View Profile: Jacob Lewis - D&D, Pathfinder, and RPGs at Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 03:12 AM
    I picture the specialist as being darn-near unplayable, like a 3e NPC class. Though, the mostly-daily is pedantic, I think it would work better as an all-at-will like the Stalwart. Maybe Wild-something for the mostly-daily type...? The point, though, is intentional imbalance favoring the 'Hero.'
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 01:09 AM
    In a linear adventure, where there is no adventure but through the door, /forward/ would be more litteral. But, sure, more broadly, point taken. I rather like that one. I suppose that, with 5e, the penduulum has swung back to more DM-directed styles...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 01:04 AM
    Add some formal downtime-day requirement and that sounds like a perfectly reasonable alternative to the stat preq.
    98 replies | 2604 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 12:34 AM
    I suppose the idea is that you're not getting trained up in the class for a long period, like you presumably would be for your first 'Apprentice' level, but are cramming to master the new class more quickly, which requires greater raw talent? Not a terrible thing. There's enough 'traps' as it is before adding MCing to the mix...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 12:15 AM
    But, at 15, it's not even 'Green' yet...?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:36 PM
    "Judge?" They still call GM's 'judges' over there? I thought that was a 70s wargaming thing...? ...sorry... anyway... It depends on the con, and I suppose varies regionally, so my experience may have no bearing, but cons often schedule at least some time between the end of one session and the start of another, so generally, just not going over time should keep you from having the problem...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:17 PM
    Darn it, now I have to go and agree with you. And we were having such a nice argument. ;) Sub-classes are in essence a way of hiding class proliferation. Instead of admitting you have 40 classes, some of them really kinda redundant, you bundle them under a few classes and call them sub-classes. They can, and in 5e do, stand in for specific MC combos, presumably, the most popular ones -...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:09 PM
    I was trying to hold up a darkly sarcastic mirror to the (miss)use of those terms, yes.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:46 PM
    Further off on a tangent, maybe I should ask in your HoML thread, but, with regard to quasi-classes, things that act like classes but combine with them, I've often thought that you could leave Role & Source independently 'floating,' so you could just choose Martial & Defender, instead of Fighter, say... But, other threads about resource mixes have me thinking if it wouldn't be kosher to have a...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:33 PM
    That's certainly a thing that can happen. 3.x was big on rewarding system mastery, and 4e both invalidated that mastery and greatly reduced the relative rewards for gaining & applying mastery of it. I got less bent out of shape by that than I did when the 6th ed of Hero did the same sorta thing - though, to be fair, the challenge of acquiring system mastery was greater (and quite...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:23 PM
    Though it varies with the group, D&D /is/ a social activity, and often a lot of play time is bled off in what is essentially socializing. What isn't bled off in rules debates, protracted planning sessions, or the table-top equivalent of 'pixel-bitching,' that is. So I'd say what you're experiencing is pretty normal, and what you're seeing is the result of video-editing, maybe awareness of being...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:52 PM
    It seems reasonably hostile to D&D, too, describing both as "incoherent." In this particular instance I was posting my impressions of how the boards tend to (miss)use Forge terminology. And, no, I have made a small effort, but never found much sense in the Forge. The Threefold Model made a little sense to me back in the day, but it still mainly came off as intellectualizing the essentially...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:32 PM
    It's assuming characters can do that. But, such is only optional in 5e, so when that option is exercised, the statement is "more true" in the sense that exclusivity is more pronounced and applies to more featuers. A lot of people balked at 1e MCing. Not that demi-humans could do it, but that they could do it with only certain class combos, and had level limits, and/or that humans couldn't...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:02 AM
    No, there are many options that are exclusive by class or race, for instance, or come at a different cost to different classes, etc... D&D has long moved towards classlessness, just never very far or fast. 5e is, as in so many ways, between the other WotC eds and the TSR eds, that way.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 10:26 PM
    Exclusivity is a key feature of class systems, yes. If any character can take any feature, at the same 'cost,' you have a classless system.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 10:19 PM
    AFAICT from the way they get used, they mean something like: Simulationism: An irrational, uncompromising, preference not for an actual simulation (like, say civil war re-enactment), but for bad games that are bad in the ways a game would have to become if it were adapted to function as a simulation, instead - even though the games in question simulate nothing. Narrativism: the Role half...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 09:06 PM
    Princess Bride reference wins the thread. ;)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 07:59 PM
    To be fair, The Forge had come up with those terms years before, a continuation of the Three-fold Theory that arose out of the edition-war-like (actually Storyteller v D&D) Role v Roll debate. And plenty of that, too, sure. ".... first casualty of war" and all that.
    305 replies | 8927 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 07:42 PM
    To be fair, The Forge had come up with those terms years before, a continuation of the Three-fold Theory that arose out of the edition-war-like (actually Storyteller v D&D) Role v Roll debate.
    305 replies | 8927 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 07:29 PM
    The Original OD&D 3, before the theif & paladin, map precisely to the 3 Sources in the 4e PH1. The 'Big 4' map less nearly to the 4 Roles, since the roles were so much more nearly balanced. Its been problematic since day 2, when the Thief came out, and established, that while it was OK for the magic-user to tap all the magic in genre & more ('cept healing), and for the cleric to you no...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 07:06 PM
