It was suggested that compiling a list of the top X topics that are heavily debated may be a good idea. These ideas are from a variety of people. I may have personal opinions on some of these issues, but I do not share a common pro or con position.
Please don't debate the issues in this thread. If you wish to debate the issues, post an off topic thread link and debate the issue in that thread. If you come to a good pro/con position agreement in that thread, IM me the link and I will update it here.
If you feel that Wizards of the Coast should address an issue before 4E, post in this thread. I will take each post as a list of issues you want address prior to 4E release.
If you would like to add new topics that are also often or heavily debated, post them as well. Half this list is new material.
4E update, no promises, but I was told there may be a chance that some of these issues get updated officially before 4E. So if you are interested in this, make it known which issues you wish to be updated.
The List: 1Extra Spell, Complete Divine Spoiler:Show
It allows any spell from any list because there is no restriction and feats are allowed to break the rules. The feat also states the spell can be any spell "that the caster lacks access to and would be unable to research."
Unless the magic words "from any spell list" is used (like Wyrm Wizard and Recaster PrC), then this is limited to class list as the FAQ asserts. Even if you can select spells not on your list, this would be useless. All spellcasting classes specifically say that they "cast spells from the spell list"; knowing them is only one requirement. Note that this is explicitly different from psionics. There are many ways a player could lack access to a spell including the DM only allowing a Wizard to take Wizard spells from the Spell Compendium spells via a feats such as this one.
The text says you gain a casting level for each level of these PrC and text trumpts ables. The brazilian portuguese printing as of 2007 had both the table and the text indicating at least the Rainbow Servant was a 10 of 10 spell casting class.
The table indicates these PrC are not full 10 of 10 spell casting progression class, and the text is not sufficiently clear to suggest these do in fact increase spellcasting for every level as opposed to every level that spell casting is increase based on the table.
This feat indicates it doesn't qualify for 2nd level casting by saying "when you become able to cast 2nd level spells." Also the rules in Complete Arcane page 72 suggests that if a player does not have sufficient levels in a class that grants 2nd level spellcasting as a function of class levels, then the player does not qualify for "2nd level spellcasting" PrC pre-reqs.
The text and the errata make it clear for every metamagic feat applied, you gain one less level. The check to make sure the spell is not reduce to below the original level is done once, at the end. So level adjustment +0 metamagic effects have a net result of -1 when applied to an Arcane Thesis spell. This means a empowered (+2-1) energy substitution (+0-1) fireball (3rd) is a 3rd level spell.
There is no concept of -1 level adjustment for metamagic effects and the check to prevent a spell from being lowered to below the spell's level is done once for every application of metamagic effects. This means a empowered (+2-1) energy substitution (+0) fireball (3rd) is a 4th level spell.
5Versatile Spellcaster, Races of the Dragon Spoiler:Show
You can use this feat to cast spells of an effective level higher than you can normally cast. A 1st level Sorcerer with Extend Spell can cast Shield with Extend Spell as a 2nd level spell using two 1st level spell slots.
This feat does not allow you to use your highest level spell slots to power a spell which would use a spell slot higher than your maximum spell slots. This feat only allows 4th level Sorcerers to use two 1st level slots to power a 2nd level spell.
This feat or ability allows you to add one spell slot of any level lower than the highest level spell you can cast. A 6th level Cleric with Sanctum Spell or Earth Spell and a Heighten effect (Heighten Spell, Illumian, or otherwise) can cast 10th level spells. Since he has access to 10th level spells, he can take Extra Slot for a 9th level slot at ECL 6. Once he has the 9th level slot, there is nothing to prevent him from memorizing Miracle and casting the spell.
Extra Slot can not be used to acquire spells based on spell levels where the level adjustment was paid by any method other than existing spell slots. A 6th level Cleric has no spell slots higher than 3rd level, so the maximum he can ever gain from Extra Slot is a 2nd level slot regardless of the effective level he can cast via any other effects. All heighten effects are as difficult to cast as a normal spell of that level and part of this difficulty is the required spell slot.
This feat allows you to cast divine spells as arcane spells and arcane spells as divine spells. This allows a single classed character to qualify for PrC that require both divine and arcane spellcasting.
