View Profile: Tony Vargas - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • Blue's Avatar
    Today, 02:50 PM
    If by "too scared" you mean "too scared they will have a repeat of the same massive customer backlash they had when they did that for 4e", then I'm glad that they learned that lesson and we don't have to go through it again. Seriously, older printings of books became actively misleading unless festooned with separate errata sheets all over. The only thing that kept it from being even worse...
    44 replies | 2425 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Today, 02:45 PM
    A few months after the PHB came out someone came up with a real index for it. Just print it out and shove it in the back of your PHB. It was more comprehensive as well. I don't have the file anymore to look at a name, but I'm pretty confident Sage Google will be able to find it.
    44 replies | 2425 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Today, 02:33 PM
    Diffident, perhaps a bit self-effacing or risk adverse, except when calling the storms or preaching. Then they are full of thunder and lightning, channeling their god in full-on mode, full of power, spit and vinegar. Goes from a warm spring drizzle to an unexpected thunderstorm themselves.
    10 replies | 230 view(s)
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  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:20 PM
    Yaarel replied to Norse World
    During the Viking Period, a Norse family has its own sacred customs. Norse sacred traditions are individualistic. They are a network of overlapping local traditions. Traditions that are happening in one location can be absent in an other location, even a nearby one. The Old Norse term hof, meaning Ďshrineí, literally means a Ďfarmí. The Norse have a custom where an individual will set aside a...
    74 replies | 4094 view(s)
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  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:10 PM
    Yaarel replied to Norse World
    Every family has its own sacred customs. Norse animism is a network of overlapping local traditions. Many customs are unique to a specific family or group of farms. Sociologically, Norse animism resembles Native American animism. The same kinds of diversities (by individual, by family, by clan, by locale) happen in the same kinds of ways. The Norse lack organized religion. The Norse...
    74 replies | 4094 view(s)
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  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:09 PM
    Yaarel replied to Norse World
    It is the other way around. I resent how Greco-Roman polytheism distorts and misrepresents the culture of Norse aborigines. At least as far as the Norse of Norway are concerned, they are strictly animistic. The misrepresentation of Norse culture by imperialistic Continental European Christians and polytheists, is unwelcome. When people like the Norse, learn who they are. They are actual...
    74 replies | 4094 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:16 AM
    You are comparing it to the target creature's AC. Not the target creature's armor's base AC or anything else. That's the only AC it can affect. It doesn't target armor, it targets a creature. That's their AC - not part of their AC but we'll add a shield later, or just the base AC of their armor, or AC without cover, or anything like that. If the DM says, "what's your AC" - that's your...
    123 replies | 2838 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 11:28 PM
    Marshal Troops it occurs to me rather deals with the "Warlords should be able to interact with masses of troops" thought which I have heard expressed more than a couple of times.
    328 replies | 33444 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 09:52 PM
    Look, narratively I don't like the spell. I think they were trying to come up with something that could ignore any oddity from wild shape (high dex, natural armor, what have you) and ended up with a weird, off off spell. I agree it makes no sense fictionally. If you want to change what the spell does, go for it. But that's not what my answer was about. You said the spell wasn't simple -...
    123 replies | 2838 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 05:38 PM
    We all filter our perceptions, so that will impact us in some ways. Hard to separate. In one of my previous campaigns was very shades-of-grey. Orcs in particular were a big part of that - there were seven tribes of yurt-dwelling nomadic orcs up in the Northern Steppes, each with their own tribal philosophies, as well as sea raider slaver orcs that lived in an archipelago. The group ended up...
    51 replies | 839 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 05:22 PM
    Yunru has been saying everything I would say, and doing it better + faster. I just wanted to unpack that last bit: How does hitting 0 interact with Hex? The same way any other creature dropping to 0 would - the warlock now has the option to spend a bonus action and change the target. They don't have to. Same if a non-wildshape PC was dropped unconscious and then healed - the warlock is...
    10 replies | 268 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 05:14 PM
    A bit of clarification - you mention only the triggers to get it, but "always on" also seems to imply it would apply to more than one attack per round. What is your intention there? Assuming it's still only a single attack a round, it's a decent buff to the rogue. Perhaps the simplest would just be to say "once per turn you do this extra damage". That gives a bonus of no conditions, but...
    39 replies | 941 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 05:02 PM
    Not just caster friendly, but CALCULATION friendly with wild shape. No need to worry about how a beast get's it's AC. If it's lower than 16, it becomes 16. Easy.
    123 replies | 2838 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 05:00 PM
    People who don't believe it's done that way because it's doesn't match their expectations because of other AC calculations.
    123 replies | 2838 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 04:56 PM
    Of course you can apply cover to your AC. And then you compare your AC to 16, and if it's lower you increase it to 16. The order of operations is: 1. Do all AC calculations. Armor, dex, shield, spells, cover, etc. 2. While barkskin is up if the results of step 1 are less than 16 then use 16 instead.
    123 replies | 2838 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 04:52 PM
    Barkskin doesn't grant an AC, just Say you AC would be 13 without barkskin. You cast barkskin, it's now 16. With yours your AC is 16. Okay. You pick up a shield. With barkskin, you base AC is now 15, so is raised to 16. With yours, it becomes 18. You gain a +2 cover bonus to AC from one target. With barkskin, your 15 becomes a 17 against that target, 16 against everyone else. ...
    123 replies | 2838 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 04:36 PM
    It does. You calculate your AC. Then you compare and adjust if you are less than 16. If you change your AC, they you calculate and adjust if less than 16. If you change you AC AGAIN, you do it AGAIN. For the duration. It doesn't have an AC to modify - it just changes your AC to 16 if, after all AC calculations are done, it's less than 16. And it keeps doing it for the duration of the...
    123 replies | 2838 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 04:31 PM
    Barkskin does not give you a 16 AC, set at the casting. It just makes it 16 if it would be lower. So there is no "barkskin + shield" calculation that can ever be made because barkskin isn't armor. Just a "armor + dex + shield < 16" calculation to have it overwrite your AC. Same if some monster had a debuff that reduced your DEX by 10 points - it wouldn't come off the barkskin AC, just the...
    123 replies | 2838 view(s)
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  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 03:42 PM
    The Insight skill check can discern a lie.
    16 replies | 368 view(s)
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  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 02:32 PM
    Yaarel replied to Norse World
    The ax is one the three main Viking Period weapons for one-on-one combat. Roughly a third of Norse warriors seem to use each: ax, sword, and spear. For mass combat and its battle formations, most use the spear, at least initially before throwing it. When switching to one-on-one usually the ax or sword finds use. In the Early and Middle Viking Periods, the Norse ax is typically the...
    74 replies | 4094 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 01:20 PM
    Yaarel replied to Norse World
    I am impressed. That is awesome if you can set up glíma club.
    74 replies | 4094 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 12:56 AM
    I'll even give you a 15% reduction. Of the non-magical B/P/S damage you take at 20th level. Say it keeps you up for one extra hit. Maybe 1/3 of the time you would have dropped that would keep you up for an extra action, other times you'll still drop before your action. The rest of the time it basically means nothing - either you're down anyway or it's fractional less to heal. How many...