    The GSL, compared to the OGL is an impediment to 3pp support. And, of course, the threat of renewed edition-war hostilities (it's not like they've really stopped, just tapered off), is an impediment to WotC. I thought OSRIC got some kind of permission? I've glanced at it, bits look to be virtually verbatim. There's hundreds of powers - per class - compared to yoinking the srd and having a...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 06:09 PM
    To model a wider range of characters without creating a class for each. Multiclassing options move a game from the class based extreme towards a build system. 3e is an example of a hybrid of the two, though still clearly on the class side since it preserves exclusivity with distinctions like class level, favored classes and exp penalties. 5e, as always it seems when compared to 3e, is muddled,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 05:52 PM
    You are working very hard to make a clear, simple thing conform to your expectations of ambiguity and needless complexity. Simply repeating the same mistakes won't make them into a valid alternate interpretation. No, you are no longer Hidden in those instances. Once you are no longer Hidden, you are no longer Invisible to the creature that made the check or that you no longer have...
    196 replies | 6436 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 08:11 AM
    In objectives, for instance, it's quite similar. 13A & 5e are both compromise takes on D&D, harkening back to the classic game; both intent on enabling TotM by default, both trying to balance classes with different resource mixes, and both deflating bonuses... The GSL. 4e can't be cloned. 3e & 4e were both pretty explicit that players could describe their characters' gear as they like...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 07:56 AM
    Not if it's just one of many things a character can acquire. It was also HD, attack & save matrices, and learning another crappy weapon every 5th level, back in the day. Kits (backgrounds) & schools since 2e, skills & feats since 3e, class features since 4e... Exclusive, yes, until you get into multiclassing to circumvent it.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 07:25 AM
    The "lots of..." I keep hearing in these discussions. I see no indications of PF2 being that game in any sense... certainly 13A was closer, and it wasn't close, at all. You'd be in good company, but little if it. D&D is just the easiest game to pull a groupbtigether around. Want to play something better, there's no shortage of games, the problem is finding a few other former-D&Ders...
    305 replies | 8927 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 07:02 AM
    The context is 4e, in which Hidden and Invisible have precise, clear meanings. Since that's the context, you have been unequivocally proven wrong. No amount if ranting, dictionary definitions, or attempts to manufacture ambiguity are going to change that. But, only when the tangent drifted into that context. In 5e, you could have this whole argument in natural language, and, in the...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 06:44 AM
    As I've said, I'm suspicious of appeals to popularity in any form. On top of that, consider what it meant to be a 4e fan. It meant you gave the new ed a fair chance, even when negative reviews cane out, even as the edition war heated up, and misinformation became common wisdom. They gave it enough if a chance to come to understand and appreciate a very different game. 4e fans may be...
    305 replies | 8927 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th July, 2018, 06:52 AM
    Asking questions of the DM in 5e is slightly off. The PC does not have a hot line to an omniscient being (well unless he has access to powerful divinations). Rather, the player needs to declare an action - as simple as trying to remember or put together anything he might already know, or searching, seeking out experts, questioning witnesses or whatever. Once a player has an action the DM is...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th July, 2018, 06:42 AM
    It's whatever/however the DM narrates it to be. I see no reason to presume that. In fact, even assuming a DEX(stealth) check will be called for is presumptuous. Any action declaration by any player of any character in any circumstance at any time can be narrated by the DM as failure or success at the DMs sole discretion. Your assumption is unwarranted, and, yes, they are.
    196 replies | 6436 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th July, 2018, 06:31 AM
    Frankly, if PF2 succeeds in appealing to 4e fans, it's more or less doomed. The level of h4ter bigotry in the community is that overwhelming.
    305 replies | 8927 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th July, 2018, 06:18 AM
    They didn't assume feats, MCing, items, or other opt-in sub-systems when balancing, pacing, or otherwise calibrating the game. It works better without them. It is clear that they were trying to avoid some of the issues 3e had with 1-level dips and dead levels. In typical 5e fashion, the implementation was mixed. Avoiding dips erred on the side of hurting single-class builds, while avoiding...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 11:16 PM
    Yes, totally OP. If a first-level thread dies, just roll up a new one! (I was going to say "that was good enough for us back in the day!" But, back in the day, we dialed up a BBS on a 300 baud acoustic modem.... and were greatful we could do it!!!) #getoffmylawn
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 10:16 PM
    Whatever bug causes brand new people to see really old threads should really get fixed one of these days.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 10:12 PM
    Whoever makes the most noise on the internet, apparently. Burning books also seems to help. That's level. You can have one without the other. Class/level often go together thanks to D&D and the many games derivative of it, but they don't have to. The strength of class based systems is imposing limits & structure. If the setting demands magic work only one way, and magical abilities...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 09:59 PM
    4e had some sterling qualities, balance among them, and, as you point out, clarity & consistency. But it's hard (and perhaps pointless) to point at one of them and say "most fans of this ed must like this specific thing." We just don't have the statistics to back it up. Maybe 4e fans will like PF2 if it's clear but not balanced, or balanced but not consistent, or maybe not. If what 4e...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 09:54 PM
    Lot of over-thinking going on.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 08:36 PM
