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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th January, 2019, 10:22 AM
    No, 1. Basic 5e is not OGL. The 5e SRD is OGL - http://media.wizards.com/2016/downloads/SRD-OGL_V1.1.pdf - but it is quite different from the Basic 5e rules, which preceded it. The 5e SRD includes all the PHB classes (1 path each), and most of the Monster Manual, I think all the DMG magic items. But only 1 Feat. 2. As Morrus has noted, there is only the 1.0 OGL from 2000.
    18 replies | 724 view(s)
    1 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th January, 2019, 10:16 AM
    Dumping the OGL for 4e helped create the 4e disaster - there was a lack of third party support (adventures, settings), combined with poor quality adventures from WotC. They would have been much better sticking with it IMO. The result was that people stuck with 3e then went over to Pathfinder. 5e uses the OGL and is doing very well, though I'm not sure the causal relationship is very strong....
    18 replies | 724 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th January, 2019, 09:38 AM
    Usually an ancient roadway will be buried under too much earth to be visible. But if the roadway was originally significantly elevated above the surrounding terrain then signs could remain.
    46 replies | 1066 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th January, 2019, 09:32 AM
    Someone who fails all the time seems unlikely to be high level. :p
    41 replies | 1178 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 14th January, 2019, 10:10 AM
    Yes I agree. I definitely think the Pemertonian story-now & scene-framed approach to 4e encounters works well, and I have said so repeatedly over the years. When I have run the published 4e WoTC adventures I tend to chop out huge chunks, getting rid of a lot of the unnecessary encounters and focusing on the dramatic elements. They work best when they tie in to the backstory & concerns of the PCs...
    481 replies | 112568 view(s)
    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 14th January, 2019, 09:10 AM
    PCs run away, negotiate, come up with creative solutions, or die. This is not a problem - this is a big part of the fun of sandboxing. As for system comparison - 3e works fine with weak encounters. Too-hard 3e encounters at higher level tend to kill a lot of melee Fighters, so min-maxers gravitate to casters or ranged attackers. The issues with 4e are not around lethality at all. All 4e...
    481 replies | 112568 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 13th January, 2019, 09:02 PM
    The first full RPG I started playing with my son age 5-6 was Mentzer Classic D&D - at his request he started as a 4th level Magic-User* riding a white dragon, he wasn't interested in 1st level play. That worked really well; especially the listening to what he wanted in setting up the game. I showed him Elmore and Frazetta pics and he chose an Elmore-style high fantasy campaign in Mystara, rather...
    30 replies | 1086 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 13th January, 2019, 08:19 PM
    It has worked fine for me in several editions, and I was running a 'pure sandbox' 5e game 2 days ago that worked fine - a cross-Wilderlands trek involving keyed encounters from the 3e Wilderlands map/box, plus the Xanathar's random encounter tables. So my mileage certainly varies.
    481 replies | 112568 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 13th January, 2019, 08:07 PM
    It's not true because 4e is MORE sensitive to power differences than 3e, and in a very bad way - with defences going up +1 per level, PCs can't even hit creatures of significantly higher level. Furthermore, threat level increases faster than XP award in 4e so even if the PCs eventually win they get meagre XP. 5e is very forgiving of power differences once the PCs reach 5th level. Some DMs...
    481 replies | 112568 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Saturday, 12th January, 2019, 11:59 PM
    Just logged in to xp your play recap darkbard . Awseome! This is a great reference for would-be GMs trying to integrate Skill Challenges with a combat. Great job and thanks for spending the effort to put it in print.
    31 replies | 2438 view(s)
    1 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Saturday, 12th January, 2019, 09:25 AM
    I don't really agree; I can run sandbox fine in pre-3e and in 5e. Was doing it last night 5e for a solo Barbarian level 19 PC, rolling up stuff like 3 fire giants on the level 17-20 table (he ran away after 1 round of getting clobbered). :) 3e is not perfect for sandboxing due to extreme power disparity, but works well in a limited level range, eg the Pathfinder Beginner Box level 1-5 is a great...
    481 replies | 112568 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Friday, 11th January, 2019, 11:50 PM
    I haven't read those adventures, but in a sandbox campaign I'd expect published adventures to be more 'module' adventure sites like X1 Isle of Dread. 4e really needs scripted encounters and IME lends itself very poorly to procedural content generation. It is great at cinematics, but the combat system really dislikes too-easy or too-hard fights. And 4e does not lend itself to the "hmm, 20-50...
    481 replies | 112568 view(s)
    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Friday, 11th January, 2019, 03:58 PM
    Well if it were me I doubt I'd ever allow any PCs to march 50 miles through a jungle in 20 hours. At most I might allow 18 hours march at 1.5 miles/hour = 27 miles. But if they get to treat it as clear terrain (in which case their regular march rate would be at least 20 miles/day) then double that might be doable, but with lots of Exhaustion checks, at least 10 I'd think.
    46 replies | 1066 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Friday, 11th January, 2019, 03:49 PM
    Er... definitely not! What I think of as Sandboxing is definitely 'story later'; not 'story now' or 'story pre-written'. The sandboxing PCs explore a GM-defined pre-defined and procedurally-defined environment with a lot of freedom. Any story only emerges subsequently as a result of play, and story creation is not the aim of play.
    481 replies | 112568 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Friday, 11th January, 2019, 03:28 PM
    Suggest hit dice rather than hp, like 4e Healing Surge drain.
    46 replies | 1066 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Friday, 11th January, 2019, 02:10 PM
    I think this is probably the best approach, with the caveat that in the absence of a command the GM decides what the beast does - eg keep fighting, run away, or just stand there. Taking a bonus action makes it the equivalent of an off-hand attack, which looks reasonable.
    18 replies | 696 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Friday, 11th January, 2019, 12:25 PM
    What I did for human ethnies/races was create variant stat bonus arrays that added up to +6, ie: Altanian: +2 STR +1 DEX +2 CON +0 INT +1 WIS +0 CHA. Amazon: +1 STR +1 DEX +0 CON +0 INT +2 WIS +2 CHA Plus some racial abilities. A PC can always choose to have a Feat & 2 +1s instead.
    16 replies | 438 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Friday, 11th January, 2019, 11:54 AM
    It seems like this would normally be impossible. 10 miles/day through jungle - either it's a cleared path or mature rain forest, both in fairly level terrain; a lot of IRL jungle is close to impassable. 50 miles seems right out. I think if you want to make it challenging but possible you need to set the DCs appropriately. It doesn't seem like something that would happen IMC; the PCs would need...
    46 replies | 1066 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Friday, 11th January, 2019, 11:42 AM
    I don't think I would use #4 or #6 out of combat, because picking locks or talking persuasively are not things I see as normally being done in a couple seconds like that, and I don't have "remember stuff" take an action. But certainly I'd allow feats of athleticism using AS.
    44 replies | 1382 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Friday, 11th January, 2019, 11:37 AM
