I don't allow "X"

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At the moment there is a lengthy and now crazy thread about an inconsistent GM in one of the sub forums who bans a great deal of the player races.

http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1210124

In 3.5 it wasn't uncommon that half the GMs I played with just outright didn't allow any thing beyond the core books or psionics.

So how much "I don't allow "x"" is too much?

(In my own game Dragonborn eventually were not allowed and replaced with large bear like people)
My policy has always been to allow anything and everything. I wouldn't play in a game where material was disallowed, either. As a player, I hate being told "no" -- the concept of "that's not in MY world" really irks me. I understand some DMs don't like dragonborn (or race X, for reason Y), but seriously, is it that much of a problem to let a player play one?

If something seriously breaks the balance of the game, I'll open it up for discussion on a case-by-case basis. I always prefer to see how something works in play before outright banning it, and tell my players that I may ask them to revise their characters if their choices are abusive or disruptive. Granted, I have some pretty reasonable players.
Depends on the group.

guides
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my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

In my games off the bat, anything and everything is allowed. We then as a group jointly build the setting and decided what we want, it could be only a few things, could be tons and refluff as need be. We leave it open though, since in the future new stuff not put in may work.

But it definitely isn't my (DM) call as to what is in or out. It is the entire group together. So in my eyes anything "x'ed" is too much without the discussion and agreement of the group.
In general, I would tend to be inclined to say allow all, and if something doesn't fit the world the DM has envisioned that someone really wants to play, reflavor that a bit so as to accommodate it.
I allow most stuff in terms of rules/mechanics, but players cannot always expect to have the whole race or religion background to go with it, unless it fits the campaign.

So, for instance, no elves or drow in my game world. You can take the races as is from PHB in terms of stats, no problem. They just don't come with the usual Tolkein background baggage. The races simply don't exist, and instead any such characters are considered human "Fey-touched". No elf settlements in the forests, no-one to go "oh, you're an elf therefore . . .", no dwarves as comic side-kicks. As long as players are cool with that kind of change, they can play what they want!
My policy has always been to allow anything and everything. I wouldn't play in a game where material was disallowed, either. As a player, I hate being told "no" -- the concept of "that's not in MY world" really irks me.

I take it you DM a lot? Or, as a player, you bully your DM to get your way?

I understand some DMs don't like dragonborn (or race X, for reason Y), but seriously, is it that much of a problem to let a player play one?

It might be. There might be a "stigma" on the Dragonborn race, which prevents them from being a viable race for the PCs. They might be considered evil or slaves in the world the DM has envisioned. Playing one might make things too difficult for the PC (or too easy, as the case may be.)

Since you are a player, you don't know what the DM has planned, so you can't really argue the case. You can ask the DM to bend the rules and the DM might do so, but if the DM says No, that's the DMs call, not yours.

Of course, when you DM, you can have any houserules you want (or none, as you indicated.) That's up to you.

Personally, I'd rather be told "no" right out front, than to be allowed to do something and then be told later that I have to change it because it breaks the game.
I used to allow everything. Then I made the mistake of letting a PC be a warlock. Worst and biggest mistake I ever made as a DM. I've learned that sometimes, you have to ban stuff from the get go. If just for the sake of balance. Plus, I personally don't find it right to tell a player to go ahead and play as this, then later have to take it away from them just because they're unbalanced/broken.
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
My policy has always been to allow anything and everything. I wouldn't play in a game where material was disallowed, either.

if you are the dm, that's cool. however, expecting as a player to always get you way or go away, that seems kinda immature. a dm might have good reasons to not allow various stuff at his games, or even give you a premade character!

and well, those games are great fun as well - with the right dm it's always fun, even if you just play a lowly squire with no power at all.
Here be dragons: IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cydyvkj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c54g6ac/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/csw6fhj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cbxbgmp/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cz7v5bd/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/ccg9eld/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c8szhnn/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cp68b5u/.gif)
56767308 wrote:
Sadly, I don't think this has anything to do with wanting Next to be a great game. It has to do with wanting Next to determine who won the Edition War. [...] For those of us who just want D&D Next to be a good game, this is getting to be a real drag.
57870548 wrote:
I think I figured it out. This program is a character builder, not a character builder. It teaches patience, empathy, and tolerance. All most excellent character traits.
Personally, I'd rather be told "no" right out front, than to be allowed to do something and then be told later that I have to change it because it breaks the game.

See I don't get why this happens. There is more then just "no" and things breaking down later. The Players and DM can discuss the setting, what elements it should embrace, what it shouldn't, what races, classes, etc. there should be, how they are viewed and what not. As such the Players and DM can usually come into an agreement on such things and so there is neither a direct "no" nor breaking down of things later.