    The future of D&D was look'n pretty grim there for minute. But, had that been the case, and D&D been shelved for the last six years, we still might be seeing the come-back, just with the OSR & PF (mabye a more 5e-like TSR-era-evoking PF2 or Advanced PathFinder or something) reaping the rewards and Hasbro not noticing/caring. See, to me, when I read: I nod in agreement, but also think: ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 08:20 PM
    Frightening thought: you could just have spell levels track caster levels. 1-9 spells levels over 1-10 caster levels... ...I suppose the caster class like that could be an 'advanced'/prestige/paragon class that you take as your second 10 levels...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 07:46 PM
    Play more before you run would be the best kind of doing to learn by, but if you have essentially disposeable players available, why not? ;) If you're not running a stable group, Defiance in Phlan can be pretty easy to deal with, it's a number of relatively disconnected episodes, so you can run with different players or characters in different sesssions. One of the few I enjoyed playing in,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 07:33 PM
    OK, one of the three examples in the OP was a spell, and I didn't notice you were addressing that one, specifically (I actually noticed Umbran's post first). Sorry.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 07:23 PM
    Apparently, the whole "Core Brand" concept that called for such an unrealistic goal was just dropped. If it had been dropped a couple years earlier, 4e may not have gotten the desperate Essentials-redesign... a few years before that, might not have existed at all. Business.
    305 replies | 8927 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 07:17 PM
    Of course, a strong point. You could simple give all healing sources more oomph, across the board.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 07:16 PM
    MCing increases the complexity of the system and the system mastery required to use it, in exchange for that somewhat increased flexibility. Classless systems just cover more concepts without needing kludges and increased complexity. Class-based systems do have their advantages: they can be evocative of a property or genre, can make character generation more of a broad-strokes process, and...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 07:07 PM
    I played one session of one GUMSHOE game - Night's Dark Agents - at a Game Day, like two years ago, so I know basically nothing about it. But, I did get a positive impression of how the investigative skills work, and a less positive one of combat... OK, I find it interesting that this side-discussion immediately went to using SPELLS in D&D as the analog for SKILLS in another game. ...
    29 replies | 687 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 07:01 PM
    True. 3.5 fans have had active support the whole time, but for maybe a year between the end of 3.5 and release of PF. 4e fans have been without active support since 2012. Maybe I need to look at it more carefully, but it seemed like casters were still basically Vancian, for instance. Avoiding dead levels is something PF was already doing, and even 5e does, sorta. So IDK... I don't...
    305 replies | 8927 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 06:32 PM
    From the melee training thread: Engineering? I'm just wondering: I'm assuming this is from HoML, and I guess it indicates you added an Engineering skill. Why Engineering, and how many other skills did you add? Seems the answere was in this thread... So, - Dungeoneering, + Leadership, + Engineering. I don't see Engineering covering things like Kruthics & Gelatinous Cubes &c, let...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 05:58 PM
    An uncomfortable truth about multiclassing rules is that they are a sort of tacit admission that class-based systems are innately inadequate to model a reasonable range of character concepts.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 05:48 PM
    4e failed to hit a revenue goal set by Hasbro that even the entire industry, today, would still be failing to meet. OTOH, total lack of support for the last 6 years goes a fair way towards getting you to give up an edition. And AEDU isn't so much the core/essence of 4e, as the consistency with which it was applied. It could have been AED or ADU or LMNOP, or , IDK, everyone getting feats...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 05:47 PM
    My usage is also one I blythely self-identify as. Yeah, I know some systems pretty well and try to get the most out of them - that's 'powergaming' in my book. The terminology for discussing RPGs on the internet is mostly pretty useless, yes, and you're right that what use there is comes mainly in understanding the person using it, more than what they're trying to say with it. "Playing...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 05:29 PM
    That sounds reasonable. By the same token a 4e-style second wind: spend your action 1/encounter to roll HD and heal yourself, maybe with an additional requirement that you be wounded past a certain point?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 07:08 AM
    Cool, I'm actually getting an idea I kinda like: Keep instant death at negative max hps. Track & heal from negative hps, so reduced whack-a-mole incintives. When dropped to 0, you're unconscious 1d4 hrs, wake up with 1hp. When dropped below 0 you die, unless you have HD left, then you can roll 1 or more HD, if the result is greater than your current negative hps, you wake up in 1d4...
    104 replies | 2753 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 06:56 AM
    Another occasional variation on that is negative CON score or negative 1st level HD... ...hm... actually, maybe you could use HD when dropped? Maybe, at 0, roll one HD, you have that many rounds to live?
    104 replies | 2753 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 06:35 AM
    Death saves give you a fair chance of stabilizing and waking up 1d4 hours later. So it potentially delivers it for maybe half of heroes. Could be a good general rule, it makes 'left for dead' scenarios plausible, because murderous bad guys can be murderous for a while without anyone living on them... ..retains the trope as a backstory element.
    104 replies | 2753 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 05:22 AM
    Well, rocs actually fly. Levitate's just a mime's elevator. Storm giants probably have it because they've always had it, and maybe to pick up small objects cluttering their cloud castles - like adventures.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 05:17 AM
    Half the action heroes out there, especially in their backstories get beaten/stabbed/shot/burned/defenestrated/disintegrated/whatever, to the point the bad guys leave, happily convinced he's dead. And he wakes up later, and there's a story.
    104 replies | 2753 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 05:14 AM
