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3E F.A.Q
Version 1.0 (Last Revised on 25/03/02)
Maintained by Rodney "Greenknight" Hobbs
(greenknight@iprimus.com.au)



This unofficial FAQ was written to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the 3rd Edition of the Dungeons and Dragons rules. It was written exclusively for PlanetADnD and/or Vastonia's 3E NWN website, and permission is not granted to use it on other sites. Dungeons and Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, and is used without permission.


Topics


This isn't an official FAQ for 3e. Where can I get one? How about official errata and other information?

Good point. The official 3e FAQ contains many very important rules clarifications and corrections. It covers issues relating to the core rules and several other officially published sourcebooks. It's also a very long (72 pages at last count) document which I have absolutely no intention of reproducing here. Do yourself a favor, download it and read through it thoroughly. It will be well worth your time, believe me.

You can also obtain the  official Errata for the various sourcebooks published by WotC. Most of this information has already been incorporated into the FAQ mentioned above, but since it's broken up into individual rulebooks, you might find it easier reading.

You can also get the web enhancements for each sourcebook you own. These enhancements include information the authors wanted to include, but couldn't because of space restrictions. If you want to get the most bang for your buck from the sourcebooks you own, you really should consider downloading these enhancements. Even if you don't own the sourcebooks, you might get some useful information anyway. You can also go to the features page where you will find free artwork, pre-designed characters, adventures, maps, game tactics and rules advice.

While they aren't really 3e downloads, many DM's might also want to take advantage of the free Classic Downloads WotC have made available. Many of the older (out of print) rulebooks and modules from previous editions are available here. It might take a bit of work to convert some of this material over to 3e (particularly the modules), but most of this material is still very useful.

By looking around at the Wizards of the Coast website, you can find a whole lot of other material which may prove useful to you - most of which is available for free.

How similar are the 3e D&D rules to those of previous editions?

On a conceptual level, 3e D&D is very similar indeed to previous editions of the game. In fact, it borrows ideas from all of them - including some from original D&D. But on an actual rules level, 3e D&D is a major revolution, even greater in scope than the difference between original D&D and 1st Ed AD&D. While the ideas are basically the same, just about every game mechanic has been reviewed and revised - even things which have remained almost the same since the start, such as the combat system and saving throws, have been heavily modified. While it is possible to convert games from earlier editions to the new rules (and in fact, it is now legal to make these conversions publicly available), it will take a lot of work since every use of the game rules, including PC's, NPC's and monsters, will need to be re-written.

Where can I get a hold of a copy of the rules?

Well, if all you want is the core rules, you can go to the Open Gaming Foundation website and get them for free. This site includes nearly all the information contained in the 3e Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual. The only thing missing is the setting specific information (and the diagrams/illustrations found in the printed books). For those interested in checking out the 3e Psionics rules, that site also contains the contents of this book (again, missing only setting specific information and diagrams/illustrations). Incidentally, for those like me who really like the idea of Psionics but always found their actual use in the game to be a problem, the new 3e rules might just provide the solution you're looking for.

Of course, while the website is ok (and you can't beat the price!), nothing can really replace the feel of the printed books in your hand. Personally, I find the way the rules are presented in the books to be much easier to understand, and the diagrams and illustrations are also very useful - most serve far more purpose than just simple decoration. You can buy these books online from the PADnD Store, or you can go directly to the WotC Store. In Australia, I recommend Military Simulations as a good online source for D&D related material.

What's this I hear about the d20 System? Is it the same thing as 3rd Edition Dungeons and Dragons?

Not exactly. 3rd Edition Dungeons and Dragons is a specific example of a game which uses the d20 System rules, but it's not the only one. The d20 System rules are intended to be a system which can be used with any genre (Wizards of the Coast have already released their Star Wars game using the d20 Rules). Just because a sourcebook uses the d20 System rules, you should not assume that the contents will be entirely compatible with a Dungeons and Dragons game.

Is it true that I can publish my own 3rd Ed Dungeons and Dragons material under the d20 System licence?

