View Profile: Jacob Lewis - D&D, Pathfinder, and RPGs at Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:45 PM
    IDK the intent, but conceptually, 3.x MCing made class-levels into building blocks - a big step away from the inherent issues with class/level based design. The problem was that, to work, the next level of any class you had needed to balance with the next level of your other classes, and the first level of every other class, but 3e class designs were still mired in mechanics from the games...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 21st May, 2018, 04:38 PM
    The classic answer is that half-orcs are mostly the aftermath of raiding/warfare. So, human mother who survives the experience raising an orcs child. A more rules-oriented answer is that they are a playable race alternative to orcs as monsters, they could be literally halfbreeds with a human parent, only fractionally one or the other, or even a full blood raised in the other culture or an...
    22 replies | 545 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 21st May, 2018, 02:47 AM
    Some published settings are just presented and that's it, they may develop regions in more detail, but they exist in the moment when campaigns set in them are expected to start. Others have an ongoing history, new supplements advance the timeline, as well as adding new details. The latter sort can discourage going off the reservation.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 20th May, 2018, 01:59 AM
    When you're using a single die for resolution, you can't have much depth, at all. Enough modifiers to provide some depth, and they overwhelm the die. Depth, interest & meaningful options have to come from something other than the d20, it's modifiers & how often you roll it. Thus, D&D lacks those qualities in regards to skill use and weapon combat, delivering them, instead, in class features,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 20th May, 2018, 01:40 AM
    I've certainly known plenty like that, though imho/x, it was more a thing in the 90s... Vanishingly rare, IMX - but there's tremendous crossover in RPG circles with more mainstream fandom - so licenced games sell mainly to gamers who are also fans, and never have rivaled D&D as the gateway to the hobby.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 20th May, 2018, 01:29 AM
    With spells, to a degree - most spells are used by two or more classes, with the wizard having the most unique spells, at 33, and the Sorcerer, at the other extreme, using only shared spells. The only analogues to martial powers are class features, and closest, maneuvers, is limited to a single sub-class.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 20th May, 2018, 12:56 AM
    There are barely 3rd party materials, at all. The GSL was toxic.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 20th May, 2018, 12:55 AM
    For an actual game, it'd be a more elegant design, more concepts covered, more meaningful choices, less bloat.
    56 replies | 1534 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 20th May, 2018, 12:25 AM
    I played a brawling fighter who used a few tempest-intended powers, using a unarmed strike as the off-hand - dual strike was useful to mark two enemies at once without having to just out a limited use power or action point...
    56 replies | 1534 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 17th May, 2018, 08:28 PM
    The specific DoaM feature was for Greatweapon Style, so you're talking a particularly skillfull weilder swinging a large weapon in arcs that could conceivably sweep through areas comparable to an old school burning hands (example chosen because I remember 6' and 120 degrees). But the idea was apparently more to do with armor causing a 'miss' and the abstraction of hps. Depends on the spell...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 17th May, 2018, 08:10 PM
    Yep, I vaguely recall that one. The idea behind mechanics like that seems to be that the only thing keeping players who really want to be genre-appropriately-stupid from doing things like that is the rules 'punishing' them for it, so give a reward for it, and they'll happily RP the stupid. Which is fun & goid genre emulation, sure. My point was that the urge to not be stupid might not just...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 17th May, 2018, 05:15 PM
    Some are much more permissive than others, certainly. FATE, for instance, and many other systems & sub-systems - even personal characteristics in 5e - put incentives on playing a character in other than optimal ways for the sake of portrayal/story. Other systems, like 3.5/PF, notoriously, provide myriad option but only some of them represent the optimal, or even a viable, path for the...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 17th May, 2018, 03:54 PM
    As we know, because he told us about it, what we saw was both of them apparently fall to their deaths.... According to the exposition provided by Gandalf... A 5th level magic-user who was freakishly lucky rolling for 1e psionics could demolish a Type VI demon, the main problem being that it'd be over very quickly, indeed, since pionic-on-psionic combat progressed in segments... ...or,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 17th May, 2018, 01:02 AM
    5e was openly intended to borrow from past editions, so I've no problem with it being credited with doing so. But when it's given props for something when it's actually done the reverse relative to a past edition, especially the one immediately prior, I feel the need to point out the actual trajectory. In this case, 5e has not progressed appreciably from 3e. Really, we are talking quantity...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 16th May, 2018, 09:51 PM
    So, now we've wandered into another tangent (If that) of world-building, and one, like pem I assume I must be in a tiny minority in caring about, because it never seems to be articulated or avowed - but, hey, it just was. And that's the, I think very natural & nerdly, desire to "do it right." For all those times you screamed at the screen or threw book 4 of a trilogy across the room, because...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 16th May, 2018, 07:01 PM
    The fighter Close attacks start at 3rd. 8 1st level minions'd still be a challenge.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 16th May, 2018, 05:29 PM
    It's not hardest for 3pp's to market to. It's the easiest, and there's a lot of it, going back to before the current come-back, too. PF has been marketed to the D&D fanbase, and more material has been published for it than for any single edition of D&D, itself. 3pp's have been churning out OSR material for almost 10 years - longer if you count Hackmaster, pretty nearly as long as D&D's been...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 16th May, 2018, 04:37 PM
    You already got one laugh from me.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 16th May, 2018, 04:32 PM
    Combat Superiority cuts down on the enemies' options when trying to surround the fighter, too. Even a 15' wide corridor, for instance, would mean provoking if more than 3 tried to engage at once. Of course, then there's ranged minions - then you're likely to do a Boromir instead of a Conan....
