View Profile: Tony Vargas - D&D, Pathfinder, and RPGs at Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • darkbard's Avatar
    Today, 03:14 PM
    I can only speak for myself on this matter, but this may be why your posts sometimes come across to me as simply argumentation for argumentation's sake, no matter how twisted the logic to get there. This is why, at times, I have chosen to disengage with you: as I say somewhere upthread (or in the other worldbuilding thread), I don't feel this technique proceeds with intellectual honesty. You say...
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Today, 02:45 PM
    For half a second, I thought this was going to be the scenario for a Mystery Science Theater 3000 game.
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Today, 05:20 AM
    I have considered a Feat called "Physical Adept" which could allow one to replace the gold piece cost of a ritual with a healing surge.
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Today, 03:08 AM
    If you go by the distribution in the DMG, I know many player who would be happy if they never get a magic weapon. The distribution for 5e is sooo much flatter. Here's a thread where they work out what you should be getting levels 1-20. It then codifies it, breaking it up four ways, to give guidelines: 1 uncommon permanent item at level 4, and another at level 7. 1 rare permanent item...
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  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Today, 02:39 AM
    There is a movie that is fun, called ‘Beyond Reality’, or it seems called ‘Beyond the Edge’. Essentially, it is about individuals using psychic powers to win in gambling casinos. It also involves spiritual worlds and mundane gangsters. I just saw the movie online within the last few weeks. The movie is staying with me because of the oddness of its source. As far as I can tell, it is a...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 01:20 AM
    But you'd catch up quickly because of the way the exp tables were written... Yep. Hero was like that, and not just because of power caps. Conceptually, the way powers scaled conceptually vs mechanically also compressed things. In D&D, a dagger does 1d4 and two daggers do 1d4, and, in concept, it mostly scales like that. Get hit twice as hard, take twice as much damage. In Hero,...
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  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Today, 12:44 AM
    Heh, I dont care about devils and demons − but the cleric thing is a sore point. The Players Handbook explicitly requires polytheistic worship. The possibilities of other kinds of religions must be explicitly part of the cleric class itself − for the player to read and decide. The only exception to heavy handed polytheism is obscure, in a splatbook, in the book Xanathars Guide to Everything....
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  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Today, 12:27 AM
    Heh, to be fair, many of the characters that players play are warlocks who sold to their soul to a devil. (There is no requirement for warlock characters to sell their souls to a devil, but the flavor is there and it often happens at player tables.) (However there is now a requirement for cleric characters to worship polytheistic gods.) The fears of the socalled ‘satanic panic’ had a point. ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:59 PM
    I rather doubt that was a reason. A berserker being wrung out (with a mechanic as brutal and slightly out of place as Exhaustion), after going all, well, berserk, without recourse to magic, sounds more like a detail added to shore up the 'verisimilitude' of a non-magical daily resource.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:36 PM
    So, "this far, but no further?" I'm dubious. Actually I doubt the artificer could fill out a whole lotta sub-classes, even the gunman one seems a tad forced. They Mystic, OTOH, is going to be combining a half-dozen or so psionic classes from several past editions, so should have plenty to work with; the Warlord had 8 de-facto builds & 28 Paragon Paths; the Shaman 5 & 17 ... the Artificer...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:24 PM
    OK, that's just amusing. And we could be dismissed as cranky old grognards still mired in the hobby as it existed 30+ years ago, deserving of no sympathy and 'nuff said. ;P Obviously, it could be a bad thing for a detail to already be ruled out that'd make a better game or better story (not just a better outcome for the PCs - for instance, conversely, you might have established there's no...
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:23 PM
    I strongly agree with what you say. I'm often the DM, and I say that I only have any special role within the game, and that at the sufferance of the player. (If anyone has special rights, it's the host.) That said, the DM can handle it with a simple "I don't want to run for you". A decision made within the context of the game. I'm actually slightly conflicted, so I turn to how I've...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:23 PM
    Could even do it as aid attack as a feat extending it
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  • MoonSong's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:12 PM
    This is a point were it depends on how you define a sorcerer. From my perspective, these spell point users were still explicitly mage/wizards with all of the wizard trappings and tropes. Sorcerers as a thing originated in 3e -later ports to 2e via Baldur's Gate notwithstanding-. (I define a sorcerer as: spontaneous, charisma based, and with innate magi; spell point users still lack two of these)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:11 PM
    I'm going to ramble a bit. I started with D&D. It came in a red box. And you stated at first level and you earned every bit of power you ever had, be it levels or loot or things less mechanical. If you died, you likely started back at 1st level even though others around you were unimaginably powerful, say third or maybe even fifth! But once I started playing regularly (a feat that took a...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:41 PM
    I get the distaste for MCing, but it is optional, and not opting into it removes the issue, entirely, so, 'nuff said. Hypothetically, if the were nor Sorcerer or Warlock, you could play a wizard, 'roleplay' having magical powers from an ancestor or perilous pact with some being beyond mortal ken, and just keep the whole spellbook thing under your hat. You'd have created the concept you...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:31 PM
    Obsession with balance? I only checked out the few that interested me, but in one I caught, he essentially said "F balance, let the player feel good about finding the combo..."
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:58 PM
    Agreed. There is a simple solution to that problem as a DM, though. Don't opt into MCing, at all. Players with an 'MC concept' just have to pick one class and fill in the trappings of the rest with background - 'Soldier' or 'Criminal' for instance. In some cases, there's a sub-class ready made for faux-MCing. OTOH, there's already more classes than you'd need if MCing were the...
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:49 PM
    I disagree with this end of the spectrum as well. As I mentioned, there are time multiclassing characters can fulfill their concepts while not falling behind. Some guidelines (not hard and fast rules) would be wait until after 5th, if you're near an ASI, take another level and get it, and have an eye on what you're giving up - but for some classes at higher levels that's not much as long as...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:49 PM
    Not in /exactly/ the same way, but the analogy is close. In both cases, you know that you're not seeing everything that's going on to create the experience. In the case of the DM, the screen is right there. In the case of the magician, you don't have access to the stage, and are viewing everything from angles he's chosen. (I got the impression 'participationalism' is more like "sure, I'll...
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:41 PM
    I agree with this sentiment. There was a ranger UA that had them changing into giant trees and fighting and I loved it - because it was something big and different. When you have subclasses that give different mechanical expression to mostly the same broad concept, I'd rather subtract out the subclass. I don't need a brute and a champion. I don't need two archers who shoot a lot and are...
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  • The Grassy Gnoll's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:33 PM
    Luckily my table(s) are all filled with actors. So while they will try to be as optimal as possible for the wargaming side of things, they’re also invested in RP, so more likely to get sucked into the backstory development and character interactions - one player decided his gnome ranger was smitten with Sister Garaele from Phandalin. After one deliberate shove off a cliff of four bound-together...
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:29 PM
    My own experience is 180 degrees away from this. In 5e, multiclassing isn't the "road to greatness" it was with some earlier editions. Just that all us old grognards think it is. And I tell you, every single one of my powergaming friends immediately went to multiclassing in 5e because of that ... and most of them ended up shooting themselves in the foot. So then they learned some lessons,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:08 PM
    Well, sure, if you try to walk all the PH1 classes past any sensible-sounding bar to new classes that would actually exclude the classes people keep asking for (check out the poll, they include, in descending order: Artificer, Warlord, Psion(icist)'Mystic,' & Shaman.) Of the 5e implementations of classic classes, I have to admit, I like the Druid best. So you just had to go there. ;( ...
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  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:29 PM
    Heh, tieflings and devil warlocks kinda prove them right.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:23 PM
    They didn't need the player base to 'forget' 4e, they just needed them to get out of the habit of telling outright lies about the latest edition. I'm surprised it didn't take longer. ;P Y'know, there /was/ stuff in the PH lifted directly from 4e. It wasn't very important stuff, but it did happen here & there. I guess it depends by what you mean by '4e style play.' If you mean the way...
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:15 PM
    I wish I could. But I don't want to run it - I've been running a campaign for 4+ years with not much time as a player. It's near the end and that's good - I'm burning out. So me running is off the table. I've brought ti up to my group as a game we play next, but not of the prospective GMs seem that interested in running, and we've got a "not fantasy" request. So it looks like I'll have to...
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:23 PM
    Reading closely, I would say Healing Spirit does not trigger the Unicorn Spirit. The Unicorn Spirit is triggered when you cast a spell that heals. Healing Spirit is a conjuration spell that summons a spirit. The exact wording about the heal is "...you can cause the spirit to restore 1d6 hit points...". It's not the spell, it's the spirit that's healing. Think if you had a class feature...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:05 PM
    Unfortunately that problem is, itself, their chosen solution to the problem of making the game inaccessible to new players due to bloat* or shelf-shock. To put it another way, if 'optional' additions to the game are to remain truly optional, then they shouldn't be assumed in any future products. That's just how it had to be, based on the fighter's designs in those editions. The 5e fighter...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:49 PM
