View Profile: clearstream - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Today, 11:04 AM
    A minion ogre has 1 h.p., which means that if its buddy fumbles and hits it for 3 damage it's going down; where a more normal ogre could shrug that same hit off as a mild annoyance. A minion ogre that gets shot by a crossbow wielded by the paragon character's hired porter is going down even though the bolt does just a straight d6 damage (or d8 in 4e? I forget), where d6 (or d8) damage would be...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Today, 10:35 AM
    IMO the minimum 7 damage does not make for good play... Assuming the fighter hits with both swings in the round. Ogres' AC is either 5 or 4, I forget which at the moment. 7th fighter with +1 to hit from strength, +1 to hit from spec, and +2 to hit from sword needs, I think, to roll 5 or better to hit AC 5 (6 or better to hit AC 4) so yes, she'll hit most of the time but not every time. By...
    786 replies | 22821 view(s)
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  • 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...
    174 replies | 4426 view(s)
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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?
    6 replies | 224 view(s)
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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.
    174 replies | 4426 view(s)
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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...
    164 replies | 9096 view(s)
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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,...
    174 replies | 4426 view(s)
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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...
    786 replies | 22821 view(s)
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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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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Today, 12:57 AM
    Exactly. 4e thus gives formal terms to previously-informal variances within a group of monsters - you might have the 6 ordinary ogres with 40 h.p. each, the shaman ogre with 45 h.p. and spell use, and the chieftain with 80 h.p. that fought as a higher HD/higher level foe. My argument is that any mechanic that turns the 40 h.p. ogres into 1 h.p. ogres is intentionally not being true to...
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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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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Today, 12:19 AM
    Around here it's known going in that the game is inevitably at some point(s) going to make the PCs miserable, with death being but one means of achieving such. Like Sacrosanct above, though, I'll bend the reality simulator a bit in order to get a replacement PC in if needed: if someone fails a resurrection roll, or if the corpse cannot be recovered, or if the PC and-or party are simply too...
    28 replies | 539 view(s)
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Today, 12:09 AM
    This is the answer, right here. Use actual casting times instead of action-reaction, and rule that any spell of equal or lower casting time to the counterspell cannot be countered (because you don't have time to get the counterspell away before the original spell resolves); and this very neatly means a counterspell cannot itself be countered...and nor can some other very fast spells e.g....
    51 replies | 902 view(s)
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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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  • Oofta's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:21 PM
    I could see that - maybe - if you changed it to some kind of contest and giving the people an option to assist for advantage. So in my example (sadly not an exaggeration) the wiz or cleric channeling spell energy to the bard to assist in the battle could actually be kind of cool. But ... I have issues with that too. Basically what kind of check do you make it? The wiz would want to use...
    51 replies | 902 view(s)
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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.
    51 replies | 902 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:59 PM
    You were right the first time that you needed Dual Wielder - the whip is not a light weapon. I was just suggesting other options to work with it.
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  • Oofta's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:42 PM
    what would happen in our games was that: BG1 casts a spell Bard counters BG1's spell BG1 counters Bard's counter Wiz counters BG1's counter of Bard's counter BG2 counters Wiz's counter of BG1's counter of Bard's counter of BG1's counter Cleric counters BG2's counter of Wiz's counter of BG1's counter of Bard's counter of BG1's counter ... and it just kind of circle's down the drain in...
    51 replies | 902 view(s)
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  • Oofta's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:46 PM
    Depending on the group this can be one of the most annoying aspects of the game. We had a group that had 3 PCs that could counterspell ... so people would counter the spell with that counter being countered with the counter of the counter being countered ... ad nauseum. The only way an enemy spellcaster could get anything off was to have a way to cast a spell without being seen. Yes it...
    51 replies | 902 view(s)
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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...
    786 replies | 22821 view(s)
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  • Oofta's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:08 PM
    Oofta replied to Disintegrations
    Sadly, there is no "save vs bad tactics". :uhoh:
    22 replies | 537 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:38 PM
    That's an amusing way of thinking of it. ;) I like it.
    174 replies | 4426 view(s)
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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...
    22 replies | 537 view(s)
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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...
    174 replies | 4426 view(s)
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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...
    11 replies | 571 view(s)
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  • Oofta's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:47 PM
    I would just add that with any interpretation of the rules, I try to keep my interpretation to the simplest option and what's going to work for the game. So in this case we know one way of dying in the game. There are several, all stated pretty much as "when X happens you die". My interpretation of the rule is "if you go from max HP of 1 or more to 0 you die". Once you're at 0, you can't be...
    197 replies | 5364 view(s)
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  • Oofta's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:23 PM
    Death is pretty rare in my campaigns. Not because I use kid gloves, but because I view campaigns as cooperative story telling. Death ends a story. In some cases the player wants that story to end anyway, so dead is dead. On the other hand death is normally pretty close to permanent in my game because of thematic reasons and how death works. Basically, in most cases there's a very short...
    28 replies | 539 view(s)
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  • Oofta's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:19 PM
    Oofta replied to Disintegrations
    About the only way to bring them back may be "The mysterious benefactor". For example they just show up next session with minor memory loss but with a strange tattoo and a feeling that at some point there's going to be a price to pay. This can go several ways, anything from they're just living on borrowed time and will ultimately disintegrate again when they've accomplished their goal at the...
