View Profile: DerekSTheRed - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
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About DerekSTheRed

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July 15, 1979 (39)
About DerekSTheRed
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I've been playing RPGs and D&D specifically since the early 90's. I used to run an RPGA gameday in the DFW, Texas area before I burned out. Now I'm back to home games only. I'm currently playing in a Adventure's League D&D 5E game and GMing a FFG Star Wars EotE/AOR game.
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Fort Worth, Texas, United States
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Sunday, 18th June, 2017

  • 10:44 AM - schnee quoted DerekSTheRed in post Feelings on Ranged Damage
    I've come to the conclusion that characters that are built around ranged weapons are boring. Being at range will lead to less attacks targeting the character and therefore less suspense. Magic users have a resource management mini-game to balance when choosing which spell. But a bow character doesn't really worry about which arrow to use. Well, they do though. Here are the rules that create that mini-game. Half of arrows shot get recovered per combat. Magic ammunition becomes non-magical after a successful hit. Consumable items should be tracked. Encumbrance should be tracked. Keep those all going, and archers get a lot more careful when and where they use their bows. The problem is, tracking all that gets tedious, so mechanics like this eventually get hand-waved away. I think it feels a tad to 'groggy' for most of today's players. And, honestly, even back 'in the day', when we hit our 3rd or 4th campaign, we hand-waved it away too.
  • 01:57 AM - Maxperson quoted DerekSTheRed in post Dragon PCs - what are your concerns?
    Sounds like the beginnings of a 5E port of Council of Wyrms. Sent from my iPhone using EN World Yep. I was going to recommend that the OP see if he can find a PDF of Council of Wyrms. It will have a lot he can use.

Friday, 16th June, 2017

  • 03:34 AM - Whithers quoted DerekSTheRed in post Feelings on Ranged Damage
    Trying to make archery interesting in movies can lead to some contrived scenes just so that the viewer doesn't get bored. One of the reasons I look for dramatic "story" function rather than realism. The suspension of disbelief is so much more appealing than the real thing. Consider the most efficient archery units in the world were Persians who would ride up and U-turn on strategic points of elevation in order to deliver a volley of arrows. By the time the arrows landed throughout the ranks of their enemies, they would average 700 to 750 meters distance from their target. The charge of heavy cavalry was intended to trample infantry to death. This was a "tech" advance of the Roman infantry units who would close ranks around the enemy, and then using their shields as a barricade, they would force opponents prone and then stomp them to death under iron-shod boots. The defense of Greece by the Spartans was by using a narrow point and shield wall to bottle up the enemy where multiple ranks could ...

Wednesday, 12th April, 2017

  • 02:38 PM - AriochQ quoted DerekSTheRed in post Unearthed Arcana Explores Downtime Activities
    I would like some downtime activities for ruling a domain or a church or a thieves' guild. The 7/5 days in a week/work week doesn't totally work with the calendars in their fantasy setting. Forgotten Realms uses a tenday week and other settings use 8. Why not just keep using days? I put some homebrew rules for running a thieves guild on dmsguild http://www.dmsguild.com/product/184100/Thieves-Guilds They don't have all the crazy complications that the UA article includes. Personally, I don't have a problems with adventure hooks in a homebrew campaign. In fact, I have the exact opposite problem. As the campaign matures, there are too many things for the characters to do. The last thing I need is to derail any campaign plotlines for 2 sessions because a PC tried to buy a magic item and is now being hunted by a cult or something.