I guess I don't get why it seems that discussion, compromise and group development of the setting seems to be not tried more often.
I guess I don't get why it seems that discussion, compromise and group development of the setting seems to be not tried more often.

Because compromise is often to be assumed to be the privilege of the dm?

but truth be told, I don't understand why it is always put like it is the DMs fault for not allowing all the stuff. Having to own all the material ever published, or even understanding all the material ever published, is for sure not a necessary predicament for being a DM. thus, if you want to play with a more basic/elementary rules total, and players do not, you should not play with them. but most of the time, those DMs are marked as "bad DMs" due to not allowing all the stuff - why would that be, again?
Here be dragons: IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cydyvkj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c54g6ac/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/csw6fhj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cbxbgmp/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cz7v5bd/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/ccg9eld/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c8szhnn/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cp68b5u/.gif)
56767308 wrote:
Sadly, I don't think this has anything to do with wanting Next to be a great game. It has to do with wanting Next to determine who won the Edition War. [...] For those of us who just want D&D Next to be a good game, this is getting to be a real drag.
57870548 wrote:
I think I figured it out. This program is a character builder, not a character builder. It teaches patience, empathy, and tolerance. All most excellent character traits.
There are two good reasons for a DM to disallow material-
1) It doesn't fit the flaver of the campaign
2) To keep what a DM has to track to a manageable level
An Orc walks into a bar. The Human and the Elf laugh at the hapless Orc. The dwarf walks under it scowling and doesn't laugh. He doesn't see the humor. It was all over his head
I used to allow everything. Then I made the mistake of letting a PC be a warlock. Worst and biggest mistake I ever made as a DM. I've learned that sometimes, you have to ban stuff from the get go. If just for the sake of balance. Plus, I personally don't find it right to tell a player to go ahead and play as this, then later have to take it away from them just because they're unbalanced/broken.

Are we talking about 3.5, here? Because the 3.5 Warlock is generally regarded as being far weaker than the normal casting classes. They have a very narrow selection of tricks that they can use as much as they want, but unlimited use isn't half as much of an advantage as you might think. They're still limited to one standard action per turn and can't really do anything that a well-made Wizard of equal level hasn't been doing several levels earlier.

Back on topic: I usually allow everything that I've already reviewed in advance, but require approval for anything that's unfamiliar to me. WOTC are not the supreme Gods of Balance, and they make plenty of mistakes. As far as flavour goes I'm flexible enough, but the mechanics of a choice need careful examination before I'll allow them.
I don't see the problem with banning things at all. If the DM is going to be taking the time to create and run a world why should he be constrained by the imaginings of the D&D staff? If you don't like the world he created, don't play.

In my current campaign I took a slightly different tack. Originally, my world had no place for a few of the races, but I worked them in. The only one at this point that has no place is the Deva, but since nobody is playing one, they don't exist. If a new person decided they really wanted to play one I'd probably end up allowing it, but they would have to deal with being a real oddity. It was a challenge working a couple of them in but in the end I enjoyed the exercise in imagination.

Now in the interest of honesty, I will happily ban ninja and samurai with extreme prejudice if the D&D crew ever releases them. Since my childhood in the 80's I have been forever mentally scarred by horribly bad ninja movies. I think they are cheesy and lame and have no place in a fantasy world created by me. Deal with it. (I have played and love legend of the 5 rings however, the original, not the crappy D20 version). Oh and shuriken don't exist, we call them throwing knives.
Are we talking about 3.5, here? Because the 3.5 Warlock is generally regarded as being far weaker than the normal casting classes. They have a very narrow selection of tricks that they can use as much as they want, but unlimited use isn't half as much of an advantage as you might think. They're still limited to one standard action per turn and can't really do anything that a well-made Wizard of equal level hasn't been doing several levels earlier.

Back on topic: I usually allow everything that I've already reviewed in advance, but require approval for anything that's unfamiliar to me. WOTC are not the supreme Gods of Balance, and they make plenty of mistakes. As far as flavour goes I'm flexible enough, but the mechanics of a choice need careful examination before I'll allow them.

Yes. I'm talking about 3.5, and that one turn per combat is a limiter, but not when the warlock decides to walk on the ceiling before ever running into the first encounter so when they do run into something, most opponents can't reach him (only those using bows could), casting a spell to up his diplomacy (to deal with NPCs), and generally abusing the unlimited spells to make sure he could deal with just about everything. I also found his eldritch ability to be extremely annoying.

Now, of course, most of that was my fault. No denying that. My only defense is that I was an inexperienced DM and he was a power gamer (he read everything and memorized most of it) so he was always about 1 or 2 steps ahead of me.

