View Profile: Jacob Lewis - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 05:57 AM
    That's something that might not be easy to see from just looking in from the outside. The classic game (and even 5e) is deadly, at first, but eventually (quickly) becomes a lot more survivable, and, even if things go south, probably recoverable. But, 3e, went from merely dangerous to rocket tag, and, there was the whole win-at-chargen thing, so what was mildly challenging to one character could...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 04:21 AM
    AFAICT, 2e ditched demons & devil's &c to be less offensive, maybe they decided to cut down on the orientalism/cultural-theft for similar reasons?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 04:12 AM
    I mean, seriously, that makes sense and is intuitive to apply, right? Freakishly, it's not what the DMG actually says .. ...but, then, so many 1e Gygaxisns are freakish, that way... part of the charm, I guess, just downright baroque.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 03:09 AM
    The 3.x/PF rules do lavishly reward that sort of meticulously-applied system mastery, yes. It's /also/ that, yes. I love doing a good build-to-concept in 3e or 4e or in other systems that are better for that approach than any edition of D&D, like, oh, Hero. ;) But 3e was probably the height of D&D for that style - it gave you so many options, so much flexibility, and gulf between an...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 02:57 AM
    Not /that/ 0 hps rule. The DMG 0 hp rule says you fall unconscious if you are reduced to /exactly/ 0, then start bleeding - if you're reduced to -1 or less, either at one go, or by being hit again while unconscious, you're dead. I know you read it differently, and I guess a lotta DMs in my area did, too, because it alsways seemed to be played that 0 down to -10, regardless of how you got there,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 02:52 AM
    4e minions did a decent job of cashing the check the DMG wrote, there. I mean, there may have been a hold on it while it cleared, but, ultimately, it wasn't rubber. 13A, IMHO, did even a bit better with it's mooks, which combined some of the ease of DMing and threat of swarms, with the progressive figure-removal of minions - and of old-school wargames, where you'd remove figures from the rear...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 02:42 AM
    It doesn't do that. Rather, it offers an alternative mechanic for defeating those same ogres. Instead of hitting AC 16 repeatedly for a total of 40hp, the DM can require you hit AC 25, once, and not have to worry about damage. Kinda like the old called shot variants, but in the DM's bailiwick, chosen by him when building an encounter.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 12:53 AM
    Not a huge difference, it was pretty hard to be a non-fighter specialist, like a Paladin or Ranger, because they were just hard to get into, anyway. Specialization, at all, OTOH, was a huge deal, it seriously powered the fighter up. I want to highlight this because it's still, by far, the strongest part of your case. All this hair-splitting and RaW invoking to paint a picture of 1e PCs maybe...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:50 PM
    It seems like we sometimes grapple with a concern that the requirements of fitting magic into a game system, at least, one where all the participants won't have equal access to magic, requires compromising the vast sweep of what magic seems able to do across the various sources of inspiration. It might be more helpful to look at what magic in the source material actually allows any one given...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:09 PM
    It sounds like the main problem isn't the spell, but the kind of complicated simplification of rolling every-off-turn-everything and some on-turn stuff, all into the harried Reaction.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:14 PM
    Nod. It's not rocket science. But, it does have limits. Changing a creature from standard to solo - while, for the sake of "simulationism" (in the Forge Sense), holding its XP value constant to maintain that it is, in fact(actually, fiction), 'the same creature' - only brings it down 9 levels. So, 4th level party vs Type V Demons, for instance, not going to cut it. ...I think the...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:38 PM
    That's an amusing way of thinking of it. ;) I like it.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:18 PM
    Answering before I read the thread... I'll probably make a fool of myself... You could go with the old Item Saving Throw paradigm. The PC failed his save, so each of his items must also save! Depends on how you interpret "/body/ of a dead creature" ("remains" would have been more favorable to the possibility, IMHHO) and "restores any missing body parts." But, really, the Disintegrate...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:11 PM
    I think we can all acknowledge that D&D was played very differently by different groups back in the day - but still, if we're interested in the question - look at how the published rules, themselves, stacked up in terms of theoretical lethality. The results, if any, is going to be just that, theoretical. The reality already happened, and happened differently, for different groups in different...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:02 PM