    26 replies | 566 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 12:41 AM
    I'm always up for new spells. Thanks for putting these up! Detect Maleficence looks like an outgrowth of Detect Good and Evil. Additional things that can be detected, at a higher level. Looks good. Combat Clarity (and the Mass version) look like the type of spell that in normal play seem like they are well balanced, but are part of power-combos. Even the Fighter (Samurai) can only grant...
    16 replies | 294 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 12:23 AM
    We're not looking for over 20-30 average attack, we are looking for attacks in the 20-30 attack range. So the fact that there aren't many above that range isn't really of import to the discussion. The multiattack was on the giants. At CR 8 and above, giants already are in the 20-30 average damage per attack range, AND they have multiattack with those attacks. So multiattack is not "making...
    26 replies | 566 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th October, 2018, 10:31 PM
    Giants start multi-attacking in the 20-30 average range at CR 8 (Frost) and all the ones up with higher CR also do 20-30. Bunch of demons: Balor (CR 19) & Goristro (CT 17) & wow, Nalfeshnee exceed that with 32 average at CR 13. Dinosaurs too: Triceratops (CR *5*) does 24 average. T-Rex at CR *8* is allt he way up to 33 average bite. I just did a quick skim of categories of bruiser type...
    26 replies | 566 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th October, 2018, 04:54 PM
    To me there is a difference between a lie and and a falsehood. Lies have an intent to deceive. I wouldn't have the ring ties into any "cosmic truth", just what the speaker believes is the truth. Simply for game balance reasons. Otherwise you can just have the ring-bearer spout every conspiracy theory and alternate explanation and instead hear the literal truth of what's going on come out. ...
    16 replies | 368 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th October, 2018, 04:46 PM
    I see from other comments that the party was fully rested when they went into this. In that case, this is the working-as-designed result of the mechanics. Now, escaping afterwards with everyone alerted and blowing a lot of their resources may be more of a challenge. I'd suggest combining several other encounters in waves as they rush to the sounds of combat.
    56 replies | 1436 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th October, 2018, 04:43 PM
    This makes sense. Knowing they are there, having the spell prepped ahead so they pop their head out and use their reaction to cast. Same thing as an invisible character stabbing with a dagger. While the attack makes them visible, but they still have advantage for that attack. Same here.
    56 replies | 1436 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th October, 2018, 04:38 PM
    Thanks. I had heard about that months ago, I thought there was a newer change from the tone of the OP.
    226 replies | 4807 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th October, 2018, 04:36 PM
    Ditch Resilent (DEX) for Resilient (WIS). Dex sabves are just damage, and you've got HPs. WIS turns you against your party or locks you down. Which then means you could use one of those remaining ASI to boost back up your DEX if you're that worried about Init and saves. And your WIS if it's now odd, or just DEX with a different half-feat. Lucky will save your posterior. Use it to turn a...
    26 replies | 566 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th October, 2018, 04:21 PM
    So what's the new ruling on timing? I don't follow twitter.
    226 replies | 4807 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Monday, 15th October, 2018, 07:36 PM
    Here is a cost chart I handwaved above Marshal Troops Flexible Cost Chart Make a history check to determine the resolution of the troops activity 31 or more 1/50 the cost of a magic item at the level of the challenge you are facing 21 to 30 1/40th the cost of a magic item. 11 to 20 or more its 1/30 the cost of a magic item
    328 replies | 33444 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 15th October, 2018, 03:54 PM
    Since I play in home games that aren't part of AL and don't follow the PHB+1 rule, I can tell you there's no "killer combos" out there. Sure, it helps keep possible combo power creep in check, but a big part of it is keeping the barrier to entry to new players as low as possible since AL is the most accessible form for them.
    16 replies | 813 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 15th October, 2018, 01:42 PM
    You have a very direct approach that I'd like to use as an example. I want to start with: I agree with you. And then continue with afterwards with: How do we improve on the mechanics of a skill challenge to make it more in-line with our other sub-system that we do allow to decide life and death. --- Combat is going away from the whole RP / skills approach to a mechanically heavy...
    53 replies | 1492 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th October, 2018, 07:16 PM
    Blue started a thread Levelable dragon character
    So my daughters have been wanting me to introduce D&D to them and we made characters but haven't played yet, and then they got my niece and nephew involved. Youngest is 12, all are bright, and they get the rules. However, my nephew's creativity makes him really want to play a young dragon instead of a humanoid. He's already come up with a backstory. Also, he's not familiar with the D&D lore...
    12 replies | 394 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th October, 2018, 09:31 PM
    Compared to the "Holiday Layoffs" that went on for many years at Wizards this is indeed welcome news.
    73 replies | 2872 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th October, 2018, 09:24 PM
    Judge much? One group I played with was among the best roleplayers I knew, were very creative, and had spent so much time playing that system mastery was second nature and every character was well optimized both individually and with what helped the party much. Or an alternate example - I recently joined an existing group, and I gave a lot of thought to what the group already had and what...
    52 replies | 1792 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th October, 2018, 09:19 PM
    This breaks own with a lot of utility spells. Charm Person could prevent a CR 1/4 fight - or a battle with a bunch of high CR creatures. But a sequence of Persuasion and Insight checks could have the same result. Fly could get one person past a 40' fall - or a 500' fall. Or allow someone to anchor a rope to get the whole party past the same. Or allow the barbarian to get into melee with...
    52 replies | 1792 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th October, 2018, 07:24 PM
    Nylanfs, it could also be that someone you quoted (or merely up-chain?) to your comment has blocked you after you posted, so you can no longer see your own comment.
    4 replies | 215 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th October, 2018, 01:13 AM
    My guess is that the DM isn't pushing 6-8 encounters a day. Or at least 4. Because thoses are the symptoms I see for that. Yes, a party of 10th level should be able to smoke a 200HP foe in a round if they focus fire and have full resources. If you want attrition battles, you need to have a good number of them per day. Let me unpack "attrition" - there are plenty of ways to have encounter...
    56 replies | 1436 view(s)
    6 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th October, 2018, 12:14 AM
    The countdown was a fixed, but the party didn't know it. They could have spent actions to figure it out, used those on escaping. As for motivation, part of it was how close the characters had been. But the other part is that the sorcerer's player thought it was a fantastic martyr death that made a great story and a fitting end for his character arc, while the rogue's player was earlier in...
    53 replies | 1492 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th October, 2018, 12:13 AM
    Practical Arts as distinguished from Fine Arts or Magical/Mystical Arts If I am going to generate an OGL compatible presentation might as well think about things like this.
    328 replies | 33444 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 12th October, 2018, 09:09 PM
    "Skill" Challenges are great things. Formally defined skill challenges are the antithesis of creativity. Plus 4e style skill challenges by definition artificially exclude anything that isn't a skill - often a "success" can be had through consuming a resource (a spell slot, a one potion, etc.) at the least. And there are time when a "no roll needed" activity also can provide a success - either...
    53 replies | 1492 view(s)
    5 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 12th October, 2018, 08:11 PM
    That's my worry. My wife is willing to put down a book that doesn't grab her - and she does that often enough with Kindle Unlimited. Hmmm.
    23 replies | 450 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 12th October, 2018, 04:43 PM