    That's the thing about feelings, they can be pretty subjective & contextual. If you've gamed a lot using one technique, defended it against undue criticisms a lot, and become invested in it and proprietary about it, you can turn around and be just as unduly critical of any alternative. And, part of that will be the unique, irreproducible, 'feel' you get from it. (What? Try something else? ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:05 PM
    It's the DM who makes that determination, the system can be a good or bad tool for carrying it out, and, if bad, can be 'fixed.' "Illusionism" is bad enough. I'll tolerate it, because it evokes the idea of a stage magician entertaining with 'illusions,' which is a pretty good analogy. But calling it dishonest is inappropriate. Do you rail against magicians in 'Vegas for being 'dishonest?'...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:54 PM
    That's more of a 3e-ism, you could break up your Full Attack, taking that 5' step at any point and mix different attacks, including quick-drawing a different weapon, making both ranged & melee attacks in the same full attack, or using various attack-equivalent maneuvers. Not so much, no. They just scale with slot level, instead. And, it clearly isn't big enough a part, as there's no such...
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:54 PM
    Wow, Blades has quite the "I wanna play but haven't yet" vibe going on.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:24 PM
    And, if MCing were assumed, there'd be no meaningful need to have 'half casters,' either, yes. There are a lot of ways 5e could have gotten by with fewer, simpler, & more consistent classes, while presenting more net viable options for players, and probably, if the simplicity & consistency gains were marked enough, without requiring greater system mastery to get there. But, there are so many...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:18 PM
    Clearly system fixes can reduce the frequency of the kinds of issues, while keeping more 'appropriate' deaths on the table. It does seem like an intentionally-loaded term, meant to impose a connotation of deception ('dishonestly is, well, honestly pushing it - is a magician 'dishonest' for not explaining his tricks? No. Indeed fellow magicians might question the honor of one who did.) on a...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:10 PM
    Yeah, I suppose it might. It'd make a very minion-sweeping-focused controller. Oh, sure, as a secondary-leader power it'd be fine. (Though, really some secondary leaders, like, oh, the Paladin, have specific powers that are quite impressive leader support, just only a few of 'em.)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:45 PM
    Some games I'd like to play for an campaign to get the feel: I'm really interested in playing anything Powered by the Apocalypse. The focus on relationships, the changes to GM style with Fronts, the codification of Moves - all of it seems like a very different take that I'd love to experience firsthand. Blades in the Dark. Specialized rules for a specific niche. Downtime activities that...
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:47 PM
    Fair enough. (And I think this thread title needlessly inflames strong responses; I much prefer its contemporary successor's "What is worldbuilding for?") Is your opinion, then, that both traditional, heavy world-building approaches and Story Now, No Myth approaches can both achieve high levels of believability, consistency, and coherence? If so, why do you claim ?
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:19 PM
    But hasn't pemerton already addressed this a zillion times, and posted numerous and extensive play reports that support the fact that Story Now, No Myth gaming, free of the kind of world building you advocate for, can produce the same kind of believability, consistency, and coherence? Do you dispute his examples? This is not to say that your style of play can't do this, of course (although doing...
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:24 PM
    Discuss? With a stated goal of reuniting the split fan base (4e, 3.x, PF, and old school), the classes they published in the very first core book needed to both ooze with nostalgia and classic D&D-ness as well as cover all of the traditional bases so that people could envision their favorite character in 5e. So what is published in that first core player's book has other aspects then just...
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  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:09 AM
    The drow are fun. Their ‘evil’ gave them alot of creative space to explore sexual themes in a game that is otherwise too ... vanilla. Their high magic was a breath of fresh air from boring oppressively mundane medieval themes. That said. I am over Lolth. The religion annoys me and is too cartoonish. I personally have never witnessed a player creating a Drizzt-like character. So this isnt a...
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  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:55 AM
    Surveillance also makes magic difficult to implement. It is difficult to use without drawing public attention and interference.
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  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:45 AM
    In modern (and especially near future) settings, I find the biggest challenge is surveillance. Everyone can capture videos on phones, security cameras are ubiquitous, especially in urban settings, journalism and especially internet make all information accessible, law enforcement and other government agencies can pretty much know the identity and the locations of any people of interest. ...
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  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:29 AM
    Because of the gene splicing, humanoid animals are the most plausible fantasy lifeform. But they quickly become too many and overwhelming − and unappealing. It is surprising, because almost all fantasy creatures involve a mix of animal blends. Werewolves involve wolf. Vampire involves bat. Christian angels have eagle wings. A dragon is simply a snake, but it is made monstrous by blending...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:33 AM
    You suggested having a small unit of men for volleys and such to aid the controller role (that seems it would utterly dominate the build), but I was thinking more of knocking the leader angle to secondary by replacing this primary leader power with something less potent and changing other presences and such to ones which enhance other controllerish abilities akin to the Mages enchanter...
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  • MoonSong's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:16 AM
    The most important I think was forgotten: One full night of sleep heals everything. Yes, but not on a sorcerer. EDIT: And on the sorcerer, 4e was the edition to take a lot of the fun utility spells and deny them to sorcerers. Yes anybody can take a feat to get rituals, but then lugging around a spellbook defeats the whole point of sorcerers. Just like in 5e...
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:58 AM
    Blue replied to New Action: Flee
    My example had them starting adjacent, no moving the goalpost to have them further away. Also, mine just needs about 100' of distance - since when you are closed with you can go back the other direction.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:12 AM
    If morrus had a nickel (or a farthing, I guess) for every time that happened, the site would be funded until it runs aground on the Y10k problem.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:02 AM
    Not any more than you'd need Material spells to recover from a being hit by a sword, because it's made of a material. Sounds like the hypothetical spell just doesn't need to be added. Then the designer arbitrarily puts it in the one he feels fits best, I suppose.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 11:56 PM
    If the players are in on it, it's apparently 'participationalism.' Instead of 'Right or Left?' it's "hey, the adventure's that way, or this way if you prefer..." Instead of "You take 30 damage" "Whew! I only had 32!" It's "You take 45 damage." "Darn I only had 32!" "Are you good with dying for this fight?" "No, I was hoping to die defending my ancestral keep in the siege we're planning a...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 11:48 PM
    The Witch is older than 1e. OK, it was pretty warlock-y back then, but still. You could do the same to get a Paladin or Ranger, and they're full classes. Interesting thought.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 11:44 PM
    I strongly suspect 'vitality.' Don't see why that'd make a difference, damage reduces your overall vitality, no? Do you mean cure disease? Vitality. The reverse, too, presumably.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 11:41 PM
    Well, I did use words like 'classic DMing style.' ;) It's definitely not too modern or indy, but it's very D&D, particularly the era of D&D 5e tries hardest to evoke. Illusionism doesn't break that sort of agreement, rather it doesn't enter into it in the first place. Players call out actions, the DM calls for or makes rolls from behind the screen, /then/ the players find out what happens....
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 11:35 PM
    - the spell Healing Word, too (the very first playtest poll had a long list of spells and the question along the lines of "which of these spells do you find iconic to D&D?" - all the 4e spells that made it into 5e were on that list, no 4e spell not on that list made it into 5e, no 4e spell on that list failed to - and nothing from 4e was ever explicitly put in a playtest poll again). - the...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 11:05 PM
    Or without PCs being in danger of death? Is there always something else on the line they really care about? Yep, but unlike 'immersion,' it has one. It's when the player is presented with choices, options, & checks that actually mean nothing - regardless, the results are already decided. But, the player isn't given enough information to divine that fact. 'Placebo rolls' behind the DM...
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 10:58 PM
    Blue replied to Power is Relative
    I tend to focus world-building on what I need, not spending much time detailing out specifics of encounters for areas my PCs aren't going to soon. But I agree - I've often had encounters where we don't bother to roll initiative - either it's too low and I'd rather we just spend 3 minutes doing a quick montage around the table giving everyone a chance to narrate a quick bit of awesomeness, or...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 10:55 PM
    Well, sure, it's a pole arm - with a blade on the end of the pole, that's relatively heavy (relative to a dagger or rapier, anyway). :shrug: Or is the idea of a PF1 'heavy blade' mainly something like a 'non-finesseable sword.' The OP seems to plan to have two weapons, one reach, one melee. Is that no-viable in some way? That doesn't sound quite as bad as 3.5's you can't attack...
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 10:52 PM
    Blue replied to Power is Relative
    I find that everyone has the most fun if most of the characters are around the same power level. I don't care if it's high or low - I've got as many foes and hazards as I want. BTW, this goes when I am a player as well - I've voluntarily de-tuned my characters when they were too potent for the group. As a DM, i mention to my players. Though a mix of detuning some and optimizing others...
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 10:42 PM
    Be mature, talk first. Could be hard line "you're ruining other's fun, that needs to stop now. and zero tolerance for cheating, fudge dice like initiative again and you're not playing under me again." Could be soft, "look, you're fun to be with but there are somethings that are making it less fun to game with..." as long as it's not wishy-washy and generic "hey whole group, if there's...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 10:36 PM
    Standards can be picky, but a standard that'd exclude something already in the PH is too picky.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 10:34 PM
