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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 04:24 AM
    I think it's fair to say the system does that - both have very significant return on CHA, a Bard would conventionally be CHA-primary, a Paladin at worst, CHA secondary. To be fair, they are both explicitly optional, and not every table may opt in. Ironically, turning feats on could hurt this concept, for the fighter - Yeah, there's an ideal feat, inspiring leader - that all 3...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 03:37 AM
    Heal? or True Polymorph? Yeah, a thing called a Lawyer. That kinda shout'n can True Polymorph all sorts of legal entities... ...but... ...certainly not after those legal bills.
    8 replies | 215 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 12:04 AM
    It's not an idea, it's the GSL. You can't clone 4e, it's not open source. It's not a limitation of the 5e (or other d20) mechanics - you can work from any open source engine, and replace most of the parts, if you want - it's a limitation of the license. You could create a 4e-ish game using a d20 OGL (any of 'em really), like 13A did, heck, you could take the Pelgrane Press Archmage Engine...
    8 replies | 215 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:09 PM
    Oh, the classes are very different, even within the same source or role (or in a few cases, Bard v Artificer, frex both) - nothing much to do with the big numbers floating around everyone. The one thing big numbers do, though, is provide an often-credible illusion of advancement.. The GSL seriously complicates actually publishing (even e-publishing) any of it, though.
    165 replies | 4813 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:30 PM
    Sam sure seemed like he had a high Loyalty Base. A protagonist in fantasy/myth/legend, that is a) a warrior, and b) not exclusively on a solo quest the whole time, is probably a Charismatic Fighting Hero. He may grow into the charismatic part, especially in more modern fantasy offerings which often have coming-of-age elements, or he may have only occasional, temporary allies rather than a band...
    72 replies | 3160 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:17 PM
    Or Psionics or Artificer fans. Some of us want an Artificer who's basically just a wizard who specializes in making magic items, others want a steampunk engineer, or Johnny Sokko, or to be Q to their party's James Bond. Psionics? Magic or not? Points or slots? Should it even be a class - it wasn't in 1e! In any group of n on-line fans of x feature in y game, you probably have x^n + n^Y +...
    165 replies | 4813 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:48 PM
    Sorry if I mostly riff off your post for humor purposes.... Any stat or skill could conceivably be rendered moot by the DM's style or choice of setting & challenges, I suppose. I don't see why not knowing anything isn't a meaningful consequence. I mean, recalling something useful certainly is. Is the idea that you start off not knowing anything, so you might as well try? ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:19 PM
    Options like that go way back. I mean, 3e had 'fighting defensively,' sure, but back in the day DMs would assign all sorts of modifiers. Before there even was a barbarian, one DM I played with would let you 'rage' (I don't think he called it that) getting an attack bonus & taking an AC penalty - something my Druid in his game did on a number of occasions, because Celtic warriors, though not the...
    179 replies | 14369 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:32 PM
    Y'know, some groups have kinda done that, just organically, and it can be fun. Started in one edition and migrated to the next, with or without some in-campaign event (or time passage) marking the rev roll. My old AD&D campaign spanned 1e & 2e, but as 2e started out so much like 1e I didn't mark it in any way (though I did annoy one player by whip-sawing his exp table around, and kept an...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:53 AM
    I converted B1: In Search of the Unknown, it's about as classic a dungeon crawl as it gets. Though more weird than brutal, and it's low-level, but classic with all the crazy D&Disms you could want. OK, 'converted' is giving me way too much credit, I didn't convert anything up-front, just ran with the 5e versions of what was there... sometimes even just used the old stats, mentally inverting...
    16 replies | 552 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:48 AM
    For my money it's the Circle of Oak in the playtest, I got to play one and it really brought me right back to the 1e Druid, real nostalgic fun - or the "Land" Druid in the 5e PH. The Moon Druid harkens more to the 3.5/WoW/4e shape-shifting-centric druid. While shape-shifting was a legendary Druid thing, and the 1e Druid did it, it wasn't with quite the same emphasis, not mainly about hulking...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:36 AM
    I suppose you could make some arguments about leverage and so forth... Ö but, nah "just dumb" sounds 'bout right. If you're gonna cut the gnome some slack 'because fantasy,' you might as well cut the amazon some slack 'because fantasy.' If you're not, well, "realism kills," as my BBS tagline used to say. ;)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 10:43 PM
    FWIW 1e halflings had a lower max STR than other races. Though, that's for the benefit if the younger generation out there - I obviously don't need to tell you that, since, as I understand it, you still run 1e by preference?
    104 replies | 2329 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 06:32 PM
    More like the fallout, the collateral damage - and what made forums blaze in the flames of hell, and gave mods all over the internet ulcers, of course. Not to mention the undiagnosed tragedy of Post Traumatic Edition War Syndrome. Sure, you do see continuations of the edition war in those threads, it's inevitable when you think about it. The Warlord was introduced in 4e, and it's a valid...
    165 replies | 4813 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 07:29 AM
    Not a fan of TotM, but, since I don't see how it actually has any bearing, went ahead and voted for da Flavah. Bland bonuses are bland. Of course, in the olden days you didn't have to choose: your +1 sword most likely glowed (thanks, Tolkien), and your +1 armor was feather-light and needed no maintenance. 5e, likewise, has some cool options for adding extra seasoning to otherwise bland...
    31 replies | 732 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 07:22 AM
    Superior? Different. Willing to adopt the new can be seen as positive or negative, depending on your PoV, but it's certainly different from defending the old. Edit: But, hey, if thinking of yourself as superior matters so to you, you can always spin it hard in the negative direction, something like: former 4e fans must be a bunch of uncritical WotC apologists who automatically adopt the...
    165 replies | 4813 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 05:58 AM
    They're very closely linked topics. The 5MWD is all about timing encounters vs rest for maximum advantage to full casters, and, thus, the PC side of those encounters. It was a very potent strategy in 3.x, when players would plot an attack, execute it, and retire to recover all-important spells. In 1e, it was vital to rest & recover spells frequently, just to survive 1st level. I've been...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 05:36 AM
    There's always griping, of course, merely not adopting is a live-and-let-live 'rejection' of a new ed, if that's as far as it goes.. But, CoC notwithstanding, there was lots of edition warring here - and it's not exactly entirely gone, either. Look at how quickly 4e leading in even a trivial little poll like this drew the attacks.
    165 replies | 4813 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 05:07 AM
    Yes, and your argument is proven wrong by the conspicuous lack of an edition war raging against 5e. I understand that you want to establish an equivalency between the more extreme demands of the playtest, and the extremes of the edition war, but they were fundamentally different: all the demands, posturing and vitriol if the playtest was fans wanting to get what they wanted into the coming...
    165 replies | 4813 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 01:42 AM
    It's really just peeling another onion-layer off action declaration. Implicit in many action declarations is a reason for the choice of method that goes with the goal. If that reason is predicated on knowledge and the PC having or recalling that knowledge is in doubt, then in calling for the check the DM is just breaking down a declared action into necessary smaller actions. DMs have been...
    580 replies | 20655 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 01:14 AM
    To be fair, I only credit 1e with those qualities. I'd quibble with 2e, since it did pour on a /lot/ of er stuff. ;) But 1e and 5e both have something going on that isn't quantified in the rules or just the sum of the sub-systems or anything quite objective or tangible, it's the DM's freedom to explore way from the system that's a big part of it. 1e had that going for it more or less by...
