Saturday, 6 July 2013

Variant Rules

Ahh! Solving mysteries! Nothing quite like it.

You know, the more I play my RPoL game, the more I learn about 3.5 and 3.5 players. You guys are desperately in need of . . . toilet paper!

I play a Table Top game every Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm, Eastern Time. Those guys really know the rules. That is, they think they know the rules. You see, I've started using some of those rules in my RPoL 3.5 game and I've been getting asked: "What are you talking about?"

Enter "Variant Rules."

These are rules that are not from the Core Books. No, they were created by Gamers and can be found on the D&D Wiki site and other places. It also turns out that there are different variations of the Variant Rules!

My favorite, and the one that recently came up, is "Critical Failure." On Saturdays my Wizard rolls a natural 1 with his crossbow attack. "Oh! That's a 'Critical Failure,'" cries the DM. "You broke the string on your crossbow!"

As I have recently learned, that's not how it works. Just as with a "Critical Hit" you need to "roll to confirm" the "Critical Failure." Fortunately – for the player – you do not have a "spread" for this one. No, it requires another roll of "natural 1" to confirm, otherwise, it's "just a miss." But, if you do confirm, then you get to roll a d100 with all sorts of "goodies" to choose from. And like I said, one of my players has shown me variations of this rule.

And all this time I thought that 3.5 was a codified system of Game Play, when in truth, it is a mish-mash of all sorts of "made up" stuff, each DM picking and choosing what he wants and even "making it up as he goes along!" No wonder 3.5 is such a nightmare!

Anyway, I'm really learning the "Core Rules" DMing this Edition of the Game. I'm also learning just how much "trash" you 3.5 aficionados talk . . . and why there are so many disagreements. You're all making it up as you go along.

I must tell you that would aggravate the Nine Hells out of me as a Player. So don't look for me to be joining any of your games. I also no longer "wonder" at why I find my Saturday game so confusing, frustrating and disappointing – I "live" at the whim of an unintelligent – and worse – unimaginative DM.

No, I'm having fun with my RPoL game, but I think that my heart will always long for 2nd Edition.


  1. Mystic,

    You must be forgetting that 2e began the optional rule system. 3.5 just rehashed and or expanded upon it. Variant rules also occur in every ones game. However, one rule overrides all other rules. The DM makes the final decision period. I incorporate a lot of 2e into the 3.5 rules. What I like I keep, what I don't like does not exist in my campaign.



  2. True, but you must admit that all the books 3.5 has were not necessary to game play in 2nd Edition. This equates with additional "rules" (guidelines) and gives ammunition to what I call "Rules Lawyers." For me, a Rules Lawyer is someone who wishes to "argue" that "he" can do that with his character because; "On page such and such of book so and so . . ."

    In short, many players merely pay "lip service" to the fact that it's the DM's game and to me, 3.5 simply gave them a lot more ammunition to do that with.

    It's why I'm beginning to develop a more detailed list of "House Rules." I ask them to read these "rules" before asking to play in my game.

  3. Mystic,

    I started gaming during 1st edition and took over DMing duties shortly after playing in three sessions. I believe in letting the DM create the rules for the game. Just because a book has a rule in it does not mean its allowed in every ones campaign. I for one banned the spiked chain as a viable weapon in my game. It was merely created as a MIN-MAX option. I'm no fan of such things. I have a vision for a character and I will consistently role-play the character based on that vision.

    Rule Lawyers exist. Though not for long in my games. You get on board with the rules laid out before you, or you can start your own campaign. We can discuss this after the session, not during it.



  4. Agreed. I'll discuss anything a player likes after the game. Perhaps he can change my mind on matters, it's happened! But during the game, live with what is, because all you're really doing is distracting from the game and causing others -- besides the DM -- to miss out on the "fun" of the game.

    Play the game, discuss it later.