    I've been playing D&D too long: I have no problem with the traditional 8 schools, but I'm having trouble wrapping my head around those 4. ;) IDK. Like 5e, it seems to put all the emphasis on magic. It could, potentially, be a fairly powerful way of organizing things: you could have 6 kinds of full casters & 4 kinds of half casters, for a total of 10 relatively distinct classes, defined...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 10:25 PM
    I find the two often go hand-in-hand. If I have a good, interesting, nuanced concept, there'll be a lot more opportunity to optimize it in an interesting, broadly effective way. If you just go by some absolute optimization to a specific goal (DPR or whatever), you end up with a one-trick pony who's trick eventually lets you down. Nod. It's a way of coping. It can snowball, a tad. As you...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 09:57 PM
    And how consistent/robust the system is. Taking even the appearance of deadly danger off the table in a game with any pretense to being heroic fantasy also seems counterproductive. It's not that you /can't/ figure out a solution, it's that no solution is going to work perfectly, up-front. You need to be flexible. Taking resolution behind the screen and engaging in illusionism gives you a...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 09:45 PM
    If we held every tradition to that standard, we wouldn't need any traditions. I mean evokers go around blowing enemies away with spells that say 'evocation' on the tin, they do it a little better, but they don't do it particularly differently, nor do anything else that screams 'evoker' that's not just casting evocation spells. The last witch got a familiar and the ability to swap out one...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 09:33 PM
    Not will, but 'could,' remotely, possibly only in combination with some other roll or some bad player decision... So, refrain from making attacks, for instance. ;) Yeah, I get it. I just don't think it's a viable approach in the context (5e D&D), let alone the 3e example.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 09:30 PM
    Not nearly as fiddly as a true circle that's not snapping to a grid, like a 1e fireball on wargamer's green felt tabletop & measuring tape, or, of course TotM. A fireball template on a grid (like in 3e, you could only place the center at a corner, so you could fiddle with placement, but no messing with orientation, the issue the OP was dealing with), or a simple cube, there's a lot less of an...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 09:16 PM
    There's nothing in particular missing from the abilities of any one tradition relative to any other, they're really pretty minor compared to spell choice. An illusionist can blow away enemies with fireballs; an invoker can cast Foresight.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 09:12 PM
    Some systems present some mechanics that necessarily have certain stakes attached - like anything that does damage can kill you if you're 1hp away from death at the time. You could make your dungeons into padded cells where no one can get hurt, thus never invoke a mechanic that puts death even theoretically in some tail instance, on the table. I wouldn't try it if I were claiming to run...
    177 replies | 3929 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 09:07 PM
    Blue replied to New Action: Flee
    Nope. Here's what I had wrote: Here it is without disengage: Suck an attack of opportunity and dash. Moves further then the foe can catch up. Next round, fires and moves, so again more than one move away for a foe. Foe dashes to close. repeat. In other words, the foe gets to Opportunity Attack you every other round when they've caught up before you run. That's not "unbeatable"...
    25 replies | 479 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 08:40 PM
    Blue replied to New Action: Flee
    FLEE You impose the Frightened condition on yourself for 30 minutes, or 5 minutes after your last sight of the foes. If you ignore or are immune to the frightened condition, you may not take this action. During this time, you may Disengage as a bonus action. You may only take the Dash action. I thought about adding in a "Cornered Rat" option, but left it out.
    25 replies | 479 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 08:28 PM
    Blue replied to New Action: Flee
    Let's try "good for the goose, good for the gander": Any foe who's movement is not half or lower of the PC's can always escape, barring ranged attacks/spells or immobilization. I think that will get tired if the DM uses it to the degree it could be used. Also it can allow someone with even a slightly higher movement (like a wood elf) to unbeatably kite. Auto disengage and dash. Moves...
    25 replies | 479 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 08:15 PM
    Ah, I see. Lack of anything like a charge action means that adding a bonus-action disengage allows you to always run away, even when overtaken, as opposed to never being able to run away. You're erring in the other direction. Reasonable.
    25 replies | 479 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 08:03 PM
    It sounds like you're limiting yourself to ability checks, here, which do work that way in 5e. Combat, monsters abilities, and spells don't leave as much latitude. But the chance of overall failure in a 5e easy encounter is /really/ low. Nil even. That success - victory on the party's side, all monsters slain/defeated - could still (at low level, particularly) include an...
    177 replies | 3929 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 07:48 PM
    I'm not saying it's not a good idea, just that it's not a complete solution (or not necessarily /the/ root problem). On this particular topic, if encounter guidelines aren't dependable, so the difficulty of a given encounter sometimes turned out to be much greater than expected, you could fudge it from behind the screen to bring it back down to an appropriate level. It very much is, so a...
    177 replies | 3929 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 07:25 PM
    In an old-school set-up where the age of adulthood is radically different for each race, gangs of similar-age-equivalent kids like that would have the faster-growing races drop out after a year or two, while the core of slower-maturing ones remains stable. In extreme cases, the kids of a Big Rascal could re-join the gang, and hear about what dad was like when he was their age from his 'old...
    7 replies | 273 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 07:16 PM
    I guess that's a start, but if the more-powerful monsters are all flying around at speed 40, say, you're still going to get eaten.
    25 replies | 479 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 07:08 PM
    So you could 're-wind' to fix the problem (some folks don't like that sort of thing, others are fine with it), or just that you need to be infallible, up front? Also, fudging can cover for system deficiencies, as well as framing or stakes-setting or pick-your-game-theorist-loaded-label 'mistakes' before the check. And, of course, it can give the player that needs it the illusion that...
    177 replies | 3929 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 07:05 PM
    Well, my first impression is that the class'd need a lot of such dice to do anything. Second impression is that it doesn't take the target's level into account, which seems off. And, of course, it's adding a /third/ method of resolving an offensive action, on top of attack rolls and saving throws, when any more than one is just needless complexity, in the first place. (Or is it fourth? do...
    484 replies | 9491 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 06:55 PM
    In pre- New-Age/neo-Pagan terms, sure. But a proper witch these days doesn't make any pacts with devils (nor even fey or whatever). The HotFw Witch sub-class of Wizard is probably more what's being looked for, here, if you've ever seen that one...
    284 replies | 11344 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 05:54 PM
    That's just crazy talk - and the result would be in no way anything like D&D.
    112 replies | 4149 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 05:07 PM
    This is addressed under the races in the PHB - all of the races explicitly mature at the same rate. Read the Age section for each race. So none of them are children for longer.
    7 replies | 273 view(s)
    2 XP
  • The Grassy Gnoll's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 04:34 PM
    I have, after decade of coaxing, unlocked the special Get Girlfriend to Play D&D feat. Her character is a Tiefling Warlock (Fey Tome). She likes the idea of the Gentleman with the Thistledown Hair from Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, so I’ve gone with that idea. Going to make it so that mirrors are her connection to him. There’s an established character voice there but it does lend itself to...
    21 replies | 665 view(s)
    1 XP
  • darkbard's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 04:27 PM
    Doug McCrae: complete aside, but based on your descriptions here, you may find the American TV show Legion of interest.
    2030 replies | 46405 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 12:04 PM
    Recent stuies indicate a high percentage of player dissatisfaction stems from encountering monsters with identical hit point totals and the use of hit points as an abstract game mechanic in general. ("This ogre also had 54 hit points like the last one? Are we fighting clones, or what?!")
    46 replies | 1178 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 06:16 AM
    I am mulling a new near-future setting. Your setting has awesome stuff that I intend to borrow from.
    15 replies | 301 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 04:34 AM
    Your damage calculations is the most optimistic cast. The second part of booming blade only triggers if they move, which often isn't true. Now, you can't have more SP then your level, and breaking down a spell slot to SP takes a bonus action. So you will need to skip the quickened GFB every once in a while to do that. However, since that's 2/3 of your SP budget, at lower levels it will...
    2 replies | 195 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 01:10 AM
    Nope, I've run 1e & 2e extensively back in the day, 3.0 some, 3.5 very little, PF not at all, 4e & 5e weekly. I've run & played plenty of other systems, too, particularly Storyteller in the second half of the 90s, and Hero System. I've been at this a long time. I find running 5e to be fun, easy & even exciting, because my skills from running AD&D back in the day port over very effectively, but...
    44 replies | 1337 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 12:17 AM
    Blue replied to MagicWeapons
    I never give "plus X" weapons. They are boring math modifiers that really aren't needed with bounded accuracy.
    12 replies | 327 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 12:15 AM
    Eldritch Smite explicitly only allows Warlock slots. Paladin's divine smite has been errata'd that it allows any slot, so all those bard spell slots become extra damage.
    63 replies | 17394 view(s)
    0 XP
  • The Grassy Gnoll's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 12:08 AM
    Make them rare enough and have enough backstory and you gain double the adventures, emulating many great fantasy stories. Evil Giant Bjorn Bigstacks is terrorising the land. Legend has it that there is a magic weapon that he fears, an axe created from the tears of Bjorn’s father when he was slain by the famous adventurer Leopold the Arcane. It is known to be a terrible bane to Giantkind and goes...
    12 replies | 327 view(s)
    0 XP
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My Game Details
Town:
Santa Clara
State:
California
Game Details:
I run a light-hearted Encounters-style 4e/Essentials D&D campaign that's open to the public.
When I get more than 8 players, we split and run two tables.
Every Wednesday at 5p for 2 hrs, Illusive Comics & Games, Santa Clara, CA.
http://www.illusivecomics.com/events/95/dd-pixies-pirates/