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 16th May, 2018, 03:24 PM
    Not that healer archetypes are really a thing - every character than can heal in D&D can do more than just heal - but 'more' relative to what? In 5e, the Cleric, Druid, Bard, Paladin, & Ranger can all heal, in about that descending order of effectiveness. In 3.5, the Cleric, Druid, Paladin, Bard, & Ranger could all heal, in about that order. The Bard's a significantly better healer in 5e,...
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Wednesday, 16th May, 2018, 11:56 AM
    As much as I would love to see Dark Sun return to the table, I don't think it would be a good fit for the current business model. It needs (deserves!) to be it's own product line that stands apart from what WoC has dictated to be the norm for D&D. It is not a place you visit mid-campaign or rules you can just mesh with your current scenario. It is a different world with different rules and...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 16th May, 2018, 02:26 AM
    I miss-read you. I was commenting on a similarity between daily & encounter 'balance'
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 16th May, 2018, 02:12 AM
    Have you ever heard the "sounds like a first-world problem" joke? Sounds like a Tier 1 problem. Seriously, though, it sounds like a common complaint from a less common angle. You're more likely to hear that the game/adventure/DM was 'too easy,' for instance. Oh, the future probably needs to be fixed - all that advanced tech is totally OP and the future is expected to have...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 16th May, 2018, 01:04 AM
    Damage per attack doesn't climb quite as fast as hps in 5e, the idea is you'll attack more often and hit /even more often/, so a climbing AC would presumably leave weapon attacks and attack cantrips trailing. You'd want to reduce the armor bonuses by more than 2, if you're basing it on proficiency in armor. You might, instead, bring proficiency in for more active defense, like dodging,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 16th May, 2018, 12:25 AM
    Pretty sure they all had names on the back.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 16th May, 2018, 12:22 AM
    Livability of a dungeon is probably even worse than a castle under siege - but maybe not a whole lot worse, and we are assuming the adoption of a castle alternative is driven by magic, so magic could presumably help out there. But dungeons also just don't command the countryside the way castles do. You don't have a place for your banners, you don't have towers to watch the surrounding...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th May, 2018, 11:05 PM
    I'm not seeing the strong coupling between daily-resource management games and 'strategic' play vs encounter-focus and 'narrative' play. A game could use a longer-term player resource to license narrative changes, for instance, you have a limited number of plot-points to make, and you can use them strategically to develop the story. A game with no regenerating resource (static or consumable,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th May, 2018, 10:28 PM
    Oh, I don't generally see the extreme that I label 'setting tourism,' either - but it can be so awful when you do encounter it (or worse, have that horrible moment when you realize you're doing it), that it's quite memorable. A thread this long can't easily have retained it's original point, but, I think it was part "you don't /need/ worldbuilding, try Story Now!" and part "ooh, a hornetss...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th May, 2018, 08:05 PM
    All too often a DM who gets a little too into building his world will provide an experience that is, at best, boring (sorry, the world's just not as interesting to anyone esle), and at worst consists of dragging you through his world to meet his NPCs & tour their locations, and /not be allowed to do anything that might disrupt their cystaline perfection/. I enjoy worldbuilding, for it's own...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th May, 2018, 08:01 PM
    Fighters can chew through minions with Cleave & the like, and sweep minions and do full damage to swarms with Close attack powers. A martial controller could do with more such, of course. I've often used swarm mechanics for formations of soldiers, throngs of zombies, and even one time, schools of suahagin. It's a fun way to bring lower-level critters back to relevance at much higher level. ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th May, 2018, 07:56 PM
    I was wondering if anyone would bring up the low, thick, sloped walls of a post-gunpowder star-fort. One idea that's been floated in the past is that Dungeons, themselves, are the response to magic routinely flattening/bypassing more traditional castles. Fliers have no particular advantage in assaulting a dungeon, invisible foes have a harder time infiltrating it, stand-off-and-bombard...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th May, 2018, 07:15 PM
    The wagon, in his example, is not riding the Steed... ...OTOH, a beholder, blue whale, or gelatinous cube you designate /could/ ride your Phandom Steed, becaue creature. ;| "Rulings not rules" FTW, yes. I think it'd be amusing to just let the spell be cast with some ad-hoc variations that conjures the steed equipped with tack & harness instead of a saddle, ready to be hitched to a...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th May, 2018, 06:11 PM