    I can't say I'm see'n the resemblance. PF was an outright, perfectly legal SRD/OGL clone of 3.5, fans who felt spurned got back exactly what they felt they had lost.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 05:03 AM
    That's a solution, by itself. Death at 0. Be careful out there. Heal proactively. Maybe add some more sources of temp hps. How are you going to manage KOs? Attacker's choice at 0? And what about the old 'left for dead' trope?
    104 replies | 2753 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 04:54 AM
    4es one of those games where the reward for good play is continuing to play. Magic items are on a wealth/level string with make/buy, just like 3e, so just a level-up build resource. There was no advancement in Traveller after chargen, you just got older and lost stats until you died. So you'd have to pick something you cared about to advance, like building up your free trader business or...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 04:47 AM
    Chess is a pretty structured game, in itself, you'd more likely game the rules of the tournament to eff with your opponent. Dominating play, for a broad, obvious instance. The 5MWD, sure, prettymuch just choosing a Tier 1 class, its not like D&D makes it hard. Part of gaming a system is keeping it susceptible to the strategies you're using. There are innumerable exampkes from...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 03:04 AM
    Go ahead and post the link in the Essence thread, then. What's the worst that could happen?
    6 replies | 349 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 02:58 AM
    Definitely don't mean cheating, since that's breaking the rules, but the point of cheating, and morality of it are very closely comparable to gaming the system. Come to think of it, it's the opposite of fudging/illusionism, that way. Heh. What about fighting & swapping weapons just to get a check in RQ? I think that's a tough question, because its ultimately almost a moral rather...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 12:10 AM
    In one setting, the two were linked. Sorcerers bargained with or coerced 'spirits' for overt magical power like fireball-tossing or flying or making someone you didn't like get sick & die, but were able to do so because they were essentially psionic, blessed with preternatural force of will that could communicate with/coerce said spirits - and also be used against other people to read/influence...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 12:01 AM
    Starting in 3e, when exp was generally given to the party, and divided equally, it became a reward just for showing up. Or any other system, yes. It probably looks like two peole playing chess, Monopoly or Backgammon, and one of them winning more often than he should. In RuneQuest, going into a fight swinging one weapon until you hit someone, then dropping it and pulling another, than...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 11:31 PM
    Oh, go right ahead and be misleading... ;) Ideally, you shouldn't let players ask to make rolls, they should describe actions ("Do I remember seeing or hearing about a creature like that from my time with the Rangers of the North..." could be an 'action' in the sense you're trying to match the description to your own knowledge & experience) and you call for checks based on the action and the...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 11:21 PM
    A bullet? From the Grassy Gnoll? Yeah, that deserves a laugh.
    98 replies | 2604 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 10:09 PM
    Happilly, Multiclassing, like the equally* controversial & game-breaking Feats, are optional rules, so as a DM, don't opt in, and as a player, simply don't use them for your character, yourself. (Yes, someone else might: let them. If you want to dictate how everyone at the table plays the game, DM it.)
    98 replies | 2604 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 08:20 PM
    But, really, what's the "intent" and what if the unintended way of playing the system turns out to work a lot bettter than the intended? 'Gaming the system' is a very real thing, whether the system in question is not meant to be a game (the more typical usage of the idiom, really), or is an actual game just not designed to be robust when "played" in that way.
    56 replies | 1242 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 08:15 PM
    That's a build the way a dugout canoe is the Titanic. Primitive & much less elaborate, also unlikely to be sunk by an iceberg in the middle of the North Atlantic.
    305 replies | 8927 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 01:00 AM
    In ERB's Mars series, there were a pair of races on Mars, the Kaldanes and Rykors, the Kaldanes were intelligent and had a less dependent symbyotic relationship than you're envisioning with the Rykors, who looked like headless human bodies, while the Kaldanes looked like wierd, pallid heads with arthropod-like legs and 'tails' that they essentially plugged into the Rykors to ride them. (Bit...
    17 replies | 406 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 11:54 PM
    It's a hypothetical he's not actually doing it just talking about it: he's only messing with you.
    305 replies | 8927 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 06:45 PM
    There not that different from just the rules. Move/Dash, if you break line of sight try to hide? You could use them without knowning they were there. ;) An hour lead would be more a matter of tracking, I suppose. Bring in the Ranger. Overwhelming numbers is definitely a thing in 5e, and, obviously, means you can't just split up... ...the existing rules wouldn't be practical to use...
    14 replies | 466 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 06:33 PM
    We listened to the first hour last night - damn, it's long - it was mildly amusing (we're reviewing this game that came out last month - 10 years ago), it's odd to hear people not get tons of stuff wrong when talking about 4e, though they mis-spoke more than a few times and carefully disected the original language of Comander's Strike as an example of how 4e used keywords ("templating") to make...
    6 replies | 349 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 06:30 PM
    wrong thread...
    35 replies | 899 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 05:59 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to 6e? Why?
    That's essentially what Hasbro has been doing with Monopoly for decades: 'special editions,' the rules are the same or barely different, but it's dressed up differently. D&D could also re-publish core rules with, a different default setting. Or with emphasis on a different sub-genre (S&S or action or anime or high-fantasy instead of... er, well D&D). Or even all the same rules, but with...
    144 replies | 7088 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 05:31 PM
