View Profile: Jacob Lewis - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 03:46 AM
    Damage shouldn't be a sticking point in modeling firearms - they kill people, so do knives, clubs, knitting needles, slipping in the shower, and swans - they need to do damage, but it needn't be crazy. With older firearms, RoF could actually render them pointless in the context of 6-second rounds, while the RoF of a revolver or semi-automatic weapon could be problematic in the other...
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 01:56 AM
    I've seen that work well enough, but it doesn't capture the tropes you see in fiction around guns. There's not nearly so much dodging and seeking cover and just, well, missing - unless you really whole-heartedly embrace the 1e/4e psuedo-hit - not to mention the tense stand-off of characters held at gunpoint.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 01:02 AM
    Every edition that has succeeded has succeeded on that basis, 5e just more so than any other since the 80s fad, mainly thanks to timing... ...But also because it threaded the needle between enraging vocal fragments of its fan base, and being accessible to new players. 4e erred on the side of being accessible, and touched off a spontaneous grassroots movement determined to burn the line to the...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 12:32 AM
    The best game of SR I was ever in was run using M:tA (oWoD Storyteller), so, IDK, a very different dynamic from the native system may not be such a bad thing...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:09 PM
    I'm sorry, is it not a 5e thread?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:57 PM
    Something about TWF becoming the best option for a raging barbarian seems off. Not as off as S&B - it's at least given to full offense - but off... ....though, ultimately, worrying about how combat options balance vs eachother and what's optimal doesn't seem that important in the context of 5e.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:44 PM
    I can't think of a RPG that wouldn't call for either, at times. One game can be clearer and more functional than another, even by a large margin, without actually being perfect. By comparison to most games other than early eds of D&D, I suppose, but the important takeaway isn't relative, it intent: 5e set out to be that way, on purpose, and for a purpose - several, really - for one, it...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:55 PM
    It was a long time coming. I gave variant fighters a % DEX instead of STR back in the day - complete with maximums by race & sex. The 3e Finesse feat essentially taxed Sex fighters, and left them inferior. Not if it was random roll in order - just gets no benefit from it, as a fighter. Really, INT is a triffle lacklustre in 5e - though I feel knowledge skills can still be important.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:45 PM
    Agreed. Passive scores as targets work well. AC is essentially an example. You could start grapples with an attack (though vs a Touch AC would make more sense), and use a STR save to break out. DEX save to avoid and STR to escape might make more sense. Note, though, that 2 saves to work, and two different saves at that, leaves it a pretty low-percentage option.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:33 PM
    Alternatives to class/level appeared almost immediately. Traveller ditched level - and indeed, advancement beyond accumulating wealth - RQ was skill-based. Champions! was out in '81, with a fully point-buy, effects-based system. Yet, even games that eschew class/level have some sort of advancement, and some sort of archetypes. If you played Champions! Back in the day, you talk of Bricks,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:45 PM
    Well, you can, if you want to, it just doesn't have much impact. But, it's funny you should mention Gauntlet: it's a fair analogy to how certain classes played in most editions of D&D: grind damage in melee, heal with found potions (food) or Clerical assistance, when briefly not in melee, grind out damage at range. That's a fighter in TSR D&D, or a barbarian in 3e, or an Essentials Slayer...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:31 PM
    It is a lot of system, sure - at least as complex as any other ed for the amount of crunch it hss out - but it's a lot of system that relies on the DM to make it work. Try the thought experiment yourself, or just consider carefully the next time you run: how far do you get before you're making an interpretation or ruling that another DM might've done differently?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:20 PM
    You could also watch the encounter end without getting to act - not just combat encounters, either, many other challenges would also likely be resolved by a single PC, as well. The issue wasn't so much fast v slow or boring v exciting, but spectator v participant. Nod, 5e is that kind of deadly only at the lowest levels, but it establishes, especially in the eyes of a new player "this game...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:06 PM
    The edition war rarely reached the intellectual level of a discussion or debate, it was characterized by fallacies, especially personal attacks, intellectual dishonesty, questionable agendas, and many persistent factual errors & misrepresentations. Actual discussion of 4e, itself, rather than the straw man effigies of it being attacked, was rare by comparison. The game has been dead & burried...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:11 PM
    Hey, your 3e character could die instantly. Life & Death not meaningful enough for you?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:02 PM
    DMs are people, not robots, so, yeah, it has to be a very extreme hypothetical. Even the least experienced, least talented DM is going to exercise judgement when the system punts to him. Sure, but those come in after DM has judged success/failure/uncertainty. Theres the d20 core mechanic, really. The players get 6 stats and various proficiencies, and a (very) few other bonuses. ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:19 AM