Friday, 6th May, 2016

  • 07:57 PM - Rich Baker quoted DerekSTheRed in post AMA: Richard Baker, author of lots of stuff!
    BTW, thanks for doing this Rich. Birthright is my favorite D&D setting and I keep making (or trying to make) home brew versions of it every time there's a new edition. For the races of Birthright, why no Gnomes? Why Orogs instead of Orcs? Mostly it was about looking for ways to make the setting a little more distinct from "standard medieval fantasy world." Keep in mind that TSR was publishing Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, and Mystara all at the same time. All those worlds look a lot alike--basically, if it was in the MM or the PH, it was in the setting. Birthright's "high concept" hook meant that it was yet another world that was all about knights and wizards and castles, etc. -- the idea of "you play the king" could have been implemented in any of those other worlds. I would also add that gnomes in 2e were really redundant with dwarves and halflings. It took a lot of work in 3e to make them look and feel different from dwarves. Every time you add a PC race to a setting, you have to answer the q...
  • 07:49 PM - Rich Baker quoted DerekSTheRed in post AMA: Richard Baker, author of lots of stuff!
    If a 5E warlock were to make a pact with an Awnshegh, what would that pact boon be? Feel free to spit ball flavor and/or crunch ideas. Hmm, I haven't thought about something like that at all . . . I think I might begin with blood-themed and transformation-themed flavor and crunch. Pact of the Tome gives you flexibility with at-will spells, Pact of the Chain gives you a familiar, maybe the Pact of the Black Blood lets you get some minor wildshape-like or shifter-like (as in the Eberron race) ability to make yourself more monstrous like your patron. For Otherworldly Patron features, I think the early abilities in the Fiend pact feel appropriate for an awnshegh patron. You might mix those up with some of the blood-themed powers from the 4e warlock builds. That's all off the cuff, but maybe it'll point you in an interesting direction! Rich
  • 06:14 PM - Rich Baker quoted DerekSTheRed in post AMA: Richard Baker, author of lots of stuff!
    RE: 5E Birthright Blooded scion as a race sounds interesting, but how would you handle things like blood theft? 5E races tend to give abilities that are important in low levels but less so in later ones. 2E Blooded Scions had the whole Blood Score which fed into how many blood abilities and how many Regency points a character got each domain turn. If you did a 5E Birthright today, how would you handle Blood Score if at all? I think blood theft still works okay. I might suggest a simple system to begin with, such as "your base bloodline score equals your level." Great successes as a ruler earn you +1 bloodline score. Killing an enemy scion earns you +1 bloodline score. You'd build a small table of benefits that unlock at various score milestones for each bloodline. Yes, it might be a "better" race than standard if you're a 15th level character with a long string of successes, but if those tables are done right, then accumulating a couple of stat bumps or a handful of spell-like abilities doesn't m...

Tuesday, 15th September, 2015

  • 02:02 PM - FormerlyHemlock quoted DerekSTheRed in post Unearthed Arcana: Another New Ranger Variant
    Even if ambuscade isn't overpowered (which I think it is) it can make combat too swingy when paired with rogue/assassin or fighter. It needs to be later not at first level to prevent cherry picking. It's also just plain weird. An extra turn that comes out of nowhere interacts oddly with durations. E.g. Stunning Strike during an Ambuscade turn may have effectively no duration at all, if the Ambuscader rolls high on his initiative, thus making high initiative bad. Ambuscade is a nonmagical Time Stop, the only other mechanic which grants additional turns. But Time Stop halts time, so it's easy to adjudicate its effects. Ambuscade... is doing what?

Monday, 27th July, 2015

  • 07:45 AM - fuindordm quoted DerekSTheRed in post What is/should be the Ranger's "thing"?
    I admit I never really understood the desire for a spell-less Ranger so maybe the people who want one can set me straight. At the risk of derailing the thread into something other than literary deconstruction... Personally, I prefer D&D when the majority of PCs are not spellcasters. I prefer fantasy in general when magic and the use thereof are rare events in the character's lives. I have no problem with a party containing a cleric and a wizard, but when every player has spells then the implied setting is one of magic as technology, not magic as mystery. I was esctatic when 4E delivered a new archetype for a mundane martial character: the warlord (yes, I know it wasn't the first attempt along those lines but I think it was the first one that worked well). It expanded the range for the first time in quite a while. I can dream of a D&D where at least half the core classes are mostly mundane: barbarian, fighter, knight, monk, ranger, rogue, warlord... I also realize that it's never been...

