View Profile: Joshua Randall - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • Joshua Randall's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 08:37 PM
    Neo CM doesn't allow spaces in usernames? Bah, humbug. :mad:
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  • Joshua Randall's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019, 06:35 PM
    In the AD&D 1e DMG Gygax talks about the bell curve generated by 3d6 and even has a diagram. So that could be where some of the love for 3d6 comes from. There's also something appealing about "you don't choose what character to play; the dice do" from the "in order" part of the recipe. But, that appeal only works for certain people or at certain times. Sometimes you just wanna play a rogue...
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  • Joshua Randall's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019, 03:48 PM
    3d6 in order + cheating. 3d6 in order, over and over and over again (often at school), then select the best array. 3d6, arrange to suit (+ cheat, +arrays as above). We switched to 4d6 drop lowest as soon as we heard about it.
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  • Joshua Randall's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019, 01:29 PM
    MacOS High Sierria Chrome 75 cache cleared, computer I haven't used recently for CM (last sign-in on this computer was probably 6 months ago) Attempted to reply to a thread in The Aqueducts "This forum requires that you wait 30 seconds between posts. Please try again in 35026571 seconds." Attempted to START a new thread in The Aqueducts "This forum requires that you wait 30 seconds...
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  • Joshua Randall's Avatar
    Thursday, 27th June, 2019, 04:12 PM
    4 hours sessions, 35-40 sessions for an average campaign. We've also done lengthy campaigns (80-100 sessions) and one-shots or mini-series (3-5 sessions) over the years.
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  • Joshua Randall's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th June, 2019, 03:32 PM
    This thread is for 4th edition questions. (But the answer is no, the extra attacks don't stack. See https://www.dndbeyond.com/sources/basic-rules/customization-options#ExtraAttack )
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  • Joshua Randall's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 06:11 PM
    I thought they were advertisements at first, and skipped over them, too.
    3 replies | 227 view(s)
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  • Joshua Randall's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 06:08 PM
    FWIW here's a dump of everything with "larger than you" for your Small-PC optimization perusal. No idea of these things are any good, or even relevant beyond that phrase. Search Results: Backgrounds (1) Results per page: 20 | 50 | 100 Name Type Campaign Associated Skills Source Slave Racial General Athletics, Endurance Dragon Magazine 392 Search Results: Feats (10) Results per page: 20...
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  • Joshua Randall's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 07:49 PM
    Who are the PCs, and what do they do in the game? (if this can't be answered in a sentence or two, pass) What is the game's task resolution system? (some games may downplay task resolution altogether, which is fine, but you need to know that up front) How long is a typical session? How long is a typical "campaign" (or "series")? (this is personal preference but also something you need to...
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  • Joshua Randall's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 07:38 PM
    I may return with examples at some point, but the #1 thing you can do to make in-combat Skill Challenges actually tolerable is to allow skill checks as Move and Minor actions. Because the PCs have a sheet full of awesome Standard actions (i.e.: their powers).
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  • Joshua Randall's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, 04:27 PM
    Needs citation.
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  • Joshua Randall's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, 03:57 PM
    Things 4e did better than any edition of D&D: * allowed any stat to be an attack stat (this alone opened up huge design space) * codified the nascent "cooldown" model already present in the game (e.g., Daily uses of barbarian's Rage or paladin's Smite Evil) * unified class mechanics so that picking up Class A vs. Class B wasn't like playing an entirely different game (this might not match your...
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  • Joshua Randall's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 08:52 PM
    Why are some threads highlighted in yellow? I'm sure the answer is going to be something obvious and I'll feel stupid for asking, but at my age, I'm just glad I still remember the question I started with.
    3 replies | 227 view(s)
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  • Joshua Randall's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 08:48 PM
    Lots of products have botched rollouts. They can be survived if the company handles them well. Does anyone remember all the flack that Microsoft took when the Xbox One was coming out, over its supposedly restrictive game-sharing policies? If you don't remember, it's because Microsoft quickly pivoted to emphasize other aspects of the product, while modifying the most objectionable parts. ...
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  • Joshua Randall's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 06:56 PM
    Combat is like sex. If you are enjoying it, it doesn't matter how long it takes. Also like sex, combat is highly personal. You might enjoy it a certain way, and another person (group) might enjoy it another way, and that's OK. = = = There are many things that can be done in any game to make "time spent in combat" expand or contract to the group's desires. Few of those techniques have to...
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About Joshua Randall

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About Joshua Randall
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[Because we're not allowed to have .signatures any more...]