    165 replies | 4813 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 11:07 PM
    Edition warring, in the brief 4e era, during the playtest, and right now, in this thread, has generally been initiated /against/ 4e. This is no exception. 4e is dead, you got to help kill it, you got to dance and spit all over it's grave. But, now, with 4e taking a /slight/ lead, in a trivial little 2nd-favorite-edition-after-5e poll, you're at it again. Why? What possible threat could...
    165 replies | 4813 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 07:13 PM
    Yes. 5e is both easy and hard. It's hard to DM, requiring a lot of skill/talent/experience/gall/whatever to just take up that imaginary absolute power and run with it - but, if you /have/ meet that preq somehow (or you just don't care), it's also /easy/ to just wield that power and have fun with it. I'm not sure if it's 'conversely' or 'by the same token,' or both, but from the players'...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 06:48 PM
    Not to mention liking 4e and some prior editions (I was a straight-up 4venger, but I'm also one of those old guys for whom nothing will ever match what I had with 1e, for instance - and more on that below, since you bring it up...). THE biggest reason for preferring one older edition is that it's the edition you started with. It's just a powerful emotional connection, I guess. The 1e...
    165 replies | 4813 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 05:07 PM
    Well, there is a PF forum. I suspect if you put this poll up there you might see the result you'd expect. BTW, I'm curious why you play 5e rather than 3.5 or PF?
    165 replies | 4813 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 04:01 AM
    Selective memory of the present? There is no edition war being waged against 5e.
    165 replies | 4813 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 01:51 AM
    Fans of 4e were necessarily drawn from the segment of the fan base most willing to give a new ed a fair shot. You had to be, to look past the rocky introduction and the vitriol of the edition war, and form an honest impression of the new ed. 5e's introduction was a lot more considerate and measured, there may not have been a lot of enthusiasm for Next, but when season 19 rolled around, we...
    165 replies | 4813 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 11:33 PM
    Consider that this is being asked in 5e forum. The most effusive praise I've heard of 5e has come from 2e fans. 0e/1e/OSR and 3.x/PF fans have their things, so may not drop by here. 4e fans, by definition, were those most willing to give a new ed a chance. So what you're seeing isn't absolute popularity of editions, but a prevalence of 2e & 4e fans within the 5e community.
    165 replies | 4813 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 05:34 AM
    One set in the alternate universe of Je ne suis pas un homme facile, for instance. Or, for us older fellas who may not have netflix, any of those 70s battle of the sexes spoofs, like Queen Kong or Star Maidens.
    104 replies | 2329 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 05:03 AM
    1e AD&D. Every edition since has been better in many ways, but can't compete with those early experiences.
    165 replies | 4813 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 08:41 PM
    You could slip in something of the kind in one of two ways that *might* not go over too badly: 1) Have SIZe and BuiLD stats chosen by the player, together they determine your characters weight, and put limits (min & max) on STRength and DEXterity. They're independent of the player's choice of assigned sex, but will probably result in gender-stereotype-conforming PCs. 2) Setting. If a...
    104 replies | 2329 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 08:18 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to Firearms
    I've heard all sides in such debates way too much to get into it, there's political issues fueling different sides, and it involves autopsy-level detail that'll never be modeled with a hp system. The takeaway is that lots of things can kill you, where guns stand out is in how easy they make it, regardless of size/strength/skill of either party involved. 'cept for 4e, iff, by 'people' you...
    157 replies | 4418 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 09:45 PM
    Or what's appealing, sure (I recall harboring some hearty skepticism in the playtest when Mearls started going on about reaching back to early experiences with AD&D to get insight into what would make 5e appeal to new players - being a new player in the 80s or 90s has gotta be very different from being one today!). And the dynamics at the table can have a big impact. But, while 39 years (yeah...
    46 replies | 1724 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 07:18 PM
    While a 4e approach might have been as or more accessible to new players as 5e's, and might've become more so in the long run, it's failure with established fans and 5e's reversion to type means that a new generation of fans are being indoctrinated into the same expectations as the old generation. D&D as it was in the 80s, and is again today, is how it will remain for the foreseeable future. If...
    46 replies | 1724 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 09:26 PM
    Obviously, the guy that made the potion has to concentrate. That's dedication. Ö or, no, wait if the potion requires concentration do you have to run it through a high-vacuum evaporator before use? Store it in a freezer?
    67 replies | 9369 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 07:20 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to Firearms
    I suppose it doesn't have to be conventional black powder (in my 4e pirate game, 'thunderfire rods' used 'alchemical reagents'), and could have different characteristics, like merely smoldering when touched off outside of a gun rather than being a functional low explosive.
    157 replies | 4418 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 07:08 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to Firearms
    I'm not even so sure it's that big a deal. Why do firearms have to be particularly lethal? They just punch holes in people down range. Spears punch holes in people, arrows & quarrels punch holes in people - a dagger can certainly kill, but only does a d4. Historically what made firearms so revolutionary wasn't that they were deadlier or longer-ranged than bows but that they required less...
    157 replies | 4418 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 06:08 PM
    In a D&D world, the bolded, above, could include: Kings, Emperors, Vassals thereof, Tyrants, humanoid chieftains, Theocracies, Magocracies, Mad Liches*, Demi-gods, Diabolic powers, and, well, Dragons if they really felt like it. I'm guessing the average attitude of governing bodies is not one disinclined to accept rampant poverty among the general populace.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 05:47 PM
    It's funny how the subject has turned to hps. The second-earliest, second-most-vicious, second-best-justified criticism of primordial D&D was that characters gaining hps through 'experience' made no sense. (Obviously that's second after 'forgetting' spells upon casting being ridiculous.) EGGs exhaustive defense of the system was a useable rationalization if you were willing to suspend...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 12:42 AM
    I'd think, if you're working back from the kind of world you want, you would be considering which spells &c to include that would support that vision, and cut those that don't fit. Otherwise you're really back to the same exercise.
    134 replies | 5235 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 12:37 AM
    My usual advice for new DMs is play a lot first, if at all play possible with a series of experienced DMs. Playing develops familiarity with the rules, and the informal process of play (and how much both can vary from DM to DM). It lets you see what DMs do that works and doesn't work for you and for other players. And, of course, it sparks ideas, though it sounds like you already have those. ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 11:41 PM
    He'll be fine. Ö and often to not so good effect and/or for not so good reasons Ö really, most of the time, said tradition is unexamined. OK, you deserved XP already, but you're getting it for that reference. Honestly, back in the day, I recall what we'd now call 'sharing director stance' /just happening/ as part of the GM* & player trying to get through the...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 08:47 PM
    What? Like Solipsism? There's a lot of that still goin' around, even though you'd think in the 5e era there'd be less. Ideally, DMs should just feel free to run their games in their style, using the rules as a toolset & starting point to do so, and leave it to other DMs to do so in their ways, too. (With the obvious exception of organized play, like AL, were some consistency from...
    580 replies | 20655 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 07:18 PM
