View Profile: Jacob Lewis - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 03:20 AM
    Yeah, the actual play experience will be subjective, so looking for the difference there will, at most, uncover some dusty system artifacts that might reveal which system was used, but nothing much more. Now, whether via system procedures, or via some naïve-RP/freestyle/make-believe consensus, the same persons could have established the same elements of the fiction in the same order. I...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 03:03 AM
    IDK. Would the existing PF fanbase be offended if their system were positioned as Advanced D&D (w/1e UA & 2e Complete & Option books), to 5e's Basic D&D?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 03:00 AM
    That's fair. I mean, 5e /has the bloodied condition/, without having the "Bloodied" /Condition/. So any rule you could write in 4e like "when the <insert creature> is not bloodied and attacks a bloodied enemy <bad things happen>" you could as easily write, in 5e "when the <insert creature>'s current hit points, not including temporary hit points are greater than half its maximum hit points...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 02:51 AM
    I was searching for some way of making a statement general enough to avoid implying any specific system or set of assumptions. But, y'know, RPGing is something we all do. Any time we do that, is an 'instance,' right? So, in any given instance, we might decide to go beyond the scope of the system we're using, or even merely the scope of what it does well. And, /if/ we're a group with a good...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 02:25 AM
    It's not the most clearly-stated rule ever (even by 1e standards), but, yeah, that's the only way to parse the rule that allows the optional -3 'single blow' phrasing to make any sense. TBH, it /doesn't/ make a lot of sense, no matter how you try to parse it. Every group I ever saw use the -10 rule, allowed that you dropped unconscious if reduced to anything from 0 to -9, then bled at...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 01:31 AM
    The whole DMG is essentially optional rules. (really, the whole game is, but don't admit it to the players) nb: that's to /exactly/ 0 hit point. If you drop to -1 or fewer you die. That's what happens while you're unconscious, after having been reduced to exactly 0. You lose 1 hp per round, going from 0, to -1, etc, down through -9, then die when you reach -10. If you don't take any...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 12:07 AM
    No problem. I'd've not replies if I'd noticed you taking down the post I was responding too...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 12:05 AM
    ..it'd be an issue, because there are INT based casters & 1/3rd casters who already need a lot of INT, which otherwise does nothing for combat - suddenly they could leverage it. And, those 1/3rd casters (EK & AT) are otherwise weapon-users... ...oh, and Bladesingers...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:40 PM
    I've heard about it but never checked it out. What did they do, just dial up encounters?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:38 PM
    That's the thing, you don't need to talk about 20-level builds to new players. They can play a 'starting package' or pregen. Really, in any edition, pregens are a good idea, that's why modules had 'em back in the 0e days (In Search of the Unknown, which came with the c1977 basic set had pregens in the back), and 5e has 'em in the Basic PDF. Encounters pregens came on laminated half-sheets. ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:47 PM
    Oh, yeah. Especially some messed up monsters early on, and the off-kilter encounters in KotS and the like, could be deadlier than EL would indicate, and, until the MM3, if you weren't playing like 8-enounter days, EL=Level could seem a little too easy. It'd've made more sense, as a practical matter of how it seemed 4e got played 'in the wild' to peg monster math/EL to a 3-5 encounter day, and...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:41 PM
    But, you haven't gotten to the pedantic part, yet!? Asked and answered: they only feel heavy after you take them out of the water.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:31 PM
    Realism? In a discussion of hit points? Nope, we don't. A very slight trauma involving relatively little injury can kill instantly, profound trauma over much of the body can be survived. The human body is freak'n weird. People fall in the shower and die. People fall out of airplanes without parachutes and live. It's not because some people rolled 1 on their HD. It's not because falls do...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:13 PM
    I ran 4e, for the run of Encounters (and beyond, but with an established group), so that's a /lot/ of introducing the game to brand-new players. Something I'd done back in the day, and done, since, as Encounters opened up to the Next playtest, then 5e. 4e is /easily/ the most accessible of the WotC editions, to brand-new players. Now, sure, you /could/ do 30-level builds if you were so...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:59 PM
    Not much variance, on that count, I'd think. The EL guidelines of 4e were quite straightforward, relatively dependable, and an exact-at-level encounter was a resource-ablating 'speed bump' (same intent as a single CR=Level encounter in 3e), that'd break deadly only towards the end of an unusually long day (8+ encounters in all likelihood). Lower ELs below level -1 or 2 rapidly became trivial,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:37 PM
    The campaign I'm running meets weekly, so not an issue; the one I play in has the same frequency as yours, but is 4e, so, again, not an issue - even if we have 'long rests' or just hard-resets because we missed a session or two, and have freshly-printed character sheets, between sessions, and thus 1-encounter days, it just means a harder encounter, we don't have any e-Classes, so everyone gets to...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:30 PM
    The answer to the question of ignorance or expediency or malice is really kinda moot. (But my guess is expediency.) 3e fans have PF. When PF rolls rev, anyone else can publish a 3.875 under the OGL and the party keeps rolling. The things built into 5e to appeal to them seem more like olive branches - they're there to keep those fans from warring against 5e by validating their preferences,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:21 PM
    A few possibilities have been floated using Bonus Actions or Reactions, to represent tactical planning or springing a tactic. There's already a lot of uses for those kinds of actions, especially reactions, in combat. How about representing keeping a 'Tactical' overview of the battle by requiring /Concentration/? Hey, no battle-plan survives first contact with the enemy('s weapon, unless you...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:56 PM
