.)

(The "inefficient" was referring to the start-up cost of an extra +1 shield needed to even begin to double up on these abilities - it's a small hump, but a hump nonetheless. The last argument is one you and I have both made - that it's a niche, not for everyone.) Even with this, though, I think it's an important observation for extreme defenders. And let's not begin to wonder what happens if you can afford to slap Animated on these things.

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These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Bleed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

By "expensive" I wasn't talking in terms of raw gold values - I meant that the opportunity cost (WBL) is higher, since you're still dedicating quite a lot of gold into defensive abilities. While there are a lot of good shield abilities out there to apply, I don't think too many characters are going to want more than two or three of them, even with this approach, and that's supposed to be justifying carrying a second entire shield.

The "best" approach is typically to wear a buckler on the same arm as a shield; you don't care about the buckler being useless for defense, and unless you like shield bashing, you don't care about the -1 penalty to attacks with that arm.
(The "inefficient" was referring to the start-up cost of an extra +1 shield needed to even begin to double up on these abilities - it's a small hump, but a hump nonetheless.

The hump doesn't really exist.  It's invariably cheaper to pay for the initial +1 bonus on a second shield than to pay for the higher enchantment bonus of combining things on a single shield, so if you can afford to buy the enchantments you want in the regular way, you can already afford to buy them separately for less gold.  It may also save time if you're having them custom-made, since separate creators can spread out their time in the same manner as the gold cost.
The last argument is one you and I have both made - that it's a niche, not for everyone.) Even with this, though, I think it's an important observation for extreme defenders. And let's not begin to wonder what happens if you can afford to slap Animated on these things.

Urg, the added +2 for animated (on top of the minimum +1) would make the cost inefficient, and the only thing you save by having an animated light or heavy shield over a non-animated buckler is a -1 on attacks using that arm.  Naturally, animated is useless for the bucklers since it doesn't negate any penalties associated with shield use other than needing to carry them.

It's basically useful if you can already spare an arm.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
Another thing you need to do is sit down with your players and discuss what Balance is, and why it is a good thing for the players.


If they pull this kind of thing with their armor, then it becomes an escelation that they ultimately loose. First what is good for the PC is good for the enemies they face, which means they face higher AC monsters. This seems to balance out except for one small detail, their BAB is balanced with the enemy having an intended AC, when their encounter's AC raises their ability to hit the enemy increases. This also furthers the gap between classes, melee fall behind because their damage output is dependant upon their ability to hit their enemy.


Conversely to chalenge the players, the DM has to boost the enemies ability to hit the PCs, while this might be ok with the PCs with high ACs, it really bites for those who don't have High ACs. Those who normally have average to low AC go from being hit half the time to being hit ALL the time.


Say the normally a Wizard gets hit 75% of the Time, the rogue 50% of the time and the Fighter only 25% of the time. They Crank their AC like this so the DM also adjusts the encounter, now the Fighter still gets hit 25% of the time, but the Rogue gets hit 75% of the time and the Wizard 100% of the time. Escalating actually works against them in this case too.

Balance goes both ways, and although there are glaring inacuracies in my example, it basicaly boils down to the same thing. Balance means they can be reasonably sure they will survive and ultimately win. Break the Balance and they risk things going horribly wrong as the DM compensates by either artificially boosting the monsters with the same tricks, or by using higher level monsters (which deal more damage and have higher saves etc)
Another thing you need to do is sit down with your players and discuss what Balance is, and why it is a good thing for the players.

Having at least 5 ranks is good so that you can keep your Dexterity bonus to AC.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
Yeah.. They're not big on balance. I posted a thread about my current group, under the tag flustered DM seeks new group, got a new one but half of them have already wandered off. so.. balance isnt a big thing for them and they hate me trying to -actually- dm something more complex then loot-whoring-grimdark-lulz-loot-magic-killing.

It's gotten to the point where I've enforced a 'level 1 core book only, core classes no evil, no gestalting. no multiclassing. 3d6 stats, no magical gear, no magical classes, no nonhumans' rule and they refuse to cooperate with me.

Just last night yet another argument started up, over the proper way to gestalt a class. Every example I have seen is two classes and only two classes, all the information I have seen is just those two. Our common understanding is that is only two classes, total, someone else keeps thinking it means they can change their classes every level and it rapidly splits the group into a 3 vs 2 mindset, and its actually cost us two players over the disagreement..

I would really like to know the correct stance on gestalting a character vs mutliclassing, but I have no idea if theres any such thing. I like the concept of gestalting but I am loathe to include it if someone's going to swap classes constantly mary sue style.

Oh the problems of being a DM, sigh.

Most of our huge arguments revolve around a few concepts actually.