Still excited about 4th edition!

"[Lucius] proposes a killing spree: A quick and murderous foray into the refugee camps to repair the party’s reputation as people not to be trifled with." -- (contact)'s Temple of Elemental Evil 2

"I cast a Stilled Silent mage hand to bring [Glamdring] to me, and grab it." -- coyote6, portraying the movie Fellowship of the Ring as a bad D&D game
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Thursday, 4th July, 2019


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Friday, 28th June, 2019


Thursday, 27th June, 2019


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Tuesday, 18th June, 2019


Tuesday, 18th June, 2019

  • 05:21 PM - lowkey13 mentioned Joshua Randall in post Should I play 4e?
    You don't know the difference between subjective and objective? If not, I'm not the one to give you a lesson and if you do... well I'm sure you can figure out which fall into what category. Joshua Randall - Let me assist: Objective: "allowed any stat to be an attack stat" Subjective: "produced the best monster books ever produced for any D&D edition, bar none ... and the Monster Vault and MV Threats to the Nentir Vale are in the top 10 of all gaming books ever" Nothing to do with the way that 4e is designed:* "rapidly spun up an organized play community" *Marketing of a game is different than being an excellently designed game. That said, while I don't know the veracity of your RPGA sources, it is refreshing, if odd, to see someone say that 4e was a great marketing success.

Wednesday, 21st November, 2018

  • 07:37 PM - Manbearcat mentioned Joshua Randall in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    @Joshua Randall Not a lot of time, but in short: Deeeeeeeffinitely do not agree. Of the two games I GMed 1-30 and the other game where I GMed a section of it (it was a DW campaign that we switched to 4e for one level - 27 - just as an experiment), the OVERWHELMING % of Epic Tier Combat encounters featured budgets between L+4 to L+7. It’s easily enough done by: 1) Making Combat stakes be about something other than raw HP ablation. 2) Same as always, Creatures should mostly be sameish level as the PCs. 3) Fill out a significant amount of the XP budget with Hazards and Traps that the bad guys have some sort of mitigation against (their “turf advantage”)...or not. This makes Forced moment and mobility much more relevant and brings the battlefield alive. Sum total: - Combat stakes/premise/tropes should become less about raw HP ablation at Epic Tier. - Challenge/threat comes from something other than removal of a lot more HPs due to XP budget inflation. - Dynamism via (Forced) movement and Terrai...

Tuesday, 1st November, 2016

  • 01:03 AM - JeffB mentioned Joshua Randall in post Drowning in 13th Age
    I would probably do something like Joshua Randall said but that also involves burning a revovery for every missed save. That way there would be some lasting effect even if they got out of the mess.

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Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019

  • 06:52 PM - Ralif Redhammer quoted Joshua Randall in post What Method(s) did you use to roll ability score when you first started D&D?
    In my entire gaming career, I’ve only know one person that had the chutzpah to show up claiming they had rolled all 18s during character generation. This was back in 2e, and rather than do the proper, mature thing and tell him “no, please roll again for your stats, in front of me” I let him play the character. And proceeded to torment him, adventure after adventure. He was playing a paladin, and I think I pulled out all the stops – stripping him of his paladinship, level-draining, rust monsters, you name it. In my defense, I was all of 14 or 15 at the time. And much like infinite monkeys with infinite typewriters, we were always hoping the pRNG would spit out the elusive 18, 18, 18, 18, 18, 18. (Never happened AFAIR.)
  • 12:13 AM - Garthanos quoted Joshua Randall in post Examples of a skill challenge within a combat and vice versi
    I may return with examples at some point, but the #1 thing you can do to make in-combat Skill Challenges actually tolerable is to allow skill checks as Move and Minor actions. Because the PCs have a sheet full of awesome Standard actions (i.e.: their powers). Some utility powers might count as free successes .... hey that mighty leap will sure step this up a bit.