    The brilliance of 5e is that the system is not the game: the DM is. Thought experiment: try putting 5e on autopilot, resolve to run a quick session with no rulings, just rules. Here's how it goes: The players build some characters, the DM describes the situation, a player declares an action - and the game stops, because there is no resolution without a DM ruling. And that's just effing...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:07 AM
    It just occurred to me: No one has nominated Calcryx as their favorite white dragon. What an oversight! Meepo must be rolling in his grave...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:59 AM
    The thing about Fast & Boring is at least it's over quickly. But, yes, Fast can be devestatingly anti-climactic, that's why you have to crank the threat up to rocket tag levels to keep it meaningful.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:53 AM
    When to rest has always been about spells, more than hp. Sure, in the early game, you'd run out if healing, out of hp and have to rest - 15 min workday. But, then we got WoCLW, and did it give us an 8hr workday? Nope, the 5MWD, because casters wanted their top-level spells back for the next round of rocket tag, the next scry/buff/teleport assault, or the next buff/targetted-dispel contest....
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 11:10 PM
    I think, ultimately, errata comes down to attitude. Is your product something that's supposed to work, and when it doesn't, that's a bad thing? Then you fix it, promptly, and free of charge if at all possible. Is your product not really supposed to work until the customer has kitbashed it into what he was actually looking for when he bought it? Then why worry, trying to change it is just...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 11:01 PM
    How many 5e feats would you identify as chaff? If it's less than 100*, I'd say it's an improvement. ;P
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 05:27 PM
    ...over substance?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 05:20 PM
    Step one was clearing out the chaff. I suspect that was part of the impetus to have 'big' feats: it means characters get fewer feats, so make fewer feat choices, which means you can publish only a handful of them.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 04:33 PM
    Over in the sense that 4e was already out of print.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 03:48 PM
    I thought that was clear. Yeah, I'm not saying either complaint is valid, IMX, just that they're made. I have no problems with 5e being too easy, I just adjust encounter difficulty on the fly rather than coloring inside the guidelines (and don't run high level games), and none with 4e being too slow (even when I ran weekly in a 2-hr slot with a hard stop) because I could keep players engaged...
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 12:09 PM
    Don't forget about Pathfinder. You should look into the first two books of the Mummy's Mask Adventure Path. The plots and premise could be easily adapted and fits the theme of the overall campaign. Also worth considering, I think the Golarion version of ancient Egyt (Osirion) is far more interesting and detailed than the Forgotten Realms version. The series was not originally intended for any...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 06:24 AM
    Yep, and trap choices reward system mastery, which is inclusive of 3e fans. And, Feats are optional, so if you don't want that, don't opt in. What's more, 5e is designed to be a starting point. There's less sense moving the starting line after the gun than moving the goal posts. DMs will have already done what they wanted with feats (and anything else). And, yes, for organized play,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 06:00 AM
    The original said "Medieval " right on the cover, 45 years ago.... ....and, y'know, 45 is middle aged. ;P
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 04:54 AM
    Check the join date: he came in after it was over.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 01:26 AM
    so, red sports cars? ;P D&D has always been wonky, a genre hybrid among high-fantasy/S&S, Lovecraft (and a bit of Poe), and science fiction from EE Doc Smith through Vance. It's pretty nuts, but, really, that's what the 70s were like, very iconoclastic, irreverent, derivative, and, well, there's an in-joke over here: "The Decade Taste Forgot." ;P I took a stab it throwing AD&D in 3...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 11:37 PM
    Closest to this, I suppose. I really lift from the fiction of Tanith Lee & Michael Moorcock, when it comes to the relationship of the mortal to the divine. Gods gain power, perhaps even derive existence, from their worshippers. It's a chicken and egg question whether the gods created mortals or vice-versa. So when a mortal gains power from the divine, it can be a matter of developing his...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 11:23 PM
    Awesome, for the era in which I played it, with little besides D&D to compare it to. RQII was the version I played. I did get a good look at a later ed, 3 or 4, that included more elaborate rules for magic - Sorcery, I think it was - didn't grab me. The mythology of the setting, though, is some pretty amazing stuff, too, regardless of system.
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 10:50 PM
    1e for the classic adventure modules that would define our expectations of what this game was really about: exploring dungeons, fighting monsters, and gaining treasure! 2e for expanding on the basic ideas and pushing the limits of imagination with different settings, rules, and worlds that give us more than just the standard garden-variety experience with D&D. 3e for opening the rules up to...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 10:47 PM
    Could be knowledge checks, too. And a 'right tool for the job' ethos, with specialized variations on weapons specific to a foe he expects to face...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 10:42 PM
    I didn't catch that. But, I did also like the ways dragons worked in 1e - fear, subdual, hps/die based on age instead of a random roll, breath weapons that did their max hp in damage, etc - they were more clearly distinct from other monsters.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 10:30 PM
    So it was the art. Give me the B&W line art in the 1e MM, thankyouverymuch.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 10:26 PM