Sunday, 26th July, 2015

  • 11:55 PM - Corpsetaker quoted DerekSTheRed in post What is/should be the Ranger's "thing"?
    At least two or three Ranger spells per level are bonus actions that enhance the Ranger's attacks. It's entirely possible for Ranger to only use those spells. Thus the Ranger does not cast spells in the narrative sense while still casting spells in the gamist sense. Also Aragorn used Kingsfoil in RotK which is kind of like casting Lesser Restoration. Some are really passionate about spells and Rangers. I'm not passionate either way. It seems like adding the spell portion to the class was an easy way to add utility to the Ranger using already existing game elements and have a Nature Gish thus killing two birds in one stone. Consider the Way of the Four Elements Monk. He gets the ability to cast "spells" using ki points. The monk can choose which "spells" but all have the elemental attunement ability. What if the Ranger (or a single Ranger build) could do something similar with "Nature" points. The Ranger would pick which spells (like Hunter's Mark) but all had the Favored Enemy/Terrain "spel...
  • 05:57 PM - Corpsetaker quoted DerekSTheRed in post What is/should be the Ranger's "thing"?
    I agree. That's why I made the tail wagging the dog comment. Drizzt is an important consideration for WotC IMO. Many (not all or even most) players will make a Drizzt clone as their first PC. Being able to make a Drizzt or Aragon clone using the Ranger class is probably a requirement of any Ranger class made by WotC. The class can and should be able to make more than just those two, but since they are specifically called Rangers in literature I expect to be able to reverse engineer their stats with just 5E Ranger. You can make both actually except for you would have to leave out spells. Aragorn used his weapon one handed and two handed while Drizzt used two weapons. Spells is where people are having difficulty. The 5th edition ranger is a throwback to the original ranger because you aren't forced into going two weapon fighting or archery.
  • 05:55 PM - Minigiant quoted DerekSTheRed in post What is/should be the Ranger's "thing"?
    I agree. That's why I made the tail wagging the dog comment. Drizzt is an important consideration for WotC IMO. Many (not all or even most) players will make a Drizzt clone as their first PC. Being able to make a Drizzt or Aragon clone using the Ranger class is probably a requirement of any Ranger class made by WotC. The class can and should be able to make more than just those two, but since they are specifically called Rangers in literature I expect to be able to reverse engineer their stats with just 5E Ranger. Indeed. The 5e ranger would have to let players recreate Drizzt, Aragorn, Soveliss, and other iconic representations of D&D rangers.
  • 12:14 AM - Tony Vargas quoted DerekSTheRed in post What is/should be the Ranger's "thing"?
    Maybe the ranger needs to add wisdom modifier to AC if wearing light armor?The 5e ranger can just stick to finesse weapons and max DEX whether ranged or melee focused. It's actually pretty slick how 5e handles the difference between 'heavy' and 'light' melee types.
  • 12:08 AM - Corpsetaker quoted DerekSTheRed in post What is/should be the Ranger's "thing"?
    The problem with 4E Ranger was that the archer build was incredibly boring and the melee build couldn't survive in melee. I think the 5E melee ranger has the same survivability problem due to needing light armor for stealth but not doing enough damage to qualify as a glass cannon. Maybe the ranger needs to add wisdom modifier to AC if wearing light armor? Why do you need to qualify as a glass cannon? 5th edition wasn't designed around you doing specific damage. It's about playing the concept.

Saturday, 25th July, 2015

  • 11:35 PM - TheCosmicKid quoted DerekSTheRed in post What is/should be the Ranger's "thing"?
    Drizzt's favored enemy is goblins. It was mentioned in one of the early books and then Salvatore wrote a short story where Drizzt met a goblin that was nice and it humanized (elfized?) the goblin. That doesn't invalidate your larger point since Salvatore plays D&D and its a bit of the tail wagging the dog.Thanks for the info. And yes, it actually illustrates my point that I couldn't guess Drizzt's canonical favored enemy correctly: it's certainly not something that defines his character or his identity as a ranger.