    Time? Yes, like 2 years, and the encounter guidelines weren't even ready until /after/ we'd starting running HotDQ. Resources? Maybe not s'much: the future of D&D was uncertain during those two years, and it didn't seem like Hasbro/WotC was giving Mearls a lot of $$$ to make 5e happen. PF's future seems uncertain, but it sounds like Paizo /is/ putting some resources into it - didn't you...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:15 PM
    That's just D&D from time immemorial (if you can't remember 1974, anyway). 5e is nice enough to share an approximate value of X (ok, and Y, short rests) at which it's nominally intended to balance. Since Paizo is sensibly done with trying to be more D&D than D&D, PF2 needn't stay with that attrition paradigm. But, you still took them in 3.x: slept to prepare spells, took a few minutes...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 06:57 PM
    I recommend sblock and trigger warning. Aside from that, great post... ...y'all'll hafta just imagine a cynical quip, here. Maybe later.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 06:28 PM
    Not that many monsters cast spells. There is a Mage Slayer Feat, though, that well, just read it... I mean, a 5e caster in a world where everything had Mage Slayer would still have it easier than an old-school magic-user.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 06:22 PM
    After L5R? What did L5R do?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 06:16 PM
    Playtest? Seriously, though, if the point was ditching the small, established, loyal market for the much, much larger potential market of /people who might like your game if it didn't suck quite as hard/, then just coasting on name recognition as your marketing strategy, so that you only reach that established base you just cut loose, just might have been at cross purposes. But, I...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 05:50 PM
    Weren't those committed 3.x fans the basis for even having PF, in the first place, though. Now that sounds like angling to repeat 4e marketing blunders.
    217 replies | 14778 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 05:37 PM
    ...another good reason to play a game now and then. ;) The voice is less at issue than the message. And, if I seem strident about this, it's because it's not just your too-narrow, exclusionary definition and it's not just in this context. The Forgites do the same thing, multiplied by their copious lexicon, and it happens way to much in RL politics. It's fine to stipulate a definition...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 03:38 PM
    Controller was as much an excuse to grandfather in more of the wizard's favorite toys as a role, but, the rationale appeared to be that large-area damage would limit enemies' tactical options. Thus minion-sweeping also fell to the controller.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 08:36 AM
    That point first started getting made 15+ years ago, in 3e forums. The thing that's funny is MMOs came up with "aggro," because they were trying to implement the traditional D&D Fighter role, but didn't have unwritten DMing rules that most monsters just attacked the fighter, most of the time, especially if he made any pretense towards getting in the way. I guess we could just figure 5e has a...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 08:21 AM
    There are no strikers in 5e. There are characters that have little to contribute /in combat/ but damage, and have more to do outside of combat, and there are tougher characters who have little, at all, to contribute besides damage. But there are no strikers. Anyway, the only ballgame in DnDtown is Fire/ball/.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 08:10 AM
    Its all you need, but it helps to give the impression you're following /something, an AP, even just notes you made earlier. Its ok to just make it all up, it's better not to project that you are. There is none. Wealth & mundane gear have little impact on PCs ability to meet challenges. That should be adequate to keep the wizard viable. More spells from captured spellbook is just...
    23 replies | 551 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 07:42 AM
    Your definition of role-playing is simply too narrow. Especially given the need to go all caps and bold like some sort of outraged Darth Vader voice. There's at least a 3-way distinction. There are games that aren't role-playing, there are instances of playing a role that are in no way games... ...and there are role-playing games, that integrate (not merely juxtapose) the two. In an RPG...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 06:59 AM
    Sorry, but this is hilarious on several levels. One is just who you're talking too, I mean, you are barking up a tree he ain't never climbed. You're also confusing your post-TSR trends, a little. 3.x had the RaW-uber-allies zeitgiest going. But, it's the OP, Sacrosanct, a dyed in the sandtable old school headmaster, who has insisted on confining this debate to the actual, verifiable,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 06:43 AM
    True, if youre playing poker or polo or pachinko, your play experience is not a roleplay experience. And, if you're playing Hamlet or Naughty Schoolgirl or Devil's Advocate, your roleplay experience is not a game-play experience. But if you're playing an RPG, it really /should/ be both. Is that undesirable? Because, if it is, freestyle RP is totally a thing, and you won't need to deal...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 06:30 AM
    Its an RPG, the whole thing is about roleplaying. Relative to the other WotC eds the biggest 'pro' in 5e is the DM - DM Empowerment. But, the real "pro" of 5e is... Move product in volumes not seen since the 80s.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 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. ...
