View Profile: Jacob Lewis - D&D, Pathfinder, and RPGs at Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 01:10 AM
    Nope, I've run 1e & 2e extensively back in the day, 3.0 some, 3.5 very little, PF not at all, 4e & 5e weekly. I've run & played plenty of other systems, too, particularly Storyteller in the second half of the 90s, and Hero System. I've been at this a long time. I find running 5e to be fun, easy & even exciting, because my skills from running AD&D back in the day port over very effectively, but...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:16 PM
    If you let the players choose items, you open the door to at least some potential optimization, and you make items a character building resource rather than a DM resource. I'd say stick to the random potions & other consumables, but don't give out signature items until you see a need for one. If one of the characters seems too limited or not capable enough in some way, and lagging the other...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:08 PM
    I somehow missed that PF used the 'Heavy'/'Light' Blade distinction. I'm familiar with it from 4e, in which a Glaive is a Heavy Blade with reach. (Is the Glaive missing, or somehow not 'heavy' in your campaign?) A fighter in my old group's c2009 campaign used a glaive re-skinned as a Naginata and a greatsword re-skinned as a No-dachi (or however you spell each of those). Mostly the latter,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:57 PM
    Hands down the best of 'Heroes of _____' series. Better yet, the Elemental Sorcerer from HotEC
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:53 PM
    Same answer, though: 13A icons should be ideal, or at least pretty workable, for the purpose. Either as just Law & Chaos, pick a side, or with several representatives of each.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:47 PM
    Sure, but it's still more effective than the non-magical version, which is all that counts. Is it magical? Yes. Does it make you 'just better?' Yes. That's all you need. Might a +3 weapon be better, even against a giant? Sure, but players shouldn't be choosing magic weapons from a golf bag, they should be using the ones the DM places, and there probably shouldn't be that many, less...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:42 PM
    Older, still: it's a vision of the DMs job ("Judge" - as in "Judges' Guild," yep) that came from the game's wargaming roots. Very complex wargames that pre-existed chainmail would use a 'judge' to settle rules issues between competing players. Arguably the role of DM evolved from that. But, I don't believe it has remained that. For one thing, players are no longer competing in pairs, but...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:21 PM
    Meh. Verisimilitude is a subjective experience, it needn't be founded on objective 'fairness.' PCs /are/ different, they're the players' characters, if they're not the focus of the story, they're the focus of the experiencing of the story by the players. On the contrary, if something doesn't come up in the play of the game, it doesn't exist. You're thinking of simulations. 13A is...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:16 PM
    There's no need to go offering an explanation for why you don't like something, in the first place. There's no accounting for taste and it's OK to just like or dislike something on a purely subjective level. When you do offer a 'reason' though, you're not just expressing the feeling, you're offering a justification and, in effect, an argument that others shouldn't like it, either. And, at...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:42 PM
    Why would a character with no player need to be a special snowflake? It's just there to be a challenge or a help or a source of exposition or whatever, the DM plays it for a bit, then the next one...
    2005 replies | 45324 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:23 PM
    I suppose, but it's hard enough generating enough DMs for all the would-be players with conventional groups of 5 or 6... (I've run for 12+ players, at times.) And, specifically, I was contemplating running at a convention that doesn't accept single-player games. There's no reason you couldn't run your scenario single-player though. Even if you're generally playing with a group, if you...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:21 PM
    Or two corporations or two AIs, if you want to get all cyberpunk. The setting you've envisioned certainly seems ideal for it. I'm just not sure how to take that story into an RPG neatly, because it's always a party of PCs. I've been toying with the idea of running a "Last Adventurer Standing" D&D game for years, but it never quite gelled for that reason.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:41 PM
    What's the issue with the BM having CS dice, up-front - a limited ability to pull tricks in combat, either because combat presents limited opportunities (abstract reasoning) or because pulling such a trick 'cold' requires the ol' 'deep reserves' or whatever the current BM explanation is - and also being able to set up tricks by forgoing attacks to 'probe' or 'condition' the enemy, or by scouting...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:49 PM
    That kind of magic is almost like programing... ;) OK, it's like sympathy & contagion. You just have to uniquely identify a target, not see it or point precisely at it. Maybe with it's full name, or it's position in society, or whether it's bearing a specific item, or by making a campy voodoo doll of it, or by having a clipping of it's hair or nails, etc... Most D&D magic, though, doesn't...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:36 PM
    Sure, we are talking D&D, and it can certainly deliver for DM's and Players who actively dislike balance. ;P There is the option of dropping the spell, entirely, and including some other, perhaps less classic, 9th level spell in it's place. It was a spell that was in no small part about avoiding certain very persistent limitations on spell casting - M & S components, casting in melee, and,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:28 PM
    Nod. The rules didn't require SC's be 100% open & above board, unlike some other parts of the rules (like, say, auras or reading powers, more generally), but overall the system worked best with everything above board - it didn't fall apart or anything if you took some of it behind the screen, it just didn't fall apart if you didn't keep much of it hidden. ;) 'Hiding' a skill challenge is...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:20 PM
