Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition

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Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition
RPG published by
Wizards of the Coast
Authors Monte Cook, Jonathan Tweet, Skip Williams
First Publication 2000 (3rd Edition)
2003 (3.5 Edition)
Essential Books Dungeon Master's Guide
Player's Handbook
Monster Manual

The third edition of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game, albeit dropping "advanced" from the title to make it more accessible to new players. Though initially published in the Fall of 2000 by Wizards of the Coast (as the version commonly referred to as "3.0e"), a "3.5" revision was published in July 2003 with significant changes to the action economy and some relatively minor changes to damage resistance and the skill points system, and it is the 3.5 revision that most 3rd edition players use. Some spells and classes from 3.0 got reprinted with changes in 3.5e as well. Wizards then went on to release 4e, which received a controversial greeting, and inspired Paizo to monetize the ensuing salt by releasing its own 3.5 with blackjack and hookers, called Pathfinder.

Among the five major editions of D&D, Third Edition is famous for releasing way too many books in rapid succession, usually one but sometimes two per month, many of which were written by people who didn't have a very clear grasp of the rules and none of whom were looking over each others' shoulders or reading all of these books to ensure that everything would work together correctly. As a result, the big selling point of 3e is that it has record-setting numbers of playable races (over 200), base classes (52, or 53 if you count the erudite as its own class rather than a variant psion, or 54 if you count samurai twice since there are literally two classes named samurai that have nothing to do with each other), and Prestige Classes (782 according to Wizard's official index, and that's missing at least the ones introduced on their website, though it does include a few redundant entries that were updated from 3.0 in a 3.5 book or otherwise reprinted), while the big drawback is that it permits a lot of rules lawyering and insane brokenness. Just to give you an idea of how screwed up things were, the Arctic Dwarf, Frost Dwarf, and Glacier Dwarf were three completely different races. If Chaotic Stupid was a D&D edition, it would be 3e.

The system turned 20 on August 10th 2020. Despite the system still having considerable popularity for something its age, this went completely unnoticed. Even Wizards of the Coast didn't give it a token mention, apparently too busy trying to figure out which of its old products were "racist". Stay tuned to see if anyone notices when its older than 1E was at 3E's release (June 2022) or 3.5 turns 20 (July 2023).


The Core Mechanic[edit]

3rd edition introduced the now ubiquitous "d20 System", where almost every action with a chance of failure is resolved by rolling a d20, applying relevant modifiers, and comparing the result to a set difficulty (or, in some cases, another character's roll) to determine success, referred to by the system as the "Core Mechanic". For example, a fighter attempting to hit a monster with his sword rolls a d20 and may add his Base Attack Bonus, Strength bonus, relevant Weapon Focus boni, magical enhancements, etc. with the objective of beating his opponent's Armor Class. Rolling equal to or over the target's AC means he has successfully hit and gets to deal damage. In a similar vein, a rogue attempting to pick a lock rolls a d20 and adds his skill ranks, dexterity bonus, any relevant skill boni from feats, modifiers depending on the quality of his equipment, etc. in an attempt to beat the target DC (Difficulty Class) of the lock.

This was generally regarded as a significant improvement on the systems used in 1e and 2e, where many different parts of the game were governed by vastly different mechanics. Restructuring the game around the single core mechanic made gameplay much simpler and easier to pick up for new players.

Characters and Creatures[edit]

Characters and creatures in the system are structured around Hit Dice and ability scores, wherein boni and traits from various hit dice are stacked together and combined with modifiers derived from the base ability scores to determine the other statistics of the entity. For example, a 2nd level Cleric/3rd level Fighter would have a +1 BAB for his two cleric hit dice and a +3 BAB for his three fighter hit dice, combining to give him a total Base Attack Bonus of +4, which would then be modified by other abilities such as strength or dexterity to determine his overall bonus when making an attack. The hit points granted to him by each of those hit dice would be added together and modified by the constitution score to determine his overall hit point total, and so on.