My wife runs a home D&D 4e campaign started June 2010.
7 regular players.
Episodic, but with an overall plot-arc.
Currently Paragon level.
My Character:
Brother Enoch, a Human Radiant Servant and refugee from a zombie apocalypse.

A 1-3rd level character of one sort or another in Encounters, typically a leader or controller.

Damrak, an heroic-level Kobold Bravura Warlord.

Abu Hazeen, a 'Djinn' bound in mortal form (Stormsoul Genasi Windlord/Prince of Genies/Emergent Primordial)

Past characters include: Lt David Freeborn, a Demigod Battle Captain; Varinhal Mith'renial, a Wizard of the Spiral Tower; Blaize Fairchilde, Deva Devoted Cleric; Nappo the Lion, Gnome Resourceful Warlord; Stephano di Orsini, Brawling Fighter; Ghourah the Foresworn, Dragonborn Warlord; Kern Ilgrath, 1/2 Orc 'archer' (Slayer); Vincent Draco, Mage (Enchanter); T'kli, Shardmind Warlord|Shaman; Herrak Shield-Biter, Dwarf Berserker; Illara, Watershaper Druid(Sentinel);
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Saturday, 21st April, 2018


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Thursday, 19th April, 2018

  • 12:47 AM - pemerton mentioned Tony Vargas in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    ...hen but superficially. Nature will prevail and keep things as they were meant to be, provided the "wheel" surrounding the hub of nature does not become unbalanced due to the work of unnatural forces - such as human and other intelligent creatures interfering with what is meant to be. So true neutral, in AD&D, is a "naturalistic ethos" which holds that all is as it is meant to be, with each facet of life contributing to that overall balance - provided that humans and their ilk don't disturb the balance through their attempts to change things (which cannot have any long-lasting effect). This is not unaligned, but more like the outlook of some realworld philosophies and religions - stoicism, for instance - and also some political movements - eg Burkean conservatism. The Han Solo-type scoundrel, who in 4e is unaligned and in OD&D or B/X is neutral, in AD&D I think is chaotic neutral: they prioritise their own self-realisation over other-regarding moral obligations. EDIT: I see Tony Vargas made a similar point to this upthread.