    On the contrary, variants like this probably bring casters into closer balance with the few non-casting options. Balance in 5e is rough, and based on spotlight time, a variant like this still puts casters in the spotlight reasonably often.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:53 AM
    I re-watched Land of the Lost a couple years ago, and realized it heavily influenced my style as a gamer. So, strangely, did some other childhood TV, particularly, oddly enough, Wild Wild West and The Avengers (no not the Marvel ones). I did Actually briefly play a character based on an Altrusian, though I didn't remember the name, just the idea of a time-traveler who thought he was visiting...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:36 AM
    The 'balance' is likely to be more in a 'right spell for the job,' way. Wish lets you do anything less powerful than a 9th level spell, the other 9th level spells each do their thing. Power Word Kill's thing is that it's a Power Word. Which used to count for something when short casting times (theoretically, the exact mechanics were iffy) made a big difference. That shifts the balance...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:25 AM
    The First Rule of Roleplaying is "don't listen to anyone who enumerates rules of roleplaying."
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 10:22 PM
    If there were more limitations to casting, in the first place, there could be more ways to illustrate the ease of casting a spell of but a single word.
    106 replies | 3868 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 10:20 PM
    I remember enjoying some sci-fi/horror B-movies like that.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 09:55 PM
    Quick, name 5 flaws of 5th edition. Actually, start a new thread and expound on them at length. ;P ...on to the actual topic...I pulled out these three quotes because they're all suggestive of what the Power Words were, originally, and maybe aren't so much anymore (or are they?): According to legend, EGG did originally conceive of the higher level spells (6th and up, at minimum) as tools...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 09:28 PM
    It's why they cloned the cover of the Red Box for Essential, too, but that went over like a lead balloon. Timing is everything. And, with a nerd-beloved franchise like D&D, walking that tight-rope between fan-acceptable and mainstream-accessible is critical. 5e erred on the side of acceptability, with good results. You mean the starter set, since the module in question was just in it, not...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 07:46 PM
    I'm not British nor familiar with Warhammer, so can't help with the last bit. But you could quite easily bring something like Moorcockian Law/Chaos into 13A using Icons. Either just the two, or the various adherents of each.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 07:18 PM
    Not that weird. The starter set was the biggest seller in the fad-years, too - the entry point that many people never went beyond. The famed Red Box sold 1.2 million copies, I think it was - or maybe that was one specific 'edition' (printing?) of the red box? I forget, exactly but it was apparently the single best-selling D&D product ever. The come-back having a similar pattern to the fad...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 07:00 PM
    Why would it make sense to have a magical ability that you trade a weapon attack now for an extra die later? The fiction is feeling out enemies (making 'probing attacks' if in melee, for instance) and observing the battle to gain tactical insight, obviously. It could also represent 'conditioning' tactics, in which you make a repeated pattern of attacks that the enemy can easily counter,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 06:57 PM
    Some have a lot more spellcasting ability, certainly. But even a full caster has cantrips & skills when he's out of slots. The proposed system wouldn't limit characters to 1st & 2nd level spells. It'd just limit those higher level spells to long ritual casting. Such casters would still be contributing in combat via cantrips, just less likely to seize the spotlight with only 1st & 2nd...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 06:49 PM
    SCs were part of a system that generally played best 'above board,' and they share that quality. SCs work when the DM shares the set-up, and the resolution all takes place in the open. There's tension as the PCs rack up success & failures, there's game-play skill for the players to indulge in, an the abilities of the PCs, themselves, matter to the resolution. 5e, OTOH, works best with some...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 06:30 PM
    Presumably because it fits the way magic is portrayed in the setting. D&D magic doesn't fit magic in /any/ setting (except, tautologically, settings built around D&D, of course) - not even the Dying Earth that inspired the system. There's really plenty of room to heap restrictions on magic and have casters balanced with the few non-caster options. Not just because they're starting out...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 05:50 PM
    Who told you they had that reputation? 3.5 was great for PvP, and could be used with adversarial DMing if you really wanted to, as could any edition, but 3.5 and, especially, 4e were they height of 'player entitlement' and old-school adversarial DMing was, let's just say 'frowned upon.' Very 90s. Not very D&D. ;P That can scare players worse. ;) Yes. Of course, I'm taking 'fair...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 05:13 PM
    Yeah, 10 years, we should be seeing a 'fifth edition' pretty soon....
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 11:52 AM
    Really? When they show up late, pay more attention to their phones and facebooks then your descriptions, take the last slice of supreme pizza when they insisted on the Hawaiian that has barely been touched, borrowed your favorite set of dice because they can't be bothered to buy their own set even though they've been playing the game for years, and still spends ten minutes on their turn looking...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 02:08 AM
    Sure. I just feel like near-future stuff needs to feel a bit plausible in a way space opera and the like doesn't, so I limited myself. Some further thoughts: One interesting idea you had was that the satellites were ostensibly there to block sunlight to counter climate change, but that it didn't work, and OBtW, they generate lots of power to run massive orbital server farms that the...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 11:11 PM