Definitely not! Dungeons and Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, and anyone else using it on their work is in clear violation of the law. Don't do that. I mean it. On the other hand, d20 System is a trademark Wizards of the Coast have provided which you can use. Provided you abide by the terms of the license agreement, you can use that trademark freely - you won't have to pay Wizards of the Coast anything, you retain full rights to any and all of your original work (if that's how you want it), and you can also choose any means of distribution you like for your material. You can even release your material as a commercial product without needing any additional approvals from Wizards of the Coast (besides the general permissions granted by their license).

Be aware that the d20 System licence only covers the basic elements of the game. At the moment, you can only use material from the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, Monster Manual and Psionics Handbook. That list is subject to revision, and the contents of other books may be added to the license as Wizards of the Coast sees fit. Setting specific information (such as Greyhawk and the Forgotten Realms) have been specifically excluded from that license (at least, so far), so be very careful you do not include anything like that in your work. The license will allow you to create your own modules, game settings and rules expansions. You are not required to stay with the standard medieval fantasy high adventure style Dungeons and Dragons uses, although the licensed d20 rules do lend themselves well to that purpose. If you do want to publish your own d20 System material, make sure you read the license very carefully, and if there's anything you don't understand, talk it over with a good copyright lawyer - it could save you from a lot of embarrassment and legal trouble in the future.

There are currently at least 70 different companies already publishing d20 System related products, including well established RPG companies such as Atlas Games (Ars Magica) and Chaosium (Call of Cthulhu). This freedom to publish d20 System material does bring up one other very important point. Just because it has the d20 System logo on the cover, don't expect it to be a good quality product. Some companies (such as Green Ronin Publications) have already acquired a reputation among gamers for producing very high quality work - equal to, or even better than, what Wizards of the Coast produce. Other work from other companies has been described as simply appalling. Which neatly brings us to the next subject:

Where can I find a review for (insert 3rd Ed D&D/d20 System product)? OR Where can I post my review for this product?

There are several good sites on the internet where you can get opinions about 3e D&D/d20 System products. You can usually post a message on PADnD's message boards either giving your opinion about a specific book, or asking for one. However, one of the best sites I have found is at EN World - every published 3e D&D product is listed there, as well as most d20 products. Gamers are invited to post their own reviews of each product, and rate them. Publishing companies are also rated according to the average rating of the products they publish.

WotC are constantly coming out with new books containing new Feats, Spells, Monsters and Prestige Classes. Is there somewhere where I can find a complete list?

Certainly. Just follow the appropriate link: Feats, Spells, Monsters, Prestige Classes.

Note: These lists only contain very basic information on those Feats, Spells, Monsters and Classes published by WotC. You should refer to the appropriate sourcebook (mentioned on the list) for full details.

WotC are evil! They axed my favorite game setting! Why did they do this, and what can I do about it?

Wizards of the Coast are currently only giving long term publishing support for two official game worlds (Greyhawk and the Forgotten Realms). This was done for simple economic reasons - it was costing far too much to have so many different game settings in print. But never fear - your favorite game setting lives on! Each of these worlds now have their own officially recognised game sites, and work continues to be done to develop these settings. Most of this new work is available as a free download, so players wanting to migrate their favorite setting to 3e should really check these sites out:

Dark Sun: The Burnt World of Athas
Planescape: Planewalker
Ravenloft: Secrets of the Kargatane
Birthright: Birthright.net
Mystara: Vaults of Pandius
Spelljammer: Beyond the Moons
Dragonlance: The Dragonlance Nexus

Late News: White Wolf has acquired the rights to publish Ravenloft games using the d20 rules, and Sovereign Press (owned by Margaret Weis and her husband, Don Perrin) have gained similar rights for Dragonlance. Refer to the official sites (above) for more information. WotC are also providing special settings such as Diablo (based on the computer game), The Wheel of Time (based on Robert Jordan's books) and Call of Cthulhu (based on the works of HP Lovecraft). Expect these settings to have limited long term support..

I'm confused. How do Attacks of Opportunity work in 3e? How about multiclassing and Difficulty Classes? How do I work out what saving throw is needed?

