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Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 357/54
6609 Posts

D&D Annoyances

Share with us the things about D&D (can be any edition) that annoy you!

I'll start this one off with a pet peeve - in 3e (and 3.5e): masterwork items.

Sure, it's a decent idea - items that are so superbly crafted that they offer a bonus to their functionality. And supposedly, they are harder to get, since they cost so much more.

But in practice? Everyone who doesn't have a magical item instead has a masterwork item. I mean, I read modules online (and printed rulebooks and supplements) that feature pirates with masterwork cutlasses, cutpurses with masterwork daggers, golbins with masterwork spears. Give me a break!

Of course, D20 seems to treat all equipment purchases as being made from the D&D Wal MArt - everything is always available... even masterwork items. Sure, it's probably not SUPPOSED to be that way, but that's how books and supplements seem to treat it.

Hmmm... does this count as two gripes from me?

Posted on 2007-11-14 at 15:26:08.
Edited on 2007-11-14 at 15:51:56 by t_catt11

TRSG 2.0
Karma: 113/94
1606 Posts


I, as a 3e DM, make sure that not everything is on sale in the same place and as a general rule I only consider letting NPCs have masterwork items if there above Level 5.

My two pet hates are:
1) The Maximum Dexterity Bonus with 3e armors
2) That wizards and sorcerers (mages in 2e terms) are as useful as a chocolate teapot until Level 5.

Posted on 2007-11-14 at 15:50:13.

Den Mother
RDI Staff
Karma: 111/12
1188 Posts

Low level mages and clerics

I really have to agree about low level mages and clerics. If you actually use the casting times, use the damage as written and such, low level mages have no business being out of their towers!

I don't go for superhero characters, and like to start a character at low levels and watch them grow...but mages are really frustrating to play at the lower levels.

Clerics were equally frustrating, until Alacrity modified the healing spells to be a percentage of your original hit points (cure light = 25%, for example), but I at least found low level cleric spells that could be used creatively (try using warp wood against archers for great fun!)

Sloppy modules that have monsters in places that don't make sense....that's another gripe!

Posted on 2007-11-14 at 16:47:22.

RDI Staff
Karma: 357/190
6191 Posts


This is sort of stretching it, but I am annoyed at the rash new pile of cheesy fantasy movies that make campaign ideas that could be really cool seem somewhat contrived and stolen.

Posted on 2007-11-14 at 17:59:52.

Not Dragon Mistress
Karma: 105/32
2282 Posts

Magis User and CLeric class Annoyances.

For both cleric and magic users, I have always felt that this praying for spells, or pre-setting spells is such a handicap for poth classes. Bards can sing any song they wish, fighters can choose any weapon they carry, thieves use whatever they can get their hands on, etc. so why can't rages and clerics.

I agree on mages are really poor character at low levels and it doesn't get much better iat6 high levels excapt that if you have made a lot of money then you can buy things to enhance what you can do. This is not only for the lack of spells they have per day but also that they get the lowest hit points per level and are penalized for any type of armor since I can't remember what edition. It used to be only iron/steel armor affected them with penalties. Sure they can case Mage armor on themselves but it takes a round they draw an AoO, it takes up one of their spells slots, and doesn't last that long. IT used to be that armor of cloth, leather, wood, natural materials and Mithral was free of spell failure armor> Mithral used to be the equivaltent of silver--called elven silver. IT is was suppossed to weigh about 1/20 of regular armor and be unencombering.

The answer, up the hit poists to at least 6 per level because a mages body type in not a prerequisite of their class and it should not be assumed that they and intrinsically less hardy. Natural materials and Mithral should be free of penalties. for spell casting.

Make Magic based on magic mana, MU's have so much depending on level plus their intelligence bonus per level in addition. 0=1/2 pt. 1=1 pt. 2-2pt etc is the basic At 0 you get 1/2 point - Int bonus so you can throw anywhere from 1-5 0 level spell or 2 1's and 1 0 level spells this make Int bonus useful to mage in more than just how many spells they can learn. Another thing is to make spell casting spontaneus. They should be choose what ever they need. of their know spells. Just as a fighter is free to shoiise any weapon he carries or can get his hands on, Think of a fighter with class restrictions such as MU,s have. He would have to choose his weapons before hand, he could only use those he chose, and once he used it, He can't use it again unless he chose two or more of the same type of weapon--then he can use the second seord or knife.

A mage studies to learn new spells but after a week to a month (depending of level of spell) of study they are memorized. He/She knows those magic spells, and is free to use them as they are needed for the situation.

Another thing we have done is that Magic User can begin to cast lower level spells quicker--they have become more efficient. Like a fighter getting extra hits per round. Spells cast at 2 level lower can be cast in half the time, spells 4 level lower can be cast in 1/4 the time.

Also spells can be powered up, for example, You get more magic missle per cast as you gain levels but you can increse it to a 2nd level spell and do greater damage with it. d4, d5, d6, d8, d10, d12 etc. It is the same for other fixed slppells, volume, hight. length. time etc can be upped by raising level of spell and casting at a higher level.