After that experience, I banned the warlock, and now if he wants to play anything outside of the core books, I have to get a thorough look over of it ahead of time. Sadly, I deny more stuff than I approve. But don't get me wrong, I don't deny it all. He's actually come up with some pretty cool ideas.

But anyway, I'm a little more experienced now, and I find that I can be a step or two ahead of him now when he tries off the wall stuff.
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
I never understood DMs that banned stuff without what I would consider a legitimate reason. I have no problem with stuff like "No divine, but I gave psionics healing abilities" or "I am still unfamiliar with ToB, so I cannot allow it right off the bat". But stuff like "no monks, 1/2 races, or multiclassing for paladins, that doesn't exist in my world", while fully up to the DM, leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. These unilateral (I think I'm using the word correctly) decisions usually come about because:

a) the DM does not like the fluff associated with X, which implies that said DM is unable to create their own interesting fluff.
b) the DM is afraid X can be over-used/abused, and in this case a DM should outline with players interested in these options what can and cannot be done to avoid min-maxing.
c) the DM cannot think of anything past 'I don't like it', which can show anything from the DM is inexperienced to the DM plans to railroad.

(a) can be solved with input from players, allowing them to create ideas so a DM can take the cookie-cutter and fit them in the world. (b) is easy to fix, because any player who is upset because they aren't able to punch out Orcus at 1st level (or the equivalent 'munchkin'-like task) is going to be bringing their own problems to a game. (c) is the most dangerous, because that is the one which can upset a DM. Decisions w/o reasons upset players, which upsets DMs, which upsets players, which eventually leads to everyone unhappy.

I once wanted to play a Spell thief, and if anyone has tried before they know it is.. hard to make them powerful, to say the least. My DM told me no because 'they were too powerful' in a party with a frenzied berserker (min-maxed), a druid with natural spell (min-maxed), a cleric necromancer with an army (min-maxed), and a mindbender (min-maxed). So I made a warblade, which was allowed, took leadership, which was allowed, had an army, which was allowed, and proceeded to lead the party on a raid of a castle of his BBEG, winning 4 levels earlier then we should have. It wasn't the most mature thing to do, I know, but he allowed the entire thing, no deus ex'ing. Over the course of a dozen gaming sessions I steered the party in that direction, calling upon all my RP talents to do so. We amassed a vast fortune, army, semi-divine allies who owed us favors. I told the DM that since our characters weren't being secrete about this, he should certainly jump up CRs about 3-5 levels above us when we got there. He said he would take it under advisement. We won hands-down.

He asked why I went the route I did in the game. Since the whole thing was RP'ed, no metagaming (I didn't know the castle we were attacking was the endgame until he told me, about 1/2 way through the looting), I told him I wanted to show him how over-powered we, the group, were with the freedom he gave us.

At first I did the whole thing because I was ******, true, but after the first game, the character leaped out to me, was loved by the group, and took on a life of his own. The DM could have stopped me at any time (I talked to him privately to tell him of my plans), he could have asked me not too and he knew I would listen. Mostly, he was getting a kick out of the amazing things we were doing. He got back at us after that raid, TPK, but then again the campaign was done anyway.:D

I have always been for 'You can do X, anything at all, but if you do it, so can I.' This keeps players in line, since I only get riled up if a player tries to pull a fast one on me. So the old chain-masters, the monkey-gripers, the CoDzillas and wizard-gods don't appear in my game anymore because players have found out that I am darn good at optimizing and have an excellent mind for dirty tricks.
I take it you DM a lot? Or, as a player, you bully your DM to get your way?

It's a rather unfair assessment to accuse me of bullying others "to get my way" just because I said I wouldn't play in a game where races and classes are restricted. If I'm not getting what I want from a campaign, I leave.

Player characters are fundamentally exceptions from the norm. There is always room for a creative solution, and I've yet to see a compelling, creative reason for barring the inclusion of a race in a campaign setting beyond "it's the flavor of the campaign", which just smacks of being precious.

Freedom of player choice is paramount. If you don't want a race around, period, and a player wants to play that race, it's still worth it to make the effort for them.
I've banned plenty of races if they don't exist in my, but if a player really wants a certain concept I try to work with him. One player wanted to be a weretiger. There are no lycanthropes on my world. However, some of the PCs had already come from a different world, so we had him arrive from that same world, which did have lycanthropes. In 4e, a character wanted to play a Deva. I don't have any Deva, but part of my fluff for Elves and Eladrin has been that they reincarnate. So I offered for him to play an elf who had all the racial features of a Deva, and he was ok with that.