    786 replies | 22821 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 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
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 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
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 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
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 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
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 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
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 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
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 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
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 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
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 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
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 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
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 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
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 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
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 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
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 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
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 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
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 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
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 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
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 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
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 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
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 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
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 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
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 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...
    23 replies | 696 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 11:17 PM
    Ha! Blatant Nerd Stereotype! …and true. Thank you, yes.
    786 replies | 22821 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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...
    174 replies | 4426 view(s)
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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?
    78 replies | 14312 view(s)
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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.
    23 replies | 696 view(s)
    1 XP
  • 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...
    786 replies | 22821 view(s)
    1 XP
  • 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. ...
    174 replies | 4426 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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...
    217 replies | 14778 view(s)
    2 XP
  • 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...
    786 replies | 22821 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 06:39 PM
    It's effing hilarious.
    38 replies | 1567 view(s)
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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,...
    174 replies | 4426 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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...
    174 replies | 4426 view(s)
    1 XP
  • 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,...
    217 replies | 14778 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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...
    174 replies | 4426 view(s)
    1 XP
  • 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...
    38 replies | 1567 view(s)
    1 XP
  • 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.
    174 replies | 4426 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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:: ;)
    217 replies | 14778 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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...
    217 replies | 14778 view(s)
    1 XP
  • 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?
    75 replies | 3001 view(s)
    1 XP
  • 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....
    231 replies | 8285 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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...
    88 replies | 3245 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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,...
    174 replies | 4426 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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...
    174 replies | 4426 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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.
    163 replies | 7176 view(s)
    3 XP
  • 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...
    38 replies | 1567 view(s)
    2 XP
  • 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.'
    88 replies | 3569 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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Sunday, 14th July, 2019