    Anyone have any experience with the SF & Fantasy collection for Kindle Unlimited? My wife has it, but she devours urban fantasy and paranormal romance novels like there is no tomorrow, but I'm wondering how it is in the SF/Fantasy category for someone who already has a large library of books so would be looking at it for more new releases / lesser known authors.
    23 replies | 450 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 12th October, 2018, 04:17 PM
    True but irrelevant in this particular case. Let me give an example elsewhere. Say you had up Hex, which adds +d6 necrotic damage whenever you hit the target with an attack. That extra damage does not care if you hit with an attack with the Attack action, with the Cast a Spell action to attack with Booming Blade or Green Flame Blade, or with a reaction to make an Opportunity Attack. Or even...
    20 replies | 969 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 12th October, 2018, 03:51 PM
    Quick question to all the people who prefer to start at level 3 (or 5): Is this a personal preference, where you are fine with others starting at 1st, or do you think the game is weakened (even if just as an opportunity cost) by having that option for other tables? In other word, do you think it brings value even if not for you, or would you eliminate it for everyone if you could?
    56 replies | 2256 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Friday, 12th October, 2018, 02:33 PM
    What might be a good alternative term for practices? So far arts are the only thing popping to mind. Changing the feat name to Martial Artistry and the Warlords class feature to Art of War. And given that access to Martial Techniques could be via The art of the Sensei and we have Library Arts in there. It looks like I have been moving that direction for a while.
    328 replies | 33444 view(s)
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  • Eubani's Avatar
    Friday, 12th October, 2018, 07:12 AM
    They will probably only fix spelling, grammar and phrasing. They are too scared to do anything further.
    44 replies | 2425 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th October, 2018, 07:15 PM
    It's an interesting point that what you said is very true in D&D but other systems have different takes on it. D&D everyone is expected to contribute in combat - my guess is it's the most wall time per campaign spent on any mechanical subsystem of the game so they want everyone to be able to contribute and have spotlight. Some other systems either deprioritize combat, make it quick to resolve. ...
    52 replies | 1792 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th October, 2018, 07:11 PM
    I agree that a character built only around combat is a "trap option". Unfortunately, I think a character built to be able to do everything is also a trap option. Because D&D is a cooperative, team-based game. And unfortunately combat is designed around all characters contributing synergistically, many of the other pillars of the game are not, and have little mechanical benefit from more then...
    52 replies | 1792 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th October, 2018, 05:34 PM
    If D&D full sessions were applicable to some sort of monte-carlo repeated testing, I'd say that it wouldn't be to track resources saved - since as you point out there are no rewards for ending up with unused resources - but rather to determine the number of times that there was a resource outage during an adventuring day. For example, damage taken is unimportant, but actions lost to being...
    52 replies | 1792 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th October, 2018, 04:24 AM
    I do prefer the term bloodied but honestly why I consider it significant is having the status and having things trigger off of it generally are what is important mechanically I would say it is part of the 4e pacing system I think which should have been made more intense, But zee flavor mon she is mahn to lever as I wilt.
    12 replies | 599 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th October, 2018, 01:46 AM
    I did start with mentioning that there were a bunch partial solution, but I was interested in a good one. :) Gumshoe is used for space opera (Ashen Stars), modern occult terrorists (The Esoterrorists), mutant police procedurals (Mutant City Blues), vampire spy thriller (Night's Black Agents) as well as others. I'm sure it can focus on action if you want it to.
    10 replies | 300 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th October, 2018, 11:05 PM
    Read the surprisingly short Flowers of Vashnoi novella that was the new entry into the Vorkosigan Saga. Ekaterin is a character I greatly enjoy, but this had a lot less laugh-out-loud and less misty-eyed times then usual. I started readign the new Honor Harrington book. So far it's a bunch of disconnected scenes with different characters in each. A very few of which I recognize, some of...
    23 replies | 450 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th October, 2018, 10:30 PM
    This reminds me of setting goals / KPIs for my employees. HR keeps on about measurable goals - but oft times what you want to encourage and reward aren't measurable in terms of here's an objective number. If I have one guy who's always dependable, will work the hours needed, and will stay with a problem with the tensity of a bulldog, what's the objective measurement I can put in vs. the guy who...
    52 replies | 1792 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th October, 2018, 10:14 PM
    I was just in a thread where people were strongly defending "level 0" rules for 5e, for playing before you start your classes. The idea that you don't have your class until 3rd was laughable to them - you have your class, you just don't have a specialization. I think that 1st is a great place to have. It allows those who want to run true zero-to-hero arc, instead of characters being already...
    56 replies | 2256 view(s)
    6 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th October, 2018, 10:09 PM
    Just if you're going to do it with Spirit of the Century, update it to Fate Core, which is the newest / most streamlined. And the best organized. It should be minor changes, but major benefits. There's also Young Centurions (teen-aged pulp heroes of the 1910s) and Shadow of the Century (1980s), already using with Fate Core. There's a product Strange Tales of the Century with an appendix...
    10 replies | 300 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th October, 2018, 07:36 PM
    There is a power it is based on... (allowing the attack to inspire someone other than the attacks direct target is a new ingredient) I might want to introduce a Charisma benefit in there... like the manipulator feature allowing you to do CHA mod damage to the secondary target.
    19 replies | 2142 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th October, 2018, 04:48 PM
    Ah, a difference in definition. Spotlight time is times when you get to act cool and amazing, when you stand out - have the spotlight on you. If one character is the focus of the session with everything revolving around them, they had the spotlight. The fact that wall time was spent on other characters isn't really an issue. Since we're talking about time in combat, let me give a combat...
    38 replies | 1263 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th October, 2018, 04:28 PM
    I'm also interested in the answer to this question. There are some partial answers out there. Gumshoe seems like it might be a good fit, customizing for archeology just like it was customized for Trail of Cthulhu. Actually, any Cthulhu RPG has investigation and lost secrets baked into the core. It just also has insanity and things-man-was-not-meant-to-know as major themes. So it could...
    10 replies | 300 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th October, 2018, 03:55 PM
    This is a tough one. I've played as myself before (in a GURPS time-hopping game), and that me got rather messed up in the head (had to kill someone). But never has a player tried to insert me into a game when I was DMing. I have to admit, I'd probably sidestep the whole issue by making my disappearance be my unsolved death, that leads the group to a campaign arc level plot going on. So "me"...
    12 replies | 368 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th October, 2018, 03:19 PM
    Timde to take a turn =/= spotlight. Otherwise every ill-prepared caster player who needs to look up three spells would be the "main spotlight character". I am all for working out ways to support the player's concept of the character, such as a summoner, while keeping game-play fast. In earlier editions I've required characters to have cheat-sheets for summons so there wasn't looking up (and...
    38 replies | 1263 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th October, 2018, 03:08 PM
    I can't help you with most of these since they are AL specific - which are effectively club rules that are lain on top of D&D rules but are not part of them. I can say I've never seen that interpretation of Detect Magic before, and it's directly contradictory to what's in the PHB.
    11 replies | 578 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th October, 2018, 02:40 PM
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't every single reprinting since Wizards acquired the brand included any official errata? Mind you not all books had official errata nor reprintings, especially in the book-a-month 3.x and 4e days, but the core books and many of the others certainly did. I wouldn't really call "continuing to do things as we have always done them" biting the bullet. Now,...