There are two key points to keep in mind when considering attacks of opportunity: 1) Entering a threatened area will not provoke an attack of opportunity, and 2) A character who has one half or better cover is not subject to attacks of opportunity. For a detailed examination of Attacks of Opportunity, including diagrams, check out Eric Noah's Attack of Opportunity page.

3e multiclassing is very different to multiclassing in earlier editions. Rather than developing classes simultaneously, the 3e character develops just one class at a time, and rather than having class abilities override one another (eg only the best THAC0's and saving throws being used), most 3e class abilities stack with one another. For example, if your character has a Base Attack Bonus of +3 as a Ranger, and a Base Attack Bonus of +1 as a Druid, that gives a total Base Attack Bonus of +4. The same applies to saving throws and hit points. One thing which does not stack is spellcasting ability - the spells known and spellcasting ability of one class never stack with the spells known and spellcasting ability of another class (unless this ability is specifically mentioned in the class details). Each time the character gains a level, that character can either continue advancing in the same class or take a level in a different class. In most cases, it is possible for a character to leave a class and then continue to advancing in it at some later time (there are exceptions to that general rule, for example a character who becomes a Paladin or Monk and then leaves that class normally can't go back).

When characters multiclass, they may suffer an XP penalty of 20% (cumulative) for each class they have more than one level below their highest class. For example, if a character has 3 levels of Fighter and 1 level of Ranger, that would normally result in a 20% XP penalty (the Ranger level being 2 levels below the Figher levels). If the character then added one level of Rogue, the penalty would normally increase to 40% (both the Ranger and Rogue levels are 2 levels below the Fighter level). If the character then gained another level of Ranger or Rogue, the penalty would drop back to just 20%.

Of course, all of that is just the worst case scenario - there are ways to reduce or even elimate the XP penalty even if your character does have one (or more) class higher than the others. Every race has a "favored" class. In the case of Humans and Half Elfs, this isn't set in stone - it's simply whatever class the character has the most levels in at any point in time, and can change during the course of the game. Each of the other standard races have a pre-determined favored class (which you can find on table 2-1 of the 3e PHB). For the purpose of calculating multiclassing XP penalties, this favored class is completely ignored. In the example above (Fighter 3/Ranger 1/Rogue 1), if the character were a Dwarf, Human or Half-Elf, the favored race rule would mean the character suffers no XP penalties at all (the Fighter levels would be completely ignored). A Halfling would only suffer 20% XP penalties (the Rogue level would be ignored). If the character were a Halfling, and took an additional Ranger level, the character would no longer suffer any XP penalties at all. 3e also introduces a new type of character class (the Prestige Class) which cannot be taken right away. Instead, the character must develop the skills which are required to qualify for the class. Prestige Classes are ignored for the purpose of calculating XP penalties.

Difficulty Classes (DC's) are a measure of how difficult it is to accomplish a particular task. Table 3-21 of the DMG gives a list of example DC's ranging from extremely easy (-10) to incredibly difficult (43). It really is up to the DM to determine the exact DC for most situations, but these examples, along with the specific examples given in the PHB with each skill, should give you a pretty good guide.

Saving Throws are just a specific example of DC's in action, and they all follow a basic formula. For spells cast by a spellcaster, use: 10 + Spell Level + Caster Ability Modifier + relevent Feat Modifiers (eg Spell Focus). For monster spell-like abilities, the DC for saving against the ability is usually given, but if not use: 10 + 1/2 Monster Hit Dice + Ability Modifier. For other types of saving throw, just pick a number which seems appropriate (usually between 10 and 20).

This FAQ is great, but I want to learn a whole lot more about D&D in general. Is there a more comprehensive FAQ out there which covers all editions of the game?

Check out the rec.games.frp.dnd FAQ. This is one of the most comprehensive FAQs regarding D&D related issues I've read, and is well worth any true D&D player's time to read through - at least, IMO. You can also read Gamespot's History of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons article, which focuses on D&D in computer games.

Are there any 3e based CRPG's available?

At the moment, there are three 3e D&D based games which have been released or in the late stages of development. These are Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor, Icewind Dale 2, and Neverwinter Nights. All these games were designed for IBM Compatible computers using the Microsoft Windows operating system. All of these games allow both single and multiplayer capability.