* Good vs Evil. Half the group is jaded and bitter and hates the concept of set alinments of any sort, i use a flowing system to adapt that or we use a 'shades of gray' concept, but it dosen't always mesh.
*two of the players are heavily anti-anti core races/core classes. Constantly try to power creep.
*Differing views on rules on everything from how good/bad sorcerers are to if a warlock's damage bypasses certain defeneses due to being a spell like ability.
*The 'right' way to enchant an item vs masterworking it. The 'right' way a PC should be able to make magical items.
*What races are or are not 'good' (IE all the good races are LA, and 'LA sucks' is how they view it.)
* Time table, three of the players are in the UK and -hate me- if I don't run at their table. 
* If elves are any good, most of the group hates elves.
* Multi vs gestalt vs single classing.. theres no middle ground, ever.
* The correct ruling on how many rings you can wear, where you can wear them at. (Does an 'ear' ring count against your total, etc.)
*Allowing Savage Species, Tome of Battle , Tome of Magic, BOVD/BOED. (One player is fixiated on the Swordsage and similar. Even though most of my settings are low-mid classic magic style, not crazy ninja fighting.) 
*That they never get to play as really powerful things, for free. like LA5 or higher.
*Pretty much everything fighter oriented. No one likes it. Or the cleric for no solid reason and I cannot get past "allow tome of battle,etc and we will play them." 
* Complaining when dungeons are too hard for them due to lack of tactics. Ex: A group of lvl 3's ran into a frost ooze, in a frozen room, etc, there were several very obvious ways to kill it. One player(Steam venter/shouter/troll.) playing a warforged/warlock (His default.) walked up to it and started singing at it, for no reason other then 'he wanted lulz', party freaked out when the monster used its AOE power on them, and had no idea why the monster would attack them. Resulting in never using dungeons anymore.
* None of them understand that psionics and magic can interchange each other with a bit of Balance(tm)!!, and either get obsessed over psionics when its allowed or don't see why SR , etc apply to it as its 'not the same power' (even though there are extra rules about it in various books.)
*  Hates that they cant stack the following.. Wands per hand, rings per hand, any item slot per X.
* Dislikes offical rulings on the exp tables vs crs, dislikes offical rulings on actions and turns, feel they should be less constrained.
* Hate paladins due to code/etc restrictions.

And so forth.

Even when I find offical/semi offical rulings that indicate I am correct, a good 85% of the time it still revolves into a 'That is not the correct way you do it like this!'

Don't mind me, I'm out of coffee. 
Wow.  Ditch the entire group.  I'd rather play in NO game than one like that. 

But, if you aren't going to jump ship:

They obviously have a COMPLETELY different style than yours.  You can either abandon the game, continue butting heads, or try their style. 

I was going to start advocating ways you could adjust to thier style, but they sound like lunatics, so I'm not going to bother.  They are arguing over how many rings you can wear?  You sound so frustrated I don't think it would matter. 

Bail.

My Homebrew Website: www.freewebs.com/thyatia/

"It was a great tactic, and our GM applauded us. Sadly the Werewolf burst free in only two rounds, and killed everyone but the Sorceress who teleported away with only one arm." - Tetsuoh

"Having absolutely no ranks in any knowledges, my beloved Ric Flair based monk/rogue took off running immediately and attempted suicide by jumping off the bridge we were fighting on." - spitewrathhatred

"He asked me how old my character was (I said 82), and then rolled what his maximum age was. Because the number he rolled was less than what I had said, he informed me that my Bard was dead, and that I needed to make a new character." - King_of_the_Pudding

you hit that nail on the head, completely. and go for it, id be welcome to helpful words. I've been working on assembling a new group of people from here and its been going pretty well so far once time tables get covered, but yeah the primary group.. yeah. 
Wow.  Ditch the entire group.  I'd rather play in NO game than one like that. 

But, if you aren't going to jump ship:

They obviously have a COMPLETELY different style than yours.  You can either abandon the game, continue butting heads, or try their style. 

I was going to start advocating ways you could adjust to thier style, but they sound like lunatics, so I'm not going to bother.  They are arguing over how many rings you can wear?  You sound so frustrated I don't think it would matter. 

Bail.




I agree with this. I would last about 15 minutes in that group before I said "you know what, you guys are looking for a completely different experience that what I'm looking for, so good luck to you, I'm out." In fact I have parted ways with several groups in the past for similar (though perhaps less extreme) reasons.

Life's too short to spend trying to mold the group into one you will enjoy playing with - and it doesn't work anyway. Better to not play at all than try to play in a game that isn't fun.
On the originial topic:

When active a Ring of Force Shield will effectively give you a heavy shield, presumably in the hand wearing the ring.  Except for weight and ACP the shield is effectively a heavy shield that you just happen to be able to equipe or "drop" with a free action to active/deactivate the ring.  If I was feeling generous I'd even allow you do "enchant" the Force Shield for an additional cost.  When the ring is active you have a "real" shield and when it's not you just have a magic ring on your hand.  Using the MIC rules you could even add other things to the Ring such as Protection which would let it provide a Deflection bonus to AC even if the "shield" isn't active.  It has been mentioned but there isn't a shield "slot" but rather you must "wield" a shield with an arm to get some benefit from it.

When it comes to Bracers of Armor they don't take an armor slot but do provide an Armor bonus which will not stack with regular armor worn.  That character could also have a Mage Armor spell on them which doesn't take up any "slots" yet provides an Armor bonus to AC which will not stack with real armor worn or Bracers of Armor.  There are reasons to wear Bracers of Armor and regular armor but I'll leave those alone.  I believe the MIC also allow certain "basic" enhancements to be added for a standard price to other items and the Armor boost may be one of those.