This feat does not in fact change the type of spell cast, but simply allow you to get around various technical difficulties with the native spell type. For instance, using it to make an arcane spell take the properties of divine would only mean the spell has no arcane spell failure, but it doesn't mean it is a divine spell for the purpose of PrC prereqs.
8Class Level Retraining, Players Handbook II Spoiler:Show
This is allows you to retrain a Cleric 3/Wizard 3/Mystic Theurge 1 into a Cleric 1/Wizard 1/Mystic Theurge 5 using 3 steps. At all times the requirements of the PrC are maintained. There is only the requirement that you meet your pre-reqs with the remaining classes, which you do with the existing Mystic Theurge advancements.
Elsewhere in the book you see the feat reassigning requires you qualify for the feat at the level it is taken when changing the feat (so to retain a 1st level feat in a 20th level character, you need to qualify for the feat using only your first level class.) The class level retaining should likewise be restricted to replacing the classes with classes that you could also qualify for at the level they are replaced. Since replacing one of the 3 levels of either the Cleric or the Wizard would remove the pre-req for Mystic Theurge at that lower level, it can not be done. If this is allowed, it comes into conflict with the feat retaining rules.
A Monk can use a +5 enchanted Gauntlet to make Unarmed Strike attacks with Monk unarmed damage instead of Gauntlet damage of 1d3 because the only thing that Gauntlets do is allow the attacker to deal lethal damage with an unarmed strike. The attack is otherwise considered an unarmed attack. By it's own description, a gauntlet does not follow the normal rules for weapons.
If a Monk uses a +5 enchanted Gauntlet to make unarmed strikes, he deals damage of 1d3 for Medium (based on his size) and gains no benefit from his Monk unarmed progression for these attacks. He also takes a -4 to the attack roll unless he has proficiency in Gauntlets from another class and he can not use the Gauntlet as part of a Flurry attack.
10Wizards and arcane scrolls, Players Handbook Spoiler:Show
A Wizard can copy any arcane scroll into his spell book because the rules on copying arcane scrolls into a spellbook does not make any restrictions on what can be copied. As a result, a Wizard can copy a Bard cure light wounds scroll into his book and prepare and cast the spell.
This action is prohibited in the FAQ and the Wizard class description specifies the Wizard can prepare and cast any spell on his class spell list. Cure Light Wounds is not on the Wizard class spell list, so he can not copy it into his spellbook (which according to the PHB glossary is a Wizard's spells known.) Even if you can select spells not on your list, this would be useless. All spellcasting classes specifically say that they "cast spells from the spell list"; knowing them is only one requirement.
This spell is similar to Limited Wish, and can only be used to copy the effects of any arcane spell as a divine spell. This does not qualify a character for arcane spell caster level or arcane spellcasting pre-reqs.
A wizard (or other prepared arcane spellcasters) can get multiple sets of your full spell slots by resting (for 8 hours or 2 hours with a Ring of Sustenance), memorizing a spell in all your spell slots, then casting all your spell slots and repeating the cycle. You can do this to gain between 2 and 8 sets of daily spells in a 24 hour period. You can do this because a day is defined in D&D as any period in which you rest and regain spells.
A day is defined as 24 hours in D&D and as such no wizard or any other class can ever gain more than 1 set of spells in any given 24 hour period. Many DMs will give plenty of leeway to a player who used all his spells at say midnight then memorizes and uses all his spells again at 9 am, but he is then without spells until 24 hours later (the next day at 9am.) This is backed up by a FAQ post that suggests a DM enforce a strict time of the day that all daily effects are refreshed.
These abilities stack because Powerful Build increases you size for a number of effects including weapons use and it specifically states that it stacks with all other spells and effects. Both stack with Strongarm Bracers.
Powerful Build does not increase your size for weapons use, it simply allows you to use a weapon one size larger than your current size. If your size is Medium, then it allows you to use a Large weapon. Monkey Grip does exactly the same thing. Strongarm Bracers likewise limit you to one size larger than your normal size, which as a result will not stack with Powerful Build or Monkey Grip. All three simply allow a Medium to use a Large weapon and can not stack in any meaningful way.
14Starmantle, Book of Exalted Deeds and Evasion, Players Handbook Spoiler:Show
Starmantle allows you to make a Reflex save for half damage on any melee attack. Evansion allows you to take no damage from any attack that normally allows a Reflex save for half. Since all melee attacks against you while under the effects of a Starmantle normally allow a Reflex save, these two abilities stack to allow you to take no damage on a successful Reflex save.