    Just stop and think about that for a moment, folks. 5e has 'gone' a considerable way, but the edition immediately prior to it had gone further. So it has actually /not/ gone in that way, at all, it's merely backed off from it, just not all the way back. Once again, 5e gets credit for moving forward when it's been going backwards. Even in 4e, you theoretically needed a 'leader' Role to...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th May, 2018, 04:10 PM
    By 5th, even in AD&D you were almost uniquivocally in the sweet spot, in which most characters were able to contribute and have some fun. IMHO, it started at 3rd (2nd level spells were a landmark for both clerics - no Cure...Wounds at 2nd, you can actually use your own spells for your own purposes! XOMG! - and magic-users - you got quite meaningful combat spells like Web, and quite meaningful...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th May, 2018, 07:31 AM
    Damage on a Successful Save, a time honored, functional, D&D mechanic common in 5e, including, in an amazingly limited way, the Potent Cantrip feature. Damage on a Miss, a freakish 4e/playtest dissociated mechanic that briefly threatened to destroy D&D As We Know It, but was swiftly put down. Theoretically could be used to fairly neatly make the Evoker feature in question work with PH evocation...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th May, 2018, 07:22 AM
    Games can be like the proverbial stopped clock that's right twice per day, sure. Instead of trying to fix one, you can make best use of it. To be fair, 3e made some very significant changes that deviated from the DM-dominated/mediated dynamic in which the classic game was most nearly functional. A major one was shifting magic items from arbitrary DM mcguffins to systematic player build...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th May, 2018, 04:03 AM
    Well sure, he was Gandalf at that point. (No, I never do get tired of that one, it seems - and it was actually a bit before my time...)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th May, 2018, 01:33 AM
    Depends on the game you're running - by 'DM' I'm guessing the current edition of D&D ("5e"). Magic items, in general, are de-emphasized in assumed 5e play. That is, the game doesn't /need/ magic items to run more or less smoothly (something that only bears saying relative to other editions that did assume aproximate numbers/types/power of items would be acquired by a certain level). Rather,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th May, 2018, 01:17 AM
    Sure - but if you have a hard-reset between encounters, like the last ed of Gamma World did - then events might unfold a little oddly, too. If your recent experiences & challenges make no impression on you, at all, that's likely to be at odds with some those (or other) elements, too, no? True, it's a constraining approach, but it does allow for some tension between urgency & preparation. ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th May, 2018, 12:36 AM
    If that's your experience - if your group didn't make much or much effective use of dailies, and if they rarely pushed to the point anyone ran low enough on surges for it to affect their tactics in an encounter - then that's your experience. I've certainly seen dailies have very high impact in specific encounters, and seen being out of dailies or low on surges impact how a character or party...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 14th May, 2018, 11:23 PM
    They look like Archons. If they don't have the name of the monster on the bloodied side, they almost have to be Monster Vault.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 14th May, 2018, 10:45 PM
    Classes are central to each of the examples you're using, though - D&D having always used classes, even at it's least-D&D-like. Another reason Gamma World makes a better example of encounter-balancing: no classes to confuse the issue. I played 4e for it's whole run, and still do infrequently, and have run it since 2010, regularly since 2012 (a campaign now at 25th level), so I've seen...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 14th May, 2018, 10:20 PM
    It works in theory - as long as everyone plays their one character, for the whole campaign, including the guy who rolled up an MU who died the first day sitting out the campaign for however many years it lasts - as in, showing up at all the sessions, and saying "I decompose" on his turn. Short of that, it's prettymuch nonsense. You don't need 'starter' mechanics or ways to dodge engaging...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 14th May, 2018, 09:57 PM
    I'm fine with getting really, really abstract, as I feel D&D has always been there in a lotta ways. ;) I do like the idea of such a character milking the old 'training the villagers to defend themselves' (and getting them all killed in the process, but somehow, you're still the hero) trope. When the BBEG has a small population that's opposed to it, oppressed by it, loyal to it only out of...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 14th May, 2018, 09:48 PM
    Sorry to pull this grognard silliness, but: Backgrounds have been around a really long time, really they have. In 1e, you got a random 'secondary skill' that reflected your pre-adventuring life, maybe you were a bowyer/fletcher or a fisherman or something. In 2e, you got Kits that appended thematic or cultural bits to your class. In 3e, you could devote some of your precious ranks to a...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 14th May, 2018, 09:39 PM
