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Friday, 16th November, 2018

  • 09:12 PM - rmcoen mentioned Jay Verkuilen in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    Seems like I read a game or a class recently - this thread? a link? - where powerful spells were built across rounds like Jay Verkuilen mentioned. Your normal comabt actions were Words of Power, which had a low-level effect. But over time, the Words you used in the combat built more powerful spells with more powerful effects. Making up an example: Force (direct damage spell) + Levitation (perhaps used as a defense, lifting a temporary shield of debris to block an attack) + wYld (raw power, used to push enemies back a few steps) = FLY, enabling the wizard to escape from his foes and hover above the field of battle. 3 rounds to cast, with minor beneficial effects along the way. But then we're designing a whole new magic system, which isn't the same as "fixing" D&D. Guys (and gals), we're 89 pages into this disucssion. While a very interesting debate that has wandered about the field of battle.... what's the point? what's the goal? Are we trying to make 4e less artificially balanced? Give 5e martial characters more flash, more high level power? Make a better mousetrap?

Wednesday, 7th November, 2018

  • 10:32 PM - pemerton mentioned Jay Verkuilen in post Dragon Reflections #16 – Gygax Fights Back!
    Jay Verkuilen - I like your suggestions better than power attack - the latter is purely an optimisation problem, whereas trading attack for defence involves intervening variables that are outside the player's control and that can't be readily computed. So it becomes more like choosing an orientation for your PC, than solving equations.

Monday, 5th November, 2018

  • 09:08 AM - pemerton mentioned Jay Verkuilen in post Worlds of Design: Fantasy vs. Sci-Fi Part 1
    ...ive Fiction, and they appear in all sorts of Spec Fic. Is it a robot or a golem? Well, really, it doesn't matter all that much. What does matter though, is the different themes of the story which do (usually) differentiate fantasy from SF.I agree that tropes on their own don't do a perfect job. But for the reason I've given I don't think your version works either - it fails to pick the radical difference of both internal and external aesthetic of (say) LotR vs REH's Conan. That tropes don't do a perfect job doesn't mean that they do no job at all. What inclines us to call Star Wars sci fi? They talk about parsecs, and planets, and hyperdrives, and the like. That's tropes, and it pushes away from fantasy. Is Star Wars nevertheless really fantasy because it involves magic, and princesses, and dark lords, etc? Certainly the absence of those tropes from 2001 is what helps make it clearly sci-fi. But in Star Wars they are present in combination with sci-fi tropes. I think I'm with Jay Verkuilen in doubting that really is going to help us here. Genres aren't natural kinds; at best they're shortcuts to help us engage in analysis and criticism of a work.

Wednesday, 24th October, 2018

  • 12:40 AM - pemerton mentioned Jay Verkuilen in post Worlds of Design: “All About Me” RPGs (Part 2)
    Jay Verkuilen I haven't played or run Conan 2d20. But I've GMed Burning Wheel with a bit of a S&S flavour. I've also GMed a 2 PC, all thieves AD&D game years (decades) ago which had a bit of a S&S feel. D&D-style dungeon crawling is not very S&S at all (Xuthal of the Dusk and Red Nails not withstanding). S&S has quite a social dimension, and doesn't have to be urban but frequently is.

Tuesday, 23rd October, 2018

  • 04:30 AM - pemerton mentioned Jay Verkuilen in post Worlds of Design: “All About Me” RPGs (Part 2)
    Jay Verkuilen Absolutely! I've often posted on these boards that if you want to get REH Conan-style Swords and Sorcery adventure, you've got to change the D&D XP system (at least) and probably other aspects of the system also, so that players are rewarded for having value beyond the acquisition of loot, and don't get hosed when they leap before they look.