    For starters, don't begin the game at 1st level... ;) You should probably keep things behind the screen, anyway, it just works smoother for 5e across the board, that way. Thus you can fudge a bit when things might otherwise go south. Be wary of lockdowns that depend on a player rolling a successful save, for instance, because that happens on the wrong side of the screen. But, it really...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 10:47 PM
    How so? Is the earth's climate still borked? Do they block too much visible light leaving the earth in depressing twilight and not at all good for raising crops, while re-emitting IR so it's still too warm? Are there just not enough of them to do the ostensible job, but, coincidentally, enough to provide the power needed for... In orbit around the earth? There are a lot of...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 10:04 PM
    If that's the extent of the differences it shouldn't be too hard.... It'd make their contributions in combat less varied and critical, but a mage tossing cantrips is contributing more in combat than a non-proficient 10-CHA fighter in a group diplomacy check. ;) That actually sounds pretty reasonable. It'll shift the pace of the game some - every ritual will be a chance for a short rest,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 08:18 PM
    As the only TTRPG with significant mainstream name recognition, bringing new gamers to the hobby has almost always been D&D's sole responsibility (for a bit, in the 90s, as the initial CCG fad cut into D&Ds traditional demographic, Vampire LARPs were arguably bringing in more new RPGers, however indirectly). And outside the fad years it's never been great at either attracting or retaining them,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 04:43 AM
    It did sell a bit better than D&D a few times, and it's fans made a lot out if that, those particular fans could react badly if PF2 doesn't do well enough (whatever 'enough' might be for them). I doubt they're a huge number or that they'd war against a new/different PF the way they did a new/different D&D. One other factor is development costs, if, like 5e, PF2 keeps it's staff and costs...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th April, 2018, 08:37 PM
    How is it that different from 5e? Cantrips. Spells which you cast with slots/day, some of which you can cast as rituals? For that matter, how is it different from 4e, with at-wills, dailies, and rituals that cost you copious cash in exotic components? Sounds like you just need to: Reduce & simplify slots/day - maybe use the Warlock as a guide: fewer slots, but all of your top...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th April, 2018, 08:14 PM
    That aspect seems like a good design, on its own merits, but it's ironic that it's a standard that Mearls didn't even hold himself to when balancing his Fighter(Warlord). That could certainly work for the kind of 'faux MC' sub-classes 5e seems to go in for, but it probably shouldn't be comprehensive. I'm not surprised they didn't go for that, but it is a good idea. It'd've been a good...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th April, 2018, 08:12 PM
    Nod. In 5e the DM, as the arbiter of the world, would decide if the cleric's powers came direct & revocably from the god, in which case, he would, in the person of the deity, decide whether any give spell was granted and whether any give spell worked. OTOH, in 1e low-level spells came from the cleric, himself, and higher level ones were granted - IIRC, irrevocably, because they were indeed,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th April, 2018, 08:01 PM
    I don't see any way of getting around the bug of challenges becoming statistically more likely to succeed the more 'complex' (and higher exp value) they happened to be. It didn't /need/ to be, of couse, and IMHO, worked best entirely 'above board,' but it /could/ be used that way if the DM wanted to have players feeling their way through challenges one action declaration at a time rather...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th April, 2018, 06:34 PM
    That's most of the 5e that I run, I use converted old-school modules or, if the organizer insists, AL adventures. I figure if they like it, they just might go out and buy the starter set.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th April, 2018, 05:32 PM
    Yeah, I haven't bought a starter set since, well, I started. I've at least seen some of the intervening ones, but this ed's has slipped by me, but for hearing so much about LMoP on line...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th April, 2018, 07:01 AM
    More like 1%. The BM is about 3% Warlord. Neither the concept nor the nature of support contributions are suited to simplistic designs.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th April, 2018, 06:52 AM
    Explains why I've never laid eyes on it. Thanks for setting me straight.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th April, 2018, 03:15 AM
    I meant actual dead-tree print. I know LMoP, a basic pdf and such dropped first, on line.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th April, 2018, 03:12 AM
    Ironically, one difference is that 'at will' has been part of the D&D lexicon longer than 'cantrip.' The 1977 1e AD&D Monster Manual listed many spell-equivalent powers that various monsters could use 'at will,' and the term has seen use in every ed since. OTOH, cantrips appeared in Dragon Magazine in the early 80s, and in AD&D rules, propper, with 1e Unearthed Arcana. Then vanished but for...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th April, 2018, 02:46 AM
    First printed module, then...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th April, 2018, 12:19 AM
    Sure, me too. XOMG KotSf seemed aweful at the time. Then, later, I ran HotDQ, and, yeah, something about 1st modules of an ed just seems to be tripping WotC up. ;) But, a horrid first module didn't even slow down 5e (well, I assume, I suppose it could've done even better had the first module been CoS). Of course, 5e doesn't have an issue with bad jargon decisions, because it doesn't have...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th April, 2018, 12:10 AM
    XP for want of a sympathetic pat on the back button. ;(