    Heroes of the Feywild is about the best thing to come out of the post-esentials period. The '_________ Power' books really help out certain classes, adding a lot of options to martial characters and shoring up some of the shakier options in the PH1. The Rules Compendium is terribly handy, it duplicated the core rules in the PH & DMGs, but with more errata built in (some of it, like Skill...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 14th May, 2018, 09:34 PM
    There's no reason not to go there. Describe the resolutions of the enemy's surprise-round actions to the players all at once, /then/ describe the situation as they can see it, and when one of them declares an action, then, finally, call for initiative. All you lose is the possibility of a PC using a reaction if they won initiative. No big loss, reactions get anoying, anyway. "Rocks fall,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 14th May, 2018, 09:05 PM
    Oh, the warring against 4e had a lot to do with how it balanced abilities - that it dared to balance classes at all - because there's just this established base that thrives on such imbalances, and doesn't want to let go of them. Though, ultimately, that still doesn't prove much, since the failure of the line at that point had more to do with business & communications issues. AD&D wasn't...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 14th May, 2018, 06:43 PM
    Both are poor choices, but 5e is surely the leser evil in that regard. A nigh-infinite number of those ways of customizing your character in PH are 'traps,' too. And 5e isn't really any easier to follow, from the player's side, there's just a lot less of it to follow, and it's much easier for the DM to, I guess you could say in contrast, 'lead' the rules where he wants them to go. ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 14th May, 2018, 06:34 PM
    The Dawn War narrative includes the Lovecraftian 'Far Realms' in the story of the Living Gate and the mad god Therizdun (or however you spell it). Really, D&D's always had a strong Mythos influence.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 14th May, 2018, 06:32 PM
    That goes way back, really. Even in 1e, the Paladin & Druid could heal - just not enough, at 1st level, to see a party through to 2nd. 1e also gave the cleric bonus spells at 1st level, that was really the cleric-mandatory edition (and mainly so at 1st level) moreso than 0e, when the cleric didn't even cast at 1st level, or 2e where the cleric (priest) was considerably more customizeable and...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 13th May, 2018, 07:34 PM
    Ooh... I'll have to check that out someday...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 13th May, 2018, 07:24 PM
    The surprised characters don't get to act on their turns, so, at most, might get to speak or take a reaction if they win initiative. If you want to avoid the 'on alert' effect of calling for inituative, don't call for it until the monsters have taken their first round of actions.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 13th May, 2018, 06:58 PM
    But, wizards aren't like fighters - they actually can have nice things! Seriously, though, it seems a fine solution... . Well, from a single re-eroll. If you simply re-eroll until you get a non-1 result the increase is simple: +0.5 damage/die. If you only get one re-roll it's less, even less the smaller the die, but it's a pretty minor benefit compared to DoaSS/DoaM.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 13th May, 2018, 06:25 PM
    Something like that has been a talking point at some points, but it's rather dubious, once you consider that D&D has generally been the primary gateway to the hobby. If D&D was too complex for you when you tried it, you most likely concluded that you simply didn't like RPGs, and are not part of the community. If you could stand D&D, chances are you played it a while, gaining familiarity with...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 13th May, 2018, 04:31 AM
    So, if you'd been even slightly negative, I'd've had to've gone into full "kids these days" grumpy grognard mode like I did in the martials v casters thread. Not that I really have any other modes, but I can turn it down from 11 on a good day. I'm glad you appreciate the environment you're getting here, and hope you realize how horrid it's been in the past.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 13th May, 2018, 02:12 AM
    The very idea of relying on either book or errata when the game is meant as a starting point is a tad silly - The one thing you can be certain of is that you simply must go /somewhere/ from that point. It's different with a ruleset that's meant to provide a good play experience or enable an optimization meta-game.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 12th May, 2018, 06:21 AM
    That's how I saw it, too, initially: "Third is the new First!" But everything starts at first and organizers always seem to want intro games to be 1st. Just too intuitive, I guess...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 12th May, 2018, 06:09 AM
    Well even a classic D&D MU was out-casting Gandalf by 7th level... ;)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 12th May, 2018, 12:34 AM
    Good call. :) Sometimes, complexity is the price of simplicity. They clearly wanted to avoid your initiative order changing in combat, so no Delay, and Ready uses your Reaction. Simple, right? ... Heh. ;| And you give up any other use of your already precious Reaction.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 12th May, 2018, 12:19 AM