Now on the most recent deviation I'm going to agree that you should run away from that group and not look back.  There are some things I'm ok with allowing/improving but otherwise I'm a conservative when it comes to 3.5 (and SWSE but that's a different topic) and it sounds like the people it that group want to play a game that I would not recognize as DnD unless someone told me it was; even then I may not be convinced.
Thanks for the info. and yeah.. they really make it hard to want to run a game. 6 years ive dealt with them as they devolved worse and worse. It's to the point where I've stopped even playing in two other games ran by them. They're trying to get me to run a old campaign setting but I am.. very hesitant. Really is a bad thing when the party would rather do as they are then try to not break the game, at least one of them per session will do something horrible and get angry when they get called out on it. Working on building a new group certainly.
Thanks for the info. and yeah.. they really make it hard to want to run a game. 6 years ive dealt with them as they devolved worse and worse. It's to the point where I've stopped even playing in two other games ran by them. They're trying to get me to run a old campaign setting but I am.. very hesitant. Really is a bad thing when the party would rather do as they are then try to not break the game, at least one of them per session will do something horrible and get angry when they get called out on it. Working on building a new group certainly.

That's where you put the onus on them to behave.  You agree to run that old campaign setting if they accept certain things about how it's played and respect your authority as the DM (it mostly sounds like they just complain a lot).

If they don't like that, tell them that they can always find someone else to run it.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
Yeah, I tried that told them if this is going on, I am making the characters for everyone, level 1 and so forth. I don't know if I trust them as far as I could throw them but who knows. I don't have high hopes for the game really.
Yeah, I tried that told them if this is going on, I am making the characters for everyone, level 1 and so forth. I don't know if I trust them as far as I could throw them but who knows. I don't have high hopes for the game really.

You shouldn't really need to make characters for them, just let them know that if they can't behave you simply won't run the campaign setting that they want you to run.

If it's not the sort of thing that bothers you, you could also try running one high-power, anything-goes campaign with exactly the same allowances made for the enemies as for their characters.  Or just offer to test out each thing they want by giving it to all their opponents first, if they think it's something fair to have.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
While I'd advise you to actually read the Tome of Battle before dismissing it as "crazy ninja fighting", a lot of the other stuff is covered in the rules. Not as in "need to find an official ruling somewhere on the internet" but as in "in the basic srd rules".

If they want to ignore so many of those, it might be worth starting a discussion about what they actually want out of a game. At some point of the power level that they seem to be pushing for, it might be worth asking why they actually feel the need to roll dice at all.
* Good vs Evil. Half the group is jaded and bitter and hates the concept of set alinments of any sort, i use a flowing system to adapt that or we use a 'shades of gray' concept, but it dosen't always mesh.
*two of the players are heavily anti-anti core races/core classes. Constantly try to power creep.
*Differing views on rules on everything from how good/bad sorcerers are to if a warlock's damage bypasses certain defeneses due to being a spell like ability.
*The 'right' way to enchant an item vs masterworking it. The 'right' way a PC should be able to make magical items.
*What races are or are not 'good' (IE all the good races are LA, and 'LA sucks' is how they view it.)
* Time table, three of the players are in the UK and -hate me- if I don't run at their table. 
* If elves are any good, most of the group hates elves.
* Multi vs gestalt vs single classing.. theres no middle ground, ever.
* The correct ruling on how many rings you can wear, where you can wear them at. (Does an 'ear' ring count against your total, etc.)
*Allowing Savage Species, Tome of Battle , Tome of Magic, BOVD/BOED. (One player is fixiated on the Swordsage and similar. Even though most of my settings are low-mid classic magic style, not crazy ninja fighting.) 
*That they never get to play as really powerful things, for free. like LA5 or higher.
*Pretty much everything fighter oriented. No one likes it. Or the cleric for no solid reason and I cannot get past "allow tome of battle,etc and we will play them." 
* Complaining when dungeons are too hard for them due to lack of tactics. Ex: A group of lvl 3's ran into a frost ooze, in a frozen room, etc, there were several very obvious ways to kill it. One player(Steam venter/shouter/troll.) playing a warforged/warlock (His default.) walked up to it and started singing at it, for no reason other then 'he wanted lulz', party freaked out when the monster used its AOE power on them, and had no idea why the monster would attack them. Resulting in never using dungeons anymore.
* None of them understand that psionics and magic can interchange each other with a bit of Balance(tm)!!, and either get obsessed over psionics when its allowed or don't see why SR , etc apply to it as its 'not the same power' (even though there are extra rules about it in various books.)
*  Hates that they cant stack the following.. Wands per hand, rings per hand, any item slot per X.
* Dislikes offical rulings on the exp tables vs crs, dislikes offical rulings on actions and turns, feel they should be less constrained.
* Hate paladins due to code/etc restrictions.



*For the most part, it's easy to justify mostly ignoring alignments completely.  Unless your Paladin is going around murdering innocent people, there's a way to RP the stuff.