Wednesday, 10th October, 2018

  • 09:02 AM - pemerton mentioned Jay Verkuilen in post Mearls On D&D's Design Premises/Goals
    Keeping numbers low (so basicly the same % chance thru the levels), while increasing, instead, the tiers of power/influence/effect of the pc vs the world and viceversa. (Like: on an enemy inferior by two/three tiers, you just deal damage/crit; one tier below: roll to hit with automatic advantage, same level: no change; and viceversa)4e is a version of this: in combat, for instance, PC and opponent bases scale at basically the same rate, and so the % chance remains largely the same through the levels; but creatures that are inferior per the fiction relative to the PC tier are framed as minions, and hence die on a hit; or get bundled up as a swarm, and hence get taken down in swathes. 4e non-combat has less tight maths, which can produce some of the issues Jay Verkuilen has identified (the big offender in my game is the +6 to all knowledge skills that a Sage of Ages gets). But the orientation of the game is still towards what you describe - level-appropriate DCs that try to establish roughly consistent chances of success, with the differences of tier being expressed in the fiction rather than the mechanics. I think this kind of approach could lead to getting rid of levels and DCs altogether, in favor of a more spread out growth and resolution mechanic, with more emphasis on situational, narrative bonus/malus, extended contests, multiple successes and the like.Again, 4e can be considered a version of this (and literally is a version of this if you strip out the level adjustments for creatures and the stat gain and enhancement bonuses for PCs). The differences between tiers are really about complexity (higher level PCs have more, and more complex, options); the range of effects available, which straddles fiction and mechanics (eg flight is available...

Friday, 21st September, 2018

  • 09:00 AM - pemerton mentioned Jay Verkuilen in post Burning Questions: What's the Worst Thing a DM Can Do?
    ... Iserith, is that if you play it your way (do not assume players are examining until told), the players always fail to spot the gloves. <snip> Unless of course, in the fiction ofthe world, they spot it by accident when moving past. What mechanic exists like that? A Perception check. Or at the very least, a dm examination of passive pereception, maybe giving a different description to a play with a passive score of over 15. Or at least, that's the way I'd do it. Some of the description is sometimes driven by random chance: that randomness being whether you by accident happen to notice something or not. if the history check fails the PCs just have to carry on without whatever clues might have been hidden in the Dwarven runes - if any. This is why pre-emptive checks can be useful - sometimes things just get found (or missed) by random chance en route to doing something else unrelated.There is another reason being suggested for GM-called for/deterined Perception-type checks, by Jay Verkuilen, which is that they serve a metagame purpose of mixing things up and putting the players on edge: that's exactly what I use an informational check for, as well as tension building. A failed check often does move the tension up. The players know there were failed checks with potential information missed, which makes them start to wonder what's going on. (Well at least I would hope so, but clearly that would depend on the player.) I've definitely curbed my own propensity for calling for rolls where there isn't any consequence but in this case or when the player's description is just fluff, but something like the check I outlined has consequences. I think this often depends on the table. Folks I've played with for many years will often call for checks where there's something that the player seems to be missing and it is possible the character might know something. I'll also call for checks from out of seeming left field to stimulate the player or push them in a different directi...

Monday, 2nd July, 2018

  • 10:50 PM - Lanefan mentioned Jay Verkuilen in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    Tony Vargas - Jay Verkuilen - first off, xp to both of you for a really interesting and civil discussion this last 20 posts or so. And then, a question: am I reading both of you correctly, when you're talking about how easy/hard it is/was to change or kitbash 4e, that it's relatively easy to drop things out you don't like but much harder to add things in you do like? For example, hit points and effects - if I'm reading you right you'll both say it would be way easier to drop or ignore the 'bloodied' mechanic than it would be to introduce a wound-vitality or body-fatigue system. Just curious... Lanefan

Thursday, 21st June, 2018

  • 03:37 AM - pemerton mentioned Jay Verkuilen in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    Hit points that aren't strictly meat damage can still be understood from a character being increasingly tired out or weakenedBut not so tired that you can't still move at your maximum pace, carry your maximum load, climb walls just as well as you could before entering melee, etc! But suppose we downplay the "weakened, tired" aspect and emphasise Gygax's other elements - luck, divine favour, magical protections, etc. Even here there are multiple subsytems that don't interact - saving throws, as per the quote upthread about poison saves, are a separate subsystem for this stuff, and then magical protections and divine favour can also be the result of magic items, spells etc. 4e closes some of these gaps - there is generally no distinction, for instance, between the threats of physical harm that AD&D handled via saving throws and the threats of physical harm that AD&D handled via hit points; and as Jay Verkuilen (I think) mentioned upthread, it uses healing surges to handle exhaustion. But 4e opens up at least one new gap (or, perhaps, generalises it from the 3E barbarian's rage) - namely, limited use non-magical capabilities that manifest as martial encounter and daily powers, and action points. Putting everything into a common pool can reduce the odd (non-)synergies between abstractions, but of course also reduces moving parts which itself has implications for game play. 3E is my personal least favourite for this stuff: it replaces poison saves (which, as Gygax describes in the quoted passage) were a type of luck mechanic, with Fortitude saves - but Fortitude is a mechanic largely independent of the hit point system; and poison doesn't do hp damage but stat damage. So your magical protections and luck stop you getting squashed by a hill giant's club (a mid-to-upper level PC can soak the 20 hp easily enough) but don't help agasint the STR damage (and resultant penalties to attack and...