Clerics should pray for divine power most certainly, but not for spells they may or may not need THey too should be able to cast whatever spell they need. Healing alwasy does total heal for that spell. Cure light always 8, stc.

If Clerics run out they can oray again for divine power not just once a day. Also there could be new spells like summon Deitiy's favority animal. anDepending on level of cleric the animal you summons can be improved by size ability etc. because you are that much more important to your Deity.

Posted on 2007-11-14 at 20:09:06.
Edited on 2007-11-14 at 22:36:51 by Brianna

Regular Visitor
Karma: 6/2
55 Posts

MW items ...

T_C? I read the first post and thought it interesting because I (and many other GMs, prolly) went through the same frustrating abuse of the items. I kinda agree with the your assessment of the availability of masterwork items, but I found a way to exert (simply) a certain amount of control over their purchase and/or use:

1. Make characters think about purchasing a MW item
at the lowest levels (1-3), just because the have
the money.

2. If they do buy one, I find out whether or not
they intend to use it, with or without the bonus.

If they want to purchase a masterwork item, I tell them that while well-made, they are not used to the precision balance or craftsmanship of the item and cannot initially gain any bonus. I do not tell them when they will gain the bonus, but I usually give it to them at third or fourth level. Those that are used to this will buy a masterwork item solely for the future benefit, those that are not happy with having to wait simply don't buy them ...

Posted on 2008-01-21 at 00:15:35.
Edited on 2008-01-21 at 00:17:08 by Dwibius

Utan the Orange
Karma: 23/18
458 Posts

Also a pet peeve

for me are the masterwork items. But I use a point method to control when (or if) the inherent bonus becomes useable.

1. Total the character's bounuses for STR, DEX, INT, and WIS (round down)
2. Halve the total and add that to a base DC of 20.
3. Have the character roll a d20 and add his total bonuses to determine success and the ability to use the Masterwork Item's bonus.
4. Use this DC roll once per level or after every week of continual use of (or training with) the masterwork item. So if the character wants to check more than once per level, he or she must work with (or train with) the item -- to the exclusion of all else -- for at least a week.

i.e.: Tongsala's bonuses add up to 7
The DC becomes 23 (base 20+half the bonuses, round down)
Tongsala rolls a d20 and gets 12+7 (total bonuses) for 19/23 and fails.

It should be noted that Tongsala has an opportunity to get a total of 27 to succeed, but most don't make it first time out ...

Posted on 2008-01-21 at 03:11:32.
Edited on 2008-01-21 at 03:17:19 by Utan the Orange

Chaotic Hungry
Karma: 38/6
406 Posts

My two cents

Three things:

1. The dungeon crawl:

Probably because I like the base concept so much… you’ve got your group of intrepid treasure seekers (or monster hunters or whatever) descending, torches in hand, into that system of ancient catacombs beneath the earth, or the ruins of that temple to an evil god, or mine swarming with evil spirits. The perfect setting for a game of dark, survival horror, the uncovering of ancient mysteries or just a healthy dose of setting forth into the unknown.

So why does it almost always degenerate into a basic game of resource management? Hacking down orcs and ogres in 30’ by 30’ rooms until you start running low on spells and hit points and need to bail. I really shouldn’t complain, because I’ve run my share of adventures like this too, but sometimes it just grates when you could so easily add so much more.

2. Hit Points:

Past a certain level, these just kill combat for me. This one probably just boils down to gaming preferences but:

a) IMO combat should never feel like a safe option. If you know both in and out of character that those goblins realistically have a 0% chance of killing your paladin, no matter how well they roll, then why bother having the encounter at all? At the point where your character stops talking and walks into a battle, sword drawn, he should be taking a risk- and it should be for something that he’d be willing to die for. Being willing to fight when you know you’ve got everything to gain and nothing on the line probably doesn’t say that much about you as a person, knowing that you believe in something so strongly that you’d be willing to lay your life down for it does.

And conversely, if when it comes down to it your characters decide they really aren’t willing to risk death fighting their way into that old mine to free the hostages then that gives plenty of opportunity to enrich the game in itself. Try telling the guards the truth about that priest they’re working for, bribe them, sneak past them or bluff it and pray they’re no more willing to die over it than you are. You might end up fighting as a last resort, but you can bet it won’t be your default option every time an obstacle presents itself.

b) It just seems a little odd when someone can shrug off enough physical damage to kill an elephant or whale and just keep walking as though nothing had happened. Again, this is basically just a gaming preference, but in most genres it’s a bit weird when someone can be tough enough to automatically survive a direct hit from a catapult or ballista.

3. Resurrection spells as an everyday fact of life:

This one just feels a bit cheap, as death doesn't mean much when you can just off-load a fraction of the loot from your last adventure to bring your friends back if anything goes wrong. And to be honest, why shouldn’t your game world’s NPCs be able to do the same for the king who that necromancer assassinated last session, or the beloved mentor who died in your background, or the evil overlord you’ve spent the past five months trying to kill? If death’s no longer final, then why bother?

Sorry if any of this sounds a bit elitist or like an attack on D&D, it really isn’t meant that way. D&D’s one of the games I’ve grown up with, and I wouldn’t keep playing if I didn’t enjoy it… but from time to time some of the mechanics really grate.

