View Profile: Jacob Lewis - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Sunday, 13th January, 2019, 06:05 PM
    What exactly are you trying to address about it? That players shouldn't do it? That it doesn't work too well? Or that it works too good? Or that there aren't enough hoops to jump through? I think you need to be more specific about what it is you are trying to fix before you start fixing anything. That goes for any edition, any system, any problem. First, terrible name. How about Armor...
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Friday, 11th January, 2019, 12:33 AM
    I think I found the culprit...
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Saturday, 5th January, 2019, 04:35 PM
    This theory makes me want to say "Aaargh!" in a very non-piratey way.
    223 replies | 7608 view(s)
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Monday, 31st December, 2018, 03:31 PM
    The Neverwinter Campaign Setting from 4th Edition D&D is one of the best things to come out of that edition, and I say this as a fan of 4e. Ideally, this is what a good sandbox should look like (for D&D, at least). There are so many plot threads and hooks, you won't be able to get touch everything in a single campaign. Lots of different factions and NPCs to work for or against. Complete stats...
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Sunday, 30th December, 2018, 05:27 PM
    Are you trying to make Pathfinder jealous? Sure.
    28 replies | 1333 view(s)
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Sunday, 30th December, 2018, 03:24 AM
    Hey, I think it's an option worth looking into! But feel free to explore ideas outside of what's only in the book. There are a lot of options and ideas from previous editions and other game systems. Borrow and steal where you can, innovate where you see any shortcomings. And rather than tightly controlled lists specific for each race, leave them broad for the majority of characters regardless...
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Sunday, 30th December, 2018, 01:14 AM
    Being that this is a "subjective" exercise with little or no room for discussion - just a series of "subjective" ideas being offered and rebuked? - I had a thought for anyone else reading this thread and looking for different ideas. No offense to anyone else who is showing a lot more work and effort on their part. Personally ("subjectively"?), I like to simplify when I can. Instead of defining...
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Saturday, 29th December, 2018, 07:33 PM
    Why yes. That is sarcasm. And it's free! :) I do think your philosophical explanation comes off better than your first statement, which comes off as nitpicking over the choice of words. Most who have responded on this thread kinda knew the implication. So maybe I was confused. You're not seeing any posts talking specifically about the philosophical idea of "CAN" we make our own version of...
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Saturday, 29th December, 2018, 06:34 PM
    Yeah. On pages 1-5. That's pretty much the entire thread. Everyone talking about how they CAN. Just can't agree on how they should. Now you're all caught up without having to waste any effort reading or considering anyone else's input. Enjoy! ;)
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Friday, 28th December, 2018, 08:32 PM
    I see what you're saying. That is one way to look at it. From my own perspective, I would amend that statement: The game has a stronger emphasis on combat, but the DMs can influence the play for their games. So without DM guidance or influence, a player looking just at the rules might assume that combat has the lion's share of the attention, and he would not be wrong. Rules are just rules. But...
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Friday, 28th December, 2018, 01:14 PM
    @Maxperson You seem to come to a lot of wrong conclusions and assumptions from everything I write, so I'm not sure it is worth my time and effort continuously trying to correct you. I am not advocating one play style over another. I don't believe I would enjoy a purely combat-centric campaign. I much prefer roleplaying with like-minded players, but also enjoy some hack-n-slash fun with friends...
    58 replies | 1269 view(s)
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Friday, 28th December, 2018, 12:33 PM
    Sure. The principles are the same when comparing a single d20 vs any multiple dice used to replace it. There's just a lot more discussions and research done specifically with 3d6. Point is there are some benefits and changes for losing the d20 if someone wants to explore those options. The game won't fall apart (or stop being D&D) without it. Cheers!
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Friday, 28th December, 2018, 03:14 AM
    The 3d6 was officially introduced as a variant rule in Unearthed Arcana (3.5 Edition). It included a sidebar from the designers, which best summarizes the effect it can have on the rules of the game:
    115 replies | 3582 view(s)
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Thursday, 27th December, 2018, 01:21 AM
    Doubtful, but you're free to believe whatever you like. Just don't try passing off your speculation as evidence, at least not to me. Then why is anyone (like the OP) ever need to get upset if someone optimizes their character build a certain way? Let them. The game will solve any problems because it is designed that way. It's friggin' magical! But you are mistaken if you think anything...
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th December, 2018, 04:42 PM
    I think this conversation is headed off the rails, but maybe it will circle back to the topic soon. As far as 3d6 vs d20, there have been a lot of discussions over this. I have personally applied this to a 4e campaign I ran online for two years, so I can offer some additional perspective based on actual experience as opposed to speculation and theory. First, I only made the most minimal...
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th December, 2018, 04:36 PM
    Social encounters don't kill characters. Poorly optimized characters and bad dice rolls kill characters. But here's the thing: D&D is heavily focused on combat. There are more rules and options for players dealing with combat than anything else. So why should you expect focus elsewhere? Combat options are usually much more interesting than the non-combat ones. If your games are going to focus...
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th December, 2018, 04:09 PM
    5ekyu Thank you for your assessment, and apologies if what I say is going to upset you. There is nothing wrong with the d20. It's simple, easy to use, and easy to learn. But being identifiable as the core mechanic for the most popular game system in the world for almost 50 years (regardless of which version or edition) does not make it as great as many people make it out to be. It simply works...
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th December, 2018, 08:05 AM
    No. It's all pointed at the d20. You can't do much with it. Roll a single die and compare it to a predetermined value. That`s it. It's not a good mechanic; it just happens to be a convenient one that everyone is familiar with. Even though it has the greatest potential for undermining player choices by rolling too low. It reduces actions to a simple game of chance.
    115 replies | 3582 view(s)
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Monday, 24th December, 2018, 08:10 PM
    Why not?
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th December, 2018, 10:18 PM
    The last thing any of us needs is another edition. 5e seems like the best answer for most people. Anything else would just end up alienating another portion of the customers, or just wouldn't change much to merit buying more products for what already works. That said, there is room for an alternative version of the game. Something similar, but completely different than the current version....
    115 replies | 3582 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, 13th January, 2019