    To be fair, 4e was very much designed based on criticisms of 3e (and earlier) - 'static combat,' LFQW, 5WMD, CoDzilla, Sorcerers inferior to Wizards (heck, everyone but CoDzilla being inferior to Wizards), broken combos/exploits, broken spells, 'Rocket Tag,' /needing/ 20-level builds, whacked Epic-levels, lack of functionality outside the 'sweet spot,' burden of prep & difficulty of running for...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:38 PM
    It's in the DMG, it emphasizes the grid, including flanking, adds /facing/ of all things, and lets anyone mark (or maybe that's a separate variant?). Anyway, it credibly delivers the "grid dependence/tactical-boardgame" people who didn't like 4e complained about. They did seem to be working primarily from criticisms of 4e. 2 & 3 prettymuch go together. There also really was this...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:21 PM
    5e does add back Marking in the tactical variant, but it's a case of turn it on and anyone can mark. So not too helpful. Standard Rules, Protection Style > Battlemaster, which has a maneuver or two that might help, you could also pick up the prime warlord-like maneuvers, too, while having the fighter's extra attacks and action surge. You'd be a primary-Striker, tertiary-Leader/Defender. ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:38 PM
    I meant it as non-specific and all-inclusive. I would absolutely include things like those things, in 'things.' The example was illustrative, not exhaustive. Now, if you want to get down to the level of experiencing system artifacts, sure, even freestyle, with no system to speak of could be said to have those, and they'd be different from an actual system. But, my point was not that...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:59 AM
    … see, that's not cynical, at all... (I shouldn't talk, I'm totally cynical.) TBH (not just cynical), denying that system makes a difference strikes me as pointless. Obviously, systems are different, and those differences can't be quite meaningless. Now, to turn around the prior cynicism: The "cost" can include no longer being able to abuse or leverage that lack of systematic...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 11:31 PM
    On the one hand, that's not really much of a perk. Most Combat Styles actually make you better at something than the next guy. If your INT is 16, this makes as good with a Rapier as the guy with DEX 16. ::shrug:: Maybe have the INT bonus add in some other way. Maybe just add it, rather than replace it? With some proviso about the type of weapon & enemy or something? IDK. OTOH...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 11:18 PM
    Now that I think of it, there were other references to Level /n/ Monsters here and there in 1e. Summoning for instance. And a whole little blurb about how they used the word 'level' for a /lot/ of different things that didn't necessarily correspond. Oh, yeah, but you could be subtle about it. DM's Screen hides a multitude of sins. One of the biggest things was the convention that...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 07:08 PM
    I think it's important to keep in mind that 5e short rests resources are pretty pointedly /not/ encounter-based, the intended theoretical balance-point for encounters:short:long is 6-8:2-3:1, or about /two/ encounters between rests. And, that's in theory, in practice, it depends on how much time you have between encounters and whether you use a variant, like the 'gritty' variant that makes short...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 06:57 PM
    Sorry to riff off of just a couple sentences but... Seems like "informal practices" could be pretty varied and readily mutable (or set in stone, and violently defended, I suppose). If I'm following, that's an example of 'informal practice,' and - I'm really hoping - neither 'informal practice' nor 'GM stipulation' nor 'consensus roleplaying' have any extra-special...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 05:27 PM
    You're not wrong about those being similarities, but they're not identical, and the play dynamic they generate can be /very/ different. The short/long rest distinction in 5e, for instance, is 1 vs 8 hrs, often time enough for one is time enough for the other, you just can't take more than one of the latter in a given 24 hr period - the design assumption is 2-3 short rest & 6-8 encounters per...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 04:50 PM
    So you can get more XP than the next guy, pull ahead of him, and 'win' the game? That's not an entirely unfair characterization - I'd note that in 5e, XP does have an effect, in that the XP requirements to level relative to the XP value of a standard encounter budget, lead to faster leveling in Apprentice Tier, and after 11th level, and slower leveling through the putative 'sweet spot.' So...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 04:40 PM
    OK, I had noticed you said something about auras, and now that definitely reminds me of an encounter in, IIRC, PoS, with Chillborn Zombies. In 4e, virtually all auras didn't stack when overlapping, but - wonders of exception-based design - a few explicitly did... ...and illustrated why they shouldn't've. ;) I can't recall exactly where, but I heard that 8 encounters was the original...
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  • Jacob Lewis's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 04:15 AM
    Nothing beats original Heroquest! Its crackin' good! (I don't care how many times this is posted. I never get tired of watching it because it is the best thing ever made on the internet! And anyone who says otherwise is wrong!)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 01:47 AM
    When you say "always conceptually bugs..." you're possibly even righter than you know: that was a frequent criticism of D&D back in the day. Any number of games used 'more realistic' experience systems, including 2e, and all later eds, as a result. /Just/ gold for XP is an odd variant, usually you could get XP from combat, too, just maybe not the lion's share depending on how good you were...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 12:43 AM
    It depends on how cunning the invading supernatural forces are, and how slow the modern society is to accept the reality of them. Come in quietly, reconnoiter invisibly, polymorph to infiltrate, and then charm/dominate/replace key people? Apart from some logistical concerns the world is yours, no one even notices. Encircle a major city with your undead horde, and cackle your demands for...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 12:02 AM
    5e is definitely not bloated like 3e, for just one example. Also, it should be pretty obvious that 5e managed some faults of it's own that 3e didn't suffer from. Do I really need to argue something so obvious? Have tobacco companies gone out of business? Has global peace broken out?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 11:55 PM
