View Profile: tomBitonti - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • tomBitonti's Avatar
    Monday, 1st July, 2019, 08:38 PM
    Then, are you optimistic, with AI and Fusion power bringing a new age of leisure for all, or are you pessimistic, with AI displacing most folks, and with the riches brought by fusion power held by a few, and used to keep the masses subjugated? Do the masses migrate into enormous Arcologies? Not only are the technologies important; how societies evolve to use technology is equally important. ...
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  • tomBitonti's Avatar
    Monday, 1st July, 2019, 05:26 PM
    Can you provide more details as to what technology defines each age, and the posited social, economic, and environmental impact of each? For example, what are the results of large scale data collection, plus the increasing dominance of relatively few corporations, plus the growing emergence of almost intelligent computer systems? How do you see this playing out in the Post-Information age? ...
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  • tomBitonti's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 02:37 AM
    There is violence in gaming, but only up to a point. Hit points hide the sense of realistic damage: In few games do we deal with lingering injuries (cut nerves or tendons, badly healed bones) or issues of infection, or of malnutrition or insanity. For most games, the violence is of a sanitized sort. That 3E was a step away from a miniatures games emphasizes this, at least for D&D. (There are...
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Saturday, 13th July, 2019


Monday, 21st May, 2018

  • 08:53 PM - Umbran mentioned tomBitonti in post Avenger's Infinity War *Spoiler* Discussion
    a story is about a character who wants something and has to overcome one or many obstacles to achieve it by making choices that affect the outcome. Thanos wants something and faces obstacles (driving the plot), but his choices are rendered meaningless due to his madness. I suppose that's one interpretation. But, it is easily argued that every character with a spoken line in the movie wants one or more things. Each of the Avengers (and various associated people) collectively and individually want to stop half the universe from being killed, for example. And, in a typical story in Western heroic fiction, the protagonist is reacitve, rather than proactive. The antagonist creates the basic conflict and many of the obstacles. Without the antagonist, there is usually no story, because the protagonist is not challeneged. You are actively choosing to interpret it with Thanos as the protagonist. As you note, the resulting story does not make much sense. Why, then, hold to that interpretation...
  • 07:35 PM - OB1 mentioned tomBitonti in post Avenger's Infinity War *Spoiler* Discussion
    Ryujin that’s exactly the problem! Instead of two complete stories with a cliffhanger, we are getting two non stories that might become one story when watched together. Umbran - a story is about a character who wants something and has to overcome one or many obstacles to achieve it by making choices that affect the outcome. Thanos wants something and faces obstacles (driving the plot), but his choices are rendered meaningless due to his madness. tomBitonti - two points here, culling works because it’s highly controlled, with the decision on how much to cull based on the particular needs of each population and it’s resources. Second, animals need to be culled because they don’t have the human capability of reason to find solutions to the problems facing them. Rational beings understand you can’t snap your fingers and make everything happy ever after. Problems have solutions and there will always be new problems to solve.

Saturday, 26th August, 2017

  • 08:37 AM - AnimeSniper mentioned tomBitonti in post Storage solutions for boxed sets?
    @tomBitonti I agree with all your points mentioned especially with the way some sellers price the RPG Title that they are selling... I mean who has $500.00 laying around for a single copy of GoO's D20 Mecha book or other earlier print edition of an RPG because that particular title has the rules or errata you need for your campaign setting. Now the Really Useful Boxes that I mentioned earlier give a good snug fit from spine to edge for my softcover splat books with about two inches at the top which I took a new clean bubble packaging wrap to fill in. I have a few of the other RUB's that I use for storing my issues of old comics in protector sleeves so I'll see which is best for Hardcover copies of my own books.

