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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 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 that there are no more Wilden?
    70 replies | 13459 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 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.
    8 replies | 89 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 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...
    682 replies | 18319 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 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. ...
    70 replies | 1347 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 09:09 PM
    I believe I said that. It 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. A trivially true, high-level statement that offers no information. 5e /brought back/ the...
    165 replies | 11226 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 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...
    682 replies | 18319 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 06:39 PM
    It's effing hilarious.
    33 replies | 1033 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 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,...
    70 replies | 1347 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 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...
    70 replies | 1347 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 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,...
    165 replies | 11226 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 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...
    70 replies | 1347 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 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...
    33 replies | 1033 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 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.
    70 replies | 1347 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:30 PM
    What? Really? All of it? ::imagines who forests vanishing with the click of a mouse:: ;)
    165 replies | 11226 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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...
    165 replies | 11226 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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?
    74 replies | 2744 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:53 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Yes. Typo. Fixed. Thanks for catching that. I'm not /intentionally/ using any common variants....
    231 replies | 7901 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:48 PM
    It is, because there was a very significant event that impacted the hobby in 2000: the release of 3e. In contrast, I'd be more inclined to accept data from '97 applying to 98 & 99, for instance, as not /that/ much changed - alarm over the failure of TSR probably lessened. I'm not arguing the other side. By saying that 1999 data isn't valuable for making one claim about 2002-5, say, I'm...
    88 replies | 3051 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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,...
    70 replies | 1347 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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...
    70 replies | 1347 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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.
    146 replies | 5231 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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...
    33 replies | 1033 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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 | 3422 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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 | 7901 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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...
    33 replies | 1033 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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...
    31 replies | 822 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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 | 3051 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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?
    33 replies | 1033 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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 | 396 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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...
    33 replies | 1074 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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 | 7901 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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 | 3051 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...
    84 replies | 2401 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...
    31 replies | 822 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...
    84 replies | 2401 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.
    165 replies | 11226 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:56 PM
    I actually kinda like common. In general, things seem more fantasy (or mythic, perhaps) to me, if everyone can talk to everyone else. You could conceive of Common as just "the gift of language" in the sense of communication, it's not just a language everyone strangely learns, it's the language everyone who can speak at all, can speak by default. All other languages would then be...
    31 replies | 822 view(s)
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  • 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 | 3422 view(s)
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  • 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.
    84 replies | 2401 view(s)
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  • 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 | 493 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...
    146 replies | 5231 view(s)
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  • 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 | 7901 view(s)
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  • 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!
    165 replies | 11226 view(s)
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  • 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 | 7901 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 07:16 PM
    "Good night everybody!" - Yakko Warner
    24 replies | 932 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 07:13 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Ok... Magic has always been /so/ pervasive in D&D. It's an infinitely-renewable, daily (or 4hr-nap) resource. You kill a few monsters, one of them'll eventually drop a magic item. There's /fewer/ items, in theory, in 5e, and not really a lot more spells/day (and fewer spells overall)… … and then there's cantrips, which seem to freak people out, but if you've played with Warlocks and...
    231 replies | 7901 view(s)
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  • 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 | 7901 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 06:25 PM
    My 3.x group always did that. One of the more extreme ways I've ever seen of dealing with a bad HD roll at level-up, was to repudiate the level. That's how the player put it "I do not accept that roll! I repudiate the level!" I was Ok with it, his fighter dropped back to 2nd, and she ultimately made it to 4th (with less disappointing HD rolls on the way)… ...she was, BTW, one of those...
    6 replies | 319 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 06:14 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    And, at high level, in 5e, they get a lot safer, which is /also/ similar to 1e, as you accumulate hps and get better saves and more protective items and more spells to negate/reverse bad things happening to you. While the details of the systems are quite different - 5e has bigger hp/damage/healing numbers, 1e has much more significant scaling on d20 targets (which it used moreso than bonuses,...
    231 replies | 7901 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 06:06 PM
    OK, that is just too good an observation to just XP and tacitly agree with. Yes, I totally get that, and agree it's very much a thing. I kinda alluded to it in the OP, with how you'd build a fire in the absence of any knowledge/wisdom Nature or Survival skill ("...you'd describe exactly what you do, and if you & the DM were in the same boyscout troop, probably succeed"). Because another...
    88 replies | 3422 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 05:43 PM
    Sharpshooters'd use finesse weapons as melee backup. The way STR characters use heavy thrown weapons as ranged backup. Which, I think, illustrates the issue. Heavy thrown weapons are a pretty serious downgrade from archery. Rapiers, as the OP points out, are not a downgrade from longswords, really, at all. This is D&D. Magic is supposed to be just better. Not the worst idea I've ever...
    84 replies | 2401 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 05:32 PM
    There are no new ideas. It certainly /did/ it badly (if at all) in '93. Since 3.0, it hasn't been so bad, mechanically (OK, diplomancers were pretty horrid), in theory, if DM's'd use the mechanics, and players'd respect them when they didn't break their way... …/IF/. If not, well, machete, gasoline. Problem solved.