Thursday, 2nd November, 2017

  • 03:52 AM - pming mentioned Jay Verkuilen in post Loops in RPG Adventure and Game Design
    Hiya! Jay Verkuilen, yes, exactly. For a video game this is fine, the "loop method" works...minor variations of the general 'thing'. Different weapons, enemies, etc...but it's still very much the same thing: combat and tactics. Toss in a little bit of percieved overland travel to break it up, maybe a cutscene or two, but it's still a loop of "fight, fight, fight, fight, end, roll credits". This works for a lot of video games...even MMO's where people do the same "boss fights" over and over to get specific rewards. If you know what you are going into, this isn't a problem, it's a feature. :) In a First Person Shooter, I'm expecting to be doing a lot of shooting bad guys. For table top RPG's, however, using the loop method just isn't going to work. Well, I suppose it could if everyone at the table is going for this sort of game. The only time I can remember doing this was when we played the Street Fighter RPG when if was first released. Then again...it's a TTRPG based on a video game, so...uh...yeah. ;) ...

Sunday, 1st October, 2017

  • 01:57 PM - pemerton mentioned Jay Verkuilen in post Power Creep
    Can't you just use classes and monsters from AD&D?I wasn't replying to you. I know (from reading earlier posts/threads of yours) that you want a system for pricing/buying/building magic items that is balanced from the point of view of PC build mechanics. But that didn't seem to be what Jay Verkuilen was asking for. It's quite conceivable that there is no mechanic that will meet your requirements. But Jay Verkuilen pointed to AD&D as providng an example of what he might want - and the AD&D rules manifestly are not a balanced system of PC-build rules. Rather, they're guidelines for how the GM should handle the item-creation process, which includes injecting balance at whatever point s/he wants to in whatever way s/he wants to. It's nothing like what 3E or 4e provided. (And it seems to be widely recognised that 3E fails in what you're asking for, and 4e largely achieves it by making magic items "boring".) To some degree I could, but it would require a good bit of calibrating to get right. I won't say that the 1E system was perfect, just that it's there. I shouldn't have to. That's what I pay game designers to do. It's not some kind of weird monster that only appeared in 2E, it's fairly core functionality.The AD&D system has rules for costing potions - gp = to XP value, whic...

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Saturday, 12th January, 2019