    Except magic in the source material /does/ follow patterns, they're just patterns in the unfolding drama of the narrative, not in the (non-existent) underlying reality of the implied 'magic system.' A gnome who can spin straw into gold - but not mind-control people, render himself invulnerable with shields of force, throw balls of fire, etc, etc, etc (so, y'know, not as powerful as a 5th level...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 11:17 PM
    Ha! Blatant Nerd Stereotype! …and true. Thank you, yes.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 11:05 PM
    That's an issue, because we have no guide as to which of the various deadly monsters in TSR eds parties were supposed to face at a given level. We have decades of experience giving us a really good idea, but that's still all subjective, and it would tend to shift the game towards whatever desired level of lethality we were working towards...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 10:14 PM
    Off topic - why not, after 6 years a topic can drift, right - say you were a ghoul in 4e. And say you were a /vegan/ ghoul. What do you do now, in 5e, that there are no more Wilden?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 10:08 PM
    IDK, I read the article and the original thread and this one, and I feel like a very simple cogent point being made by said article is missed or ignored or bulldozed or something: Magic in traditional TTRPGs like D&D fails to model or evoke magic in the sources of inspiration they nominally draw from.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 09:29 PM
    I should hope so, that's potentially some powerful drama there. (I'm picturing WWI, for some reason, not being too into the DitV setting.) Does the character conceive a death wish and get killed? Find a renewed reason to live and survive - or die tragically, or even heroically, in spite of that? Become a stronger person or descend into an emotional spiral - if the latter, how can he pull out...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 09:11 PM
    Yeah, that's a given. 4e DMing was phone-it-in easy. I felt like I'd almost forgotten how to run after a few years. ;) But it's like falling off a bicycle. (something else it turns out I'm good at) And armed ones using iterative attacks, that got brutal, too. Published adventures varied quite a lot. With modern eds, you can compare how PCs stack up to the encounter guidelines. ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 09:09 PM
    I believe I said that. 5e didn't get rid of the things that were complained about, it put /back/ the things that those stalking-horses were really about. You have no idea. I'm a bitter, cynical, old man on my best day, discussing the most innocuous things. I turn it down to 11 when I'm here. Heh. Depends how you run it. 5e /brought back/ the faults of 3e - and, more importantly, those...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 07:22 PM
    Seems right up FATE's alley, and something that could be touched upon in systems that model the character's psychology in some way (Hero, would be the one I'm most familiar with: psych lims), that can be tested (EGO roll) and change over time (changed around, or exp to 'buy down/off'). Certainly not with the same detail and play dynamics, of course... I didn't follow that, probably because I...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 06:39 PM
    It's effing hilarious.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 06:34 PM
    Any chance your formative play experience with 4e included Keep on the Shadowfell, Thunderspire Labyrinth, and/or Pyramid of Shadows? (Because, while the middle one was actually mostly pretty good, each included at least one example of completely whacked encounter design.) ...or, y'know, alternately, maybe your DM just liked killing you... ;) Vs encounters run closely to guidelines,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 06:26 PM
    That proves what I said. The AD&D fighter's save improved from needing a natural 14, to needing a natural 9 - and that's vs anything trying to petrify or polymorph him, from a cockatrice to a medusa to a 19th level Lich. He got /much/ better. Your 18 CON 3e fighter goes from needing an 8 at 4th level vs a 4th level DC, to needing a natural 10, vs a 10th level DC. He got /worse/. And, that's...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 05:53 PM
    Most of the things people complained loudly about in 4e, 5e retains in at least some measure. Fighters casting spells, wizards being 'nerfed' (relative to 3e), martial healing, overnight 'natural healing,' dissociated mechanics, etc, etc... ...nor was it "presentation" - PF2 need have no worries on that score - Essentials desperately scrambled to give a mussed, fluff-heavy presentation,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 05:24 PM
    Thank you. It'd be awesome if you'd stop saying there weren't, going forward. If what you mean is "at low level, 1e fighters had crap saving throws, and at the highest levels had the best saving throws in the game and could expect enough bonuses from randomly generated magic items to fail only on a natural 1, even before name level, PCs casually drinking poison for the flavor because it was...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 03:22 PM
    I suppose it doesn't, by itself. A TT gaming renaissance, being able to research the game on-line without the top hits being rants about how wrong and evil and not-D&D it is, the name recognition and rep of the "First RPG," these things bring new folks in to try (or at least, don't keep) D&D for the first time. A master DM who has internalized all the DM know-how, is just waiting for them, he...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 07:56 AM
    And and, monsters could pull the same tricks. 3e had SoDs, and vs bad saves that only got worse relative to rising (let alone optimized) DCs, and negative levels worked a little differently, mechanically, but we're still pretty awful.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 11:30 PM
    What? Really? All of it? ::imagines who forests vanishing with the click of a mouse:: ;)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 09:41 PM
    Precisely my point. 3.5 went out of print ("end of life," maybe I mistakenly mixed a tech term into a publishing discussion, there?), and Paizo kept selling PF1 to 3.5 fans for another 10 years. Because 3.5 had just established that kind of loyalty. In another sense than product cycles, 3.5 (in the form of open-source d20) is /immortal/. As long as anyone wants to buy it, it can be...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 09:18 PM
    I always figured it was inspired by Sting, Orcrist and Glamdring in The Hobbit. I mean... ...that fits the MO of Orcrist the Goblin-Cleaver, in reverse, right?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 08:53 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Yes. Typo. Fixed. Thanks for catching that. I'm not /intentionally/ using any common variants....
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 08:48 PM
