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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 08:36 AM
    That point first started getting made 15+ years ago, in 3e forums. The thing that's funny is MMOs came up with "aggro," because they were trying to implement the traditional D&D Fighter role, but didn't have unwritten DMing rules that most monsters just attacked the fighter, most of the time, especially if he made any pretense towards getting in the way. I guess we could just figure 5e has a...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 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
    Today, 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 spellbound is just...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 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 the two yet are neither. In an RPG the...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 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
    Today, 06:43 AM
    True, if youre playing poker or polo or pachinko, your play experience is not a roleplay experience. And, if you're playing Hamlet or Naughty Schoolgirl or Devil's Advocate, your roleplay experience is not a game-play experience. But if you're playing an RPG, it really /should/ be both. Is that undesirable? Because, if it is, freestyle RP is totally a thing, and you won't need to deal...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 06:30 AM
    Its an RPG, the whole thing is about roleplaying. Relative to the other WotC eds the biggest 'pro' in 5e is the DM - DM Empowerment. But, the real "pro" of 5e is... Move product in volumes not seen since the 80s.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 03:20 AM
    Yeah, the actual play experience will be subjective, so looking for the difference there will, at most, uncover some dusty system artifacts that might reveal which system was used, but nothing much more. Now, whether via system procedures, or via some naïve-RP/freestyle/make-believe consensus, the same persons could have established the same elements of the fiction in the same order. ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 03:03 AM
    IDK. Would the existing PF fanbase be offended if their system were positioned as Advanced D&D (w/1e UA & 2e Complete & Option books), to 5e's Basic D&D?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 03:00 AM
    That's fair. I mean, 5e /has the bloodied condition/, without having the "Bloodied" /Condition/. So any rule you could write in 4e like "when the <insert creature> is not bloodied and attacks a bloodied enemy <bad things happen>" you could as easily write, in 5e "when the <insert creature>'s current hit points, not including temporary hit points are greater than half its maximum hit points...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 02:51 AM
    I was searching for some way of making a statement general enough to avoid implying any specific system or set of assumptions. But, y'know, RPGing is something we all do. Any time we do that, is an 'instance,' right? So, in any given instance, we might decide to go beyond the scope of the system we're using, or even merely the scope of what it does well. And, /if/ we're a group with a good...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 02:25 AM
    It's not the most clearly-stated rule ever (even by 1e standards), but, yeah, that's the only way to parse the rule that allows the optional -3 'single blow' phrasing to make any sense. TBH, it /doesn't/ make a lot of sense, no matter how you try to parse it. Every group I ever saw use the -10 rule, allowed that you dropped unconscious if reduced to anything from 0 to -9, then bled at...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 01:31 AM
    The whole DMG is essentially optional rules. (really, the whole game is, but don't admit it to the players) nb: that's to /exactly/ 0 hit point. If you drop to -1 or fewer you die. That's what happens while you're unconscious, after having been reduced to exactly 0. You lose 1 hp per round, going from 0, to -1, etc, down through -9, then die when you reach -10. If you don't take any...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 12:07 AM
    No problem. I'd've not replies if I'd noticed you taking down the post I was responding too...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 12:05 AM
    ..it'd be an issue, because there are INT based casters & 1/3rd casters who already need a lot of INT, which otherwise does nothing for combat - suddenly they could leverage it. And, those 1/3rd casters (EK & AT) are otherwise weapon-users... ...oh, and Bladesingers...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:40 PM
    I've heard about it but never checked it out. What did they do, just dial up encounters?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:38 PM
    That's the thing, you don't need to talk about 20-level builds to new players. They can play a 'starting package' or pregen. Really, in any edition, pregens are a good idea, that's why modules had 'em back in the 0e days (In Search of the Unknown, which came with the c1977 basic set had pregens in the back), and 5e has 'em in the Basic PDF. Encounters pregens came on laminated half-sheets. ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:47 PM
    Oh, yeah. Especially some messed up monsters early on, and the off-kilter encounters in KotS and the like, could be deadlier than EL would indicate, and, until the MM3, if you weren't playing like 8-enounter days, EL=Level could seem a little too easy. It'd've made more sense, as a practical matter of how it seemed 4e got played 'in the wild' to peg monster math/EL to a 3-5 encounter day, and...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:41 PM
    But, you haven't gotten to the pedantic part, yet!? Asked and answered: they only feel heavy after you take them out of the water.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:31 PM
    Realism? In a discussion of hit points? Nope, we don't. A very slight trauma involving relatively little injury can kill instantly, profound trauma over much of the body can be survived. The human body is freak'n weird. People fall in the shower and die. People fall out of airplanes without parachutes and live. It's not because some people rolled 1 on their HD. It's not because falls do...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:13 PM
    I ran 4e, for the run of Encounters (and beyond, but with an established group), so that's a /lot/ of introducing the game to brand-new players. Something I'd done back in the day, and done, since, as Encounters opened up to the Next playtest, then 5e. 4e is /easily/ the most accessible of the WotC editions, to brand-new players. Now, sure, you /could/ do 30-level builds if you were so...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:59 PM
    Not much variance, on that count, I'd think. The EL guidelines of 4e were quite straightforward, relatively dependable, and an exact-at-level encounter was a resource-ablating 'speed bump' (same intent as a single CR=Level encounter in 3e), that'd break deadly only towards the end of an unusually long day (8+ encounters in all likelihood). Lower ELs below level -1 or 2 rapidly became trivial,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:37 PM
    The campaign I'm running meets weekly, so not an issue; the one I play in has the same frequency as yours, but is 4e, so, again, not an issue - even if we have 'long rests' or just hard-resets because we missed a session or two, and have freshly-printed character sheets, between sessions, and thus 1-encounter days, it just means a harder encounter, we don't have any e-Classes, so everyone gets to...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:30 PM
    The answer to the question of ignorance or expediency or malice is really kinda moot. (But my guess is expediency.) 3e fans have PF. When PF rolls rev, anyone else can publish a 3.875 under the OGL and the party keeps rolling. The things built into 5e to appeal to them seem more like olive branches - they're there to keep those fans from warring against 5e by validating their preferences,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:21 PM
    A few possibilities have been floated using Bonus Actions or Reactions, to represent tactical planning or springing a tactic. There's already a lot of uses for those kinds of actions, especially reactions, in combat. How about representing keeping a 'Tactical' overview of the battle by requiring /Concentration/? Hey, no battle-plan survives first contact with the enemy('s weapon, unless you...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:56 PM
    To be fair, 4e was very much designed based on criticisms of 3e (and earlier) - 'static combat,' LFQW, 5WMD, CoDzilla, Sorcerers inferior to Wizards (heck, everyone but CoDzilla being inferior to Wizards), broken combos/exploits, broken spells, 'Rocket Tag,' /needing/ 20-level builds, whacked Epic-levels, lack of functionality outside the 'sweet spot,' burden of prep & difficulty of running for...
    63 replies | 1331 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:38 PM
    It's in the DMG, it emphasizes the grid, including flanking, adds /facing/ of all things, and lets anyone mark (or maybe that's a separate variant?). Anyway, it credibly delivers the "grid dependence/tactical-boardgame" people who didn't like 4e complained about. They did seem to be working primarily from criticisms of 4e. 2 & 3 prettymuch go together. There also really was this...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:21 PM
    5e does add back Marking in the tactical variant, but it's a case of turn it on and anyone can mark. So not too helpful. Standard Rules, Protection Style > Battlemaster, which has a maneuver or two that might help, you could also pick up the prime warlord-like maneuvers, too, while having the fighter's extra attacks and action surge. You'd be a primary-Striker, tertiary-Leader/Defender. ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:38 PM
    I meant it as non-specific and all-inclusive. I would absolutely include things like those things, in 'things.' The example was illustrative, not exhaustive. Now, if you want to get down to the level of experiencing system artifacts, sure, even freestyle, with no system to speak of could be said to have those, and they'd be different from an actual system. But, my point was not that...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:59 AM
    … see, that's not cynical, at all... (I shouldn't talk, I'm totally cynical.) TBH (not just cynical), denying that system makes a difference strikes me as pointless. Obviously, systems are different, and those differences can't be quite meaningless. Now, to turn around the prior cynicism: The "cost" can include no longer being able to abuse or leverage that lack of systematic...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 11:31 PM
    On the one hand, that's not really much of a perk. Most Combat Styles actually make you better at something than the next guy. If your INT is 16, this makes as good with a Rapier as the guy with DEX 16. ::shrug:: Maybe have the INT bonus add in some other way. Maybe just add it, rather than replace it? With some proviso about the type of weapon & enemy or something? IDK. OTOH...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 11:18 PM