  • 08:41 PM - 5ekyu quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 2 and 3 Rules, Pacing, Non-RPGs, and Gameplay
    As much as I tend to disagree with them, those articles drive traffic every time they go up.My bet is most any thread as insulting and dismissive to other gamers that the mods not only allowed but endorsed would get a lot of traffic too. But frewudnyly those get mod warnings instead of featured status.
  • 08:37 PM - 5ekyu quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 2 and 3 Rules, Pacing, Non-RPGs, and Gameplay
    Both types can be really fun, especially when the game is built with mechanics that support that particular kind of play. For example, Star Trek Adventures (STA) by Modiphius is definitely a "new school" game in that it's really oriented around story. There's minimal PC advancement and it's also very team oriented---PCs are in Starfleet and under military orders! PCs can certainly die. It's not oriented around loot drops. A lot of the adventures end with the PCs having a partial or ambiguous success, just like the shows. I'm not sure I'd want to run an entire campaign of it, but it really does a good job of getting the feel of a Star Trek episode and it's a fantastic two or three session game. One reason it's so good at this is because it's got tools built in that enable the GM to control the pace in the form of the Threat mechanic, which reads weirdly but works well in play. (The quickstart to STA is free and gives you a very good idea of how the game runs.) D&D doesn't really have anything lik...
  • 07:33 PM - billd91 quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 2 and 3 Rules, Pacing, Non-RPGs, and Gameplay
    IMO Vancian casting is one of the biggest sources of pacing issues in D&D. It more than anything contributes to the "five minute workday". It's really challenging to have D&D not have a frequent rest cycle that is very driven by when the PCs run out of spells. The designers have tried over and over to try to break the "five minute workday" and have really never succeeded, which tells me that the underlying premises of the game don't let it happen. I think this is a factor that has varied a lot over the years and editions. When you had only a couple of healing spells in the party back in 1e, then it was definitely a factor. You tended to stop to rest or retreat when the cleric could no longer patch you up. I found it very rare that anyone stopped just because the wizard was out of spells past the first couple of levels. This changed in 3e in two ways - spontaneous healing eased the burden of cleric healing tying up resources a little, but the existence of healing wands virtually cured the p...
  • 06:54 PM - Umbran quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 2 and 3 Rules, Pacing, Non-RPGs, and Gameplay
    My feeling is that the articles that generate a lot of discussion are ones that are provocative in some way. That wouldn't be surprising. And, I suppose the Geraldo Rivera School of Journalism is one place you can go for provocative... but I would like to advocate for better than that.
  • 06:00 PM - Immortal Sun quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 2 and 3 Rules, Pacing, Non-RPGs, and Gameplay
    As much as I tend to disagree with them, those articles drive traffic every time they go up. Sure, if you're selling clickbait. Which is one reason many newspapers have kept an Op-Ed section, and also why many sources of news have dramatically gone downhill in the digital age: because they're more interested in getting "clicks" (since many ad-providers pay per-view or per-click) than providing real newsworthy material. I wouldn't mind Lew so much if he was relegated to the "op-eds" section of EnWorld. Sure, there's a lot of other good articles, but Lew is a pretty regular writer (at least judging from how many articles he's written and the time-spacing between them). And every one of his articles reads like this. So, I have to kind of assume that on some level, whoever is "putting together the paper" so to speak, wants this kind of yellow journalism to be a strong component of it. And if he's really just supposed to be an op-ed kinda guy, maybe we could get a whole section for that? ...
  • 05:43 PM - Shiroiken quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 2 and 3 Rules, Pacing, Non-RPGs, and Gameplay
    I don't think Lewpuls would consider co-op as a "game" due to it lacking a versus component. That would be, in his terminology as I recall it a "puzzle." I'm still not sure how he squares the circle of "military squad" style play and "group success" for "versus" in a game like D&D unless the versus is DM to players. To be fair, I'm also not a fan of full co-op games. Most suffer greatly from quarterback syndrome, where one player dictates the optimal action for everyone. The good ones (IMO) either have limited knowledge, such as Hanabi or Ghost Stories, or have time/chaos restrictions that keep quarterbacking from working, such as Space Alert. I personally favor semi-cooperative games, such as Battlestar Galactica, Dead of Winter, and Shadows over Camalot, where there is a traitor mechanic that keeps things interesting. Yeah, definitely. I haven't recently but used to play a good bit of Carcassone and the first thing we noticed when playing it was that there were a lot of blocking moves. One of ...
  • 05:32 PM - Bedrockgames quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 2 and 3 Rules, Pacing, Non-RPGs, and Gameplay
    IMO Vancian casting is one of the biggest sources of pacing issues in D&D. It more than anything contributes to the "five minute workday". It's really challenging to have D&D not have a frequent rest cycle that is very driven by when the PCs run out of spells. The designers have tried over and over to try to break the "five minute workday" and have really never succeeded, which tells me that the underlying premises of the game don't let it happen. I find if you do run settings as a living world, where there is more push coming from the setting itself, you have a lot fewer five minute workdays. For them to do that, the GM has to allow them to rest in peace. But I've also found, a lot of players simply don't like resting all the time just so they can be fully loaded. I've been in games where I've let my spells get dangerously low because we are pushing to get through to the end (remember there is also the out of game pressure of "we have to end the session at 5").
  • 04:29 PM - Umbran quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 2 and 3 Rules, Pacing, Non-RPGs, and Gameplay
    As much as I tend to disagree with them, those articles drive traffic every time they go up. Yes, well, you can always get people to come and watch a train wreck, right? So, we then have a few questions we can ask (we don't have the site statistics to answer them, but Morrus should). 1) Are people coming by, reading Pulsipher's articles, and then ignoring the discussion? If they are, then the primary value is probably the author or article itself. 1a) Are there better sorts of articles that would generate similar traffic? 2) Are people reading the articles, and then continuing to read or engage in the discussion? Then the primary value is the discussion, and any article that generates discussion would do. 2a) Does the article have to be a rhetorical wreck to get people to engage with it?
  • 04:05 PM - Bedrockgames quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 2 and 3 Rules, Pacing, Non-RPGs, and Gameplay
    D&D doesn't really have anything like that so if you want to run a game with the episodic and dramatic feel, you'd have to either (a) have a really good DM capable of making that happen or (b) run the risk of things feeling very railroaded. I don't know that you need mechanics through. Again, my view is, it works fine without manipulating the pacing and feels right in play for me (whether it is D&D or any game that takes the route of not baking pacing into the system---I'd quibble here though and say when it comes to combat, there is a natural sense of pacing baked into many editions of D&D because of the nature of things like Vancian casting). But a lot of people seem perfectly content to have the GM take a stronger hand in pacing and they mostly seem to be having fun.
  • 04:35 AM - Immortal Sun quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 1 Failure and Story
    My hypothesis was that many of those books weren't really designed to be played, but to be purchased and read. I'm pretty sure I didn't play 75% of the books I bought over the years. I got the most mileage out of D&D stuff but bought a whole lot of White Wolf and other games as well. Sometimes I'd mine them from ideas used elsewhere. My roommate a few years back once said of Exalted: "It's a great read."