    22 replies | 537 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:57 PM
    What is Lore Bard bringing? With Valor or Sword Bard you can get an extra attack at 6th. Not super important because you can have the attack cantrips from Warlock, but not something to ignore. Dual Wielder's need for bonus actions does not play well with the Smite spells. Plus two weapon fighting requires the Attack action, which means that you can't do Booming Blade or Green-Flame Blade. ...
    15 replies | 373 view(s)
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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...
    11 replies | 571 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:57 PM
    Blue replied to Custom Final boss
    I like how there's other objectives besides just "hit it!' in the second phase due to the pillars. I'd actually make them rather resistant to just the "beat on them" and make them require cleverness to shut down, be it specific skills like disintegrate, religion / arcana checks to determine where to attack to have attacks worthwhile, or whatever. You're in a massive 3-part battle, you need to...
    8 replies | 180 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:45 PM
    Enough gold to get any mundane equipment (plate, etc.) I don't have an exact number. In terms of magic, characters should have several common consumables, and an uncommon magic item. At this point I would not expect any rare items, but it's possible one for the whole party. Not all of the uncommon will be "targetted" - some might be "the right" weapon or armor for someone who focuses on...
    23 replies | 551 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:58 PM
    This seems to step all over the Protection fighting style. Now anyone can do something, without the opportunity cost of taking that fighting style over another. Protection fighting style can be a bit better and a bit worse (less chance anyone is hit, but it's still the original squishy low-AC target), but it's often considered one of the weaker fighting styles already. Now, where it's on-par...
    81 replies | 1963 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:46 PM
    I like Popcorn initiative, but not in 5e. As part of keeping things streamlined, they went for the shorthand of a lot of spells and features lasting until the start of your next action, or otherwise using your action as a shorthand for "everyone has gone once". When the initiative changes round to round, sometimes effects will end up doubling up when someone goes slow one round than fast in...
    75 replies | 2231 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:34 PM
    As Flamestrike mentioned, D&D mechanically is about resource management. If you have players that aren't interested in resource management, and as newbies not yet invested in 5e, perhaps the right solution is to look for another game system that better supports your table's play style. I love 5e, but it's not the only good fantasy RPG out there, and there are many that have minimal resource...
    75 replies | 2231 view(s)
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:49 AM
    Depending on context, it sure could be: if blue-skinned people are shunned by society in that setting the player now has to figure out how to play this character as an outcast, which may or may not be a huge departure from how it was played before. side note In my own game I ruled quite some years ago that having no soul has no real mechanical implications while you're alive (other than...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:35 AM
    Er...are you referring here to the specific example I gave* or asking an in-general question? * - in my example my actions had nothing to do with putting them at risk; the challenge came later when I learned they were at risk and had to choose between family and duty. Givan as a) my PC's family are in theory all NPCs, and b) NPCs are completely under the control of the GM, then obviously...
    786 replies | 22821 view(s)
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:20 AM
    Thus, a completely 'gamist' (real-world term use, not forge-world) construct rather than an attempt to model anything; which seems silly when the original idea behind hit points was to reflect - and yes, to some extent model - the amount of trauma one could withstand...along with, as you point out below, how much luck one might have going at the time, be it for or against. So far this is more...
    786 replies | 22821 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:34 AM
    There is no advantage in 13th Age (it came out before 5e), so the Escalation Die feels like any other bonus, not fiddly. You caught on immediately how it prevents combats from turning into a grind. Well, the math is set up so that the PCs have a disadvantage for the first round or so. Think if it added 0 (first round) and then the +1-6 in subsequent rounds (also to save DCs in 5e, in 13th...
    54 replies | 2061 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:12 AM
    If you're going for a defender, Ancestor from XGtE works better. And it works with whip because unlike Fighter (Cavalier) you don't need to be within 5'. You've likely got a shield, so you've got a decent AC plus standard B/P/S resistance. That's still plenty tough, even if Bear totem is the gold standard. Hmm rage will also add to whip damage, just for extra fun.
    15 replies | 373 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 11:32 PM
    Umm, yes, and ... ? Ranged is very potent in 5e, but that doesn't mean people don't want to play melee characters. The challenge is how to use a whip. You're not picking it for damage, which means you're either looking at finesse, reach or both.
    15 replies | 373 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 09:36 PM
    It's Eberron. I'll buy it anyway. :) Personally, I'd love to see a time jump or some new interpretations of old material, but even if it's just a new presentation of 998 YK Khorvaire, I'll be happy.
    34 replies | 1053 view(s)
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  • Oofta's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 09:23 PM
    It is? I mean, don't get me wrong you can if it works for you, but I've been running 5E since it was released and I don't think I've ever run a trivial encounter. I've had some encounters I thought would be difficult that were made trivial because of good planning and/or luck. But from an XP budget standpoint? If I think the PCs can easily defeat an encounter we just narrate it. There are...
    75 replies | 2231 view(s)
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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.
    786 replies | 22821 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 06:29 PM
    Both Monk (Kensei) and Rogue can use it to deliver high damage at reach. Sentinel feat can stop someone 10 feet away. It's the only 1 handed reach weapon so it can be used with a shield, which others can't - useful for front line non-tank. I wish it worked well with Booming Blade, but natively that only has a reach of 5'.
    15 replies | 373 view(s)
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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.
    81 replies | 1963 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 06:22 PM
    After L5R? What did L5R do?
    217 replies | 14778 view(s)
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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...
    217 replies | 14778 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 05:59 PM
    Mage Hand Press has a really nice Warden class that's probably the closest I've seen to fitting the 4e defender paradigm; unfortunately it's still limited to Patreon subscribers.
    81 replies | 1963 view(s)
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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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  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 05:43 PM