Pool of Radiance is the only one of these three games which is currently available (as of 25 March, 2002). It was developed by SSI/Stormfront Studios, and published by UbiSoft. It features turn based combat in what is essentially a dungeon crawl with limited roleplaying elements. The game was released with a large number of bugs, and it is strongly advised you download the latest patch before you even consider installing it. This game has generally received poor reviews, and has been heavily criticised for it's poor rules implimentation, tedious dungeon design and lack of game balance. Having played it, all I can say is that while Pool of Radiance may give you a taste of how the 3e D&D rules will work in a computer game, most people will find the game less than satisfying.

Icewind Dale 2 is being developed and published by Black Isle Studios, the role-playing games division of Interplay Entertainment Corp. According to Gone Gold, it is due for US release on 28th May, 2002, but this should not be considered to be a firm release date by any means. Like PoR, Icewind Dale 2 will be a dungeon crawl, however IWD 2 will use a heavily modified version of the Infinity Engine, which has already been used for games like Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate 2, Planescape: Torment and the original Icewind Dale. Unlike Baldur's Gate 2, you will not be able to transfer your characters from the original Icewind Dale into Icewind Dale 2 (which makes sense, because Icewind Dale uses 2nd Ed AD&D rules). Just how Icewind Dale 2 is going to impliment the 3e D&D ruleset is a little unclear just yet, but given the real time pause combat engine IWD 2 will use, expect to see some differences.

Neverwinter Nights is an ambitious project being developed by Bioware. Originally, it was to be published by Interplay, but Infogrames has now aquired the rights to it (along with an exclusive license to publish D&D based CRPG's - see below). According to Gone Gold, this game has a scheduled US release of 26th of June, 2002 - but expect it to be delayed. While this game does have a single player mode, the emphasis seems to be placed on it's multiplayer capability. The interesting thing about Neverwinter Nights is that players will be able to design their own modules, and then host their games to create persistant online worlds. Game designers can also connect their modules to others, creating a potentially infinite gameworld. The game will allow one or more players to assume the role of the DM, who can then take over any NPC in the game (including monsters). Like Icewind Dale 2, Neverwinter Nights will feature Real Time Pause combat, but it may be that only DM's will be given the ability to use the pause feature. Unlike both Pool of Radiance and Icewind Dale 2, Neverwinter Nights will only allow a player to control one character at a time, but in multiplayer mode groups can be formed by joining up with other players.

Infogrames have now aquired an exclusive license to develop D&D based computer games. It is unclear at the moment exactly how they intend to use this license, and to the best of my knowledge they have not publicly announced any new games they are developing which will use this licence (as mentioned earlier, Neverwinter Nights was originally developed for Interplay, Infogrames merely took over the rights). What can be said is that there are many other companies who are still interested in developing D&D based computer games in the future (including UbiSoft, Interplay/BIS, and Bioware), and it's highly likely that Infogrames are considering many projects to get underway before their license expires.

Are there any other good web-based resources I can use for my games?

Of course. There is plenty of material for 3e/d20 System available on the internet, and more seems to become available every day. All I can give you is a representative sample of some of the best sites around. You can start right here with PlanetADnD's Downloads Section. You can also generate PC's with PC Gen (requires Java) and Hero Forge (requires Microsoft Excel 97+). If you are looking for d20 Classes, Feats, Spells, Psionics, Equipment, Creatures, Magical Items and Planes, you really should stop by at the Fantasy Netbook Community Council (formerly known as the D&D Community Council). If you need a good mapping program, Campaign Cartographer 2 is widely regarded as being one of the best, or you could try Autorealm, Interactive Dungeon and/or Dungeon Crafter if you want one that's free. Last (but by no means least), James Buck's RPG Generators are always worth a visit (note: this site is closing, but EN World will still host most of the tools)..

3e Unofficial FAQ Revision history.

1.0 First public release

(unreleased) 0.8 Preliminary FAQ release (internal use only)

(unreleased) 0.1 Outline of FAQ questions.

 
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