  • 10:01 PM - S'mon quoted Jacob Lewis in post Top Games Played On FG In 2018: D&D, Pathfinder, Savage Worlds
    Yet I wonder why nobody ever clamors about WotC not converting their adventure modules (they're Not "ADVENTURE PATHS") to Pathfinder? Because (a) 5e sells vastly more and (b) there is already a lot of Pathfinder adventures. 5e's strength/attraction is in the system, Pathfinder's strength/attraction is in the adventures, so naturally given the same genre and similar systems it's natural to combine the two, like the 5e Runelords game I restarted on Saturday. :)
  • 06:58 PM - FrogReaver quoted Jacob Lewis in post Would you be okay with class abilities that explicitly addressed multi-classing?
    What exactly are you trying to address about it? That players shouldn't do it? That it doesn't work too well? Or that it works too good? Or that there aren't enough hoops to jump through? I think you need to be more specific about what it is you are trying to fix before you start fixing anything. That goes for any edition, any system, any problem. He asked a question about whether class features should be able to internally call out multiclassing and behave differently when it is done. The basic premise is that some features can be fine for a single classed character but be too strong for a multiclassed character. I don't think there's any way to argue with this premise. So is the way to address this issue with text that such a feature behaves differently when multiclassed? I think that's a fine solution. What do you think? First, terrible name. How about Armor Expertise? So why would a Fighter with a higher Dex bonus take this? They wouldn't. At least not until their Proficiency Bonus...

Friday, 11th January, 2019

  • 01:01 AM - Leif quoted Jacob Lewis in post Top Games Played On FG In 2018: D&D, Pathfinder, Savage Worlds
    It is the actual overall popularity of various games played using Fantasy Grounds. Nothing more. Nothing less. I understand that. But what percentage of the total frpg market uses Fantasy Grounds? That's not even slightly true. Plenty are managing just fine. That's reassuring. Thanks for that. So success on Fantasy Grounds is not necessary for a(n) frpg to be successful?