*Let them see what happens when you build a core class well (beyond the whole 'blaster mage' archetype, Wizards can do quite a bit of stuff).  Take a page out of Tempest's book and look at some of his posted creations (and those of other board members).

*You're always going to have players disagreeing...it's up to the DM to either create a middle ground or rule one way or the other.

*DM decision...simple as that.  Some DMs favor the whole "Poof, there's your item" approach;  some want the rolls made.

*The base races (ones without LA) can have good points (Halfling Rogue slingers, for example) and the ones with LAs can be absolutely unplayable.

*Them's the breaks on playing on-line.  If you could find a local group (check your local game stores), it'd be easier.

*Elves can be useful (especially if you put in secret doors to 'loot-whoring-grimdark-lulz-loot-magic-killing" items).  People have their own biases, so that might never stop.

*I don't have access to gestalt rules (nor do I really understand it), so I can't comment there.  Single classing vs. multi all depends on what the player wants to do (unless it also includes the XP ruling, which is up to the DM).

*The 'ear'ring thing would be up to the DM (although I seem to remember an earring item a while ago), but the DMG (and possibly the PHB) has strict rulings on what can be worn/held.  If they insist on wearing multiple rings, have the magical fields (ya know, what can be detected by detect magic) interfere with each other and render useless all rings until it's down to one per hand.

*Book choices are DM regulated.  On the other hand, the Tome of Battle isn't as overpowering as you might think...the maneuvers are usable a certain amount of times per encounter (without recharging) and are on par with feats.  I did make a Warblade that could deal 1d10 + 1d6 + 1d6 (+1) fire damage +3 to two separate targets or 2d10 + 2d6 + 2d6 (+2) fire +3 to one target (or even 1d10 + 1d6 + 1d6 + 1d6 fire (+1) +3 and flat-footed), but it took up a feat slot and it's only usable once per encounter (unless it's recharged).**

*People always seem to want more.  Either start the game at the higher level or let them complain.

*Fighters are one-trick ponies for the most part, and they're usually outclassed by other melee options.  Clerics are more seen as 'heal-bots', which is sad, since they can do so much more (and the omnipresent healing belt (or is it belt of healing?) is so cheap).

*People also seem to only rely on the head-on style of play.  Tactics (like sundering, tripping, etc) fall by the wayside when "SMASH IT!" is the general point of view.  The players that only do stuff for comic relief should probably be removed fairly quickly.  Our DM was a bastard at times, but we managed to down a barghest at level 2 and a white dragon youngling (can't quite recall the age level right now) at 4th level...with our heavy hitters incapacitated.  Tripping the barghest (since I couldn't do any damage to it) allowed our Fighter, Cleric, and Barbarian to take free whacks at it;  a toss of Alchemical Fire at the dragon's wing (called shot didn't even matter) brought it down to the ship; a later confrontation with the dragon saw us using flanking and a chokepoint to keep ourselves fighting.

*With balancing, any variants can be useful for the game.  If a player doesn't understand that, they're welcome to not use the rulings.

*Refer to my above point on rings.  Wands generally require gesturing to activate and/or direct (look at any wand-user in fantasy), so more than one per hand would be very difficult to use properly.  Carrying multiples shouldn't be a problem, but using them is.

*Are they looking to whip out multiple attacks per turn while moving freely about the battlefield?  Point out to them that each round is equivalent to six seconds and ask them just what can be accomplished in that timeframe.

*If the Paladin's code is removed, the Paladin becomes a Fighter (weapon and armor proficiencies, full BAB, etc) with more benefits than a regular Fighter (healing, mount, smiting, etc).  The code isn't there to be a restriction, it's there to allow more role-playing (which is what this game is about, no?) for the character willing to take on the mantle.


** I built the character with as much damage output in one attack in mind.  The breakdown is thus:
Warblade wielding a bastard sword
16 Strength (+3 damage)
Martial Study feat (allowing Burning Blade)


Stance of choice is Punishing Stance (+1d6 with all melee attacks, but a -2 to AC)
Open the fight with Burning Blade (all melee attacks deal 1d6 fire damage +1 per IL), follow with Steel Wind (allows one attack action to hit two adjacent enemies) or Wolf Fang Strike (two separate attacks on one foe, with a -2 to each).  I could also throw in Sapphire Nightmare Blade.  That works out to be:

SW - 1d10 (base damage) + 1d6 (Punishing Stance) + 1d6 fire (Burning Blade) + 3 (Strength bonus) + 1 fire (Burning Blade) = 16.5 average damage on each of two targets (at a +4 attack roll)
WFS - 2d10 (base damage of two hits) + 2d6 (Punishing Stance) + 2d6 fire (Burning Blade) + 6 (Strength bonus) + 2 fire (Burning Blade) = 33 average damage on one target (at a +2 attack roll each hit)
SNB (on a successful Concentration check...at a +7, he's probably going to succeed this early) - 1d10 (base damage) + 1d6 (Punishing Stance) + 1d6 (successful Sapphire Nightmare Blade) + 1d6 fire (Burning Blade) + 3 (Strength bonus) + 1 fire (Burning Blade) = 20 on a target that is flat-footed against the attack (at a +4 attack roll)

