No cleric? No problem! — A solution to party engineering

A common problem when building a brand-new Dungeons & Dragons party is the fact that filling out all the chief party roles can be difficult. A lot of times, no one wants to be the cleric. Sometimes being the fighter is just a little too boring. Or maybe the players just aren’t interested in being a spell caster.
Without all the key roles being filled out, it makes running adventures — especially published ones — difficult.
But never fear — there’s an easy fix to this problem — just change one skill: Use Magic Device.
The skill was meant to show that clever rogues can indeed be a substitute for any character class. It lets them handle wands, rods, staves and other class-specific magic items.
But you know what? Why not let everyone in on the fun. The rogue fills a lot of roles already, why not spread this resonsiblity around — and while we’re at, why not make the skill usable?
How do we do that? It’s easy. Just make the skill an untrained class skill for every character class. Then if the fighter is aching, he can rev up the wand in his backpack and heal up with a couple of applications of cure light wounds.
And making it untrained (for the PC classes at least) gives everyone a shot at using it, even if you don’t have any skill points to spare.
As I mentioned above, you’ll have to adjust the difficulty class too. Right now, it’s just too rigid and kind of unusable.
But never fear, that’s an easy fix too: Rather than the flat rates for various actions, have it be 15 plus the caster level of the item.
Heck, you could even include regular magic weapons and let non-proficient characters do their best to swing around a +1 two-handed sword. After all, if they make the check why not?  It’ll be fun.
With that skill modification and DC adjustment, the skill scales up as the character levels up, and you’ve got a fully equpped party.

Artwork courtesy of


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