Wednesday, 9th January, 2019

  • 02:07 AM - R_Chance quoted Jacob Lewis in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 1 Failure and Story
    R_Chance You are all-knowing and all-wise, sir! I shall engrave your words into my psyche where I can grow it into a shrine, lest it become a beacon to guide me in my days of misery and despair for knowing that He Who Hath One Fan can depend on you to remind me that I don't need to read articles anymore! Oh, I think my mood is improving. ;) Whatever makes you happy is fine with me. But the shrine would be a bit much :)

Monday, 7th January, 2019

  • 02:59 AM - R_Chance quoted Jacob Lewis in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 1 Failure and Story
    If this article is "Old School", can we expect the other parts won't be published because this failure caused by TPK? Typical Pulsipher Knowledge kills everything good in this hobby and my mood. *sigh* So, don't read his articles. I know a lot of people rail about his articles and / or opinions. I wouldn't read them if they upset me that much. I avoid articles by several authors. I read his not because I'll agree (or disagree) with everything he says but because they spawn interesting discussions about more than the minutia of mechanics (although I read some of these as well...). Life is too short to do things that will kill your mood.

Tuesday, 1st January, 2019

  • 02:41 AM - TarionzCousin quoted Jacob Lewis in post Examples of good sandbox campaigns
    The Neverwinter Campaign Setting from 4th Edition D&D is one of the best things to come out of that edition, and I say this as a fan of 4e. I own several things by two of those authors, Erik Scott de Bie and Ari Marmell, and recommend works by them. They make good stuff! P.S. Based on this book, I would say Matt Sernett produces good stuff, too. :D Mouseferatu

Monday, 31st December, 2018

  • 02:45 AM - Cergorach quoted Jacob Lewis in post "How do I beat the Matt Mercer effect?"
    I don't think it's unreasonable for new players to think that D&D is just like the example they've seen, but I would think that viewpoint would diminish after a few games. I think it's quite foolish to think that D&D is just like on TV/YouTube, it's also foolish to think that playing sports yourself is at the same level as what you see on TV/YouTube. What about reality/dating shows, is it not foolish to think that those portray real life? The type of player who has irked me the most when I DM is the one who thinks it is my job to entertain them. Isn't it? It's your job as the DM to entertain the players, just like it's the players job to entertain the DM and the other players. On a show like Matt Mercer runs, the object is to entertain the audience... Maybe grow thicker skin, and be open to improving. You learn by doing it yourself and not being forced to ape someone else. I've certainly learned from other DMs and have acknowledged my betters in that regard, but Matt Mercer and his trou...