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th April, 2018, 10:26 PM
    They were pretty awful, out the gate, mechanically borked, and they were a new thing, so even once they were working right, hard to get used to. But, they did open up balanced mechanical resolution to a broad array of challenges that, in the past, had to be hand-waved, given short shrift with anti-climactic single checks, and didn't earn meaningful exp... Until you get used to it, any new...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th April, 2018, 09:22 PM
    It doesn't exist in the fictional world until it's been established, either. So there's no reason to favor one authorship or timing of that establishment over another, innately.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th April, 2018, 07:23 PM
    Poster Posting style: Troll When you post on a community build thread, you can say something lame, and finish with the word "Done" and kid yourself you've made some deep philosophical point. In addition, you get blocked by anyone sick of your behavior. *plonk*
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th April, 2018, 05:55 PM
    PF was like Arduin: both were alternatives to the then-current editions of D&D for fans of the past edition who thought D&D just wasn't D&D enough, anymore, so they were distinct from the ed of D&D they competed with, and more like the preceding ed. It was a winning formula for both (Arduin even got sued by TSR over it). No one feels that way about 5e, which is clearly much more D&D than the...
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Friday, 13th April, 2018, 05:42 PM
    Examples of scenarios without time pressure? Let me think... The PCs are sent to retrieve documents from the local DMV. Lots of downtime. Coax the local oytugh from the sewers for its annual bath. Transfer all of the grand archmage's spells from his spellbook to his new Eye-pad. (You want to get it done before the new version is released next year, but not pressing). Take your...
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Friday, 13th April, 2018, 05:20 PM
    I had a really good explanation for this, but unfortunately I rolled a natural 1 on my Narration check.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th April, 2018, 04:29 AM
    I have a sinking feeling that you're onto something, there...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 07:05 PM
    In 3.x/PF? One. No reason to give up more caster levels. In 5e, you could just play a Cleric and take the Soldier background to cover the 'fighter for RP reasons.' No downside. No MC required.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 06:18 PM
    spam reported Looks like a spam-bot necro'd the thread
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 06:07 PM
    If you want to try to make every character feel useful in every challenge, you're going to be fighting the system the whole way. 5e is loosely spot-light balanced, characters are supposed to shine in some circumstances, and fade into the background to give others that chance in others. If you're thinking about giving the spotlight to certain characters rather than others in the climactic...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 05:57 PM
    Depends on how much latitude you have in decided and describing the effects of that final blow. For instance, in melee, you can choose to make a final blow fatal or just KO your victim. A demoralization power would likely be ranged, but that option could be extended to it. If a character were feared or demoralized or insulted to death, I suppose it could run off into a conveniently unseen...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 05:53 PM
    This build is very INT-based and tactical, so it's going, by its nature, to imply that the Warlord has and passes on 'Tactical Insights' about the situation that will allow allies to make better use (specifically, in this case, +2d10 damage, to start) of their abilities than they might without that insight. Since the ally can use the insight either for healing or for that damage buff, it seems...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 05:47 PM
    Not 'still waiting,' but 'once gain waiting.' We had that for a couple of years, but then it turned out that we essentially can't have nice things, afterall. ;P Really, nothing about 4e & 5e short/long rests keeps the DM from just shifting the time scale (3.x was presented in a more set-in-stone style, but you could probably do so in 3.5/PF, too, your players just might rebel if it didn't...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 06:25 AM
    Powergamers can have that effect on DMs, you start to just assume anything they try is a ploy and want to just shut them down preemptively...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 06:20 AM
    I suppose he can, you just might not appreciate it...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 02:04 AM
    That's the issue I was seeing. Mage had 9 spheres and Ars Magicka, IIRC, had sets of verbs and objects (something like that?) - they both let you cast magick more or less extemporaneously. Another similar mechanic would be the Variable Power Pool from Hero System. One or a few mechanics, many effects, many times as many possible 'spells.' You probably could get them just as close to...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 12:39 AM
    Nod. I did not care for the magic system in Dresden Files. Fate seems lovely for doing characters, but when a character in fiction gets a supernatural power it tends to overwhelm the character in the story sense, they become all about the power and, maybe, coping with it, so, I'm guessing Fate games either try to avoid that, end up with 'meh' magic, or try to maintain the level of...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 12:07 AM
    I've seen this approach work well in other systems.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 11:52 PM
    'Flaw?' I thought we were talking about a new Rogue(Assassin) feat?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 10:43 PM
    It's like the cherry atop the sundae of murder. Sure, there's crunching and squelching and blood everywhere, but without the screaming, it's just not the same.
    323 replies | 13212 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 09:41 PM
    I'm sure I've already said something like it earlier this year. Plus, Mearls's whole "we shouldn't design for the action economy..." No, confusing a game world with a reality is the fundamental premise of Mazes & Monsters, staring Tom Hanks. They are modeling an imagined world, yes, but the process goes reality > modeling > imagined world, not alternate-reality > modeling > RL-reality. ...