    Yeah, that's how I would & have houseruled it. The beastmaster as written manages to be both weak and immersion breaking, so this at least helps. Not sure if the attack order should just be a bonus action rather than an action though. Or maybe every attack should be a bonus action.
    18 replies | 696 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 10th January, 2019, 01:22 PM
    I think this is a good point. Often it seems the new & younger or young at heart players who are best at being proactive within the fantasy world. Other more experienced players have often had their expectations shaped by years of play. My son (11) is always coming up with plans and schemes for his PCs. It probably helps that I started him off on Mentzer Classic D&D rather than on (eg)...
    481 replies | 112568 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th December, 2018, 03:12 PM
    You go girl. :p
    40 replies | 1285 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th December, 2018, 12:33 PM
    Yeah, my Stonehell dungeon crawl is about the same %s as yours. The only time I've seen "100% combat" was when running 4e "Dungeon Delve" scenarios, which are just linear sequences of three fights.
    58 replies | 1281 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th December, 2018, 12:21 PM
    Obviously Wild Shape is an option that gives various advantages. At higher level the main one I see is that it is used to make the Druid very hard to kill. Druids in natural form tend to be squishy; when the PCs are ambushed it can be a smart move for the Druid to cast a spell then bonus action Wildshape to a robust form that can suck up the large amounts of incoming damage. I've seen a Druid ca...
    40 replies | 1285 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th December, 2018, 12:13 PM
    I don't recall seeing the designers make any claims about balance. AFAICS ranged is better than melee in 5e (if you're not a melee class like Barbarian & Paladin), but less so than in 3e & 4e. The main advantage of being a melee PC is that you get to block melee monster access to your squishy ranged-attack fellow PCs. Being a melee Rogue in 5e feels less suicidal than in 3e or 4e. Bonus...
    99 replies | 4076 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th December, 2018, 01:54 PM
    My experience having seen a Moon Druid play from 1-18 is that they are overpowered at low level ca 2-6, and somewhat overpowered when they get elemental forms, but well balanced at ca 14-18 when their beast & elemental forms get less impressive compared to their full-progression spellcasting. I definitely don't think they need a power up, so I suggest more CR 1-6 beast forms and maybe more...
    40 replies | 1285 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th December, 2018, 01:47 PM
    My Stonehell Dungeon game is about 30% exploration 10% social 60% combat I'd say, but can often be 50% exploration 50% combat or even 70% exploration 30% combat.
    58 replies | 1281 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th December, 2018, 01:41 PM
    If it's within my allowed options then I'm not going to ban it. I don't allow multiclassing anyway which removes a lot of worries.
    86 replies | 4122 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Friday, 21st December, 2018, 05:35 PM
    Then I guess the only real daylight between our positions is on the questions of “what does that mean for the conscious actor in terms of their probability/opportunity cost evaluation” and “how does the answer to the question interface with RPG PC build + action resolution mechanics.” Yeah?
    171 replies | 5545 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Friday, 21st December, 2018, 03:36 PM
    lowkey13 Going to attempt to sum up my thoughts on this right quick and put a bow on it. I think you’ll disagree, but here it is. Lets go with baseball as the case study. Expert, professional hitters have about .125 seconds (after all the other components of the .4 to .45 seconds it takes from release to plate occur; such as eye hardware to neural software) to determine (a) what...
    171 replies | 5545 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Friday, 21st December, 2018, 11:09 AM
    It would suck for Katniss Everdeen. :p Personally IMC I have both DEX based regular bows for Legolas & Katniss, and STR based war bows for real historical archers - and dragonborn. :)
    56 replies | 1868 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th December, 2018, 09:45 PM
    lowkey13 , I just read your bottom sentence (I skimmed your response due to time). That hooks into my (1) above.
    171 replies | 5545 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th December, 2018, 09:43 PM
    lowkey13 This is going to get into neuro/cognitive science a bit: 1) We’re starting to discover that the overwhelming % of our decision-tree work is performed before our conscious mind (the machinery that we identify as “I”) comes online. It appears what happens then is that the conscious mind just cleans up the now constrained subset and post-hoc rationalizes itself into the computations...
    171 replies | 5545 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th December, 2018, 09:04 PM
    @lowkey13 I’m going to agree with @Elfcrusher here. I tend to think of D&D Fighters as representing the tails of the (demi)human distribution in the same way that world class Jiujitsu players like Renzo Gracie, a boxer like Vasyl Lomachenko, and a QB like Drew Brees would be. My guess is that as you move toward that tail, the ability to perform immediate multivariate analysis...
    171 replies | 5545 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th December, 2018, 05:45 PM
    I think it would work a lot better to add abilities to the Beast forms, rather than let Druids turn into Dragons.
    40 replies | 1285 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th December, 2018, 02:30 AM
    Exactly. Its literally what "skilled play" is in traditional, (not 2e AD&D) challenge-based D&D. The idea that with each new character you play you're supposed to willfully pretend like you don't know the embedded challenge tropes of D&D and haven't operationalized rote power plays to defeat them is actually anathema to the spirit of traditional D&D. But somewhere along the line (I've...
    171 replies | 5545 view(s)
    4 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th December, 2018, 12:43 PM
    I see a good number of 5e Rogue PCs, but I've almost never seen an off-turn sneak attack. The class definitely seems built around 1 sneak attack/round. I think the difference between well played/built & mediocre is just that the well played/built Rogue usually has Advantage or an off hand attack, so rarely misses. I don't think 5e Rogues expect to be particularly great in combat, but they get...
    370 replies | 24868 view(s)
    0 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th December, 2018, 09:27 AM
    They go pew-pew-pew casting Sacred Flame etc repeatedly, instead of hitting things like St Cuthbert intended! edit: not planning to respond further, I was just giving my feeling, you're entitled to yours.
    262 replies | 7300 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th December, 2018, 05:25 AM
    Agreed (twice-over). Martial practitioners (whether its physical combat, ball sports, any form of climbing, etc) live a world of shrewd judgement based on perceived odds and opportunity cost. The idea that rules should indicate that martial combatants and athletes aren't subconsciously performing high-level computations of angles, relative velocities, and spatial relationships (therefore...
    171 replies | 5545 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th December, 2018, 02:17 AM
    Have you read (or perhaps played) Torchbearer, Beyond the Wall, and/or Dungeon World? They have some similarities and some extreme differences. I'd be particularly curious of what you think of their bestiaries as its central to the premise of your thread. How about this? Take a look at https://www.dungeonworldsrd.com/monsters/ How does reading those entries compare to your initial...
    171 replies | 5545 view(s)
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Monday, 14th January, 2019