    65 replies | 2682 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th October, 2018, 02:32 PM
    Agreed, but I can understand why they want something they can graph. It's easily consumable and discussable, from designers to managers up the chain outside of D&D. The amount of time to read thousands of responses per subclass would pull the design team away from anything else for a prohibitive amount of time, and what they come away with would be highly subjective. The problem is that...
    65 replies | 2682 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th October, 2018, 09:24 AM
    Out of curiosity, how did you rate options (classes etcetera) that seemed like they were good quality, but regarding a concept that you personally had less interest in?
    65 replies | 2682 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th October, 2018, 04:39 AM
    I am unfamiliar... I am being weirded out right now by recharge rolls. ;) and more weirded out by inconsistent rules about something so core. Now I am reading about class balance from some more math oriented souls bless their hearts.
    12 replies | 599 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th October, 2018, 04:31 AM
    A badass Warlord is on my list of requirements for a fully fleshed game is to be considered a 4e Descendent ... (I am thinking the now available Commander from 13th age qualifies)
    12 replies | 599 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th October, 2018, 02:40 AM
    The Hector build Warlord passes up on some of the limelight of regular inspiring of allies in favor of battlefield control, which goes even beyond that of the Tactical Lord. They gain the Gifted Manipulator feature in place of Inspiring Word. Gifted manipulator grants extra move distance (not as much as the Mage Enchanter) and extra damage when you induce an enemy to harm their ally. (Friendly...
    19 replies | 2142 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th October, 2018, 02:31 AM
    That small thing is bigger for me than it might seem.
    12 replies | 599 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th October, 2018, 10:51 PM
    or 5e for that matter... Might really take effort
    12 replies | 599 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th October, 2018, 10:35 PM
    Can someone convince me to include 13th Age?
    12 replies | 599 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th October, 2018, 04:27 PM
    About 3/4 of the way through Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, the Nth book in the Vorkosigan Saga. What's next is challenging. I have a novella (novelette?) on the Vorkosigan Saga I've never read (Lois McMaster Bujold has often not written chronologically). Since I'm hot on that series, that has a lot of pull. But I also just picked up the next (last?!) Honor Harrington book. It arrived...
    23 replies | 450 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th October, 2018, 02:52 PM
    Agreed with the others who says it last for two of the bard's turns - the current one and the next. That's only one turn for everyone else, and it's only on action of the bard's (not devoted to countersong). This way makes a lot of sense. Picture the classic myth of sailors being sung into the sea / onto the rocks. If the bard's next action wasn't covered and it ended at the beginning of...
    3 replies | 223 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th October, 2018, 02:28 PM
    Included most of that in the original post now - had my own link that was dead on the original to 4e Magic Sword.
    12 replies | 599 view(s)
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  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th October, 2018, 12:21 PM
    There are some spells that are nonbroken yet too powerful for their spell slot, compared to other spells. For example, Bless and Hunters Mark. These should probably become class features for the Cleric and Ranger, respectively, instead of spells, since they dont actually break the game. The problem is they make other spell options less likely, thus discourage a diversity of spells. For some...
    65 replies | 2682 view(s)
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  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th October, 2018, 11:59 AM
    Yeah, no spells are overpowered. But lots of spells are disappointing (to put it politely). Too many underpowered spells disrupt the game, in that what could be interesting concepts prove to be nonviable compared to other options in the same spell slot. It is a similar problem with feats. Too many feats are noncompetitive with other feats.
    65 replies | 2682 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th October, 2018, 06:44 AM
    Yaarel replied to Norse World
    Viking style wrestling, called glíma, is brutal. It resembles mixed-martial arts today, with take downs, body locks, punches and kicks, and lots of blood, except glíma involves more body throws, and uses improvised weapons, such as throwing stones, wielding an oar, pulling down an opponents pants to distract, throwing sand in eyes, etcetera. During the Viking period, glíma normally...
    74 replies | 4094 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th October, 2018, 06:22 AM
    Yaarel replied to Norse World
    Yeah, the bow and the spear are primarily hunting weapons. Because hunting is a staple source of food during the long winters, many Norse will have a bow and a spear around anyway, and know how to use it. Similarly, the ax. The same ax that is used to chop wood is often the same ax that is reused for war. Only the sword is unusual, in that its only purpose is combat, which is why it functions...
    74 replies | 4094 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th October, 2018, 04:17 AM
    I suspect the designers are in a ... modality ... that they care more about whether the majority of players are satisfied than whether the game is actually balanced or consistent. If there are some aspects that are off, it seems necessary to inform the larger community about the difficulties, to encourage players to notice and understand the issues, rather than finetune the aspects directly. ...
    65 replies | 2682 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th October, 2018, 12:22 AM
    The "which class is more powerful" drove me crazy because it didn't have a tier component. Many start slow and get more or vice versa. Heck, how do you compare to 9th level spells.
    65 replies | 2682 view(s)
    2 XP
  • clearstream's Avatar
    Monday, 8th October, 2018, 09:38 PM
    It depends what your players choose to do. That a mechanic can be exploited doesn't mean it will be at all tables. There was a period where Warlock players didn't like downed foes, but that seems to have passed. The feeling I get from 5th is that it had strong attention to balance through the first two tiers, much less so thereafter. For 30 or 40 sessions all went well. The Battlemaster...
    189 replies | 5018 view(s)
    0 XP
  • clearstream's Avatar
    Monday, 8th October, 2018, 09:01 PM
    A few posters have written more or less this, which is why I think Expertise should just scale with Rogue (and Bard) levels. Looking over the rules history of D&D, things that have scaled with character level have often overshadowed other options and trivialised some kinds of challenges.
    189 replies | 5018 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 8th October, 2018, 02:09 PM
    Play a Halfling with the Bountiful Luck racial feat from XGtE. Just to get rid of the worst result.
    2 replies | 188 view(s)
    0 XP
  • clearstream's Avatar
    Monday, 8th October, 2018, 01:14 PM
    Where I find Expertise has impacted most on my campaign, is implicit and explicit Contests. Creatures without Expertise in Athletics or Perception (i.e. nearly every creature), are handily dominated by characters with Expertise. To the point of lack of challenge. One can tweak every creature, of course, but that doesn't really excuse the mechanic.
    189 replies | 5018 view(s)
    0 XP
  • clearstream's Avatar
    Monday, 8th October, 2018, 10:07 AM
    I think Expertise is fine on a Rogue. It becomes more problematic when dipped or stacked with other things, which is heavily conditioned on your players' choices. I feel like having it scale with Rogue and Bard levels would retain what you like - Rogue can do a few cool things - and balance it a bit better in other cases. It's not a big deal, really, but the game could be improved by doing it....
    189 replies | 5018 view(s)
    0 XP
  • clearstream's Avatar
    Monday, 8th October, 2018, 10:01 AM
    We have a Dwarf Battlemaster who expressly dipped for Expertise and Cunning Action. What I'm finding as DM is that Cunning Action raises no issues at the table: the dwarf is more mobile... fine. Expertise bends the fiction somewhat. We use feats, and he has it on Athletics. With Shield Master and a moderately strong character (16), I find that foes nearly always end up prone. Another case of...
    189 replies | 5018 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Monday, 8th October, 2018, 03:12 AM