    51 replies | 1459 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 09:08 PM
    That's the thing, if a square is always 1, then it doesn't matter if there's a diagonal, the distance & position is certain, orientation has nothing to do with it. The grid is the underlying reality. The fantasy world being modeled, not being real.
    51 replies | 1459 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 08:11 PM
    Two of the better parts of using a grid are position certainty and ease of counting distance, alternate 1-2-1 counting of diagonals loses both of those, since you have an extra step to counting distance and diagonal distances can end up depending on who's counting or what order you move in, and areas can end up too big or small due to what amounts to a rounding error. Changing the orientation of...
    51 replies | 1459 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 07:55 PM
    I've heard "Beer and Pretzels Roleplaying" before - often in reference to one of my favorite games, Gamma World. But if that term had come out of the Forge as an RPG Theory it'd probably involve neither beer nor pretzels.
    2005 replies | 45324 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 07:51 PM
    Oh. I completely misread that. So you'd want as many or more classes, just with fewer more focused choices within each.
    11 replies | 433 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 07:44 PM
    I thought the 'tactical'/grid variant used an alternate counting of diagonals? 2-1-2 or 1-2-1 ... the opposite of what 3e used, I think it was... Standard 5e doesn't use a grid and everything's in feet, not squares, so you just bust out the Pythagorean theorem if you want to handle diagonals properly.
    51 replies | 1459 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 07:38 PM
    Breaking enemy morale, whether through just Hectoring away with words, or by seizing a tactical advantage and making their position seem hopeless, would have been stomping hard on the Controller role in 4e, especially if it targeted many enemies as might reasonably be the case. But, in 5e, there's no sacrosanct formal Roles or niche protection, so no need to refrain from going there. A gambit...
    480 replies | 9275 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 06:51 PM
    When you consider that the Martial source didn't have a controller, while the Divine, Arcane, Primal & Psionic sources all covered all 4 roles, and how sadly Martial Practices stacked up to rituals, they just didn't suck as hard as in the other editions.
    129 replies | 4344 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 06:35 PM
    I wish self-proclaimed RPG Theorists would pick labels for their theories that remotely make sense. "wargame accidentally turned into an RPG model" or "failed simulation model" or "consequences of coping with hopelessly broken mechanics model" or "justifying traditional stereotypes model" ...
    2005 replies | 45324 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 03:48 AM
    5e doesn't assume a grid, if a spell is a cube so many ft on a side, that's what it is. If there's no requirement to the contrary, it can be placed in whatever orientation makes sense. That said, you could certainly rule that placing an effect to hit one of 3 creatures fighting in melee either catches all of them or risks catching none, or anything in between. Back in the day I might...
    51 replies | 1459 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 03:41 AM
    Ok, maybe not that easily, everytime...
    65 replies | 2424 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th April, 2018, 10:54 PM
    That's adjusting the balance point to fit a campaign with different pacing. Which isn't terrible, but isn't ultimately any different than just forcing tons of encounters & short rests into every 'day.'
    129 replies | 4344 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th April, 2018, 09:57 PM
    If you really, really want to slim it down, you could take it all the way down to one class & one role per Source. So the Fighter is the only Martial Class and the only Defender. The Cleric is the only Divine Class and the only Leader. The Wizard is the only Arcane Class and the only Controller. And, the Barbarian is the only Primal Class and the only Striker. OR, you could trim sources to...
    11 replies | 433 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th April, 2018, 09:49 PM
    It really is a reasonable request - or, rather, would be if it were any game that wasn't D&D, that didn't have 40+ years of inertia & stereotyping perpetuating the split-genre/double-standard, and closing the game to a wide swath of fantasy-sub-genre emulation and playstyles. But, if one were to take 5e's founding principles of inclusion and supporting /more/ playstyles seriously, it might...
    129 replies | 4344 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th April, 2018, 09:09 PM
    Each game was at least a different take on a 'core' system, maybe just as a matter of designers recycling ideas rather than re-inventing the wheel, but there would be significant differences. D&D and Gamma World, for instance both had hps, levels, and AC with d20 attack rolls, but GW levels were pretty different from D&D levels and a fairly obscure sub-system that didn't radically increase the...
    151 replies | 4444 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th April, 2018, 08:39 PM
    This isn't an answer, just a musing on how the game has evolved. Back in 1e, the Clerics first two spell levels came from personal devotion, so a sincere believer who strayed from the church or the deity, but who's personal faith was still strong might still go around casting spells. Higher level spells filtered down from intermediaries of whatever sort served the deity. Starting, I think,...
    106 replies | 2675 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th April, 2018, 08:28 PM
    Bit of a tangent, but... back in the day, early 80s, some companies started using what I remember thinking of and/or hearing called 'core systems.' Most or all of the offerings from a game company would use the same or a very similar rules. The first, I think, to do that, was Chaosium, when it bundled the core of RuneQuest as 'Basic Roleplaying,' and used it for CoC, but I could easily be...
    151 replies | 4444 view(s)
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Thursday, 19th April, 2018