    The art: 1e art had a charm and enthusiasm that the technically more professional art of later eds, or even later 1e, for that matter, would never re-capture. Steal from the best: When I was introduced to D&D, I found animated sword-fighting skeletons, out of Harryhausen, zombies out of Night of the Living Dead, viscous (not just vicious) monsters out of The Blob, and just the general...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 08:05 PM
    Is this art or stats? Either way, voting AD&D for 1e, not 2e. 2e took the 'self defense for dragons' thing too far, and I feel the 1e MM line art had a charm to it that no subsequent edition could. But if I had to vote on just the art you posted, it'd have to be 3e. The AD&D one if just goofy, and the 4e & 5e look like they have beaks.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 06:52 PM
    I guess if you mention anime, your thread gets spammed.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 05:44 PM
    Fast & Exciting sorta go together, sure. 3e definitely delivered short, high-stakes combats, both 3.0 scry/buff/teleport and 3.5 Rocket Tag. While 5e can be deadly at very low level, you have to reach beyond the encounter guidelines to get the same sorts of things going in it, and SoDs aren't what they were, either - the complaint from 3.x fans is often along the lines of 'too easy' rather than...
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 03:58 PM
    Star Wars Roleplaying Game by Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) (No surprises, and no apologies.) I have always felt that the idea of Star Wars was often better than what is sometimes actually produced. Between all the movies, TV shows, novels, comic books, and assortment of toys and games, there is much more to the Saga than most of us can truly comprehend. That is, if we base our assumptions...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 10:03 PM
    Sure, if a fighter can do it, clearly everyone should be able to do it. Check me out, I'm an INT-based Commoner, I work for Realmsoft. Ogg very proud he invent magic, but get very tired of carrying huge stone tablets everywhere. "I Theologize him to death!" A temple dancer.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 09:59 PM
    Not initiative - DEX still had it over INT on that one - but otherwise, stats were paired for defense, and any stat could be a primary (attack) or secondary (riders, features) for a class or build, somewhere. That meant a concept that called for a particular high stat wasn't just dead in the water. Stats still represented different things, acted as prerequisites, and added to different...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 09:45 PM
    There were competing carrot or stick philosophies of encouraging RP. 1e Paladins, Druids, Assassins, alignments, race restrictions &c were examples of the 'stick' - toe the line in how you play your character or the DM will punish you. 5e Inspiration is an example of a 'carrot.' Maybe, because I'm an old timer, while the former look like a bad idea, in retrospect, they at least feel like...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 09:30 PM
    Well the 4e fighter, specifically was originally designed around S&B vs two-hander. TWF was added later (with a defender spin, vs the Ranger's TWF, and the Ranger also covered archery, while the rogue covered the lighter DEX-based styles... and got a Duelist build in Dragon, IIRC). So feature would seem to be the place to insert a one-handed-weapon emphasis, an alternative to S&B,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 09:10 PM
    We could call it "Deep Thought."
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 08:35 PM
    You didn't say it, may not believe it, but the rating systems you're thinking about - and your reactions to what's been proposed as possible ratings - make me think that's what you're looking for... ... or, at least, what you'll end up finding, by looking in the manner that you seem to be leaning towards. You'd end up evaluating it negatively (in the sense of judging it to be bad, or in the...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 07:33 PM
    But you would hold up nunchuck-wielding uber-Gnolls as the D&D lore standard? However vague the description and different the spelling I'll take Lord Dunsany over Bruce Lee, thanks. ...yeah, I'm sorry, it's the whole flindbar thing, just can't take it seriously...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 06:32 PM
    It's a tangent, but, sure: it'd be fairly simple to give a bonus (in 5e, say advantage) to a character who has not been attacked since the end of his last turn and was not threatened at the start of his turn. It'd be a mild counter-incentive against somewhat unrealistic focus fire, and make 'suppressive fire' a thing in D&D's Fantasy Vietnam - heck, we already have recon by fire(ball). ;P
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 06:28 PM
    Original D&D, of course! Might as well go full-retro. :) And, I mean, just: green rubbery supernaturally-regenerating humanoid + ceramic lawn decoration come to life = hyena-morph (which puns with 'knoll')? Genius! Flinds? Really? Stocky hyena-Łbermenschen with nunchucks? Someone took those seriously? Don't fret, it's not really a toolbox. Well, that'd make sense,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 03:18 PM
    If we were all Americans, here, I could just say "because we're a violent society." Instead, for my flip, sarcastic, cynical answere I'm going to have to go all ST:tNG, and say " because we are an egregiously violent species." (And, you don't get to complain about flip, joking answered to serious questions.)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 03:12 PM
    That's still rules for using weapons, just less detailed ones. And it's hard to say a game is X level of detailed. For instance, 1e AD&D had a more detailed list of weapons, with more detailed stats than 3e, but 3e had more detailed rules for using them. How do you rate those differences? What if a game were to (gasp) do something differently than other games? In the 80s, 'Core...
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 02:50 PM
    Fourth Edition D&D balanced ability scores (among other things) better than any other edition. If you go back to attributing a single characteristic to a specific defense, then you are giving those ability scores additional value over those that do not. The way 4e did it, pairing up the two closest-compatible abilities to each defense, players were less constrained in their character builds....