    So he's not tweeting errata, he's errata'ing a tweet? ...I am so out of the loop, these days...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 11th May, 2018, 06:11 AM
    A perennial truism, wisdom is not what you know, but the understanding & acceptance of how little you know... I'm sure I have - NPCs are not my strong suit, I like coming up with societies, magic/technologies, & situations, but people stuff eludes me, especially painting an NPC as 'likeable' ... So my NPCs tend towards cackling villains, frightened innocents, and patient/selfless helpers...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 10th May, 2018, 05:29 PM
    Guess they need to bring back Scorching Burst.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 10th May, 2018, 05:23 PM
    He did start with: Which is clearly contrasting the monk to classes that use magic - which is off, because 5e Monks /explicitly/ use magic, in the form of Ki. 5e Monks can also actually cast spells, fueled by Ki, but still spells. 'Martial' is typically used to describe classes that use weapons, or classes that don't use magic, and, given he's already classed his monk as not using magic... -...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 08:57 PM
    Monks' Ki is explicitly magic in 5e, closest thing to a 'martial artist' in D&D they may be, but they're not martial in the sense of being contrasted with the broad group of " anything that can use magic." 5e monks do have ki powers.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 08:44 PM
    Not even meant as a breakdown or analysis, just acknowledging there's a range out there. That range does include depriving players of a great deal of 'agency,' not only in the context of worldbuilding, but certainly in that context if you prioritize it. Heh, depending on their audience, writers may very well have to consider that (and get soundly mocked when they don't) - and depending on...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 08:09 PM
    That's fairly traditional DMing. Exactly.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 08:05 PM
    That's my observation, as well. If you take a group of people, and arbitrarily divide them up into categories, however valid or invalid, they'll immediately start making cases for their category being better than the others... ...preceding the categorization with a mushy "y'all have qualities of each category & are special snowflakes, but..." in no way heads off that tendency, it's just a...
    2666 replies | 66469 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 08:00 PM
    Well, it varies a bit in a couple of ways. In some RPGs the GM & players share that authorial power/director stance/whatever to varying degrees. In some RPGs, the GM has a great deal of control (subtle or not so subtle) over what the player characters can/may do, and/or whether they succeed or fail, in others, the players have a great deal more control. So it can be very much like fiction...
    1901 replies | 64257 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 07:55 PM
    "Make Weapons Great Again" sounds cool, except, in the context of D&D, for the "Again" - how 'bout "Finally?" ;P Interestingly, 5e didn't do that, while 4e & 13A did. So, hey, one way PF2 is /not/ turning into 5e. Slightly reassuring.
    33 replies | 1029 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 07:48 PM
    I guess it goes something like this: There's an NPC in the background: quick description, no name, no stats. There's an NPC being interacted with, briefly, and not too important: quick description, maybe a position rather than a name "a guard" or "the seneschal" or whatever There's an NPC being interacted with, and it might matter: quick description, stats in the relevant attributes...
    10 replies | 431 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 06:49 PM
    ...nod... it's a slippery slope: let some cantrips get DoaM, and, someday, down the line, some Monk Ki power might get it, then some BM maneuver might get it, then some combat style even a Champion Fighter could take... Instead, how about: Potent Cantrip Starting at 6th level, your cantrips affect even creatures that avoid the brunt of the effect. When a creature succeeds on a saving...
    58 replies | 1894 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 06:38 PM
    5e sucks because it tries so hard - and so successfully - to emulate 1e. 5e - like 1e did in it's day - sucks so hard that it has SUCKED more people into playing D&D than ever before. Suck on that, suckers. ;P
    1702 replies | 139508 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 06:27 PM
    To be fair, some of the /sub/-classes (there's 5 whole non-magic-using sub-classes in the PH, out of 40 or so). If you want to play a fighter, but don't want to be a zero when times come to do a little casting, you can always play an EK, for instance. You're getting more hps every level, and your damage should be increasing, as well. Due to BA bonus-quelling, that's where most of the scaling is...
    1702 replies | 139508 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 04:45 PM
    That's the point. Better than 3.5 on a balance issue doesn't say enough. Does 5e have fewer trap options than 3.5? Sure! Unavoidably so, since 5e has fewer player-facing options in total than 3.5 had trap options. While true, that doesn't really tell us much about 5e. I don't think that's quite fair to say, either. 5e has a very different emphasis than 3.x/PF, 4e/E, or I suppose,...