    Now that I think of it, there were other references to Level /n/ Monsters here and there in 1e. Summoning for instance. And a whole little blurb about how they used the word 'level' for a /lot/ of different things that didn't necessarily correspond. Oh, yeah, but you could be subtle about it. DM's Screen hides a multitude of sins. One of the biggest things was the convention that...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 07:08 PM
    I think it's important to keep in mind that 5e short rests resources are pretty pointedly /not/ encounter-based, the intended theoretical balance-point for encounters:short:long is 6-8:2-3:1, or about /two/ encounters between rests. And, that's in theory, in practice, it depends on how much time you have between encounters and whether you use a variant, like the 'gritty' variant that makes short...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 06:57 PM
    Sorry to riff off of just a couple sentences but... Seems like "informal practices" could be pretty varied and readily mutable (or set in stone, and violently defended, I suppose). If I'm following, that's an example of 'informal practice,' and - I'm really hoping - neither 'informal practice' nor 'GM stipulation' nor 'consensus roleplaying' have any extra-special...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 05:27 PM
    You're not wrong about those being similarities, but they're not identical, and the play dynamic they generate can be /very/ different. The short/long rest distinction in 5e, for instance, is 1 vs 8 hrs, often time enough for one is time enough for the other, you just can't take more than one of the latter in a given 24 hr period - the design assumption is 2-3 short rest & 6-8 encounters per...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 04:50 PM
    So you can get more XP than the next guy, pull ahead of him, and 'win' the game? That's not an entirely unfair characterization - I'd note that in 5e, XP does have an effect, in that the XP requirements to level relative to the XP value of a standard encounter budget, lead to faster leveling in Apprentice Tier, and after 11th level, and slower leveling through the putative 'sweet spot.' So...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 04:40 PM
    OK, I had noticed you said something about auras, and now that definitely reminds me of an encounter in, IIRC, PoS, with Chillborn Zombies. In 4e, virtually all auras didn't stack when overlapping, but - wonders of exception-based design - a few explicitly did... ...and illustrated why they shouldn't've. ;) I can't recall exactly where, but I heard that 8 encounters was the original...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 01:47 AM
    When you say "always conceptually bugs..." you're possibly even righter than you know: that was a frequent criticism of D&D back in the day. Any number of games used 'more realistic' experience systems, including 2e, and all later eds, as a result. /Just/ gold for XP is an odd variant, usually you could get XP from combat, too, just maybe not the lion's share depending on how good you were...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 12:43 AM
    It depends on how cunning the invading supernatural forces are, and how slow the modern society is to accept the reality of them. Come in quietly, reconnoiter invisibly, polymorph to infiltrate, and then charm/dominate/replace key people? Apart from some logistical concerns the world is yours, no one even notices. Encircle a major city with your undead horde, and cackle your demands for...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 12:02 AM
    5e is definitely not bloated like 3e, for just one example. Also, it should be pretty obvious that 5e managed some faults of it's own that 3e didn't suffer from. Do I really need to argue something so obvious? Have tobacco companies gone out of business? Has global peace broken out?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 11:55 PM
    Except magic in the source material /does/ follow patterns, they're just patterns in the unfolding drama of the narrative, not in the (non-existent) underlying reality of the implied 'magic system.' A gnome who can spin straw into gold - but not mind-control people, render himself invulnerable with shields of force, throw balls of fire, etc, etc, etc (so, y'know, not as powerful as a 5th level...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 11:17 PM
    Ha! Blatant Nerd Stereotype! …and true. Thank you, yes.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 11:05 PM
    That's an issue, because we have no guide as to which of the various deadly monsters in TSR eds parties were supposed to face at a given level. We have decades of experience giving us a really good idea, but that's still all subjective, and it would tend to shift the game towards whatever desired level of lethality we were working towards...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 10:14 PM
    Off topic - why not, after 6 years a topic can drift, right - say you were a ghoul in 4e. And say you were a /vegan/ ghoul. What do you do now, in 5e, that there are no more Wilden?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 10:08 PM
    IDK, I read the article and the original thread and this one, and I feel like a very simple cogent point being made by said article is missed or ignored or bulldozed or something: Magic in traditional TTRPGs like D&D fails to model or evoke magic in the sources of inspiration they nominally draw from.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 09:29 PM
    I should hope so, that's potentially some powerful drama there. (I'm picturing WWI, for some reason, not being too into the DitV setting.) Does the character conceive a death wish and get killed? Find a renewed reason to live and survive - or die tragically, or even heroically, in spite of that? Become a stronger person or descend into an emotional spiral - if the latter, how can he pull out...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 09:11 PM
    Yeah, that's a given. 4e DMing was phone-it-in easy. I felt like I'd almost forgotten how to run after a few years. ;) But it's like falling off a bicycle. (something else it turns out I'm good at) And armed ones using iterative attacks, that got brutal, too. Published adventures varied quite a lot. With modern eds, you can compare how PCs stack up to the encounter guidelines. ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 09:09 PM
    I believe I said that. 5e didn't get rid of the things that were complained about, it put /back/ the things that those stalking-horses were really about. You have no idea. I'm a bitter, cynical, old man on my best day, discussing the most innocuous things. I turn it down to 11 when I'm here. Heh. Depends how you run it. 5e /brought back/ the faults of 3e - and, more importantly, those...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 07:22 PM
    Seems right up FATE's alley, and something that could be touched upon in systems that model the character's psychology in some way (Hero, would be the one I'm most familiar with: psych lims), that can be tested (EGO roll) and change over time (changed around, or exp to 'buy down/off'). Certainly not with the same detail and play dynamics, of course... I didn't follow that, probably because I...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 06:39 PM
    It's effing hilarious.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 06:34 PM
    Any chance your formative play experience with 4e included Keep on the Shadowfell, Thunderspire Labyrinth, and/or Pyramid of Shadows? (Because, while the middle one was actually mostly pretty good, each included at least one example of completely whacked encounter design.) ...or, y'know, alternately, maybe your DM just liked killing you... ;) Vs encounters run closely to guidelines,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 06:26 PM
    That proves what I said. The AD&D fighter's save improved from needing a natural 14, to needing a natural 9 - and that's vs anything trying to petrify or polymorph him, from a cockatrice to a medusa to a 19th level Lich. He got /much/ better. Your 18 CON 3e fighter goes from needing an 8 at 4th level vs a 4th level DC, to needing a natural 10, vs a 10th level DC. He got /worse/. And, that's...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 05:53 PM
    Most of the things people complained loudly about in 4e, 5e retains in at least some measure. Fighters casting spells, wizards being 'nerfed' (relative to 3e), martial healing, overnight 'natural healing,' dissociated mechanics, etc, etc... ...nor was it "presentation" - PF2 need have no worries on that score - Essentials desperately scrambled to give a mussed, fluff-heavy presentation,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 05:24 PM
    Thank you. It'd be awesome if you'd stop saying there weren't, going forward. If what you mean is "at low level, 1e fighters had crap saving throws, and at the highest levels had the best saving throws in the game and could expect enough bonuses from randomly generated magic items to fail only on a natural 1, even before name level, PCs casually drinking poison for the flavor because it was...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 03:22 PM
    I suppose it doesn't, by itself. A TT gaming renaissance, being able to research the game on-line without the top hits being rants about how wrong and evil and not-D&D it is, the name recognition and rep of the "First RPG," these things bring new folks in to try (or at least, don't keep) D&D for the first time. A master DM who has internalized all the DM know-how, is just waiting for them, he...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 07:56 AM
    And and, monsters could pull the same tricks. 3e had SoDs, and vs bad saves that only got worse relative to rising (let alone optimized) DCs, and negative levels worked a little differently, mechanically, but we're still pretty awful.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 11:30 PM
    What? Really? All of it? ::imagines who forests vanishing with the click of a mouse:: ;)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 09:41 PM
    Precisely my point. 3.5 went out of print ("end of life," maybe I mistakenly mixed a tech term into a publishing discussion, there?), and Paizo kept selling PF1 to 3.5 fans for another 10 years. Because 3.5 had just established that kind of loyalty. In another sense than product cycles, 3.5 (in the form of open-source d20) is /immortal/. As long as anyone wants to buy it, it can be...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 09:18 PM
    I always figured it was inspired by Sting, Orcrist and Glamdring in The Hobbit. I mean... ...that fits the MO of Orcrist the Goblin-Cleaver, in reverse, right?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 08:53 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Yes. Typo. Fixed. Thanks for catching that. I'm not /intentionally/ using any common variants....
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 08:48 PM
    It is, because there was a very significant event that impacted the hobby in 2000: the release of 3e. In contrast, I'd be more inclined to accept data from '97 applying to 98 & 99, for instance, as not /that/ much changed - alarm over the failure of TSR probably lessened. I'm not arguing the other side. By saying that 1999 data isn't valuable for making one claim about 2002-5, say, I'm...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 08:41 PM