    I'm fond of the Ancestral Guardian Barbarian from XGtE. You need to be raging and it's only the first hit per turn, but there's no limitations that the marked must stay close to you like the Cavalier - no matter where they move they have disadvantage against everyone else, and the target has resistance against their attacks if it does hit.
    81 replies | 1963 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...
    786 replies | 22821 view(s)
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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.
    100 replies | 2271 view(s)
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  • Oofta's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 01:59 PM
    Every group is going to have different capabilities. Even with the same DM, same rules, similar classes, I've noticed a difference in what they can handle so difficulty of encounters is more art than science. So in your case if you don't want to track resources between games, simply make the encounters more difficult. When calculating, increase the group size, ignore the number of enemies...
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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...
    81 replies | 1963 view(s)
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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...
    786 replies | 22821 view(s)
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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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  • Oofta's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 03:24 AM
    I agree. There is no "reduced maximum hp". It's "The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0". Dying is a direct result of the event of being reduced to 0 with no reason to indicate it's an ongoing effect any more than any other reason a creature could die. But it's pointless to argue any more, apparently this cause and effect relationship is somehow different and...
    197 replies | 5364 view(s)
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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 naÔve-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?
    217 replies | 14778 view(s)
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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...
    100 replies | 2271 view(s)
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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...
    786 replies | 22821 view(s)
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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...
    174 replies | 4426 view(s)
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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...
    100 replies | 2271 view(s)
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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...
    49 replies | 1025 view(s)
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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?
    174 replies | 4426 view(s)
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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. ...
    100 replies | 2271 view(s)
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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...
    174 replies | 4426 view(s)
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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.
    163 replies | 7176 view(s)
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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...
    786 replies | 22821 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 10:24 PM
    Thanks for that, though there's some as would debate those claims. :) In part that's because the first bit of something you encounter is what tends to stick in the memory, no matter how much comes after or how good it may be. I've read Wheel of Time from stem to stern and while I remember some specific scenes I mostly couldn't tell you whether they're from Book 1 or Book 9 or Book 6 -...
    53 replies | 2554 view(s)
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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...
    100 replies | 2271 view(s)
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 10:11 PM
    No, I'm saying just the opposite: that the GM has to abide by the rolls in principle; and then pointing out that doing so carries a risk of making things too easy and thus making the game less enjoyable. See below... In 1e or similar systems the presence or absence of a secret door is determined by what's on the GM's map long before anyone searches for it...thus searching where there isn't...
    786 replies | 22821 view(s)
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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,...
    174 replies | 4426 view(s)
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 09:56 PM
    Exactly! Hallelujah, we agree! :) It's a proposal to change the fiction, and the dice will then determine the outcome - pretty binary, in this case - you either climb it or you don't. The complications arise when other more general goals, or corollary specific goals that may or may not conflict, get thrown in to the same declaration e.g. I (try to) climb the wall and kill the guard...
    786 replies | 22821 view(s)
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 09:41 PM
    Empirically? Perhaps, but I'd posit true empiric analysis can only really ceom from someone outside the hobby. Those inside it have largely lost objectivity (whether we like to admit it or not) in favour of what we know/like/prefer. Nothing wrong with this, of course, but we - all of us - have to admit it; and further have to admit that down-calling someone else's viewpoint as "subjective"...
    786 replies | 22821 view(s)
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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...
    75 replies | 2231 view(s)
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 09:31 PM
    If you're looking for a fully-game-mechanical means of generating or forcing such conflict then no, you won't find it. But that in no way means the system doesn't or can't support it. In 1e that connection can be put on the line via story elements introduced by the GM (most often), by the PC's own player (less common), or by another player/PC (rare, but I've seen it happen). Example. It'd...
    786 replies | 22821 view(s)
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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,...
    100 replies | 2271 view(s)
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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...
    49 replies | 1025 view(s)
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 09:16 PM
    To save us from yet another hit-points-and-what-they-mean debate, I'll throw in just this: realism. In real life each of us has a certain threshold of physical damage or trauma we can withstand before our body shuts down and we die. And, though we don't numeritically measure it by hit points, the general concept is the same. If, for example, I go out this afternoon and get hit by someone...
    786 replies | 22821 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 08:57 PM
    Levels ain't no straightjacket, laddie! :) My current campaign is well over ten years in now, and the highest-level PCs are 10th. There's a small chance one of 'em - maybe even two! - might make 11th by year's end. It'll hit 800 sessions early next month unless something goes very much adrift. How's this possible? Running multiple parties side-along in game-world time but sequentially in...
    53 replies | 2554 view(s)
    1 XP
  • 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...
    100 replies | 2271 view(s)
    2 XP
  • 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...
    100 replies | 2271 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 08:36 PM
    There's people out there who don't do this?
    75 replies | 2231 view(s)
    0 XP
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About clearstream

