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Dispel Confusion Issue 2

November 17, 2003

Despite our playtesters’ wiles, you never know what's going to happen when thousands of creative players and DMs join a campaign. To help address rules issues as they arise, we're dusting off an old institution, the RPGA precursor to Sage Advice, called "Dispel Confusion."

Specific campaign questions can be mailed to:

Each offering of Dispel Confusion is titled with the campaign name, and the issue number, followed by the date of release (which is also the date when errata goes into effect). Older issues are archived by the campaign title and the issue number.

Each issue is split into two categories: clarification, and errata. Clarifications are typically answers to frequently asked questions that don’t affect the Campaign Standards or other campaign documents. Errata are changes we are going to make to the campaign documentation that need to be communicated as soon as possible, rather than waiting for the next version or printing of campaign documents. When the changes have been incorporated into the campaign documents, the text for the piece of errata is changed to red in the Dispel Confusion archive.

All references to the three Dungeons & Dragons core rulebooks refer to the Dungeons & Dragons core rulebooks v.3.5.

We were going to cover prestige classes in this installment of Dispel Confusion, but questions about starting characters keep on pouring in, so prestige class questions will have to wait until next issue. This issue focuses on firearms, orc of the High Forest characters, Campaign Card use, and questions about equipment value (EV) and cash on hand (CoH). We also tackle pressing questions regarding druids of Mielikki, and animal tricks and purposes.

How do firearms interact with feats that affect ranged weapons? For instance, can I take the Rapid Reload feat for my musket, or take the Precise Shot feat and use it with my pistol?

In most cases, treat the two firearms (pistols and muskets) like their own type of crossbow for purposes of ranged weapon affecting feats. Specifically, you can take the Rapid Reload feat for the type of firearm (either pistol or musket) and reduce the reload time to a move action for the corresponding weapon. For the same reasons that you can’t use them with crossbows, you can’t use Rapid Shot or Manyshot with firearms. Far Shot, Improved Precise Shot, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot and Shot on the Run, can all be applied to firearms. Deflect Arrows feat cannot deflect bullets. Monks are fast, but they are not bulletproof…at least not with that feat.

Also, as a bit of a side note, smokepowder is a magical concoction, and thus does not work in an antimagic field or similar magic suppression effect and can be dispelled (smokepowder is a 9th-level caster item). In the case of dispel magic, a successful targeted dispel suppresses all the smokepowder a creature carries for 1d4 rounds.

Normally, using a musket requires two hands. Can it be used, but not loaded, with one hand like a crossbow?

Like a heavy crossbow, you can shoot a musket with one hand, but you suffer a –4 penalty on attack rolls. You can shoot a musket with each hand, but you take a penalty on attack rolls as if attacking with two one-handed weapons (see Player’s Handbook Table 8—10: Two Weapon Fighting Penalties, page 160). This penalty is cumulative with the penalty for one-handed fighting.

A pistol can be used in one hand, but the Dungeon Master’s Guide doesn’t state how many hands are required to load it. How many hands to you need to load a pistol?

It takes two hands to load a pistol.

Given that my character qualifies, and I spend the gold from my equipment value (EV), can I equip my character with magical firearms and bullets?

Yes. You can equip your character with magical firearms and bullets. They are similar to crossbows and bolts in that respect.

The Rock Gnome region allows you to select a pistol and three bullets as your bonus equipment. While the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting does not give the rock gnome race weapon familiarity or a bonus Exotic Weapon Proficiency (firearms), it does state that rock gnomes are the race most likely to be seen with smokepowder weapons. Are rock gnomes supposed to start with the Exotic Weapon Proficiency (firearms)?

No. While rock gnomes can gain such contraptions as bonus equipment, and as a people they tend to be more willing to use this new magical technology, they gain no additional inherent bonuses for using it.

Can I use any creation card even though I don’t have the card?

No. You must have an actual Campaign Card to gain bonus from a Campaign Card.

Do I have to use a creation card as my 1st-level campaign card, or can I use a general or expansion card?

You don’t have to use a creation card at 1st level, but if you do, register it when you register your character. If you choose not to use a creation card as your 1st-level campaign card, you keep that slot open for general and expansion cards, but you can never use a creation card for that character.

In the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, under the druid entry on page 23, it states "Druids of Mielikki can use any of the standard armor or weapons that rangers normally use (all simple and martial weapons, all light and medium armor, and all shields) without violating their spiritual oaths." Is this also the rule for the Legacy of the Green Regent campaign?

Yes, but your character doesn’t automatically gain proficiency in such items. Your character is just allowed to use them without losing druid spells or supernatural or spell-like class abilities while doing so and for 24 hours thereafter. To gain proficiency in such items you have to multiclass or take the appropriate feat.

If I buy a consumable item or an animal with my CoH do I pay the normal published cost or do I pay the campaign cost.

