Sage Advice Collection

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 71DR037 Dragon #37 A player in our campaign is a dwarf Fighter with a Constitution of 7. When she got the Players Handbook, she discovered that such a thing is illegal. Should the DM simply treat this as an abnormal character, or is there another way to solve the problem?  There are two main alternatives. One is to let her remain as she is, but instead of saving as a dwarf with the automatic bonuses, she should save as a human. Or, her Constitution score could be altered (by raising it to the legal minimum of 12 for dwarves) so that she would conform to the rules in the Players Handbook. Specific solutions to problems like this should always be handled by the DM, since he/she knows the campaign better than anyone else and is best able to determine which alternatives would fit best into the game. 
 72DR039 Dragon #39 Can a relatively weak magic item such as a Potion of Gaseous Form be used to fulfill the function of a Remove Curse? For instance, a character put a Ring of Weakness on his finger and is now cursed. If he drinks the Potion of Gaseous Form, would the ring slip off his finger when he became gaseous, or would the curse be removed in some way?  Heavens, no! Each magic item was created to have a special purpose to function; a Potion of Gaseous Form cannot be used to substitute for a Remove Curse, and neither can any other magic item. The above character would simply become a weak character who is now in gaseous form. But the curse is still in effect, and the ring would “return’’ to his finger once the effects of the potion have worn off. The only possible way to remove the effects of the curse without a Remove Curse would be to kill the character. Then, if the DM will permit it, the party can slip the ring off his finger. This method is more costly than using a Remove Curse, however, since the character would then have to be raised. 
 73DR039 Dragon #39 Is there such a thing as a lawful neutral Paladin? We have a dwarf who is one.  No, there is no such thing as a lawful neutral Paladin— and, for that matter, there is no such thing as a dwarven Paladin. All Paladins must be human and must be lawful good in alignment. 
 74DR039 Dragon #39 If a Ranger is hired to do a job, signs a contract, and then walks out on the agreement, is he in violation of his lawful good alignment?  It’s impossible to answer this question accurately, because I don’t know what the circumstances were behind his not fulfilling the agreement, or for him signing the contract in the first place. In fact, I don’t even know what the agreement was. This is something that the DM of your game must decide, based upon the conditions of the agreement which was violated. Was it a fair arrangement? Was the Ranger forced into signing it? If so, did he then try to manipulate events so that the agreement would be impossible to fulfill? All these questions, and more, are important to deciding this issue. You can’t simply charge someone with violating his alignment just because he failed to live up to an agreement. 
 75DR039 Dragon #39 Weapons like the three one-handed swords, the footman’s and horseman’s flail, and the many pole arms are all used in basically the same manner as the others of that type. Are these weapons treated as separate weapons for determining proficiency, or can a character be proficient in all of them at once since they are forms of the same general weapon type?  Every weapon is different enough from every other one to require a separate proficiency for each one. A character who can use one of the pole arms cannot automatically know how to use all pole arms. The same thing holds true with swords, for instance: Imagine a halfling who is quite skilled in the use of a short sword attempting to use a long sword or a broad sword. Obviously, the proficiency with the short sword would not automatically transfer to the other types. 
 76DR039 Dragon #39 Why can’t human, half-elf and elven Magic- Users wear armor and still cast spells? Elves and half-elves who are Magic-Users and Fighters can, so I don’t believe it is because of the iron in their armor or weapons. If it is because of training, then Magic-Users could be able to learn how to wear armor and cast spells at the same time—and even a human Magic-User/Fighter could train to acquire the ability.  This is a tough one. I would like to provide a logical answer why M-Us can’t wear armor—but I can’t because there isn’t one. The only reason for the restriction is game balance, giving each character class advantages and disadvantages which will make it comparable in power and potential with the other classes. As part of the built-in game balance, elven and half-elf Fighter/ Magic-Users are limited as to how far they may rise in experience levels. They also must divide their experience points between more than one class. So, to make that type of character one which players will desire to try, those particular spell-casters are allowed to wear armor and cast spells. Even though elven and half-elf Magic-Users are also limited in how many levels they can gain, they are forbidden to wear armor because human Magic-Users are also not allowed to be armored. If elven and half-elf M-Us could wear armor, why would anyone want to be a human M-U? 
 77DR039 Dragon #39 Please clear up an apparent rules contradiction in the AD&D Players Handbook. On page 10 it gives a list of how many spells a Magic-User can know, based on intelligence and the chance for knowing them. But on page 26 it states that the Magic-User can only cast a certain number of spells, according to the level of the spell and the level of the spell caster. Must the DM decide which table to use, or what?  The table on page 10 shows how many spells the caster may know due to intelligence, not how many he/she can cast. These spells are the ones which are written in the spell-caster’s spell books. The table on page 26 indicates what levels of spells and how many from each level may be memorized at one time (from the spell books) for casting at a later time. As the Magic-User increases in levels, so does his/her ability to learn and memorize more spells. The tables are designed to be used together, not separately. 
 78DR039 Dragon #39 If a character changes his alignment from Chaotic Neutral to Chaotic Neutral Good, does the character have to lose a level?  A character cannot be Chaotic Neutral Good, because this violates the alignment structure. A character could, however, be described as Chaotic Neutral, tending towards Good. If a character exhibits this tendency, he/she should not lose a level. However, if he/she changes completely from Chaotic Neutral to Chaotic Good, then a loss in level becomes necessary. 
 79DR039 Dragon #39 Is it possible for all character races to have psionlcs, or is that power restricted?  As stated in the Players Handbook, page 110, the DM may allow psionics to be used in a campaign by humans, and possibly by dwarves and halflings of an exceptional nature. No other character race may have psionic power. 
 80DR039 Dragon #39 In TD-37’s “Sage Advice” there was a question referring to the paralysis caused by ghouls, ghasts and carrion crawlers. The reply stated that the duration of the paralysis was not clearly defined in any of the rule books. However, a duration for the paralysis inflicted by ghouls is given on page 15 of T1, The Village of Hommlet. It states that “Any human or demi-human must save vs. paralyzation or become immobile for 3-12 turns.” I suppose this is the official word. Still, what is the duration of the paralysis caused by ghasts and carrion crawlers?  According to Lawrence Schick, Vice-President for Production and Design at TSR Hobbies, the paralyzation caused by carrion crawlers is of the same duration as that caused by ghouls— 3-12 turns. Paralyzation caused by a ghast takes twice as long—6-24 turns—to wear off. 
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