  • 09:48 AM - Sadras mentioned S'mon in post [Very Long] Combat as Sport vs. Combat as War: a Key Difference in D&D Play Styles...
    My experience with sandbox-style play with the various editions very much aligns with S'mon's. It might also be the case that 5e is also more familiar (BECMI, 1e and 2e) to me. With 3e I felt that combat could become too swingy and there were all these details the GM had to concern him/herself with. With 4e I felt that combat needed to be properly structured, plus like S'mon said easy combats were just a complete waste of time. Therefore it is no surprise the 4e story-now crowd very much pushed the concept that combat needed to propel story - especially in a system that is known for becoming combat-sluggish.

Friday, 11th January, 2019

  • 03:45 PM - darkbard mentioned S'mon in post [Very Long] Combat as Sport vs. Combat as War: a Key Difference in D&D Play Styles...
    Well, my answer, maybe different from 7 years ago, is that the acquisition and desire to use the special silver sword LEAD to the existence of the shapechangers being framed into the action (though it is perfectly possible that they were foreshadowed before the sword came up too, but then some other reason would exist to believe that the players were interested in fighting such creatures). This puts forth pretty nicely the response I was formulating to S'mon's post above about 4E being ill-suited to "proactive sandboxing," presuming that what he means by this is a kind of Story Now play! Adherents to such play such as yourself, pemerton, Manbearcat, I, etc. have been beating the drum that 4E is the edition of D&D that most facilitates such play, though perhaps S'mon has not played with a group that grokked the possibilities of the system. (But even if that is so, one of the near-universally praised elements of 4E, even by detractors, was the ease of GMing wrt putting together a balanced encounter (especially on the fly), which would seem to lend itself to "sandboxing" regardless of play philosophy!)

Monday, 26th November, 2018

  • 04:53 PM - lowkey13 mentioned S'mon in post On Variability, House Rules, Research, and the 1e/5e Difference
    So, something that came up recently was a discussion about "1e" and what a typical campaign was like. One of contributors to that conversation brought up the example of this page as typical for 1e (h/t S'mon ) - http://immortalshandbook.com/shrine.htm Now, I know better than to yuck on someone's yum, but I would say that this particular example definitely falls on the severe outer spectrum of play for 1e. But I think it's helpful to interrogate both why I think I can make that assertion that it is atypical of play, as well as why it cannot be rules out completely, in order to make some observations about 5e. I'm going to subdivide this into various subgroups of issues. 1e/2e. The first thing that leaps out, of course, is that it is clear that the character was an amalgamation of 1e and 2e rules, made more clear by the timing (a campaign starting in 1988; second edition started in 1989). While 2e is often referred to as a standardization of 1e, the differences are both subtle (in verbiage) and substantial (in options). Even basic things, such as critical hits, became more widespread after being absent from the codified rules of 1e. 1e/1.5. Without putting too fine a point on it, Unea...

Tuesday, 13th November, 2018

  • 11:21 AM - dave2008 mentioned S'mon in post Breaking Bounded Accuracy: Proposed Fix
    For attack bonuses, you could change them to increasing weapons' critical range instead of providing a bonus to attacks. Then leave effects like Bless to operate as they already do. Possibly, but Bless is not the only issue. My proposed solution also works for magic items that stack, as noted by S'mon

Thursday, 18th October, 2018

  • 09:40 AM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post Mearls On D&D's Design Premises/Goals
    ... pulling a sword and attacking. Here some other mechanic - be it surprise or flat-footed or whatever else - is required to determine who gets to act right away vs. who is caught off guard. Otherwise what ends up happening all too often is that the dice don't match the intended-by-the-player narrative: Max pulls out a sword and swings, thus triggering initiatives, but somehow ends up near the bottom of the initiative order even though his supposedly acting first is the reason they were rolled at all! Personally, I often find this quite annoying when it happens. Hriston has already discussed this - if Max loses initiative, then (among other things) we learn that he is not very quick on the draw! It's certainly not unheard of in genre fiction for the villains to try and get the drop on the hero, only for the latter to react unexpectedly quickly and turn the tables! In 4e, Max might well get surprise if the others involved don't succeed on an appropriate Insight or Perception check. S'mon has given some suggestions for how 5e would deal with this.