Almost all entities have six ability scores: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma - that describe basic qualities of their character. The human average ability score, as the baseline from which all other ability scores are referenced, is 10 or 11. Ability scores higher than this grant boni to their relevant checks, and lower than this impose penalties. Every two points of score results in a +1 modifier, such that a score of 8-9 is a -1 penalty, 10-11 is +0, 12-13 is +1, and so on. Different races generally have boni and penalties to some ability scores to represent how they differ to humans; for example, graceful but frail elves have a +2 to their Dexterity (giving them an extra +1 bonus to Dexterity-linked checks) but a -2 penalty to their Constitution, whereas stout but surly dwarves receive a +2 to their Constitution but suffer a -2 to their Charisma.

In general, having any ability score reduced to 0 (by magic or other effects) results in incapacitation or death; a 0 Str or Dex character is unable to move himself, a 0 Con character is dead, and a 0 in a mental ability stat results in a coma. Some entities are lacking certain abilities entirely, a situation explicitly different from having a 0 in the stat: for example, a mindless magical construct that cannot think for itself both has no constitution score, as it is not a living being and is not subject to poisons, diseases, and other such things as living beings are; it also has no intelligence score, as it is generally incapable of making its own decisions and instead acts only on the orders given to it by its master.

Everything also fits into size categories, which describe how big or small they are. In ascending order, the categories are Fine, Diminutive, Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, Huge, Gargantuan, and Colossal. A creature's size category modifies its Armor Class and attack bonus (a target relatively larger than you is easier to hit), and determines the damage of its natural weapons and its space and reach. Don't think of your space as the area you occupy, otherwise you start thinking of ten-foot-wide horses; rather, think of it as the area you control. How close do you want to get to a guy swinging a longsword, anyway?

Playable Base Classes[edit]

Remember when we said there were 54 base classes? Here they are, and what books they're from.

There are some other bullshit classes too, like several that are only available to NPCs, some from third-party sources, one that you can only be when you're dead, etc. but these are the canonical 54 classes from first-party publications that player characters can take at first level.

v3.5 Revision[edit]

In July 2003, WOTC essentially released a patch for 3rd Edition called "v.3.5". It made a bunch of small rules changes, mostly balance changes and the like so not really worthy of being called a whole new edition, hence 3.5. Most content from 3.0 that never got updated to 3.5 should be fine to use since it's still the same framework, but some details may need to be fixed.

Campaign Settings[edit]


  • Greyhawk - The default setting for the edition. Despite this, books rarely mentioned it beyond the deities and it only got a grand total of one book dedicated to the setting, the 32 page (plus a map and the covers) Gazetteer. RPGA ran multiple campaigns in it however.
  • Forgotten Realms - Basically the same as normal D&D, but with a huge basement called the Underdark, which gave us a never-ending stream of Drow edgelords that everyone hated.
  • Eberron - called "dungeonpunk", and winner of the "make a new setting for D&D" contest. Its whole thing is taking the existence of magic to its logical conclusion: people would industrialize that shit. Naturally, this is where warforged come from.

Official Licensed Third-Party Campaign Settings[edit]

  • Dragonlance - Basically the same as normal D&D, but with Kenders and Tinker gnomes, arguably the worst player races ever. It also had like 6 or 7 different sub-races of elves for god knows what reason. Most of the Third Edition Dragonlance stuff was licensed to third parties who had more experience with D&D than anyone who remained at WotC did; Margaret Weiss and Sovereign Press were actually ex-TSR employees who had worked on the game's first and second editions. This would be like if Blizzard had licensed Runic Games (AKA Flagship Studios, AKA Blizzard North, AKA Condor) to develop Reaper of Souls.
  • Ravenloft - Originally a single dungeon and then a campaign setting throughout the game's first two editions, Ravenloft got licensed to White Wolf for Third Edition. White Wolf promptly went ahead and designed a whole new fucking game bolted on top of the 3.0e rules set, and published it under their new "Sword & Sorcery" label.
  • Kingdoms of Kalamar - Originally created by Kenzerco as a campaign setting that was "game-agnostic" on paper, but in reality was designed exclusively to be used with D&D. WotC officially licensed this setting as a D&D product when they realized that they had no legal way to cock-block Kenzerco and figured that they might as well make money off of it. Feel free to pretend that this one doesn't exist since its rules additions are notoriously bad.

