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Dungeons & Dragons 3.t, turning rules streamlined

For a while now, I've been mulling over what I would do to make D&D 3.5 play faster, like 4th edition promised.  Of course, the joke is that 4th edition can be even slower than 3.5, due to all the new movement rules.  But I don't have to worry about that.  I just want to take the best elements, and graft them onto the 3.5 rules with a minimum of fuss.

I'm calling my revisions 3.t, as in 3.tony, because I'm the one to blame if the revisions suck or work well.  The criteria for "sucks" would be if a rule change requires large rewrites, or breaks lots of other rules.  The criteria for "works well" would be if a rule change speeds up gameplay but has little effect otherwise.  So if a typical combat takes 90 minutes to resolve normally, with my rules I hope that you can resolve combat in an hour or less.


First up for revision is the cleric system for turning undead.  We merely drop the turn check roll, and replace it with cleric level + charisma bonus + knowledge religion synergy (if the character has it).  The turn damage roll would remain.  So the steps are as follows:

  1. Roll the turn damage as usual (2d6 + cleric level + charisma).
  2. Cap the highest hit die undead that can be turned at: cleric level + charisma modifier + knowledge religion synergy (if any).

Let's consider the example of a 2nd level cleric with 14 charisma and no points in the knowledge religion skill.  If the cleric rolled a 4, he'd have an 8 for step 1 (4 + 2 for level, +2 for charisma).  Then for step 2 the cap would be set at 2 + 2 + 0 (no synergy bonus), or 4 total.  Therefore, the cleric could turn two 4 HD undead (8 total, capped at 4 HD).  But he/she could not turn one 8 HD undead, due to the per-monster cap.

This is almost exactly the same as turn undead following RAW, but removes one roll and replaces it with a reasonably fair, typically unchanging number.  Should be easier for players to follow and execute quickly.

I'll group all my articles about rules revision under the 3.t tag, should you wish to see what else I have for it.


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Comments (23)
PMDM writes:

Check out Unearthed Arcana, they have a variant turning level check similar to yours. Although from my read through, it is no less complex than the original. It requires you to turn each undead as an individual check, which would require More dice rolling!

Check it out next game.

PMDM writes:

Ah, a page # - UA 66-67

aboyd [TypeKey Profile Page] writes:

Thanks PMDM. The variant rules in Unearthed Arcana are interesting but much slower.

It was good to read the variant rules, as it alerted me to a quirk I had overlooked -- paladins can turn undead too. So I thought I might use this comment to correct my oversight. Anyone using a paladin can use my system for turning with a minor change to the text. In steps 1 & 2, change "cleric level" to "paladin level -3" and it works just fine.

Starly Jackson writes:

And while the idea is not to turn D&D into an MMORPG--a massively multiplayer online game--like World of Warcraft or EverQuest, there can be no doubt that
Andy Collins, a member of the fourth-edition design team, told me the major idea behind the new edition is to streamline D&D so that there is less abstraction
3 Since the year 2001, the majority of the books being released by wizards had MASSIVE editing errors, entire chapters littered with "cut and paste" fall out
If that wasn't a hint that WOTC is saying "our DM's are incompetent and can't arbitrate rules- let's take those out", I don't know what is

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