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About clearstream
Introduction:
Games are my life-long passion: I've been designing and publishing them professionally for three decades.
About Me:
These days I mostly focus my gaming on D&D using Fantasy Grounds. I'm fascinated about how games are mechanically constructed, which gets me into trouble when I'm deep-diving into theory and talking about stuff that no one else follows. I'm as interested in what games can be - what can be done - as how they are traditionally played.

For RPGs, I care about game balance, character motives and living worlds. I mostly DM. My happiest moments are to be surprised by the party. I'm proud of winning awards for DMing and having many players tell me that my DMing is outstanding.

I may come across as scathing, or not listening and addressing another's points. I am listening, and I am addressing, but possibly down a path that is difficult to follow for others unless they are patient. I'm willing to follow an interesting argument tenaciously to see where it leads.

Two things I enjoy most (after my family) are thinking/arguing about games, and exploring nature (especially mountains, forests and beaches).
Location:
Right now I'm in Italy. Next year, probably Ireland.
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Details of games currently playing and games being sought.

Game Details:
I'm running Out of the Abyss on Fantasy Grounds, and playing in Tales of the Yawning Portal. When one or other of those finishes I'd love to join a group as a player doing Tomb of Annihilation.

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Thursday, 3rd January, 2019

  • 05:52 PM - Ristamar mentioned clearstream in post Magic Missile and Death Saving Throws
    Could you explain the rational to me, because I can't. If they hit simultaneously, why would it distract you multiple times? Because each one is a separate yet simultaneous distraction. Nothing states that the concentration checks have to occur sequentially. As a crude example, I'd liken it to trying to ignore one large spider versus a cluster of small bugs simultaneously crawling on my arms, legs, neck, etc. The spider might be harder to ignore as singular annoyance, but any one of the small bugs simultaneously crawling across my person could potentially distract me. In that light, I can see where clearstream is coming from with his logic. It just seems a little odd given the abstract nature of hit points, death saves, or the "massive damage" instant death rule.
  • 04:56 PM - iserith mentioned clearstream in post Magic Missile and Death Saving Throws
    clearstream I think your ruling was fair and supported by the rules you quoted. It seems unlikely that the intention is magic missile is a spell NPCs or monsters use to snuff out dying PCs, especially as it wouldn't work the other way unless the DM is using the dying rules on NPCs or monsters.

Tuesday, 11th December, 2018


Sunday, 9th December, 2018

  • 05:40 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned clearstream in post Skills used by players on other players.
    When the obvious intention of the post is to ask about a skill check between characters, zeroing in on the word 'think' and giving a non-answer around that doesn't help advance the conversation. Because the question is if a CHARACTER knew if another CHARACTER lied. There's a difference between player knowledge and character knowledge.Sorry, but can you explain how characters do something without the players saying they do it? To be frank, this and clearstream's examples are "I want to be able to use the mechanics to he 100% sure, with no risk, that I can treat another as if tgey are bad." Would you be okay with an insight check that, if failed, means you must 100% and with utter, unshakable conviction believe the other character is telling the truth? No, what insight represents is a risk free check to establish the proof to treat another as a bad actor, in this case a liar. That's not interesting enough for a roll.

Sunday, 2nd December, 2018

  • 11:58 AM - dave2008 mentioned clearstream in post Rate my Aspect of Tiamat
    A decent start, thank you for sharing. A couple of comments: 1) The CR is off. I did a quick check and I get: defensive CR 13 & attack CR 21+. So (13+21)/2 = CR 17 2) At CR 17 her proficiency bonus is +6, so everything needs to be adjusted accordingly 3) Charisma should either not be listed (you don't list saves without proficiency) or it should be +10 (per comment #2) 4) Dragon's typically have expertise in Perception, so her Perception bonus should be +15 (per comment #2) with a passive Perception of +25 5) She needs some movement options. Either a limited (distance) teleport action or legendary action or flyby action or wing attack legendary action (see all adult or ancient dragon entries) 6) I would recommend adding innate spellcasting. That is a glaring weakness in the official WotC version. No need to replicate it here. PS I agree with @clearstream , Stealth proficiency doesn't really make sense for Tiamat - even if it is just an aspect. EDIT: 7) Her HD / hit points are calculated wrong. Huge creatures use a d12 not a d10. It should be: 207 (18d12 + 90). This then raises her defensive CR to 14. Coupled with increasing her proficiency bonus as noted in comment #2 gives her an overall CR closer to 18.

Thursday, 8th November, 2018

  • 06:45 AM - ClaytonCross mentioned clearstream in post Is Ranged really better than Melee?
    Ignoring accuracy as you try to always do is a fools errand. Almost as much as including an unknown to hit vs and unknown AC. lol I do agree if your not looking for max possible damage and your looing for average damage not including accuracy means your results are not accurate. *ta da chi* ...But I would also understand posting at 100% hit since you get stuck in Range vs opponent X and Melee vs opponent y then you get in consistent answers in the same agreement over and over again that does actually add anything but "player and GM choices make comparing damage shifting sand." Which is also true. That means you and clearstream are both wrong and both right at the same time but you will not know how it plays until you get to a table. If you want to make a table of all the tiers vs AC10-30 in a table I am sure clearstream would not mind though.

Tuesday, 6th November, 2018

  • 02:14 AM - Hawk Diesel mentioned clearstream in post Banishing Eldritch Blast
    clearstream I'm curious your thoughts about the rogue. As has been mentioned, the history of the warlock would indicate that Eldritch Blast is more of a class feature than a traditional cantrip (to me the fact that it is a cantrip is a design flaw, even if technically it is exclusive to the warlock based on spell lists). So if a warlock largely relies on Eldritch Blast, is this not similar to how a rogue is constantly trying to maximize their use of sneak attack? In fact, their are archetypes out there that allow rogues to sneak attack under broader circumstances, or in the case of the scout even sneak attack twice a turn. Warlocks are not casters in the way sorcerers or wizards are casters. They are more akin to monks and rogues in that they are supposed to be middle of the road in terms of damage output versus control and utility. They even have the same HP die. So I see them as a more appropriate point of comparison versus fighters, rangers, or barbarians. But again, rogues and monks have s...