Frequently Mistaken for 3rd Edition Settings[edit]

  • Ghostwalk - literally only a single book, describing a passageway to the world of the dead that could be integrated into any of the existing campaign settings, or be part of its own that was never developed.
  • Rokugan - Where the game "Legend of the Five Rings" takes place. This was going to be a D&D Third Edition setting too, but some legal bullshit happened and Rokugan ended up being spun off into its own separate L5R game based on Third Edition rules. Before that happened, however, Oriental Adventures got a 3.0e update which incorporated a lot of Rokugan/L5R stuff and was meant to pave the way for Rokugan being a D&D setting.
  • Dark Sun/Athas - Never got an official 3e update. However, WotC acknowledged the existence of an unofficial fan-made update, which tricked a few really stupid people into thinking it was a 3e setting.
  • Planescape - Never got an official 3e update, though bits and pieces of it were mentioned in the Greyhawk books, which tricked a few really stupid people into thinking it was a 3e setting.
  • Spelljammer - Yes, the Neogi did appear as a playable race in Lords of Madness, but that doesn't count as updating all of Spelljammer for 3e.
  • Masque of the Red Death(Gothic Earth) - You'll never find a 3e Gothic Earth book unless it's part of the Ravenloft setting.

Open Gaming License[edit]

WotC heard about this "open source" thing, and thought they'd get on the bandwagon with Open Gaming License. Players had been making house rules for forever and a day, but WotC riffed off the GNU Public License and wrote some rules where anyone could publish supporting material off the core rules, for free, just acknowledge the source and use the same license so people can make splatbooks for your stuff. The amount of non-WotC material written for 3rd edition skyrocketed, and the d20 System became the heart of dozens of role-playing games in dozens of genres. WotC didn't see royalty checks, but it helped cement their grip on the roleplay game industry during the 3e era and sold a lot of corebooks.

WotC chickened out in the next edition, offering a "new and improved" licensing scheme for it, which is more restrictive and far less used.


See Examples of Play.


When Third Edition launched, it did so with basically two different ways of handling magic. The first way was prepared or "Vancian" casting, wherein characters would wake up every morning and choose a bunch of spells from their class spell list to "prepare", like Batman choosing which gadgets to include in his utility belt before leaving the Batcave. If the player figured that they'd probably end up casting a particular spell more than once that day, they'd have to choose how many copies of that spell to prepare. These "prepared" spells were the only ones that the player could cast that day, so if you brought too many batarangs when what you really needed was a can of shark repellent (or you brought shark repellent when what you really needed was one more batarang), you were screwed until you could run back to your Batcave and grab the right gadget. On the other hand, if you knew exactly what kind of situation you were facing and had 24 hours to prepare, you could pretty much curb stomp anything. The Cleric, Druid, Paladin, Ranger, and Wizard all worked this way. The other casting system, known as "spontaneous" casting, sacrificed this sort of long-term flexibility to gain a ton of short-term flexibility. Whenever a spontaneous caster leveled up, they would choose a couple of new spells to learn from their class spell list; then, they could cast whatever spells they wanted, whenever they wanted, as long as they knew that spell. This was a little bit more like being Superman; if he ever runs into a problem that he can't fly over, smash with his fists, freeze with his breath, or yeet into the fucking sun, he can't just run back to his Fortress of Solitude and trade in one of his powers for a new one like telepathy. But on the other hand, he never has to worry about packing too many uses of frost breath and not enough uses of super strength. The only other limit on spontaneous casting was "spells per day", whereby the caster was limited to casting a particular number of spells of each level per day. A first-level sorcerer, for example, could cast five level-0 spells and three level-1 spells per day. So if superman was a level 1 sorcerer, flying and super strength were level 0 spells, and freezing breath and x-ray vision were level-1 spells, then he could use flying and/or super strength any number of times each as long as their combined number of uses was five or less each day, and he could use freezing breath and x-ray vision any number of times each as long as their combined number of uses was three or less each day. Classes that use this system include the Bard, Sorcerer, and Favored Soul. Various future classes used the systems introduced here. Eventually one extra wrinkle was added in the form of Spirit Shaman, which works like a Sorcerer but can change its spells known every day. That variant would become standard in 5th edition.