Sunday, 24th April, 2016

  • 06:35 PM - MechaPilot mentioned tomBitonti in post Harassment in gaming
    The process is not as difficult as you (in the plural, not you personally) are making it out to be: When you see something happening, STAND UP. If there was the awareness of the problem and the will to "STAND UP," wouldn't we be seeing more people recounting times when they stood up against harassment happening in their presence? Or more people recounting a time when they were harassed and someone stood up for them? Or even recounting times when they saw someone else stand up for another someone else who was being harassed? I've said repeatedly in these threads that a lot of people say things like "I wouldn't tolerate that happening in front of me." And that's great. I think that's the page we should all be on. However, in contrast to people like myself and @Elf Witch posting our harassment experiences I can't really recall any accounts of incidents where someone stood up for someone else who was being harassed. @tomBitonti mentioned being involved in two incidents. From the context of his post, I assume he meant in a manner where he intervened on the part of the harassed (though there was no details given as to how he intervened or how well it was received by the people being harassed or by other bystanders, and I won't push him to give those details if he doesn't want to). It just seems to me that most people, particularly gamers who often have a history of being picked on, have much more of a "keep your head down," "don't make waves," "don't get involved" type of mentality than they do a "hey, that's not right, I have to do/say something" mentality.

Wednesday, 20th April, 2016


Sunday, 27th March, 2016


Thursday, 12th February, 2015

  • 07:43 PM - Derren mentioned tomBitonti in post New Cooperative D&D Video Game Allows a DM To Run The Adventure
    Looks more like a cooperative Diablo than a RPG like Baldurs Gate. For a 2015 release the game must be quite advanced, yet there was nothing indicating possible NPC interactions. Also the UI with the map and mission focus reminds me more of Diablo style games. The developer also has never done any RPG before, but did a Skylander expansion. I think tomBitonti has the right idea. A 4 player action rpg with D&D names and graphics. DM mode has been tried by Neverwinter Nights. But from the trailer and art style it doesn't look like the DM mode will be as powerful as in that game. Modifying maps likely won't be possible. Only monster placement, etc.

Wednesday, 5th March, 2014

  • 10:43 AM - Balesir mentioned tomBitonti in post Re: Damage on a Miss: Because otherwise Armour Class makes no sense
    First, a note: I think there are many and various answers to tomBitonti's questions, all of which are valid. I'm just going to give ones that occur immediately to me, by way of illustration. *) What should the DOAM damage amount be? *snippage* What's an appropriate DOAM damage amount if it is to be applied in all three cases? STR bonus seems to me a good basis. Reason? One of several would be that there is absolutely no reason for a melee attack to culminate in either a hit with the weapon originally used to strike or a clear miss. Fechbuchs and illustrations clearly show that pommel/butt strikes, punches, arm locks, leg hooks, axe-like blows with the quillions, kicks, knees and headbutts could all be the outcome of an attack with a longsword (bastard sword, in D&D parlance). To restrict the possible outcomes to "cut with blade or miss" is just bizarre. *) Why only fighters? That is, why is a fighters ability of a different quality than a ranger's ability, or, a rogues? Because only fighters train in the full, martial arts techniques that use mediev...

Thursday, 19th September, 2013

  • 12:34 PM - pemerton mentioned tomBitonti in post Calling out, "systems mastery"
    So, you're a 1st level Wizard. You combine two of your 1st level slots to cast a 2nd level spell. Of course, this means you can now cast a 2nd level spell. Therefore, Elven Generalist and Domain Specialist each give you a 2nd level slot. You then use Versatile Spellcaster to combine those slots to cast a 3rd level spell. Of course, this means you can now cast a 3rd level spell. Therefore, Elven Generalist and Domain Specialist each give you a 3rd level slot. So you use VS to combine those slots to cast a 4th level spell... And so it goes, all the way up to 9th level. That's how the trick 'works'.I strongly agree with tomBitonti and N'raac that Versatile Spellcaster can't be used this way, as it requires that a spell of the new, higher level, be known. This is clearly intended to impose a balance requirement preventing just this sort of nonsense. I also agree with those who argued on the other thread (and maybe this one - I skimmed over the middle 20-odd posts) that the two alternative class features, each of which requires trading away specialisation, are clearly not intended to be combined. The method of interpretation being applied to set up this "9s-at-1st" build has no basis in any theory of interpreting legal instruments that I'm aware of, and I don't see why it should be allowed to operate in D&D.