    87 replies | 3423 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 03:58 PM
    Comparing relative balance issues to 3.5 is going to be faint praise, it's like "come to Death Valley, it's more habitable than Antarctica!" And, it's hardly necessary: when it comes to fewer trap options, broken options, dissociated options, chaff options, or whatever other sorts of player options you dislike, 5e is likely going to look good compared to any prior ed except, perhaps, Basic.
    87 replies | 3423 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 01:55 AM
    Seems like it would be hard to avoid at least elements of each. Clearly the DM has to come up with /something/ to get the ball rolling, and players have to do /something/ to keep it rolling. I think the only mistake you're making is in paying attention to those labels, and, especially.... ...any label dreamed up by Mr. Edwards. ;P
    2666 replies | 66469 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 01:43 AM
    We're talking about an aspect of writing (be it fiction or RPGs), if you broaden the definition to include the whole thing, well, it's become meaningless. It's a neat way of building a defense, you can't say 'world building' is bad if 'world building' is part of everything that makes an RPG, well, exist, because then you're just arguing that all RPGs are bad... ...which, come to think of it,...
    1901 replies | 64257 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 8th May, 2018, 07:18 PM
    I see the issue. The way the casting sub-systems of 5e work, there will always be some spells that are better than others and 'crowd out' alternatives, making casters & the game 'samey,' to a degree. It's not the fault of spells not being perfectly designed - it's impossible to so perfectly balance spells that in every situation, each spell is exactly as attractive, and very hard to balance...
    41 replies | 2725 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 8th May, 2018, 12:14 AM
    IDK, what makes it 'excessive?' ;P Seriously, though (not too seriously), I dropped the term 'Setting Tourism' somewhere up-thread, and that's kinda my personal line beyond which World Building becomes excessive, not when you've done too much world building, but when the need to show it off becomes overwhelming and you drag your poor PCs through it just for that purpose.... ;)
    1901 replies | 64257 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 7th May, 2018, 11:15 PM
    There are a great many such games. It's almost exactly what 4e did, and it did mean that damage & hps for PCs & monsters ballooned less in 30 levels than they do in 20 levels of 5e (not that anyone plays 5e for the full 20 levels, of course). Really, it's just a matter of where you want your scaling. Scaling gives you a sense of progress, while, at the same time, being matched (like a...
    17 replies | 787 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 7th May, 2018, 08:42 PM
    Nod, that's kinda inevitable, really. If you were buying the book to read, not run/play, you wouldn't be in a group playing in that setting. Heck, if you liked a setting but couldn't find a group, buying the books to read may have been what you settled for, at least, initially. As the trend of writing supplements to be read as entertainment advanced, that could change...
    1901 replies | 64257 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 7th May, 2018, 07:25 PM
    To be clear, I clicked laugh for this bit. The rest is dead-on, deserving of XP, but I can't do both... (And, if you are the DM, even if you're unsure of a ruling, present it with confidence and don't be baited into debating it, let alone changing it.) To be fair, you can get a concrete answer in the context of an RPG, as well, if the RPG in question happens to have a clearly stated...
    21 replies | 597 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 7th May, 2018, 06:54 PM
    My impression of it at the time was that it was overtly derivative of what WWGS had been doing with the WoD. Which was understandable, as that's what was selling well in the 90s: books that were a better read than a resource. It makes sense, really: it's easier to find a little time now and then to read a book then it is to find a few hours to game, when that also requires a circle of...
    1901 replies | 64257 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 7th May, 2018, 06:25 PM
    Usually when we talk sweet spot, it's about level range, not hps - and, in 5e, hps & damage scale dramatically with level. Hps, really, it's just the more the merrier, no matter how many hps you have, they can be whittled down by persistent or numerous attackers. The sweet spot for 5e is somewhere in the range of 3-5. 1st & 2nd I've run a lot, and they are a crapshoot, precisely because you...
    17 replies | 787 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 7th May, 2018, 06:16 PM
    5e provides the Inspiration sub-system if you want to reward a player for what you judge to be good RP.
    27 replies | 918 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 7th May, 2018, 06:15 PM
    They were called martial damage dice (MDDs), at the time. Since 2e, 3.x, & 4e had all demonstrated more than amply that multiple attacks are problematic in D&D's hit-point/focus-fire paradigm, Next initially had everyone making 1 attack per round, fighters were given an increasingly large stack of dice to add to their damage to make them 'best at fighting,' in theory, you could trade dice for...
    43 replies | 2783 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 7th May, 2018, 05:45 PM
    Anything that requires two or more dice rolls to go your way to get a favorable result in d20 is probably a sucker bet. Likewise, even trading an action for a /chance/ of foiling another action (let alone two actions), probably not going to come out ahead. That said, in a situation where the fighter's DPR isn't going to help much (where they're fighting a caster he can't damage effectively...