The people who were in charge of writing splatbooks immediately decided that they did not like either of these systems, and to show Monte Cook and Skip Williams how it should have been done, they'd just make up their own magic systems and graft those onto the existing rules. Did we mention earlier that Third Edition was a design clusterfuck because of shenanigans like this?

First we got two different Psionics systems, both of which debuted in the Psionics Handbook. One of these, "psionic combat", was incomprehensible to normal people. The other was basically just spontaneous casting, except that instead of a character's spells per day being dictated by charts and spell levels, they'd just have a pool of psionic power points, and each psionic power would cost a particular number of points and could be improved by spending extra points. With 3.5e came a revised version of the handbook, which, despite being called the Expanded Psionics Handbook, got rid of "psionic combat" altogether and reduced psionics to the power points spellcasting system alone. This was widely regarded as a huge improvement and the first time (second counting d20 Modern) that Psionics were functional, balanced, and fun to use, making everyone who actually read the limits of power points per turn a fan. Its was introduced with the Psion, Psychic Warrior, and Wilder base classes, plus some bullshit prestige classes. The book Complete Psionics added the Ardent, Divine Mind, Lurk, and Erudite.

Then it was decided that this wasn't good enough, and we needed a fourth system: one that was basically like spontaneous casting, except that instead of choosing a couple of new spells to learn from your class spell list every time you leveled up, you just knew your entire class spell list from birth. This gave us the Warmage first in the Miniatures Handbook (Oct. 2003), followed much later by the Dread Necromancer and Beguiler.

Then someone decided we REALLY needed was a fifth system: one where you didn't actually cast spells at all, but instead used spell-like abilities called "invocations", which you would gain as you leveled up, an unlimited number of times per day. Known examples include the Warlock from Complete Arcane (Nov. 2004) and Dragonfire Adept from Dragon Magic. This proved popular (Notice Warlock is actually a core class in 4th and 5th editions) and aside from Psionics is pretty much the only one to get future support.

Note that these systems all came about because the authors who created them regarded the original two spellcasting systems as too complicated or difficult to understand, and decided to offer simpler alternatives. This was not the case for the author of Magic of Incarnum (Sep. 2005), who decided that not only did we needed a SIXTH magic subsystem, but it should be as complicated and difficult to understand as possible. Or at least that's the conclusion reached by people who claim that they've attempted to read the book. It's not like anyone has the courage to bother double-checking. The classes that use this system are the Incarnate, Soulborn, and Totemist. The only future support it got was an obscure prestige class, Thief of Life, in Faiths of Eberron that had an effect that interacted with Incarnum users in addition to its primary use. While the idea was interesting, the execution was so much of a clusterfuck few bothered with it beyond a single feat that let you cherry pick the useful stuff and never touch the messier parts. A decade later, Dreamscarred Press made a Pathfinder version with the serial numbers filed off and better mechanics and it actually proved decently popular, getting actual future support.

Not to be outdone, in March of 2006, some jackass decided to one-up Magic of Incarnum by introducing three completely new magic subsystems in one book, two of which are a design mess and all three of which would get only one base class, ever. One of those three classes, the Truenamer, just plain old doesn't work, and it gets its own dedicated tier on the Tier System for that reason alone. Binder, however, actually managed to be pretty well done and is the only one of these to get any future support (mostly from some web articles).