Friday, 12th October, 2018

  • 02:51 PM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    ... talk to me because they're scared of my bear, or whatever, is just making me suck more! What happened to all the people who are intrigued by this guy with a tame bear? The real world is full of those sorts of people, so why not the gameworld? Background as its been described doesn't have anything to do with spotlight time or negation of drawbacks. It's about not using an element as a driver for play. The player is signaling "I'm including something that might look like a plot hook. Please don't use it; I don't want to bother with this. It exists because I thought it appropriate, but exploring it is not interesting to me." So the PC might have a spouse and child "somewhere" (like Winger in Glen Cook's Garrett series), but the player doesn't want them to appear, whether threatened, in need, or angry at abandonment.Right. I don't use this "Background" system - I've never encountered it as a formal device until Hussar mentioned it in this thread. As I've been discussing with S'mon, there is some stuff that is implicitly not to be understood as up for grabs as subject matter of play; but at my table this is all established through informal cues, not via a formal device. But the idea that if the GM can't put pressure on the player of the warlock by having the patron boss the PC around then the player is getting a free ride is absolutely bizarre to me! Do those who think this not have any other ways they can imagine putting pressure on a warlock PC? What do they do when their players decide to play sorcerers instead? If you guys want to agree that the patron is a potatoAnd this is an instance of exactly what I mean. Is it really not possible for someone to play a warlock in your game without you treating that as an invitation to take radical control of that PC's story focus/direction? And as an invitation for the PC to be hosed in some fashion by a GM-controlled patron? I mean, suppose the PCs meet at a tavern and get given quest X. Why can't the player d...
  • 11:55 AM - Sadras mentioned S'mon in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    In short, if you can't handle the drawbacks don't try for the benefits. Perhaps, where the PCs are the story drivers, like at Pemerton's table, the players might be encouraged to push those drawbacks to the foreground as part of their drivers otherwise they might not have an interesting game or story to tell and it risks falling flat. At a different table for instance, where the DM is primarily the driver he/she is encouraged to bring those drawbacks to the fore to explore the characters' backgrounds, their allegiances/loyalties, their oaths, their alignment, their patrons...and thereby build the campaign story. So when @Aldarc and @pemerton say that relationship x is off limits, it's because they expect the characters to bring that to the fore, it is not the DM's job to meddle with that, whereas for say for me (and presumably you) we bring it to the fore to create a tighter connection for the pc to the story and the setting. Now when you have a player like in S'mon's instance who did not want background material brought to the fore, then it becomes a little messy. If the DM is doing it for every other PC except for one, then it feels like they're leaving him/her out. Lan-"I think I'm in a minority of one on this, but for some reason I've always despised 'animal companions' for Druids and Rangers - familiars for casters are bad enough"-efan Curiously why?

Thursday, 11th October, 2018

  • 03:49 PM - Sadras mentioned S'mon in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    Like the races examples, its insisting that your character be exempt from the setting impacts of choices... which gets a no at my table. @pemerton and @Hussar If a player selects to play an elf or a dwarf, does the player also have narrative control over the thoughts and actions of the entire tribe, clan or race?
  • 09:25 AM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    If warlocks, paladins and clerics in this world can choose to have any conflict or blow back or de facto obligation from those "agreements" locked away, why do all those who fo have those restrictions accept them? Are the rest of the warlocks, clerics and such in the world just dolts who got suffered in by a flim flam man?You seem to be equating the player and the PC. No one (as far as I'm aware) is saying that the PC decides what the patron wants. I (at least, but maybe Hussar is sympathetic?) am saying that, as a player and as a GM, I expect the player of a cleric or warlock or whatever to establish the requirements imposed by his/her god/patron/etc. I've never found this to be a problem: eg if a player wants to play an assassin or freebooter then they simply choose not to play a cleric of Bahamut (much as S'mon suggested upthread).

Wednesday, 10th October, 2018

  • 09:26 AM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post 5e GMs - Why or Why Not Wandering Treasure?
    So a combat is falling short of being challenging and maybe even entertaining (drama element) <snip> The combat becomes enjoyable and no one is the wiser S'mon didn't say the GM notices the combat failed to entertain and so spices it up. He said the GM thinks the PCs won too easily and so throws in more enemies. I am responding to that: the GM wanting to change an outcome. And you introduce the notion of "no one is the wiser". In my view this just doubles down on the GM manipulating outcomes. If the issue is about entertainment, then there is no reason why the GM needs to keep what s/he is doing secret. Here's an example from my own RPGing: As the PCs continue through the tunnels, I described them coming to a cleft in the floor, and got them to describe how they would cross it. The drow sorcerer indicated that he would first fly over (using 16th level At Will Dominant Winds) and then . . . before he could finish, I launched into my beholder encounter, which I had designed inspired by this image (which is the cover art from Dungeonscape, I think): http://www.komarckart.com/cov_19.jpg I'm not sure exactly what the artist intende...

Monday, 8th October, 2018

  • 08:38 PM - Rya.Reisender mentioned S'mon in post Magic Missile. How have you and how do you roll the damage.
    S'mon Well, I certainly would require my DM to follow Sage Advice. But I also haven't played D&D before 5e. I'm not sure if Sage Advice even existed before 5e. At the very least in old times where not everybody had internet, it makes a lot more sense that you made your own rulings without consulting any "rules guy". Even 10 years ago, most people already had internet, but not everyone had a smartphone to look everything up on the fly, so even then it was still better to just make a ruling on the fly. So yeah, I guess it's reasonable that this is just a modern trend, mainly because it's easily possible to follow RAI now, while it used to be tedious before.