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 02:16 PM
    That's not a matter of clarity, but of scope or completeness, and not an interpretation or a ruling, but simply adding - formally or informally - to the game. For instance, if a game includes no prices, stats, or rules for weapons, then armed combat might be outside its scope - maybe it's all about boxing, IDK. The rules it does present might be clear enough that no rulings or...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 05:03 AM
    While the fact 4e isn't OGL means it can't be cloned the way PF cloned 3.5, game mechanics like defenses other than AC aren't an impediment: 13A uses them, for one instance.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 03:45 AM
    Google it It's not like "I know it when I see it," it's a thing. And, yes, Clarity is a major plus for any rule system that's not trying to evoke the DM-centric feel of classic D&D. It cuts down on the need for rulings, makes the game easier to understand, run, and play, and cuts down on the kinds of endless arguments that ruin sessions, but keep internet discussion forums thriving... ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 03:28 AM
    You've got a lot of 1e books and a sense of humor, how bout compiling those stats?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 12:57 AM
    It was needed, at that point, because players would finally be having fun playing capable characters they were invested in, but the improving plot-armor mechanics, especially saves, were never quite dependable enough.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 12:24 AM
    Certainly. Once you know that a blackpudding is attracted to movement or a mindless undead to life force, an exploit like C&Gi should be an at-will vs them. They'll never see through it. Two very different ways to go, the modern-intuitive robot-like behaviors, or the mythic, anthropomorphized behaviors.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 12:11 AM
    So, not enough Rocket Tag (short, but hard combat) means a game fails at its core? True, I suppose, if, at its core, it's trying to be a degenerate case of high-level 3.5 play. Apart from the fact that RP happens in combat, that's just a matter of scheduling. Even if RL dictates short sessions, you can devote one to a setup scene, say in exploration trying to locate and engage the enenemy...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 10:22 PM
    I'm sorry, we can't accept that answer... But, yes, the idea of the non-casting martial PC as noble or heroic - the 9th level Lord, fighters being barronettes, the 3e fighter as natural party leader, the 4e Warlord, and EDs like legendary sovereign, ect - and taking the campaign from dungeons and treasure hunting to castles and campaigning. D&D has always floated it, but rarely delivered much...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 04:15 AM
    You can trust it as far as you can mod it. ;) Which is as far as youre willing to take it. DM Empowerment is about trusting the DM over the system. 4e didn't set the stage properly for that (neither did 3e, so it's not /just/ about balance), it left DMs hesitant to go full-bore variant and/or improv, and vested players in what yhe system had to offer (3e, too, it just offered rewards for...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 11:46 PM
    If D&D get's any more retro, it'll be Chainmail... -no, Ironclads!
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 11:35 PM
    It /seems/ significant in the kinds of simplified scenarios DPR calculations represent, because you can have things like hypothetical Big BeatStick doing exactly twice as much damage as the hypothetical little beatstick that attacks twice as often, for exactly the same damage, and who each always attack enemies in isolation.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 11:33 PM
    A creature can be mindless but still display, say tropisms, so a black pudding or something would move towards prey to engulf it, jerk away from painful stimuli, etc. As children of the information age, we tend to think of golems as 'programmed' but the long-dead tellers of those stories probably thought of them as obeying commands (or not, the original golem became murderous) like a person...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 11:04 PM
    That was the problem, yes. I'm not convinced overkill is a meaningful concept in the first place. Overkilled is still killed and exactly-killed is a coincidence. It was considering two beatsticks beating down their hp pinatas at the same rate to be doing so at different rates that sounded squirelly. I let myself forget just how squirelly D&D hps can get. ;)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 10:29 PM
    It's also one of the more-nearly-valid expressions of discontent from that period. Like over in the MAYA thread. The issue was being so unfamiliar as a consequence of it's numerous, only 20 or 30 years overdue, improvements, that it ended up 'not feeling like D&D.' It /was/ D&D, it said so right on the cover, it was published by the owners of the D&D IP, there's no disputing it. But in a...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 10:00 PM
    9 levels of spellcasting
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 10:00 PM
    "Rock climbing, Joel, /Rock Climbing/Ö"
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 09:33 PM
    Just what you were /trying/ to say wasn't clear. You're on about that oddity of D&D hps that an enemy is still fighting at full power even at 1 hp, which introduces a sort of rounding effect. Wounded rounds down to alive, so if your attack can only kill, never wound, your curve remains smooth & symmetrical, but if it can wound, it gets pulled in, becomes lopsided, because wounded enemies are...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 03:24 PM
    Over a sufficiently large sample size, testing both tails of the distribution, they will. But that includes things like wiffing multiple rounds in a row. For instance, in your first example, 16% of the time Big Stick will take at least 3 rounds to kill one enemy, while for Little sticks, that same 16% is the chance to take at least 2 rounds...