Finally, later that year, Tome of Battle came along and added a tenth magic subsystem, wherein spells were renamed "maneuvers" and casting them was called "initiating". The Crusader, Swordsage, and Warblade used this system. It arrived far too late to get future support of any kind, but it had a solid enough fanbase it was remade for Pathfinder as Path of War, which got plenty of support.

Of course, then it was decided that there still wasn't enough systems, so they went and published an 11th system to remix the regular spellcasting rules called the Sha'ir, with which a spellcaster doesn't prepare their spells or have a bunch of known ones on command, instead having access to a special familiar who goes out to grab them, with the time and difficulty of it depending on the spell. This essentially meant you had a spellcaster who got to prepare spells as they went throughout the day, doing whatever whilst their familiar was off grabbing more. Oh, and they could prepare from the entire wiz/sorc spell list. And they also got a bunch of cleric domains as spells too for free as part of their list, making them a simultaneously Divine and Arcane class.

There's some other, lesser, magic systems out there. Unearthed Arcana introduced a few, explicitly variant, rule options for spellcasting. "Spell Points" is really just the Psionics mechanics attached to the Cleric and Wizard spell lists. Incantations are ritual magic that first showed up in d20 Modern's Urban Arcana. Unlike d20 Modern, where these were the only way to access spell effects of greater than 5th level (or at all in some campaigns), nobody bothered with these because while thematically nifty, it was just a GM's tool kit for homebrew than anything usable outside of fiat. Recharge Magic made magic even more stupidly broken.


Since D&D is relatively mainstream and has been around for so long, many of the design benefits in D&D 3e have been incorporated into other RPGs, so newfags will take these benefits for granted. Keep in mind that D&D 3e broke new ground in many areas, or brought good ideas into widespread attention, and these same newfags probably don't remember how everyone lost their shit when Dragonlance came out.

  • It just works, bitches. Proof by example: if it wasn't so good over ten years later, people would've jumped ship to Warhammer Fantasy or still be playing AD&D 2nd Ed.
  • The Open Gaming License allowed for an explosion of peer-created content. Not all of it is good, but you don't have to buy the crap, you can just take the cream. No more "compatible with most fantasy rpgs (wink wink)," and no more small press crap because real publishers are too scared of lawyers.
  • All task resolution is normalized to a single d20 + relevant modifiers vs. Difficulty Class roll.
    • Your chance to hit is no longer dependent on an unwieldy THAC0 chart. Each class grants a Base Attack Bonus progression that adds to all your attacks.
    • The five source-based saving throw classes based on source are reduced to three defense-based saves: Fortitude (I'm a tough guy), Reflex (I'm a nimble guy), and Will (I'm a wiseguy, er, wise guy).
  • Skills replace nonweapon proficiencies. Each class has a set of skills that they excel in, though any character can take any skill they want. The designers finally realized that a fighter shouldn't have to stand at the bottom of a wall and reach ineffectually just because "Climb Walls" wasn't in his class features.
  • The Feats system brought in awesome customizing of classes. You want a swordfighter that specializes in sabre-&-dirk fighting? How about a gladiator that brawls unarmed and can go toe-to-toe with a stone golem? We got you covered. It's like a DIY kit for class features.
  • While the older editions covered the basic realistic combat styles, 3e started to see just how far "heroic" combat can go.
  • Class restrictions based on race are gone. Anybody can take any class to any level. You no longer need minimum attributes to take a core class (though a caster is effectively useless without at least an 11 in their primary attribute); instead, those attributes contribute to the power of the class.
    • Prestige classes are introduced, which are more specialized classes often associated with organizations and the like. They usually require skills and feats, with the design philosophy that specific class levels should never be prerequisites for a prestige class.
  • Rules for homebrewing player races using monsters as templates, allowing players to play as ridiculous nonsense like an ixitxachitl, a swarm of bugs, or a flying aborted fetus.
    • For many of these monsters, 3.5e cut out the middleman and just straight-up printed player character versions of those monsters, including mind flayers.
  • Exceedingly easy and rewarding to make homebrew content for, it's a versatile and open system.