    Y'know, I'm starting to think you never claimed anything.
    157 replies | 4792 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 04:18 PM
    Tenuous. ;) I don't see how the alternative: concentrate on multiple spells, check to see which drop when you're hit, would make a lot if sense. Frankly I prefer old-school concentration (no roll, just ruined on taking damage, required on all casting, with loss of slot when iterrupted) or 4e Sustain (took an action every turn) as either would be a more meaningful limitation. We really...
    305 replies | 8927 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 03:49 PM
    I thought I was a total Highlander fan, but I do not get the analogy...? To me, relative to 3.5, it was a rearranging deck chairs exercise, but one that did leave a less obstructed path to the life boats. To be fair, 5e killed no sacred cows, it was 4e that engaged in alien cattle mutilator level sacred cow slaughter. 5e just revivified the dead Vancian sacred cow as the neo-Vancian...
    305 replies | 8927 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 12:21 AM
    Sounds workable, you still have to scale treasure to the exp progression table, though. Here's a thought: You could give exp for the challenges overcome/avoided (monsters, traps, puzzles), and for the /percentage/ of possible treasure recovered. (I know: gamist.) So if the only treasure in the dungeon is a copper bowl worth 5 gp, and the party leaves with it intanct, full treasure XP. ...
    56 replies | 1242 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 12:11 AM
    Not much for podcasts, prefer reading. ;P But, yes the leadership (& tactical &c) part(s) went to the Warlord in 4e, while the fighter was further narrowed to just the more sort of knightly/warrior/champion defender-of-the-weak & related concepts, and the Ranger got the woodsy/spelunking/archery/TWF stuff. I've said many times that you could roll everything the Fighter & Thief (latter,...
    35 replies | 899 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 11:43 PM
    D&D is a just a current example, since you were wanting to focus on what's generally going on out there, and it's by far the most popular game, people are generally sitting down and having RPG combats in D&D. Rather a lot of them, based on the exp it takes to level up, and even a non-trivial chance of death in each combat mounts quickly. (Besides, when I used Champions! as an example, you...
    157 replies | 4792 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 11:20 PM
    I have to consider allies' buffs as self-inflicted, too. You should at least have a safe word worked out with your 'leader...' "... I cast Mordenkainen's Multifaceted Munificence on Barg the Battl-" "er? ... flumph... FLUMP!"
    305 replies | 8927 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 11:05 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to 6e? Why?
    This will be my third attempt at a reply, BTW... if it's terse, it's just frustration with technology... That's a major part of it, IMHO. It must strike the balance between being acceptable to the old gaurd and accessible to the new. 5e moved back from the level of accessibility 4e presented quite a lot, to get to the level of acceptabilty required (maybe erred on that side more than a bit)....
    144 replies | 7088 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 10:49 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to 6e? Why?
    I've played & run campaigns going from Heroic through Epic. But, I primarily introduced new players to 4e at Encounters, which ran from 1st, up to 4th level by the end of the season. I've only rarely had occassion to introduce a new player to the game at higher levels (Paragon once or twice), and don't consider it typical. Nor, by the time you hit Paragon from 1st, are you really 'new' anymore....
    144 replies | 7088 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 10:02 PM
    Lack of magic items. Demand so far out-strips supply that there's no viable markeplace. Those who can make items make them for their own use or own purposes, since they can 'make' all the money they want even more easily, so there's no production-for-sale. When magic items change hands, it's primarily by theft (including the adventurer's stock-in-trade home-invasion robery & serial murder)...
    93 replies | 2264 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 09:06 PM
    A perennial flaw of the fighter. Somehow, fighters missed the boat on skills, entirely. The early-D&D fighter was a proto-nobleman, a 'barronette' in some versions, a Lord at 9th level, in any case. Traditionally (actual tradition, not D&D perversity), an heroic noble knight or the like would be expected to be accomplished at many arts & graces, knowlegeable about history & the classics, a...
    35 replies | 899 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 09:00 PM
    Probably why I don't recognize your handle, even though you've been here since 2002. And kudos to you, sir, for taking the high road. I admit the shell game 5e played with some mechanics was a little odd. Taking caster advancement it making it based on character level instead of class level (an improvement over 3.x, IMHO), but then taking Extra Attack & basing it on class level instead of...
    305 replies | 8927 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 08:46 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to 6e? Why?
    That's a very different qualifier. When I say that 4e was more accessible to the new player, of course that mostly meant at 1st level, where 4e was at it's "lightest" and 5e has some issues with unexpected lethality, and even the basic-pdf casters have some substantial complexity. Not only that, but when introducing new players, be it 4e or 5e (or prior eds), I'll always use pregens. I was...
    144 replies | 7088 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 08:20 PM
    That's not exactly in keeping with 5e design philosphy, and, really, if you're wanting to see less heavy armor in your game, dipping fighter to get this feature instead of getting heavy armor should be OK, no? I like the idea of Proficiency to AC, in some way, in general, the ideas I've had on the subject tend to be more complicated than this (because I just gravitate twards complexity when...
    34 replies | 898 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 08:13 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to 6e? Why?
    I suspect the impact will be negligible. 5e has already sold to the established fanbase, it's ongoing sales are more to new & returning players drawn to the D&D name. PF2 might pull away a few hard-core 3.x/PF fans who'd been amusing themselves with 5e while waiting for it, but it's not going to have any effect on the stream of incoming new/returning players. The come-back is D&D's to lose...
    144 replies | 7088 view(s)
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Friday, 15th June, 2018