Friday, 28th June, 2019

  • 08:43 PM - Sacrosanct quoted Joshua Randall in post TSR's Amazing Accounting Department
    I roll to disbelieve. I'm sure part of it has to do with what type of environment you're in (I imagine a smaller shop would be much better suited for Agile), but I've done waterfall for 16 years, and Agile for the past 4. I'm telling you, in my experience, Agile slows down how much work actually gets done because you're spending more time bouncing around ideas no one ever comes to consensus on on rather than have a stricter timeline of checkpoints and documentation to follow. Not once did I have requirements change in the FSD after it had been approved with waterfall. Happens all the time in Agile, which drives the testers mad because the stuff they just spent their time testing now and suddenly becomes irrelevant. LOTS of wasted effort in Agile, especially around that area of QA testing with stories constantly overwriting previous ones that haven't even had that sprint finish yet.
  • 03:36 PM - Sacrosanct quoted Joshua Randall in post TSR's Amazing Accounting Department
    If we could travel back in time and introduce Agile and Lean methods, it sure seems like they would've helped TSR. If we could travel back in time and introduce Agile and Lean methods, it sure seems like they would've helped TSR. Double posts aren't unusual. But 12 minutes apart? LOL. Also, I hate Agile. I can see the benefit of Agile, but in my experience using it (I am a project manager for a large company), the actual amount of work you get done compared to waterfall is much less. Spending so much time talking about backlogs and burn down charts and stand up meetings, that you have less time to actually work on your project. Sprint planning never goes as planned or is finished on time, which causes delayed sign off, and people keep trying to change the acceptance criteria after user stories have been signed off. People seem to think that because there is no formalized and approved FSD or BRD, that means requirements are fluid and can change at any time, even after the QA process ha...

Wednesday, 26th June, 2019

  • 04:01 PM - delph quoted Joshua Randall in post 4e ask a simple question, get a simple answer
    This thread is for 4th edition questions. (But the answer is no, the extra attacks don't stack. See https://www.dndbeyond.com/sources/basic-rules/customization-options#ExtraAttack )Thanks And sorry, I was quicker in mind, than eyes

Monday, 24th June, 2019

  • 07:35 PM - dave2008 quoted Joshua Randall in post Origins Report: Huge, Friendly...and Penguins
    I can't speak about whether it helps or hurts attendance, but the scheduling is deliberate. There's considerable overlap between gamers and gaymers, after all. Maybe, it just seemed like a mess to me. Trying to find parking on Sat. was nearly impossible.

Tuesday, 18th June, 2019

  • 05:18 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Joshua Randall in post Should I play 4e?
    4e may not be to your tastes, it may have been a financial failure (debatable), it may have died a premature death due to various factors When your parent company gives you a 50 mil goal, with a 100 mil stretch, and development resources commensurate with those goals, and you pull down less than 50 mil, it's a financial failure - even though you were competing in a 20 mil market. -- but it was an excellently designed game.It was an astounding feat of design from the PoV of a long-time D&Der (this would be me) long since resigned to the many problems facing D&D being fundamentally insoluble. But excellent? No. Even at it's best, D&D has been, as just a game, in the technical sense, relatively poorly designed. Maybe it's just that 45 years really isn't that long for a brand-new /type/ of game to evolve? Maybe the design goals have never really been adequately laid out? Maybe RPGs are intrinsically resistant to good design because they're innately open-ended or "infinite" games? IDK. ...
  • 04:48 PM - Imaro quoted Joshua Randall in post Should I play 4e?
    Needs citation. You don't know the difference between subjective and objective? If not, I'm not the one to give you a lesson and if you do... well I'm sure you can figure out which fall into what category.
  • 04:14 PM - Imaro quoted Joshua Randall in post Should I play 4e?
    4e may not be to your tastes, it may have been a financial failure (debatable), it may have died a premature death due to various factors -- but it was an excellently designed game. Lol... who said otherwise (though many of the things you listed fall into the realm of personal preference as opposed to making an objectively better game). See the problem arises when instead of praising your edition and how it aligns with your particular preferences you try to declare it objectively superior while at the same time playing the edition war victim when others respond to tell you why your subjective preferences do not make your game an objectively better edition than any other one.
  • 09:19 AM - CapnZapp quoted Joshua Randall in post Should I play 4e?
    There are many things that can be done in any game to make "time spent in combat" expand or contract to the group's desires. Few of those techniques have to do with the game's rules; most of those techniques have to do with table management, time management, and choosing a group that all has similar tastes for sexy combat. Well, we found that the easiest solution, by far, was to use a ruleset like 3E or 5E instead of a ruleset like 4E. That instantly solved our problems much faster and easier than any amount of managing time or tables did. We never did consider replacing the players. Or maybe we did - yes, you can definitely say we're still playing 4E, except with a whole new group with none of it's original members! Sorry for the snark; Good luck with your game!