  • 01:16 AM - MonsterEnvy quoted Jacob Lewis in post Mordenkainens starting to show up in the wild?
    Good news, everyone! D&D came out with a new product this year, which can be purchased multiple times in multiple formats! And as always, it's not really D&D unless it skews common perceptions of classic races, displaces iconic characters into a catch-all setting that has become a distant echo of it's former glory, and has been preceeded by more sneak peeks and tantalizing previews than a traveling showgirl troupe performing an outside show in the park. Let's move on already to the next item hinted at for release and begin the 6+ month journey of hype and speculation for another collection of uninspiring and recycled ideas! 5e 4evar!! ;) Whats your issue. Cause very little of the stuff you stated there is true. I actually donít think of Elves as frivolous or carefree. To me that describes Halflings moreso than Elves. I think of Elves as being quite haughty and a bit solemn (like most of the Lord of the Rings Elves), even though they do appreciate the finer things (fancy attire , arch...
  • 01:14 AM - Grimstaff quoted Jacob Lewis in post Mordenkainens starting to show up in the wild?
    Good news, everyone! D&D came out with a new product this year, which can be purchased multiple times in multiple formats! And as always, it's not really D&D unless it skews common perceptions of classic races, displaces iconic characters into a catch-all setting that has become a distant echo of it's former glory, and has been preceeded by more sneak peeks and tantalizing previews than a traveling showgirl troupe performing an outside show in the park. Let's move on already to the next item hinted at for release and begin the 6+ month journey of hype and speculation for another collection of uninspiring and recycled ideas! 5e 4evar!! ;) Rawr
  • 01:11 AM - tgmoore quoted Jacob Lewis in post Gygax IP To Be Made Available For Video Games
    So the son of legendary personality who helped create the world's most popular role-playing game, that is now more popular and profitable than it has ever been, believes someone should help invest and create a video game based on his father's other works using another pen and paper role-playing system he designed, but feels that pen and paper role-playing is dying...? Maybe someone could invite him to a game, or a convention, or an organized event, or board game group, or tournament, or this forum! He is obviously out of touch with the reality of our alternate realities. He is a big Magic The Gathering player and attends GaryCon. IIRC Alex ran a game at GaryCon X (2018).
  • 01:01 AM - SkidAce quoted Jacob Lewis in post Mordenkainens starting to show up in the wild?
    Good news, everyone! D&D came out with a new product this year, which can be purchased multiple times in multiple formats! And as always, it's not really D&D unless it skews common perceptions of classic races, displaces iconic characters into a catch-all setting that has become a distant echo of it's former glory, and has been preceeded by more sneak peeks and tantalizing previews than a traveling showgirl troupe performing an outside show in the park. Let's move on already to the next item hinted at for release and begin the 6+ month journey of hype and speculation for another collection of uninspiring and recycled ideas! 5e 4evar!! ;) I am looking forward to it. The "skewing" is irrelevant, as I modified such things for my world anyway.
  • 01:00 AM - Morrus quoted Jacob Lewis in post Mordenkainens starting to show up in the wild?
    Good news, everyone! D&D came out with a new product this year, which can be purchased multiple times in multiple formats! And as always, it's not really D&D unless it skews common perceptions of classic races, displaces iconic characters into a catch-all setting that has become a distant echo of it's former glory, and has been preceeded by more sneak peeks and tantalizing previews than a traveling showgirl troupe performing an outside show in the park. Let's move on already to the next item hinted at for release and begin the 6+ month journey of hype and speculation for another collection of uninspiring and recycled ideas! 5e 4evar!! ;) You seem angry about something. What's up?