Rage-a.pngThis article or section contains opinions shared by all and/or vast quantities of Derp. It is liable to cause Rage. Take things with a grain of salt and a peck of Troll.

Some of the criticisms of third edition D&D include:

  • Not enough anime powers and weeaboo artwork.
    • Attempted to fix it with the nigh-endless train of prestige classes in the "Complete BLAH" and "Book of Vile/Exalted BLAH" and Tome of Battle: 9 Euphemisms For My Dick... Starting with 6 prestige classes in the 3.0 DMG (16 in the 3.5 DMG), there's 120 more in official splatbooks (349 in the official 3.5 splatbooks), and that's not counting the Epic prestige classes above level 20, or prestige classes introduced in modules, and I haven't even started on the prestige classes mentioned in official settings...
  • The Race-as-Class affair was done away with... in theory, that is. Instead there's Favored Classes, which somewhat shoehorn in particular archetypes and sometimes goes against a setting's established lore, but that's hardly an issue for a mono-class character, or a character with a level in every class.
    • The issue is that if you do multiclass with a race's favored class, you now take XP penalties for the other class - a dick move, especially when you're taking a race with a favored class you only want to dip in.
  • Racial balance is crap. Human is best at everything by a significant margin and only Dwarfs come close in the core races. Non-core randomly saddled races that were otherwise balanced with humans with a LA+1 that rendered them nearly useless long-term, seemingly only to keep "exotic" races away.
  • Katanas are seen as underpowered in d20, although there are also some who feel it doesn't deserve its masterwork quality and instead feel it should receive -4 Str.
  • People who enjoy being fucked in the ass prefer FATAL.
    • Honestly, regular players don't really have to worry about this as much as 4chan tells you to. All they have to do is tell the DM what they want to do and roll a d20, and then the DM does all the math (or just makes some shit up). A DM, however, will be expected to read hundreds of pages of rules, covering such topic as Challenge Rating calculation, special combat maneuvers, level progression, how to create items, rules for specific items, rules for flight and mounted moving, rules for surviving, tracking, hunting, picking your nose and so on.
    • Conversely, the edition was notorious for the sheer fucking overload in options available to players between all the campaign settings, the Complete books, the Race books, and every relevant Dragon Magazine article, which makes it a near nightmare to get things organized. Part of this can be excused to the relative nascence of the internet and the possibility that WotC was hesitant to sink money into a rules database like they later would. Adding salt to the wound is the knowledge that the SRD only carries the most essential of the rules (Core, Psionics, Epic Levels, Unearthed Arcana's variant rules, a handful of random monsters from later books, and some random non-epic stuff that got reprinted in the Epic Level Handbook.), as the entire intent was to allow WotC to sell supplements while letting third parties make "compatible" content to give D&D a massive marketshare (which worked), rather than ease of use.
    • Many 2nd edition rules were presented as optional, allowing the DM leeway to experiment with his ideas and his group. Carrying over beloved characters from 1st to 2nd edition was no big deal. 3rd edition made this impossible, and canonically standardized plenty of bad and broken rules that made us all want to climb back up into Lorraine's warm, life-giving uterus and beg for forgiveness.
    • Action economy became a thing and broke the game in a million subtle ways that are only just being catalogued. From making movement an action of its own, making a "full attack" a different kind of action from an "attack" (and mutually-exclusive with movement), introducing complicated reloading mechanics for many ranged weapons, and so on, 3rd Edition and its derivatives made all weapon fighting classes' lives much harder in many subtle ways in the name of giving casters more fun mental homework to do by portioning out spell casting times. One of the big practical results of this is that nearly everyone who wants to be there wants to move as little as possible once melee combat starts, because any kind of movement suddenly means dropping your (theoretical, again, iterative attacks took big penalties) damage by a big margin, and why many melee builds revolve around finding ways to get around this by acquiring the "pounce" ability that let them get all their attacks off if they charged. It's all complicated and unintuitive in a way that's not really tactically interesting even if you already know it.