  • 07:31 AM - Coroc mentioned Jacob Lewis in post Darksun Version 4.0
    Jacob Lewis That would be another idea, but i still like my solution more, unless you would rule that inferior Magic weapons would not have to make two dice rolls. It has to be analysed statistically though. With a 2xd20 someone has found out a number which would reflect disad quite well it was -2 or so if i remember, so i guess 2 die rolls for weapon damage would result in about a -1 which would be desirable. Has to be analysed though.

Monday, 11th December, 2017


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Sunday, 8th July, 2018

  • 03:56 AM - Jester David quoted Jacob Lewis in post THIS Is The Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook!
    Not really. You and I are apples and oranges. But what I was trying to illustrate was the contrast between the two companies in their general approach. These last particular tweets just happen to coincide within the same week. Paizo seems pretty upfront when it comes to any upcoming product, while Wizards has made a habit of putting up clues and easter eggs. You're comparing the publisher showing off an early copy of their book with teasing for a yet unreleased book. That is very, very, very different. As I said earlier, if you go through the social media of WotC staff, you'll see pictures similar to Bulhman's of "look what just arrived in the office". WotC does the exact same thing. And it's not like Paizo doesn't tease or hint. If you follow people like Jason Bulhman or James Jacobs on the Paizo forums or listen to their GenCon and PaizoCon panels, they'll also occasionally drop teasing hints of future projects. It's not even that WotC included seeds and Easter eggs for future storylines ...

Saturday, 7th July, 2018

  • 04:06 PM - Jester David quoted Jacob Lewis in post THIS Is The Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook!
    Hmm... I should elaborate. It's hard for me to say that I am not drawing distinctions between the two companies, or that I am not biased towards Paizo and this new playtest. I am absolutely in the Paizo camp as WotC has fallen out of favor with me. Obviously, it's neither a big loss or gain for either company. I'm just one customer. What I found interesting is how their recent tweets for their respective upcoming products reveal such a stark contrast. And it brings to light (for me, anyway) how the two companies appeal to their audiences (i.e. customers) differently. One picture reveals small clues and red herrings on a page of doodles, and a mysterious book cover partially concealed. A game or "guess what it is" ensues, usually for months until they finally announce it. Big reveal. The other picture is more straightforward, and presents a more refined, if not sophisticated, display. The books are here. We can't wait for you to see them. I'm having a drink. How are you going to celebrate...

Thursday, 5th July, 2018


Wednesday, 4th July, 2018

  • 05:23 PM - Emerikol quoted Jacob Lewis in post A discussion of metagame concepts in game design
    You are posting on these boards and criticizing something about 5e. You, sir, are dancing in a minefield. The best possible outcome is to get through the song unscathed. ;) Well I asked questions I hope in a constructive way. I wish people would just accept my tastes as mine and go from there. If I'm understanding correctly (and my memory still serves me), hit dice are rolled during a short rest and the character recovers that many hit points? So, hit points regained are generated randomly, not fixed?? Now I understand. That IS a terrible mechanic. I don't even like the idea of rolling for hit points when you level up. You know they fixed that in 4e? And healing surges were fixed. You spend one, you gain X hps back. You knew exactly what you needed to spend to get where you wanted to be. Maybe that's the solution, or, as you suggested, a fixed pool of hit points to draw from. Seems easy enough to house rule. The whole healing thing is another area of contention. My answer was in th...
  • 10:06 AM - pemerton quoted Jacob Lewis in post A discussion of metagame concepts in game design
    Since Inspiration is largely a metagaming mechanic--DMs often use this as a reward for the player, not the character--it's going to feel metagamey. There's no way around it. How about some XP instead?Classic D&D XP is super metagamey. XP for "good roleplaying" even moreso. I don't know what system for awarding XP Emerikol uses.
  • 01:13 AM - Emerikol quoted Jacob Lewis in post A discussion of metagame concepts in game design
    I find this topic very interesting. Even though my experience with 5e was short, I recognize the mechanics pointed out. I have some thoughts. If it can stay civil, it can be interesting. Not sure my desired outcome though will be achieved. :-) Resilience? Spirit? Endurance? Maybe an abstract combination not unlike how we try and define what hit points represent. I think it's just utilizing existing resources and recycling it into another mechanic. Good designs are like that. But if you're looking for higher fidelity, think of it as stamina. Body, mind, and spirit can only recover so many times from continual beatings before it reaches a breaking point. Being able to fully rest used to be the only method of recovery before the short rest became a thing. The hit dice just acts as a built in counter, as opposed to introducing something else, like healing surges. But how and why do I choose to use HD as a player? It seems more logical to me to say you keep using HD until you are heale...