    I agree with Sacrosanct that 2e could be shifted to the left in that ranking of lethality. But, as I said, above, there's some truth to it, in terms of relative PC durability at first level. In general, as the eds progressed, 1st level PCs were made more durable, from 3d6 in order to more liberal stat generation, from random 1st level HD to max, from no healing at 1st to bonus spells from WIS,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 08:16 PM
    Yeah, I've never known us all to agree. ;) 3e, for instance, was plenty deadly, it went all-in on giving monsters the same options as PCs, so much of the assumed advantages the system quietly gave PCs in prior editions quietly vanished - also 3e retained SoDs, /and/ saves didn't keep up with DCs, in contrast to prior eds where saves genuinely improved with level. I'd tend to agree. 2e...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 07:15 PM
    There are melee weapons that can be thrown. So there's a very practical distinction between "attack with a melee weapon" or "melee attack with a weapon," as throwing an axe at someone is ranged attack with a melee weapon, but not a melee attack, at all. Hitting someone with a bowstave is a less common example of the same distinction.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 07:02 PM
    Yep, understandable. Storyteller sold a /lot/ of books in the 90s, and they were, especially for rulebooks, pretty good cover-to-cover reads, but good luck finding a specific thing you vaguely remembered reading in one of them. Serious point-build systems, Hero, GURPS, could sometimes go the exact opposite, especially in presenting their core mechanics, very dry stuff. Both more complex and...
    38 replies | 1455 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:52 PM
    I intended layers. ;) I also think it's a perfectly workable variant. Oh yeah, I've seen that in action. Most dramatic example: a one shot Firefly scenario that included a prison break - one of the players was a correctional officer. It was positively comical when I was a kid, 14yo's arguing about 'how stuff really works.'
    88 replies | 3526 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:40 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Well, I mean, OK. 1e: 1st level fighter, longsword & shield, splint, 16 STR, 14 CON: AC 3, 1-10 (5.5) hps, hits self on natural 17 for 2-9 (5.5) damage (1.1 DPR). 5e: 1st level fighter, longsword, starting package, duelist style, 16 STR, 14 CON: AC 18, 12 hps, hits self on natural 13 for 1d8+5(9.5) damage (3.8 DPR, 4.275 w/crits).
    231 replies | 8201 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:34 PM
    Odd, why would you describe something as the exact opposite of what it was? Powers were very structured in presentation, and the mechanics had fairly clear/exact jargon definitions. Anything but jumbled or messy. Indeed, the aesthetic, if it could even be called that, was more 'technical manual' than anything else - which is great for understanding or looking up what you need, but less than...
    38 replies | 1455 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:25 PM
    So they were being dishonest? Alignment was a rule - you had to choose one - and it had mechanical effects, including things the character /could/ do, items it could use, etc, as well as restrictions on it. So, I'd think, even from a purely "gamist" (not necessarily in the Forge sense) perspective, you'd want to choose the 'best' alignment for your strategy, rather than try to talk the DM out...
    33 replies | 1051 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:13 PM
    Missed that, sorry. Between 1999 and 'early 2000s' 3e was released. I suspect it had an impact. So 2003 GenCon, sounds relevant, FWIW. 1999's survey, while it might be stronger data, just isn't relevant to the 2000s.
    88 replies | 3175 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 03:23 AM
    "Balanced at the Encounter" just means "pacing doesn't matter." Even 4e didn't go there, though the closely-related 7th ed of Gamma World did, and it worked pretty well, actually. Any indication PF2 wants to go there?
    38 replies | 1455 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 02:24 AM
    You have a choice of rules to use (or not): Carrying capacity, it's 15 lb/STR, if the fighter's gear & the other character & his gear exceed that, he's pushding/dragging and his move drops to 5' - otherwise fine, this is the simple default for carrying stuff. Encumbrance ("Variant"): Up to 5lb/STR he's fine, but it's unlikely a medium ally is under 100lb, which'd be the limit for 20 STR. ...
    13 replies | 461 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 01:13 AM
    Sounds plausible (that he'd like a mechanic like that), 4e had a lotta* re-rolls, from the notorious Elven Accuracy on, and it seemed like there were just more of 'em after he took over. In particular, the Avenger had a special ability that was "make two attack rolls and use either result. … If another effect lets you roll twice and use the higher result when making an attack roll, this power...
    46 replies | 1605 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 12:51 AM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    I may still be stuck in the idiom of the D&D Pedantry Thread, but it seems like there's a whole lotta RPGs that don't particularly fit between those. Good to know.
    231 replies | 8201 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 12:25 AM
    My memory's bad, but I'm fairly certain that the "Summer of 1999" occurred /before/ "the early 2000s." (I mean, I've been "fairly certain" and turned out to have been wrong, before, so y'all might wanna to double-check.)
    88 replies | 3175 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 11:29 PM
    I suspect that'd wear you out. ;) A quick search of some modern archery guidelines, and, yes, you increase wear on a 'natural material' bow if you leave it strung a long time, apparently even a few hours is worth avoiding. Apparently, a strung bow is under tension and a bit dangerous if the string or stave breaks, too. More detail than D&D generally goes into with weapons. Adventurers...
    87 replies | 2854 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 11:18 PM
    They've had more or less mechanical impact in some eds (and I'm sure, some places/groups/etc back in the day, when we were a less disunited-by-the-internet, merely more diverse, community). Obvious examples of early alignment mechanics are alignment requirements for classes, damage for touching an artifact that doesn't match your alignment, detect this and know that, etc... 3e peaked, with the...
    33 replies | 1051 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 10:24 PM
    No expert, but I've heard yes with regard to the bow. But I'm fine with arbitrary. Medieval rossbows, IIRC, weren't like guns - there's no safety, the bolt can just fall out, etc...
    87 replies | 2854 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:59 PM
    If every single mechanic is upturned, then it's hardly just a re-boot to re-start the supplement cycle, is it? Sounds more like substantive change.
    205 replies | 13365 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:56 PM
    I actually kinda like common. In general, things seem more fantasy (or mythic, perhaps) to me, if everyone can talk to everyone else. You could conceive of Common as just "the gift of language" in the sense of communication, it's not just a language everyone strangely learns, it's the language everyone who can speak at all, can speak by default. All other languages would then be...
    33 replies | 1051 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:34 PM
    You bank the fire before you go to bed, uncover the coals in the morning, add kindling, and blow on it. IDK why I happen to remember that, but it's actually a good example. If I didn't, your character would be screwed trying to start a fire in mundane domestic setting without a flint & steel, D&D-matches (tindertwig?), or, well, since this is 5e, Firebolt... ...so not really screwed...
    88 replies | 3526 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:23 PM
    There is the important act of stringing the bow, you could make that an Action, and require it be un-strung to stow (only slightly arbitrary). If you also impose more plausible RoF on crossbows and slings, that'd about take care of projectile weapons as fast-swapping alternatives to melee.
    87 replies | 2854 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:11 PM
    I blame Elan... ...OK, and every version of the Bard class that preceded him.
    13 replies | 561 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:07 PM
    Don't mind me, I'm just being pedantic... "How the /Hell/ is it you speak Infer-" "... oh, nevermind, answered my own question, really." But it doesn't specify if that that's oral route, IM, naso-gastric, IV, topical, suppository...
    156 replies | 6444 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 08:57 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Or that, yeah. Actually, now that you mention it, my second 4e character was an "old-school high-elf fighter/magic-user," he was a wand wizard, and he did explain his Scorching Burst as "an old Wand of Fireballs that doesn't work like it used to." (There was, in that campaign, a conceit that magic had historically, or pre-historically, worked as it had in prior eds, so I got to lampshade the...
    231 replies | 8201 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 08:21 PM
    I'm getting a sense of deja-vu here... … yeah, it's like it's 2003 and someone's going on about the 'cash grab' … ...which went on to command such loyalty from fans that Paizo has been selling PF1 to that base for an extra decade past it's end of life. ...so, yer say'n PF2 could be Paizo's 3.5!
    205 replies | 13365 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 08:07 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    The difference in ease of use is certainly there, that's been the game's direction the whole time, it's one thing the WotC era hasn't deviated from. Maybe it was just 'pervasive' that threw me. Because, yeah, neo-Vancian is way more versatile than old-school Vanican, and way less limited in in-combat used. OTOH, the breadths of spells isn't as great, and some of them are, well, 'less...
    231 replies | 8201 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 07:16 PM
    "Good night everybody!" - Yakko Warner
    27 replies | 1106 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 07:13 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Ok... Magic has always been /so/ pervasive in D&D. It's an infinitely-renewable, daily (or 4hr-nap) resource. You kill a few monsters, one of them'll eventually drop a magic item. There's /fewer/ items, in theory, in 5e, and not really a lot more spells/day (and fewer spells overall)… … and then there's cantrips, which seem to freak people out, but if you've played with Warlocks and...
    231 replies | 8201 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 06:36 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Definitely. I played 3e & 4e each for their full runs. 5e was like coming back to AD&D, in contrast. If I'd never left, it'd seem radically different, because I'd be noticing all the little (and huge) technical differences, rather than the broader similarities, the ways in which the game had changed, rather than ways it changed back. /The/ major thing, IMHO, is the privilege of the DM...
    231 replies | 8201 view(s)
    0 XP
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About Tony Vargas