  • 08:35 PM - FrogReaver quoted Jacob Lewis in post Variable stat caps. Anyone ever used?
    You don't create "diversity" by taking away or limiting players' abilities to make choices. You most definitely can create diversity by limiting players abilities to make a choice. You may dislike that method but it accomplishes the goal. You want players to play fighters who aren't focused on Strength? You need to figure out why they don't. The obvious answer is because the game is designed to mechanically support fighters with higher Strength scores. What if I think strength and con are the most important stats for a fighter and that they should be more important for any fighter than intelligence or charisma Period. If you limit their primary ability, you are effectively limiting the potential for that class they had chosen to play unless you provide the means for that character to fulfill its potential with a different ability score. If your point is that such characters wont be as strong as their 20 stat cap brethren then that's true. I'm failing to see why characters being slightly...

Wednesday, 10th July, 2019


Sunday, 7th July, 2019

  • 12:46 AM - Remathilis quoted Jacob Lewis in post Pathfinder Second Edition: I hear it's bad - Why Bad, How Bad?
    This seems pointless. The product isn't even out yet. Most of us have only the playtest material to go on, which Paizo has suggested was radically different from the final product. Anyone with any real substantial exposure and experience with the finalized product cannot openly discuss it. But let's go ahead and discuss how terrible it is already not knowing anything except how to speculate wildly and form opinions for everyone else so we won't need to come up with our own ideas. Heavens forbid! Also, I hear a lot of people actually like it. They're just not usually as vocal or emotional about it. Or bound by NDAs. I think it is more telling than people give it credit for, but not in the ways people are expecting. Like it or not, there was a fairly vocal group of people on The Internet(tm) that gave the impression the game wasn't good. In full disclosure, I didn't play or read it, but I checked some of the local hangouts (Reddit, Paizo boards, etc) and the initial impression anyone reading the...

Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019

  • 01:00 PM - Aldarc quoted Jacob Lewis in post Pathfinder Second Edition: I hear it's bad - Why Bad, How Bad?
    Also, I hear a lot of people actually like it. They're just not usually as vocal or emotional about it. Or bound by NDAs.Same. I have also heard a number of people who were initially critical of the PF2 playtest who have since become enthusiastic about it either from trying out a more polished version or simply from reading the changes from the playtest that have since been slowly revealed. I'm cautiously optimistic.

Sunday, 30th June, 2019


Friday, 28th June, 2019

  • 04:01 PM - billd91 quoted Jacob Lewis in post Why Rules Lawyering Is a Negative Term
    When was this ever a positive term? :confused: There may be rules lawyers out there who think it's a badge of distinction honoring their encyclopedic understanding of the RAW without realizing it's considered bad.

Wednesday, 26th June, 2019

  • 04:29 PM - billd91 quoted Jacob Lewis in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    Its all part of an elaborate scheme to make Pathfinder 3rd Edition the ultimate comeback edition that will fix everything. Its the only way to ensure loyalty from any fanbase. You take away what they love, try to pass it off as something completely new and different, then quickly turn around and go back to the original formula. People love that crap! See Coke/New Coke/Classic Coke for more details. Yeah, no. It was also never Coke's intent either.
  • 03:39 PM - Ralif Redhammer quoted Jacob Lewis in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    I’m not a rabid Pathfinder fan, but I did play it at cons. However, I can say I’m not moving onto 2e; I just don’t have enough of an attachment to the game to justify the room in my brain to learn a new system. And honestly, the design decisions seem even more fiddly, moving it far out of my tolerance for such. I do think Paizo painted themselves into a corner with this – Pathfinder, being based on 3e, was essentially almost 20 years old in its design theory. Add the rampant bloat to that and it was definitely feeling long-in-the-tooth. As for whether it’s Paizo’s 4e, I think that proof will be in how long it lasts, and yes, all joking aside, what Pathfinder 3e looks like. Its all part of an elaborate scheme to make Pathfinder 3rd Edition the ultimate comeback edition that will fix everything.

Tuesday, 18th June, 2019

  • 06:12 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Jacob Lewis in post If you could put D&D into any other non middle ages genre, what would it be?
    Yes, he's essentially Conan throwing rocks. Hey! That's type-casting! ...poor Arnie... The point is: when most people mention a modern game with insurgents or drug dealers, Commando is not what they have in mind, and D&D is not an obvious fit. In other words, the setting suggests different ways to play. Yeah, I get it. D&D incentivizes certain tactics, strategies, modes of play, whatever you want to call it. 5e give the DM a /lot/ of latitude, though. The game may incentivize toe-to-toe damage-trading (I'm not so sure it does, but for the sake of argument), and the player may thus declare a simple action in accord with the reality that doing damage is a sloggy sort of thing. The DM, though, gets to narrate the results of that action... FREX: Player (with bored resignation*): "I guess I shoot the guy in front of me again." "Hit AC 19 for 15 damage." DM (with unbridled enthusiasm): "You dash across the dusty street of Tombstone, fanning your six-gun as you go! The bandidos sca...

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 aren’t 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...


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