Thursday, 12th April, 2018

  • 02:05 PM - Abstruse quoted Jacob Lewis in post News Digest: Critical Role in Pillars of Eternity II, More Pathfinder 2nd Ed News, International Kickstarter Fraud Investigation, and more!
    The cast of Critical Role has a long history of voice credits in video games, including Shadows of War and Hearthstone. Johnson won an award for a horror game, I think it was The Last of Us. And so on. I believe the significance of this game is that it could be the first time that everyone from the show has worked together for a single project. Yes...that's what the first two sentences of the column said... They're well-known voice actors, and this is the first time they've worked together as a group as "Critical Role". As in that's how they're being billed and promoted, instead of as individual casting.

Tuesday, 3rd April, 2018

  • 05:04 AM - Jay Verkuilen quoted Jacob Lewis in post Do We Still Need "Race" in D&D?
    Here's what had bothered me for the longest time, and I am quite serious on this: "Race" is largely acceptable in fantasy genres where they were once classified in older games as "human" and "demi-human". The connection was the assimption that all human-like races were evolved or created from the same mold in the same world by different deities as different expressions and aspects of the world created. I find this acceptable and meaningful and not overly concerned with modern alertism and hyper-sensitive overreactions. Yeah, makes sense to me. My only beef, speaking strictly in game terms, is how there is little emphasis on actual cultural differences for humans. Elves have come in all kinds of flavors, complete with significant changes in character packages, options, midifiers, etc. Elves being the primary example, of course, as we see similar treatments for dwarves, halflings, and other fantasy staples. But humans, who traditionally dominate the landscape as the most numerous, most varie...

Monday, 2nd April, 2018

  • 08:07 PM - Saelorn quoted Jacob Lewis in post Do We Still Need "Race" in D&D?
    My only beef, speaking strictly in game terms, is how there is little emphasis on actual cultural differences for humans. Elves have come in all kinds of flavors, complete with significant changes in character packages, options, midifiers, etc. Elves being the primary example, of course, as we see similar treatments for dwarves, halflings, and other fantasy staples. But humans, who traditionally dominate the landscape as the most numerous, most varied, and most adaptable race on nearly every world is left flavorless, untouched, and purely vanilla.Going back to 3E, humans were given an extra skill point and an extra feat specifically for the purpose of reflecting their many varied cultural backgrounds. Where all elves are proficient in swords and bows, because there's only one elven culture and this is a feature of that culture, there's such a wide variety of human cultures that some of them are going to have proficiency in Swimming and the Trident while others are proficient in Rope Use and Toughn...
  • 05:40 PM - Wyvern quoted Jacob Lewis in post Alternatives to heavy armor for clerics?
    You totally missed the funny parts!! And then turned it into a serious reply!? Look at the laugh clicks, man! Okay, fine. Happy now? :)
  • 02:48 PM - Celebrim quoted Jacob Lewis in post Do We Still Need "Race" in D&D?
    My only beef, speaking strictly in game terms, is how there is little emphasis on actual cultural differences for humans. Yes, but I wouldn't touch that with a 31 1/2 foot pole. I agree that there are cultural differences between humans, and I've even experimented with allowing players to choose "culture" when they choose race. (Unlike most games, all elves in my game belong to the same race. There are no packages for wood elves, snow elves, or high elves.) The problem is that I started listing out culture packages for Concheeri, Averni, Har, Destrian, Tumeesi, and things were fine but as soon as I started working on ethnic groups in the fantasy world with darker shades of skin color, I realized that someone would come along and assume that my fantasy culture packages were in some way commenting on the real world. And to avoid that I'd have to go out of my way to explode expectations and that would put constraints on my fantasy world that were still based on the real world, in the sa...
  • 07:09 AM - Wyvern quoted Jacob Lewis in post Alternatives to heavy armor for clerics?
    Well what would you suggest they wear for protection? As Tony Vargas has already pointed out, scale mail + 14 Dex is just as good as chain mail + 14 Str. It's six of one and half a dozen of the other as far as I'm concerned.
  • 06:27 AM - Mouseferatu quoted Jacob Lewis in post Mechanics of Revived Settings; your thoughts?
    Any revised setting: not compatible with 5th edition. Otherwise I won't care what they do with it. (Sounds harsh that way, doesn't it? Oh well. Can't really dress that up.) You don't need to dress it up, because there's literally zero value in posting it. Seriously, you're more than welcome to dislike 5E, but exactly what's to be gained from posting--in a 5E thread, on a 5E forum, specifically about reviving settings into 5E--that you don't care for it? It's negativity, not for any constructive purpose but for its own sake, and I honestly can't imagine you didn't have a better use for the time and effort, minor as they both must be, that it took to post that.

Wednesday, 28th March, 2018

  • 10:23 PM - ccs quoted Jacob Lewis in post Low Level Druids Are Super Powerful
    That's cool. Now I know what to play if I don't want to waste time counting experience points and leveling up! OR: you could skip jumping through proverbial wild shape/rest mechanic hoops & just ask your DM if you could play a bear....

Monday, 26th March, 2018

  • 02:23 AM - Blue quoted Jacob Lewis in post Your ideal class orgainization
    (Seriously, though. How has the concept of "sources of power" eluded you? Arcane is mystic (wizards, sorcerers, bards, swordmages). Divine is blessings (clerics, paladins, avengers, invokers). Primal is nature (druids, barbarians, wardens, and shamans). Martial is mundane (fighters, rangers, rogues, and warlords). You really don't see it?) Sources of power haven't eluded me. Sources of power when strictly speaking about the realm of tactical combat as you defined are the puzzle. When you limited the discussion to just that, but then said that power source was just as big a choice as the role, I am missing what the role of power sources is on combat. For example, how does 4d12 fire damage in a 20'r sphere with a DEX save differ based on if it's an arcane striker vs. a primal striker? How does 4d6+4 healing as a bonus action at 30' range differ if it's from a martial leader vs. a divine leader?