    Nod, that's all part of 1e's concept of TN, but so's the whole 'maintain the balance' thing.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 06:58 PM
    The key thing 4e minions had that 5e very-low-level monsters lack is the ability to survive /making/ a save. ;) But for that 5e BA delivers: a much-lower-level monster can still hit occasional, the damage it does may be trivial, and your minimum damage may well kill it when you do hit - so easy to deal with, but its inclusion isn't meaningless. In 4e, minions had a specific rule: a missed...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 05:13 PM
    Sure - not an attack with intent to render extinct, though, just shaving off some of the privileges of the DM role. 3.5 presented many more rules that applied across the board - to PCs, NPC, & Monster (& objects and IDK what else) - 'equalizing' the DM & player roles and making Player v DM and PvP modes of play more tenable. And, 3.x did leave wealth/level and magic items in the DMG. 4e...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 04:57 PM
    Allowed to attribute without resorting to the rubric of delusion, anyway. That does not sound unreasonable.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 04:50 PM
    He'd at least've been trying. Or, y'know Bel.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 04:42 PM
    That was one of the things in the back of my mind, yes. Magic is often presented as 'dangerous' or 'exhausting' or otherwise something you wouldn't want to do systematically just because you can - alternately, magic is often presented as something that /can't/ be used any time you want (only at certain times under certain conditions, with the aid/approval of some entity, etc). Vancian, in an...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 12:29 AM
    Vancian, spell points, spontaneous casting - they're all metagame constructs that poorly model magic as seen in fantasy fiction(& myth, etc). heh. The value of this factor is IM, as in imbalanced. ;P ::sigh:: not as funny as it sounded in my head. So to help that work you could use some sort of casting-stress system. The more spell points you spend in a short period, the greater the...
    35 replies | 1245 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 11:55 PM
    It's really not that the wiz can 'only' cast fabricate once/day, it's that he can do so /every day/, so he can approach it systematically. So, he takes orders for things that are customized, to fit, and also offers a more expensive 'on demand' option. On days when no one ponies up for 'on demand,' he reduces his backlog of orders by 1. When his backlog's caught up, and he's closing up shop...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 11:21 PM
    It might even have been preserved on this site somewhere, I know a lot of stuff was... On the wayback machine, it's a little ugly, but: http://web.archive.org/web/20150916182511/http://community.wizards.com/content/blog/698936 http://web.archive.org/web/20150917233320/http://community.wizards.com/content/blog/752351...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 10:54 PM
    "It's really, really, really, really, really, far..." (I'm goin on memory, not sure I ever owned a copy.) wrecan's SARN-FU was awfully similar, and was up on the old D&D boards before 13A was even an idea. 13A did do a good job of facilitating both TotM and grid play from the ground up, which is more than we can say for any edition of D&D, nor most of it's other imitators, with or...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 10:18 PM
    When I first read the relevant bits of 13A, they didn't look particularly unique or innovative, either. I'm sure I've seen similar mechanics and techniques used long since, back to the 90s (hilariously, an RPG spoof, HoL, stands out in my memory as having some of the same TotM-facilitating tricks), if not in the early days of the hobby. (Not to take away from 13A: it's a very well-done...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 10:09 PM
    I ran a steampunk game - the system is unimportant, literally, I mostly ignored it - and one of the characters was a Sherlock Holmes type. She didn't get rolls to solve mysteries, rather, when I described things to the player, I threw in details, clues & conclusions that everyone else 'overlooked' (because I didn't tell them). Bit heavy-handed but it generally worked.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 09:42 PM
    That's a slightly different statement, since it makes the leap from speculating about design assumptions - to taking a specific position on game-design theory (which may or may not have informed the assumption). I do, however, think it's fair to say that no rule can stop the GM from just changing the rules (Rule 0 in 3e wasn't so much a rule, as an acknowledgement of fact). So, a bad...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 07:48 PM
    So, yes, you imagine that the rules assume perfection on the part of the DM. It's OK. That's how I see it, too. Afterall, if they're not working from that assumption, they'd have to put checks on the DM's role which would set the rules above the DM rather than vice-versa. It's maybe not the best way of saying - like I said 'trusting the DM' is a more tactful way of putting it than 'assuming...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 06:53 PM
    IDK. The rules of the game probably wouldn't function too well without certain assumptions in that social contract. Change the rules or change the contract, so long as you to get them working together at that table. So you do imagine the rules assume perfection from the DM? ;) That's fair, actually. While the DM won't be perfect, he is presumably good enough for his group. Rules...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 12:35 AM
    Sustare? No anagram? Not so much as backwards?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 11:34 PM
    I think the character really should have those, too, but whatever. ;P Seriously (the player/character mix-up is a pretty tired joke at this point) though, obviously, any class can sacrifice prime-requisites or/and secondary stats or/and feats to bump up CHA. IIF there's no CHA-primary/secondary characters playing along side it, that may be OK, but if there are, they're going to have more...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 10:08 PM
    While 5e supposedly defaults to TotM, it really has vanishingly little support for it. You could check out other games that do work well w/o a map, like 13A (which does both nicely) and lift a mechanic or two. Yep, that's part of DM Empowerment. The thing to do is take it and use it to your advantage. You can use a map, for instance, but keep it behind the screen. You don't /need/ to...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 10:01 PM
    Which drive down prices, enabling a minor population explosion. Now if the druids ever stop, people starve. Poor farmers, can't win. Or, I suppose, all those nasty monsters with a taste for people could keep the population down. Well, you'd need real craftsmen to train those wizards, I suppose. More likely, Fabricate becomes a specialty for commissions that have to be turned around all...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 09:37 PM
    I think the idea here would be that the GM can insist that they don't smell anything (because there's nothing to smell), but they're free to insist that they do - so they're either hallucinating, deluded, or just teasing the guy. And, really, probably not hallucinating, but deluded, yeah, if the distinction is that hallucinations are /caused/ by something (like the ergot in the rye bread that...
    580 replies | 20655 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 09:12 PM
    I thought about mentioning that. If you were a bit nerdy in the A/V sense back in the day, you'd've definitely been familiar with 'additive' primaries (and maybe felt a little smug superiority over it), and/or if you'd paid attention to the popular-science level explanations of color TV back in the 60s (color TV was a big deal for a while). IDK, I don't recall hearing of purpure (or tunney...
    44 replies | 1332 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 07:02 PM
    Was it a claim of absolute or final authority? AFAICT, even under the hard-core, don't-tell-me-what-my-character-thinks ethos, the GM can place an environment that's at odds with everything he thinks.
    580 replies | 20655 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 05:36 PM
    May not mean anything, but: B&W, RGB. They're primary colors. In heraldry you have: argent, gules, sable, azure, vert, and or. With argent pulling double-duty as both white and silver, that covers the cheomatic dragons, with gold as a bonus.
    44 replies | 1332 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 05:17 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to Firearms
    Cronenberg had a lot of fans (maybe not a lot of crossover with Jude Law fans), and it piggybacked on the Matrix, a bit.
    157 replies | 4418 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 11th May, 2019, 09:02 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to Firearms