    123 replies | 3556 view(s)
    0 XP
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About Jacob Lewis

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Wednesday, 16th May, 2018

  • 03:38 PM - Bitbrain quoted Jacob Lewis in post Dark Sun confirmed for 5th edition
    Ok, just had a stupid thought! They will do it just like Ravenloft! Your heroes from FR are transported to an alien desert world where everything is different and they are super strong.... John Carter on Mars, folks! I am calling it now! Change it to where they are unknowingly flung a million or so years into the unrecognizable future; exclude Create or Destroy Water, Create Food and Drink, and Goodberry (maybe Heat Metal too); and have the plotline be King Kalak intending to use his ziggurat to transport his armies of Templars and Defilers back in time to conquer the past, and it honestly doesn't sound like a bad idea for an adventure path. Advertise it as John Carter of Mars meets Planet of the Apes.
  • 12:12 PM - Tormyr quoted Jacob Lewis in post Dark Sun confirmed for 5th edition
    As much as I would love to see Dark Sun return to the table, I don't think it would be a good fit for the current business model. It needs (deserves!) to be it's own product line that stands apart from what WoC has dictated to be the norm for D&D. It is not a place you visit mid-campaign or rules you can just mesh with your current scenario. It is a different world with different rules and different expectations. If they present it any way similar to how they handled Ravenloft-- which worked fine for Ravenloft--I... Ok, just had a stupid thought! They will do it just like Ravenloft! Your heroes from FR are transported to an alien desert world where everything is different and they are super strong.... John Carter on Mars, folks! I am calling it now! "Hey, there is a nice village of halflings up ahead. Maybe they can put us up for the night and have us for dinner while we adjust to this new place..."

Monday, 14th May, 2018

  • 06:54 PM - tmanbeaubien quoted Jacob Lewis in post Is It Worth Printing Your Own Miniatures?
    Board games are popular again, and they're bigger and more complex than ever. Custom inserts are in demand to keep sets organized and neat, especially those with lots of expansions. I think a 3-D printer could be very useful in this considering the low level of detail needed to create custom trays for storing components. I have seen many models which are for exactly this use - organizing the box o stuff which came with that board game. And one selling point is that these printers can make boxes and such with extremely thin walls from fairly tough plastic to maximize fitting into the overall cardboard box. And some are just fun! https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2687193

Wednesday, 9th May, 2018

  • 11:30 PM - Mistwell quoted Jacob Lewis in post Mordenkainens starting to show up in the wild?
    Geeze, people are touchy! Did my smiley face not give comfort and confer my jovial, good-natured ribbing? http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/001/056/841/eb9.gif I mean, anyone else want to put me in my place? Tell me I don't belong anymore because I don't subscribe to this edition, or lost faith in a company I used to support? You still belong here. Even if you don't like this edition or lost faith in a company you used to support. That said, I suspect your thoughts would be more appreciated if they were more about topics that more people might be interested in regardless of edition. Your thoughts on 5e are not edition neutral (and being posted in a 5e fan thread specifically) but your thoughts on "traps and secret doors" or "railroading vs sandbox" or "sentient magic items" or "how do I deal with this problem player/DM" would be. Not that I am telling you what to post. But...you asked why someone reacted so touchy to your post, as if that was something you didn't par...
  • 09:50 PM - Jester David quoted Jacob Lewis in post Mordenkainens starting to show up in the wild?
    Geeze, people are touchy! Did my smiley face not give comfort and confer my jovial, good-natured ribbing? I mean, anyone else want to put me in my place? Tell me I don't belong anymore because I don't subscribe to this edition, or lost faith in a company I used to support? If you don't want my attention, don't ask for it. And there is an ignore feature if my humor isn't to your taste. It won't hurt my feelings, I promise. ... Then why are you posting in a 5e forum? There are several other forums for generic RPGs and past editions. I donít play Pathfinder much anymore. So I donít go to threads on their newest released, let alone post just to complain. What purpose would that serve?

Monday, 7th May, 2018

  • 07:42 PM - DaishoChikara quoted Jacob Lewis in post Mordenkainens starting to show up in the wild?
    Yes, actually. But I've been here a long time and playing the game even longer. But thanks for asking! Its a priveledge to be quotes on only your first or second post here. Post much? ;) Just because I've never posted before doesn't invalidate what I had to say. You're the one crying about crap that no one else is bothered enough to post about. Then when someone calls you out on it, you try to make yourself sound important by comparing post counts? Talk about childish. But that's okay, because I'll apologize to you. I'm sorry I gave you the attention you crave in the first place. You can reply if you want, I'm done with this thread.