Melee attacks do not normally allow a Reflex save, so regardless of the fact you currently are allowed a Reflex save, you can not combine the Starmantle ability with Evasion to take no damage on a successful save.
The only monster that deals only STR damage can take feats such as Weapon Specialization to increase the amount of STR damage dealt. This is allowed because ability damage is damage and Weapon Specialization increases the amount of "damage" done.
There is a difference between "damage" and "ability damage" when used in spells and abilities. While it is true that ability damage is a type of damage, any spell or ability that lists simply "damage" will take the form of damage (such as a Fighter's Longsword is slashing damage) or if no damage type is provided the damage will be positive or negative whichever makes the most sense. This is covered in a rules of the game article about Sneak Attack and how Sneak Attack will always be hit point damage despite the fact it simply says "damage" in the Sneak Attack ability as written in the Players Handbook. There is also an implied meaning of "0 damage and 1d6 STR damage" in the Shadow's attack forms.
16Monk's Belt, Dungeon Masters Guide and Superior Unarmed Strike, Tome of Battle Spoiler:Show
Both of these effects reference the base effective Monk level for unarmed damage. As a result, they do not stack with each other and you are left with a choice of the unarmed damage of an 8th level Monk or a 9th level Monk.
You can buy any number of Unarmed Strike weapons at character creation and the Unarmed Strike weapon can be any part of your body. As a result, you can use Two Weapon Fighting to fight with two separate Unarmed Strike weapons to gain two attacks at ECL 1 using Two Weapon Fighting. Both attacks will be at -2 if you have the feat. This is covered in the FAQ and is allowed.
Unarmed Strike is a single weapon and no player can every buy or have multiple Unarmed Strikes. As a result, you can not make a Two Weapon Fighting attack using Unarmed Strike as both your primary and secondary weapon, since you only have one Unarmed Strike weapon.
A Monk's Belt provides the Monk class ability of "AC Bonus" as a 5th level Monk, which provides WIS to AC and an additional +1 to AC. The FAQ has clarified that a monk's belt lets you add your wis mod to AC, assuming that you are unarmoured and unencumbered. As such, this should be seen as the canon interpretation.
A character can make use of multiple of these items, since the item simply adds four turn attempts to the character holding the item. There is no attunement time and there is no limit to the number of Nightsticks you can use at any given time, with each additional providing four more turn attempts. They do not confer any unspecified enhancement to Turning Undead, that would be lost when the rod is dropped, sold, destroyed, whatever. The same is true for Orange Prism Ioun Stone, in that you can have multiple to gain multiple caster levels.
These do not stack, since they all come from the same source. If you have multiple Nightsticks in your possession, you gain a total of four more turn attempts regardless of the number of Nightsticks you have. This follows standard stacking rules. If you hand the item to someone else, you immediately lose four turn attemtps starting from your remaining unused turn attempts. The same for Orange Prism Ioun Stone, multiple of the same items providing the same bonus can not stack.
20Mindspy, Complete Warrior and Doppelganger, Monster Manual Spoiler:Show
Complete Arcane page 72 says that a specific spell requirement can be met by anyone with access to the necessary effect. The Doppelganger's supernatural ability produces the effect "as the spell", and as such qualifies for the requirement despite being a Supernatural Ability. The class was obviously designed with the doppelganger in mind, judging by the artwork on that page. This is clearly just an omission.
The Vest reduces all ability damage by one point, thus reducing the damage taken to 0. This allows you to avoid paying the 1 Con damage of Hellfire Warlock. You aren't immune to Con damage, you effectively have DR 1 for Con damage. Fluff: You're stealing a bit of energy from all souls to give to your infernal masters instead of paying for it yourself.
Since you will never take Con damage from the hellfire, you are effectively immune to the Con damaging effect. Thus you are "somehow" (quote from the ability) immune to Con damage, and therefore you can't use the ability.
22Warmage, Complete Arcane and Beguiler, Players Handbook II Spoiler:Show
Both these classes know every spell on their spell list. If you have effects which add spells to their spell list (like Rainbow Servant), they automatically know all the spells added to their spell list.