Tuesday, 10th September, 2013

  • 04:50 AM - Fiddleback mentioned tomBitonti in post 500 Pounds of Beef – 5 Meaty Board Games for Long Weekends
    I like your suggestions tomBitonti. Though I do have to say I think Squad Leader leaves the realm of board games and heads squarely into war gaming. Nothing wrong with that, just an important distinction to make. Jhaelen, glad Origins piqued your interest. It is out of print, but with some judicious hunting around (and a willingness to part with no small amount of cash) you can find ways to purchase it, or even rent it. Big Megafauna, which I believe used to be called American Megafauna, is, according to the designers, the prequel to Origins. They can, it is suggested, be played back to back for an VERY lengthy gaming experience.

Saturday, 27th April, 2013

  • 04:50 PM - Mary_Crowell mentioned tomBitonti in post Music Theory 101
    tomBitonti, I know what you mean. I'm not sure what kind of insight Oversquid is looking for exactly. Just terms? A real understanding of how music is put together? I have a campaign that is strongly music based, and I've posted one blog entry about it here at ENWorld. Some cool things to google for ideas would be the following: Doctrine of Ethos: Music is mathematics. The universe is made of mathematics. Therefore music is affected by and can affect the universe--remake it, control it, etc. I wrote a song about it. http://magnusretail.com/Mary_Crowell/lyrics/doctrine_of_ethos.html Doctrine of Affections: Outgrowth of Doctrine of Ethos. Baroque composers used specific music patterns like the 'sighing motif' to convey emotions in their pieces of music. More importantly, they liked a specific movement (piece of music that can stand alone, but is actually part of a larger work) to convey only one given emotion. (Classical and Romantic composers have changing moods and tempos throughout their m...

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Monday, 1st July, 2019

  • 08:57 PM - Maximum7 quoted tomBitonti in post Tech levels for my sci-fi world?
    Then, are you optimistic, with AI and Fusion power bringing a new age of leisure for all, or are you pessimistic, with AI displacing most folks, and with the riches brought by fusion power held by a few, and used to keep the masses subjugated? Do the masses migrate into enormous Arcologies? Not only are the technologies important; how societies evolve to use technology is equally important. Thx! TomB Optimistic. By 2200, Earth will be a utopia.
  • 07:29 PM - Maximum7 quoted tomBitonti in post Tech levels for my sci-fi world?
    Can you provide more details as to what technology defines each age, and the posited social, economic, and environmental impact of each? For example, what are the results of large scale data collection, plus the increasing dominance of relatively few corporations, plus the growing emergence of almost intelligent computer systems? How do you see this playing out in the Post-Information age? For the fusion age, do you expect there to be a few, very large scale power plants, or a lot of medium and small power plants? If there are few very large power plants, how does that affect global politics? At what point are we able to understand genomes to be able to go from raw DNA sequences to the expression of specific characteristics? At what point do we reach from basic understanding of neurons to understanding how they become thinking and aware? Thx! TomB The Post-Information Age is a transitionary age. True AI evolves at this point. The fusion age is when fusion power becomes widespread and the ...

Thursday, 6th June, 2019

  • 09:45 AM - thanson02 quoted tomBitonti in post In Defense of 4E - a New Campaign Perspective
    As a 3E veteran, I’m used to thinking of certain creature types as being mindless, which makes the immune to mind affecting abilities. That level of detail was dropped from 4E. Not wanting to drop the older model, I’m left with a contradictory result. A problem, I’m thinking, is that 4E went too far in allowing effects to be reskinned, with keywords not having any fixed interpretation. Putting Fire as a keyword had no interpretive meaning, other than purely syntactic interactions provided by the rules. I very much prefer keywords being an interpretive guide! And that is a fair criticism given the situation, and given the desire to stick with the older model that makes sense. For me, the re-skinning and the expansion of diversity with monsters (I think there are over 5,000 in 4E) made the monsters seem more real and less gamey. If you have a bunch of goblins for example, you are going to have one as the leader (even if he is just the one that is more clever then the rest), perhaps a few br...