    19 replies | 2142 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 8th October, 2018, 03:07 AM
    The problem is that the rules don't let you "mow through" low level people. Question - if you have two attacks and are facing 20 goblins, what rule lets your 3rd tier character "mow thru them all" in 2-3 turns? None, because you at most hit & kill one per attack. And there's no options like Cleave from earlier editions. That's where a rule to let you deal epicly with hordes of minions can be...
    96 replies | 1808 view(s)
    1 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);

Friday, 12th October, 2018


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Wednesday, 10th October, 2018

  • 02:40 AM - Garthanos mentioned Tony Vargas in post Warlord Flavor (One favorite of mine)
    The Hector build Warlord passes up on some of the limelight of regular inspiring of allies in favor of battlefield control, which goes even beyond that of the Tactical Lord. They gain the Gifted Manipulator feature in place of Inspiring Word. Gifted manipulator grants extra move distance (not as much as the Mage Enchanter) and extra damage when you induce an enemy to harm their ally. (Friendly fire style attacks) - these are not massively on the Warlord list but new ones are in the works. But some powers like the following seem very very Hectorish and so I am wondering if I over did the benefit or if its too complicated to use... beware I can do that too @Tony Vargas. Usually the enemy aids you involuntarily but sometimes being ultimately convincing works even better 102207

Thursday, 9th August, 2018

  • 08:30 AM - Garthanos mentioned Tony Vargas in post Out of combat balance - skills trained and known
    Just for a comparison In HERO for agility skills they have Acrobatics - same skill Breakfall - subsumed in acrobatics Climbing - subsumed in athletics Combat Driving - combat riding feat Combat Piloting - more combat riding not differentiated Contortionist - subsumed in acrobatics Fast Draw ? independent ability allowing drawing a weapon as part of the Attack or drawing and sheathing as one minor action. Lockpicking - subsumed in thieving Riding - subsumed in nature usually but see combat riding feat Sleight Of Hand- subsumed in thieving Stealth - same skill Teamwork - not sure how this relates it is a combat teamwork bonus wrt coordinating with others enabling maybe simultaneous attacks? or something I thought HERO was supposed to be clear @Tony Vargas

Thursday, 26th July, 2018

  • 12:10 PM - pemerton mentioned Tony Vargas in post My Attempt to Define RPG's - RPG's aren't actually Games
    ... tell them to, move pieces (literal or notional) around maps in accordance with the D&D rules for doing so, etc. Until someone actually uses the guidelines of the RPG to create that adventure, there's nothing to really do with an RPG.This isn't true either. When I wanted to play Classic Traveller with my friends, we sat down and started playing: PC gen; world gen; patron gen; GO! (Further details here.) They're playing Against the Giants. They're playing whatever campaign they happen to be playing. We use RPG's to create the campaigns which is essentially the game that we play, whether it's some massive dungeon crawl or some high rp court intrigue game. Or combinations thereof. And the campaign that I play is distinct from the campaign you play. Unless we're using the same module, it's virtually impossible for two campaigns to share any points of similarity. Doesn't that mean, at that point, we're essentially playing different games?I mostly agree with Umbran and Tony Vargas on this. Was I playing chess, or the Sicilian defence? Presumably both. Was I playing D&D, or Against the Giants? Presumably both. Maybe there's a better analogy? I see RPG's as having three levels. At the top, you have the RPG itself which we use to build a campaign. At the next level, you have the campaign which, in my mind, is the game that this group is going to play, and at the third level, you have the session, which is roughly analogous to a single instance of the game. For most games though, you only have two levels. The game and the instance. You don't use charades, to use the example, to build a specific kind of pantomime game that players then play. You just play instances of charades. There's no higher level tier, such as what you get with RPG's.Does what you say apply to My Life with Master? DitV? Even The Dying Earth? And even for RPGs that have "the campaign", how is that different - in a structural sense - from dealing a hand? Or agreeing at a casu...
  • 03:13 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Tony Vargas in post Morale systems
    ...eader ability. The solace in numbers element would need to be something else. Perhaps an ability enemy has bonus hit points per ally currently on the field. (and loses them when they die) I do like the idea of thinking morale is all in terms of hit points. Yeah, my thinking and practice has evolved through 4 stages: 1) 4e - there simply is no provision for morale as such, except for the highly broken Intimidate implementation (which is IMHO garbage). This indicated the lameness of having a system that breaks with the "get the enemy to 0 hit points and he's defeated" paradigm, which is a good solid paradigm. 2) Morale system v1 - This was just basically an adaptation of what happens in AD&D (which is how I would classify Lost Soul's mechanics too). It requires managing morale as a separate system and has the same disadvantage as the Intimidate system from 4e, it creates a 'second path' to defeating monsters, with attendant problems. 3) Morale system v2 - This was basically what Tony Vargas is proposing here, that morale is some sort of a hit point penalty which creatures take when certain conditions are met. This DOES fix the issues with #1 and #2, now you have one thing to worry about, hit points. I've already stated why it is unsatisfactory, as it is ESSENTIALLY just cutting monster's hit points. 4) Morale system v3 - (this hasn't been implemented) Model morale as a positive influence on creatures hit points when they are in favorable morale situations. Thus leaders effectively heal their allies, bolstering their hit points. This would most likely have to be coupled with a system like #3 where hit points could wane due to situational factors. However that might be able to be factored into a combination of initial hit points and the effects of at least some powers. As you can see, coming up with something that is both workable and satisfactory is hard. Mostly I have come to the conclusion that it is not really worth it. Instead simply downrate the levels of weak mora...