The player shouldn't be able to throw a tantrum and get whatever he wants. At the same time, the DM should make sure his players are having as much fun as possible. Its a balance, but not always a hard one to reach.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
I have no problem with don't allow x. I'll base my decision to play or not play on the DMs setting. I dislike the following types of games

a) Players make up the characters that you want and I'll fit it in;
b) Players in a group or individually make up your characters and their kingdoms and we'll build the world around it.
c) Throwing in everything

I prefer the DM's to make their settings including:

1. Come up with a setting idea
2, Draw the map
3. Determine the deities (if any) along with their portfolios and adjust the divine classes accordingly
4. Determine the races that are found within your world and place them.
5. Determine the culture(s) for each race and have a general overview (plus a page or two for each to later give to player interested in the culture);
6. Determine any class variants or unavailable class per the setting or its individual culture (maybe, shamans or druids are only found in certain cultures where they are the priests and clerics do not exist in that culture)
7. Create some general notes on imporant NPCs, organizations, and locations, that characters would have heard of and might be used as hooks, contacts, etc.

The above is what will interest me in playing in a given campaign. I want to know what makes your setting different than Joe down the street. Now, some of the information isn't necessary until the group buy into the campaign (e.g, the map, the page or two on the individual cultures, important NPCs). However, I want a feel for your setting and more specific information when building my character that my choices are meaningful and my character fits seemlessly into to the setting

Then, once characters are created within the setting parameters (and the player and DM working together to tweak the character concept to best fit) let play begin, the DM step back and have the players direct the direction of the campaign by their in-game decisions and actions- it's their story!
Yes. I'm talking about 3.5, and that one turn per combat is a limiter, but not when the warlock decides to walk on the ceiling before ever running into the first encounter so when they do run into something, most opponents can't reach him (only those using bows could), casting a spell to up his diplomacy (to deal with NPCs), and generally abusing the unlimited spells to make sure he could deal with just about everything. I also found his eldritch ability to be extremely annoying.

Now, of course, most of that was my fault. No denying that. My only defense is that I was an inexperienced DM and he was a power gamer (he read everything and memorized most of it) so he was always about 1 or 2 steps ahead of me.

After that experience, I banned the warlock, and now if he wants to play anything outside of the core books, I have to get a thorough look over of it ahead of time. Sadly, I deny more stuff than I approve. But don't get me wrong, I don't deny it all. He's actually come up with some pretty cool ideas.

But anyway, I'm a little more experienced now, and I find that I can be a step or two ahead of him now when he tries off the wall stuff.

Ah, that explains it. Yes, if the enemies happen to be specifically vulnerable to the Warlock's abilities then he can dominate the encounter. That's not really a failure of balance in the class itself, though; A Wizard with a wand of Spider Climb (4,500 gp) and an offensive Reserve feat (infinite blasting) could have done the same thing without using up a single spell slot and without stopping them from switching to another strategy the next day.

Still, this does illustrate what many of us have found out the hard way: Don't automatically allow anything that you don't understand just because the person using it apparently does. The amount of startled DMs who have been stuck saying something like 'Wait, that thing allows you to walk through walls?!' and scrambling to improvise a way to keep their adventure going is a testament to that.
Ah, that explains it. Yes, if the enemies happen to be specifically vulnerable to the Warlock's abilities then he can dominate the encounter. That's not really a failure of balance in the class itself, though; A Wizard with a wand of Spider Climb (4,500 gp) and an offensive Reserve feat (infinite blasting) could have done the same thing without using up a single spell slot and without stopping them from switching to another strategy the next day.

Still, this does illustrate what many of us have found out the hard way: Don't automatically allow anything that you don't understand just because the person using it apparently does. The amount of startled DMs who have been stuck saying something like 'Wait, that thing allows you to walk through walls?!' and scrambling to improvise a way to keep their adventure going is a testament to that.

Yeah. Isn't the hard way of learning just great? :D
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
My policy has always been to allow anything and everything. I wouldn't play in a game where material was disallowed, either. As a player, I hate being told "no" -- the concept of "that's not in MY world" really irks me. I understand some DMs don't like dragonborn (or race X, for reason Y), but seriously, is it that much of a problem to let a player play one?

Same here. The "I don't allow X" philosophy reeks of the "IT'S MYYYYYYYYYY GAME" mindset.
Same here. The "I don't allow X" philosophy reeks of the "IT'S MYYYYYYYYYY GAME" mindset.

Of course, your mindset might just reek of player entitlement. So be careful of casting stones.
Freedom of player choice is paramount.

Having fun is paramount. Anything else is the detail of why you are are not.

If you're not enjoying the game as a player because you feel restricted, that's not cool. If you're not as a DM because your players are being too needy, that's not good either.

Most sensible people can sort out the odd difference by talking.