    135 replies | 3896 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 05:53 AM
    To be fair, you're probably thinking of earlier eds. In 3e you could totally have a band of goblins, most ordinary, a leader with levels of IDK, Rogue, maybe, for the skills, brutes with Barbarian levels, and maybe a witchdoctor with Adept levels.
    252 replies | 22755 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 05:46 AM
    Could they use it for a bonus to AC, before, too? Seems like Jedi do a lot of dodging and blocking.
    166 replies | 5247 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 05:36 AM
    That's why I like damage die plus mods for a single hit, combined damage dice + non-stacking mods when both weapons hit. That is add a stat mod once, a magic weapon bonus once (the higher of the two if both are magical), etc. That way you're not magnifying static mods in a problematic way, and you do better than 1/2 damage when splitting attacks. It does seem intuitive, though.
    185 replies | 4488 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 04:42 AM
    I think that's actually a different scenario, that favors the Big Stick, and, there's another, corresponding one that favors the little sticks. What you've been focusing on, AFAICT is the likelihood of finishing off an enemy in the shortest possible time, that is, of not missing from the time you choose to focus on that target until it drops. Assuming the same chance to hit, that will favor...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 04:29 AM
    Has any edition of D&D ever done anything to model those sorts of things?
    135 replies | 3896 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 09:33 PM
    Sounds like you've skipped ahead to epic, already. No Epic potential, there, then... Feels like the wrong sense of scope. Maybe have some "duties" and "adventures" in the city that are below their paygrade, and serve as distractions from the developing Epic threat...? Could be amusing if they recruit "a small crew of odd balls looking for extra cash" to deal with some of those lesser...
    6 replies | 340 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 08:31 PM
    The main thing a clone seeks to fix is that the game being cloned is out if print. The edition war.
    320 replies | 10624 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 06:19 PM
    Sure, that difference is a system artifact. Conceptually, the attacker is always responsible for the event. He attacked, whether with weapon, cantrip, spell, or quip. And, both attacker and defender (If not helpless) should, conceptually, be able to affect the outcome.
    166 replies | 5247 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 06:07 PM
    That does seem like the crux of it. I think I finally get it... Just an observation: what you're measuring, there is chance to drop an enemy in the minimum time possible. Of course, the mechanic that calls for fewer checks will do that more often. But, it will also take /longer/ than the expected time more often, for the same reason. So the dual attacker with the same DPR is more...
    135 replies | 3896 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 05:19 PM
    I was thinking converting DEX-secondary Powers and DEX-preq Feats to INT. The single-one-handed-weapon archetype so common in fencing (&other martial arts) never got a great treatment in D&D, which is maybe too medieval and gear-focused for that. In 3e the rogue had some definite use for INT - but so did the Fighter who wanted the Expertise feat tree.
    26 replies | 786 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 04:57 PM
    Then there's no issue. I was pointing out that a lone PC whittling down a block of hp was implausible (mainly because of the lone PC) - Maybe I should have said an oversimplification? Possibly, due to positioning or trying to occupy foes in melee so they don't focus on one PC - not that either is handled well by 5e in TotM mode. Focus fire is just so effective under D&D style hp rules,...
    135 replies | 3896 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 04:16 PM
    5e scales most clearly in terms of hp/damage, and the fan base lives* to calculate DPR. So 5e 'balance' overvalues DPR, and, the Fighter, Mr Best At Combat (with weapons, without magic), gets little else. The bonus ASIs give the Fighter a tiny amount of versatility at the build-design phase, so they're a godsend for any theorycrafter who wishes to prove the Fighter can 'do' something or meet...
    34 replies | 1121 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 02:33 PM
    I always thought the "smart fighters" were Rogues. :cool:
    26 replies | 786 view(s)
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 02:26 PM
    A great GM creates a fun experience for the players. But because the definition of "fun" is different for everyone, you can't pigeon-hole specific traits or qualities based on a particular style of play. Even what some people might consider as "bad/wrong" examples might not be an issue for everyone else. Voice acting doesn't matter as much as running challenging or interesting battles for a group...
    18 replies | 641 view(s)
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 02:03 PM
    Don't let some published work thwart your plans if you already have something in mind. This is YOUR campaign, as well as your players'. Whatever happens in the video game has yet to be revealed and could be completely different (and less satisfying) than what you have in mind. Plus, the experience in a computer game is very different than what you get in a tabletop session, even if they share...
    6 replies | 340 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 04:58 AM
    Is it an outlier - like the single-PC party - or part of the expected range of play? It's intentionally enabled and often offered as an example of something 5e handles better than other editions, due to BA.
    135 replies | 3896 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 04:35 AM
    Not remotely, just that 5e BA was designed in part, to enable it, so it shouldn't be discounted. Nope. I asserted that lone-character scenarios were less plausible. The expectation that D&D is typically played by a group. Do you wish to argue that, to the contrary, solo play is the norm?
    135 replies | 3896 view(s)
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Monday, 22nd April, 2019