    It is, because there was a very significant event that impacted the hobby in 2000: the release of 3e. In contrast, I'd be more inclined to accept data from '97 applying to 98 & 99, for instance, as not /that/ much changed - alarm over the failure of TSR probably lessened. I'm not arguing the other side. By saying that 1999 data isn't valuable for making one claim about 2002-5, say, I'm...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 08:41 PM
    I agree with Sacrosanct that 2e could be shifted to the left in that ranking of lethality. But, as I said, above, there's some truth to it, in terms of relative PC durability at first level. In general, as the eds progressed, 1st level PCs were made more durable, from 3d6 in order to more liberal stat generation, from random 1st level HD to max, from no healing at 1st to bonus spells from WIS,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 08:16 PM
    Yeah, I've never known us all to agree. ;) 3e, for instance, was plenty deadly, it went all-in on giving monsters the same options as PCs, so much of the assumed advantages the system quietly gave PCs in prior editions quietly vanished - also 3e retained SoDs, /and/ saves didn't keep up with DCs, in contrast to prior eds where saves genuinely improved with level. I'd tend to agree. 2e...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 07:15 PM
    There are melee weapons that can be thrown. So there's a very practical distinction between "attack with a melee weapon" or "melee attack with a weapon," as throwing an axe at someone is ranged attack with a melee weapon, but not a melee attack, at all. Hitting someone with a bowstave is a less common example of the same distinction.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 07:02 PM
    Yep, understandable. Storyteller sold a /lot/ of books in the 90s, and they were, especially for rulebooks, pretty good cover-to-cover reads, but good luck finding a specific thing you vaguely remembered reading in one of them. Serious point-build systems, Hero, GURPS, could sometimes go the exact opposite, especially in presenting their core mechanics, very dry stuff. Both more complex and...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:52 PM
    I intended layers. ;) I also think it's a perfectly workable variant. Oh yeah, I've seen that in action. Most dramatic example: a one shot Firefly scenario that included a prison break - one of the players was a correctional officer. It was positively comical when I was a kid, 14yo's arguing about 'how stuff really works.'
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:40 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Well, I mean, OK. 1e: 1st level fighter, longsword & shield, splint, 16 STR, 14 CON: AC 3, 1-10 (5.5) hps, hits self on natural 17 for 2-9 (5.5) damage (1.1 DPR). 5e: 1st level fighter, longsword, starting package, duelist style, 16 STR, 14 CON: AC 18, 12 hps, hits self on natural 13 for 1d8+5(9.5) damage (3.8 DPR, 4.275 w/crits).
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:34 PM
    Odd, why would you describe something as the exact opposite of what it was? Powers were very structured in presentation, and the mechanics had fairly clear/exact jargon definitions. Anything but jumbled or messy. Indeed, the aesthetic, if it could even be called that, was more 'technical manual' than anything else - which is great for understanding or looking up what you need, but less than...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:25 PM
    So they were being dishonest? Alignment was a rule - you had to choose one - and it had mechanical effects, including things the character /could/ do, items it could use, etc, as well as restrictions on it. So, I'd think, even from a purely "gamist" (not necessarily in the Forge sense) perspective, you'd want to choose the 'best' alignment for your strategy, rather than try to talk the DM out...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:13 PM
    Missed that, sorry. Between 1999 and 'early 2000s' 3e was released. I suspect it had an impact. So 2003 GenCon, sounds relevant, FWIW. 1999's survey, while it might be stronger data, just isn't relevant to the 2000s.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 03:23 AM
    "Balanced at the Encounter" just means "pacing doesn't matter." Even 4e didn't go there, though the closely-related 7th ed of Gamma World did, and it worked pretty well, actually. Any indication PF2 wants to go there?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 02:24 AM
    You have a choice of rules to use (or not): Carrying capacity, it's 15 lb/STR, if the fighter's gear & the other character & his gear exceed that, he's pushding/dragging and his move drops to 5' - otherwise fine, this is the simple default for carrying stuff. Encumbrance ("Variant"): Up to 5lb/STR he's fine, but it's unlikely a medium ally is under 100lb, which'd be the limit for 20 STR. ...
    13 replies | 460 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 01:13 AM
    Sounds plausible (that he'd like a mechanic like that), 4e had a lotta* re-rolls, from the notorious Elven Accuracy on, and it seemed like there were just more of 'em after he took over. In particular, the Avenger had a special ability that was "make two attack rolls and use either result. … If another effect lets you roll twice and use the higher result when making an attack roll, this power...
    44 replies | 1572 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 12:51 AM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    I may still be stuck in the idiom of the D&D Pedantry Thread, but it seems like there's a whole lotta RPGs that don't particularly fit between those. Good to know.
    231 replies | 8199 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 12:25 AM
    My memory's bad, but I'm fairly certain that the "Summer of 1999" occurred /before/ "the early 2000s." (I mean, I've been "fairly certain" and turned out to have been wrong, before, so y'all might wanna to double-check.)
    88 replies | 3163 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 11:29 PM
    I suspect that'd wear you out. ;) A quick search of some modern archery guidelines, and, yes, you increase wear on a 'natural material' bow if you leave it strung a long time, apparently even a few hours is worth avoiding. Apparently, a strung bow is under tension and a bit dangerous if the string or stave breaks, too. More detail than D&D generally goes into with weapons. Adventurers...
    87 replies | 2849 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 11:18 PM
    They've had more or less mechanical impact in some eds (and I'm sure, some places/groups/etc back in the day, when we were a less disunited-by-the-internet, merely more diverse, community). Obvious examples of early alignment mechanics are alignment requirements for classes, damage for touching an artifact that doesn't match your alignment, detect this and know that, etc... 3e peaked, with the...
    33 replies | 1045 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 10:24 PM
    No expert, but I've heard yes with regard to the bow. But I'm fine with arbitrary. Medieval rossbows, IIRC, weren't like guns - there's no safety, the bolt can just fall out, etc...
    87 replies | 2849 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:59 PM