Monday, 17th September, 2018

  • 07:23 AM - Hussar mentioned S'mon in post Boss Monsters? I Just Say No!
    I think S'mon largely has the right of it. Many of us cut our teeth in D&D through modules. And modules, by and large, are set up for the big showdown fight at the end of the module. There are notable exceptions, of course, but, they are notable BECAUSE they are exceptions. Heck, how many of us got our start in Keep on the Borderlands which has about a dozen boss fights at the end of each cave?

Monday, 7th May, 2018

  • 12:16 PM - Sadras mentioned S'mon in post Harassment Policies: New Allegations Show More Work To Be Done
    OTOH, if you know that that person is doing a number of things that potentially might set off some alarm bells, SHOULDN'T you say something? If that person is surfing sites to research how to make a pressure cooker bomb, makes comments that, while are in no way illegal, but, are somewhat alarming, and whatnot, isn't it your responsibility to step up here? Sure, but there is a massive difference between making a rape comment over a DotA/HoN game and researching how to make a pressure cooker bomb. I guess I got my back up because @S'mon made a comment about repetitive behaviour and misinterpreted talked to with distracted by cleavage and somehow got 'outed' as an offender and everyone seemed ok with it. :erm: I mean you have your obvious trolls and sock-puppets and then you have those engaged in earnest discussion who might have points of disagreement with you*. The point is, do not treat everyone who disagrees with your as some troll/sock-puppet. *You - the general you not you (Hussar) personally.

Sunday, 16th July, 2017

  • 01:46 PM - Lylandra mentioned S'mon in post Cheliax, Empire of Devils
    ...t the Dawn of Time to defeat and bind Rovagug, the Rough Beast. You could certainly play up this 'Auld Alliance' aspect, you could even have a somewhat sympathetic LN Thrunist Inquisitor seek out the Saranrae Paladin's aid against the threat of a Demonic or Far Place incursion, replicating the ancient cycle once more... :) And have the PC richly rewarded by Thrune when successful. Of course this all suits Asmodeus' own plans just fine... Also this. Asmodeus (as a deity) is the eldest god alive. He doesn't give a damn for mortals per se and even cares less for whom else they worship unless they are fine that he is the most powerful and his rule is absolute. This is reflected in Cheliax by the fact that shrines to other gods and even priests of them are allowed, but they have to ceremoniously admit that Asmodeus is the God of Gods. So unless your Paladin went on a Holy Crusade in Cheliax or started preaching against Chelian doctrine, he'd not be challenged at all. If you consider what S'mon said, your Cheliax episode could culimate in one big temptation for your Paladin. He might like the respect and power given to him. He might like the absolute order and draconian "justice". For his worship of Sarenrae: Be sure to offer him rituals of cleansing within his temples after his job is done. Sarenrae (and most gods) is not stupid. She knows her follower's hearts. So as long as the Paladin stays true in his faith, she will not let him fall from grace for paying lip service to Asmodeus in order to stay alive. This would be completely up to him and his actions. However, themes like this are not for every player or GM. If you feel like being unable to handle it, then don't. Don't go there unless you are absolutely sold on the idea. Evil themes and societies dominated by evil hierarchies are hard to portray sensibly. Using a black&white "darkness, corruption, injustice, torture everywhere" scenario then yes, such a society would not stay stable for long. For example, think a...

Monday, 26th June, 2017

  • 08:33 AM - clearstream mentioned S'mon in post adventurers in your world: common or rare?
    ... I've been thinking about this along the same lines as you, and wondering if our goal should be less about knowing how many there are, and more our chances of finding one?! Not sure if this could work, but behold - the DC to find PC table "DC to find PC" Polity size_____Tier 1_____Tier 2_____Tier 3_____Epic+ 100s___________10_________10_________20_______30 1000s__________5__________10_________15_______25 10,000s________5__________5__________15_______25 100,000s_______0__________5__________10_______20 1000,000s______0__________0__________10_______20 Of course the title is tongue-in-cheek, as the idea is we're finding character-class equivalent NPCs who will mostly be represented by abstract MM stat blocks. As a further caveat, I believe 5e DCs could meaningfully scale to 40. If you think so too, then this table might be improved using higher DCs for Tier 3 and Epic+. Could it work to introduce rolls to suggest headcount spreads e.g. d10xN where N is a factor based on polity size? @S'mon @SkidAce

Wednesday, 21st June, 2017

  • 04:53 AM - L R Ballard mentioned S'mon in post Is This Magic Item Overpowered for 5e?
    ...ended charge merely suppresses the power of a magic item for a month rather than drain its power? That's Satyrn's original suggestion: Okay. Here's how I would probably end up using the item if I was presented with it in an adventure module: I'd change it up as I suggested, making it suppress magic rather than destroying it. But I'd also give it charges like a 5e wand. But Satyrn's position still seems open to modification: I'm not really sure I'd change the behaviour of one-use items in a conversion. That way I hew close to the original (an obvious goal I think) and since they're one use-items they're not likely have a long lasting effect on ghe campaign if indeed the item was overpowered. The standard behavior of the 2e version of the rod of cancellation is to completely drain the item's power. Would changing the rod's effect on magic items and giving it charges constitute "a change [of] the behaviour of [a] one-use item . . . ."? On to the incense of meditation, S'mon observes: Seems overpowered to me. For 5e I suggest +1 to spell level, eg casts inflict wounds as 8th level slot when using 7th level slot. And Satyrn offers: I did like S'mon's 5e-ish take on the dust, though, having it treat spells as though they were cast in a higher slot. Thanks for clarifying S'mon's remarks: I did not draw the inference that the incense of meditation should grant +1 to the spell level rather than yield maximum results for the spell. Is that the idea? Use the incense of meditation, and gain +1 spell level for any applicable spell effects?

