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A Poll of Tomes


I see a lot of discussion fly up because of feats, races, classes, and equipment that comes out of suppliment books. I have recently begun playing a game with nothing but the core rules. (And what I have created which at this point involves one spell and several monsters). I stopped using suppliments because in my last campaign I had an awakened owl cohort druid throwing boulders at an adult red dragon. Several instances where a character was spawned into a campaign just to "test" a new class/prestige class and then discarded because either problems arose or the player got bored. That and it got very frustrating not owning a book my players did, like the spell compedium, and having to deal with spells they wanted to cast which I had no idea what they did and not enough hours in a day to give all of them a good "once over".

So for the above reasons and more I use the DMG PHB and MM. This is not to say I do not like some things out of suppliments but on a hole I feel that the juice is not quite worth the squeeze.

What books do you all use? Specifically what books add to your campaign and why? Which books draw your ire? (I left off the "and why" on purpose to avoid turning this into a debate)

I have a most of the complete books and a number of Faerun books. But I think that misses the point. Each of those books (even some material in the core books) doesn't fit my games. And I wouldn't allow it (though it is usually a non issue as the people I game with tend to think the same stuff is inappropriate - not that it is bad - or unbalanced - but that it doesn't fit.

One of the things about pen and paper gaming is that it takes judgement - the DM and players need to make decision that work in the context of the game going on at the table. The easiest examples are culture based - if you are playing a Viking style game - in a viking style time frame - Katana wielding samurai and ninja are not going to play well. now you might tweak the classes to fit - but they probably won;t work off of the shelf.

The same with how you approach, monsters, evil PCs, magic items spells, feats etc. Just because it is in a book does not mean it should necessarily be in your game. A certain things need to be thought through - psionics is a good example - I don;t like them, but I don't really have any issues with people who do. What I do take issue with is how the are integrated into the game - which in my limited experience is on top of (rather than in lieu of) the conventional magic system - which means there is twice as much magic, more magical creatures, monsters items, beings - to the point where the world seems (to me) ridiculous - again decision making - two types of magic fine - but how much magic do you want in your game world.

Also, there are a number of things I would deem workable for a villain (particularly and exotic one) that I would have issues with for a PC. It is my opinion that one of the principal reasons to get the supplements is to create new challenges for the PCs in terms of bad guys - not to create endless advancement options for the PCs - especially when it comes to layering multiple classes PrCs from different campaign settings and supplements.

Anyway - I pick and choose from the books - I have yet to see one I think is a total loss (even the loathsome Eberron stuff) just as I have yet to see one where I thought everything was awesome. Its all about fit.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

The books I use vary by campaign. The campaign I'm currently starting is using parts of PHB2, Complete X, DMG2, Spell Compendium, Complete Book of Eldritch Might, MM2, MM3, MM4, FF, Monsters of Faerun, Draconomicon, Tome of Horrors, Heroes of Horror and High Level Feats for the Fighting Man.

I did also offer the Expanded Psionics Handbook, Complete Psionic and the Book of Nine Swords as options at character creation, but the deal was that if a player took a base class from one of those books then we would use the associated rules, but if not we would drop them from then on. No-one took one of the classes, so we're now not using those books.

I may end up using bits and pieces from other books as and when it becomes appropriate.

The reason I'm using an expanded list of books is that I've spent a lot of money on a library of books, and barely had any use from them since I've mostly run core-only.

The only book that really draws my ire is the Book of Exalted Deeds (well, and anything by Fast Forward Entertainment). Truth be told, I don't like the take on alignment in either BoED or the Book of Vile Darkness, but while BoVD has a lot of mechanical interest to redeem it, the mechanics of BoED aren't something I would use in their present form, and not worth the time it would take me to fix them. I'm also no fan of the Epic Level Handbook (or any of the existing epic rules), and felt that Deities & Demigods was a terribly waste of paper, but I just ignore these books.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber
Sexi Golem 01 wrote:
That and it got very frustrating not owning a book my players did, like the spell compedium, and having to deal with spells they wanted to cast which I had no idea what they did and not enough hours in a day to give all of them a good "once over".

Never never allow the use of a book that you don't personally own. It's pretty much the quickest way to break your campaign.

Delericho wrote:

Never never allow the use of a book that you don't personally own. It's pretty much the quickest way to break your campaign.

Agreed, of course the players collectively had a dozen books I didn't own but many I at least thought I had borrowed and looked at enough to circumvent problems. If someone wanted a feat or class they would ask about it first. Spells were a tad bit more interchangable and posed a larger problem. Not a mistake I plan to repeat.

Scarab Sages

I pretty much allow most sources from WotC.

Base classes I allow from Player's Handbook and from the Complete series, the Eberron campaign setting (and from Expanded Psionics -- but most of my players don't do psionics).

Prestige classes I will allow from most sources, but I need to approve them ahead of time. I also only allow no more than one prestige class per character. There are too many options out there to upset balance by allowing multiple prestige classes.