Wednesday, 25th July, 2018

  • 07:04 PM - Cyber-Dave mentioned Tony Vargas in post Why I feel so abysmally let down by the "Ravnica" news...
    @Tony Vargas Cyberpunk is, in many ways, cynical or dystopian. It is also, in many ways, utopian. Arguments about whether it is utopian or dystopian are standard critical fair. Quite frankly, in my opinion, cyberpunk is innately ambiguous more than anything else, at least when you examine any given set of texts synchronically. I believe that a diachronic analysis is required in order to make anything even resembling a clear interpretation of the genre as a whole or a specific set of texts from the genre tenable. All that, however, is beside the point. The point is: a romantic text can be hopeful, cynical, or both. Romanticism has virtually nothing to do with how hopeful or cynical a text is. Likewise, your claim that cyberpunk and steampunk are innately different on the level of spirit is not accurate either. Steampunk largely owes its existence to William Gibson and Bruce Sterling's The Difference Engine. That text is considered to be the foundational steampunk text. The text is, in many ways, a...
  • 02:57 AM - Hussar mentioned Tony Vargas in post My Attempt to Define RPG's - RPG's aren't actually Games
    Think about what you just said Tony Vargas. You take the game, ok fine. Then you added a pre-deigned adventure. Whoops. Now Iím not playing just the rpg anymore. Now Iím playing that adventure. IOW, I canít just play the rpg. The rpg is the game creation engine and operating system, but the actual game is that module. I donít think youíre actually disagreeing with me.

Sunday, 22nd July, 2018

  • 04:01 PM - Aldarc mentioned Tony Vargas in post The roots of 4e exposed?
    Oh, come now, it was a triumph of expostulation...:cool:Despite how heated many of these threads get, I have increasingly found myself drawn to many such threads in General Roleplaying Games. Because a lot of the insight on game design, game theory, and play approaches provided by you, pemerton, Hussar, Maxperson, Lanefan, Manbearcat, Imaro, Bedrockgames, Tony Vargas, among many others unlisted, has been incredibly engaging for me, as it I can apply those insights and approaches to games outside of D&D.

Friday, 20th July, 2018


Thursday, 19th July, 2018


Tuesday, 17th July, 2018

  • 03:51 AM - MNblockhead mentioned Tony Vargas in post Please share advice for running first game at a convention
    Tony Vargas Thanks! Regarding "Judge", yep, the menu and GM registration page are titled "judging" and there are two registration options under "judging": "judges" (GMs who pay a registration fee and can both judge and play) and "Referees" (registration is free but the GMs can only run their own games, not participate in other events). http://conofthenorth.org/judging/

Saturday, 14th July, 2018

  • 09:07 AM - pemerton mentioned Tony Vargas in post Would you allow this?
    ...y acting on it, does not make you invisible. It ONLY makes you unseen and/or unheard. I love how you are now claiming the discussion is about being unseen, when you were clearly arguing that it makes one invisible. Invisibility is defined in the 4e book and stealth does not fit the definition.You're wrong about 4e - it's in the rules for Stealth in the PHB2 that a succesful Stealth check makes you invisible to the person you're hiding from, which means that they can't see you with normal vision. (Depending on the circumstances, they may be able to see you with Blindsight or Tremorsense.) And as I've already said, 5e refers to being unseen - which in many circumstances is functionally equivalent to being invisible. I don't know what you think this whole discussion is in aid of, but I certainly don't need schooling from you in how 4e works, given that I've run far more of it than you; and I don't need schooling in the 5e skill rules, either. As I already said, but which only Tony Vargas has replied to - my take away from this is that non-magic users in 5e are significantly hosed compared to their 4e versions, and in many ways it seems even compared to their earlier edition versions. (Eg in AD&D hiding in shadows is as good as invisibility once you are hidden and assuming potential observers don't have infravision, although there are no very clear rules for moving and remaining hidden.)

Friday, 13th July, 2018

  • 08:19 AM - pemerton mentioned Tony Vargas in post OSR/older D&D and XP from gold - is there a "proper" alternative?
    4e's reward system is magic items.I agree with Tony Vargas in having a different view of this. In 4e, you get XP for playing and (via the parcel system) get treasure for earning XP, so magic items aren't a reward either. The "rewards" in 4e (as in, stuff that isn't a guaranteed result of playing the game, and which is obtained, or not, based on player decisions) are either in the fiction ("story rewards"), or else the thrill of victory in some particular encounter or other circumstance. I'm not familiar with Traveller, is combat the primary mode of play? Is it how you advance your character? Generally speaking, RPGs tend to have a heavy focus on character advancement, either through unlocking new abilities with levels/XP/etc., obtaining loot, or a combination of both. I would say that the "victory condition" for most such RPGs, in as much as there can be a single defined victory condition in such games, is such advancement. That's how you know you're "winning" at D&DClassic Traveller doesn't have very much PC advancement in the D&D s...

Thursday, 12th July, 2018

  • 01:09 AM - Hawk Diesel mentioned Tony Vargas in post The Bullymong: A Symbiotic Player Race
    ...d the feedback helped. I enjoyed reading through your thoughts. If you are still thinking about the Rock Throw ability how about this alternative: Four-Arm Smash. With your Bullier you can use your action to smash the ground with all four fists. When the Bullier smashes the ground, pick a point up to 60í away. Each creature within a 10í radius of the chosen point must make a Dexterity saving throw. The DC for this saving throw equals 8 + your Strength modifier + your proficiency bonus. A creature takes 3d6 bludgeoning damage on a failed save, and half as much damage on a successful one. The damage increases to 4d6 at 5th level, 5d6 at 11th level, and 6d6 at 17th level. After you use your four-arm smash, you can't use it again until you complete a short or long rest. That way you don't need to have it be dependent on too many rocks being around or not enough. The mechanics stay the same. I added the bludgeoning damage because you didnít indicate a type. That's a great idea! Tony Vargas Thanks for the reference. I haven't read the series but I've heard good things. I've updated the original post with more flavor text and history. I also changed the name Bullier to Bulliox. Other than that, I think at least for now I will keep the name until someone suggests something better. I'd like it to be something that would be two interesting names that can be smashed together, similar to how Bullymong can become Bulliox and Mongo.

Tuesday, 10th July, 2018

  • 08:18 PM - Oofta mentioned Tony Vargas in post 6e? Why?
    Tony Vargas, You think 4E was better for new players, I don't. In my experience it may have been easier for the first few levels, but unless you used the online tool it became overwhelming. In my experience at mid-to-high level play 4E devolved into an unholy mess of conditions, interrupts and people trying to parse the wording of their powers like it was computer code. You also make a lot of assumptions and statements about my motivation, background, who I played with or not, that "old school" players rejected 4E simply because it was different. You keep stating things as facts that are nothing more than your opinion. It's insulting not only to me, but to everyone who didn't like 4E to say that the reason people didn't like 4E was because we couldn't get used to change. You liked the game. Good for you. I enjoyed it for quite a while myself but, like most people I played with, eventually burned out on it.
  • 06:55 PM - Oofta mentioned Tony Vargas in post 6e? Why?
    Doesn't it just work? Sorry for the pointless notification, @Tony Vargas. I just typed his name after the @. Huh. When I type @Tony Vargas, and do a preview it doesn't show...maybe when I submit? EDIT: Apparently that does work. I learned something new today, does that mean I can go home?
  • 06:46 PM - Satyrn mentioned Tony Vargas in post 6e? Why?
    Doesn't it just work? Sorry for the pointless notification, @Tony Vargas. I just typed his name after the @.