Wednesday, 5th June, 2019

  • 06:34 PM - Garthanos quoted tomBitonti in post In Defense of 4E - a New Campaign Perspective
    Which fits. Although, Mocking Words is in PHB II, and seems to have generated some controversy. And, it has a keyword psychic, which would seem to make it at least partially magical. Is the keyword necessary? Thx! TomB Martial effects can have key words many have fear for instance. (though the bard was initially entirely arcane they introduced the skald and really its always been a very mixed class) There has also discussion that the Intimidate combat use (which for its most intense incapacitating effects requires a bloodied enemy) could in general have been replaced by something like that with a fear key word. Reduced to zero hit points is an open ended fully incapacitated condition in many ways (just as that intimidate can cause many effects) I have generally looked at skills and thought all needed a worthwhile combat use. Diplomacy to trigger a second wind without an action from the subject or just a minimal hitpoint recovery... might work as sensibly as the the first aid ...
  • 05:08 PM - MwaO quoted tomBitonti in post In Defense of 4E - a New Campaign Perspective
    Which fits. Although, Mocking Words is in PHB II, and seems to have generated some controversy. And, it has a keyword psychic, which would seem to make it at least partially magical. Is the keyword necessary? Damage that doesn't have a keyword is untyped. Which would be weirder. And Bards are arcane casters in 4e.
  • 05:48 AM - Garthanos quoted tomBitonti in post In Defense of 4E - a New Campaign Perspective
    But then, oughtn’t “berate” be a possible attack that does hit point damage? And, oughtn’t anyone be able to perform a bolster action (albeit with a much lower chance of success?) Bards do? Mocking Words. First Aid Grant Second Wind?
  • 05:20 AM - MwaO quoted tomBitonti in post In Defense of 4E - a New Campaign Perspective
    A problem, I’m thinking, is that 4E went too far in allowing effects to be reskinned, with keywords not having any fixed interpretation. Putting Fire as a keyword had no interpretive meaning, other than purely syntactic interactions provided by the rules. I very much prefer keywords being an interpretive guide! They both do and they don't: Mechanically, fire is fire. Pretty much in every edition. Interpretatively, in every edition, the DM decided what they wanted fire to do. 4e's only real difference here is that 4e suggests that the DM talk to the players and tell them the kind of campaign they want to run and to get table agreement on it. And some DMs interpreted that as meaning the DMG was trying to take away the DM's power, when it was really saying, "Hey, we realize, some D&D players can get really passive-aggressive. Why don't we get everything understood so no one decides to blow up the campaign because they've been secretly pissed off for the past two months?" Player: "Well, ...

Tuesday, 4th June, 2019

  • 08:37 PM - thanson02 quoted tomBitonti in post In Defense of 4E - a New Campaign Perspective
    Some points about minions: I think the "1 HP" notion is an attempt to model a more general feature: Minions are intended to model creatures which die after one solid hit. A more accurate model would give minions about 1/2 the HP value of an average attack. As a simplification, that is changed to "1 HP", which required a further modification to prevent low damage area effects from killing minions too easily. Also, minions are not quite creatures modified to fit their use outside of their usual level band. Minions "break" usual scaling by increasing their expected damage output but leaving their effect hit points unchanged. Although not tracking exactly, level increases mean increasing attack bonuses and armor class, and mean increasing damage output and hit points. Minions break this by increasing the combination of attack bonus and damage, without increasing the combination of armor class and hit points. That is, a goal of the the core combat model is to roughly preserved combat as levels...