Friday, 13th April, 2018

  • 03:55 PM - DMMike mentioned Tony Vargas in post Ten basic medieval fantasy classes
    I think it's a good idea to think about medieval archetypes that may not be well served by the current class selection, but ... ...you need a day or two to let us know what those might be? ;) PPP - Fighter PPM - Tomb Raider, Adventuring Scholar, Horseman, Monk PPS - Cleric (Paladin) MMM - Scholar, MMP - Rogue, Merchants and Swashbucklers MMS - Priest SSS - Scorcerer SSP - Warlock SSM - Wizard PMS - Bard The "adventuring" is a good distinction on the PPM scholar. It implies that a character, or adventuring, has a required Physical component to it. Tomb Raider is a good choice, but is there a medieval equivalent? Also interesting to see rogues and merchants in the same category. Does the handling of large quantities of money constitute a class characteristic? Are merchants less physically oriented than rogues, or is that not a necessary distinction? Tony Vargas dropped the Mastermind into the MMM slot, which has a definite villain-flavor to it. Scholar has no flavor, except for a hint of Harry Potter. And sages...are just old. Aren't they? I was looking at putting Ranger as I did because I view that as a Fighter who earned his place through being a very skilled fighter. (M being more a focus on skills and learned tricks, application of the brain if you will, P being a kick ass fighter/combatant, application of the body, S being a how natural magic is to them, as I view it) This has me thinking that there could be three base classes - warrior, mage, thief - and each one has two varieties based on which direction it takes to differ from the base. The Skyrim standing stones might be too much of a pigeon hole though, but warrior/fighter and mage/wizard seem pretty obvious. Poet doesn't sound like a good class, but as a person who uses his mind to get what he needs, it fills the gap between warrior and mage pretty well. Aristocrat co...

Tuesday, 10th April, 2018


Friday, 6th April, 2018

  • 08:10 PM - Yaarel mentioned Tony Vargas in post Mike Mearls and "Action Economy"
    Tony Vargas Heh, I would never have guessed you were a Skinnerian who hated the ‘black box’. I get the impression that you feel that something that you want is being taken away from you, by those who say it is for the sake of immersion. What would that be?

Friday, 30th March, 2018

  • 07:30 PM - Yaarel mentioned Tony Vargas in post Mike Mearls Happy Fun Hour: The Warlord
    Tony Vargas I have a sense of what you are looking for in a warlord class from various discussions. But have you designed your own class, with all of the features that you want to see? I would love to have a look at if you did.

Wednesday, 28th March, 2018

  • 09:26 AM - pemerton mentioned Tony Vargas in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    Tony Vargas, I think your post was mostly tongue-in-cheek, but where I thought I had something worthwhile to say in response I've said it: I think the issue is that the system implies qualities of the world, so if the system seems silly, the world will seem silly. Well, the systems that Lanefan is talking about include Burning Wheel, Cortex+ Heroic, HeroWars/Quest, a certain approach to 4e, etc. Which of those is supposed to imply a silly world? It's a reward for showing up, thenIn default 4e, showing up doesn't as such earn XP. Playing the game (by engaging encounters, realising quests, and - per the rule in DMG2 - meaningfully engaging the non-encounter fiction) accures XP at a rate of (roughly) 4 level-equivalent monster's worth per hour. Or approximately 3-4 sessions per level. I think one of the most remarkable things about 4e is how, on the surface, it retains so many D&D mecahnical tropes (hp, XP, attack rolls, magic items, and the like) but uses them to build a game which is ...

Monday, 26th March, 2018


Friday, 23rd March, 2018

  • 07:21 AM - FrogReaver mentioned Tony Vargas in post Lets design a Warlord for 5th edition
    @Tony Vargas I have a solution for scaling at will warlord powers while still providing short rest or daily healing. I don't have a solution for scaling long rest ones at all. Level 1 looks a little convoluted as I'll have to add the long rest powers in but also add something else just about as strong as them but not capable of producing healing. Level 3 looks even worse as I would potentially need to go from 2 uses to 6 uses (or maybe more). Level 5 even with extra attack you likely need to greatly upgrade your uses or their effects at this level. (probably effects would be best which would be doable) I guess I may have just answered the question for you. It looks adequate and not too bad when compared to the cleric or anything else.
  • 05:27 AM - FrogReaver mentioned Tony Vargas in post Lets design a Warlord for 5th edition
    Tony Vargas Since your direction is so strongly pushing to have the Warlord's Core ability be daily perhaps you can give us a preview of how to capture that ability and any others needed at level 1 while still keeping the potential healing power level in line with a cleric or bard and having as much potential combat power as those classes? How would you accomplish that? Further, how would you plan on scaling the Warlord Core ability in the level 1-5 range to ensure the warlord has enough uses and power in his core ability to keep up in power with classes like the cleric and bard?

Thursday, 22nd March, 2018

  • 08:48 AM - Kinematics mentioned Tony Vargas in post Lets design a Warlord for 5th edition
    ...l, the Warlord becomes a long-range supporter, and has freedom to work from pretty much anywhere in the battlefield. Given the concept of the Warlord, Int is pretty much a required stat. Its complementary stat must be Dex, Con, or Wis (the 'big three' defense stats). Every single class has proficiency in one of the 'big three', and one of the other three; never two of the same type. If Int is a given, then the complementary stat must pretty much be Con. This benefits concentration checks, assuming concentration becomes a component, as well as the frontliner Icon/Vanguard types. Even if you discount the Tactical Focus and concentration, I have a hard time seeing the Warlord fitting a Dex or Wis proficiency. So an Int/Con support class. Of course, there are various concepts that go with it that draw on all of the other four stats. Str on the vanguard, Chr for inspiration, Dex for the ranged version, or Wis for the diplomatic or guerilla version. It's a very MAD class. Tony Vargas came up with a lot of subclass concepts. My own approach is much more concise. Icon - Inspirational focal point. Shonen hero (or protected princess). Minimum tactics, maximum guts (or luck). Commander - Focuses on tactics that can be executed by allies. Mix of working to gain advantage, and reactions. Strategist - Plots and schemes and creates elaborate strategems. Anticipates the enemy and preemptively counters. Defender - Tactician shaping the battlefield. Affects movement, hindering the enemy, and traps. Tony's Bravura, Inspiring, Hector, and Icon all wrap together into the same general concept (be a focus, inspire to heal, temp hp), which I call Icon. Protector might also fall in here. His Tactical/Commander, Combat Veteran, and Artillerist all fall under what I have as Commander, though I like the extra flavor he added about the cynical world view. His Resourceful and Skirmisher both roughly map to my Defender. His Insightful/Watcher is my Strategist....
  • 02:31 AM - FrogReaver mentioned Tony Vargas in post Lets design a Warlord for 5th edition
    Tony Vargas, Healing is an ability that Mearls believes should be gated behind some kind resource taking ability that you can run out of. I think most of us agree with mearls on that. This issue is that adding in a healing ability like that ends up constraining design a lot. Is it independent of our other warlord abilities or does it use a shared mechanic with them? If it's independent then we have to track the healings power and reduce the other warlordy stuff appropriately If they share a mechanic then suddenly you are requiring that mechanic to be gated behind some kind of spell slot or superiority dice or ki style mechanic. None of those abilities equal to the heal can then be at will, whereas there's many abilities a warlord could do at will that are just as strong as healing but because of how healing works, at will healing is bad. Basically, be aware of how your demands for core class healing will constrain other warlord mechanics.