Besides which, I've had great fun playing in restrictive game worlds, and not thought twice about being "restricted" or annoyed at not having a character choice - there will be other games after all.
I balance it out - I don't go out of my way to deny players, but in my personalized setting, some races, like Dragonborn, really don't fit in.
When a DM doesn't allow for something, I take note of why he doesn't allow it and what he does allow. If his rules amount to everything being "Thou shalt not", then I know he is Il Duce and is getting off on the players being his slaves. His power trip will ensure an unfun game.

If a DM doesn't allow for something but other things are full steam ahead, then there's no issue. For whatever his reason for not allowing something, players are free to play a nice variety of characters of talent, influence, and power. The DM is just not having that particular something and not lording mightily over players. The game will be fun.

It is the DM's campaign, but it is everyone's game.
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So how much "I don't allow "x"" is too much?

I have an example of how much 'X' I usually provide for in my homebrew setting. I'll typically show the players an 'At A Glance' sidebar that looks something like this:

Knights of Everest v.3.5
Core Classes: Barbarian, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Rogue, Sorcerer.

Clerics are defined by race. Sorcerers lose familiar, gain Metamagic Specialist class feature (as in PH II).

Expanded Classes (Optional): Hexblade, Knight, Scout, Spirit Shaman, Swashbuckler, Warlock.

Prestige Classes (Optional): As DMG, also Prestige Bard, Paladin, and Ranger (as presented in Unearthed Arcana).

Paladins serve the Church of Romula. Rangers are elite elf warriors.

Unavailable Classes: Beguiler, Duskblade, Monk, Ninja, Samurai, Shugenja, Truenamer, Wizard, Wu Jen.

Common Races: Human, Dwarf, Elf, Half-Orc, Mul. Elves lose wizard as favored class, gain fighter. Muls replace half-elves (in theory).

Uncommon Races (Supplemental): Deva (a.k.a. Aasimar), Gnome, Goliath, Raptorian, Tiefling, Warforged.

Unavailable Races: Half-elf, Halfling, Illumian.


Knights of Everest uses the D&D v.3.5 core rules (PH, DMG, MM) and a Setting Guide. Recommended supplements inlcude the Complete series and the Races series, also PH 2 and Tome of Magic. Some feats, spells, and such, are ported from these books into the setting.

The Setting Guide is usually brief, elaborating on such things as:

Arcane Magic
Arcane magic is not a science. It is not a complex formula, not a phrase or a number, nor a symbol written in dragon’s blood. Many magicians train under the guidance of an older, experienced mentor. These mentors don’t instruct their apprentices in facts and theories. Rather, the apprentice is taught to focus on the essence, until the budding magician is able to both sense and control the arcane energy. (Think of how Jedi apprentices are trained to “sense and control” the Force in the Star Wars Trilogy).

Access to Arcane Magic: Arcane Magic in Knights of Everest is just as common as it is many other settings. What is different is who has access to it. For instance, there is no wizard class in Knights of Everest; the primary arcane spellcaster is the sorcerer. Consider also the following:
  • Sorcerers know a limited number of spells in comparison to wizards. This means some esoteric or specialized spells are more distinctive, since fewer sorcerers know them. By the same token, high-level spells are even more remarkable, since only powerful sorcerers master them.

  • The bard is a prestige class, essentially a multiclassed sorcerer. Also, the assassin is presented as a non-spellcasting variant.

  • Elves lose wizard as their favored class, gaining fighter in its place.


Half-Elves
Elves are an insular race. That being said, they can have children with humans, although it is extremely rare (as in PC only). You can call yourself a half-elf if you like (the story remains the same). There's an excellent overview given in Races of Destiny. The actual game mechanics however, are either full human or full elf (not a hybrid).


There ya go, my v.3.5 homebrew at a glance. This is the level of 'X' I typically strive for in any homebrew I DM. There are some changes but hopefully nothing overwhelming. The trick is to let the players see (up front) what its all about. IMO the reason for 'X' should be something more than simply "No".
/\ Art
I beleive in generally allowing all material published by the current publisher of the game (TSR in 2nd, WotC in 3rd and 4th) except in situations where the particular piece of material runs contradictory to another piece of material (Mulitple different race write ups for (hgih) Elf exist within 2nd Edition, for example, so one must be chosen to be used and the rest banned) or have been found to be severely abusive of the existing systems (Like the Warshaper - that did things that were already powerful enough to be considered unfair if used just right better than anyone else).

I do require that the material be present for review though, so that if something seems out of place I can look it up - no "I saw this class on the internet and though it was cool" sort of things.

Now, in specific situations (when running a specific already printed campaign setting) I find that "banning" names and descriptions is perfectly acceptable, but tend not to ban any of the mechanics unless they themselves do some sort of visible harm to the setting - which is very rare to experience, but some things that work on Athas... don't work as well when applied to Mystara.