Sunday, 8th July, 2018

  • 05:21 PM - Garthanos mentioned Tony Vargas in post Disarm Let Us Count the Ways.
    What I think @Tony Vargas was saying wasnt worth it was the effort of of going through and recomputing all the individual elements of here it is without tool and ie all the rigor of going through and making sure after you remove those truly dependent on items bits and so on just isn't valuable as the purported benefit in comparison to just laying on a broad brush stroke like using weakened. The use of inherent bonuses and making heroes explicitly better at improvised weaponry would be a couple of things we can do to make sure they arent more impaired if taken in detail than the quick and dirty general rule.(Weakened being the QAD)

Saturday, 7th July, 2018

  • 05:34 AM - Garthanos mentioned Tony Vargas in post Disarm Let Us Count the Ways.
    Now while I have been focusing on martial powers that do the disarm dance... but we can definitely have some spells which I think would complement the concept very well. Some very classic ones even. (A heat metal weapon one) I am actually considering making some of them somewhat pay for the value of multi-targetting with less tactical control.. Tony Vargas suggested disarms which allowed options ... perhaps options the target can decide on. This could be another way to establish some class based patterns to the disarming. Disarming Keyword Patterns of effects emerge for disarms what if they are a thing of there own then you can have magical items,elegant martial techniques and feats and so on which interact recovering from being proned by disarming attack as a free action with this glove or that loyal weapon or similar things perhaps ... Powers with the keyword can have there own finishing condition of cowed and mostly harmless in the immediate sense this like unconcious is a non-deadly alternative

Monday, 2nd July, 2018

  • 10:50 PM - Lanefan mentioned Tony Vargas 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

Sunday, 1st July, 2018

  • 12:25 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Tony Vargas in post Power " Invitation to Defeat " unclear
    The orignal post seemed to be just INSISTING the secondary "effect" MUST have a save. I think, as Tony Vargas pointed out, that he was just a little confused about there being 2 effects. If you are used to reading the sort of muddy subjective descriptions of spell effects in games like AD&D, 3.x, and 5e, then you what you do is you sort of squint and try to get the 'gist' of what is being said and then figure out the questions in play somehow. AD&D is a game which is particularly like this, nothing in it actually just makes sense when you try to play it out at the table. You always have to step back and invent the actual mechanics from the ambiguous words. So when you come to 4e and you read a power, and you're used to playing some other D&D, you just automatically try to mentally construct some something in your head that 'sort of matches' with the gist of the words. But with 4e you don't need to do that. Instead if you literally read the words rote and don't add even the smallest bit of interpretation to them beyond "OK, this is what happens when X" then it is all just clear. You play it and...


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Friday, 21st September, 2018


Friday, 10th August, 2018

  • 05:22 PM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post Out of combat balance - skills trained and known
    Hero is a tragic example of skill proliferation creating incompetence. Even as powers were consolidated & rationalized in the 4th ed BBB/HSR to create a true universal system, skills from the other hero games and open-ended background skills from Champions II made a mess of tge system. Steve Long's tenure has only made it worse. I am very much liking the Engineering as a replacement for Dungeoneering. Adding a Dex skill I do not think will be going down that path. That looking for more Con skills and Str skills is probably a foregone bust. But another Dex skill may be viable. It could give a nice consistency for skill stats that way.

Monday, 6th August, 2018

  • 12:46 AM - aramis erak quoted Tony Vargas in post My Attempt to Define RPG's - RPG's aren't actually Games
    ...now, I was going to say that you can't play, say, Traveler with D&D rules, but there /are/ RPGs with which you could fairly accurately play other RPGs, by not only modeling all the same characters, challenges, and setting info, but also while aping the other game's system artifacts... ...it's a tad hilarious to do, actually. My name appears in the credits for d20 Traveller rules... T20 Traveller's Handbook. It's got some quirks, like it was playtested with half the XP rate given... so high-level play is not as well balanced as it should be. The game engine can be thought of as a system architecture, yes... but it's much more profound an impact than playing, say, Lego Star Wars on Playstation2 vs Game Cube vs Wii vs X-box. Still, lots of people talk about, "Lets go play some X-Box" without stating which software they're going to be playing.

Sunday, 29th July, 2018

  • 11:45 PM - Lanefan quoted Tony Vargas in post Suspense in RPGs
    There are at least two sides to every argument, sure. In here there are often about five, roughly equating to one per D&D edition. :)

Saturday, 28th July, 2018

  • 10:52 PM - AtomicPope quoted Tony Vargas in post Why I feel so abysmally let down by the "Ravnica" news...
    The popularity of Prime Rib goes back to the industrial revolution. So we're talking "Little Wars." So Red Box. Huh! I would guessed 1st Edition.
  • 09:02 PM - Lanefan quoted Tony Vargas in post My Attempt to Define RPG's - RPG's aren't actually Games
    There's a reason that having a GM seems like one of the big, obvious, distinction between TTRPGs and CRPGs/MMOs and non-RPGs: because a GM who overrides the rules as a matter of course (see other threads on 'fudging,' 'balance,' &c), is helpful when the rules are lacking, and the more the rules lack, the more necessary the GM. Yet there's no distinction at all, in that a CRPG/MMO still has the equivalent of a GM sitting there in the background: a combination of the programmers who write the game and the program they actually wrote. The difference is that in a TTRPG the players can (usually) interact with the GM on a personal level, where in a CRPG/MMO they cannot. Can anyone think of an RPG where the GM seems almost superfluous? Yeah, mine, some nights; when all they want to do is argue among themselves. :) Hussar - you're getting pushback upthread on your use of the word "engine" to describe what an RPG is; might I suggest "chassis" instead. Lanefan
  • 04:06 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted Tony Vargas in post Mundane/Simple Fighter Pre-build
    BTW, I don't suppose there's an easy way to format a table in the board's markup that others could easily fill in, is there? Create a thread and check the 'wiki' option, then anyone can edit any post. The table markup is just basically the same as in HTML with the usual square brackets (I believe you also MUST specify a table width if you want vBulletin to render it reliably).
  • 03:21 AM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post Morale systems
    The structure could be as simple as X successes before 3 failures, Intimidate primary, advantage: each bloodied standard enemy counts as a success... Interesting ... I kind of missed that thought.
  • 01:59 AM - pemerton quoted Tony Vargas in post Everybody Cheats?
    I know that both as player and DM I sometimes roll dice if I'm stuck for something, just to give me a nudge (even if that nudge is saying "that's a really stupid idea, don't do it!"). Completely outside the rules, and as the results of such rolls are not relevant to anyone except me I'm free to ignore 'em anyway.OK, but that's not what I'm talkking about (and I think obviously not what I'm talking about). I'm talking about a game in which - in virtue of the GM being free to narrate anything at any time regardless of rolls - no dice roll is anything more than a "suggestion" to the GM. Like buy a movie ticket?That's certainly one possibility!
  • 01:56 AM - pemerton quoted Tony Vargas in post The Sandbox and the Railroad
    I don't think there is spectrum between a "sandbox" and a "railroad". One is a game and the other is a story.I think this is a slighlty tendentious way of putting it!, but I tend to agree with the underlying claim I call this the players railroading themselves - the GM, knowing the characters and what motivates them, can put down fifty adventure hooks and know exactly which one will be chosen.Why use the phrase railroading themselves? Isn't it just clearer to say choosing? specifying where the authorship comes from is superfluousMaybe I missed the broader context in which this comment was embedded - but given that the principal activity of a RPG is narrating events that involve fictional elements, I don't see how it can be superfluous to talk about how authors those elements and those events! If the GM authors everything that matters, what is the funtion of the players? Pure audience? One thing I've noticed too is that the player's perspective on the level of freedom available to t...