Sunday, 30th December, 2018

  • 08:08 PM - Charlaquin quoted Jacob Lewis in post "How do I beat the Matt Mercer effect?"
    Overly annoyed, maybe. Tired of seeing so much over reaction for every little thing. And then every annoyed reaction gets more attention than the first over reactions... oh, hey! Remember how Matt Mercer did something neat to respond to somebody's concerns and then people started complaining that he should add disclaimers for the show in the first place for these poor people who over react? Yeah, I should go chill somewhere else today. This is just going to implode no matter what. I need to find real people to talk with again. I think you’re blowing the reaction out of proportion. The vibe I’m getting from this thread is more mild annoyance than indignant nerdrage. I’m certainly not upset over the way Critical Role is run, or over the fact that players who got into the game through Critical Role are looking for a Critical Role-like experience. I do find it a little annoying, however, when their Handbooker Helper series does a video on character creation that presents rolling stats as the default...
  • 07:32 PM - Sadras quoted Jacob Lewis in post "How do I beat the Matt Mercer effect?"
    Tired of seeing so much over reaction for every little thing. Well at least it wasn't on Twitter :p
  • 06:55 PM - FrogReaver quoted Jacob Lewis in post "How do I beat the Matt Mercer effect?"
    Really, people? Matt Mercer is making DMs look and feel bad because players expect the same experience from something they saw on the internet? But everything would be better if Matt looks into the camera mid-show to explain that the show is NOT an instructional video on how to play the game, but for entertainment purposes only (and maybe inspiration)? If that's all it takes to make somebody feel better about it, I don't think it's as big as problem as people like to think it is. Just something else to complain and whine about. But let's not overlook the statement Mercer JUST made in direct response to the reddit. There's your disclaimer. Kudos for him. We should all be so lucky to find more people in the gaming community who cares more about strangers in an online community than his own ego. Suck it up already. Pass it on. This post seems overly defensive
  • 06:53 PM - vincegetorix quoted Jacob Lewis in post "How do I beat the Matt Mercer effect?"
    Really, people? Matt Mercer is making DMs look and feel bad because players expect the same experience from something they saw on the internet? But everything would be better if Matt looks into the camera mid-show to explain that the show is NOT an instructional video on how to play the game, but for entertainment purposes only (and maybe inspiration)? If that's all it takes to make somebody feel better about it, I don't think it's as big as problem as people like to think it is. Just something else to complain and whine about. But let's not overlook the statement Mercer JUST made in direct response to the reddit. There's your disclaimer. Kudos for him. We should all be so lucky to find more people in the gaming community who cares more about strangers in an online community than his own ego. Suck it up already. Pass it on. I agree. Having disclaimer and official countermeasures would be weird. If people have a problem with how people react to CR, they should address it personally at their t...
  • 03:30 AM - TaranTheWanderer quoted Jacob Lewis in post Balancing out Racial Abilities
    Being that this is a "subjective" exercise with little or no room for discussion - just a series of "subjective" ideas being offered and rebuked? - I had a thought for anyone else reading this thread and looking for different ideas. No offense to anyone else who is showing a lot more work and effort on their part. Personally ("subjectively"?), I like to simplify when I can. Instead of defining each race with a preset of abilities, quirks, etc., which summarily categorize and profile every single individual of a non-human culture (think about it, you know it's true!), let the players pick their features first and then just name their race. Do we really need to limit our options because of someone else's preconceived notions of how an entire race is portrayed? Or wait for someone to house rule and customize new options to fit an idea? So, for example, you can rule that every character gains a +2 bonus to one ability score of their choice, and a +1 bonus to a different ability score of their ch...
  • 01:51 AM - James Grover quoted Jacob Lewis in post Balancing out Racial Abilities
    Instead of defining each race with a preset of abilities, quirks, etc., which summarily categorize and profile every single individual of a non-human culture (think about it, you know it's true!), let the players pick their features first and then just name their race. Do we really need to limit our options because of someone else's preconceived notions of how an entire race is portrayed? Or wait for someone to house rule and customize new options to fit an idea? It is funny you brought this up as I was thinking of trying it. It was going to be something like this: ASI +2 ASI +1, different ability Pick three features from a minor list. Pick two features from a moderate list. Pick one feature from a prime list. Taking all the options available from the books and putting them into one of the three lists, you could tailor make your race pretty much. But for a simple example: ELF: Dex +2, Chr +1 Three minor features: Fleet of Foot, Keen Senses, Trance Two moderate: Darkvision, Fey A...

Saturday, 29th December, 2018

  • 06:46 PM - Elfcrusher quoted Jacob Lewis in post If you were able to design your own version of D&D, how would you do it?
    Now you're all caught up without having to waste any effort reading or considering anyone else's input. Oh, wait, was that sarcasm? EDIT: Ok, so now that I've read/skimmed through all 5 pages, I think you grossly misunderstood my point. Because I didn't find a single reference to that point on any of the 5 pages, let alone all of them. I was trying to suggest that you don't need to get hired by WotC to design and play your own version of D&D. So the bigger, philosophical question of "are you able to do this", not just laundry lists (of which mine is an example) of what you'd redesign if you got around to it (which honestly isn't really addressing "if you were able" even by your definition. It's more answering "how would you?"). That's the great thing about tabletop RPGs, right? They're not like video games where all you can do is wish for features/changes. You can rewrite the rules, and then play with your rules. So there's no hypothetical about it. You CAN design your own version, and ...
  • 04:02 AM - 5ekyu quoted Jacob Lewis in post What is your campaign balance? Combat vs Social?
    I see what you're saying. That is one way to look at it. From my own perspective, I would amend that statement: The game has a stronger emphasis on combat, but the DMs can influence the play for their games. So without DM guidance or influence, a player looking just at the rules might assume that combat has the lion's share of the attention, and he would not be wrong. Rules are just rules. But the beauty of RPGs is the rules are just tools to be used as needed. Thus a campaign with heavy social interactions would make less use of the combat rules, which make up the majority of the game. That doesn't make it greater or better. It's just the way it is. DMs should inform their players what to expect as many will just assume combat will be in the cards regularly.The thing is this and I think Maxperson is inclined to agree with this... In play are there "solutions" and paths to achieve the goals and objectives (whether these problems or goals/objectives come from GM quests or PCs preferences - no matt...
  • 02:24 AM - Maxperson quoted Jacob Lewis in post What is your campaign balance? Combat vs Social?
    I see what you're saying. That is one way to look at it. From my own perspective, I would amend that statement: The game has a stronger emphasis on combat, but the DMs can influence the play for their games. So without DM guidance or influence, a player looking just at the rules might assume that combat has the lion's share of the attention, and he would not be wrong. Rules are just rules. But the beauty of RPGs is the rules are just tools to be used as needed. Thus a campaign with heavy social interactions would make less use of the combat rules, which make up the majority of the game. That doesn't make it greater or better. It's just the way it is. DMs should inform their players what to expect as many will just assume combat will be in the cards regularly. I definitely agree that no way is greater or better than another. As long as the group is having fun, that's really the only thing that matters. This is what I am seeing. Let me try to explain it in more detail. When it comes to begi...