Tuesday, 20th June, 2017

  • 10:52 PM - Satyrn mentioned S'mon in post Is This Magic Item Overpowered for 5e?
    Thanks. I can see introducing the incense before an epic-level quest. Of course, FRE1 is not an epic-level quest. So, if the incense of meditation doesn't make the converted FRE1, what is a fitting substitute magic item to pair with the rod of cancellation? I'm asking Satyrn this question, but anyone who's reading along, please feel free to recommend a substitute. I'm not really sure I'd change the behaviour of one-use items in a conversion. That way I hew close to the original (an obvious goal I think) and since they're one use-items they're not likely have a long lasting effect on ghe campaign if indeed the item was overpowered. I did like S'mon's 5e-ish take on the dust, though, having it treat spells as though they were cast in a higher slot.

Friday, 9th June, 2017

  • 05:12 PM - Hussar mentioned S'mon in post Let's Not Save The World...Again
    S'mon - It may have been in the Marvel comics. Fair enough. I'll admit, my Conan experiences is far more De Camp. I didn't read the original Howard stories until much later. The problem I have with the article is the same as I have with the other articles. These articles take a very, very narrow view of the genre and then try to make broad claims. And, I gotta think that its deliberate. I mean, the article talks about how back in the day, It used to take a lot less to make us feel heroic. Guns and ships and criminals used to be good enough, as in the stories of Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, and even James Bond as written by Ian Fleming, not as he's known from movies. In pulps, it was enough to defeat a gang or an unusual villain. But, that's not even true. We've got Burroughs and "A Princess of Mars" and subsequent stories being published in 1912. World spanning plot. Hardly a local story about "guns and ships and criminals". Never minding tr...

Thursday, 8th June, 2017

  • 11:26 PM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post Let's Not Save The World...Again
    ... destroy The World.I think this is not a weakness of "save the world" but rather a weakness of the GM! A prioritising of the setting over the play of the game. because we've never jumped the shark, the campaign world remains in good shape for future campaigns.Whereas my approach is to use new worlds. Even when I'm suing GH for the Nth campaign, it doesn't have to be the same GH. I'm not obliged to have regard to past failures to "save the world". My main players simply aren't the sort to want to save the world. Threats have to feel local, regional at a pinch, for them to bite. And part of that is because they're not the sort to commit to a campaign past level 10 or so. So, yeah, local or regional is better... which is a shame because I'm still longing to run a Pemertonian, Epic-level, multiplanar extravaganza at some point. (And pemerton, I know you're not a fan of fanboys, so I hope you won't take offence at "Pemertonian".... ;) )I'm happy to accept "pemertonian"! - I think S'mon coined it a few years ago now, for relatively lowbrow, D&D-fantasy scene-framing GMing.

Tuesday, 30th May, 2017

  • 06:21 AM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post Consequence and Reward in RPGs
    Manbearcat, S'mon I don't know the MMO scene and so won't venture there. I don't know sports very well either, but I don't think that comparison quite fits this case: a group of casual basketballers knows that what they are doing only gets its logic from some more "serious" version of the same activity (ie competitive basketball). Music is similar: my guitar playing is pretty ordinary, and I'm never going to be any sort of serious performer, but I think about the meaning and quality of what I'm doing when I play my guitar using the same framework that I use to think seriously about real musicians. Whereas the "participationist"/"tourism" RPGing is intended by those who do it, I think, to have a meaning and value and so on that is different from classic dungeon-crawling.


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Wednesday, 16th January, 2019

  • 05:41 AM - Umbran quoted S'mon in post Was WotC On to Something When They Dumped the 3.x OGL?
    1. Basic 5e is not OGL. The 5e SRD is OGL - http://media.wizards.com/2016/downloads/SRD-OGL_V1.1.pdf - but it is quite different from the Basic 5e rules, which preceded it. The 5e SRD includes all the PHB classes (1 path each), and most of the Monster Manual, I think all the DMG magic items. But only 1 Feat. Fair, though as I recall, previous versions of the 5e SRD had more limited content, more akin to what's in Basic. I glanced at the license, but I didn't probe into the content yesterday. 2. As Morrus has noted, there is only the 1.0 OGL from 2000. If you wanna be really picky, WotC uses version 1.0a, released in 2000. I was not confident enough that *NO OTHER* versions existed out there to assert such.

Tuesday, 15th January, 2019

  • 10:45 PM - LordEntrails quoted S'mon in post We learn more from failure...
    Someone who fails all the time seems unlikely to be high level. :p Sounds like that contradicts the Dilbert Principle! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dilbert_principle
  • 06:56 PM - LordEntrails quoted S'mon in post Forced March question
    Hmm, yeah it could work that way. I was initially thinking it would be a side check just in case there wasn't enough going on with the earthmotes to engage all players; one of the 3 players with herbalism kit proficiency could search for stimulants while traveling. But I think I like your approach better. Another consideration is to not change healing potions to get rid of exhaustion, but allow the players to spend time and search for these herbal "supplements". Akin to the potion of vitality, but only one level. You can also reintroduce the CON save for those cases when the party goes ahead and pushes ahead. So maybe the exhaustion isn't manditory. Only a single CON roll per instance so it wouldn't add much time to resolve. And agree not to have exhaustion occur until the end. As an abstract alternative, I was imagining having each player choose a "position" like forward lookout, manning the rudder, a pole-man to push off hazards with a pole / sound for depth, and a couple paddlers. ...