Thursday, 16th May, 2019

  • 07:57 PM - Umbran quoted tomBitonti in post The Orville Season Two - Thoughts?
    This particular question has bugged me for a while. I don't have a clear answer, just what seems to be necessary for consistency. Did a bit of quick reading from work... The whole idea of "you could fall in and nothing happens" as you approach a supermassive black hole, is not what it appears. It is really talking about your approach (like, you don't get sphagettified). And there's no discontinuity at the event horizon... However, after that, things get messy. Fast. It turns out that any choice of coordinate system runs into trouble, and you have to start talking about coordinate-invariant qualities. But then it becomes near impossible to speak about what happens to say, a human's body. You have funny things happen depending on whether you enter traveling in the direction of the hole's spin, or against the spin. Ugly.
  • 06:29 PM - Umbran quoted tomBitonti in post The Orville Season Two - Thoughts?
    Is this correct? I think so. Freyar might correct me. But, light follows geodesics. From the event horizon inwards, there are no geodesics that ever carry you *farther away* from the singularity, iirc. They all spiral inwards to varying degrees. Each time you take a step towards the singularity, there is no going back out. There may be some exceptions, especially for black holes with high rates of spin. But I'm not near my notes at the moment to check. If one were held still, perhaps, but an infalling observer should still see objects which fell ahead of them. In the infalling frame, the light proceeds outwards. There isn't one single infalling frame for all things inside the event horizon. Each thing has its own rest frame. The space is decidedly *not* flat in there, so frames at different distances from the singularity are under acceleration relative to one another, and the acceleration difference will increase as you get closer to the singularity. And at the event hori...

Wednesday, 15th May, 2019

  • 08:37 PM - Umbran quoted tomBitonti in post The Orville Season Two - Thoughts?
    If they are inside the black hole, then either they are using their faster-than-light drive to keep from falling inwards, or they are falling inwards along with light any any other unlucky matter in their vicinity. (Light would be moving along a geodesic which terminates at the singularity; any normal motion must also terminate at the singularity.) Just *keeping still*, meaning, keeping at a constant distance from the singularity, requires use of the faster-than-light drive. Yep. And, a nod to this would have been a really good way to prevent us from awkwardly gesticulating at the TV in frustration :)

Monday, 6th May, 2019

  • 09:41 PM - Umbran quoted tomBitonti in post Avengers: Endgame SPOILER THREAD
    Yes. Then: How old should he appear after 107 chronological years? Does his appearance in the movie match 107 "Cap" years? Could he be much older than 107? We don't know. In the comics, they don't really call out that the Super Soldier Serum keeps him from aging until his age started to become an issue. You don't need to plant Spider-Man's or Iron Man's birth in any particular year, but Cap's background referenced a ever-receding WWII, and a way for him to stay hale and hearty was called for. Until this point in the movies, he never hit 40, and no explanation was needed. In theory, Old Steve could have been in that alternate timeline for nigh forever. But, until there's some *reason* to think that, why would we?
  • 07:06 PM - Umbran quoted tomBitonti in post Avengers: Endgame SPOILER THREAD
    What are Cap years to normal human years anyway? How old is the old looking Cap at the end of the movie? There might a lot of years more in Cap's timeline than the calendar difference between when he arrived in the past to the present. In the comics, his lifespan under the Super Soldier Serum is... unknown. He ages either extremely slowly, or not at all. In the movies, it looks like he was born in 1918. He goes into the ice in 1945, when he's about 27 years old. He comes out of the ice in 2011, still effectively 27. Infinity War happens in 2017, when Rogers is 33. Jump 5 years in Endgame, he's 38 or so. Conveniently, Chris Evans happens to be 37. Then he goes back to... some unknown year. The music playing in the scene where he's dancing with Peggy Carter is "It's been a long, long time," a tune released in 1945. He lives a life with Peggy Carter. In the MCU timeline she dies in 2014 (in Winter Soldier) - presumably a that point he jumps forward to deliver the shield? S...