  • Spells all work differently from one another, so instead of looking up the rules on a type of action, you look up the rules for a specific spell. And then the spell's errata. And the Ask the Sage article about that spell.
  • No one can even pretend the various classes are balanced against one another. After 10th level or so spellcasters are so powerful and versatile that the average dungeon crawl is cut short when they use a spell or two to redirect a nearby river into the front door, killing everything inside but the skeletons. For comparison, the fighter is about to get his third attack a round! ...With a to-hit rate so low he'll almost certainly miss with it.
    • Classes have never been balanced against each other but this is mostly to do with the fact that the power of casters was kept from AD&D but the drawbacks (slower initial leveling speed, greater potential to kill yourself, highly limited spell slots and several things that made spellcasting hell) were removed. Granted this example is a bit exaggerated since a smart DM could just quietly change the dungeon to an undead filled one as a middle finger for trying to cheese it or if home to anyone of magical ability, bounce off a ward.
      • Even so, casters are WAY more powerful on an individual basis. Just check the Tier System. Casters are nigh-always superior in personal combat (oh, trolls trying to mess me up? Well, guess I'll just fly straight up a few meters and shoot them dead), and have the ability to handle pretty much everything else (short of traps... Damn rogue-only abilites (they can usually bypass them or deal with them some other way than disabling them, though)) as well. They even have specific spells/powers for doing "whatever I want" ("Wish" and "Reality Revision" comes to mind). The fact that the Adept, a class made for NPCs in mind and thus supposed to be in every way inferior to the player classes, is STILL a solid and perfectly playable Tier 4, at tier or even ahead of most of the Core SRD melee classes, solely because spellcasting is its primary focus, really says something.
  • Monte Cook drew on Magic: The Gathering for inspiration for the Feats sub-system, and thus incorporated the fact that most Magic cards are shit and part of the game is picking out the worthwhile ones from the dreck into a game where you can't just easily swap out underperforming components of your character. As a result, most feats are crap, and if you don't want to spend time on the Internet looking up tutorials, you risk accidentally tripping trap options. This was also exacerbated by the glut of content for the edition: the marketing boys love being able to print "Over 100 new feats!" on the back of every damn sourcebook and the design of the game is such that low quality control is practically considered a feature rather than a bug. Qualifications and feat chains were also big issues, with "feat taxes," or low-quality feats you'd never use or feel the effects of often being prerequisites to qualify for good ones later.
    • This also applies on a lesser scale, to prestige classes/base classes, with people just remembering the OP bullshit and not the countless low-effort trash ones. It is also very hostile to new players creating their characters from level to level and practically demands building yourself from session 1 to qualify for what you want.
  • Some rules make a lot of sense for the sake of mechanics in combat and gameplay but sound silly in realistic terms... like "the older you get the wiser you get"... and by default the better your sense of sight and hearing become (handwavium: spot and listen checks aren't necessarily about how well you can see and hear, but about how well you NOTICE the things you see and hear, which, in the real world, does often improve with age and experience. For example, we're all much better at telling the difference between the CGI dinosaurs and the physical puppets in Jurassic Park than we were back in 1993). Silly things like these are often pointed out in Rich Burlew's Order of the Stick, an online comic based on D&D characters.
  • It's possible for a wizard not to know about magic, a druid not to know about nature and a cleric not know about religion (including his own).
  • Class skills are pretty much set in stone for each class, with only a handful of ways to add skills to your class skills. Curiously, d20 Modern fixed this with its starting occupation system, but unlike many other fixes to 3E of that system, it wasn't included in the 3.5 update.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Dungeons & Dragons
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