Monday, 2nd July, 2018

  • 08:09 PM - Jer quoted Jacob Lewis in post Resonance, Potency, & Potions: A Look At Magic Items in Pathfinder 2
    It definitely favors classes dependent on Charisma, as well as races (ancestries) with inherent bonuses in that characteristic. Well, in the sense that a character with a high Charisma will have 2-3 more resonance points per day than everyone else, I guess. But since you're adding the level of the character to the bonus, it seems like it would mostly be a problem at low levels and wash out once you hit mid levels unless you have a lot of magic items in your games (though the fact that healing potions cost resonance to use means that you might hit that limit even if you don't have a Christmas Tree of magic items that cost resonance on you, if your table is used to chugging healing potions to keep your adventuring day going). I'm still not quite sure on what problem Resonance is trying to solve though. The four bullet points on the Resonance blog don't really make much of a case for something this complex - it doesn't really seem to simplify things all that much (especially with the new a...

Monday, 25th June, 2018

  • 01:57 AM - Charlaquin quoted Jacob Lewis in post What was the big difference between 4e and "essentials"?
    Mechanically, the characters were entirely different (sorry @Jester David). They entirely went away from the AEDU framework where each character was designed the same with the same number of powers. AEDU stands for At-Will, Encounter, Daily, Utility. There's nothing about the AEDU system that necessitates each character to have the same number of each type of power at the same levels, that's just how 4e classes happened to be designed up until the PHB 3. So, while Essentials variants of previously existing classes were structured entirely differently than their pre-essentials counterparts, AEDU was not the thing that changed. You're going to get a lot of answers about redefining class power structures, different approach to design for each class, and better math balance. But what you really need to understand is that Essentials was a mistake. It was the company back peddling from its original design goals trying to appease and regain a section of the playerbase that wasn't subscribing to their...

Sunday, 24th June, 2018

  • 07:14 PM - Ancalagon quoted Jacob Lewis in post What was the big difference between 4e and "essentials"?
    You're going to get a lot of answers about redefining class power structures, different approach to design for each class, and better math balance. But what you really need to understand is that Essentials was a mistake. It was the company back peddling from its original design goals trying to appease and regain a section of the playerbase that wasn't subscribing to their new approach. But by introducing this radical change in direction, they only managed to confuse, frustrate, and divide the small following that they had. That is not to say that Essentials wasn't good or had any merit, but like everything else at the time, they just expected us to accept it and cram it into the existing game. It was the beginning of the end, or maybe the "hail mary" pass at the end. That said, I would definitely use Essentials exclusively as a "Basic" version of the game today for friends and family who are more casual players, and reserve 4e Core for the more hardcore table. Either way, still my edition of ch...

Monday, 18th June, 2018

  • 01:43 AM - Zardnaar quoted Jacob Lewis in post Darksun Version 4.0
    You have already done a lot of work just writing up this treatment, and 4 times no less! Creating more work shouldn't be a deterrent to anyone willing to put in this much effort if it makes an improvement. If I had the time, I would rewrite the system from the ground up and tailor it specifically for this setting. And it would play much better for it. I have recycled as much as I can. Rewriting races isn't to hard but 4 archetypes is a lot. It's why I tied some of the PHB domains to the elemental planes.

Sunday, 17th June, 2018

  • 01:52 PM - Zardnaar quoted Jacob Lewis in post Darksun Version 4.0
    Would you say it is more common than using a great axe, for example? Statistically speaking, it seems like a superior choice for obtaining maximum benefit over a thematic choice. I'd fault game design for that paricular problem and proceed with changing it to a single d12. House rules. Problem solved. Or you could apply a simple -1/-1 or whatever the number is and not have to rewrite anything yes? WHy crate more work for yourself if I had the inclination I would rewrite all the PHB races and make 4 new domains. Only 1 person lol.

