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Discussion on Allowing Supplements, Third Party, Homebrew, Etc.

   
First off on a related note, many third party materials are made by some of the same people that make the official materials, just look at the names of the author(s)

I usually am willing to consider allowing third party stuff in my games on a case by case basis, sometimes with the caveat of if it breaks the game later, its out and you (Player) need to change it, depending on the system, as well as how well I know the system.

I generally prohibit 3rd party from games I GM because there is already more than enough material for me to keep track of. As a player I also generally do not apply to games that allow a large amount of 3rd party or house rules. Again, I'm not interested in spending a lot of time learning material that is going to be prohibited in a lot of games. 3rd party also tends to ramp up power creep and I feel like if I don't use it in a game that allows it my character will be underpowered compared to the rest of the party.

As a GM, I like 3pp, as core material can tend to be a bit restrictive in the scope of what's available simply to avoid a 700-page core book *cough Exalted 3e cough* . I've always been a homebrewer for my campaigns, regularly modifying or outright creating new spells/classes/effects based on whatever story it is I'm trying to develop, as I often don't find a core class meets the objectives I want to achieve with my antagonists. And as a GM, it's my responsibility to ensure that these modifications don't undermine the story or cause undue confusion with the players, which I'm completely okay with that; it's part of the role I've taken. I'm also completely fine with homebrew from my players, since I've been in the same position where I have a character idea that I just can't quite work out with core classes in a satisfactory way; many times, it's resulted in a very interesting character idea that I likely would not have come up with on my own.

Is it more difficult? Absolutely; I definitely have to delve into my 3.5 skills of number-crunching optimization to ensure what I allow in doesn't cause trouble. Does it mean hours upon hours of research and reading to do it? No, not at all; honestly, if you're a GM even considering homebrew, if it takes you longer than an hour to really look at it and you can't come up with a decision on it with valid reasons as to say yea/nay on it, then you probably shouldn't be going that route in the first place and should just stick to core until you get a better handle on everything.


Regarding power-creep...the more material you submit into a pool, invariably more synergies come to light that improves the optimization of something. Just look at 3.5; with so many sources, even just from core, it was ridiculous how overpowered a character could become with the right selection of features (I distinctly remember a 5th level cleric/dread necro I made once as a NPC; pretty much unlimited heals with sustained healing in the 1000s of HP). I've participated in optimization competitions on the Wizards boards before they took them down, and at least to my knowledge had a record that never was beat (by the time I thought to check up on it to see if it had been challenged they'd already taken them down >_>). Just in and of itself, core is often unbalanced when the right (wrong? xD) person gets a hold on it, and it's up to the GM to make sure that such a thing is addressed.

I can understand how the availability of 3pp in a game application can affect player's decision to submit to it; if you have an inexperienced GM and a muchkin-y player, 3pp can completely break a game, no doubt on that. I know when I see it in an app forum, I scour that GM's posts or prior games to ensure they can properly handle it. And I do the same for a person submitting 3pp to me in an app for my games. It's all about the GM and whether they can properly handle it.


So I don't know if I strayed from the original idea on the thread, more just seconding some thoughts already presented before...I don't know, i'm tired xD

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valsai View Post
Just look at 3.5; with so many sources, even just from core, it was ridiculous how overpowered a character could become with the right selection of features ...
I'm not sure if you're talking about using sources, or just using Core here.

But indeed, as you say, Core in 3.5 is not exactly well-balanced anyway. The thing with adding more sources is just that it adds more material; even if the material is on average not any more powerful (and "power creep" is often used to refer to when it is, typically to sell the new stuff or at least make it interesting) you're still going to have more options which lets you create something more powerful overall.
(Actually 3.5 Core is a pretty good example of this - there literally aren't enough not-awful feats for a L20 Fighter to take before you have to start scraping the barrel for the likes of Dodge or Improved Overrun; extra sources added some actually good options but even if everything had just been OK or even underwhelming you'd still be able to create a slightly more powerful character because you'd be able to take OK things every time and not simply run out)

There's also some emergent gameplay, of course, but generally I don't even consider this a reason; sometimes the material from splats is balanced better.

Hmm... should we have a discussion on whether core material should be allowed? In 3.5 for one you can bin off all the Core classes, feats, etc and the game is probably better-balanced as a result. Is it interesting that we tend to assume that, usually, the Druid, Wizard and Monk will be allowed but there's a big question mark over whether we should allow X, Y or Z?

Perhaps others have made this point already, but in general, as a GM, I tend to like players who can be flexible with their character concept. This is because some degree of flexibility and adjustment is always necessary to fit the narrative, setting, or party.

When players come to me with a very specific, non-flexible idea of what they want to play, I generally tend to view this as a negative. From experience, such players are usually much more interested in their character than the actual campaign, and I often see such a 'phenotype' with players obsessed with 3rd party material.

Part of that may just be that people sometimes want to play a specific class or whatever to try it out, and you don't get as many chances with the weirder or rarer material. In that case, the mechanics are part of the draw - and indeed, most of us do want our characters to be mechanically interesting as well as interesting as characters.

I'm for allowning .3pp products, if only because paizo never made any psionics book for Pathfinder and let psionics lovers rely on the excellent Dreamscarred Press version.

I have a question, as I try to analyze this question:

How feasible is it to run an ALL PoW/Psionics/SoP campaign? One of these with only core-only PF?

Would anyone consider running ONLY this material, and, if not, why?

As background, I am not deeply familiar with any third party ruleset. The major ones /CAN/ stand alone, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFred View Post
Hmm... should we have a discussion on whether core material should be allowed? In 3.5 for one you can bin off all the Core classes, feats, etc and the game is probably better-balanced as a result. Is it interesting that we tend to assume that, usually, the Druid, Wizard and Monk will be allowed but there's a big question mark over whether we should allow X, Y or Z?
This might be worth the subject of it's own threads. However, my general opinion of this as far as rpgs in general goes (as opposed to DnD/Pathfinder) is that the corebook is the ruleset/setting/mechanics that are the basis of the game, as such it is necessary to play the game as it lays out how the game works.

With that said those core mechanics, rules, settings in themselves as for as DnD/pathfinder goes, assume the presence of characters who have said classes of the core. However, with the above paragraph in mind, the classes aren't the base of the mechanics/setting/ruleset in of themselves, just representations of that.

You could easily construct a setting where incarnates, binders and warlocks or whatever else take over the roles of priest, sorcerer, druid, wizard since these classes, while having their own unique rules and mechanics, still use the same base ruleset/mechanics/setting, just in different ways.

Think I've updated the first post, let me know if I've missed anything important in the summary.

I'm good with related topics like allowing core material or not. If we find that there are some of the same reasons to allow/disallow core material as with third party/homebrew/etc it can lead to different implications than if the reasons are different.
@JAMRenaissance: I only have a passing familiarity of Pathfinder, but I think it's definitely doable to only do 3rd party classes, though there are still spells/feats/other options that might still need to be core.







 

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