Sunday, 18th March, 2018

  • 02:07 AM - Yaarel mentioned Tony Vargas in post Mike Mearls Happy Fun Hour: The Warlord
    So the concept as described in the two hours of video does cut it? For me, the Happy Fun warlord comes close to meeting all the criteria of the warlord. Close enough that it seems to me, it might work. So I am enthusiastic. Heh, but the truth is, to me, Tony Vargas pretty much personifies the warlord fan. If he is happy, I will rest easy about the warlord tradition. The reason why care about the warlord is, it opens up viable nonmagical options for D&D, that are essential to a DM for worldbuilding. Plus, if the warlord turns out cool, as Happy Fun suggests it will, I would love to play it as a player.

Friday, 16th March, 2018


Wednesday, 14th March, 2018

  • 12:29 AM - Kinematics mentioned Tony Vargas in post Mike Mearls Happy Fun Hour: The Warlord
    ...defense, or maybe recognizing the opponent's fighting style, and knowing how to counter it, etc. Mostly it just rewards the fighter for not dumping Int, because he's supposed to be smart. The Inspiring/Insightful Heal/Damage thing will need more mechanics behind it to really evaluate. This is the bit that's most strongly tied to the available dice pool. Maybe give a few temp hit points before the fight starts, or urge the paladin to keep fighting when he's just about to fall over. On the other side, it might grant damage boosts, though I'm rather unsure in how that might be applied that isn't in conflict with the other ways of boosting damage that the Cunning Plan offers. ~~~ Overall, I'm already very much liking the design. It provides an easy hook to readily expand its minor cantrip-level abilities, and even spell-level abilities, and it maintains the essence of "flavor before mechanics" design. Even in this incomplete state, I'm very much interested in playing it. Tony Vargas provided this list of 4E Warlord builds earlier in the thread: Tactical - a canny warlord, who excels at devising & coordinating cunning plans. This is the one that Mearls was talking about in the podcast as if it were the whole class, so, in 5e would use INT and 'Gambits' that map, vaguely, to spells in the way Mearls went into, only, to do it 'right,' it'd map more to the casting of Druid or Wizard than an EK. It would emphasize 'Tactical Gambits' in the same sense that an Evoker emphasizes blasty spells, an emphasis, being better at it, not in the sense of being unable to use everything else. Inspiring - the original opposite number to the tactical warlord, the inspiring warlord did exactly what it says on the tin, bolstered his allies (hps, both healing &temps and handed out buffs), mainly keyed off CHA. It tended to be less about maneuvering & commanding and more about leading & aiding. In 5e, it would use the same Gambits & Maneuvers as other warlords, but better at the ones...

Sunday, 14th January, 2018

  • 01:00 AM - Elfcrusher mentioned Tony Vargas in post Which classes would you like to see added to D&D 5e, if any? (check all that apply)
    I chose "Other". I can't possibly determine just from a list of names. What matters is the design space, not the title. So maybe you're assuming they would be similar to classes from previous editions, but I think that's a bad way to go about it. The "design space" I could see exploring: - A more animistic/primitive caster class. Something that encapsulates shaman and witches and witch-doctors. -INT-based, but whereas Wizards are "book learned" these would be more informally schooled, or self-taught. Mechanically I would like to see spell lists that exclude most direct damage spells, especially the flashy nukes, and maybe even make it a half-caster, then make up for it with interesting, subtle support features. The druid could have served this role if they had put the shapeshifting into sub-classes. - Although I detest Warlords, I have been persuaded by Tony Vargas and Bawylie and some others that there's room for a more flexible "martial support class". So I could picture something that is like a fighter but less so (if that makes sense) with more room in the sub-classes to tack on interesting and flavorful abilities. - I've also always wanted a divine magical support class that more resembles a priest from WoW than a cleric from D&D. While you can build such a thing, it's always a bad tradeoff. But this could also be solved with a cleric sub-class that had an ability or abilities that only function when no armor is worn. And that's about it. Looking through the list in the poll I could see almost all of them (if we are envisioning the same thing because, again, the OP just provided titles, not concepts) fitting in as subclasses of existing classes.

Monday, 8th January, 2018


Sunday, 31st December, 2017


Wednesday, 29th November, 2017

  • 02:58 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Tony Vargas in post Keywords vs Damage Types
    This is exactly how I do it of course. ;-), cannot imagine why. It also works for when my ray of frost is cast on a flyer vs cast on a grounded character... different method. Feet sticking to the ground is significantly different perceptually than wings clumped with ice. Yeah, and MOSTLY this is OK. It can seem a bit forced at times though. I mean think about the 'Ray of Fire' example that Tony Vargas uses: Why does a Ray of Fire cause you to move slower in order to put yourself out, but some other Fire power just does ongoing damage UNTIL you put yourself out (presumably covered by the save ends or the EONT or whatever it is). I'm not saying this doesn't work, but 4e always left me wondering why the same 'narrative' effects get mapped so inconsistently to mechanical effects. Of course I don't think 4e is especially unique in this respect. D&D in general has been fairly ad-hoc. It just seems that 4e, with its rich repertoire of standardized effects, didn't do better. Well, clearly it would have added a whole extra rule to do so. I think maybe there should have been fewer but more interesting 'damage changers', and if effects WERE standardized then those could have been where some more comprehensive approach would be undertaken. In other words you could create a set of powers that exchange damage types and encapsulate the rules (however complex) for changing effects. Then anythin...

Wednesday, 22nd November, 2017

  • 12:34 AM - pemerton mentioned Tony Vargas in post How much back story do you allow/expect at the start of the game?
    ...am simply disagreeing with Man in a Funny Hat that there should be no correlation between attention and player roleplaying skill. I think such a correlation is fairly inevitable in player-driven RPGing, and I prefer player-driven RPGing. That's not an argument for player-driven RPGing. It's an argument from player-driven RPGing to the falsity of MitFH's contention. Some of the DM driven style games do a great job of balancing between character options and don't pay any attention to spotlight time. 4e is a great example of the latter, where niche protections are weak, there's little mechanical drive for spotlight time, and player options are keenly balanced against each other. But 4e runs fine without regard to your theory of spotlight time.I don't really follow this. 4e, at least as I've experienced it, defaults to a rather player-driven game (some better-known illustrations: player-authored quests; player wish-lists for one category of "reward"); and I think it illustrates Tony Vargas's idea that balanced player options which allow players to engage the ingame situation together, in mutually reinforcing ways, makes spotlight non-zreo-sum.