Sunday, 14th April, 2019

  • 03:50 PM - Umbran quoted tomBitonti in post Black Hole Image - livestreamed discussion from MIT on April 12th
    That XKCD sketch looks off ... but I'm reading inconsistent things about the size: https://futurism.com/the-byte/big-m87-black-hole-compared-the-earth Either the numbers are wrong, or the "could just barely fit" comment is very off. I *think* I read elsewhere that the "size" of the event horizon is about ten times the radius of Pluto's orbit, which fits the given numbers. But then, is the XKCD sketch off? Does the glowing region shown in the image overlap the black whole itself? Are there distortions to the apparent sizes caused by gravitational / metric distortions? You are seeing inconsistent measurements, because there are two different things being discussed. One is the event horizon of the black hole. The other is a "shadow" - the lensing effects of the black hole creat teh ring in the image that is much larger than the hole itself - the shadow's radius is about 2.6x the radius of the event horizon. Something else that I'm wondering: The image seems to be looking dow...

Wednesday, 13th March, 2019

  • 07:17 PM - Zardnaar quoted tomBitonti in post What could a scientist in my Star Wars RPG be researching or working on?
    Naw, this would take a tiny spec of material. On a massive scale there would be problems, but the scale would have to truly massive. The bigger problem is getting the ship to survive, since it would be briefly overlaying core material. Thx! TomB It might now or at least extinction level event. A star destroyer ship at hyperspace speed might be able to do it. Wouldn't work in old Star Wars might now idk. Since you can now use it as a weapon and hyperspace into gravity Wells.
  • 10:05 AM - Zardnaar quoted tomBitonti in post What could a scientist in my Star Wars RPG be researching or working on?
    Last one is a hyperdrive flight through a planet that stutters the drive for a very brief instant to drop out of hyperspace and scoop up core material the go back into hyperdrive. Need very precise control and a very strong force field to hold the pressurized core material — which is high grade metal ores. This presumes that you can hyperdrive through matter, which might not work. I don’t know SW hyperdrive genre well enough to answer. Thx! TomB No it wouldn't work but Hans stunt in TFA at Starkiller base would not work in the old EU. New one who knows. Generally you can't hyperspace in gravity wells. Hypothetically maybe if you switch off all the safe guards on the hyper drive system but then you are begging to smack into a planet. If you stuttered inside the planet for whatever reason the pressure and heat would collapse the shields and ship. In legends there were experiments in hyperspace weapons and tactics with things like interdictor cruisers which pull ships out of hype...
  • 03:17 AM - Maximum7 quoted tomBitonti in post What could a scientist in my Star Wars RPG be researching or working on?
    Last one is a hyperdrive flight through a planet that stutters the drive for a very brief instant to drop out of hyperspace and scoop up core material the go back into hyperdrive. Need very precise control and a very strong force field to hold the pressurized core material — which is high grade metal ores. This presumes that you can hyperdrive through matter, which might not work. I don’t know SW hyperdrive genre well enough to answer. Thx! TomB Interesting concept but that would destroy the planet.

Tuesday, 12th March, 2019


Tuesday, 26th February, 2019

  • 09:42 AM - ccs quoted tomBitonti in post It's a Good Thing D&D Isn't a Toy
    Isn’t this more “Good thing Toy’s R Us” was not a major sales outlet for D&D? And, what do financial misdealings have to do with toys or games anyways? The connection here is coincedental, not causal. TomB TLDR version: Those misdealings have caused alot of missed sales & financial pain.

Friday, 15th February, 2019

  • 04:21 PM - dragoner quoted tomBitonti in post Generation Ships--- Can we build one now?
    Is there any way we can increase the amount of energy that we can use on Earth? I mean we are burning trees and dinosaur juice now and on the other hand the Sun releases a million times more energy in 1 second then the earth uses in 1 year. Eventually, except in the confines of the question, not today, that is the simplest answer. Sure, we will increase power generation, and if we build a smart grid we won't lose 40% of generated power due to Ohm's Law, from pumping power into a hundred year old grid with hundred year old power plants. It's really baby steps to get into space though, the knowing comes from doing, right now, if we built an interplanetary vehicle, it would be very primitive in design, like one of those Duryea cars in comparison to modern ones. That's before any consideration of an interstellar vehicle. Plus the fundamental truth is that if we could create a vehicle where people could live on some thousands of year journey, we could build an O'Neill Cylinder at a Lagrange P...


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