Friday, 28th December, 2018

  • 02:05 PM - Maxperson quoted Jacob Lewis in post What is your campaign balance? Combat vs Social?
    @Maxperson You seem to come to a lot of wrong conclusions and assumptions from everything I write, so I'm not sure it is worth my time and effort continuously trying to correct you. I am not advocating one play style over another. I don't believe I would enjoy a purely combat-centric campaign. I much prefer roleplaying with like-minded players, but also enjoy some hack-n-slash fun with friends who enjoy that more. What I am advocating in this thread is for players to have their choice and not be criticized or shamed because the bulk of unthinking people who think the majority must be right. D&D has always been more focused on the combat and encounters, this edition is no exception. To its credit, it has increased some emphasis on the other pillars, which have always existed in every edition. But those areas have largely been left to individual groups to handle themselves. So if I, or anyone else, feels that combat options are more interesting or combat has more representations in a campaign...

Thursday, 27th December, 2018

  • 04:25 AM - Maxperson quoted Jacob Lewis in post What is your campaign balance? Combat vs Social?
    Doubtful, but you're free to believe whatever you like. Just don't try passing off your speculation as evidence, at least not to me. Are you seriously arguing that a social encounter with the king gone badly cannot result in "Off with their heads!"? Then why is anyone (like the OP) ever need to get upset if someone optimizes their character build a certain way? Let them. The game will solve any problems because it is designed that way. It's friggin' magical! Because like you, some people have blinders on and don't see that the game functions just fine with or without optimizing. I'm always amused by those who optimize for combat in my games. It usually means that they are gimping themselves during most of the game, since combat should only be about a third of the game. But you are mistaken if you think anything I said implies the game "should" anything. It simply does. Combat is the cornerstone of the mechanics, but not the entirety of it. Nor would I say the pillars are equally re...

Wednesday, 26th December, 2018

  • 09:21 PM - Saelorn quoted Jacob Lewis in post If you were able to design your own version of D&D, how would you do it?
    No. It's all pointed at the d20. You can't do much with it. Roll a single die and compare it to a predetermined value. That`s it. It's not a good mechanic; it just happens to be a convenient one that everyone is familiar with. Even though it has the greatest potential for undermining player choices by rolling too low. It reduces actions to a simple game of chance.There's a lot that you can do with a d20. For example, you could calculate the distance between the pre-determined value and the actual value, giving specific degree of success or failure based on how far above or below you ended up rolling. Of course, doing so would mean sacrificing the greatest strength of the system, which is that it is fast and easy to determine a result. The part about undermining player choices is tangential to the dice mechanics. As far as 5E goes, I would blame that more on Bounded Accuracy than on the d20 system. It would be trivial to build a d20 system where the strength of your choice completely overpowered...
  • 07:07 PM - 5ekyu quoted Jacob Lewis in post If you were able to design your own version of D&D, how would you do it?
    I think this conversation is headed off the rails, but maybe it will circle back to the topic soon. As far as 3d6 vs d20, there have been a lot of discussions over this. I have personally applied this to a 4e campaign I ran online for two years, so I can offer some additional perspective based on actual experience as opposed to speculation and theory. First, I only made the most minimal changes to the system. The math wasn't tweaked, so characters and monsters used the same bonuses, defenses and DCs were largely untouched except where I adjusted for regular DM fiat. (i.e. increasing or decreasing the challenge). Another factor I considered was only to apply this rule for the characters, not the monsters. I'll explain this soon. Aside from that, the only other change was how to determine critical hits and this is where things began to deviate from the norm. I decided that rolling doubles was too frequent, but doubles of a certain value or higher was acceptable and flexible. Most attacks required...


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