  • 06:54 PM - MonsterEnvy quoted Jacob Lewis in post Mordenkainens starting to show up in the wild?
    Yes, actually. But I've been here a long time and playing the game even longer. But thanks for asking! Its a priveledge to be quotes on only your first or second post here. Post much? ;) Don't make fun of people just for being new.
  • 04:51 AM - DaishoChikara 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!! ;) Dude, if you dislike either the company or the game that much, why are you here? Jaded much?

Tuesday, 24th April, 2018

  • 07:03 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Jacob Lewis in post [PF2] Cleric class preview + spells per level
    What's the point of PF2 if casters end up as OP as in PF1? It'll be as popular as PF1? I mean, if their fans had liked balanced martial & caster classes, they might have just made the transition to 4e. Not that the above looks to pose nearly that risk of caster/non-caster balance. Rather, it looks more like they're outfitting the class designs to fit to a shorter day than 5e's 6-8 encounters, perhaps because, realistically, that's what folks actually do? Luckily for us (but maybe not for Paizo) we have 5E. It has proven beyond a shadow of doubt you can create a game with better class equality AND still have popular casters. Laughable. 5e hypothetically balances casters on a 6-8 encounter day basically no one uses. You get to claim balance in theory, while enjoying D&D's traditional tier-1 caster supremacy, in practice. I'm sure PF2 will deliver the same thing. It would be very sad indeed if they go through all this trouble and STILL* fix none of 3.0s endemic issues; caster supremac...

Thursday, 19th April, 2018

  • 08:47 PM - conclave27 quoted Jacob Lewis in post Mordenkainens starting to show up in the wild?
    Can't an old grognard poke fun at his least favorite edition? I'd comment on other products so as not to pick on one all the time, but I can't wait that long for the next one to appear! Ba-dum! Ching!! *rimshot* I know what you mean of awaiting "new" new stuff. It does seem like we are still recycling things and playing catch up. I am hoping they have some great stuff on the other D&D worlds. Hopefully we will gets a "Dalamar's Dossier of Dangerous Things"...which will just concentrate on Krynn....because those mages don't like to look beyond their world.
  • 08:02 PM - CapnZapp 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!! ;)Talk about passive-aggressive...
  • 07:19 PM - 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!! ;) Can't an old grognard poke fun at his least favorite edition? I'd comment on other products so as not to pick on one all the time, but I can't wait that long for the next one to appear! Ba-dum! Ching!! *rimshot* Yeah but next to none of this stuff is true.
  • 07:18 PM - MonsterEnvy quoted Jacob Lewis in post Mordenkainens starting to show up in the wild?
    Hiya! I guess the closest I can come is this: WotC seems to be trying to focus attention on THEIR characters and not YOURS/OURS. I don't want to be constantly reminded of how great Mordenkainen is, or how awesome Elminster is, or how super-secretive-but-everyone-knows-him-and-is-afraid-but-not-really that Xanathar floating orb monster is, etc. I don't want to hear "Oh, Mordenkainens Foes book has those guys" because it ever so slightly denigrates the monsters in it to be somehow related to Mordenkainen. If I write a series of adventures centered around some creature to be found therein, no matter how unique and memorable my adventure is...both the players and I will ALWAYS "know" that "Mordenkainen knew all about those guys first". Supplemental books for AD&D were generic. They were tools for us to use to tell our own stories and have our own tales of heroics. Now? Well... I don't want to be reminded of how cool and wonderful WotC's IP is. I want WotC to produce products that focus on US...th...
  • 04:43 PM - Gradine quoted Jacob Lewis in post Mordenkainens starting to show up in the wild?
    Some people get it, and some were born before the internet told them not to have independent thoughts or opinions. I have a picture in my head of somebody typing this exact phrase while wearing that t-shirt that says "You're laughing at me because I'm different, I'm laughing at you because you're all the same". Anywho, I'm pretty excited for this to drop finally. I don't know about anyone else, but I've always enjoyed reading the lore in D&D books, even when I don't ever intend on using it.
  • 03:42 PM - Morrus quoted Jacob Lewis in post Mordenkainens starting to show up in the wild?
    Some people get it, and some were born before the internet told them not to have independent thoughts or opinions. This has gone beyond poking fun at a game you don't like and into insulting other users. Cool it, please.
  • 01:33 PM - chibi graz'zt 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!! ;) Are you cranky because you skipped your nap time? 5e is highly successful; and selling better than any previous edition, just read the news! ;-)
  • 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.


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