    You're not, and I do. I preferred Dark City to ExistEnZ, though, and still haven't seen The Thirteenth Floor.
    157 replies | 4418 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 11th May, 2019, 08:52 PM
    True, enough - too often they're the ones who just aren't engaged much with the game, but, yeah, I'd left them out. Then there's also the ones that go to the opposite extreme to prove what realROLEplayers they are. I mean, lists of dysfunctional, stereotypical, annoying, and/or funny player types have been out there since the early days of The Dragon. As often, I've seen players learn...
    580 replies | 20655 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 11th May, 2019, 12:58 AM
    Well, yeah. You say that like DMs and players shouldn't ever have to cope with dysfunction, and games should be designed for players & GMs who are functionally ideal, no dys, at all. The PC's may live in a fantasy world (and resolve their problems with violence & magic), but those playing the game sit at a table in the real one, where relationships and human interactions are complicated and...
    580 replies | 20655 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 11:55 PM
    Oh yeah. Back in 1e, remember, there were not only rules found only in the DMG, there were rules in the PH that were /contradicted/ by inner-mystery rules in the DMG, and DMG rules also contradicted eachother, at times. Over the eds, rules have moved from the DMG to the PH. It peaked in 4e, when even magic items were in the PH! 5e has moved some of the rules (and mystery) back to the DMG,...
    46 replies | 1724 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 01:16 AM
    D&D? Some Ambiguity? That's like observing that there's always been some water in the ocean... ...while trying to explain fire to a fish (sorry, 'nuther thread). Some eds - mind you, I don't remember which did which - made it clear that starting gear was what you'd accumulated over the years in preparation to realizing your ambition to become an adventurer, whether by purchase, crafting,...
    580 replies | 20655 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 01:01 AM
    Don't recall if it's been in this thread, specifically, but there's a fair a amount of "this game sux!"/"you're doin' it wrong!" out there. To speculate wildly (which I'm sure he'll hate, which can only be a comedic bonus at this point, so far beyond the pale has our little high-velocity sub-conversation of acrimonious agreement gone, and only fair since he's diagnosed me with Post-Traumatic...
    580 replies | 20655 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 12:12 AM
    Sure, and they're often running great games, too. The rules are a starting point - move beyond 'em or go nowhere. Goal + Approach (or is it method?) is a bit of user-defined jargon that makes a critical, overarching part of 5e a bit more systematic, consistent & playable, for instance. It's not derived from the rules, though it's entirely consistent with them. Illusionism - to pick on my...
    580 replies | 20655 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 11:57 PM
    The latter. It's a complete mental block. Not for want of having them (or hps) explained, either. You'd have more luck explaining fire to a fish. Or, even better(worse?): you don't bother. Because the game isn't running a simulation in the background, it's only there to be played. Even so that 'pretend verisimilitude' - if it could be achieved - would be a aesthetically pleasing...
    179 replies | 14369 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 11:50 PM
    Some jokes're funny 'cause they're true... You would? Then you might as well go all the way and play a Fighter, while you're at it!
    566 replies | 10951 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 11:02 PM
    Thus the example. I speak from direct experience more than I care to admit, sometimes. Some. Not exactly one. And 5e professed rather a number of goals, not all of them mutually compatible. DM Empowerment was not only one of those goals, it was a safety valve by which each group could resolve those little contradictions. it can be more exasperating to /almost/ agree with someone...
    580 replies | 20655 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 10:47 PM
    Some were written one way, I'm sure, I remember some (one in particular in Encounters) written the other. Still others didn't get an instinctive action or extra initiative, but negated conditions at the start of their turn. There was quite a variety of Solo 'action preservation' traits & powers, so I'm not certain I'm remembering any of them right.
    16 replies | 1025 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 08:26 PM
    Insisting everything between the covers be called a 'rule' is a word-game, in that sense, too. There are valid distinctions between a crunchy mechanic, an overarching procedure, flavor/color text, etc... denying those distinctions by insisting on just calling them all 'rules' is as much a word game as picking one set of labels over another. Exactly. And, unless the designer is right...
    580 replies | 20655 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 07:49 PM
    Falling? You luckily fell through a flock of seagulls and they slowed you down a bit, you skillfully sky-dived into a haystack. Poison? You finely-tuned senses detected the poison just before you would have sipped the wine. The envenomed blade slashed through your armor and gambeson but your rolled away in the split-second before it would have broken your skin. Because, like 1e AD&D, it...
    179 replies | 14369 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 07:27 PM
    There's definite differences among, say, a crunchy mechanic, a clearly stated but vague rule, an a section explicitly labeled 'advice.' Since such distinctions exist, labeling them isn't unreasonable. If you want to use 'rule' in every label, why not. Maybe: 'rule mechanic', 'procedural rule,' 'rule of thumb,' respectively, for the above instances. Or, we could call none of them...
    580 replies | 20655 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 07:05 PM
    Not if the game that is hard to GM is D&D. Then they go through a cycle: the DM wanting to try something else, the group being unable to agree on what else to play, the DM burning out, someone else running something terrible for a short while until the DM (somewhat recovered) can't stand it anymore, and back to the DM running. OTOH, sometimes the hard-to-GM aspect of the game is kinda the...
    46 replies | 1724 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 06:59 PM
    All my scars are on the inside. Y'know, it occurs to me that are times when the DM deciding what the PC thinks is the whole point. Player: I pay attention not just to what he's saying, but to his body language how he's saying it, to try to get a sense of if he's being truthful or not. DM: OK, roll WIS, Insight applies. Player: 9 + 2 +5 that's a 15
    580 replies | 20655 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 02:19 AM
    In the narrative sense, they're main characters in the grail quest (and in some of their own stories), while Arthur is waiting in the background. So, yeah. Yeah, I had to look it up to make sure. ;)
    72 replies | 3160 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 01:01 AM
    Lancelot and Galahad/Percival were the archetypes that inspired it (the original LG Paladin). Stalker0 chose Rally because it does key of CHA. It's dwarfed by Inspiring Leader, which anyone can take, and is off the table in this instance, but it's a mechanical use of CHA, however trivial.
    72 replies | 3160 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 12:38 AM
    Support is a /requirement/ for this archetype as envisioned by the OP:
    72 replies | 3160 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 12:08 AM
    It could be a Phylactery that reputidly heals the wearer of his most grievous affliction. When the PC delivers it to the old captain, it cures not his old injuries, but his insanity, and he settles into his retirement gracefully, becoming a teacher in the Paladin's Order.
    11 replies | 356 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 12:01 AM
    If we change requirement 1) in the OP to "capable second-tier combatant" or words to that effect, the Paladin hits two out of three, the Bard three out of three, and the Fighter 0 - though, you could always downplay the Pally or Fighter's combat ability by under-investing in STR/DEX/CON and eschewing combat-related feats.
    72 replies | 3160 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 10:40 PM
    You could move the action to the Abyss. Lots to do there. Maybe they can make/acquire an artifact with the power to kill Demon Lords and take the apocalypse to them? Give it an attribute that a given mortal can only use it once. After killing a Lord or few, they discover a side effect: that they take on the portfolio, and start hearing the calls of the worshippers, of the one they...
    22 replies | 818 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 10:06 PM
    For the record: I didn't say it.
    72 replies | 3160 view(s)
    0 XP
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About Tony Vargas