All this with an AC of 18 (16 when in Punishing Stance) means that he's pretty beefy.  I could switch out the EWP (using a bastard sword one-handed) with Power Attack to remove one from the attack rolls to add two damage, but that's probably not necessary at level 1...
I have read the Tob, its 'magic sword fighter like a wizard' dosen't fit the overall theme, but even when we use select items from it, they cannot just go with that. They don't see the reason to tone done much of anything. I've asked before why power creep is the mode of the day. Most of the responces I am given are.. well.. Less then useable. Ranging from "It's how warhammer does it, warhammer does this better, warhammer does that better. etc" and they keep trying to get me to run a system I have no interest in. Another player hates humans and anything without animal fur on it, and whines and wheedles in, trust me I've done my best to be reasonable and work with them, but they want to play Dragonball Z the D20 experience over anything else, and yet? When someone else DM's their games of -any- kind do not make it more then 3-4 sessions before things fall apart, so.. they're all insane power gaming munchkins, who no one else will run games for, and they can't agree on anything, ever, so they paddle about in the pool trying to find something to do, and when it falls on its head due to everyone being... well.. deranged, they come back to me, but they won't agree to doing it as per my suggestions, so it seems to be a self creating cycle.
Yeah, i've covered those points before you laid out in bullet format XD we had... two? sessions where everything was normal.. then?




It broke down into a argument over..

If a fighter/wizard could use traits/flaws to buy a class ability 'treating it like a feat' in this case barbarian rage. According to his logic there were other feats with similar things, like adding bonus damage, effects and so on so it was 'allowed' to do that. Game stopped there when two other players left the table.

I am working on getting a new group, yes indeed! 
Just incidentally, the particular idea of using two wands at once is actually possible with the Double Wand Wielder feat from Complete Arcane (though each use of the secondary wand eats up two charges instead of one).  There's also Dual Dorje from Complete Psionic as the psionic equivalent.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
Just incidentally, the particular idea of using two wands at once is actually possible with the Double Wand Wielder feat from Complete Arcane (though each use of the secondary wand eats up two charges instead of one).  There's also Dual Dorje from Complete Psionic as the psionic equivalent.




well, i will keep that in mind.. Yeah I took the various suggestions and tried something..

Level 2 anything you want, gestalt. LA0 or normal race is fine, you have to buy anything else off with levels.. No evil.

This is what they gave me.

Favored Soul/Dragon Shaman- Half orc.

Ninja/Warlock-Warforged.

Fighter/Warmage- Tiefling

Dragon Shaman/Dread Necromancer - Lesser fire genesai.

Barbarian/Warblade - Gobin.

Monk/Paladin - Shifter.

So I don't know how its going to go. 
... I've asked before why power creep is the mode of the day. Most of the responces I am given are.. well.. Less then useable. Ranging from "It's how warhammer does it, warhammer does this better, warhammer does that better. etc" and they keep trying to get me to run a system I have no interest in. ...

In DnD I'd say you have two basic reasons for power creep.  The first is that because the overall "power" of certain core classes was so far behind that of other core classes (fighter vs. wizard/cleric/druid) that you MUST DO SOMETHING to make those weaker characters stronger so they can match up better with those top characters.  Now the second reason in more insidious because every time you release something that could make the weaker character stronger you're still going to need to release something to keep the people who play the strong characters happy and buying your product; this may bring up the bottom but it also pushes up the top so it really doesn't do anything to correct any balance issues.

In most ways the reason you see power creep is TO KEEP YOU BUYING PRODUCT!  Oh sure some old things stay useful but unless you're current with everything the odds are you can be left in the dust by someone utilizing all the tricks available.  I'd say MTG it notorious for power creep even if they try to harness it by format rotation.  Power creep lets things "stay fresh and new" while putting people who don't keep up at a disadvantage.

Now this way off topic but one of the things I like about the SAGA Edition of StarWars was that you could build a character using only the core rulebook and it could perform at least 90% as well as a character build using ALL the edition's books.  Yes, some concepts gained a lot from certain books and even the "strong" core builds could pick something up from the later splat books but a character build using the SECR wasn't necessarily at a big disadvantage for only having one book.  I really can't say the same thing about DnD in any of its editions (except maybe 4th which I don't play.)
 

Wow this topic has gone askew.

If you're running gestalt I'm going to say that you can actually have an easier time allowing more powerful creatures that have LA with them.  If you're allowing level 2 gestalt characters I can see letting you play a Drow Wizard 2 as your "gestalt" with the other "half" of the character taking care of the +2 LA that comes with being Drow.  I'm not sure if I'd require both racial HD and LA on the "same side" of a gestalt character but I can see a Gnoll Barbaian 3 being counted as a 3rd-level gestalt with Barb3 on one side and humanoid2 +1 LA on the other side.
 