Monday, 20th July, 2015

  • 05:54 PM - Yaarel quoted DerekSTheRed in post What is/should be the Ranger's "thing"?
    The fact that this thread exists makes me think the ranger shouldn't be a class and the burden of proof is on those who think it should stay a separate class. It is a fair point to doubt the viability of the Ranger as a separate class. After all, in 1e the Ranger was a Fighter archetype. The Rogue class can cover all of the Dex finesse and archery, while the Fighter and Barbarian classes can cover all of the unarmored mobility and toughness. The animal companion works better as an NPC companion that any class can gain, plus a feat that allows better cooperation with an NPC companion. A Paladin archetype - Green Knight - can obsorb the half-caster aspects of the Ranger: consider the playtest had a ‘green’ life-oriented Paladin archetype. Even so, the Ranger seems to cover enough design space to sustain a class. The Ranger is a highly mobile, super-tough, smart, and tool mastering warrior, who personifies the mastery of terrain. The smartness Int/Wis distinguishes the Ranger from Fighter and Barbar...
  • 02:09 AM - TheCosmicKid quoted DerekSTheRed in post What is/should be the Ranger's "thing"?
    The whole favored enemy is racist tangent was ... unhelpful.It was a stupid wisecrack on my part. I apologized for it immediately. Getting back to the topic at hand. I view favored enemy/terrain as situational bonuses. How situational? I would say about as often as a cleric's turn undead. Notice that turn undead is part of a suite of powers under channel divinity. Maybe the ranger should have a similar mechanic? No one power will trigger frequently, but in aggregate one of the powers of Nature's Divinity (or whatever) would trigger frequently enough to work.That sounds like a reasonable compromise.
  • 02:09 AM - steeldragons quoted DerekSTheRed in post What is/should be the Ranger's "thing"?
    Sorry Steeldragons but I think you got trolled hard. The whole favored enemy is racist tangent was ... unhelpful. Getting back to the topic at hand. I view favored enemy/terrain as situational bonuses. How situational? I would say about as often as a cleric's turn undead. Notice that turn undead is part of a suite of powers under channel divinity. Maybe the ranger should have a similar mechanic? No one power will trigger frequently, but in aggregate one of the powers of Nature's Divinity (or whatever) would trigger frequently enough to work. Thanks Derek. I actually tried just this sort of thing in my second draft of the class...combining a superiority dice mechanic with a cunning action style list of possible actions. Thinking I can drop the whole dice thing and just limit the resource with rests. But, yes. Shouldn't be a magical sourced think, in my case/opinion, but that's exactly the kind of mechanic you're talking about. I think it has possibilities.

Monday, 13th July, 2015

  • 07:33 AM - Hriston quoted DerekSTheRed in post What is/should be the Ranger's "thing"?
    A ranger ability that ignores or can remove exhaustion levels would multi-class really well with a tempest barbarian. Not that that's a bad thing. I was thinking of something like this, based on Indomitable: ENDURING TRACKER Beginning at 2nd level, you can reroll a Constitution saving throw versus exhaustion that you fail. If you do so, you must use the new roll, and you can’t use this feature again until you finish a long rest. You can use this feature twice between long rests starting at 6th level and three times between long rests starting at 18th level.

Wednesday, 22nd April, 2015

  • 01:42 PM - Stacie GmrGrl quoted DerekSTheRed in post RIFTS Is Coming To SAVAGE WORLDS!
    In theory this should work really well. Hopefully they can pull it off in a fun an interesting way. One pet peeve of mine with the Rifts system was that Magic was so clearly inferior to Psionics it was so not worth it to play a Magic PC. The trappings of Savage World should fix that. I really hope that the Magic and Psionics rules in this SW Rifts are not just a difference of trappings. They should have different subsystems of how they work, same for Super/Mutant powers. Using just trappings as some kind of descriptive flavoring is not Rifts. That's actually one of my biggest problems with SW in gsneral.. It treats all power sources the same. So this game better have Magic using PPE and Psionics ISP and they should be calculated differently and they better be different mechanically enough to provide really different feels. Note: I do say all that not having really played SW before and only basing my opinion on reading the main rulebook. Trappings just left me cold when I last read i...


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