    88 replies | 3422 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 05:02 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    There was no CR in 1e. You could totally face orcs (or heck, gnolls, zombies, an ogre, etc) at 1st level. ('Face' not necessarily to be taken literally.) Part of the appeal, I should think. (Of course, CR /guidelines/ don't prevent you from facing an Ogre - or disinterested dragon - at first level, they just wave a red flag at the idea.) So it's an Orcs to Orcs comparison. Orcs just have...
    231 replies | 7901 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 04:34 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    The logic seemed irrefutable to my 15yo self. ;) "So, hey, Tony, it says here that peasants have 1-6 hps and or '0th' level." "Well, yeah, they're not as good as characters with classes, they don't have levels, but they do have some hps." "Right, but before you have a class you don't have a class, right?" "I guess." "So my magic-user, before he became a magic user, he had 1-6 hps." "That...
    231 replies | 7901 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 02:51 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Well, or the alternative wasn't. More likely, it was another thing that varied a lot. I recall Max 1st HD (because Rangers) being a very common variant. One group even figured that, at 0 level, everyone, even mere peasants, got 1-6 hps, so your first level HD should add to those. The version of that I encountered was the "brevet" - start at 2nd, but 0 exp...
    231 replies | 7901 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 02:39 PM
    A standard game with no optional rules turned on. Feats & MCing are explicitly optional. You don't ban them, you just dont bother opting into them.
    84 replies | 2401 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 05:29 AM
    What do rapiers have to do with caster supremacy, Monty Haul, treasure hunting, pixel-bitching, 5MWD, magic-item Xmass trees, Vancian spell-grenades, d20s, Fruedian psionics, 10' poles, white-room DPR calculations, cursed magic itens, 30mm lead pewter figures labeled 25mm, rules lawyers, Killer DMs, home-invasion-robbery, LFQW, name recognition, 20-level builds, spiked everything, plant/reptile...
    84 replies | 2401 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 04:29 AM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    I was more than half expecting I'd made some dumb math or table lookup error. ::shrug:: CR: 1/2. I already mentioned that, yes. You want slower pacing, it's readily doable, no heavy rules-rewriting called for.
    231 replies | 7901 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 01:37 AM
    Did you notice the remarkable visual similarity between 4e & PF1 monster stat blocks? With the shading and all? Most obvious difference was purple instead of green.
    33 replies | 1033 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 01:34 AM
    The 4e Fighter's "Combat Superiority" OA spoiled the target's movement if it hit. They're mark-punishment interrupt, OTOH, did not, but could be in response to a shift or attack that didn't normally provoke. Consensus was the features made them very 'sticky,' even by defender standards. It could be automatic when they're in the fighter's Threatened area? Haven't used feats much when...
    117 replies | 6664 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 01:20 AM
    Yes. Play a Gangrel. Take the Flaw "Twisted Upbringing."
    102 replies | 3370 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 01:17 AM
    So we shouldn't mention the Pixie/Storm-Giant?
    146 replies | 5231 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 12:52 AM
    It's Sisyphean, but starting with the familiar concepts of D&D, and explaining the broader alternatives in those terms, would be using it as a baseline, but not assuming it as the only thing. Maybe? There's some of that in "if you'd just master this other system and accept it's paradigm, you'd understand..." Yeah, I can't see it by those mechanisms. Arbitrarily, though, sure. Your...
    682 replies | 18319 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 12:37 AM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Well, IDK, compare a simple, iconic Orc, for instance. In 1e, it hits a stereotypical 1st level front-liner in banded/splint & shield on a natural 17, for 1d8 (4.5) damage (0.9 DPR), and as a 1 HD monster has 1-8 hps, and was AC 6. In 5e, it hits a starting-package heavy armor PC in chain & shield (AC 18) on a natural 13, for 9(1d12+3) damage (3.6 DPR - 4.05 if you count the crit on a 20, which...
    231 replies | 7901 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 10:41 PM
    So, maybe piercing just needs to be a lot worse than slashing in some way? Because that seems like a difference, there, too. (Or the versatile blades need to be pierce & slashing, vs the finesse blades being piercing?) Or... …/clearly/ what's missing is ::drumroll:: 1e AD&D style Weapon vs Armor modifiers! Yep. If finesse weapons were good vs light armor and sucked vs heavy, while...
    84 replies | 2401 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 10:20 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Well, they hit more often than 1e monsters at low levels (and, thanks to BA, keep hitting at least some), and have more hps of their own as you go up levels, so stick around longer, inflicting more damage... ...doesn't sound too implausible. Certainly, I haven't seen any 5e parties breezing through 21-encounter days.