Feats are difficult. There are so many feats out there and it is really hard to tell at what point or with what combinations something might become unbalanced. As a general rule, I am allowing feats from the Complete series, the Player's Handbook, and any of the Eberron books. I might allow other feats, but only on a VERY reserved case-by-case basis.

Spells are also difficult, but a little easier to maintain some control over. I am allowing characters to choose their own spells from the Player's handbook and from the appropriate Complete book. I then will allow them to "find" other spells through scrolls or other means that I will then place into the campaign and allow them to learn. This gives me a little more control over what they have access to.

Silver Crusade

I find that the best way to handle spells (from a supplement the DM isn't necessarily familiar with) is with an approval system similar to what most people do for feats, PrC's, etc.

For casters with spellbooks, or spells known, the DM approves any non-core spells before they can be learned.

For divine casters who cast off a list, any non-core spells that are going to be prepared need to be approved in between sessions (in other words, the player cannot introduce a new spell mid-session, or even at the start of a session; it needs to be shown to the DM at the conclusion of a session, or in between, to be used in the next one).

I haven't had to ban too much, and I use things from nearly every book. The main thing, I think, that keeps me from having a lot of problems is that since I do enforce training rules (why does everyone hate these so much?), it gives me a chance to slow things down and ask my players what they are doing for feats and skills and PrCs. In fact, I talk to them about this kind of stuff while we are playing.

If someone is playing a Bedine swordsmen, and they see a new feat that lets them use ambient magic to set their sword on fire, I would ask them how their magic-distrustful Bedine ended up finding a trainer that would teach them, and why they would be willing to learn it.

Core, of course, along with the original 5 "Complete" books, MMs #2 and 3 along with the FF, a few of the Eberron books, XPH...
Basically, we lift some ideas and rules from wherever we want to and go from there. We are in Eberron currently, so the FR books don't get too much play, though if anyone had wanted to be a genasi, they could have.
We just have a decrease in book purchases right now. There are some out there, but we really only have two book buyers in the group, and neither of us have felt like ponying up any money for more recently, though I have had my eye on the PHBII. And MM4. And the new "Complete" books. :)

We use the Core books, Complete Arcane, Divine, Warrior and Adventurer, and we use Hengeyokai and Spirit Folk races from Oriental Adventures (available only for asian style PC's).

I also have Unearthed Arcana but everything in there is forbidden unless the DM rules otherwise. Currently we only use the Bloodline rules, and PC's can have minor bloodlines only.

Psionics draws my ire because (like many others apparently) I can't wrap my head around how it interacts with magic. Luckily no-one else in our group seems smitten with it either. I think it must take a player with very particular tastes to want to be a psionicist in a fantasy setting, and it's a kind of player I've never met.

It annoys me because I love Githyanki ever since I saw the picture in my friend's older brother's 1st ed. Fiend Folio. In my next campaign I'm allowing Githyanki but having some sort of anti-psionic field around the world, so they're stranded. Should knock back their LA too, not having any native powers.

Core Books, Complete Adventurer, Miniatures Handbook (for the marshal), Spell Compendium, DMG II

Liberty's Edge

I own (and at leats intend to use) the core books, complete Wiz / War / Adv / Arc, the draconomicon, libris mortis, lords of madness, stormwrack, heroes of battle, PHB2, unearthed arcana, MM2 / MM3 / MM4 / FF, dragon compendium, miniature handbook, spell compendium and atlas of Greyhawk (that's 20 books, after all !).

I may buy the DMG2 and complete mage.

However, I NEVER NEVER play and allow psionics (I have bad memories from psionics back in 1st edition, and I was told some psionic classes are way too powerful), and I don't allow asian-like classes (shugenja, ninja, samurai and wu-jen, or ronin PrC), since I consider that the PCs come from the central Flanaess, not from distant Oerik in khan-like or japanese-like kingdoms...

With a BRILLIANT background, I even allowed my STAP players to create warforged, goliath, changeling (and many more races), but so far, they sticked mostly to the good old classics :

- human cleric,
- human mage,
- human fighter,
- halfling rogue,
- human dragon shaman (gold),
- bugbear (aiming to become a duskblade).

But they may find some good use for PrC, feats, spells, multiclassing along the campaign !!

Core Books, DMG & PHB 2, MM II, III, IV, Spell Compendium, Completes, Draconomicon (these I consider my expanded core)

Depending on campaign, almost anything else within reason, but I try to keep booksprawl down at the table so I welcome players bringing their laptops and storing such materials on their HD.

I too will usually not allow anything in a campaign from a book I do not own.
If a player wants to use, say a spell from another book, I ask them to write it for me as if the player was creating a new spell.

Then, when both of us have a copy of it, I introduce it into the campaign at my pace and discretion, usually with some RP attached such as a quest for a rare component that is needed to cast the spell.

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I allow my players to use any book they wish. Since most of my players only have one book I do not, for a total of three books I don't own, I usually do not have a problem with the various "killer" combos. I do, however, have a rule that every time we hit the level up phase of a given session, I have to approve all choices for PrC's and feats and such. This helps cut down on the confusion and also lets me check the math for all the characters.

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