Posted on 2008-01-21 at 20:29:06.
Edited on 2008-01-21 at 20:40:13 by Vorrioch

TRSG 2.0
Karma: 113/94
1606 Posts

I agree

With hit points it dose get ridicules, maybe a hit point cap should sort it out but again you have a fighter with 30+ hp at level 4 and a wizard with only 16 if he gets very lucky, combat turns into some mindless slashing of swords and twanging of bows.

In my campaigns if a character dies and there isn't a member of the party who can resurrect or reincarnate them they are gone for good. In y7 in my club I got asked if you could 'save' the game if they die which is annoying and relivant and in y8 someone complained when my druid managed to reincarnate them as a halfling.

As for masterwork and normal stuff, for weapons OK but all armour should be masterwork in the sense that it was made to fit you and so benefits you with a masterwork bonus and not anyone else who tries to wear it.

Posted on 2008-01-21 at 20:39:40.
Edited on 2008-01-21 at 20:44:38 by Loki

Veteran Visitor
Karma: 8/1
142 Posts


My pet peeve is the player who comes in with the sole intent of causing as much Hate and Discontent as they can, in an attempt to wrest control from the DM, and thereby ruining it for the other players. This player knows the rules and doesn't argue about them, they just want to act outside the rules and try to get the other players to follow suit.

I have seen this very often with people coming into my games from other gaming groups. I began to wonder if they just got bored because it became to easy to do in their former group, or if they got kicked out for trying it or doing it too often. After a time, I developed a zero-tolerance for that sort of control-issue, and they were simply told to go because, as a rule, they could not or would not understand why others didn't like their "playing style".

So, lately, I have come to see players the same way I do children.

No, wait! Let me explain...

Children learn from both parents (rules) and peers (actions), then they act and emulate what they feel is appropriate from that learning. And the result is not always good, but it can be changed, if the parents and friends who care care enough to "intervene". Sometimes it is not enough or is a wasted effort, but the "try to save" is all you can do...

Players learn from both DM (rules) and other players (actions), then pick and choose how they want to apply that knowledge. Again, the result is not always right or good, but it can be changed. It just requires the DM and his players to work together, if they all agree the player is worth it, to demonstrate to him another way of playing. Sometimes it turns out to be a wasted effort, but at least you tried.

I have had many games descend into hack-and-slash, usually with players that only knew that one type of gaming, who were never taught the joys of "real" ("true"?) role-playing. If introduced (bit by bit) to roleplaying in a fashion they can understand, they take to it like a duck to water. No matter if the interactions are with the noble class and/or courtroom intrigue, "whodunnit" searches for murderers or thieves, and the rare hired search for some exotic creature or item for a wizards research (usually reasonably lucrative for minimal risk, just a lot of time), they begin to love it, and wean themselves away from the "let's to out and kill something" attitude.

Posted on 2008-01-21 at 21:21:26.

Not Dragon Mistress
Karma: 105/32
2282 Posts

Mounted Combat annoyance

Any weapon can be used for horseback combat by just buying that feat but a archer specialist has to buy that feat and mounted archery as well. In the true nature of things is rather ridiculous since spears/lances and bows were most likely the first weapons used on horse as early swords were much to short to be effective on horse back until you had closed horse to horse.

Posted on 2008-01-22 at 03:34:31.

Gerald Tarrant
Regular Visitor
Karma: 6/3
92 Posts


I don't really like DnD in general.. I find it a bit to restricting and i don't really like the level of realism in it (Yes i know its a fantasy thing) I just don't enjoy the idea of a human surviving being sat on by a colossal dragon

I know the DnD system can be quite fun and all but.. Ive always just thought that the White Wolf Systems where quite a bit superior to them..

DnD is Brilliant for computer games though.. ^__^

Posted on 2008-02-20 at 20:35:00.

Kool Killer Kitty
Karma: 64/6
1685 Posts

re. mounted combat

I don't quite agree Brianna. Historically firing a bow from horseback was actually really tricky to do. The problem is that charging with a lance on horseback was just as hard if not harder!

What is odd about D&D is that anyone with martial weapon proficiency can do a mounted lance charge, but mounted archery is impossible. Weird.

On the plus side in 4th edition we'll all be moon elves with tiger mounts...oh wait that's Warcraft.

Posted on 2008-02-22 at 13:18:47.

Rystefn K'ryll
Original Palassassin
Karma: 66/191
544 Posts

Mounted, et al.

Yeah, I always thought it was stupid you have to take mounted combat before mounted archery - they're completely unrelated skills. Many gateway feats arelike this. Why need you take point-blank shot before far shot? Shooting close and shooting far away are opposite skills. Hell, only fighters get enough feats to take anything with gateway requirements for the most part, anyway - especially the horrific Dodge tree. Dodge is a completely worthless feat altogether, all it does is make other feats harder to get. They should just make most feats fighter-only and be done with it.

Posted on 2008-04-15 at 20:10:41.

The Tired
RDI Staff
Karma: 291/33
6312 Posts

Two words

Fourth Edition....

Give me a break.

Posted on 2008-04-15 at 20:22:59.

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