Monday, 10th June, 2019

  • 10:45 PM - HJFudge quoted Joshua Randall in post Should I play 4e?
    Saying 4e is "not D&D" is the epitome of edition warring. I aggressively report posts when I see that happening. Just so you know. And it's been 10 freakin' years, so give it a rest, y'know? You won. 4e "failed". 5e and Pathfinder rein supreme. So lay off. Somehow I am reminded of the quote by Orwell "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever." But then I think: "Oh this is just D&D thats a bit like...extreme and doesn't really equate..." Then I remember the time someone spit on me, actually spit on me, because I disagreed with them about an opinion of a game (not D&D, but still a tabletop game) and I think "Oh no, it totally applies." People are nuts, yo.
  • 10:29 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Joshua Randall in post Should I play 4e?
    Saying 4e is "not D&D" is the epitome of edition warring. It's also one of the more-nearly-valid expressions of discontent from that period. Like over in the MAYA thread. The issue was being so unfamiliar as a consequence of it's numerous, only 20 or 30 years overdue, improvements, that it ended up 'not feeling like D&D.' It /was/ D&D, it said so right on the cover, it was published by the owners of the D&D IP, there's no disputing it. But in a subjective* sense of 'not feeling like it?' Sure. * and if you label anything a subjective opinion, you can prettymuch get away with it. FREX It's my subjective opinion (or will be my re-animated corpse's subjective opinion c2070) that "D&D 9.5 is the worst thing since the Anderson Station Massacre, that it causes cancer in laboratory womp-rats, and is a plot by the Drahk to sow discord among humans - oh, yeah, and it trolls sci-fi fans by mixing references, too! That's my subjective opinion so you can't say it's not true with...

Friday, 7th June, 2019

  • 07:20 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Joshua Randall in post Should I play 4e?
    That's weird, I only hear bad things about 4e. Well, they didn't call it the Edition War because forum avatars were being militantly nice to it. Wizard fans will probably hate it the most though, they broke so many sacred cows with that class. Still, I would try playing it if i had the chance. One of the loudest - and briefest - complaints was that it had 'nerfed' the wizard. But, CharOP pretty quickly figured out that the most powerful/broken builds were still wizards. Uhh, multiclassing literally does that. Reserve Maneuver (sort of). etc. Oh, of course. But, it sounded like he was talking 'enable' in a dynamic way, like this round, because of Feat X, I can use class powers C & D instead of A & B. I must have just misinterpreted.
  • 05:00 PM - ad_hoc quoted Joshua Randall in post Should I play 4e?
    Uhh, multiclassing literally does that. Reserve Maneuver (sort of). etc. Because it's common sense that if you ask about a game that game out in 2008, and has been unsupported for 5 years, you've already considered the potential lack of players. People are saying it is a 'terrible argument'. And you're supporting them by saying it is 'common sense'. Okay... Trouble finding players is a reason not to play 4e. Trouble retaining players is also a reason not to play 4e. That's relevant to the question of the thread. If it is common sense why get so bent out of shape about it? Just let the comment pass. No need to go on a tirade.