Basic Information

About Tony Vargas
Introduction:
I played D&D for a long time...
About Me:
I discovered D&D in middle school, in 1980, so I was kinda on the leading edge of the fad. I played avidly through 1995 when 2e AD&D lost my interest.

I continued to play other games - White Wolf and Hero System, mostly.

Late in 1999, or early 2000, I returned with 3.0, which I quite liked from the player side of the screen - running it was a bit of a pain. I stayed with that through the full official run of 3.5, and adopted 4e with no problems, in fact, I found it as much fun to run as to play, so I started running a lot more, as well, including an Heroic-Epic campaign from 2012 through 2018.

In 2010 I started playing, then running, in Encounters program at an FLGS in Santa Clara, Illusive Comics & Games. They eventually spun off Isle of Gamers - no comics, just gaming - in 2014, just in time for 5e. (Check 'em out, they're still going strong!)

5e reminded a lot of folks of 2e, and I have to concur with that observation. I did enjoy running 5e, at first, finding it nostalgic. I ran a lot of introductory games, and converted 1e & Basic modules for that purpose, and also ran AL for a while.

As of early 2019, I find I don't have a lot of energy left for gaming (I've had some serious health challenges) and not much interest in using that energy on D&D.

Maybe I'll check back in on D&D for it's 50th?

Happy gaming and best wishes to all of you who stick with the hobby.
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San Jose/Santa Clara, CA
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My Game Details

Details of games currently playing and games being sought.

Town:
Santa Clara
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California
Game Details:
The last serious game I ran was an Heroic-Epic campaign lasting from 2012 through 2018. The second-longest campaign I ever ran, the longest being '85-'95, spanning 1e & 2e AD&D. I never did get around to a 5e campaign, just AL and one-shots.
More information:
https://www.isleofgamers.com/
My Character:
The last PC I played was Ghourah the Foresworn, a Disgraced Dragonborn Noble Bravura Warlord, Mercurial Assassin*, Deadly Trickster.







* yes, that was a terrible choice, but it fit - he worked /for/ a Mercury Dragon for a while, who turned out to be an Exarch of Bane - really, a terrible choice on a number of levels.

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Town:
Santa Clara
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California
Game Details:
The last serious game I ran was an Heroic-Epic campaign lasting from 2012 through 2018. The second-longest campaign I ever ran, the longest being '85-'95, spanning 1e & 2e AD&D. I never did get around to a 5e campaign, just AL and one-shots.
More information:
https://www.isleofgamers.com/
My Character:
The last PC I played was Ghourah the Foresworn, a Disgraced Dragonborn Noble Bravura Warlord, Mercurial Assassin*, Deadly Trickster.







* yes, that was a terrible choice, but it fit - he worked /for/ a Mercury Dragon for a while, who turned out to be an Exarch of Bane - really, a terrible choice on a number of levels.
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Sunday, 19th May, 2019

  • 02:09 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Tony Vargas in post In Defense of 4E - a New Campaign Perspective
    ...9hp is significantly on the low side for a hill giant, but the rules tell us that these do exist. This one is just significantly less tough than its brethren. It probably doesn't get in a lot of fights. Likewise, it's possible for a goblin chieftain to have more than 9hp. It's possible for the world's toughest goblin to be tougher than the world's weakest giant. But in every case, that HP total still represents its ability to withstand an impact of given force. Or, alternatively, and still well within the bounds of HP as explained by Mr. Gygax, this particular giant, while just as tough as other giants, simply lacks the connections to fate and luck needed to avoid a particularly skilled thrust made by a dwarf fighter with his trusty bastard sword on the rd of Crackrock in the Forest of Grin, land of Kinergh. It is really that simple. And when we are talking about humans who gain dozens, possibly even 100 hit points, over time, it is pretty hard to justify it any other way, as Tony Vargas has just pointed out. You are factually incorrect on this point. I played at level 16, and nothing was going down from one hit, unless it was a minion. A level 1 (non-minion) goblin has between 25 and 29 HP. As a level 16 character, my at-will arrows still only deal 1d8+10 (or so). Even my encounter powers could fail to break 25, if I rolled low. I would leave someone like MwaO to comment on this in detail, but I find it unlikely to say the least. I'm sure it is POSSIBLE to neglect your attack capability to a great degree, but even level 1 PCs generally do the sorts of damage you are talking about here (Level 1 sword and board fighter, 16 STR, long sword, making an at-will attack, and assuming the player took even one feat which helps damage, is already at 1d8 + 5, and this is a low damage output PC using his worst attack. Give him 16 levels and he's now got STR 20, and at least a +3 weapon. This already got me to 1d8 + 10 and I have EIGHT FEATS to spend which can improve on that....

Thursday, 9th May, 2019

  • 06:10 AM - Hussar mentioned Tony Vargas in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    *ducks back in, waving a white flag* Totally, totally not trying to start anything. Honest. I just want to point something out iserith. When three different posters, at least, at three different times - myself, Oofta and now Tony Vargas, all come to the same, or at least very similar conclusions based on what you are posting, perhaps, and I'm not saying this is true, but, perhaps, the point you are trying to make isn't as clear as you think it is. I mean, you're dismissing Tony Vargas because apparently he's been scarred by edition wars. You dismissed oofta so hard that he's still on your ignore list. You dismissed my points as well. I'm not saying you're wrong here. I'm not trying to pick a fight and my horse in this race is long dead. I'm just saying that perhaps, just maybe, your point could be misconstrued. I mean, heck, once you actually pointed out an actual example, I realized that there is not much difference between your table and mine, I just don't insist on such strict adherence to formula - I skip steps. Otherwise, the end results between your table and mine are probably pretty close. However, it took an actual example to see that. I guess what I'm trying to say is, continuously repea...