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Saturday, 21st April, 2018

  • 04:49 AM - Greg K quoted Tony Vargas in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    Obviously, it could be a bad thing for a detail to already be ruled out that'd make a better game or better story (not just a better outcome for the PCs - for instance, conversely, you might have established there's no assassins in the town, then find the PC's actions would be a more than ample motivation for an NPC to hire one, unfortunately, the nearest assassin is days away and the PCs finish screwing the NPC over before he can get the message delivered). To each their own. Personally, I don't see it as an issue. If I were to want assassins going after the party, maybe someone related to the NPCs goes to the guild and hires them several days later (or simply pays someone to track down and kill the characters). Maybe, someone goes to an official and the official sends out assassins. Maybe, a more powerful related NPC takes it upon themselves to track down the party with the help of allies. Hell, in one campaign, after the party crossed the only Wizard's Guild and killed a few low level ...
  • 04:05 AM - pemerton quoted Tony Vargas in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    The "feeling" you refer to seems to involve, at its core, having someone else tell you a story about a place they made up.That sort of 'setting tourism' would be the arguably-dysfunctional extreme of a focus on world-building. But you can delve pretty deeply into building a world and running a game within it, without taking it that far.What I describe isn't particularly about "setting tourism." Every time a player talks about "scouting out" some location, or "gathering information", or similar episodes of "exploration", in the context of a GM-worldbuilding RPG, they are talking about having the GM tell them a story about the place s/he made up. Take the simplest example of dungeon play: Player: "I poke in front of me with a 10' pole as I walk down the 30' long passage." <GM consults dungeon map and key> GM: "OK, after 10' of walking you feel that the floor in front of you - half way down the passage - gives under your pole. It seems to be a trapdoor of some sort." What is happe...
  • 03:25 AM - pemerton quoted Tony Vargas in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    I've characterized it as a technique, and a powerful one. It can be used to produce desirable or undesirable results, depending on the skill and inclination of the DM employing it.As you know, I very strongly dislike "low player agency" RPGing (what I would call railroading). But you'll get no argument from me that it is very common, widely advocated in RPG rulebooks (see eg 2nd ed AD&D for one highwatermark), and appears to be very popular. So, no creativity, no interest, no imagination, no character portrayal? And clearly this is what a lot of RPGers seem to have in mind when they talk about playing a game or playing their character. It is all quite compatible with having no agency in respect of the trajectory of play and the shared fiction. An exception to my previous paragraph: in my experience playing CoC is all about this sort of creativity and character portrayal, and in modest doses it's quite fun.
  • 12:23 AM - Maxperson quoted Tony Vargas in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    OK, that's just amusing.Why? If I didn't have stuff prepared, when they veered way off course from where they appeared to be headed, I'd have to improvise literally everything.