Now this way off topic but one of the things I like about the SAGA Edition of StarWars was that you could build a character using only the core rulebook and it could perform at least 90% as well as a character build using ALL the edition's books.  Yes, some concepts gained a lot from certain books and even the "strong" core builds could pick something up from the later splat books but a character build using the SECR wasn't necessarily at a big disadvantage for only having one book.


While I don't think power creep was quite as much of an issue with 3.5 as some do (take a look at how classes appeared on tiers over time, and there was actually a pretty strong coalescence towards tier 3 and tier 4, with a few outliers. The only section that tended to creep foward universally was, perhaps, spells - with a pretty big surge every time a new way of cheapening metamagic came out), I'd like to second this. Later books in Saga had a couple things that were pretty crazy (like that Soldier talent that let you change your condition track penalty to a bonus), but in general, nearly everything was in the same bracket as the core book (which had one or two of its own crazy things, in either direction - the Jedi Master's Serenity ability comes to mind). For example, many of the builds here came out before the first expansion (anything pre-December 2007), and most remain useful and competitive even with the later expansions. Largely, the expansions added focus and specialization without adding too much in the way of power, except in a few very, very specific circumstances (and those typically involved Destiny Points, which were so rare you basically got to write the plot whenever you spent one anyway).

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

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These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Bleed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

You seem to be pretty clear on the ring of force shield concept, but I'll throw in this last bit.
It's a RING, so it takes up a ring (finger) slot, regardless.  As has been mentioned, it creates an actual shield of force on one's arm, and the bonus is a shield bonus.  But it does count as a heavy shield, which, if the person wielding it is not proficient with shields, would normally be a problem.  However, the nonproficiency penalty for a shield or suit of armor is "take the armor check penalty to all attack rolls", but the ACP is 0 for the ring of force shield, which is why it's such a good ring for low-level wizards and sorcerors who don't have other good rings yet.  My wizard at level 13 had an AC of 31.  Total was: +5 armor bonus from his bracers, +2 shield bonus from ring of force shield, +5 Dex bonus (had Gloves of Dex), +2 natural armor (from amulet), +3 deflection bonus (ring of protection), a +1 insight bonus (Mind Over Body feat), and a +3 miscellaneous bonus (he wore a Monk's Belt, and had a Wisdom of 14).  his touch AC was 22, and flat footed was 24.

Keep in mind, as a shield bonus, the +2 from the ring of force shield applies to NEITHER touch, nor flat-footed AC.  HOWEVER, as a force effect, the character still gets it to his AC against incorporeal attacks.  In fact, the only thing my wizard mentioned above didn't get to his AC against incorporeal attacks was the +2 natural armor bonus, since everything else is deflection, insight, misc., dex, or a force effect, they all apply.

Stacking different kinds of bonuses is the best way to get one's AC up inexpensively.  Even armor-wearing character who do not wear shields can benefit from the RoFS.  Granted, a Ring of Protection is better, because defelction bonuses apply to flat-footed and touch AC, but if a character has the 8.5k gp and already has a ring of protection and still has a free ring slot, the RoFS is a great default go-to choice.

Oh, and I mentioned the Monk's Belt before.  In case your players ever do this, here's the ruling.  It says that your monk level is increased by 5 for purposes of unarmed damage, and AC bonus.  Non-monks get the AC bonus ability of a level 5 monk and Unarmed Strike dealing 1d8 damage.  Now, I used to think that it meant that non-monks only got the +1 misc. bonus listed on the monk table in the PHB.  But the monk's "AC Bonus" class feature is where it says that they get their Wisdom to AC (touch and flat-footed as well), and also get a misc. +1 for every 5 levels of monk.  Thus, a non-monk wearing a monk's belt gets their Wisdom bonus to AC and an additional +1 AS LONG AS THEY DO NOT WEAR ARMOR OF ANY KIND.  This is a great move for spellcasters, who will wear robes (which, despite taking up the same alot, are Wonderous Items and NOT armor), and bracers of armor (which provide an armor bonus, but are NOT armor).
interesting! I didn't know about the monks belt. Wonder why theres no offical mage robes that give armor heh, thanks for the information
interesting! I didn't know about the monks belt. Wonder why theres no offical mage robes that give armor heh, thanks for the information

The spell "Magic Vestment" in the PHB is why.  It's been around for a lot longer than the Monk's Belt has.
"Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same. If you are too attentive to the former, you will most certainly not do the hard work of securing the latter." -Condoleezza Rice "My fellow Americans... I've just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. Bombing begins in five minutes." - Ronald Reagan This user has been banned from you by the letters "O-R-C" and the numbers "2, 3, 4, and 6"
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56788208 wrote:
I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
Resident Pithed-Off Dragon Poon Slayer of the House of Trolls
interesting! I didn't know about the monks belt. Wonder why theres no offical mage robes that give armor heh, thanks for the information


In addition to the Magic Vestment spell, there's a few - the MIC has at least two that I can think of - and the body slot affinity makes it perfect as an alternative to the bracers of armor. (Similar to how the "cloak of resistance" and later "vest of resistance" cost exactly the same - the latter was apparently created to avoid slot competition for the more common cloaks.)