    If every single mechanic is upturned, then it's hardly just a re-boot to re-start the supplement cycle, is it? Sounds more like substantive change.
    200 replies | 13163 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:56 PM
    I actually kinda like common. In general, things seem more fantasy (or mythic, perhaps) to me, if everyone can talk to everyone else. You could conceive of Common as just "the gift of language" in the sense of communication, it's not just a language everyone strangely learns, it's the language everyone who can speak at all, can speak by default. All other languages would then be...
    33 replies | 1045 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:34 PM
    You bank the fire before you go to bed, uncover the coals in the morning, add kindling, and blow on it. IDK why I happen to remember that, but it's actually a good example. If I didn't, your character would be screwed trying to start a fire in mundane domestic setting without a flint & steel, D&D-matches (tindertwig?), or, well, since this is 5e, Firebolt... ...so not really screwed...
    88 replies | 3525 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:23 PM
    There is the important act of stringing the bow, you could make that an Action, and require it be un-strung to stow (only slightly arbitrary). If you also impose more plausible RoF on crossbows and slings, that'd about take care of projectile weapons as fast-swapping alternatives to melee.
    87 replies | 2849 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:11 PM
    I blame Elan... ...OK, and every version of the Bard class that preceded him.
    13 replies | 557 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:07 PM
    Don't mind me, I'm just being pedantic... "How the /Hell/ is it you speak Infer-" "... oh, nevermind, answered my own question, really." But it doesn't specify if that that's oral route, IM, naso-gastric, IV, topical, suppository...
    156 replies | 6397 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 08:57 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Or that, yeah. Actually, now that you mention it, my second 4e character was an "old-school high-elf fighter/magic-user," he was a wand wizard, and he did explain his Scorching Burst as "an old Wand of Fireballs that doesn't work like it used to." (There was, in that campaign, a conceit that magic had historically, or pre-historically, worked as it had in prior eds, so I got to lampshade the...
    231 replies | 8199 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 08:21 PM
    I'm getting a sense of deja-vu here... … yeah, it's like it's 2003 and someone's going on about the 'cash grab' … ...which went on to command such loyalty from fans that Paizo has been selling PF1 to that base for an extra decade past it's end of life. ...so, yer say'n PF2 could be Paizo's 3.5!
    200 replies | 13163 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 08:07 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    The difference in ease of use is certainly there, that's been the game's direction the whole time, it's one thing the WotC era hasn't deviated from. Maybe it was just 'pervasive' that threw me. Because, yeah, neo-Vancian is way more versatile than old-school Vanican, and way less limited in in-combat used. OTOH, the breadths of spells isn't as great, and some of them are, well, 'less...
    231 replies | 8199 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 07:16 PM
    "Good night everybody!" - Yakko Warner
    27 replies | 1102 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 07:13 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Ok... Magic has always been /so/ pervasive in D&D. It's an infinitely-renewable, daily (or 4hr-nap) resource. You kill a few monsters, one of them'll eventually drop a magic item. There's /fewer/ items, in theory, in 5e, and not really a lot more spells/day (and fewer spells overall)… … and then there's cantrips, which seem to freak people out, but if you've played with Warlocks and...
    231 replies | 8199 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 06:36 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Definitely. I played 3e & 4e each for their full runs. 5e was like coming back to AD&D, in contrast. If I'd never left, it'd seem radically different, because I'd be noticing all the little (and huge) technical differences, rather than the broader similarities, the ways in which the game had changed, rather than ways it changed back. /The/ major thing, IMHO, is the privilege of the DM...
    231 replies | 8199 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 06:25 PM
    My 3.x group always did that. One of the more extreme ways I've ever seen of dealing with a bad HD roll at level-up, was to repudiate the level. That's how the player put it "I do not accept that roll! I repudiate the level!" I was Ok with it, his fighter dropped back to 2nd, and she ultimately made it to 4th (with less disappointing HD rolls on the way)… ...she was, BTW, one of those...
    10 replies | 451 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 06:14 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    And, at high level, in 5e, they get a lot safer, which is /also/ similar to 1e, as you accumulate hps and get better saves and more protective items and more spells to negate/reverse bad things happening to you. While the details of the systems are quite different - 5e has bigger hp/damage/healing numbers, 1e has much more significant scaling on d20 targets (which it used moreso than bonuses,...
    231 replies | 8199 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 06:06 PM
    OK, that is just too good an observation to just XP and tacitly agree with. Yes, I totally get that, and agree it's very much a thing. I kinda alluded to it in the OP, with how you'd build a fire in the absence of any knowledge/wisdom Nature or Survival skill ("...you'd describe exactly what you do, and if you & the DM were in the same boyscout troop, probably succeed"). Because another...
    88 replies | 3525 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 05:43 PM
    Sharpshooters'd use finesse weapons as melee backup. The way STR characters use heavy thrown weapons as ranged backup. Which, I think, illustrates the issue. Heavy thrown weapons are a pretty serious downgrade from archery. Rapiers, as the OP points out, are not a downgrade from longswords, really, at all. This is D&D. Magic is supposed to be just better. Not the worst idea I've ever...
    87 replies | 2849 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 05:32 PM
    There are no new ideas. It certainly /did/ it badly (if at all) in '93. Since 3.0, it hasn't been so bad, mechanically (OK, diplomancers were pretty horrid), in theory, if DM's'd use the mechanics, and players'd respect them when they didn't break their way... …/IF/. If not, well, machete, gasoline. Problem solved.
    88 replies | 3525 view(s)
    0 XP
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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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Thursday, 14th February, 2019