Friday, 2nd November, 2018

  • 02:52 PM - TwoSix mentioned clearstream in post Banishing Eldritch Blast
    I don't see how you could not interpret it as a feature. It's definitely written-out explicitly so it must be as intended. Sorry, I didn't mean a feature as intended by the designers in 2014. I meant does clearstream, as the OP who's looking to houserule, view it as a problem to solve or a feature to keep.
  • 01:54 AM - Hawk Diesel mentioned clearstream in post Banishing Eldritch Blast
    ...ed in a forum discussion at WotC where folks were saying that EB defines the Warlock; it wouldn't be a Warlock without EB, etc. When I asked what this "Eldritch Blast" was, all I could gather was that it was just like a bunch of other spells, but did Force damage. Really? THAT'S the class's signature spell? It just does damage that is sort of like elemental damage but isn't an element? I thought that was just ridiculously lame and weak. And I still think so. Thirdly, from an RP/lore/storytelling perspective I find it improbable and problematic that every single entity in the multiverse that signs pacts with mortals shares the ability to grant this one exceptionally powerful 0-level spell, but otherwise the spell is (almost entirely) non-existent. It just doesn't make any sense. If this were true about a spell that somehow was related to the signing of pacts I would get it. But it's just a very effective blast spell. So, yeah, I kind of hate EB.... To expand on what clearstream was saying, when the Warlock first came out in 3.5 Eldritch Blast and Invocations were THE defining feature of the class. Unlike any other spellcasters in that edition, they did not cast spells. Rather they had access to a small number of spell-like abilities that could be used at will. For the evolution of spellcasters in future editions, I would argue it was a turning point because it was the first time a player could reliably cast spells (or at least feel like they were casting spells since they were really spell-like abilities) at will without using resources. You may recognize this as the At-will powers in 4th edition and the cantrips in 5e. And while the original warlock had a number of different powers they could achieve with invocations, a large number of them specifically increased the utility of the Eldritch Blast. As a result, I would have expected the designers to make Eldritch Blast more of a class feature of the Warlock rather than a cantrip due to their relationship. ...

Thursday, 4th October, 2018

  • 01:06 AM - pemerton mentioned clearstream in post Mearls On D&D's Design Premises/Goals
    Is there another version of D&D with codified rules for a footrace?Not that I can think of (classic D&D has evasion rules, but they're a bit different). But 4e does have a generic resolution system - skill challenges - that can be used to resolve a race. (It will play out more like the Ben Hur chariot race than an Olympic event - whether that's good or bad is a matter of taste, but I think 4e wears its gonzo on its sleeve.) I would have assumed that 5e was equally clear - it's resolved by making checks and comparing them (or perhaps a sequence of checks as clearstream suggests, though the Basic rules don't offer a system for aggregating check results into an overall outcome). But the predominant view in this thread seems to be that, in fact, you can only run a contest between two characters and they have to be fighting over something (a ring, a door, etc) and so to resolve a race you need to house rule.

Wednesday, 3rd October, 2018

  • 09:12 AM - Sadras mentioned clearstream in post Mearls On D&D's Design Premises/Goals
    @clearstream I think part of it is that 3rd edition was clunkier, without being fundamentally more complex. You might be right, I don't know. 3.x certainly wasn't an edition I excelled in as a DM. Some would argue clunky (i.e. heavy) is complex. If something is less clunky then it is lighter or easier, and likely more user friendly.

Tuesday, 28th August, 2018


Sunday, 26th August, 2018

  • 02:48 PM - pemerton mentioned clearstream in post Missing Rules
    ...sy (DC 10, so better than 50% chance of succes), while jumping an extra 4' for that 12 STR PC seems Medium or even Hard (so DC 15 or 20, ie quite a bit less than 50% chance of success without solid Athletics proficiency). Another consideration (harking back to the Thief-Acrobat jumping abilities in Unearthed Arcana) is whether the character lands standing, or prone and hence needing to recover. To comment on the "rulings/rules" aspect of the thread: I don't see any intention in 5e that certain rules are not to be followed -like the rule that uncertainy is resolved via checks, and that checks consist in rolling a d20 and adding mods from a fairly standard list. A GM could - for some sense of "could" - call for a Burning Wheel "die of fate" check to find out what happens when a PC jumps, or use the Moldvay Basic approach of setting a percentage chance of success and calling for a d% roll - but I don't see the least suggestion in the Basic PDF that this is what the game expects. clearstream has mentioned the idea of (certain) rules being constitutive of a game - for D&D it's tempting to see d20 rolls to hit, doing polyhedral dice hit points of damage on a success; d20 rolls to save; and, in 5e, d20 checks to resolve action declarations with uncertain outcomes, as constitutive in that sense. A few departures from this are neither here nor there, but systematic departure would make it unclear in what sense the game is a 5e D&D one. (And that's before we get to the rather specific and intricate PC build rules, which play a constitutive role in themselves, and which don't contribute meaningfully to play if the constitutive action resolution rules aren't generally used.)

Tuesday, 21st August, 2018

  • 03:09 PM - robus mentioned clearstream in post Missing Rules
    Oofta & clearstream good points. Now I'm stepping out of this thread for real! :) (i.e. no more lurking and getting sucked back in!)

Thursday, 5th April, 2018

  • 10:39 AM - pemerton mentioned clearstream in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    clearstream, I think I would find your posts easier to respond to if I had some sense of what RPGs, or what sorts of play experiences, you have in mind when you make your observations. This captures quite well why GNS comes under criticism for turning a blind eye to some kinds of roleplaying.What kind? It has a very thorough description of RPGing that involves pre-authorship of setting with the goal being for the GM to tell the players about that setting. It's a form of "high concept simulationism". If my character nominates a fictional manufacturer of her fictional grav bike, then other players should accept my fiction. They shouldn't say - no, that manufacturer doesn't exist so your character cannot be sitting on her grav bike, that said manufacturer putatively crafted. Thus, they accept something that they had no agency over. This is a constant. The only question is the scale and siting of who is doing what.I am not following your point. Yes, as Vincent Baker has pointed out for a long...