Basic Information

About Tony Vargas
Introduction:
I played D&D for a long time...
About Me:
I discovered D&D in middle school, in 1980, so I was kinda on the leading edge of the fad. I played avidly through 1995 when 2e AD&D lost my interest.

I continued to play other games - White Wolf and Hero System, mostly.

Late in 1999, or early 2000, I returned with 3.0, which I quite liked from the player side of the screen - running it was a bit of a pain. I stayed with that through the full official run of 3.5, and adopted 4e with no problems, in fact, I found it as much fun to run as to play, so I started running a lot more, as well, including an Heroic-Epic campaign from 2012 through 2018.

In 2010 I started playing, then running, in Encounters program at an FLGS in Santa Clara, Illusive Comics & Games. They eventually spun off Isle of Gamers - no comics, just gaming - in 2014, just in time for 5e. (Check 'em out, they're still going strong!)

5e reminded a lot of folks of 2e, and I have to concur with that observation. I did enjoy running 5e, at first, finding it nostalgic. I ran a lot of introductory games, and converted 1e & Basic modules for that purpose, and also ran AL for a while.

For the last year I have not had lot of energy left for gaming (I've had some serious health challenges). But, as of summer 2019, I've been doing well enough to get back to it.

I've resumed the 4e campaign I was trying to finish out - even at level 26, 4e is just plain easy to run - my first session was all RP, loosely held together by an under-level skill challenge. Zero prep, but lots of fun as longtime players got back into their characters, and new ones introduced theirs and we revisited the setting of a major Paragon-level story to set the stage for a new Epic-level one.

It's good to be back. :)
Location:
San Jose/Santa Clara, CA
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My Game Details

Details of games currently playing and games being sought.

Town:
Santa Clara
State:
California
Game Details:
The last serious game I ran was an Heroic-Epic campaign lasting from 2012 through 2018. I picked it back up a year later, and it's still going, the second-longest campaign I ever ran.
The longest being '85-'95, spanning 1e & 2e AD&D. I never did get around to a 5e campaign, just AL and one-shots.
More information:
https://www.isleofgamers.com/
My Character:
The last PC I played was Ghourah the Foresworn, a Disgraced Dragonborn Noble Bravura Warlord, Mercurial Assassin*, Deadly Trickster.

5e, I almost always ran: Owen was human Druid, sometime Dwarven Cleric, because AL lets you do that. I reprised Verinhal, my old-school fighter/magic-user in a one-shot..
...but the best 5e game I was in - pretty much just the core mechanics, pregens & the DM doing everything her way - I got to play a character based on Parker, from Leverage. THAT was fun. :)








* yes, that was a terrible choice, but it fit - he worked /for/ a Mercury Dragon for a while, who turned out to be an Exarch of Bane - really, a terrible choice on a number of levels.

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Town:
Santa Clara
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California
Game Details:
The last serious game I ran was an Heroic-Epic campaign lasting from 2012 through 2018. I picked it back up a year later, and it's still going, the second-longest campaign I ever ran.
The longest being '85-'95, spanning 1e & 2e AD&D. I never did get around to a 5e campaign, just AL and one-shots.
More information:
https://www.isleofgamers.com/
My Character:
The last PC I played was Ghourah the Foresworn, a Disgraced Dragonborn Noble Bravura Warlord, Mercurial Assassin*, Deadly Trickster.