  • 06:25 AM - Ilbranteloth quoted Jacob Lewis in post How Did I Become a Grognard?
    104785 I have those dice! And for the OP - I’d say you disqualified yourself from being a grognard by NOT using theater of the mind. Oh, we had minis. But battlemats? Grids? Bah! That didn’t start until 2.5e. If a measurement needs to be made it’s with string or a tape. But really the minis were to look cool, not to turn D&D combat into a board game. Theater of the mind is the real old school way (and I’m happy it’s made a comeback).

Wednesday, 13th February, 2019

  • 10:03 PM - Henry quoted Jacob Lewis in post How Did I Become a Grognard?
    104785 It's funny because it's true.... :) I fished them out the other day just so I could see if it was true, and indeed, I have three dice left still from my Moldvay Basic box and my first edition Gamma World boxes... and most of the people I work with currently were born after 1985...

Tuesday, 12th February, 2019


Sunday, 10th February, 2019

  • 04:25 AM - pemerton quoted Jacob Lewis in post Anatomy of a Skill Challenge
    You may be honest about not reading the main posts. But it really makes me wonder why bother responding at all, thinking you might have something I need to read when you cannot be bothered to read what I have written. :erm:I was being honest, but don't worry - I won't bother with reading your posts or respondoing further in this thread. Sorry to have wasted your time.