Thursday, 23rd November, 2017

  • 05:09 PM - FrogReaver mentioned clearstream in post [Homebrew] Defensive Duelist
    clearstream When I make a feat that would work with the rogue you complain it doesnít work as good for the fighter. When I make something that work for the fighter you complain it doesnít work as good for the rogue. Nothing will work equally well for both the fighter and the rogue unless you make it require no action, bonus action and no reaction which is a design that has its own problems. It works for 1 feat but once others start getting designed that way it quickly spirals out of control.

Saturday, 4th November, 2017

  • 01:52 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned clearstream in post Title / Subject - or probabilities are hard
    Oh, heh. I had to go back and forth among the OP, my response, and your response to understand what you meant. Yeah, my post wasn't real clear about what situations I was implicitly comparing. My first comment (counter-intuitive) referred to the fact that the two methods the OP discussed for determining the location of the statue were equivalent. But the second comment was meant to contrast the general property of both those methods (and a lot of others one could think of) - that the PCs' decisions did not affect the probability of their success - with a situation in which the PCs's decisions could affect their probability of success. As you have implied, that would seem to require giving the PCs more information on which to base their decision. I, perhaps unhelpfully, left the notion completely abstract, not attempting to describe a method that would allow the PCs' decisions to affect their probability of success. At minimum I guess I should have included a footnote that said, "I have disc...

Monday, 30th October, 2017

  • 07:33 PM - TheCosmicKid mentioned clearstream in post Does this riddle make sense?
    I like vonklaude's variation, but it bugs me why the angel would say anything if they don't know it to be true. And if the devil agrees with them, they can run the logic as well as, if not better, than, the PCs and go, "hmm, something's wrong here". Maybe have the two trapped in magic mirrors such that they can't see or hear what the other one says? Then clever PCs might be able to get more information by relaying the information between them. Also, I think a devil is better than a demon here. Always lying is consistent behavior, and that says lawful to me. In any case, both types of fiend are normally intelligent creatures who are capable of deciding when to lie and when not as best suits their interests, so to get a nice simple logic-puzzle rule like "always lies" you're probably.gonna have to put some sort of curse or geas on the fiend to force them to do it. Perhaps the same mechanism also stripped the angel's memory. Some effect of the mirrors, perhaps? And if you're doing that, the...

Friday, 27th October, 2017

  • 02:51 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned clearstream in post Revision for the Blur spell
    The blur'd bladesinger is only as overpowered as the enemy's tactics. If its a party wipe except for the bladesinger, that doesn't make things better. The damage output of a bladesinger is small enough that they don't really qualify as a large threat, and if you're in close, the bladesinger can't be firing off fireballs like an Evoker could, or function as a good tank. Every game is different, and every GM has situations they have trouble coping with. My GM wouldn't have an issue dealing with this kind of issue. This idea that people are throwing around, where you casually have the ability to calmly cast a spell with enemies that for some reason or another always start far away is mind boggling to me. In fact, I find it extraordinary. Dungeons tend to have rooms, corridors that take a single turn to traverse with a charge, or obstacles like trees or some other terrain features in the way. And don't forget traps! Open fields are the exception in my games, not the rule. I agree on the...

Friday, 20th October, 2017

  • 05:04 PM - Mort mentioned clearstream in post Bladesinger - a criticism of its design
    In my experience, while these game balance discussions always assuming no magical item drops, that's never been the case in any game I've been in that has gone on for four or more sessions. If I wanted raw AC and saves, I would have designed a Variant Human Fighter 1/Abjurer X instead of a Bladesinger. The Bladesinger beats them out only with no item drops. If by level 12-14 or so the Fighter/Abjurer has +2/3 and +2/3 shield and plate (which is very possible if you play pretty much any HC from level 1 to conclusion, let alone if you're hunting or trading for specific items) will simply have a better AC. The Bladesinger will have a much better offense, especially if magical items drop, but as people mentioned in this thread you shift more towards a pure spellcaster build over time anyway. As vonklaude said, I think this doesn't quite work for the Abjurer. 1. He loses out on a full caster level: One big advantage to the BS is he gets all this stuff without having to give up a caster level....


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Monday, 14th January, 2019

  • 09:52 AM - Paul Farquhar quoted clearstream in post Upcoming products will "touch on cultures that don't usually get exposure."
    I'm not trying to say anyone is acting badly here. I don't think that's true. More thinking "should we stay aware of possible implicit biases"? It is a very short step from being aware of bias in something and imposing our own bias onto something. Lantan is pretty much the Forgotten Realms version of MCU Wakanda. And one could argue that Black Panther was wrong to end Wakandan isolationism. The desire to "help" other nations can be viewed as the thin end of the wedge of Wakandan imperialism.
  • 09:05 AM - Paul Farquhar quoted clearstream in post Upcoming products will "touch on cultures that don't usually get exposure."
    Greece is one of the key foundations of Western European culture, and Steampunk celebrates a recent age of incredibly inequitable imperialism. My European side highly values the rich elements of our culture from the many sources. Another side, looks with mild despair on how thoroughly certain narratives are recited. The point we're at, I feel we could be celebrating every effort to be diverse, and avoid undermining or digressing from them from the outset. No matter how subtly. Victorian imperialism was achieved as a consequence of getting a technological step up on the rest of the planet. War of the Worlds is an allegory for this. This, and many of the other original "Steampunk" novels are actively anti-imperialist. For another example 20000 Leagues under the Sea is also strongly anti-imperialist. Lantan stands in direct contrast. They could have used their advanced technology to carve out an empire, and they chose not to. This makes them culturally very different to the British (Romans/American...