5e, I almost always ran: Owen was human Druid, sometime Dwarven Cleric, because AL lets you do that. I reprised Verinhal, my old-school fighter/magic-user in a one-shot..
...but the best 5e game I was in - pretty much just the core mechanics, pregens & the DM doing everything her way - I got to play a character based on Parker, from Leverage. THAT was fun. :)








* yes, that was a terrible choice, but it fit - he worked /for/ a Mercury Dragon for a while, who turned out to be an Exarch of Bane - really, a terrible choice on a number of levels.
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Friday, 19th July, 2019

  • 09:20 AM - Hussar mentioned Tony Vargas in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    /snip Why don't you abandon this unproductive viewpoint and instead listen to me when I tell you that 5E feels like a proper successor to 3E while truly fixing its most egregious faults in a way neither 4E nor PF did. :) /snip. Heh. It feels that way because of the presentation. It's certainly not the mechanics which are virtually identical to 4e. If 5e is the proper successor to 3e, then 4e was as well. But, the trick that WotC has performed has been to convince everyone that 4e and 5e are not related at all, while, at the same time, retaining virtually all of the mechanics of 4e. The primary difference between 4e and 5e is the speed of combat. Outside of that, the game is virtually identical. Or, to put it another way, 5e is a very good successor to 4e. It's only related to 3e through the leftover design DNA that passed through into 4e. Now, I think that Tony Vargas is going a bit too far in relating 5e to earlier editions and the whole "DM empowerment" thing. Because, frankly, DM's are not terribly more empowered in 5e than they were in 4e. Sure, some of the edge mechanics have a bit more wiggle room, but, by and large, a 5e DM has about the same amount of freedom and power as a 4e DM did. It's just, again, that WotC has written the game in such a way as to convince everyone that 5e isn't 4e. I imagine that some time in the future, WotC's 5e marketing decisions will become textbook fodder for MBA programs. It's been absolutely fantastic to watch.

Wednesday, 17th July, 2019

  • 08:09 AM - Lanefan mentioned Tony Vargas in post OSR Gripes
    Once again, you are being disingenuous in your selection. I said a typical creature a level 1 PC would face. In 5e, they bumped the orc up significantly. Level one PCs would not typically fight a group of orcs on a one to one basis. You’re comparing apples to oranges. Tony Vargas , to compare apples to apples, what happens if you put up your happy little 1st-level Fighter against its clone (i.e. another Fighter-1 with all numbers exactly the same) in each edition?

Thursday, 11th July, 2019

  • 01:31 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Tony Vargas in post Diplomatic Inspiration / Leadership
    Tony Vargas Garthanos This is where I bill the 'non-wonky math' feature of HoML. Since a skill check and an attack roll are going to work exactly the same, you can simply make powers which attack with skill checks! That makes this sort of design a lot cleaner. Instead of imputing all sorts of craziness to a Diplomacy or Intimidate check, you simply create a power, which has an attack line of something like 'Intimidate vs WILL' and it can do whatever (psychic damage being an obvious possibility).

Wednesday, 10th July, 2019

  • 07:12 PM - TwoSix mentioned Tony Vargas in post Doing away with Extra Attack
    Along with this, I would be adding in weapon maneuvers. These would be effects that you could give up weapon damage dice to perform. -1 die to attack two targets, or to add a save or slow or save or prone effect. The need for an attack roll, lower damage, and a save would balance them against basic maneuvers that are generally a single save or skill check for no damage. Like Tony Vargas said, giving up damage to do X is basically a lost cause. (That's why Battle Master Manuevers are all "spend a die to do X AND add damage.) If you're looking at more broad systemic changes, something like allowing advantage and disadvantage to stack could be relevant in a battle maneuver system. Every time you gain an advantage or disadvantage, you gain +1 d20 to the roll. Advantages and disadvantages cancel out. If you have 2 advantages and 1 disadvantage, that's a total of 1 advantage, so you roll 2d20, keep highest. (I'm stealing this idea from Shadow of the Demon Lord's boon/bane system). To make this relevant to a battle maneuver system, you change Extra Attack to "You gain one advantage whenever you make a weapon attack." Then you design maneuvers like "Your next attack does damage equal to your weapon damage + attack modifier, but you gain one disadvantage." For every class that has Extra Attack, you design a small list of class-relevant maneuvers. You make t...

Tuesday, 9th July, 2019

  • 10:16 PM - Fenris-77 mentioned Tony Vargas in post Expertise is RUINING THE GAME!
    Tony Vargas - yeah, that's about the size of the problem. I think the basic building blocks are there to do something richer and more interesting, but keeping it relatively light and non-invasive has proven really challenging so far.
  • 10:57 AM - Aldarc mentioned Tony Vargas in post Doing away with INT/WIS/CHA
    Overall, Tony Vargas, I don"t think that your point of contention in this thread is that far removed from several of the talking points of the OSR movement that tend to focus on player skill rather than leaning on character mental and social abilities.

Monday, 8th July, 2019

  • 07:43 PM - Garthanos mentioned Tony Vargas in post The Intelligent Fighter , Thibault's Circle.
    Tony Vargas The Berserker/Barbarian one I made does have the advantage of hitting things you do not know are there and similar. I am liking the Wild Swing feat idea you had, to remove the that you can see limit. I removed the limit from the power above, hence the mention of presentience.

Sunday, 7th July, 2019

  • 10:52 AM - pemerton mentioned Tony Vargas in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    ...lamourie; it might also be done by using a Storyteller's Certificate to Incite Lust as a special effect), Marvel Heroic RP/Cortex+ Heroic (a check intended to inflict a Complication, or perhaps Emotional or Mental Stress, depending on context and further elaboration), Maelstrom Storytelling (I think I got the example from a rulebook example of a Quick Take), 4th ed D&D if the table is in the right mood (it would be a CHA check, or in the right context perhaps a Bluff or even a Diplomacy check - 4e is not super-prescriptive in respect of what skills can be used to do what), even Burning Wheel or Rolemaster if the setting/genre is not too grim (a Seduction check). I can't remember the scope of Seduction in The Dying Earth but I wouldn't be surprised if it covers this sort of thing also. Lanefan was the one who started a conversation about the reverse scenario, of a maiden softening a PC's heart with a wink. He didn't suggest any particular X as an action to be performed by the PC. As Tony Vargas correctly noted, he only suggested an emotional response - the PC's hear is softened - and didn't further explore what that might mean for play. Systems I can think of where something like this is possible I think I already mentioned: Prince Valiant (especially if the GM uses an Incite Lust special effect against a player's character); Marvel Heroic/Cortex+ Heroic (the situation of the PC is quite symmetrical to the NPC, and the cost of not going along with the softened heart is that the complication/stress will figure in the opposing dice pool - this is the same mechanic the system uses to adjudicate psychic mind control); The Dying Earth; Burning Wheel (the rules for NPC social skill use outside the context of a Duel of Wits are a bit thin, but as best I can tell it's intended to be a permissible thing); maybe others. In 4e D&D, in an appropriate context, I would regard it as a permissible complication in the narration of a skill challenge. Whether that's intended or not is har...
  • 04:32 AM - Hussar mentioned Tony Vargas in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    I'm no big fan of GNS theory, mostly because bringing it up tends to be like invoking Tolkien in RPG discussions - it's the geek version of Godwinning a thread and more time gets spent debating the theory than actually using it. But, Tony Vargas, I do think you are way off base here. GNS theory is not exclusionary at all. It's, as Lost Soul above pointed out very concisely, simply a descriptive system for talking about the differences between RPG's. It's what you point to when someone calls 4e boardgamey or videogamey. You can actually point to how 4e leverages so many of the mechanics - page 42 being a prime example, plus the transparency of the mechanics themselves - in service to creating games where moral dilemmas are far more important than, say, the kill and loot cycle of heavily gamist 3e where the point of killing monsters is to gain loot and xp to let you kill bigger monsters. Note, D&D, at least in Forge terms, is not really a good example of pure forms. You can certainly play 4e as a pure gamist game where you kill your way to the top. Absolutely can. And, frankly, you can nudge it pretty close to simulationist play with a few twists of a couple of dials. D&D is such a huge game that it's more about...