Saturday, 9th February, 2019

  • 07:34 PM - AbdulAlhazred quoted Jacob Lewis in post Anatomy of a Skill Challenge
    @AbdulAlhazred Thanks for the feedback! I'm not sure I fully understand what you mean by this: If I'm reading this correctly, you're suggesting that the situation should change, or at least "evolve in a narrative sense", each time a PC achieves an individual success. Is that correct? Could you elaborate? How would you change the situation at least seven times before winning the challenge? Well, yes, though I understand it can seem difficult to have changing elements '7 times'. As I suggested in the same post that might be indicative of a pretty narrow 'framing' of the SC, it only covers one particular situation. One answer might be to use a complexity 1 or 2, which obviously relieves you of some of that burden. However, I think you could incorporate some 'state change' within the SC. Maybe one situation leads to the starting of a fire, and the PCs have to sort that out, or can use it in some fashion. Maybe they take up a position in a certain location, and a failure means they get outflanked a...
  • 01:35 PM - pemerton quoted Jacob Lewis in post Anatomy of a Skill Challenge
    If I'm reading this correctly, you're suggesting that the situation should change, or at least "evolve in a narrative sense", each time a PC achieves an individual success. Is that correct? Could you elaborate? How would you change the situation at least seven times before winning the challenge? I haven't read the main posts yet, sorry, but saw this. In terms of rules/guidelines, that advice - that each check should change the situation - is found in the 4e DMG2. In practical terms, LostSoul was probably the earliest proponent of it on these boards and (like at least some of us) was influenced, I think, by experience with other systems that use similar "closed scene" resolution methods. Managing the fiction so that it can evolve with checks but neither success nor failure is foreclosed until the end is (in my experience, at least) one of the big demands in GMing a skill challenge. Here's a link to one of the ones that I think I did OK with.

Thursday, 7th February, 2019

  • 04:30 PM - dave2008 quoted Jacob Lewis in post 90% of D&D Games Stop By Level 10; Wizards More Popular At Higher Levels
    Not surprising, but this hardly seems unique for any particular edition. It requires much more effort and commitment (and maybe some luck) to reach those tier 3/4 levels from scratch. I've always considered how seldom I ever used high level options in actual play and how much space could be salvaged in the core books to focus more on those tiers that are most often used. I would like to see core books that only go to level 10 for the majority of players, and then supplement books (i.e. PHB 2, MM2, DMG2) expand play for more dedicated players into tiers 3-4. Call those "Advanced" or "Expert", if you like. It might curb an implied idea that level 20 is the endgame achievement for all campaigns. Just a thought, but one I've held for a long time. JL - I would give you XP for this but can't for some reason. I agree that would be much better. Focus on level 1-10, slow down the leveling in make those levels with more features that are more "heroic" than "mythic," and move everything else out to suppl...
  • 01:17 PM - quoted Jacob Lewis in post 90% of D&D Games Stop By Level 10; Wizards More Popular At Higher Levels
    Not surprising, but this hardly seems unique for any particular edition. yes, but none before 5e explicitly addressed the issue in terms of game design. bounded accuracy should address this in 5e, and according to the data it seems not to be able to.

Tuesday, 5th February, 2019

  • 03:36 PM - GodDelusion quoted Jacob Lewis in post The Battle Continues Over "Childish Things"
    Mind if I share this pic and your quote? Adults dressing up in costumes? Check! Debates/arguments over rules and plays? Check! Constructing fantasy teams and turning it into a competitive/social activity? Check! Yeah, we're all geeks in our own way. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/85/NFL_Superfans.jpg

Sunday, 3rd February, 2019

  • 08:12 PM - Tymophil quoted Jacob Lewis in post Skill Challenges in Essentials
    It was hiding in the words. I was searchnig for it under the complexity heading, as it was given this way in the core rules (DMG p72)... So it is 3 failures for any Skill Challenge. Okay? Is it better than what was stated in the core rules?

Wednesday, 30th January, 2019

  • 08:10 PM - Saelorn quoted Jacob Lewis in post In Defense of 4E - a New Campaign Perspective
    Honestly, can we just stick with original theme of the thread now? This was supposed to be a celebration of good 4e experiences and bringing that joy to new players who may have missed out. And eventually, I may get around to more interesting skill challenges I did with my games. Cheers! :)I'll be happy to move on now. No need to continue beating that dead horse. But, one of the original questions of this thread was, why can't you roleplay in 4E? And that's a very specific question, to which I had a very specific answer. Moving on, the good things about 4E: Fighters had interesting things to do, the classes were balanced while remaining differentiated within their niches, and players were empowered to actually interact with the magic item creation system without slowing the game to a crawl. Also, the original version of multi-classing in 4E (via feats) allowed for some very interesting combinations, and it never felt like you were shooting yourself in the foot, unlike so many multi-class combin...

Monday, 28th January, 2019

  • 05:36 AM - FrogReaver quoted Jacob Lewis in post The Problem with Constitution
    Can we address the problem of too many people being too eager to find problems where there isn't an actual problem? :erm: If we are going to go down that path I'd much rather address the problem of too many acting like 5e has no problems when almost all of us have at least a few things we would change about it if we could.