Also, I should mention that the monk's belt is basically standard-issue for druids. Since most magic items resize to fit their wearers (i.e. no Small/Medium/Large belts), and nonhumanoids still have pretty much the same body slots (see the Draconomicon for a dramatic example, plus mechanics to support it), nothing stops them from wild shaping and then donning the belt (perhaps with help, if they aren't in a form with opposable thumbs). Plus, you're a literal karate bear.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Bleed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

interesting! I didn't know about the monks belt. Wonder why theres no offical mage robes that give armor heh, thanks for the information


In addition to the Magic Vestment spell, there's a few - the MIC has at least two that I can think of - and the body slot affinity makes it perfect as an alternative to the bracers of armor. (Similar to how the "cloak of resistance" and later "vest of resistance" cost exactly the same - the latter was apparently created to avoid slot competition for the more common cloaks.)

Also, I should mention that the monk's belt is basically standard-issue for druids. Since most magic items resize to fit their wearers (i.e. no Small/Medium/Large belts), and nonhumanoids still have pretty much the same body slots (see the Draconomicon for a dramatic example, plus mechanics to support it), nothing stops them from wild shaping and then donning the belt (perhaps with help, if they aren't in a form with opposable thumbs). Plus, you're a literal karate bear.




Karate Bear! Oh.. now I have to go try to build that. hahaha.

Karate Bear! Oh.. now I have to go try to build that. hahaha.



Not that tricky - the usual approaches involve Lawful Neutral druids with a splash of monk (no more than two levels of monk at most, since druids lose a lot with each forsaken class level), or Barbarian / Bear Warriors with access to some non-monk unarmed-strike options (such as Frostrager or Fist of the Forest). The Dancing Bear illustrated in the Optimization Circus is an example of the former; the Captain Constitution build in my signature is an example of the latter.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Bleed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

interesting! I didn't know about the monks belt. Wonder why theres no offical mage robes that give armor heh, thanks for the information

The spell "Magic Vestment" in the PHB is why.  It's been around for a lot longer than the Monk's Belt has.


Monk's Belt is in the DMG, actually.  All 3 core rulebooks came out together.

interesting! I didn't know about the monks belt. Wonder why theres no offical mage robes that give armor heh, thanks for the information


In addition to the Magic Vestment spell, there's a few - the MIC has at least two that I can think of - and the body slot affinity makes it perfect as an alternative to the bracers of armor. (Similar to how the "cloak of resistance" and later "vest of resistance" cost exactly the same - the latter was apparently created to avoid slot competition for the more common cloaks.)

Also, I should mention that the monk's belt is basically standard-issue for druids. Since most magic items resize to fit their wearers (i.e. no Small/Medium/Large belts), and nonhumanoids still have pretty much the same body slots (see the Draconomicon for a dramatic example, plus mechanics to support it), nothing stops them from wild shaping and then donning the belt (perhaps with help, if they aren't in a form with opposable thumbs). Plus, you're a literal karate bear.


Monk's belt doesn't function if wearing any armor, and for most low-levels, druids are better off wqearing magical leather or hide with the Wild property.  Only when they have the funds to afford bracers of armor that can exceed the benefit of magic armor, do they invest in a monk's belt.  More correctly, when the bracers and monk's belt benefits together exceed the benefit of armor.  The Monk's Belt costs 13,000gp, and magic armor is one of the cheapest magic items available.

Monk's belt doesn't function if wearing any armor, and for most low-levels, druids are better off wqearing magical leather or hide with the Wild property.  Only when they have the funds to afford bracers of armor that can exceed the benefit of magic armor, do they invest in a monk's belt.  More correctly, when the bracers and monk's belt benefits together exceed the benefit of armor.  The Monk's Belt costs 13,000gp, and magic armor is one of the cheapest magic items available.

Since the monk's belt gives them their Wisdom bonus (with an added +1) to AC, and having a decent Wisdom score is basically mandatory if they want to be any good as a druid it's more about when a druid will be able to afford to belt than anything else, and by that time, they're solidly into wild shaping and will want it.  In fact, the wild property costs substantially more than the monk's belt since it's a +3 enchantment, stacked on top of the required +1 magical bonus, for a minimum of 16,000 gp compared to the belt's 13,000 gp; the armour has the benefit of applying its mundane protection through the wild enchantment, which gives it a bit of a leg-up once it comes into play, but it takes quite a while to fully overcome the disadvantage of that higher starting price when the belt is handing you your already-useful Wisdom bonus as a very well-rounded bonus to AC.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
@Chiba Monkey: Magic Vestment has been around since (at least) the first iteration of AD&D, which didn't offer Monk as a core PC.
"Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same. If you are too attentive to the former, you will most certainly not do the hard work of securing the latter." -Condoleezza Rice "My fellow Americans... I've just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. Bombing begins in five minutes." - Ronald Reagan This user has been banned from you by the letters "O-R-C" and the numbers "2, 3, 4, and 6"
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I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
Resident Pithed-Off Dragon Poon Slayer of the House of Trolls
@Chiba Monkey: Magic Vestment has been around since (at least) the first iteration of AD&D, which didn't offer Monk as a core PC.