Both these classes know every spell on their class spell list, but if an effect adds a spell to their spell list they do not automatically know the spell. These spells would now be available for Advanced Learning despite the fact they would normally be unavailable via Advanced Learning. For example, Rainbow Servant doesn't actually add the cleric spells to your class list. It just lets you cast them; a subtle, but important, distinction.
Artificer scrolls simply do not have a prerequisite ability score. An artificer activating an artificer scroll does not need to have a score in any particular ability to be able to pass that step of scroll activation successfully when it comes to Artificer scrolls. Artificers are automatically considered the correct class type for any Artificer scroll they try to activate, even though Artificer scrolls are neither arcane nor divine.
Since Artificer scrolls do not have a specific correct 'class type' or a prerequisite ability score, not only are Artificers not automatically proficient in their use, UMD cannot be applied to activate them because of lack of anything to emulate, and thus Artificer scrolls are unusable by any class, Artificer included.
24Archivist, Heroes of Horror (Spell List for the Purpose of SC/ST Item Activation) Spoiler:Show
The Archivist's class spell list is all Cleric spells and any other divine spells he has managed to acquire in scroll form. If the item is created as a divine magic item using a spell on the Cleric list or any spell he has acquired, the Archivist can use it without having to make a UMD check.
The Archivist does not have a class spell list. Since it can only draw from the lists of other classes, it cannot make or activate SC/ST Items on its own, and needs to use UMD to activate any SC/ST item, divine or otherwise.
Unless improving AC is directly a function of the spell, the spell can not be targeted. For example Cat's Grace and Polymorph can provide AC, but neither do it directly. As a result neither can be a target of the Pierce Magical Protection feat.
A maximum Dexterity bonus is a limit on the Dexterity that can be applied to AC when wearing encumbering armour. If you have Stone Warden which allows you to use your Constitution for AC instead, you no longer have Dexterity to AC and are no longer limited by the Maximum Dexterity bonus to AC.
Stone Warden allows you to use your Constitution bonus as your Dexterity bonus, so you are still limited by Maximum Dexterity bonus because your Constitution bonus is your Dexterity bonus for the purpose of AC. Here is a response from the developer: http://forums.gleemax.com/leaving.php?d … ount%3D185
Chain Spell specifically states that it works only with a targeted spell. Ranged touch spells do not have a "Target:" entry, but rather an "Effect:" entry, therefore they are effect spells, and not targeted spells. Thus, ranged touch spells cannot be chained.
Unarmed Strikes are Natural weapons because Natural Weapons are defined as "weapons that are physically a part of a creature," so unarmed strikes qualify. Also, the text of the magic fang and magic weapons spells explicitly say they are.
Unarmed strikes are listed in the weapons table of the PHB with other manufactured weapons and they follow the manufactured weapons rules. Also, a monk is granted the special ability to treat them as natural weapons, which she wouldn't need if they already are.
29Legacy Champion, Weapon of Legacy and Uncanny Trickster, Complete Scoundrel (advancing a prestige class beyond the maximum levels in the prestige class) Spoiler:Show
There is nothing in the ability specifically limiting the increase in levels to 'only' the limit of the PrC. Hellfire Warlock is a perfect example, as you can continue to get advancement on your blast beyond the three provided in the prestige class.
By default those abilities top out at the maximum level set by the PrC, unless stated otherwise. The advancement is "as if you gained a level in the existing class", and since you are already at the maximum levels the class provides, there is no more levels to advance. This is most evident with Hellfire Warlock as it only has three levels.
30Stance Thicket of Blades, Tome of Battle vs Tumble and Spring Attack Spoiler:Show
Thicket of Blades makes all movement provoke, so movement that wouldn't normally provoke like Tumble and Spring Attack now provoke. the Rules Compendium covers this. The more specific instance overrules the more general one.
Abilities like sneak attack damage dice or fighter feats are are calculated by level through equations like [(level/2)+1]. Proof of this is when you increase rogue or warlock level through PrCs that increase previous class levels, said primary class abilities increase also, therefore is implied.
Abilities like sneak attack damage dice do not have a written equation, therefore cannot be applied. Only abilities that explicitly specify the levels that character has in that class as a variable apply, eg aberrant paragon and caster levels. The general 3.5 errata clears this up completely. It does not work for sneak attacks.