Thursday, 6th June, 2019

  • 09:38 PM - Imaro quoted Joshua Randall in post The MAYA Design Principle, or Why D&D's Future is Probably Going to Look Mostly Like Its Past
    RPG rules could also be measured in a similar way. Indeed, I think 4e doesn't get enough credit for being a much better Designed (in the UX Design sense) and Usable game than any edition of D&D, before or since. I'd definitely be interested in why you think that 4e's game design was better than any other edition... whether you think said design made it a better ttrpg as opposed to just a better game and what user criteria is being used to determine this. Also if it is objectively better than every other edition why is 5e doing so much better... why is Pathfinder doing so much better? By better I mean increasing and/or maintaining its user base?
  • 09:34 PM - ad_hoc quoted Joshua Randall in post Should I play 4e?
    It's also possible for the argument itself to be terrible (illogical, for example) when the person making the argument is... not terrible. There is a difference between: "I think your argument is terrible" and "You know your argument is terrible right?" The latter is attacking my reasoning skills. The assumption is made that it should be obvious that the argument is terrible and phrasing it as a question is a passive aggressive jab. As far as what we are actually talking about I don't know why what I am saying is controversial. Should I play 4e? One thing to consider is whether you are able to form and maintain a group. Why shouldn't the OP consider that?
  • 09:25 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Joshua Randall in post The MAYA Design Principle, or Why D&D's Future is Probably Going to Look Mostly Like Its Past
    Disagree. The GM is as much part of the RPG system as the rules themselves. That's what makes it an RPG, as opposed to some other kind of game or activity. I can understand that philosophy, but I don't find it helpful when judging the quality of a given RPG. I mean, if you assume a superlative DM, all games are pretty good. If you assume a malicious DM, they're all crap. Early automakers could, in fact, assume that the driver was part mechanic as well - similar to how early RPGs could assume that the GM was part game designer and tinkerer. Yes! See, that analogy extends reasonably well. :) Software has an entire discipline around it to measure and improve its "goodness" - usability / UX / HCI / whatever you want to call it. RPG rules could also be measured in a similar way. Indeed, I think 4e doesn't get enough credit for being a much better Designed (in the UX Design sense) and Usable game than any edition of D&D, before or since. Yeah, but if you have nowhere to feed in your punchcar...
  • 09:24 PM - lowkey13 quoted Joshua Randall in post Let's Talk About THAC0
    It's not an "argument" that addition is easier than subtraction. It's a proven fact. Also, it's not an "argument" that consistency makes it easier for people to learn (higher numbers always better). That's also a proven fact. THAC0 fails both and belongs in the dustbin of history. For forty-three years of my conscious life I have remained a revolutionist; for forty-two of them I have fought under the banner of THAC0. If I had to begin all over again I would of course try to avoid this or that mistake, but the main course of my life would remain unchanged. I shall die an AD&D revolutionist, a THAC0ist, a dialectical Gygaxian, and, consequently, an irreconcilable grognard. My faith in the tablist future of Dungeons and Dragons and in constancy of THAC0 is not less ardent, indeed it is firmer today, than it was in the days of my youth.
  • 09:04 PM - Greg K quoted Joshua Randall in post Should I play 4e?
    It's also possible for the argument itself to be terrible (illogical, for example) when the person making the argument is... not terrible. Which is how I read the original reply rather than as a personal attack.
  • 06:28 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Joshua Randall in post The MAYA Design Principle, or Why D&D's Future is Probably Going to Look Mostly Like Its Past
    It's almost like the presence of a GM is a feature, not a bug.... The GM isn't /part/ of the system - neither bug nor feature - but a user of the system... a super-user, compared to a player, with administrative override privileges. A lot of us are not just decent GMs, we're pretty good at tinkering with a dysfunctional system and keeping it going. It's like you may be able to drive a car, and you may be able to change a flat, and you may be able to rebuild a transmission, but all three of those things don't always go together - and it might be a tad presumptuous of an automaker to expect anyone driving their cars to be able to rebuild the transmission... without pulling over. But, yes, the presence of such a driver would be quite a feature!


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