Sunday, 13th January, 2019

  • 11:23 PM - gyor quoted clearstream in post Upcoming products will "touch on cultures that don't usually get exposure."
    Greece is one of the key foundations of Western European culture, and Steampunk celebrates a recent age of incredibly inequitable imperialism. My European side highly values the rich elements of our culture from the many sources. Another side, looks with mild despair on how thoroughly certain narratives are recited. The point we're at, I feel we could be celebrating every effort to be diverse, and avoid undermining or digressing from them from the outset. No matter how subtly. Steam punk celebrates technology and and a style, not imperialism. Nothing in steam punk culture celebrates imperialism or colonialism, like abuses of various cultures. All culture have dark periods all of them. Japan has world war II, the FN Miq'mac wiped out the FN tribe in Newfoundland, many African Empires sold slaves, Ghana apologized for this, even though no one living had any part in that. Feeling guilt at ancient crimes is absurd, all guilty parties are dead.
  • 10:14 PM - TheCommanderSalty quoted clearstream in post zelandia - the homebrew setting based off New Zealand . Part 1
    It seems likely players of a setting will gravitate around a main name. I want to put my feelings frankly, because I feel like our hobby can do good work here. If the name is the European name, then that entrenches or recites a colonial narrative. I would love to see the Maori-inspired name as the primary name - the one on the cover. That said, it is your creative work and I don't have any right to dilute your vision. I hope you will take into consideration what I've raised. Iíve had a few people feedback to me and say change the name so I will :) haha you guys have a good point and it would make more sense . Iíll change it up after work. Honestly any feedback or criticism is valued
  • 07:10 PM - gyor quoted clearstream in post Upcoming products will "touch on cultures that don't usually get exposure."
    I feel like fictional cultures are essentially footed in real-world cultures. Lantan seems like an early-Steam-age mercantile culture... the beginnings of capitalism and perhaps a touch of robber-barons (murderous kleptomaniacs, really). It has a strong touch of European and colonial history about it. When I think about it - and this is absolutely not a criticism or aimed at anybody - it can be a kind of thought-provoking irony for us to think about Lantan here, and talk about preferring it; because colonial cultures played a strong role in suppressing diverse cultures. I'm thinking here about events like the early Australian state separating aboriginal children from their families, and forcing them into education in European ideas and culture. For me, choosing more diversely among real-world cultures as our points of departure for fictional worlds sounds inspiring and a really good chance to enrich our hobby. It's important for us to have clear eyesight: to see what informs our fictional wo...
  • 06:57 PM - TheCommanderSalty quoted clearstream in post zelandia - the homebrew setting based off New Zealand . Part 1
    But able to stand very, very still, for a really long time. Il definitely work that into their description haha . Tuatara monks would be cool
  • 06:46 PM - TheCommanderSalty quoted clearstream in post zelandia - the homebrew setting based off New Zealand . Part 1
    But able to stand very, very still, for a really long time. Hahaha
  • 06:45 PM - TheCommanderSalty quoted clearstream in post zelandia - the homebrew setting based off New Zealand . Part 1
    It's a good idea albeit perhaps riff the name off Aotearoa. New Zealand is the colonial name for it after all: which feels at odds with the Maori cultural theme. True. I could have what outsiders have named it and what the natives call it.

Wednesday, 9th January, 2019

  • 04:04 AM - Maxperson quoted clearstream in post An Unearthed Arcana I would like to see - mechanical fixes
    So it seems like there could be some sense of convergence around @TwoSix and @Sword of Spirit suggestions. I'd prefer WotC got onto it, but I can see that a community project could be pragmatic, and maybe influence what comes along down the line. How might we create that cabal? Maybe start a thread around one of the perceived issues with a 1 or 2 week shelf-life. Take all of the actual ideas put forth and create that poll I mentioned. Limiting the thread to 1-2 weeks for ideas will allow us to get several issues handled in a reasonable amount of time, and it seems like most of the good ideas come early on in the thread, before the thread digresses into arguments and other discussions.

Tuesday, 8th January, 2019

  • 11:02 PM - Sword of Spirit quoted clearstream in post An Unearthed Arcana I would like to see - mechanical fixes
    I cut out the rest to save space, but I think that's a great idea. Now, to the question above. Are we going to come to a consensus about a given fix like GWM, or would we have like 5 different fixes for it in the document? If we are going with the former, I would recommend the following. A thread where the potential fixes are noted and discussed, followed by a thread where people vote on poll containing those fixes. 1 vote per person, and the top vote getting goes into the document. The lengthy explanations for each fix would be stated in the OP of that voting thread. We'd only one want fix for a given issue, otherwise it wouldn't really get the job done. So it seems like there could be some sense of convergence around @TwoSix and @Sword of Spirit suggestions. I'd prefer WotC got onto it, but I can see that a community project could be pragmatic, and maybe influence what comes along down the line. How might we create that cabal? I'm an idea guy and I'm decent at creating structural thin...
  • 09:51 PM - Mistwell quoted clearstream in post An Unearthed Arcana I would like to see - mechanical fixes
    Some posters introduced strawmen and unwelcome digressions into this thread. Okay, that's simply part of what internet conversations are like. Could be down to misunderstandings, bees in bonnet, that sort of thing. You win an award. https://i.imgflip.com/2qo3c0.jpg