Friday, 27th July, 2018

  • 06:03 PM - robus quoted Tony Vargas in post Using goals to guide perception vs investigation ability checks
    Just like Spot & Search in 3e, really. Ah, not familiar with 3e but good to know.
  • 03:56 PM - pemerton quoted Tony Vargas in post Everybody Cheats?
    I guess it comes down to faith in the rules governing what the dice mean, vs faith in the GM. If you grok the rules and find them worthy, abiding by the dice even when a result seems, in the moment, to be off somehow is reasonable. If you find the rules impenetrable or inadequate, such trust would be misplaced. Of course all that's a little overblown (as is much concern for the topic), unless you are pretty deeply invested in the RPG expeeience.It's not about being deeply invested, or otherwise. It's that if I wanted someone to tell me a story, I'd go about it some other way than rolling dice to make suggestions as to what they should tell me.
  • 05:12 AM - pemerton quoted Tony Vargas in post Everybody Cheats?
    I've known it to happen in AD&D, 1e too, but don't think it was in the spirit that Gygax intended, rather the 'player knowledge' objection was part of the rapid shift from wargames to RPG, that had little to do with the mechanics or presentation.I agree absolutely that it wasn't intended by Gygax, which is why I used 2nd ed AD&D - which formalises the shift from wargaming to "storyteller" RPGing - as my touchstone. (The idea that it's a shift from wargaming to RPG I reject: playing D&D as a wargame is one very traditional mode of RPGing, not something that contrasts with it.)
  • 04:43 AM - pemerton quoted Tony Vargas in post The Sandbox and the Railroad
    Dungeon World is a well known RPG that, if played in accordance with the rules, is neither railroad nor sandbox. I was obliquely asking for more examples of how Dungeon World was "both railroad and sandbox." That sounded interesting. Though he said: "...neither railroad nor sandbox"; except that I am interested in how that works also.Like dragoner said, neither railroad nor sandbox. Not both railroad and sandbox. Here's a rough account of what a railroad is: Railroad: The main events of the shared fiction are determined by the GM, either in advance, or perhaps by improvisation in the course of play. By determining and event I mean deciding what fictional elements it will include (or at least the main ones) and deciding how it starts and what important consequences flow from it. (Speaking loosely, this is "the story".) The function of player contributions to the fiction is largely to add colour (often by way of characterisation) and perhaps to determine some minor details of events...
  • 03:52 AM - pemerton quoted Tony Vargas in post Everybody Cheats?
    ...ard becomes both the wealthiest (it's nearly unavoidable) and the longest-serving - meaning she's made herself the star in that most of the story continuity is going to end up going through her. So, one of my old gaming buddies, before he went off D&D entirely (he became a GURPS fanatic), ended up 'stuck playing the cleric' one time and managed really well. First of all, he played an evil cleric, then he'd heal the party /very/ selectively, engineering things so that they'd all end up dead at convenient points in the adventure, and he could collect all the treasure, all the exp, and head out to recruit a bunch of new 1st level dupes to do it all over again... ...what you describe, and what he experienced, were, IMHO, degenerate cases of D&D play, they illustrate how badly wrong the game can go with the wrong DM, an embittered player, or even with the table just acquiring some bad habits.I was going to post that what Lanefan describes seems rather pathological to me, and then saw Tony Vargas's post doing the work for me! Even if one pulls back from words like "pathological" and "degenerate case", there are so many assumptions built into what Lanefan describes - about how the GM handles scene framing, about how players decide what PCs to roll up, about how the group handles party formation, about how treasure works in the game, about how "story continuity" works - that it's not worth trying to unpack them all. I'll just say that I think none of the assumptions being made there holds at my table, except for the assumption about treasure, which did hold in one of our old RM campaigns set in GH. Replacement characters seem like an issue if there's going to be this conceit that survival is a key objective. In 1e (and, I assume the other classic versions of that period), your replacement character was freshly-rolled, new stats, 1st level. But, the 'skilled play' paradigm of the day /did/ expect you to use the knowledge you'd gained in playing that character when playing...
  • 03:26 AM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post Morale systems
    I do like that idea. It's one less odd-rule-out (Intimidate is unusual working the way it does in combat), and one more thing to do with SCs. i have been thinking most every man skill actions like the recently conceived Distract and adjusted Aid Defense and ANY skill applied in combat as a standard action need to balance directly against At-wills due to action economy or they will not get used or will get over used...
  • 03:05 AM - dragoner quoted Tony Vargas in post The Sandbox and the Railroad
    ...but, I was obliquely asking for more examples of how Dungeon World was "both railroad and sandbox." That sounded interesting. Though he said: "...neither railroad nor sandbox"; except that I am interested in how that works also.
  • 01:54 AM - 5ekyu quoted Tony Vargas in post So I ran a 6-8 encounter day...
    I do get weirdly hung up on facts, which can be really problematic in a lot of internet discussions, I find. i give you hilarity points for that one, given previous choices you have made in this conversation. you also gets points for form. enjoy.
  • 01:19 AM - pemerton quoted Tony Vargas in post The Sandbox and the Railroad
    Well, as long as it's easy...Here's another take: If people want to post about playing D&D, and issues that have come up playing D&D, go to town! If they want to wonder how those issues might be resolved, that sounds sensible. If they don't want to consider any of the resources that are out there, and easily discoverable, that might help solve those issues, well that's a bit odd but their prerogative. If they're going to assert that those issues can't be solved, or - based on experience only with D&D and variants - are present in all RPGs, some contradictions can be expected!
  • 01:13 AM - 5ekyu quoted Tony Vargas in post So I ran a 6-8 encounter day...
    So, the only way a choice matters is if it makes you 'better' than the next guy in some hands-down, way? Kinda zero-sum, i'n't? You mean add another layer of 'concern,' don't you? Because that is /also/ the case, still in 5e (albeit, less so than in 3.5, and more so than in 4e). If the imbalances harmonize, sure. ;) Party vs 'known' undead: the cleric turns them, and can preps spells just to deal with them, the wizard, likewise, can prep the best spells he knows, the 'known' casters can spam the spells they do know that work best in the situation, etc... You're getting into Class Tiers with that question, really. It's potentially additive, at least, sure. You saw it in AD&D modules. The undead encounters would be huge compared to other sorts of monsters, because the cleric would turn/destroy some of them, but there'd still be an encounter left. Does it always make sense to have more zombies than gnolls in a dungeon? Yep, definitely getting into Class Tiers with that point. Y...


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