Sunday, 25th March, 2018

  • 08:27 PM - Blue quoted Jacob Lewis in post Your ideal class orgainization
    Since this is primarily a game of tactical combat (you're only fooling yourself if you want to argue otherwise), I would start by looking at what role the class is intended to play on the battlefield, and then the source of it's power. On the first order, which some have already pointed out, you have tanks, damage dealers, manipulators, and support. Let's call them Defenders, Strikers , Controllers, and... I suppose Leaders? Then we look at sources from which classes derive their abilities. For example, melee or weapon users use Martial abilities, wizards use Arcane, and clerics have Divine.... Hold on. This looks familiar. Has this already been done?! Not well. *ducking* On a more serious note, staying within the bounds you set of focusing on the game as tactical combat, where does the power source enter into it? Early in the thread there was a power-source as recharge mechanic for mudnane=at-will, divine=short rest, and arcane=long rest, but no, that actually hasn't been done be...
  • 08:38 AM - MNblockhead quoted Jacob Lewis in post So Why is 5E So Popular?
    It is far more accessible than any other edition to date. Simple, solid, streamlined rules with a very light and focused production schedule allowing for easy entry into the community at any given time. Open exposure and endorsement over social media outlets, along with online streaming and support. 5e has everything going the right way for new players, and old players who may have felt left out by the departure of classic designs during 4th edition's brief tenure. How could it possibly fail? Don't get me wrong, though. I am not a fan of the game. To me, they played it too safe, and that is boring and uninteresting to me. I am no longer in the target demographic. I have played the system for many years since the early 80s when it was never as popular. My best experiences happened during that brief period of dangerous innovation in 4e. Now I have discovered more sophisticated and satisfying games better suited for my personal style of gaming and narrative. And I cannot help but look at this ...

Saturday, 24th March, 2018

  • 04:10 PM - Ancalagon quoted Jacob Lewis in post Game Trade Media playtest video
    I'm looking at this in game terms. When you were learning the skills in real life, I doubt (hope) someone wasn't telling you how to use your three actions and only one opportunity to react on your opponent's turn. At any rate, I think this is better than just having a passive bonus for just holding it, which anyone can technically do. The game only requires proficiency, which assumes the character is doing more than just holding it in front. But someone trained to fight and use one effectively as yourself, and like the fighter, can also use it to bash foes unexpectedly, throwing them off balance, shield nearby allies without losing his own footing, or whatever extra tricks he might learn so that is more than just a portable wall. There were tricks you could do, but I always felt that the game over-estimated the facility/utility of a shield as a weapon. A shield bash with the flat of the shield was really a *shoulder* bash, done with your shield held fairly close to you. If you over extend ...
  • 06:15 AM - Ancalagon quoted Jacob Lewis in post Game Trade Media playtest video
    I love the idea of shields as an active component rather than a passive bonus. You *choose* to wield a shield, and decide *how* to use it each round. Raise for defense. React to bash. Defend an ally. All interactive decisions. Brilliant! And how many editions before someone finally figured a way to make shields so appealing and fun? As someone with some experience* with sword and shield fighting... I don't know how I feel about this. You sacrifice an action to use your shield... but I can tell you that just holding your shield tight to you you already have denied your foe a lot of angles of attack (in fact, using your shield *too much* makes it easier for the foe to knock it out of alignment and creating an opening). (this was a fairly large shield, not a buckler, but not quite a tower shield either). So it's silly to me that you are sacrificing an action to use your shield! On the other hand... part of learning how to use a shield is not just about learning how to use it for defense - it...

Friday, 23rd March, 2018

  • 09:52 PM - superstition quoted Jacob Lewis in post The 5e Flaws list, my editorial changes (to correct flaws in the flaws)
    These are not improvements, they are straight-jackets. The absolutist statements are the straightjackets. The flaws that ban good alignment are more straightjacketing than my revisions (excepting the cases where there are multiple revisions presented where one is clearly intended to not be used for good alignment characters). Flaws that aren't flaws aren't straightjackets, necessarily, but they're not flaws either. You are simply removing the players' ability to interpret the vague suggestions into your own personal interpretations. Untrue. Absolutist statements are excessively specific. Reading over the list again. They're not very good examples. I was just being nice. That's nice. You litter strong writing with vague, weak descriptors, like "very", "sometimes", and "often". Hmm... I thought your complaint was the opposite of this one? Remember the awful straightjacketing? Now, you're complaining that the flaws are too loosely-written. Hmm... Then you include your own personal motivatio...
  • 07:41 PM - MechaTarrasque quoted Jacob Lewis in post D&D Beyond: Infernal Options in MTOF
    I thought D&D Beyond *was* the Infernal option... Do you have to sign a contract to use it? :devil: Better read the fine print....


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