Monday, 7th January, 2019

  • 11:01 PM - Saelorn quoted clearstream in post An Unearthed Arcana I would like to see - mechanical fixes
    Examples for me include druid nature skill (intelligence? expertise in nature based on Druid levels could make sense)Druids already get better at Nature as their Druid level increases. That's what your Proficiency bonus represents. Why would you think that your capacity to learn and remember details should be irrelevant to how much you know about a topic?
  • 03:49 AM - doctorbadwolf quoted clearstream in post An Unearthed Arcana I would like to see - mechanical fixes
    I did think of that. It's part of why I'm interested in what they might list. This could come to feel like an argument between disposable and endurable cultural artifacts. This doesn't seem like a sound argument. Partly because it makes it hard to understand why anyone ever bought any of the D&D books. What were they looking for, if it was all "do it yourself"? One of the vexing things for game designers is getting respect for their expertise. It's one of those "everyone can do it" crafts. Except they can't. It takes time, training, experience, access to playtesting resources, access to data, access to analytics. It's a real profession. I will stand up for my colleagues in the games industry against anyone denigrating their craft as a... nothing. I feel that is unfairly dismissive. I have a deep admiration for the WotC design team and absolutely believe they bring more to the table than "DIY". I think hair dressers are better at hair dressing than I am, I think teachers are bet...
  • 03:37 AM - Mistwell quoted clearstream in post An Unearthed Arcana I would like to see - mechanical fixes
    After writing I realised I should have just listed what I saw as possible exemplary issues, e.g. repelling blast is pretty unique in pushing things of any size with no save - should it really be like that? Well you're literally the only person in 4-5 years I've seen complain about it, it's not listed on anyone else's lists that I know of as overpowered or broken in any way, I've seen it in play and it's not a particularly powerful ability, and on various guides it doesn't even rank as "good". It's not unique (there are plenty of spells that do it, like thunderwave...they might require a save, but repelling blast requires a to hit roll, which is just a different kind of hit on a DC). I really don't know what you're seeing in your game that makes you think it's a problem.
  • 03:15 AM - doctorbadwolf quoted clearstream in post Classes and damage
    Iím an expert in data analysis (itís literally my day job), and I think people are making assumptions and conclusions about things without the data actually proving it. Innthe industry, we have a saying: garbage in, garbage out. I.e, if youíre starting with incomplete or bad data, no method of analysis will result in a sound conclusion. So if the DDB team is making a claim that X class is popular IN GENERAL, while not factoring in those people who donít use DDB, or only use it for chargen, then they are starting with fundamentally flawed data. I suspect they are giving that conclusion based on a much narrower scope, like ďamong players who use DDB to create and play their characters in the DDB toolset while playing, this is the results.Ē So I would strongly caution anyone taking that narrow scope and assuming it applies to a much larger scenario. IIRC, the head of the DDB teamís job prior to launching DDB was also data analysis. And theyíve gone out of their way Lin the streams where they ta...

Sunday, 6th January, 2019

  • 09:13 PM - Yunru quoted clearstream in post An Unearthed Arcana I would like to see - mechanical fixes
    I value their expertise as designers specialising in D&D-style RPGs, and their access to design resources such as salient data sets, time and playtesting. That's an important part of why I part with money for their game rulebooks. But apparently not enough to consider that they might feel these "issues" aren't really issues?
  • 08:42 PM - lowkey13 quoted clearstream in post An Unearthed Arcana I would like to see - mechanical fixes
    Hmm. So if that is what you think I am saying, then I can see why you are opposed to it. But it is not what I am saying. Great! If that's not what you're saying, I wish you the best of luck and fun with your rulings. :)
  • 08:30 PM - lowkey13 quoted clearstream in post An Unearthed Arcana I would like to see - mechanical fixes
    Of course :) I don't think anything I'm saying here goes against the product serving us, or asking for substitutions. More it questions whether the expert chef - having made everything on the menu a thousand times - might not like to tweak a few dishes that she has noticed, with hindsight, could be improved? I would love to have those tweaks fall, winsomely, upon my palate. (snip) I'm possibly then in a minority who valued 3.5ed as an update to 3ed... and 5th for continuing in that vein. Would it be fighting talk to say I wouldn't mind a 5.5 (even were it called 6th)?! Yes, it would be fighting talk. You might have enjoyed 3.5e, but it ended up causing something of a schism in the rest of the D&D community (PF, d20 etc.). Because there is a difference between adding new material (a la XGTE) and amending the core rules. Once you start amending the core rules (beyond very basic errata) you begin to split the player base. And you need a much better reason to do that than "Yo, Clearstream can't be bothered to cook meals at home. He only likes them fancy meals. It's only a tiny little thin mint, Mr. Creosote." In other words- it's not broke, it don't need fixin', and when we get 6e, it may be backwards-compatible, but it won't just be your desired bug-fixes. The Gygax helps those who help themselves, my friend.
  • 07:56 PM - Mistwell quoted clearstream in post Classes and damage
    Do you know if the DnDBeyond data excludes characters who are generated but not played? I know I quite often make human characters on Beyond to look at a build concept, and then never play that character. How would they know if you play it? It's a PDF you can print out. They're not in your house, watching you play :)
  • 07:48 PM - doctorbadwolf quoted clearstream in post Classes and damage
    Do you know if the DnDBeyond data excludes characters who are generated but not played? I know I quite often make human characters on Beyond to look at a build concept, and then never play that character. Yep. They use the data for characters that are being riddled with in ways consistent with actual use, and the team is expert enough in data analysis that Iím pretty willing to trust their conclusions.


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