Wednesday, 9th January, 2019

  • 09:17 PM - doctorbadwolf quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Worlds of Design: When There's Too Many Magic Items
    In D&D long ago magic weapons really did represent qualitative shifts in the PC due to the fact that there were many monsters that couldn't be hit by non-magic weapons at all. So they were really, really valuable. I think that can better be solved with magic items that do some minor by interesting thing, like light up when orcs are near, and use the 5e style "immune/resistent to damage from non-magical weapons" in place of "needs bonus of X or higher to deal damage to this thing". I'm not sure I'd totally agree, though I do like legendary items that are more than just mundane. The problem is that these are almost plot devices and drive the story a lot. It's OK with Elric because he's really a one man band and the story is pretty much about him, but I think it's potentially problematic with a lot of parties to have that much dramatic real estate taken up by one PC's interaction with their sword. The trick is finding a space between really mundane grindy items (e.g., pretty much all of 4E's it...

Monday, 7th January, 2019

  • 01:54 AM - Lanefan quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 1 Failure and Story
    Just because something isn't easily quantifiable doesn't mean it's not worth considering. Perhaps, but it does make it much more difficult to discuss in any sort of concrete terms. Yes it's still there. However, D&D has a never really had much of a mechanism for effects like maiming in a consistent way, though.True; though it's always had mechanisms for fixing these sort of things e.g. Heal, Restoration, etc., it's never really had any useful rules or guidelines to help with handling what happens between the maiming and the healing.

Saturday, 29th December, 2018

  • 09:06 PM - VengerSatanis quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Worlds of Design: When There's Too Many Magic Items
    There are ways to make resonance type ideas work. For instance, items of a certain power level may well not play nice with each other. In my 2E to houserules game, I more or less posited that a character can only bear one item of legendary status---Rod of Law, Hammer of Thunderbolts, just to name two in the game---without serious consequences. That much fate encapsulated in an item in the hands of one person, or in one place, is dangerous. I've more or less embraced a magic item economy for lower end stuff, but there's really only so much of it worth buying and supply is uncertain. This campaign is pretty cosmic in scope, though, and the PCs are leading a group that sucks up resources pretty nicely. Thinking through a 5E lens but it generalizes reasonably well, of the best cures for grindy magic items IMO is to make most items handed out consumable or things that augment a PC without qualitatively shifting their abilities. For instance, an item I devised is nifty but limited in scope. Currently o...
  • 03:05 AM - Lanefan quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Worlds of Design: When There's Too Many Magic Items
    Yeah I agree. We used to roll for who got what pick and did a snake draft, with money shares available if there were no items left! We add the values of everything and divide into shares, then people can take their share as magic items, cash, or (almost always) a combination of the two. Everyone ends up with the same monetary value when all is done, unless for some other reason (e.g. not being around for the whole adventure) there's people who only get part-shares. Where the DM can really matter is in terms of what gets dropped.To a point. My experience is that no matter what gets dropped the PCs are liable to miss some of it... ...or somehow destroy it before they know it's there. Recently a party I DM had summoned a massive Earth Elemental to fight for them and, the battle won, had no further use for it. But they needed to give it something to do to keep it occupied for the time it would be around, lest it turn on them; so the summoner sent it out on a hunt-and-destroy mission through t...

Thursday, 27th December, 2018

  • 08:15 PM - Charles Dunwoody quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Explore Grim and Perilous Worlds in Zweihänder
    Seems rather like Warhammer FRP 1E with the serial numbers filed down and the Games Workshop Old World setting stripped. It started that way. Many new things have been added along the way like leveling up in your career (which I believe WFRP 4E allows for as well now) and a variety of weird monsters and settings to name a few. If I wanted Warhammer Old World I'd use WFRP 1E, 2E, or 4E. If I wanted to build my own world I'd use Zweihander. And honestly, they work well together, so you can use all the adventures and creatures together and modify as needed if you want.