Even if you want to limit it to 3rd Edition, I seem to remember there being a 3.0 version of the PHB which came out earlier than the other books.  It included a few monster statistics and whatnot in the back so that you could start playing without the other books and it was a bit cheaper to encourage initial interest.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
Monk's belt doesn't function if wearing any armor, and for most low-levels, druids are better off wqearing magical leather or hide with the Wild property.  Only when they have the funds to afford bracers of armor that can exceed the benefit of magic armor, do they invest in a monk's belt.  More correctly, when the bracers and monk's belt benefits together exceed the benefit of armor.  The Monk's Belt costs 13,000gp, and magic armor is one of the cheapest magic items available.

Since the monk's belt gives them their Wisdom bonus (with an added +1) to AC, and having a decent Wisdom score is basically mandatory if they want to be any good as a druid it's more about when a druid will be able to afford to belt than anything else, and by that time, they're solidly into wild shaping and will want it.  In fact, the wild property costs substantially more than the monk's belt since it's a +3 enchantment, stacked on top of the required +1 magical bonus, for a minimum of 16,000 gp compared to the belt's 13,000 gp; the armour has the benefit of applying its mundane protection through the wild enchantment, which gives it a bit of a leg-up once it comes into play, but it takes quite a while to fully overcome the disadvantage of that higher starting price when the belt is handing you your already-useful Wisdom bonus as a very well-rounded bonus to AC.


Yeah, I forgot how expensive Wild was for armor.  SO, yes, as soon as a druid can afford a monk's belt, it becomes a great investment, especially since the wisdom and misc. bonuses apply to flat footed AND touch AC as well.  At that point, they can invest in bracers of armor, which will just be an added befit.
Also... if a player is constantly fighting you on rules where you are MATCHING standard 3.5e and won't listen to reason (as in believe rules text) or 'Rule Zero', then either kick him from your group or sunder the item you are wasting time arguing about and get back to gaming.

I had a similar issue with one of my players a while back and found a goofy solution.  I limited in-game rules discussion to 2 minutes and timed it with a stopwatch.  At the end of 2 minutes I make a ruling and we continue gaming with that ruling in effect til the end of the session.  If the player wants to appeal the ruling, demonstrate I am wrong, etcetera they have to type up their arguements and email them to me within 7 days of the initial rules question.


Needing to type up his constant rules squabbling cooled that player's jets.  He has yet to try submitting one.  And now my group can game easier and faster with less interruptions.  Everyone has more fun with those rules challenge limits, including the player who had been disruptive previously.


Additionally I have a 60second turn limit for player characters when in combat.  Seems to keep game flowing more smoothly.  If you are not ready with action, you drop to bottom of initiative.  If you are not ready at end of round your turn is forfeited.
Part of this sounds like a case of 'power gaming.' Most of us who've played for a long time, if we are being honest with ourselves, have been guilty of it in some form or another. (Power gaming is also sometimes called 'munchkin' gaming.) I think Tempest_Stormwind gives a great answer to alot of the problem you are having (interpretation of the rules.)

The Bracers of Armor are the newest form of an item that goes back to the early days of the game--- Bracers of Defense AC(X), which gave a specific armor class to the wearer, just like armor. Both versions work exactly the same way: the wearer only gets the best AC between the bracers and any physical armor worn; the Bracers and armor don't stack.

My own experience with the Ring of Force Shield is basically as follows: found one in an adventure, looked it up in the DMG, read it twice and decided the character was better off selling it and using the money to help pay for a magic shield that gave a better AC bonus! Why? Because it took me about 20 seconds to realize the item is intended to give a 'shield' bonus to the wearer that's easy to conceal when walking around town, but it takes up a hand like a shield and uses a ring slot that could be used for something else.

You do have several options in dealing with the problem, and hopefully ending the arguing. Use the material posted here by Tempest and others to show your position to the player; stop giving out the item(s) being argued over (which kinda screws over the other players who understand how the items are supposed to work); if the player is ruining the game for others you have the option of asking him to stop arguing or leave--- heavy handed last-resort option but it could be necessary; calculate his AC yourself and keep track of it (more paperwork for you, so not a great option). I know there are other options out there. Unfortunately, using a club on him would be both illegal and immoral, and get you sent to prison. Don't do it!

yeah after a lot of thought I did two things.

1. ejected the problem player and his buddy.

2. let someone else take over dming whos even more particular then i am.

now? everyone is phb only dm gear approved only. level 1 only, 3d6 stats no evil, no non core races and books.

huzzah. 
yeah after a lot of thought I did two things.

1. ejected the problem player and his buddy.

2. let someone else take over dming whos even more particular then i am.

now? everyone is phb only dm gear approved only. level 1 only, 3d6 stats no evil, no non core races and books.

huzzah. 

Ouch.  I'd almost say that sounds just as bad and makes me think going to the even earlier editions may be a better call.  Now all gear should need to be run by the DM and I can see the gear and race restrictions but 3d6 stats....  I know I complain about all the "god stats" I see people post they "rolled" but that should be too far the other way and unfortunately can still lead to crazy characters.