32Outsider type always grants Martial Weapon Proficiency Spoiler:Show
Practiced Spellcaster gets applied after Wild Magic. This means that if the caster rolls low enough on Wild Magic to reduce their caster level, Practiced Spellcaster then adds +4 caster levels (to a max of the caster's Hit Dice). Thus, if a 7th level caster rolls a 1 on Wild Magic, resulting in -2 CL, Practiced Spellcaster brings it back up to +0. If the same caster rolled a 5 on Wild Magic, resulting in +2 CL, Practiced spellcaster would have no effect. The FAQ makes this clear with an example of these two abilities.
They can't stack due to same source stacking rules. All these abilities are similar, they are all called the same name "AC Bonus", and the official stance from WotC is that they do not stack (Sage Advise.)
Here is a list of a few curiosities, that are not exactly heavily debated, but interesting.
Shivering Touch from Frostburn is a 3d6 DEX ability damaging spell that has "Target: Creature Touched" and a duration of round/level. The duration doesn't do anything unless the 3d6 DEX was intended to be a DEX penalty.
Now when you have Monk's belt in there, you might want to mention the controversial issue concerning the AC bonus it grants.
Nightstick is another issue that could be discussed here. Whether or not they stack remains questionable, at least to me.
At the moment I am facing a dilemma. Mindspy requires Detect thought as a spell-like ability or a spell. However, Doppelgangers are mentioned to be very popular members of that PrC, but their Detect thoughts is supernatural. Well, I houseruled that Cabinet trickster gets in with his (Su) Detect thoughts...
This thread is a great idea by the way. A good place for a DM to drop by in order to check some houserulable combos. Tell me to erase the message, if it does not suit the thread...
Note that Arcane Thesis has been recently errataed. As it stands, it works like your "pro" arguement, except that it's impossible to lower the level of the spell below the original spell level (so fireball in that case would be a 3rd level spell, but adding another 0 increase metamagic would not lower it to 2nd level).
Likewise, number 17 was covered in an FAQ, which stated explicitly that a first level monk with two weapon fighting could make three attacks with his unarmed strike, at -4/-4/-4.
"15) Shadow, Monster Manual The only monster that deals only STR damage can take feats such as Power Attack to increase the amount of STR damage dealt. This is allowed because ability damage is damage and Power Attack increases the amount of "damage" done. There is a difference between "damage" and "ability damage" when used in spells and abilities. While it is true that ability damage is a type of damage, any spell or ability that lists simply "damage" will take the form of damage (such as a Fighter's Longsword is slashing damage) or if no damage type is provided the damage will be positive or negative whichever makes the most sense. This is covered in a rules of the game article about Sneak Attack and how Sneak Attack will always be hit point damage despite the fact it simply says "damage" in the Sneak Attack ability as written in the Players Handbook. There is also an implied meaning of "0 damage and 1d6 STR damage" in the Shadow's attack forms."
Well I don't see how this is an argument. Power attack has a pre-req of Str-13+ and Shadows as Incorporeal creatures have no Str. score. They don't even (and can never) qualify for the feat so the point is Moot.
I think it is problematic that some of the arguments you list have been repeatedly refuted and shown to be false.
Also, you are not precise when referencing the actual RAW, which causes many of these rules discussion in the first place. There's no need to confuse people any further on these issues.
13) Powerful Build, Expanded Psionics Handbook; Monkey Grip, Complete Warrior; Strongarm Bracer, Magic Item Compendium These abilities stack because Powerful Build increases you size for a number of effects including weapons use and it specifically states that it stacks with all other spells and effects."
No, it does not state that. It specifically says that it stacks with "the effects of powers, abilities and spells that change the subjects size category". This is fundamentally different from what you claim it says, as it does not imply it stacks with Monkey Grip (which is not an effect that changes the target's size category).
Both stack with Strongarm Bracers.
This is simply wrong.
Strongarm Bracers explicitly state that they do not stack with Powerful Build.
Edit: I also don't think this qualifies as a "heavily debated topic". It's generally understood that Powerful Build and Monkey Grip do not stack. Post about this do pop up every now and then, but there's rarely an debate, just a clarification/explanation of the RAW. I guess it falls more into the category of "on first glance frequently misunderstood rules issues".