Saturday, 26th January, 2019

  • 04:15 AM - quoted Jacob Lewis in post In Defense of 4E - a New Campaign Perspective
    Damn you autocorrect! Vancian was the word I was trying to use. Unless I'm not remembering correctly, a stance was a daily that lasted until the end of an encounter unless you ended it earlier. It's been a looooooong time since I played 4E *goes and reads up* yeah you got it. Lasts the encounter unless you end it or switch out. It certainly can happen in Pathfinder or 5E! It just involves the minion-esque guard being a level one creature with bad Con. If a monk (or brawler) with a decent damage bonus can get behind the guard and deal lethal damage with their first unarmed strike, then I have no problem with that being narrated as a neck snap. A minion in all but name and a good damage roll? Eh. I don't see "It's basically a minion, but not really." as any different than "It's a minion." End result? A mook with low HP that will 99.9% of the time die in one hit. "A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet." BTWs: prior to 4E, unarmed strikes were always non-lethal. 4E baked in th...

Tuesday, 22nd January, 2019

  • 07:37 PM - evilbob quoted Jacob Lewis in post question to all: games for 8-10 players?
    Split into two, perfectly-sized groups of 4 or 5.Yeah, that's a good thought, and you're right that we have many good DMs at this point. I think we haven't because we enjoy the socialization part of gaming so much, and we'd hate to miss out on half the fun. But it's a good suggestion. And, for that, you might want to consider soemthign of the form of the West Marches Experiment - in which the groups can mix it up.... http://arsludi.lamemage.com/index.php/78/grand-experiments-west-marches/Oh right I remember that old thread! Yeah that is a good idea for how to implement something like that! Thanks! Eldritch Horror will support up to 8 players. It is a Cthulu-themed co-op board game, a simpler version of the Arkham Horror game that came before it.Ah, thanks for that description - I had dismissed that game out of hand because we tried Arkham Horror years ago and I think I still have PTSD from the insane (cthulu-esque?) complexity and poor rules explanations from that game. Knowing it's ...

Sunday, 20th January, 2019

  • 11:00 PM - oknazevad quoted Jacob Lewis in post Spring's D&D Release Will Be Ship-Themed
    Did anyone speculate on the most obvious nautical theme yet? D&D: Gilligan's Island! Who's your "Little buddy"? ;) Is that when a three-hour session turns into a three-year campaign (with a follow up animated series, three TV movies – one featuring the Harlem Globetrotters – and another animated series set IN SPAAAACE!) ?
  • 11:21 AM - orial quoted Jacob Lewis in post Artist Tony DiTerlizzi Reflects On 25 Years of Planescape
    Well this is a clear indication that we are finally getting a Spelljammer setting this year! Take that, Crawford!! Where do you read that? This is PLANESCAPE art. DiTerlizzi had nothing to do with Spelljammer. And crawford and cohort have clearly specified that there will be no Spelljammer this year?

Sunday, 13th January, 2019

  • 10:01 PM - S'mon quoted Jacob Lewis in post Top Games Played On FG In 2018: D&D, Pathfinder, Savage Worlds
    Yet I wonder why nobody ever clamors about WotC not converting their adventure modules (they're Not "ADVENTURE PATHS") to Pathfinder? Because (a) 5e sells vastly more and (b) there is already a lot of Pathfinder adventures. 5e's strength/attraction is in the system, Pathfinder's strength/attraction is in the adventures, so naturally given the same genre and similar systems it's natural to combine the two, like the 5e Runelords game I restarted on Saturday. :)
  • 06:58 PM - FrogReaver quoted Jacob Lewis in post Would you be okay with class abilities that explicitly addressed multi-classing?
    What exactly are you trying to address about it? That players shouldn't do it? That it doesn't work too well? Or that it works too good? Or that there aren't enough hoops to jump through? I think you need to be more specific about what it is you are trying to fix before you start fixing anything. That goes for any edition, any system, any problem. He asked a question about whether class features should be able to internally call out multiclassing and behave differently when it is done. The basic premise is that some features can be fine for a single classed character but be too strong for a multiclassed character. I don't think there's any way to argue with this premise. So is the way to address this issue with text that such a feature behaves differently when multiclassed? I think that's a fine solution. What do you think? First, terrible name. How about Armor Expertise? So why would a Fighter with a higher Dex bonus take this? They wouldn't. At least not until their Proficiency Bonus...

Friday, 11th January, 2019

  • 01:01 AM - Leif quoted Jacob Lewis in post Top Games Played On FG In 2018: D&D, Pathfinder, Savage Worlds
    It is the actual overall popularity of various games played using Fantasy Grounds. Nothing more. Nothing less. I understand that. But what percentage of the total frpg market uses Fantasy Grounds? That's not even slightly true. Plenty are managing just fine. That's reassuring. Thanks for that. So success on Fantasy Grounds is not necessary for a(n) frpg to be successful?

Wednesday, 9th January, 2019

  • 02:07 AM - R_Chance quoted Jacob Lewis in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 1 Failure and Story
    R_Chance You are all-knowing and all-wise, sir! I shall engrave your words into my psyche where I can grow it into a shrine, lest it become a beacon to guide me in my days of misery and despair for knowing that He Who Hath One Fan can depend on you to remind me that I don't need to read articles anymore! Oh, I think my mood is improving. ;) Whatever makes you happy is fine with me. But the shrine would be a bit much :)


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