Friday, 15th June, 2018

  • 07:31 AM - Coroc mentioned Jacob Lewis in post Darksun Version 4.0
    Jacob Lewis That would be another idea, but i still like my solution more, unless you would rule that inferior Magic weapons would not have to make two dice rolls. It has to be analysed statistically though. With a 2xd20 someone has found out a number which would reflect disad quite well it was -2 or so if i remember, so i guess 2 die rolls for weapon damage would result in about a -1 which would be desirable. Has to be analysed though.

Monday, 11th December, 2017


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Friday, 14th June, 2019

  • 03:03 PM - gyor quoted Jacob Lewis in post Best D&D adventures/modules in a desert?
    Don't forget about Pathfinder. You should look into the first two books of the Mummy's Mask Adventure Path. The plots and premise could be easily adapted and fits the theme of the overall campaign. Also worth considering, I think the Golarion version of ancient Egyt (Osirion) is far more interesting and detailed than the Forgotten Realms version. The series was not originally intended for any specific world, so it wouldn't be difficult adapting the key elements of each module into whatever setting used. WotC doesn't own the rights to Osirion, Mummy's Mask AP, or Golarion, so they can't use them. And Orision and FRs Mulhorand (and Bakar) are radically different settings, I mean both have Egyptian themes, but the history and story of the settings are hugely different. Orision is a story of a nation that is rebuilding it's sense of self after regaining indepence from a being a colony of an Imperialist Power. Mulhorand IS the Imperial power, but one that arose by overthrowi...

Thursday, 13th June, 2019

  • 11:13 AM - Bagpuss quoted Jacob Lewis in post Systems You Left after One Bad Experience
    One thing to keep in mind is that the Imperial player is not a GM. He/she is, in fact, another player who is actively opposing the others who are playing together as a team. I highly recommend using the APP that takes over the role of the Imperial player for a more co-op experience, so that you don't feel like a GM being unfair when you shaft the Rebel players, the APP can do that for you and then you can all grown and complain together.

Sunday, 9th June, 2019

  • 04:59 PM - Garthanos quoted Jacob Lewis in post The Intelligent Fighter , Thibault's Circle.
    I always thought the "smart fighters" were Rogues. :cool: I never did as the useless thief of AD&D was my introduction to that archetype. Rogues are now fully fight worthy and so I can shift based on that... AND It is possible to do a smart rogue in 4e and it generally comes off as ninja like (shadowy rogue) I would say that is stylistic rather different than a fencing master with unusually high survivability ;) and a measure of cold calculating dangerousness so to my thinking doesn't do the trick for this Thibault's Circle smart fighter style.

Thursday, 6th June, 2019

  • 02:05 PM - TheWayofPie quoted Jacob Lewis in post [4E] Which classes would you prefer to see in a clone
    Barbarian (Primal/ Striker) Bard (Arcane/ Leader) Cleric (Divine/ Leader) Druid (Primal/ Controller) Fighter (Martial/ Defender) Paladin (Divine/ Defender) Rogue (Martial/ Striker) Wizard (Arcane/ Controller) 2 of each role and power sources. Minimal overlap. Just make sure the Fighter gets Warlord options.