Monday, 14th January, 2019

  • 05:12 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted S'mon in post [Very Long] Combat as Sport vs. Combat as War: a Key Difference in D&D Play Styles...
    It has worked fine for me in several editions, and I was running a 'pure sandbox' 5e game 2 days ago that worked fine - a cross-Wilderlands trek involving keyed encounters from the 3e Wilderlands map/box, plus the Xanathar's random encounter tables. So my mileage certainly varies. But what happens when the dice generate bad bad news for the PCs? Or they take a left turn into the "high level area" before they're ready? This is the issue with sandboxes, there's a lot more ways for the party to hose itself or get unlucky than not. Things end being either highly contrived or 'edited' to deal with that. Is it really a sandbox at that point? I really am not any kind of expert on 5e's tools for sandbox play, but the closest I can imagine to a system without these problems is one that basically doesn't level scale and where encounter design systems assure SOME way forward (granted the players may still mess up). Now, 5e does level scale a bit less steeply than previous editions, so there is that,...
  • 05:05 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted S'mon in post [Very Long] Combat as Sport vs. Combat as War: a Key Difference in D&D Play Styles...
    It's not true because 4e is MORE sensitive to power differences than 3e, and in a very bad way - with defences going up +1 per level, PCs can't even hit creatures of significantly higher level. Furthermore, threat level increases faster than XP award in 4e so even if the PCs eventually win they get meagre XP. 5e is very forgiving of power differences once the PCs reach 5th level. Some DMs complain about this, that 5e PCs can defeat monsters of much higher CR. But in any case I don't expect or want all fights to be winnable. I do expect PCs to recognise a losing fight (easy in 3e & 5e, but hard in 4e due to the resource economy and the natural cadence of 4e combat typically having a 'looks like you might lose' bit in the middle) and to keep in mind ways to escape & evade. In the worst case scenario of a superior flying enemy, such as an angry dragon hunting ground-locked PCs, you are likely to lose some people, but I have seen parties avoid TPK by scattering, hiding, using a variety of tec...

Sunday, 13th January, 2019

  • 06:11 PM - AbdulAlhazred quoted S'mon in post [Very Long] Combat as Sport vs. Combat as War: a Key Difference in D&D Play Styles...
    I don't really agree; I can run sandbox fine in pre-3e and in 5e. Was doing it last night 5e for a solo Barbarian level 19 PC, rolling up stuff like 3 fire giants on the level 17-20 table (he ran away after 1 round of getting clobbered). :) 3e is not perfect for sandboxing due to extreme power disparity, but works well in a limited level range, eg the Pathfinder Beginner Box level 1-5 is a great sandbox game due to its encounter tables being for that range. I haven't really RUN 5e and certainly never ran a 5e sandbox, but my experience there is that if the overall CR difference is too much, then clearly the party is going down. That can also happen when there are certain types of non-viable tactical situations (like for instance in the 5e campaign we ran our party was set on by a wandering dragon in the wilderness. Since none of the PCs could fly there was no real hope of winning that fight). The upshot being, 5e may be a little more tolerant than 4e in terms of power disparities being g...

Saturday, 12th January, 2019

  • 04:06 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted S'mon in post [Very Long] Combat as Sport vs. Combat as War: a Key Difference in D&D Play Styles...
    I haven't read those adventures, but in a sandbox campaign I'd expect published adventures to be more 'module' adventure sites like X1 Isle of Dread. 4e really needs scripted encounters and IME lends itself very poorly to procedural content generation. It is great at cinematics, but the combat system really dislikes too-easy or too-hard fights. And 4e does not lend itself to the "hmm, 20-50 bandits... roll reaction... what are they up to? What will happen next?" type play I associate with sandboxing. 5e does though. See, the funny thing is, I didn't think 0e, 1e, 2e, 3e, 5e, B/X/ECMI/RC... did either. Sure, people DID it, but when the 20-50 bandits showed up and the reaction was a 'hostile, attacks' (the exact details of reactions varied from edition to edition) then the GM had to either step in and cook something up or else work with the players to see that whatever idea they could throw against the wall stuck. I mean, he could also just slag the party, generate a TPK and start over, ...

Friday, 11th January, 2019

  • 04:12 PM - darkbard quoted S'mon in post [Very Long] Combat as Sport vs. Combat as War: a Key Difference in D&D Play Styles...
    Er... definitely not! What I think of as Sandboxing is definitely 'story later'; not 'story now' or 'story pre-written'. The sandboxing PCs explore a GM-defined pre-defined and procedurally-defined environment with a lot of freedom. Any story only emerges subsequently as a result of play, and story creation is not the aim of play. Fair 'nuff! Certainly, I don't think the terms sandbox and Story Now are equivalent, though sometimes people use them this way (I used to myself before being educated to see the difference). I suppose the confusion can come about through the tilting in both towards Player-Driven play, although I think such play is largely Illusionism in sandboxing (pemerton would call this Choose-your-own-adventure choice, i.e., not much choice at all). This is not meant to denigrate sandboxing but to point out that this stark distinction between (a) choosing betweeen GM-defined pre-defined and procedurally-defined environment(s) and (b) allowing the focus of play to emerge ...
  • 04:04 PM - TallIan quoted S'mon in post Forced March question
    Suggest hit dice rather than hp, like 4e Healing Surge drain. I thought about this^ but this ↓ So they'd arrive at the settlement in time to make a difference in the fight with no setback whatsoever, save needing an extra day of rest to get all their Hit Dice back after the fight. That seems to completely dissipate the tension/risk involved in the dramatic forced march. would be the result. Until you have to take a short rest, losing HD is not a problem
  • 03:49 PM - Quickleaf quoted S'mon in post Forced March question
    Idea: have the players burn a HD to relieve a level of exhaustion while marching. Suggest hit dice rather than hp, like 4e Healing Surge drain. So, with my 6th-level party, if I were to do that gradated single Constitution save, and a PC were to get 4 levels of exhaustion, all they'd have to do is spend 4 Hit Dice to be back to fresh. Ok, no brainer. So they'd arrive at the settlement in time to make a difference in the fight with no setback whatsoever, save needing an extra day of rest to get all their Hit Dice back after the fight. That seems to completely dissipate the tension/risk involved in the dramatic forced march.
  • 03:33 PM - Quickleaf quoted S'mon in post Forced March question
    It seems like this would normally be impossible. 10 miles/day through jungle - either it's a cleared path or mature rain forest, both in fairly level terrain; a lot of IRL jungle is close to impassable. 50 miles seems right out. I think if you want to make it challenging but possible you need to set the DCs appropriately. It doesn't seem like something that would happen IMC; the PCs would need a carpet of flying or similar to get there in time. There's some context that might illuminate why I consider 50 miles in 20 hours possible in this case. My 6th-level party is mostly PCs native to this jungle, including: human UA ranger (gloom stalker), with jungle favored terrain & Outlander background grung druid (circle of the land), who is amphibious and can climb, and has a giant lizard mount/pack animal lizardfolk rogue (swashbuckler) / warlock (UA raven queen), who can swim and climb & has archaeopteryx animal companion who serves as a lookout/recon goblin paladin (oathbreaker), wh...