Tuesday, 7th May, 2019

  • 02:58 AM - OlegRu mentioned Tony Vargas in post Help me with good RP/Optimization balance for Half-Elf (probably)Valor Bard (archer?)
    So from reading all of the replies, here are my follow-up ideas/questions for you guys - @Zardnaar, @TwoSix, @Mistwell, @Tony Vargas, @Treantmonklvl20 I'll format this to go by topic: Is there something you'd recommend outside an archer bard that would fit my char's style (maybe some simple-type multiclass I mentioned in the OP or something else)? Also, is a ranged bard preferable to keep him safer due to lower defense/HP and for spell concentration? Ability Scores: Cool so I'll probably take the STR10 DEX16 CON12 INT10 WIS12 CHA16 then. (I care about strength as I'd like to have decent athletics score and wisdom, again, for the skills) Although, I'm a bit worried regarding the CON - I've seen a lot of talk that it's important - for concentration I think? So in order to avoid issues casting, I should equip just a sword if I'm not using ranged at the moment, not the shield? (and keep shield around just in case, but I'm not sure when I'd use it) For armor, yeah I don't want penalties to stealth as I'd like my char to be able to sneak around in the wilderness camouflaged or hide places, so I guess the best opti...

Thursday, 25th April, 2019

  • 04:05 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Tony Vargas in post messy's 4e newbie questions thread
    83. do 4e elves and eladrin correspond to 5e wood elves and high elves, respectively? While I think Tony Vargas has a decent answer, I think that 4e's elves and eladrin aren't PRECISELY like anything that came before. Eladrin are more like 'Fey creatures', the 'shee' of Celtic myth in essence. They live in an otherworld, the Feywild, and often readily travel back and forth, entering the mortal world through 'Fey crossings' and such. They are inherently magical, being more loosely tied to time and space than mere mortals. Powerful Eladrin enter into the ranks of, and become indistinguishable from, the 'arch fey', a category of creatures somewhat analogous to things like demons and such. Elves, I would say, more represent something that doesn't really exist in European folklore, and is much more closely aligned with Tolkien's depiction of 'Avari' or something like that. A race which has withdrawn from its more magical roots and become essentially mundane creatures, though still with some distant connections to their ancient fey origins. There simply aren't exact parallels with AD&D elf t...

Friday, 1st February, 2019


Tuesday, 22nd January, 2019

  • 09:40 AM - Sadras mentioned Tony Vargas in post Robert Schwalb releases his version of Warlord
    Over 10 pages in a Warlord thread and no @Tony Vargas. Consider me nonplussed. EDIT: Just saw that the North American meaning of the word nonplussed is considerably different to the UK meaning of the word. In this instance it is very much the UK version being used (surprised..etc).

Monday, 26th November, 2018

  • 04:53 PM - lowkey13 mentioned Tony Vargas in post On Variability, House Rules, Research, and the 1e/5e Difference
    ...ystems that had no resemblance to the rest of the game. As I've often recounted, I tried to run an AD&D campaign with psionics; it was terrible and was quickly abandoned. I modified the original rules- it was still terrible. The only time it worked was when I ripped out the system completely and replaced it was a complete homebrew based on Julian May's books. An easier example for most people to grok is the Armor Class Adjustments Table. IMO, it was Gygax's wargamey routes trying really, really hard to make "fetch" happen. While it made sense in theory (a flail is good against plate armor, while a jo stick is not), it suffered from several issues- first, the lack of clear explanation as to what constitutes armor class, second, the fiddliness of the rules, and finally, the fact that the vast majority of the time, unlike a wargame, you would be fighting monsters with natural AC, and it was unclear what, if any, modifier should be used. So IME almost all tables did away with this (except Tony Vargas !). Communication Breakdown, It's Always the Same. Explaining life before the internet is like explaining life before cell phones, or before ATMs (you had to go to a bank, when it was open, and take out the amount of money you needed to hold you over!). You just take it what you have now for granted. But just think- not only do we have rulebooks, we have the ability to post questions to forums (such as this one), conduct research, and even get tweeted responses ... not to mention you can always watch streaming video of how other people play! But it wasn't always like that. Imagine each gaming group trying to figure out how to play on their own, with maybe some crossover to other gaming groups in the area and/or the FLGS (or, um, Waldenbooks); sure, maybe (MAYBE!) there would be a convention, but the majority of players and DMs didn't go to conventions. There was Dragon Magazine, if someone subscribed. But otherwise, there was a high degree of variability in home campaigns because the...

Sunday, 25th November, 2018

  • 02:41 AM - Garthanos mentioned Tony Vargas in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    Admittedly this didn't come online until late heroic, and then really took off in paragon - maybe that's the point I'm missing. It was definitely @Tony Vargas point of view with Martial Controllers or atleast the polearm build one. I am looking at medium range Warlord style enemy manipulating martial controller.

Monday, 19th November, 2018

  • 03:48 AM - Garthanos mentioned Tony Vargas in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    You're not trying to make an acrobatics check against a stationary chandelier in that example. You're trying to make a combat move that happens to involve a chandelier while an at-level opponent could use that opportunity to bash your head in. The DC changing represents that the harder opponent you happen to be fighting is making it progressively more difficult to attempt the same task. Tony Vargas used that principle and came up with a rather innovative way to use caltrops for those in the caltrop field with no adjacent enemies they can move carefully and take no damage(shift) or quickly and take minor hazard damage however with an adjacent enemies interfering its more like the Caltrops are an extra attack from the enemy interfering with you being careful of the caltrops.

Sunday, 11th November, 2018


Saturday, 20th October, 2018

  • 09:59 PM - Satyrn mentioned Tony Vargas in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    Except nobody is arguing that the DM can't change the fluff. :) Hey, I'm not arguing anything. It's just my life's mission to point out this fact repeatedly when discussing gods in 5e. Well, it's more like one of my life's continuing side quests. My life's mission is to top the Laughs columns. I'm almost there. I'm topping the Laughs Given by quite a wide margin over Tony Vargas and I'm closing in on him for Laughs Received. Once I catch him, its just TwoSix and . . . . . . lowkey13. Sigh That one's gonna take a while.

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



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Thursday, 23rd May, 2019

  • 12:24 AM - Mistwell quoted Tony Vargas in post How To Clone 4E Using 5E Rules
    It's not an idea, it's the GSL. You can't clone 4e, it's not open source. It's not a limitation of the 5e (or other d20) mechanics - you can work from any open source engine, and replace most of the parts, if you want - it's a limitation of the license. You could create a 4e-ish game using a d20 OGL (any of 'em really), like 13A did, heck, you could take the Pelgrane Press Archmage Engine and build from something half-way between regular d20 and 4e to get closer more easily ... but it won't be to 4e what PF was to 3.5, an actual clone, all but reprinting the original. What you can do (and WotC should have done by now), and what is much more practical, is to add the missing elements - like the Warlord! (you knew it was coming) - to 5e. Just hire a Warlord to shout at the GSL license and heal it into the OGL. That's a thing, right?

Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019

  • 09:34 PM - doctorbadwolf quoted Tony Vargas in post Favourite D&D edition thatís not 5E
    4e's big numbers are mostly smoke & mirrors, anyway. You gain levels, accumulate a bunch of bonuses, and generally wind up pretty close to exactly where you're supposed to be - it amounts to a system mastery exercise that's /just/ an exercise (yeah, like a treadmill). In theory, it'd've given any 3.x system masters who actually played it something to do, without busting the game in half. In practice, they didn't show up anyway, so lets just do BA - same window, no dressing. I wouldn't go that far. After all, there is a tangible difference between the classes, but for the most part you're right. As far as the accuracy and damage vs HP numbers go, it's just a treadmill. Replacing it with 5e-esque numbers with a slightly higher starting point would work fine. Then you just port over the classes, rework powers to look like manuevers, and star wars saga style force powers or starship manuevers, power over rituals, etc, and it's totally doable.
  • 08:49 PM - doctorbadwolf quoted Tony Vargas in post Favourite D&D edition thatís not 5E
    I suspect the lack of a visible edition war vs 5Ed may have as much to do with ENWorld policy against edition warring as anything else. I say that because I know there are PLENTY of people in my area not adopting the new edition. Theyíre griping, but not as much online. Twitter is also vastly more positive about 5e than it was about 4e. It's also more positive about 4e than it was several years ago, actually. Though they've proven futile, the point of them is to get a decent, official, Warlord in 5e - not warring against 5e. Right. Those threads are full of two kinds of people A. Those who like Warlords and 5e, and disagree with the statements sacrosanct quoted about why Warlords don't work or whatever. (seriously, there isn't any less a consensus amongst warlord fans than amongst paladin or ranger fans) 2. Thread crappers who have nothing useful to add to the thread, but instead just seem to want to crap on the thread premise, and every thought presented by those who are genuinely engagin...

Tuesday, 21st May, 2019

  • 10:57 PM - Sacrosanct quoted Tony Vargas in post If there's one game where stat differences are justified, what game would that be?
    Chimps are real in the real world. Hobbits are fantasy. . That's kinda the point. D&D is fantasy. So who cares if human women can have the same strength as human men. To apply that specific area of realism in a heroic fantasy game seems to defeat the point of heroic fantasy, and TBH, a bit disingenuous if you don't apply the same standard to other races in the game that don't have any explict reasons why said race would have unusually high stats for their body mass FWIW 1e halflings had a lower max STR than other races. Though, that's for the benefit if the younger generation out there - I obviously don't need to tell you that, since, as I understand it, you still run 1e by preference? I know they had a strength cap, but I'm talking about ratios, here, not flat numbers. If a 45 pound halfling can have a 17 strength, it makes zero sense to cap a 150 pound human female at 18/50% *edit* going back and looking, a 45 pound male gnome has the same strength cap as a 150 pound human...
  • 10:09 AM - Aldarc quoted Tony Vargas in post Favourite D&D edition thatís not 5E
    Though they've proven futile, the point of them is to get a decent, official, Warlord in 5e - not warring against 5e.This. But not so coincidentally, 5e Warlord threads are also what attract a lot of 4aters. Again pointing out how the Edition Wars have transitioned into the 5e era and the contrast between 4e fans and 4aters with 5e. If 6E is an evolution of 5E or isn't to revolutionary you will have a mind edition war. If they go full derp mode expect a nasty one.I would not mind if WotC polished and more cohesively integrated what they have in 5e first: class, subclass and feat balance, ability checks (and skills), inspiration/bonds, and other knickknacks (expertise). But I am unconvinced that WotC would do a 5.5 rework for 5e.
  • 06:55 AM - Sacrosanct quoted Tony Vargas in post Favourite D&D edition thatís not 5E
    Yes, and your argument is proven wrong by the conspicuous lack of an edition war raging against 5e. I understand that you want to establish an equivalency between the more extreme demands of the playtest, and the extremes of the edition war, but they were fundamentally different: all the demands, posturing and vitriol if the playtest was fans wanting to get what they wanted into the coming new edition. The edition war was not waged to get missing bits added back to 4e - or it would have ended 9mo in when the gnome and the missing core classes appeared in the PH2. You said 4e fans are superior to everyone else, I disagreed and said they are like every other fan of every other edition and you reacted like that was a major insult to you and an attack on 4e itself, accusing me of gravedancing and other things I didnít do. So maybe, just maybe, your incredible bias is showing and you either donít remember, or refuse to see, how many 4e fans did the exact same thing as 3e fans did in 2008, an...
  • 06:24 AM - Satyrn quoted Tony Vargas in post Favourite D&D edition thatís not 5E
    Will this be the /Last/ Last War? Ha ha! No. There's always a new generation of nerds ready to shimmy up to the keyboard and spew rage at their beloved hobby.
  • 06:05 AM - Stalker0 quoted Tony Vargas in post Favourite D&D edition thatís not 5E
    But, CoC notwithstanding, there was lots of edition warring here - and it's not exactly entirely gone, either. Look at how quickly 4e leading in even a trivial little poll like this drew the attacks. I'll agree with this. At the height of the edition war, Enworld was as much a battleground as anywhere. Significantly more civil than many forums but it still got ugly.