Tuesday, 4th June, 2019

  • 06:10 PM - Xaelvaen quoted Jacob Lewis in post Systems You Left after One Bad Experience
    I think that was the whole point of this thread: games you left because of a bad experience, not because of the system itself. I've never personally had an experience dictate my appreciation of the system, but I certainly get some people work that way - and was not questioning your decision at all, but wondering if there were mechanical complaints/issues as well. You well-explained that with your Vancian casting comment, so just a curiosity. As far as 4E, despite that first terrible experience, my group gave it a fair shot in a non-public setting, and it was immensely more fun (especially with d&d Insider). I didn't like the Fort/Ref/Will being passive numbers, because it felt like a loss of player control - and I even more hated altering my character sheet every other level with a +1 everywhere (so we started using Excel sheets to solve that problem), but it was still a nice change of pace for a couple of years. Like you, I'm not fond of Vancian - which is why our primary system is a h...
  • 04:14 PM - MrDM69 quoted Jacob Lewis in post Should I play 4e?
    You mean like Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters in 5e? Those are optional archetypes. The 4e magic, features, exploits, or whatever you want to call them are not as optional, and just confuse the game.
  • 03:56 PM - Imaro quoted Jacob Lewis in post Should I play 4e?
    You mean like Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters in 5e? Those are spellcasters in 5e.... :confused:

Sunday, 2nd June, 2019

  • 08:42 PM - Xaelvaen quoted Jacob Lewis in post Systems You Left after One Bad Experience
    I am hesitant to say 5e D&D because I made several attempts to let it grow on me. But the fact is my first session playing in the Adventurers League sealed it for me. It wasn't the DM, however; he was a friend of mine and handled it well for what he was given. It was most of the players who showed up like it was a chore they had to do in order to get rewarded. They selected characters from a rotating stable of sheets with no names (i.e. "Barbarian 4", "Cleric 2", etc.). And despite early comments from the group being fans of Critical Role, almost everyone was reluctant to participate in any activity or play that didn't involve a roll that would lead to dealing damage to someone. FYI, the adventure was largely centered around a puzzle/riddle dungeon. The first time a creature appeared and offered a riddle, half the party charged and forced a combat. It was then I decided that 5e (and public play in general) was not so appealing to me. What I had with 4e was no longer there, and it didn't seem it w...

Saturday, 1st June, 2019


Friday, 31st May, 2019

  • 07:16 PM - Staffan quoted Jacob Lewis in post The MAYA Design Principle, or Why D&D's Future is Probably Going to Look Mostly Like Its Past
    You're not wrong. I consider 4e to be a step in the game's evolution until it did a backslide into 5e. 5e is closer to what I wanted in 3e, but 4e is what I really enjoyed and wished to see progress and evolve further in 5e. 5e does not innovate with any new ideas for me, so I moved on. PF2 could get my interest, but I am fully invested now in other games that do things different and (dare I say) better in some aspects. 4e had two problems: 1. The math didn't work out. The treadmill regarding monster stats vs PC stats meant that PCs became less likely to hit monsters at higher levels, and monsters generally took a bit too long to kill. This aspect was exacerbated by the game wanting to be focused around interesting "bossy" fights, while players and designers were still doing attrition-based adventures. This made the game tedious, at least when played as people were used to playing. 2. Too many radical changes. Adding tieflings (but now with a homogeneous look to make art direction and ...
  • 04:37 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Jacob Lewis in post How To Clone 4E Using 5E Rules
    I would recommend focus on Heroic tier (levels 1-10) first. Don't concern yourself with the higher powered experiences that will introduce more complexity and potentially game-breaking abilities until you nail down the fundamentals. Keep it simple. Keep it basic. Make it work. The whole point of a clone is that your copying something that already works (in whatever way or to whatever extent it does, anyway). 4e was functional at all levels, so there's certainly no need to focus on Heroic Tier. If anything, focus on Epic would make more sense, since, while functional by-the-numbers, that Tier was not as well supported with DMing advice and the like as Heroic in the DMG1/Essentials and Paragon in the DMG2. + 4e and 5e arenít fundamentally all that different. If by fundamentally you mean they're both d20 games, sure. But, fundamentally, 4e was designed from the ground up as a cooperative game, optimized for balance, playability and ease of both introduction & DMing. The result was AEDU a...
  • 04:18 PM - Umbran quoted Jacob Lewis in post The MAYA Design Principle, or Why D&D's Future is Probably Going to Look Mostly Like Its Past
    That actually makes a lot of sense. Thanks Darwin! :) I'll need to consider better terminology for what I'm trying to say... Hello, Thesaurus! ;) I mean, saying 4e was an advance, and 5e a step back works, if that's what you think. Mulling over the evolution analogy... I note that evolution is not an *overall* statement of a creature's fitness. There is no such thing as "overall fitness". A creature is only judged relative to the environment/niche it finds itself in at the time. It either lives, shifts to a different niche that happens to be readily accessible from where it is, or dies. Which is to say, failure in evolution doesn't say you are bad, just not right for where and when you were. From the evolutionary standpoint then, we can say 4e's fall doesn't say it is a bad game in a general sense - just a poor fit to be the flagship RPG product (which is the niche D&D generally sits in) at that time. We could imagine it in a different niche - some other company, positioning it ...
  • 03:08 PM - Umbran quoted Jacob Lewis in post The MAYA Design Principle, or Why D&D's Future is Probably Going to Look Mostly Like Its Past
    You're not wrong. I consider 4e to be a step in the game's evolution until it did a backslide into 5e. Not relevant to any particular game or edition: This is not how evolution works. Evolution does not have a preferred forward, and thus no backward. Either "evolution" is not a proper word to describe the game's change over time, or the concepts you are applying here do not apply. I can see an argument that the game is evolving - evolution contains the concept of variations *that fail*, that do not fit the environment in which they find themselves, and they die out. I am not sure the evolution analogy fits perfectly, but if you want to use it, that's probably the way to look at it.