Tuesday, 8th January, 2019

  • 08:54 PM - Umbran quoted S'mon in post [Very Long] Combat as Sport vs. Combat as War: a Key Difference in D&D Play Styles...
    The worst thing is that when I try to prompt them "What are your PC goals?" they always ask me for a path to a tailored magic item/artifact: putting the burden back on Me to give Them stuff. So, I have seen this, and it often winds up being a (sometimes ironic) issue of expectations around authorial control. Characters live in their fictional world 24/7/365. Players live in that fictional world a couple of hours a week. The character should know tons of things about the world to form goals around. The player usually knows *way* less than the GM thinks they do. The GM thinks there is *tons* of cool bits to take as goals, and the player is largely ignorant of the possibilities. A new player does not have an established idea of where the lines of authorial control lie - and so they may feel more okay just making things up to fill in for what they don't know. The more veteran player does have an established view of what the roles are - and it probably doesn't match *you* as a GM. ...

Wednesday, 26th December, 2018

  • 04:34 PM - Satyrn quoted S'mon in post False truisms in 5th edition
    I don't recall seeing the designers make any claims about balance. It'd be real weird if they had made these claims, or had tried to make these truisms true. Especially the one about wizards being the best arcane caster. Though, I would be rather amused if Meals did say that: "Sure we made the bard, the sorcerer and warlock for you, we've included them in the game right alongside the wizard, but they suck. Play a wizard. Trust me. Choosing the wizard class is the best choice for an arcane caster."
  • 03:56 PM - CapnZapp quoted S'mon in post Mid- to high-level Wildshape [Moon Druids]
    You go girl. :p Remember my initial post: What I am looking for is well-considered and balanced houserules for Wildshape forms that take the progression enjoyed up until level ~10, and brings it also to Druids of high levels.
  • 03:09 PM - CapnZapp quoted S'mon in post Mid- to high-level Wildshape [Moon Druids]
    Obviously Wild Shape is an option that gives various advantages. At higher level the main one I see is that it is used to make the Druid very hard to kill. I don't deny this. However, this thread is about changing that. Or rather, instead of viewing wildshape as "just" a big bag of hit points, I want to restore wildshape as a source of cool attacks. :)

Tuesday, 25th December, 2018

  • 03:12 PM - CapnZapp quoted S'mon in post Mid- to high-level Wildshape [Moon Druids]
    at ca 14-18 when their beast & elemental forms get less impressive compared to their full-progression spellcasting How can it be a power-up to give them something that encourages them to stay in wild shape, when that keeps them out of the high-power spellcasting...? [emoji846] PS. Remember Beast Spells specifies beasts, so it's not as if I'm granting the druid the power to stay in Monstrosity form and cast spells. DS

Wednesday, 19th December, 2018

  • 11:16 PM - doctorbadwolf quoted S'mon in post Cantrip Auto-Scaling - A 5e Critique
    They go pew-pew-pew casting Sacred Flame etc repeatedly, instead of hitting things like St Cuthbert intended! edit: not planning to respond further, I was just giving my feeling, you're entitled to yours. So any spell casting is “pew pew”?

Monday, 17th December, 2018

  • 06:46 PM - doctorbadwolf quoted S'mon in post Cantrip Auto-Scaling - A 5e Critique
    Yes, I'd like them to not feel like wizards/sorcerers, which they do now. How? They've all always been full casters, but having melee weapons as a backup rather than the wizard's crossbow really made that big a difference? They have very different spells, and surely they could have even more different cantrips if they aren't different enough.
  • 09:33 AM - schnee quoted S'mon in post Cantrip Auto-Scaling - A 5e Critique
    I would prefer it if most cantrips didn't scale. I'll make an exception for Eldritch Blast. I'm not keen on Clerics & Druids as pew-pew casters; I'd rather they were using weapons for their routine attacks. Clerics don't go 'pew pew', they either go 'Burn with holy fire!' as that person literally catches flame where they stand, or 'Feel your death, mortal!' as a doom-sounding bell tolls. Druids hurl a fireball like a literal Ryu Hadouken - one that burns flesh but not the plants or trees. Those are all pretty bad-ass.
  • 08:19 AM - doctorbadwolf quoted S'mon in post Cantrip Auto-Scaling - A 5e Critique
    I would prefer it if most cantrips didn't scale. I'll make an exception for Eldritch Blast. I'm not keen on Clerics & Druids as pew-pew casters; I'd rather they were using weapons for their routine attacks. Ill never understand why folks want either class to be using weapons as their main means of fighting. Is it just tradition? Okay. So your argument is basically that I'm not comparing the correct thing to a cantrip? Okay. May I have some reason why a 1st level slot "must be compared to a cantrip?" (As you put it) I stated my argument explicitly. Also, you previously stated "I wasn’t talking about upcasting in that post, nor have I made that part of my arguments in this thread. Feel free to ask others for that explanation, though I do agree with them." in this very post that I'm quoting. Isn't it a contradiction to agree with those that are comparing the spell itself which can be upcast to the cantrip and then say the spell slot must be what the cantrip is compared with? No, it...


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