waywalker (waywalker) wrote in dungeonmasters,

10' step

There is an item in the Arms and Equipment guide called the Training Dummy of the Master. Using it, a monk can increase his standard 5' step to 10'. Evidently, any character able to roll a successful Use Magic Device can activate this item and achieve the same result.

What are your thoughts about this? Would it bother you? It bothers me. I am tempted to veto it's use (it is from 3.0 and we play 3.5, but I usually allow 3.0 info), as what happens if the party gets their hands on it? I do not have this book, but the implications of an entire party being able to make a "10' step" before making a full attack, for instance, without provoking an AoO or anything make me uncomfortable. If it does bother you, how would you keep it from getting out of control? Personally, I prefer not to drop a "DM Edict" on things like this, but instead make them harder to achieve. Or even nearly impossible and thus not worth the cost.
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I hate it when items allow a party to disrupt the balance in a game. I'm a old fashioned kind of guy and run a combined 1st and 2nd edition gaming group, but a lot of the principles are the same.

Assuming you are the only DM and the characters aren't run by other DMs, you can easily do whatever you want with regards to the Training Dummy of the Master. If one shows up in a module, you can choose to simply have it not be there. You can also choose to modify it to have an enchantment on it that makes it only usable my the monk class. You can also think of something like a curse that is so powerful that in order to use the item your characters have to overcome the curse and by the time they do, their levels will be so high that they are fighting monsters that are powerful enough to make the 10' step not so special.

When I DM and I come across things that are not appropriate for the party, I'll modify them on the fly. It is best that you make a note of the modification in case it come up later in the adventure. Your ability to keep the game balance is only limited to your imagination as a DM. Good luck and remember the 1st principle of DMing, no matter how well you plan things out, your players will find a way to mess up your plans. :)
1) Use magic device isn't a class skill for everyone. In fact, it's a Trained Skill, so anyone else has to spend a lot of SPs just to get access to it.

2) You need to make a skill check of 20 to emulate the class (monk) just to use it. However, because monks have a particular alignment, then....

3) You need to make a skill check of 30 to emulate the alignment of the monk.

4) Use Magic Device lists wands and scrolls as items that can be activated. You can rule that an item as rare as the Training Dummy of the Master isn't common enough to fall under the umbrella of magic device because it's far closer to a "relic".

I'd ban it. An ability like that should be a feat, not a magic item...except that it's too powerful for a feat, IMO. 5' steps are a fundamental part of the minis system, and monkeying with that limit by effectively giving the PCs a second 5' step will cause tactical problems.

For example, take the case where a Monster with three attacks is fighting with a PC Fighter who trained on the magic dummy.

Round 1: Monster charges the PC. PC full attacks monster and takes a 10' step back.
Round 2: Monster charges again. PC again makes a full attack and takes a 10' step back.
Rinse and repeat...the monster ends up never getting more than one attack per round, even though he's supposed to be a melee threat. So much for the challenge he was supposed to present.

I see a couple of ways to deal with this (beyond simply disallowing it). Personally it seems a little too powerful even if it's used as intended. I would put some limits on it's powers. One option is to make it bestow a haste like effect on the player that has a duration (say 8 hours) and it requires 1 hour to use the item to gain the buff. This would prevent multiple characters from being able to benefit from this item for any substanual amount of time and it wouldn't be something the character uses once and then keeps locked in a vault, or worse then sells.

Another option is to make it like the tomes that add perm. stats. It becomes a single use item so only one character can ever benefit from it (the more I think about it I think this is how the item is supposed to be). Generally speaking I would rule that you can't use use magic device on someting that requires an extensive amount of time to use unless you can make the check on a 1 (since you specfically can't take 10 on this skill).

If the mechanic it's self is causing problems (which it seems like it could) I would rule that only the initial 5 foot step doesn't provoke an attack of opportunity. This means that I can still make a full attack and then step back 10 feet, but doing so provokes an attack of opportunity from any enemy that threatens my initial square. This keeps the item still useful while still having consequences to it's use.

Also, I don't know what kind of monsters your party typically encounters but this ablitiy is pretty much negated by any creature that has some natural reach and if needed you can always throw some monsters against the party that have used the training dummy themselves. Nothing like the looks on a players face when their own "uber tactic" gets used against them, afterwards they may call for a house rule themselves to disallow it. :)
For the longest time, I always wanted my monk to have this, just because it was rediculously ambiguous.
I think the wording is "It will allow you to make a 10-ft adjustment when you would otherwise be able to make a 5-ft adjustment."

If you wanted to be a rules lawyer about it, you could always say that there hasn't been a 3.5 version of it. (I think if they don't list it in the 'Magic Item Compendium' then you are justified in limiting it.)

Just sayin.