Saturday, 16th June, 2018

  • 10:03 PM - Zardnaar quoted Jacob Lewis in post Darksun Version 4.0
    I did have an epiphany of sorts, shortly after coming up with the idea. Just now have some time to write and share it with whomever is interested. Inferior and Superior: These qualities can be used for both armor and weapons. They describe the relative durability and strength of materials used to construct a weapon or armor. They can also apply to natural weapons and armor to represent tougher hide, thick scales, and sharp claws (superior), or soft membrane, brittle bones, and weak appendages (inferior). When an inferior weapon targets a superior armor, the damage dice have disadvantage. Roll 1 extra damage die and discard the highest die rolled. Conversely, when a superior weapon targets inferior armor, then the damage dice have advantage. Roll 1 extra damage die and discard the lowest die rolled. Inferior items are not affected by other inferior items. Likewise, superior items are not affected by other superior items. Average weapons and armors have neither trait, and are unaffected agains...
  • 09:58 PM - Zardnaar quoted Jacob Lewis in post Darksun Version 4.0
    Alright, I can see that. But that is an extreme case. Remind me again, how many weapons are 2d6 damage? And how many people take that particular feat? Even if it's more than average, I do have a suggestion or two for that. 1) Instead of doubling the number of damage dice rolled, just add one more and discard the lowest. It works for any weapon regardless of how many dice rolled, and doesn't nerf the expected average too bad. Also, take the results after rerolling 1s if you're keeping that feat in play. 2) Change the damage die to d12. You're going this far with changes, why not make changes that work better for all other changes? That's why I would do, but your game and your group. (Kudos for letting your players vote, btw.) Anyway, we can go back and forth all day with examples and fixes on which way to go. My version of Dark Sun is much different than what most would expect, which is essentially D&D dressed up for the apocalypse. I prefer a version that gets away from the standard D&D t...

Friday, 15th June, 2018

  • 10:33 PM - Zardnaar quoted Jacob Lewis in post Darksun Version 4.0
    You keep saying that as if it were true. Grab an extra die. Same type as your regular damage die; you don't even need to think about which die to use. Roll them together and compare. No adding, no subtraction, no modifications. Which is lower? Use that one. No one thinks the same mechanic used for advantage and disadvantage is slowing things down. In fact, it is probably one of the best (not that there are many) innovations of 5e. And I have never played at a table where dice were in small supply, or designated the responsibility of a single person who thought one of each would be sufficient for the whole table. By comparison, your method--which is reminscent of older and outdated ideas--requires more mental conversion and math. It may be simple and minor, but that kind of thinking is what adds up in the bigger picture. Which die is a step down from the normal? Don't forget -1 on your roll, and three other modifiers already in play! All the little things add up. It was just a suggestion. It's no...

Thursday, 14th June, 2018

  • 10:18 PM - Zardnaar quoted Jacob Lewis in post Darksun Version 4.0
    Inferior weapon: roll 2 damage dice and discard highest roll. Like disadvantage, right? Yes but it uses a lot of dice, a simple downsize or -1/-1 is easier/quicker to use. I have thought about disadvantage and advantage on damage rolls mechanics on other stuff just not for inferior weapons.

Tuesday, 12th June, 2018


Monday, 11th June, 2018

  • 03:11 PM - Bagpuss quoted Jacob Lewis in post Why Did "Solo" and "Rogue One" Feel Like RPG Sessions?
    Incidentally, the Star Wars Roleplaying Game (FFG) is a narrative-based game. I wouldn't go that far. It has strong narrative elements, but it is pretty crunchy compared to what I would call a narrative game. It is pretty complex combat wise, at least as much so as say D&D.

Thursday, 7th June, 2018

  • 01:39 PM - Aldarc quoted Jacob Lewis in post 2d10 as Replacement for d20?
    Question for you math geniuses. What is the probability of rolling doubles on 3d6? And what is the probability of rolling doubles within a specific set? (i.e. double 6s, double 5s or 6s, etc)Considering the Fantasy Age system? :confused:

Tuesday, 5th June, 2018

  • 06:09 PM - flametitan quoted Jacob Lewis in post ‘Advanced’ Dungeons & Dragons
    If WotC were to support these non-Core settings properly... emphasis, properly... it should require more than one book with great concern for how it will appeal to people who aren't even interested in the setting to begin with. Does that even make sense? If you're going to give any attention to one of these settings, which do not fall under the traditional themes and expectations of the core game, then you should not be worried about making it fit better unless you want to change what makes it so different. If Spelljammer, for example, is merely a means to travel through space to get from one game world to another, then you only need to write a few paragraphs about how to get your FR characters to Mystara, Krynn, and back in time for the next DDAL storyline because you're not really interested in Spelljammer as a viable setting. More like Yellow Cab for D&D. Likewise, you can treat Planescape like D&D's version of Disney World(s). You can get there, but you're only just a tourist. I don't believe ...
  • 04:49 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted Jacob Lewis in post 2d10 as Replacement for d20?
    Question for you math geniuses. What is the probability of rolling doubles on 3d6? And what is the probability of rolling doubles within a specific set? (i.e. double 6s, double 5s or 6s, etc) The way to calculate it is actually pretty easy. The chance of rolling a given number on a d6 is obviously 1 in 6 (yeah, duh, I know). So, if you already rolled the first die and got a number (any number, doesn't matter), the chance of the second die coming up the same number is 1 in 6. The chance of the 3rd die coming up the same number is also 1 in 6. So you have 2 chances in 6 of the first number coming up on one or both of the next 2 dice, less the one in 6 of that being a triple. You ALSO have a 1 in 6 chance of BOTH of those 2 dice coming up with the same number, so your chances are now 3 in 6, if you don't need to discount triples. If triples don't count, then you have to remove that probability, which is 1/6 x 1/6 x 1/6 = 1/216. I didn't add this up, but the 96/216 that TwoSix quotes is probably ri...


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