Thursday, 4th July, 2019

  • 04:18 AM - pemerton mentioned Tony Vargas in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    Tony Vargas - just adding to what Manbearcat posted, which I fully agree with (except to add that 1st ed AD&D also started heading in the same direction in the post-DL era). The Forge isn't trying to explain your experience with CoC vs V:tM, and why you found them similar or different. It's offering an analytic vocabulary for talking about RPG design, and some features of RPG play. It's no more "confusing, inveigling or obfuscating" than is a chemist who tells you that coal and diamond are the same stuff, or Newton who tells you that an object falling to earth and a planet orbiting the sun is the same physical phenomenon, or an anthropologist who tells you that reigious practices among neolithic people and grief counselling in its contemporary Californian manifestation play the same social function. If you're not interested in that sort of analysis then that's fine, but as far as I can see it doesn't give any reason to complain about it. It's not like Ron Edwards dropped by your house and to...

Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019

  • 05:53 PM - pemerton mentioned Tony Vargas in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    ... <snip> I guess I'd be curious how you reconcile the complete inability of early D&D and most OSR games to model that concept with their popularity?I don't really follow this. It's imputing things to me that I didn't say. Moldvay Basic makes it incredibly easy to (at least aspire to) play a rogue with a heart of gold - you write Thief on your PC sheet and tell everyone, or maybe show them through play, that your thief is well-meaning and ultimately loyal even if a bit of a rascal. In AD&D you can reinforce this by writing CG in your alignment box. I use the language of aspiration because in Moldvay Basic and AD&D if the GM is following the rules then your thief might find it hard to succeed in roguish things due to the well-known mechanical suckitude of low-level thieves. In 5e this issue, as best I can tell, largely goes away for reason to do with (i) better success numbers on the PC sheet, and (ii) a slightly different approach to framing and adjudication of checks which Tony Vargas has posted about just upthread. This is kind of a weird statement paired with your position of not seeing much of a difference between 4E and 13th AgeI didn't say that. I said that - and you quoted me as saying that - "Assuming you're using GNS more-or-less as The Forge does, then there's no interesting difference between 4e and 13th Age." You suggested that 13th Age is "narrativist" and 4e is "gamist", but in The Forge sense the two systems exhibit no such contrast. And in fact, if anything, I would say that the existence of skill challenges in 4e and their absence from 13th Age makes 4e more suited for mainstream scene-framing narrativist play, while the presence of Icon rolls in 13th Age makes it easier to push that game in the direction of high-concept simulationism (whereas, as I posted, I think that's almost hopeless for 4e because too many of the system elements, including the skill challenge mechanic, will push against it). I've played enough PF and 5E to know that they...

Sunday, 30th June, 2019

  • 01:31 PM - Aldarc mentioned Tony Vargas in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    ...Paizo is listening to PF fans, some of which haven't even played 5E and thus can't see that you CAN design a fun game where martials and casters feel familiar yet different. (That is, what 4E couldn't offer)How dare Paizo listen to their playerbase and fans?! That's preposterous! You don't listen to your fans who play the game. You are supposed to listen to a singular doomsayer who doesn't play PF1 and who demands that Paizo makes his custom dream product based off a competitor's system and who also never participated in the playtest or shows any actual engagement or familiarity with the contents of PF2! :mad: I would have felt a lot less nervous if Paizo had exhibited clear tendencies to look at 5E and learn from it. Yet, most PF2 chatter I hear are about PF1 and 4E - two of the *least* appropriate games to build your future on in my opinion.Except when you combine them together, you essentially get 5e, and that is precisely what WotC did, Oh He of Short-Term Memory. As either Tony Vargas or Hussar has said - I can't remember which off the top of my head - the greatest trick that WotC did for 5E was in convincing people to play 4E in a game that looks more like 3E and Pathfinder.

Thursday, 27th June, 2019

  • 12:13 PM - pemerton mentioned Tony Vargas in post Villains that are supposed to escape
    Contrived "he gets away no matter what" stuff is great for a novel, but D&D is a game.Well, in a novel we don't know if it's "no matter what". We just know that, on this occasion, the villain got away. I think the difference between a novel and D&D or similar RPG is not "no matter what", but rather the different mode of authorship: in a novel there is (typically) one author who decides what happens in the fiction; whereas in D&D or a RPG we normally work that out via action resolution mechanics. (Cue Tony Vargas to say that 5e D&D has not such mechanics other than GM decides, including maybe deciding to call for a check or similar.) If the villain is supposed to escape but the players are too smart (or lucky) for the published module to work, then you need to figure out a way to make it work for the story (if you're planning on using the villain again). This doesn't mean you need to cheat, just come up with a solution that's logically consistent for your world. If the PCs capture him and turn him over to the authorities, they eventually learn that he has escaped. If they kill him, one of his associates/followers/admirers has him resurrected. If that's not possible, then one of his apprentices/family members/love interests takes his place as antagonist and now has an added reason to hate the PCs.I tend to feel that this sort of thing doesn't really honour the outcome of the players' action declarations and resolution. What's the point - as players of the game - of having our PCs fight and d...
  • 12:10 AM - Garthanos mentioned Tony Vargas in post The Intelligent Fighter , Thibault's Circle.
    Tony Vargas normally whatever fighter I am building I want to think of how they deal with 2 enemies in basic attacks. (cleave,dual strike, slash and pommel) Cleave is good for a two handed weapon use... Dual strike is better for pretty much everything else but if you arent building up your off hand weapon at low levels where at wills are mostly used a Brawler might take slash and pommel but cleave still works. Now realistic fencing is often seen as not likely to deal well with the situation of being swamped by minions but on the other hand being able to do just that is common of heroic fencing types like zorro. The above use weapons as limits (not always) So my thought is I might not need anything more But I have an idea called "using one against the other." which might be closer to attack one and he basic attacks his ally.

Monday, 24th June, 2019


Friday, 21st June, 2019

  • 11:24 PM - FrogReaver mentioned Tony Vargas in post In-Combat Healing: How and Why?
    ...en them can be stood up if they fall in a very efficient manner without loss of action. So I would prioritize healing another character, perhaps one that you would not because they aren't as close to dropping. Or possibly the healer themself. If I had to choose between two targets that need healed right now then I like your tactic. It's solid. But getting down to it, it's going to be particularly rare using my strategy to have 2 PC's that need healed on the same turn. So how does your strategy play out in the situation where only 1 PC needs healed. I presume your tactic is still to let them drop if the turn order falls in your favor. So you will presumably be casting a cantrip for 2d8 damage (none on a miss / successful save). There's about a 1 in a quadrillion chance that your small cantrip amount of damage on the turn I chose to heal is going to prevent a TPK and another 1 in a quadrillion chance that it would prevent a TPK that my heal wouldn't also have prevented. As Tony Vargas has pointed out, the big savings is potentially saving the higher level slot for later. That's a discussion I can get aboard, But your current argument that healing in combat is going to lead to more TPK's than not - because of lost actions isn't very compelling. IMO. If using a large slot in combat for healing leads to more TPK's to any meaningful degree then it's going to be because you didn't use the higher level slot on a spell that would have prevented the TPK. Scenario 1: You may have saved saved your high level slot for healing, used the slot in the fight for healing and still ended up in a TPK situation whereas some small unknown percentage of the time using a different spell earlier in the fight may have prevented the TPK Scenario 2: You may have used your high level slot for healing in an earlier fight that had no chance of resulting in a TPK. While the additional hp will cause a small advantage in the next few fights there's still the case where you have a TPK late...