You pay the campaign cost—typically five times the published cost. Also, if you use CoH to purchase animals before an adventure’s start, you can’t teach it tricks or purposes with your Handle Animal skill (see the question about the Handle Animal skill in the Errata section). You need time to do that. Only animal companions or animals you purchase with your EV can benefit from your ability to teach animals tricks and purposes.

I have played a couple of Legacy of the Green Regent adventures. After checking my character tracking online, I noticed that I now have 750 gp in my gold earned field. Is this my new equipment value, or do I add my starting gold and any bonus gold for region to this amount?

You add your starting gold for your starting class plus any regional bonus gold if you took the gold pieces as your bonus starting equipment. For example, if you are playing a wizard character whose region is Waterdeep, and you took the 300 gp as your bonus equipment, your EV is 1,170 gp (750 gp for the gold earned plus the 120 gp starting gold for wizard characters plus 300 gp for the bonus equipment).

If I gain a masterwork weapon as part bonus equipment, can I deduct the price of that item when buying a magical weapon of the same type, or a weapon of the same type but constructed of special material?

No. If you want to have extra gold to purchase magical equipment from the bonus equipment, you must take the gold amount bonus equipment option or sell off the bonus equipment for half campaign cost at the table and then purchase the item with your CoH. You can’t put forward a masterwork weapon’s full cost as part of the cost for a magical or special material weapon when equipping your character between events.

Can you have a weapon with a two-sided blade (such as a longsword or a dagger) with half of the blade treated with alchemical silver and half not?

No. You can have a double weapon with one head that is alchemical silver and one that is not, but a single headed weapon either gains the benefit (and any hindrance) of a special material or it does not.

If my weapon is sundered, or if I lose a non-consumable item in an adventure, do I get it back when I play my next adventure? Or is my EV reduced by such a loss?

You get it back the next adventure, but it is gone for the remainder of the adventure where it was destroyed or lost. Losing an item in this way does not reduce your EV.

I played LGR2 Gray Hunt and found the High Forest orc deity Herne Herkgruum (Herne the Huntmaster) interesting. Can my orc of the High Forest character take Herne Herkgruum as his patron deity?

You sure can. Here’s the relevant information.

Herne the Huntmaster
The orcs of the High Forest don’t worship the normal orc pantheon, rather they worship a hunter deity called Herne the Huntmaster (or Herne Hurkgruum in the Orc language).

Herne is a neutral deity that uses a single stylized antler pictograph as his symbol (at least among the orcs of the High Forest), and a spear called “Boarskewer” as his weapon of choice.

Divine spellcasters who revere this deity are almost exclusively druids and adepts, but the few clerics of Herne may choose from the following domains: Animal, Repose, Strength, and Travel. Herne’s favorite weapon is the spear.

What is the orc of the High Forest’s favored class?

Orcs of the High Forest are an isolated offshoot of mountain orcs. Like their cousins their favored class is barbarian.

The Campaign Standards state that the only magic items you can start with at 1st level are those gained through magic item creation feats and by bonus equipment. Does this mean that I can’t purchase an everburning torch from the Player’s Handbook, or smokepowder from the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting?

No. You can buy both an everburning torch and smokepowder at 1st-level. This will be clarified in the next version of the Campaign Standards. Also, the reference to purchasing potions in that section is in error. You can’t purchase potions because you can’t have the Brew Potion feat at first level.

How does a druid teach its animal companion tricks? How does training an animal work for a character without an animal companion yet has the Handle Animal skill?

Good questions! In Dungeons & Dragons Campaigns, the following changes are made to the Handle Animal skill.

You can teach an animal as many tricks as you have ranks in Handle Animal, up to the animals maximum (dependent on Intelligence, see the Handle Animal feat description of pages 74 and 75 of the Player’s Handbook). You may only teach as many tricks as you have ranks in Handle Animal, but these tricks may be divided among different animals. Druids gain their special bonus tricks for the animal companions normally.

Furthermore, characters with 10 ranks of Handle Animal (or druids with 6 ranks in the case of his or her animal companion) can also train a single animal for a single purpose (see the Handle Animal feat description for a list of purposes). For every additional 10 ranks of Handle Animal you can teach another animal a purpose.

For example, Vadania is a 13th-level druid with 16 ranks in Handle Animal. She has a wolf animal companion and two riding dogs. She can teach her wolf 11 tricks (six for the animal’s Intelligence and five bonus since it is her animal companion) and each riding dog five tricks (each one away from the maximum for Intelligence). She can also teach her animal companion and one of her dogs a special purpose.

The rear a wild animal option of the Handle Animal skill is a restricted rules item in Dungeons & Dragons Campaigns.

Next issue will feature those tricky v.3.5 prestige classes as well as shadow and rune magic.