A great example is this: There are no dragon-born in Faerun except those chosen for transformation by Bahamut, and Half-dragons of a more natural state. The mechanics work fine, and it was easy to find a place for a very similar bit of fluff.

I, as a DM, allow players to play out any concept they want with mechanics as similar to those desired as possible without having the campaign as a whole suffer (such as not allowing a player to play out a concept that would seem to require he be 7 levels higher than the rest of the party at all times).

I just have them meet me (at least) half way between their perfect vision of their character and my perfect vision of the world being used in play.

As a player (on those rare occasions that someone nearby tries taking a spin behind the screen) I would ask the same of my DM: to allow me to play what I want to, even if that means we find a compromise as to how to fit it in.

My best example of that from personal experience:
DM: I have decided to start a D&D campaign if I can find enough players to make it seem worthwhile, if not I'll just run Masquerade again, would you be interested in playing?
Me: Which setting, and what level?
DM: I have some ideas I have homebrewed, it's somewhat similar to Forgotten Realms... but the intent was for a more pulp-y type of setting. Probably go with sixth level to start.
Me: Sounds good... I'd like to play an Elf Wizard who is the captain of an airship.
DM: ...there aren't any airships in the setting, but a Wizard is fine. Would you want to use a racial variant?
Me: Grey please... and how about if he is trying to invent the airship?

Had the DM said "No." I would have declined to play in that particular game and found something else to do with my time... or at least I would want to, it's really hard for me sometimes not to just cave-in and say "Oh, someone that isn't me wants to DM? I will play anything you want, anything at all, just for a chance to spend some time on the art side of screen." because of how rare it is that I find a chance to get out from behind the screen.

ATTENTION:  If while reading my post you find yourself thinking "Either this guy is being sarcastic, or he is an idiot," do please assume that I am an idiot. It makes reading your replies more entertaining. If, however, you find yourself hoping that I am not being even remotely serious then you are very likely correct as I find irreverence and being ridiculous to be relaxing.

I never say 'I don't allow X'. If I homebrew a setting with a different set of races or classes, I provide the players with a document detailing the constraints in positive rather than negative terms ('these things exist, and are like this' as opposed to 'these things don't exist'). This is a nice psychological trick that, for the most part, discourages people from even considering options outside of my default.

In terms of mechanics and balance, I don't track my players' abilities - character management is their job, and if they manage to come up with a combination that is slightly overpowered, I just compensate in my encounter building. If the combination is so overpowered that I can't compensate without harming the others (only happened once: a character who was able to put out three times more damage per round than any two other characters put together) I ask them if they would mind changing that combination.

I always like to boast that I allow any compatible material without having to see it first. This would actually mean something if people other than me actually considered compatible material outside of WotC products...
There are two good reasons for a DM to disallow material-

1) It doesn't fit the flavor of the campaign

This is important. Lets say the DM is making a game where Humans control a vast Empire that is in the midst of a long and terrible war with the Dragonborn race that is envading it. In his storyline the Group will be on the human side of the conflict, obviously playing a Dragonborn character would not fit the flavor, and would impose serrious issues for the Dm's storyline and plot devices.

Similairly playing a Drow Cleric of Loth in a group of Elfs and Paladins would be against the flavor and pose many problems, as would many different evil alligned beings and classes ina heroic good game. Choosing to be a Cleric of Pelor in an Evil Drow game wouldn't work either.

Also people who play strange and out of place creatures in a nromal party, often overshadowing or overpowering the rest of the group as a result. The Minatour Fighter, or the Sucubus Sorceror or the Celestial Paladin, all are inapropriate in a group of normal mortals and a non-high fantasy setting.

2) To keep what a DM has to track to a manageable level

'

If the Dm doesn't understand the mechanics of the abilities of a class/race then it is best to not allow it unless he does. It is very hard to prepare and run encounters for classes to whom you don't understand their powers.

"er you do what? What does that do? oh well, I guess this evening is a wash..."

I banned psionics for a long time simply because to allow them would envolve me learning their rule system, which I hadn't a clue on how it worked having never read the books involving them. When I did finally allow a player to be a psionic it was nothing but pain and hassle to balance encounters.

Why? Psionics is not overpowered or broken, my problem is that I as a DM didn't understand them. The PC was constantly doing things I didn't understand how it worked, I didn't know if the player was doing it right etc. As a result the PC was unbalancing my game and alot of unneeded work had to be done on my part to accomidate a single player. Had I known better I would have kept psionics banned, as it was I had to learn the entire psionics book for a character that ultimatly died anyways.

Yes now, after the fact, I can handle psionics and will allow them into my game, provided the player and I have a long discusion on it. But really it is a ruleset that I beleive is cumbersome and unneeded to add into a game.