Friday, 20th April, 2018

  • 11:43 PM - vincegetorix quoted Tony Vargas in post New class concepts
    Obsession with balance? I only checked out the few that interested me, but in one I caught, he essentially said "F balance, let the player feel good about finding the combo..." Yes, I think they focus overly on balance before fun, not that they are mutually exclusive. Think of the Exhaustion penalty for the berserker barb: it add an unfun mechanic to a thematic ability because they feared (some would say this fear was unfounded) the ability would unbalance something. So they end up with a subclass that many people are reluctant to use because of a balancing mechanic that hurts the fun of playing the archetype for this particular ability. Same with beastmaster: the balancing mechanics hurt the narrative of the subclass. Balance is important, but should not hurt the fun of playing a class. Many classes have one unbalanced mechanic for its level, and its not the end of the world. Look at the moon druid powerspikes or the paladin's nova: there's some ''whoaaa'' moments at first, then it ...
  • 11:23 PM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post A gathering of Martial Controllers - what do you think
    Yeah, I suppose it might. It'd make a very minion-sweeping-focused controller. Oh, sure, as a secondary-leader power it'd be fine. (Though, really some secondary leaders, like, oh, the Paladin, have specific powers that are quite impressive leader support, just only a few of 'em.)Could even do it as aid attack as a feat extending it
  • 11:12 PM - DEFCON 1 quoted Tony Vargas in post New class concepts
    I get the distaste for MCing, but it is optional, and not opting into it removes the issue, entirely, so, 'nuff said. Hypothetically, if the were nor Sorcerer or Warlock, you could play a wizard, 'roleplay' having magical powers from an ancestor or perilous pact with some being beyond mortal ken, and just keep the whole spellbook thing under your hat. You'd have created the concept you wanted, only had to ignore/re-fluff one thing, and been mechanically effective enough, into the bargain. Does that mean there 'shouldn't' have been a Sorcerer or Warlock? Because, if it /does/ mean that, fine, I get what you're saying. I don't think it's a very helpful point, and that we're still going to need new classes like the Artificer, Warlord, Mystic & Shaman down the road, 'cause people want 'em, and they have at least as much justifying them as the Sorcerer or Warlock or Bard or Druid (and more than the Barbarian, Ranger or Paladin), but it'd at least make sense to me. Had there not been a So...
  • 09:58 PM - DEFCON 1 quoted Tony Vargas in post New class concepts
    2) The game shouldn't allow MC'ing because it's total powergaming catnip, and every valid concept should just have a sub-class cover it - plus a background and throw in the 'just role-play-it' panacea for anything that's missing. Which doesn't add up. I don't suppose you're just taking the apologist tack of '5e is perfect, any fewer classes (no Barabarian? unthinkable!) would be too few, any more classes ('psionicist?' bah! humbug!) would be too many,' so I guess I'm just missing an actual point in there somewhere.... Nope, not what I mean at all. Multiclassing on the face of it is fine. If people want to multiclass with what they current have access to, they're more than able to and it's for the most part no big deal (normally). My point though is that people usually multiclass for the wrong reasons (in my opinion). They do it because of game mechanics, and NOT because the story their character has gone through inspires the multiclass. Which is why "coincidentally" almost eve...
  • 09:56 PM - vincegetorix quoted Tony Vargas in post New class concepts
    Of the 5e implementations of classic classes, I have to admit, I like the Druid best. So you just had to go there. ;( The class itsef is quite good, but it doest allow for a lot of design space and its thematic niche is rather small when you want to create no archetypes. Even I who would like new different archetype have a hard time finding something original within the limited space I have. I blame part of it on the disappearance of 4e Primal power source in 5e. That unifying theme would help a lot in creating original archetype for the druid. But that's off topic, sorry for my rant about your favorite class :p What I meant is that having the capacity to support 10 archetypes is a false bar to attain, even for ''supplemental'' classes.
  • 09:29 PM - Blue quoted Tony Vargas in post New class concepts
    2) The game shouldn't allow MC'ing because it's total powergaming catnip, and every valid concept should just have a sub-class cover it - plus a background and throw in the 'just role-play-it' panacea for anything that's missing. My own experience is 180 degrees away from this. In 5e, multiclassing isn't the "road to greatness" it was with some earlier editions. Just that all us old grognards think it is. And I tell you, every single one of my powergaming friends immediately went to multiclassing in 5e because of that ... and most of them ended up shooting themselves in the foot. So then they learned some lessons, and tried again, and found that earlier multiclassing misses the level 5 bump, so do it later, and lots of multiclassing usually wasn't worth it later since except for the few classes that didn't give out anything meaningful at high levels. I have a big problem with 5e multiclassing - it's that people (not veteran players) can come up with cool concepts (or copy them from movies a...
  • 08:06 PM - Ovinomancer quoted Tony Vargas in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    Don't even know what that is, nor am I curious to find out. Okay.
  • 07:32 PM - Ovinomancer quoted Tony Vargas in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    So, no creativity, no interest, no imagination, no character portrayal? Just choosing actions that must have a meaningful impact that they're aware of up-front and can't ever be over-ridden nor obfuscated? Illusionism doesn't take either of those choices away. In fact, it can create the experience of making more, more difficult/interesting/risky, such decisions, for the player. As the name suggests, some of those experiences may be 'illusionary,' but that doesn't make them any less real than the others, which are still imaginary decisions for imaginary characters in an imaginary world. Obviously, removing it entirely would render the whole exercise pointless, but illusionism isn't an all-in, only way to run a campaign from beginning to end, it's a technique that can be used as much or as little as the DM judges helpful. Abridging is not annihilating. Heh. Like I said, a technique/tool that can be used for good or ill. D&D survives, and outshines all other RPGs in the market, in spite...
  • 06:42 PM - Ovinomancer quoted Tony Vargas in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    No, you've assumed it's innately bad, and offered no support for that assumption. I've characterized it as a technique, and a powerful one. It can be used to produce desirable or undesirable results, depending on the skill and inclination of the DM employing it. I'm sorry you choose to ignore decades of D&D's history. Tony, you're being facetious. I was very clear that player agency is the only thing players get to bring to the table. They're one thing is choosing what their characters do and how they spend their character resources. Abridging that, especially for the sole purpose of maintaining the DM's vision of what should happen instead of what the player wants to happen is clearly removing the one thing the players get to do. The reason for doing it makes it clear that the only thing at stake here is the DM's ego, not any idea that the player will be happier being told what moves to make rather than getting to play their character. It also breaks a number of the guideline...
  • 06:37 PM - iserith quoted Tony Vargas in post DM advice: How do you NOT kill your party?
    "Illusionism" is bad enough. I'll tolerate it, because it evokes the idea of a stage magician entertaining with 'illusions,' which is a pretty good analogy. But calling it dishonest is inappropriate. Do you rail against magicians in 'Vegas for being 'dishonest?' No. It's not the same thing. A player isn't aware of illusionism (otherwise it would be "participationism" or whatever) in the same way I'm aware I signed up for being tricked by a magician. Even the DMG suggests not letting players know you fudge. I think that's bad advice because it's encouraging acting in an untruthful manner. I'd rather the DM tell me he or she does that so I can opt not to play in that game. What was going on, and went on in D&D as a matter of course back in the day, was that the players did not have full knowledge of the system nor how it was being used to resolve their actions and the events around them that might affect them. That's all that's required for illusionism. While that may be true in ...
  • 06:13 PM - Ovinomancer quoted Tony Vargas in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    Heck, in some games (most D&D eds, for instance), you can /follow/ play procedures and abridge agency. Not ignore them, use them, arguably even as intended. Not anymore than to presume that a technique some rule in some game is designed to prevent is a bad technique in some other game... DMs have been DMing for 40 years. There's a vast pool of experience & knowledge out there. Techniques like 'illusionism' get negatively-connoted labels like that precisely because someone is irate that so many DMs have been using them for so long, and yet D&D remains stubbornly dominant in the hobby. I've done a lot of DMing, and it's certainly been my experience. It felt more like fun than work, for the most part, though. It's a non-magical ability, based on experience, applied to one table of gamers, in the moment. Seems like they'd have a better shot at it than a game designer trying to make the same kind of judgement for everyone who might ever play his game. You might want to do m...
  • 05:39 PM - iserith quoted Tony Vargas in post DM advice: How do you NOT kill your party?
    Clearly system fixes can reduce the frequency of the kinds of issues, while keeping more 'appropriate' deaths on the table. I don't think the game makes any serious judgment on what "appropriate" deaths are by way of its design, nor should it in my view. It does seem like an intentionally-loaded term, meant to impose a connotation of deception ('dishonestly is, well, honestly pushing it - is a magician 'dishonest' for not explaining his tricks? No. Indeed fellow magicians might question the honor of one who did.) on a technique that merely withholds information from the player, in order to present the experience the game is shooting for. Consider Mike Mearls's recent post about playing 1e with Luke Gygax, where he was going on, semi-coherently, about the system adding to the sense of mystery of exploring the dungeon. I'm going to stick with dishonest. It's certainly not dishonesty of any ruinous sort, since we are talking about a game here, but I prefer to be honest and transpar...
  • 08:33 AM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post A gathering of Martial Controllers - what do you think
    Secondary roles are fine, of course. You suggested having a small unit of men for volleys and such to aid the controller role (that seems it would utterly dominate the build), but I was thinking more of knocking the leader angle to secondary by replacing this primary leader power with something less potent and changing other presences and such to ones which enhance other controllerish abilities akin to the Mages enchanter abilities. I was considering something along the lines of a last second warning encounter power. Last Second Warning : While you are less about inspiring allies than other Warlords you never the less are eminently aware of enemy actions and keeping allies aware and hale is very much an advantage to the team. Trigger ally within 10 squares would be hit by an enemy attack. Free Action: Ally gains benefit as though the Warlord performed an aid defense action; This may be selected after damage has been rolled for. While it still has a leader cast to it, I think this woul...
  • 03:15 AM - iserith quoted Tony Vargas in post DM advice: How do you NOT kill your party?
    Yep. Illusionism or 'death is off the table' are more complete solutions. But, as you fix up the system, you could use the former less and less as you go, while the latter still need to be employed up front. ...hmmm. It becomes a de-facto complete solution if you make it through a campaign without anything going south, though. I just don't think there's a system fix for it that keeps death on the table and illusionism sounds like Forge Waffle for "dishonesty." My position is also that the system doesn't need fixing. It's not a mechanics thing, but a technique thing as far as I can tell. If you want death to be a real possibility, keep the stakes as they are and prepare for that possibility - good advice for both DMs and players in my view.
  • 02:55 AM - Parmandur quoted Tony Vargas in post Which classes would you like to see added to D&D 5e, if any? (check all that apply)
    The Witch is older than 1e. OK, it was pretty warlock-y back then, but still. You could do the same to get a Paladin or Ranger, and they're full classes. Interesting thought.I don't think the Paladin and Ranger have super strong reasons to exist.
  • 01:47 AM - Hriston quoted Tony Vargas in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    Remembering, tracking & judging those personality traits for every character. It doesn't seem more arduous to me than keeping track of character aspects is for the GM in a game of Fate. Awarding inspiration is exactly that, a reward for 'good RP,' as the DM judges it, based on multiple traits per PC. It could be /adapted/ to work more like aspects, which might not be a bad idea. Clearly, I don't think it's much of a stretch. A fate point is a reward for accepting a complication from a compel, after all. Also, Inspiration doesn't need to be awarded for portraying multiple personal characteristics in a single act of roleplaying, if that's what you're saying. I'd imagine most instances of awarding Inspiration are for playing true to one personal characteristic or another. OTOH, it already clashes a bit with alignment and the whole very-traditional D&Dness of 5e, in the first place. ::shrug:: I'm not sure what you mean by "clashes". Do you feel there's an overlap? You'd hav...


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