Monday, 20th May, 2019

  • 11:51 PM - Satyrn quoted Tony Vargas in post Favourite D&D edition thatís not 5E
    Calm down, 4e can't hurt you anymore. Right. Eberron is the new battleground.
  • 11:42 PM - Yaarel quoted Tony Vargas in post Favourite D&D edition thatís not 5E
    Not to mention liking 4e and some prior editions (I was a straight-up 4venger, but I'm also one of those old guys for whom nothing will ever match what I had with 1e, for instance - and more on that below, since you bring it up...). THE biggest reason for preferring one older edition is that it's the edition you started with. It's just a powerful emotional connection, I guess. The 1e books graphic design elements were, well, ingenuous, they evinced the enthusiasm-over-experience development of the early game (many early RPGs, in fact). I got the impression that everyone involved in rolling out a 1e book was prettymuch a fan of the game. So it was a sort of charming amateurism, for me, and one I still like seeing, now and then, in some indie RPGs. Mechanically, 2e didn't change 1e much, so you could - and I often did - go ahead and play 2e because it was there, often, I'd be playing a character that I started in 1e, for that matter. At first. But as the system bloated it became...
  • 11:27 PM - Sacrosanct quoted Tony Vargas in post Favourite D&D edition thatís not 5E
    *snip*. My argument was that fans of 4e are/were no different than any other fans because they acted the same as every other fan when their favorite edition ended, and your response was to portray me as if I'm attacking and being unfair to 4e and it's fans? Thanks for doubling down on the reasons why I shouldn't even bother discussing this with you, and ironically proving your initial post wrong about how 4e fans react. The fact that you think me pointing out how 4e fans reacted (that you deny despite the evidence) is me gravedancing on 4e tells me all I need to know about your biases and disingenuous argument. Nothing in my post remotely was celebratory about 4e ending.
  • 08:41 PM - TwoSix quoted Tony Vargas in post Favourite D&D edition thatís not 5E
    THE biggest reason for preferring one older edition is that it's the edition you started with. It's just a powerful emotional connection, I guess. Oh, absolutely. I get it NOW, but at the time (mid-1990s) not moving over to 2e didn't really make sense to me. But I have that same nostalgic connection to 2e, and its many supplements and settings. I even liked Skills and Powers!
  • 07:48 PM - JustinCase quoted Tony Vargas in post Favourite D&D edition thatís not 5E
    Well, there is a PF forum. I suspect if you put this poll up there you might see the result you'd expect. BTW, I'm curious why you play 5e rather than 3.5 or PF? You could be very right about that. I like 5e better; itís simpler and easier to explain to newbies (and I play with newbies often). But also it feels, on average, more balanced than the edition that ended with ďuse the book of nine swords or be hopelessly outclassedĒ.
  • 06:37 PM - DMMike quoted Tony Vargas in post GMs are an endangered species!
    the 5e/classic-D&D approach to helping GM's flourish (is) to make it /hard/ to DM, making it a prestige position since fewer players can make the leap, and to incentivize it with built-in privileges (DM Empowerment ftw). . . So keeping the bar for DMs high is a good idea, in that sense of image, too. 5e is "easy as pie". Are we talking about the same game, here? Part of me likes the idea of putting the GM in a prestige position (and one way to do that is by making GMing a difficult task), but another part says that everything is disposable these days, so why not just dispose of a game if it's hard to find a (good) GM for it? Sorry - that last part was the little marketer on my shoulder telling me that everything must appeal to the masses (although that is a rule that D&D, as a brand, must follow). If GMing is (or should be) a prestigious, difficult thing to do, why is the DMG the most prominent, and for me the only, example of clearly setting GMs apart from PCs? ...taking the cos...
  • 03:09 AM - billd91 quoted Tony Vargas in post Favourite D&D edition thatís not 5E
    Yeah, no. Where's the edition war? Where's the 4e clone? There's been some disappointment registered, there's been surprisingly patient calls for the return if 4e options cut from the 5e PH (warlord!), there are surely a few tables here and there running 4e instead of 5e rather than as week as it. Not quite the same, no. For one thing we have the lessons of the edition war to learn from. Lots of selective memory in this post.
  • 12:42 AM - Sacrosanct quoted Tony Vargas in post Favourite D&D edition thatís not 5E
    Consider that this is being asked in 5e forum. The most effusive praise I've heard of 5e has come from 2e fans. 0e/1e/OSR and 3.x/PF fans have their things, so may not drop by here. 4e fans, by definition, were those most willing to give a new ed a chance. So what you're seeing isn't absolute popularity of editions, but a prevalence of 2e & 4e fans within the 5e community. Or, y'know, D&D eds may just be like Star Trek movies.... ;P I donít think this is true. When 5e was announced, 4e fans werenít the most likely to give it a chance. They were pretty upset about it, with a daily post about how WotC forsaken them and treated them like garbage by having a new edition. Many posters even said they would do their best to sabotage the game (donít ask me how that was to be done). Those reactions of course made all the rest of us who were fans of prior editions all roll our eyes because 4e fans were now experiencing the same thing all the rest of us did when our edition wa...

Saturday, 18th May, 2019

  • 11:09 PM - Yardiff quoted Tony Vargas in post If there's one game where stat differences are justified, what game would that be?
    You could slip in something of the kind in one of two ways that *might* not go over too badly: 1) Have SIZe and BuiLD stats chosen by the player, together they determine your characters weight, and put limits (min & max) on STRength and DEXterity. They're independent of the player's choice of assigned sex, but will probably result in gender-stereotype-conforming PCs. 2) Setting. If a culture has strong/restrictive gender roles then people conforming to them will strive to achieve ideals, leading to development in the desired directions. It's not that you couldn't build a PC amazon or dandy, just that they'll be consistently mistreated. I was going to suggest something like your number 1. Also I'd attach some stat bonuses to classes, so a couple points from SIZE and BUILD and one or two from class.
  • 11:27 AM - S'mon quoted Tony Vargas in post Firearms
    I'm not even so sure it's that big a deal. Why do firearms have to be particularly lethal? They just punch holes in people down range. Spears punch holes in people, arrows & quarrels punch holes in people - a dagger can certainly kill, but only does a d4. Historically what made firearms so revolutionary wasn't that they were deadlier or longer-ranged than bows but that they required less training and physical ability to use, so you could field more troops armed with them. What made them fearsome to peoples unfamiliar with them was the noise (and that the projectile might not be noted right away), as much as the lethality. Oh, and the sheer amount of smoke from black powder is just crazy, modern powder is rightly called 'smokeless.' So, if we really want to model firearms well in the game, they'd be 'simple' weapons, that would do decent damage without much regard to who's using them (no stat bonus to damage), and hit reasonably well, again without much regard to training (a static bonus ...

Friday, 17th May, 2019

  • 08:20 PM - Umbran quoted Tony Vargas in post GMs are an endangered species!
    While a 4e approach might have been as or more accessible to new players as 5e's... I think most of us here are so removed from being "new players" that we have forgotten what makes it easy or difficult. Anecdote, not data, but I taught a couple of 13/14 year-olds to play 5e, and they found it plenty accessible. One of them quickly went off to put together a game with her peers, who also had zero difficulty picking it up. We could have a long argument about what's more accessible, but wherever it sits relative to 4e, 5e is "easy as pie".
  • 06:54 PM - DMMike quoted Tony Vargas in post GMs are an endangered species!
    I don't think there was ever any risk to DMs, but yes, (5E is) a return to DM-centric mechanics, that put more of the pretend 'power' on the DM side of the DM/Player dynamic. It's harder to DM than 4e was (though still arguably easier than 3.x), and requires a different style of DMing. The Player v DM would, a most be 'emulated' - that is, the DM would have to set some bounds for himself to 'let the players win.' PvP would be fine, but would really /need/ a DM supervising it. I'd actually like to see 6E pick up where 4E left off, where some other games currently are, and make the GM role more mechanical - putting more narration in the hands of the players. I would expect it to go well with today's Burger King have-it-your-way players. And with a nod to "game modes," it could either leash or unleash the more creative (gonzo) players. Paizo would probably like that too. (Does Pathfinder have "GMs" or "DMs?") Regarding an earlier comment from lowkey13 - that there are no good DMs (snark n...


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