And really if you have a Psoinics or Oriental Adventures or the like book in your hand, my thoughts are, We are here to play DnD, you might as well have a Robotech or Vampire the Masquerade book in your hand. If the group is not playing a Psoinics or an Oriental campaign, then those books should be left out entirely, I beleive they should be and are really intended for games that are centered entirely around them, not just add ons for normal games.

New Dms in particular (or even new groups) should start off with the KISS method, Keep it Simple, Stupid. Let the Dm and group become familiar with and get to understand the basic ruleset first before exanding into the splat books. New players who don't know the basic rules shouldn't be digging through splat books and choosing classes and races that the DM and others in the group don't know and will have to constantly look up.

Nothing worse then:

-DM: Hi, I am a new and inexpereinced DM, I sorta know the rules, I read the core books last week anyways.

-Player 1: Hello, New and inexpereinced DM, I am a Human Cleric
-Player 2: Elf Ranger
-Player 3: half Orc Barbarian
-Player 3: I'm a Plane Touched Minatour (savage Species) Multiclass Samarai (Oriental Adventurers) Psionic class (Psionic handbook) with feats from (Complete Warrior) and I used (Magic Item compendium) to gear up in advance. I haven't player 3rd edition yet, I heard they changed how THACO works....
Dm: fumbles through the monster manual for the minataur entry... you are a what?
In the game I'm running currently, the setting has been a project of mine for years longer than this actual game, and I'm really not willing to break major parts of it for one DnD campaign. This means, in my case, no Dragonborn (It's tied up in the setting's creation story, it would take a while to explain but rest assured it's basically impossible to have Dragonborn in the setting make sense without me literally rewriting the origin of life in the universe)

However, I made my players aware from the start, "Look, this is a setting heavy game. Most of it isn't developed, and I'm open to building it more cooperatively, but the stuff that is there is staying there" and then I dumped pages of material on them that most of them haven't read XD

Also, when asked, I'm totally open to homebrew stuff if it fits a character concept. For a 3.5 game I helped design and OK'd a template (Mostly OK'd) that let one of the PCs be a huge gigantic alchemically enhanced guy (If you've ever played Guilty Gear, he was playing Potemkin. With Psionics.) and I've allowed lots of other custom stuff, even at the potential expense of balance.

So basically, I think as long as you allow the players other options, denying them a few out of the core material isn't that bad. Just make sure you have a good reason for it, not just "Oh I don't LIKE Monks."
i feel a bit late to the forum, but my take for all things i'm inclined to say, "no" to is that i say, "not quite yet."

i just started a game with two fresh 4e initiates. one is a DnD initiate. so, experienced but 4e noob says, "i want to know if you'll allow an evil drow."

"yes, but please understand that the adventure for the first few sessions is good. you should be able to hide your evilness from the party enough to not be disruptive much." - understood and fulfilled.

the DnD newbie: "i don't know what i'd like at all."

"perhaps you'd like to try out a beastmaster ranger. if you don't like it much, we can adapt your character as you get more accustomed." - chose it and loved it.

the other player has long game time than i do and even more time using 4e than i. "i'm ready to create an evil shadar-kai swordmage. i've chosen my feats and powers already." - awesome character and great player.

i nearly said no about the shadar-kai, but he is experienced enough to play it well and explain it to others. i'm glad i'm giving that race some play time. i've never played it myself.

the drow is still looking for a chance to assassinate the queen, but for now he has accepted my, "not quite yet" stance.

so far, at least telling players, "not quite yet," gives time to prep for an incoming idea and create a bit of fluff that integrates the stuff into the setting.

personally i'm looking forward to another gamer taking time as DM when i can play a warforged druid that gets a crazy high by shifting into wild form.
double post.
Of course, your mindset might just reek of player entitlement. So be careful of casting stones.

I usually DM, so no, it's not "player entitlement". It's "being a down-to-earth DM". It's "saying 'yes' to the players".
In my games, these are the "Forbiddens", and the rationale thereof.

1. No Bugbears, Dopplegangers, Gnolls, Goblins, Hobgoblins, Kobolds or Orcs as PCs. Reasoning: for everything except Dopplegangers, my campaigns run in such a way that "society" is VERY racist against those, because of constant raiding and pillaging, a 1st level character who entered a village of humans would be promptly executed. In the case of Dopplegangers, I once had a DM who actually had our main quest-giver killed and replaced by a Doppleganger, so we were working for the bad guys. Since it was a racial ability, he said (once we found out too late), that we only got 1 (ONE) attempt to realize it on the first time we encountered the doppleganger, and that he rolled in secret and that our Paladin (sense motive) rolled a one. Never mind that the REST of the party never got secret rolls.

Anyways, I see dopplegangers as kinda cheap plot devices (Oh look! Another Doppleganger!), so if my players can't play them, I can't use them.