Wednesday, 19th June, 2019

  • 01:39 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Tony Vargas in post Streamlined 4e combat
    I see something you need to integrate with powers. You need a method to allow a big cool method to defeat the big bad without it being a fluke of chance -- we have a method already it's the nature of powers. Conversely a power might be useable against an enemy or set of enemies you out class without expending a power slot. @AbdulAlhazred Yeah, there was a suggestion by Tony Vargas (in the other thread IIRC) about the minion/elite 'mode' thing. It could also be called 'aggressive' and 'defensive' or whatever, and there are a few options for implementing it, but that would get you some of it. You could 'go aggro' for a big move, and toss out your daily. HoML has 'vitality points' instead of AP/HS, you can burn them to play your big powers, so you could actually do something crazy like burn a VP to use a 'vitality' power, burn another one to buy an extra action, and burn a 3rd one to fire off a vitality power again, there's your real alpha strike! hehe.

Tuesday, 18th June, 2019

  • 01:39 PM - dave2008 mentioned Tony Vargas in post Missing Battle Master Manuevers
    I've also seen advanced manoeuvres that cost two dice but are full of awesome. I like that idea. That would be an interesting way to implement something akin to the AEDU structure of 4e. Could make martials really interesting for Tony Vargas

Monday, 17th June, 2019

  • 11:30 PM - Imaro mentioned Tony Vargas in post Should I play 4e?
    ...ith 'But not as many people liked it!' is meaningless and doesn't address the point. Now, I mean, he doesn't really back up his claim with anything and its fine if you disagree. But the metric of 'How many people enjoyed/did not enjoy this' does not belong in a discussion about quality. Does it have a place in a discussion about 'What can we sell to make more money?' Absolutely. But thats not Tony's claim. 5e is a more profitable edition. Hands down. But that is not indicative of quality of the product. I don't see where, in the post you were responding to, that lowkey13 made a statement concerning qualitative judgement, if anything he seemed to be responding to this part of the sentence he emphasized.... ... and if you weren't too deeply wedded to the flaws of past editions, it was hard to dislike. where it does seem to be implying if not outright stating that the product isn't to blame for it's failure or consumers disliking... a flaw in the consumer is. If anything I've seen Tony Vargas make continuous statements around qualitative judgement concerning 4e and other editions without backing it up in any way. Which I guess is why I see this particular call out as kind of odd.
  • 03:45 PM - lowkey13 mentioned Tony Vargas in post On the Inscrutability of AD&D and Ye Olde Styles of Play
    ...m other people that you don't have in your local community. b. On the other hand, it also encourages standardization and homogenization. To the extent you don't know or understand what the RAW (or RAI) are, you can find the answer here. Sure, sometimes there is a debate, but for the most part you can find the correct answer. This is really important, because AD&D* didn't have that. And as I put in more detail below, the rules were opaque and could be a little confusing, which led to a great of amount of variance from table-to-table. Moreover, the one semi-official publication that would explicate certain rules (Dragon Magazine) wasn't read by everyone, and was mostly filled with additional rules and content to modify the game! Which means that the truly involved gamers who had access to Dragon Magazine usually also ran the most modified games. This, combined with the amount of DIY ethos in the game at the time, meant that generalizations about style are difficult to make. 3. The Tony Vargas Postulate. So, one of the major issues with AD&D is the distinction between what we now call RAW and RAI. AD&D was so complex, so verbose, and had so many optional parts and so many inherent conflicts, that we would probably have to add a completely separate category for RAP (rules as played). In other words, every game, for the most part, was a custom build. The reason I refer to this as the Tony Vargas postulate is because my go-to example always used to be that no one used weapon v. AC modifiers; of course, I learned that Tony Vargas not only used them, but was a huge proponent and advocate of them! And so it goes with almost anything in AD&D; some people loved item saving throws, other people didn't use them. Some people didn't play with the whole "Elves can't be resurrected," other people did play with it, and still other people remembered that elves can't be resurrected, except by a rod of resurrection, because reasons. But the takeaway from this should be that it is difficult t...


