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D&D 3E
Recent D&D Sourcebooks 
30th-Jul-2006 06:52 pm
dice from Melanie
The last couple of D&D sourcebooks I've bought have been the Player's Handbook II and Tome of Magic. I'm disappointed in both of them, for different reasons, and I thought I'd share them here.

The Player's Handbook II was a lot of filler, things that I thought better fit as articles in DRAGON, but that was also true of the Dungeon Master's Guide II, so that didn't surprise me. What did surprise me was the amount of material that I thought was strange or out-of-balance. The feat "Melee Evasion" (page 81) doesn't seem to make sense. It requires a Dex of 13, and it's a defensive combat feat, but if your character attempts it, neither her armor nor her magical protections nor her Dexterity affect her AC, which becomes simply d20 plus BAB. I'm baffled by what it's supposed to simulate.

On the same page, "Penetrating Shot" presumably allows you to shoot through a lot of targets. Magical "Exit Wound" missiles do a limited version of the same, for a much more reasonably cost. Aside from giving an archer an overwhelming attack, the rules are vague. They say that an extra damage is only taken by the first target, but if your arrow of dragon slaying penetrates the stone golem and hits the red dragon, is the slaying effect considered extra damage?

The Tome of Magic seems to be three manuscripts sold under one cover. Overall, there are nice effects, but I wonder how Illumians (the race "made out of language" from Races of Destiny functions with either the Shadow Magic (Are Illumian Shadowcsters treated as +2 levels for all their spells? That seems a little out of balance.) or TrueName Magic (Are Illumians completely immune to all TrueName spells cast at lower levels than the Illumian?) The Goliaths from Races of Stone have been seen in more recent sourcebooks. Are the Illumians forgotten?

Does Wizards need more careful editting?
31st-Jul-2006 12:23 am (UTC) - Glad to see I'm not the only one.
Maybe if enough of us post things about the WotC editing staff, they'll eventually see it and notice that their audience is growing weary.

You know what I havn't seen a whole lot of material made for in Dungeons & Dragons? Dragons!

There is the Draconomicon... And they just released a new book for dragons. But with the latest (non)quality material being produced, I have to wonder if it's just a few excerpts from the Draconomicon with a lot of.. well.. filler.
31st-Jul-2006 03:43 am (UTC) - Re: Glad to see I'm not the only one.
See, I think the problem is there are too many goddamned sourcebooks. To much "additional, essential material." Publish some full adventures. Where are the "Temple of Elemental Evil" and "Throne of Blood" and the like for third edition? All I see are stupid feats, stupid new base classes, stupid new races, and Just bullshit that doesn't add anything to the games, sut makes my life as a DM and a player more difficult and irritating. No more ridicuoust kinds of dragons. There's a dozen in the core books, and another dozen or more on the other books, between gem dragons, chromatic dragons, metallic dragons, planar dragons, and wrack dragons, there are enough of those littel fuckers, too. Less dragons, more dungeons. More modules and adventures that I can twist to my corrupt and fell will.
31st-Jul-2006 01:16 am (UTC)
I agree that PHB2 was mostly filler, except for the feats.

But in an attempt to figure out WotC's reasoning...

"Melee Evasion" probably is supposed to allow you to dodge an attack using only your skill in combat (i.e, your BAB). You give up your armor, magic protection, and even innate ability to simply rely on any combat training. Sounds like a reasonable feat to me. Of course, the Dex requirement doesn't make sense--seems more like should have a BAB requirement.

For "Penetrating Shot," archers are kinda weak (IMO) as is, so giving them a boost isn't a problem. Someone could check me on this, but I believe that "extra damage" is any extra dice worth of damage--straight numbers are considered a "damage bonus", not extra damage. By that logic yes, the arrow of dragon slaying wouldn't work if you shoot it through a stone golem. Which seems perfectly reasonable to me.

Yes, Wizards has a habit of forgetting supplemental material--I think the most interesting is looking at which extra Base classes were given starting packages in PHB2. Indeed, it has long bugged psionic lovers that Wizards hasn't had general support for psionics; it's only relatively recently that you see Psionic powers and PrCs and stuff in the average splat book. But notice you don't see much incarnum supplements out there...

The same thing that holds for rules systems and classes holds for races: some just don't have sticking power and get forgotten about. In fact, this may be even MORE of a problem for races. I mean, who cares about some race listed in a single book when there are 4 Monster Manuals with playable monstrous races? I certainly haven't seen much of a demand for Illumian material. Because it keeps publishing new material (for good or ill), Wizards can't be expected to offer full support for each new supplement. Many will have to just stand on their own.

Which is not to say that having Illumians be deal with Shadow or Truename magic in a different way is bad. Feel free to make up fun new effects or abilities :) But you really can't complain if Wizards doesn't try to waste pages making the connection (again, a waste in my opinion).
31st-Jul-2006 07:35 am (UTC)
Probably so you don't get some wanker with a 3 dex and levels of fighter twinking it. At first level, that would yield an AC equivalent to a 12 dex.

I wonder if a gargantuan creature could take the feat and use it to negate their size penalty?

I haven't even looked at the book, much less the wording of the feat, so I really don't know.
31st-Jul-2006 01:54 am (UTC)
I personally use the the Tome of Magic quite a bit and the answer to both of your questions is:


It specifically says in the Tome of Magic that mysteries do not count as spells for the purposes of things which augment spells. Therefore, the +2 (which, for Illumians, btw, only goes up to the char level, and never past it, as it's meant to be for multi class chars) to caster level does not apply. (I'm playing a Shadowcaster in one campaign, I'm quite familiar with the pain of not having spell oriented things apply)

Also, it specifically says in the Illumian race description that their Glyphic Resonance only applies to Glyph spells. Truename magic is spoken, not written. Written truenames have no power. Therefore the Glyphic resonance does not apply.

However, I do have an Illumian Truenamer in one campaign, due to the +2 to int-based skill checks, which for a Truenamer is effectively a +4 to int =P
31st-Jul-2006 06:53 am (UTC)
Yeah, came here to post this. I sure hope Illumians don't fade out like highbulp seems to be suggesting, they're a superb concept and probably my favorite race ever.
31st-Jul-2006 07:35 am (UTC)
Yeah, since I started playing one, I really like them too =)
31st-Jul-2006 07:36 am (UTC)
It's been a while for me, but I don't rcall being too pleased with them.
1st-Aug-2006 03:49 am (UTC)
the pg 2 was 85% useless and chock full of stuff for players with no imagination"which i cant see what fun rpg's would be if you just chose a charicter arctype"
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