Friday, 24th May, 2019

  • 09:59 PM - Retreater quoted Jacob Lewis in post Systems You Left after One Bad Experience
    Well that just seems like a missed opportunity due to misplaced expectations, which is surprising since you suggest having some familiarity with "Descent". The two games play nearly the same, but I felt the Star Wars version had improved on a number of things, and not just thematically. The campaign structure is far more flexible allowing for more variety and greater repeatability. And while every expansion provides a new campaign or mini-campaign, each miniature expansion also offers a new mission that could be used in any of them. Personally, I don't want anyone to dismiss this game based only on your comments about a limited perspective/experience (no offense), so I'm just going to offer another perspective for balance. :) One thing to keep in mind is that the Imperial player is not a GM. He/she is, in fact, another player who is actively opposing the others who are playing together as a team. And since they're not challenging a programmed or static environment, the experience can vary depen...

Monday, 20th May, 2019

  • 02:46 PM - Elfcrusher quoted Jacob Lewis in post What the Hell?
    The only time when a company can get away with telling its customers "Go to Hell". I dunno...Verizon and Facebook both seem to do ok with that, too.

Tuesday, 14th May, 2019

  • 11:36 AM - Telvin quoted Jacob Lewis in post Greyhawk Elevator Pitch?
    I have tossed it down the elevator shaft many times. But it still keeps finding its way out. (I think Vecna might have a Hand in this.) Eye, I am sure he did!

Friday, 10th May, 2019


Wednesday, 8th May, 2019

  • 02:30 PM - Bacon Bits quoted Jacob Lewis in post Greyhawk is the official setting for Ghosts of Saltmarsh
    What about Dark Sun?! Why can't I play this in Dark... Oh! Guess that actually won't work without great bodies of water or ships. Hang on... There's the Silt Sea which is partially navigable with silt skimmers, which usually look like massive ship/wagon hybrids that work well in the shallows, or else silt ships that are levitated telekinetically via psionics. You just have to beware of all the giants. If you want a marsh there's the Salt Meres of Bodach. It's Athasian silt rather than water, but it's the same result.
  • 01:46 PM - Ash Mantle quoted Jacob Lewis in post Greyhawk is the official setting for Ghosts of Saltmarsh
    106317 You mean sailed past :D Anyway, my liberal use of :D should've clued in you.
  • 01:17 PM - Ash Mantle quoted Jacob Lewis in post Greyhawk is the official setting for Ghosts of Saltmarsh
    What about Dark Sun?! Why can't I play this in Dark... Oh! Guess that actually won't work without great bodies of water or ships. Hang on... Sure you can! Just replace any reference to sea or water with desert or sand :D ie, Isle of the Abbey. With hostility toward the Desert Princess running high, Eliander sponsors an expedition to clear Abbey Dune and establish a base there. Its location makes it an ideal lookout point for any desert-based threats. On a more applicable matter though, I recall a someone's re-imagined map of our world where all of the world's oceans and seas suffered from desertification, turning all the countries in the world into a great landlocked mass, it was glorious. Spelljammer! Why can't I play this with Spelljammer?! Sure you can! Just replace any reference to water with space :D Smuggler. Tool Proficiencies: Vehicles (space).


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