2. No Chaotic Evil or Evil alignment. The reason for this is that many players unfortunately go with the "But I'm playing my Alignment!" when they slaughter a village, and then get ****** off that I sent the guards after them.

Now, if player could play evil as the self-centered jerks who will still help out the party because it is in their best interest, I'll drop this rule. But every time I've relaxed the rules on this, one player would always start killing random people without any type of explanation besides "I'm playing my alignment!". No reason whatsoever, which is all that I wanted ("I killed the captain of the guard because it would cause the guards to be more concerned with who is going to be chosen for the position, kow-towing to the prince, and spending less time on patrols in the poorer sections of town where I plan on doing my next bit of handywork with the party").

3. It must be in a published rulebook. If it is in "playtest" you must talk to me first.

Those are my only rules. Rule 2 will go away once all the players are mature enough not to devolve into "I'm evil so I get to kill whomever I want."

Now, I am fine with a DM not allowing specific things, as long as there is a rationale behind it, like the campaign will feature only races found in the Lord of the Rings, or whatever. If it is "Because I said so." that is a bad DM, and unless I got some type of answer, I would leave the game. In my experience, DMs who can't tell you why they are restricting you tend to be bad ones.
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
My group rotates DMing duty, so there's no DM 'I'm banning this'/Player I want to do x' divide.

Following the end of 3.5, and the stupid number of splat books and resulting abuse, we're sticking to what we think of as core- the three main books and any successors to them.

It's working nicely for us so far, with 1 party at 9th, one at 8th, one at 3rd and one at 1st.
There are two good reasons for a DM to disallow material-
1) It doesn't fit the flaver of the campaign
2) To keep what a DM has to track to a manageable level

You forgot
3) Alternate mechanics: He or she might be using preferred alternatives (e.g, Book of Iron Might instead of Tome of Battle; Psychic's Handbook (Green Ronin) instead of Psionics Handbook, Thaumaturge Class (Green Ronin) instead of the Warlock, Martial Wildernes Rogue (Unearthed Arcana) instead of the Scout etc.). This could tie to flavor, but, even if not, the DM is offering an alternative that covers the niche.

4) Balance

And, the DM dislike will usually result in
a) building the game to make the offensive item to be inappropriate
b) choose to leave it out to keep it out in order to keep things manageable when adding other things.
c) provide some other mechanic.

(and, I still consider not liking something to be a good enough reason)
My group rotates DMing duty, so there's no DM 'I'm banning this'/Player I want to do x' divide.

We rotate periodically, but my times as a player are short. We all respect the DMs right to include what they like and leave out what they dislike. If something really offends one's sensablities, that player can choose to not to play. It has only been a problem twice

1. The players asked me to a superhero game as a change of pace and a player dislikes superheroes. He sat out.

2. I sat out a game, because the style and tone were not something I liked (it was kitchen sink and too far over the top). I have walked out of two other groups games in twenty years for the same reason. In the first case, the game fell apart and I was being asked to DM within the first two session. In the latter cases, those groups were having fun, so who was I to demand they change to accomadate me.
There are two good reasons for a DM to disallow material-
1) It doesn't fit the flaver of the campaign
2) To keep what a DM has to track to a manageable level

Amen brother. These are the two main reason's I do not allow certain things in my game. Players should realize because it's in the character generator, doesn't mean it's OK by the Dm.

PS Never ever allow a Dahmpire, because they suck!
I usually let anything go as long as its printed. If its homebrew, then I need to look at it and most likely I say no. If something is out of context to the campain (like Dasterin and his dragonborn) then I ask them how they can make it fit. If they can come out with a good explanation then I don't have a problem with it.
Yes. I'm talking about 3.5, and that one turn per combat is a limiter, but not when the warlock decides to walk on the ceiling before ever running into the first encounter so when they do run into something, most opponents can't reach him (only those using bows could), casting a spell to up his diplomacy (to deal with NPCs), and generally abusing the unlimited spells to make sure he could deal with just about everything. I also found his eldritch ability to be extremely annoying.

Now, of course, most of that was my fault. No denying that. My only defense is that I was an inexperienced DM and he was a power gamer (he read everything and memorized most of it) so he was always about 1 or 2 steps ahead of me.

After that experience, I banned the warlock, and now if he wants to play anything outside of the core books, I have to get a thorough look over of it ahead of time. Sadly, I deny more stuff than I approve. But don't get me wrong, I don't deny it all. He's actually come up with some pretty cool ideas.

But anyway, I'm a little more experienced now, and I find that I can be a step or two ahead of him now when he tries off the wall stuff.

The Warlock isn't that bad. At least he can't cast detect evil at will isntead of actually RPing to find out if someone is evil.