Tuesday, 18th December, 2018

  • 03:06 AM - Garthanos quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Mythological Figures: Conan the Barbarian (5E)
    Disparate? LOL yes my typo fingers or auto correct killed me ;) I've heard of FATE but never even checked it out. I agree that Martial Practices were a pretty good idea that didn't get all that explored, though, so have fun with them. To attempt a little on topic commenting - Conan might have an aspect of Barbaric that interfered and gained him fate points when he is younger and he might replace it with "A leader of men" when he gets older. Becoming less lucky and better able to well lead men. Hobbits might have easily overlooked (which might be invoked to help an ally shoot an enemy holding you or to escape unnoticed or to interfere with your attempts to catch people's attention and so on.)

Monday, 17th December, 2018

  • 07:21 PM - Garthanos quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Mythological Figures: Conan the Barbarian (5E)
    As an example of a way to handle it, the last book published by White Wolf that went to FLGS market was Mirrors. It had a ton of interesting ideas in it. One was that you could build characters on a fixed set of build points. However, unspent points could translate into untapped potential or fortune. Thus a character like Aragorn would have pretty much spent all his points on backgrounds and skills. His abilities and destiny were pretty much set, come what may. Frodo, on the other hand, wouldn't have spent most of his points and thus has a lot of fortune on his side. Merry and Pippin spent their points on some fortune but also on untapped potential, developing warrior and leadership skills. All that said, playing either Frodo and Aragorn in a party would require some really serious player buy-in and player and GM chops, regardless of the system. Fate is another one that handles the Disparaging front end power pretty well -- ok just repeating myself
  • 07:22 AM - Garthanos quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Mythological Figures: Conan the Barbarian (5E)
    T One of the general overall themes of Tolkien is the de-mythologizing of the world as it becomes ours. The First Age is highly magical, with titanic battles between armies of elves and the forces of Morgoth. The Second Age is still grand but less so. The Third Age even less so, with the realms of the Dunedain essentially falling about 1000 years before the War of the Ring, and the Dunedain increasingly intermingling with other bloodlines such as the Rohirrim. By the Fourth Age, the elves either depart Middle Earth or choose to become diminished. The dwarves clearly disappear at some point, as do various creatures of Morgoth. The last great dragon was Smaug and he got killed by Bard. Ents fall asleep and become trees. Even the hobbits disappear. Or become normal English country folk on the short side ;) The devolution of the future you might call it. But basically his story with hobbits who are powerful because they are meek... pointing out that powerful types like Aragorn and the lo...
  • 06:30 AM - Garthanos quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Mythological Figures: Conan the Barbarian (5E)
    Sure, but Aragorn is also the ranger of the age---he's an absolutely amazing tracker, for instance. In many respects, he's just too broadly competent. IMO D&D has rarely been good at emulating a first rank hero like Aragorn. It does a much better job with second rank heroes such as Gimli, Legolas, or Boromir. I am not convinced... at epic levels one can manage a fairly extraordinary rendering subject to the same problem creating all the characters Mike is having in 5e ie overly broad high attributes. That background I mentioned really does give him access to the skills for his Rangerhood and its perhaps part of how skills allowed to be pretty awesome in that version that makes it less obvious. There isn't anything in the game that says because you didnt pick ranger class you cannot have the trackers eye. long distance runner and learn animal tongues or marshal troops (epically) or eventually be a peerless tracker - these would be explicit abilities I would be giving this Aragorn (mostly via...

Sunday, 16th December, 2018

  • 11:41 PM - Garthanos quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Mythological Figures: Conan the Barbarian (5E)
    Definitely, although Denethor was among the near-Wise. But in OD&D and 1E that was not true. Only magic-users could... and high level rangers. Point might be that characterizing that as Rangerish to a Tolkien fan is ahem? it wasn't supposed to be something special to Aragorn let alone the Rangers and its kind of a compliment to what I mentioned earlier about knowing beast languages it was at least somewhat "special" because many humans seem to be forgetting it in modern days but there were still families like the fellow Bards who retained the lore - ie among the heroics it seemed more of a choice and symbolic of that Bloodline thing again. When I DMd 1e I made it a language option and in 4e I made Animal Tongues a martial practice where most of the effort was spent getting the animals to care enough to talk to you about what you wanted to talk about (because aside from your pets most don't) .


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