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Sunday, 21st July, 2019

  • 09:28 AM - aramis erak quoted Tony Vargas in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    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 d1000 damage. It's because reality is far, far more complex than something like hps can even begin to model. More over, "Realism" was the bludgeon with which critics attacked D&D in it's earliest days - /for having hit points that increased with level/. Because, if hps were, as you just blithely claimed, just a measure of ability to absorb trauma, then 'experience' increasing them would be wildly unrealistic. Your character would have to physically grow, or become denser, or change his material composition or something. That criticism was answered, and hps were never conceived as simply a measur...
  • 06:51 AM - FrogReaver quoted Tony Vargas in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    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. I think there's a distinction there that is overlooked. A mechanic can influence one, the other or both IMO. I think there's a lot of one true way baggage that often prevents us from acknowledging that's the case and acknowledging things in an RPG sometimes have nothing to do with roleplaying value. Is that undesirable? Because, if it is, freestyle RP is totally a thing, and you won't need to deal with being limitted by any mechanics at all, unless your car breaks down on the way to a session. Honestly, if freestyle RP had a DM that arbitrated the experience in a mutually agreed upon setting, it really wouldn't play much different than how I approach D&D. The only difference would be the combats - and ...
  • 04:43 AM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post So whatever happened to the Tactics Variant/Module or Whatever
    Part of the philosophy of the slow pace of release and reluctance to errata is that they are selling a /starting point/. I prefer a foundation and some assumptions in the foundation make changing it pretty difficult. For instance 4e assumed heros at high level were most likely approaching something akin to demigod status able to perform stunts which parallel works of magic through skill alone now if you wanted to pretend to being just a farm boy who could accidentally kill beasts the size of buildings through brute strength cough cough cough and get only that while never ever doing impossible stunts because well you are a mundane not an awesome high level sort of godling schmuck you might have difficulty playing that character. /snark
  • 04:18 AM - dave2008 quoted Tony Vargas in post So whatever happened to the Tactics Variant/Module or Whatever
    Because 5e is simpler & more streamlined. ;| Ya, I think conditions simplify things, I wish they hadn't gotten rid of some. I'm looking at you Dazed ;)
  • 04:11 AM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post So whatever happened to the Tactics Variant/Module or Whatever
    And actual homebrew. Part of the philosophy of the slow pace of release and reluctance to errata is that they are selling a /starting point/. If you move that starting point after the race has begun, that's bad. Maybe not as bad as moving the goal posts or mixing sports metaphors, but bad. you could definitely get a goal through the hoops right into left field over that issue...
  • 03:52 AM - Mistwell quoted Tony Vargas in post So whatever happened to the Tactics Variant/Module or Whatever
    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 claim, Zard alluded to, above, that players with different favorite editions could sit at the same table, playing characters that evoked what they like best about their edition of choice. It seemed an over-ambitious pipe-dream, at the time, and that seeming was borne out. Rather, the 5e Empowered DM can make 5e feel something like his favorite edition - especially if that edition was TSR-era - /absolutely including the way he ran said edition, with all the variants & assumptions and whatnot that made it uniquely awesome for his group, back in the day/. (And, I do think 5e is kitbash-friendly enough to j...
  • 03:36 AM - Parmandur quoted Tony Vargas in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    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? Based on my reading of PF fan boards, yes, because doing so would involve integration of mechanics the PF base dislikes. Not everyone, certainly, but people who like PF and 5E don't seem interested in crossing those streams, either.
  • 03:28 AM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post New(?) Fighting Style: Tactical
    ..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... Because swordmages are so intrinsically superior, snicker They simply must be built as level 17
  • 02:57 AM - pemerton quoted Tony Vargas in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    In a given hypothetical instance of play under either system, they might stand and fight, or lay down a suppressive fire with their incinerators and fall back by squads, or break and run, or try to negotiate, or something else. To allude back to an earlier post, those are possible transcripts of play, accounts of events that oocur in the fiction. But from the transcript we can't tell what the play experience was. We can't tell who estabished the fiction, or how, or what the actual play experience was of doing that. You're talking about the experience of using the system, not the experience of the roleplaying activity. And, yes, you're trivially right that using a system is a different experience from not using one. Yet, I'm also trivially right (to just as little purpose) in saying that you can generate the same roleplaying experience in the absence of a system.I don't know what you mean by roleplaying activity or roleplaying experience. Do you mean transcript of events that occur in the fi...
  • 02:27 AM - pemerton quoted Tony Vargas in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    nothing is outside the scope of a given instance of RP, just because it's outside the scope of what the system in use does, or does well, as the participants can hypothetically fall back on freestyle/make-believe/non-systematic RP.I don't know what you mean by a given instance of RP. I'll set out a practical example to try and illustrate my point: imagine a situation in which the PCs are fighting some NPCs, and are losing - multiple PCs down, hors de combat etc while the NPCs are clearly about to carry the day. In these circumstances in Classic Traveller the players have to make a morale check for their PCs (influenced by the presence of Leader and Tactics skill in the party). In classic D&D they don't. So in Traveller, the players have made a choice - eg by not retreating in good order - to risk breaking in disarray in pursuit of victory. The D&D players cannot make such a choice - they can choose to play their PCs as breaking in disarray, but it's not a risk that they've taken, because ...
  • 01:48 AM - Maxperson quoted Tony Vargas in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    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. Sure, but the DMG rule no more or less optional than the PHB rule. 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 more damage from an outside source. It's not super-clear what happens if you get hit again when at negatives from bleeding. However, judging from the optional rule, below, if you get hit, again, after reaching exactly 0, well, even if it's only 1 hp, you die. "...you die" six letters, two little words, yet they constitute so much of old-school D&D... ...sorry, waxing nostalgic there for a moment. What that actually means is that, under said option, if you are taken from a positive number to 0, -1,-2, or -3 by a single attack, you are unc...
  • 12:34 AM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    I've heard about it but never checked it out. What did they do, just dial up encounters? honestly I only remember their premise ... they may have grabbed random encounter difficulties for all I know so a few bad rolls in a row on the dms side and your group is eaten by a series of nasties which if you planned would be really nasty. Though i think a chase scene with lower difficultes ie a skill challenge would be how the second level + 4 would go down if they survived the first is how it would go down where I come from (and isn't insert monty python high pitched runaway kind of the goal). They might have used that to introduce the concept of skill challenges shrug.
  • 12:23 AM - Monayuris quoted Tony Vargas in post So whatever happened to the Tactics Variant/Module or Whatever
    No problem. I'd've not replies if I'd noticed you taking down the post I was responding too... Cool. Again I apologize for my part. We differ but I don’t mean to show a disrespect. I should do better to, in general, be less trigger happy to people with different views.

Saturday, 20th July, 2019

  • 11:59 PM - Monayuris quoted Tony Vargas in post So whatever happened to the Tactics Variant/Module or Whatever
    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. (Though, TBH, one of the whack things WotC has done in both 4e & 5e is take the language used to say mean things about it's predecessor and incorporate it into the new one as jargon - so 'build' was actually 4e jargon for what, in 4e, is sub-class-chosen-at-first-level, and amounted to picking a first level feature) But, if you don't, in 3e, and they play the character any length of time, they'll likely run up against a 'mistake' at lower level that prevents them from taking an optimal, or even viable, development path. That's less of an issue in 5e (a non-issue in AL before 4th level). It was a non-issue i...
  • 11:44 PM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post So whatever happened to the Tactics Variant/Module or Whatever
    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 inclined, but it wasn't /necessary/, you could just pick whatever looked cool each level, and you'd be fine, you could build highly-customized build-to-concept, highly optimized, or just obvious/intuitive and you'd have a comparatively viable character. The rewards for system mastery were just marginal. In 3.5 it was "necessary," to generally be on roughly the same system-mastery page, preferably similar-Tier classes, if you wanted a fully-participatory campaign, and if that page as PvP or CharOP, genuinely necessary to go full-on optimization - but if that page showed more restraint & was core only, or if it was E6, such optimization was not necessary, at all. In 5e, it's simply not possible to build characters to that level of customization or optimization, because the options aren't there. It is. It is a slight to 5e and it's goal of 'big tent' inclusi...
  • 10:57 PM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    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 not discounting the idea of the single-encounter day. Yes 3 to 5 is reasonable... though I have known many editions where the designers thought X was the target and players did 1 significant battle with only a few scrapes otherwise besides that so I it may just be people being people. Just as fighting one solo or a score of minions were meant to be in the range of valid challenges, very long and very short days could've been better designed for, in spite of AEDU classes being balanced to the point 'day-length' didn't matter for /class/ balance, encounter balance (design) could've benefited. Sure that is the other end of the improvement how much tougher do you make it when you have X likely fights in a given span. 5e did seems to learn some from that.
  • 10:47 PM - Monayuris quoted Tony Vargas in post So whatever happened to the Tactics Variant/Module or Whatever
    I apologize. I’m taking this off topic. So, I’m going to back out of this.
  • 10:22 PM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    4e still remains as least lethal because I haven’t hardly played it so I’m relying on others’ feedback, which has been a lot of “you had to try hard to kill a PC in 4e” Of course, I imagine opinions will vary 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, above level +4 or 5, TPK territory. It was very easy to color inside the lines. If you /always/ stuck to exactly EL=level, though, and didn't have quite long days, you'd get encounters that may have remained tactically engaging, but would have eventually felt like foregone conclusions without much drama, precisely because the guidelines did deliver fairly consistently. Conversely, you'd get more...
  • 09:44 PM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post So whatever happened to the Tactics Variant/Module or Whatever
    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, not with much hope they'd actually play or appreciate it. Maybe, but I do think there are advantages to some of the 3e nods in 5e which indicate actual sympathy for positive elements in that earlier system.
  • 09:13 PM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post So whatever happened to the Tactics Variant/Module or Whatever
    To be fair, 4e was very much designed based on criticisms of 3e (and earlier) Question is does the design team actually understand the material well enough to change it or evoke what was liked about the earlier edition and currently we keep getting all the signs of no not really *you dont make offerings of things that were barely background and just complained about by others if you are really after the previous edition audience you claim to be designing this module X for. You introduce easy multiclassing AND maybe try to fix front loading level dipping to attract 3e fans you do not make CoDzilla happen ... that is the difference. And why I say 5e actually does try to appeal to 3e fans. Though I am sure 3e fans are better able to answer their editions support question.


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