    231 replies | 7901 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 09:55 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    That's not a bad assumption, though character death is hardly unknown in D&D (to put it mildly), at some point, you reach some sort of, IDK, homeostasis, that results in PCs surviving & leveling rather than dying and being replaced. In 5e, scaling (and some class differentiation) was shifted from d20 modifiers (or targets in the case of the classic game) to hps & damage. Some of that shift,...
    231 replies | 7901 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 09:32 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    To be clear, the balance of the turn being used in resting was the obscure rule, the d3 for 'binding wounds' during that rest was very much a variant - a Len Lakofka variant, I'd guess, at least, a lot of 'em that got heavily used in my area were his, straight from his Dragon articles. Per-hour doesn't ring a bell as loudly. Per turn, does, but I can't recall a specific example, either (also...
    231 replies | 7901 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 08:18 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Not a lot more than merely setting short & long rests to different durations. You push out the time scale of the adventure. The bigger difference is table time devoted to bookkeeping, and that's not a /big/ difference, either. Again, folks played the game very differently from place to place & table to table back in the day. 5e shifted most scaling to hps, so, yeah, they balloon. ...
    231 replies | 7901 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 08:07 PM
    Crossposting. Let's take it to the Pedantic complaints thread, and get you some XP to go with that laugh. ;) Hey, and that explains why Gimli was so into her. Well, makes it at tad less creepy. …
    146 replies | 5231 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 07:57 PM
    Let's take it to the Pedantic complaints thread, and get you some XP to go with that laugh. ;) Hey, and that explains why Gimli was so into her. Well, makes it at tad less creepy. Edit: wrong thread... ...cross-posting...
    102 replies | 3370 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 07:48 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    "Something akin to" is, I think, a pretty low bar. Admittedly, the balance of a 10 minute turn is a lot less resting than 5e's one hour. But it's still a rest, and it's still short. Some variant I vaguely recall even let that 'bind wounds' assumption heal d3 hps. Which, at 1st level, in particular, was nothing to sneeze at. Not spells in any standard class, now, but there were the occasional...
    231 replies | 7901 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 07:35 PM
    Well, in the sense that flames won't stop it from regenerating... ;P ...we'll see... That's an interesting question. 5e has more than a few little details lifted straight from 4e, and more than a few more re-named, bowdlerized, or otherwise reduced to an acceptable post-edition-war level. The result is /both/ absolutely nothing like 4e, and very similar to 4e. So that complicates the...
    33 replies | 1033 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 07:15 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Not a great point, actually. Old-school did actually have something akin to a 'short rest.' Play progressed in 10-min 'turns,' and if a combat didn't take 10 rounds, the balance was assumed to be spent resting, binding wounds and repairing gear. And, recovering hp & spells 'overnight' is a mere simplification of the complicated rules for recovering spells (requiring anything from 4 to 8 hrs of...
    231 replies | 7901 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 06:06 PM
    Nope. The readied character would have to either move ahead of the one he was trying to move with, then ready, or take the readied action and move only 30' to the other's 60. To be fair, Delay doesn't do it, either, the other guy moves, /then/ you move right after. It's one of those things you just need to common-sense hand-wave. (sorry, I forgot the point of the thread there for a moment) ...
    146 replies | 5231 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 05:41 PM
    While I don't disagree that a wizard could learn magic & have his spell book while remaining ignorant of Arcane lore outside the practical necessities of his trade, I can't agree that opens up a wide variety. The wizard is a bookish, Vancian/Hermetic magic-user, no matter how you tweak or polish it. Casting arcane spells without all that training and that spellbook was broken out to the...
    65 replies | 1827 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 05:29 PM
    Yes, there's several examples where the effect or hit line just creates an 'area' and avoids the Zone keyword.
    115 replies | 4888 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 05:28 PM
    Heh. Who can forget those iconic gnome characters in LotR…? What were their names again? That's probably a big part of it, yes. Any race other than human can tend to fall into racial stereotypes, the character becomes about the race (either conforming to or challenging stereotypes), rather than about the character.
    102 replies | 3370 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 07:17 AM
    Sure. Anything other than human and race tended to loom large. You could always shunt elves & gnomes and the like into some fey Otherworld.... Yes, like 4e which made gnomes fey (and, briefly, monsters) and introduced the Feywild (IMHO, it replaced the classic Ethereal, or you could say the Shadowfell merged it with the plane of shadow). The game presents tons of races, but unless you...
    102 replies | 3370 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 06:58 AM
    They're supposed to be examples of nitpicking over small details, rather than real problems like... ... unlikely to qualify as pedantic, unless you mean it ironically... Nope, that sounds serious. Totally off topic. ...to try to get back on topic, why is it called Faerie Fire? Everywhere else the game used American spellings. Why not Fairy? Was Sustare just being pedantic?
    146 replies | 5231 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 03:26 AM
    It seems to me that, unless you want to "punish" lack of system mastery, you'd give a class with an ability that directly built on a skill that skill, up front, and if a sub-class had such an ability, make the skill in question a preq or perk of the subclass... ...But I don't feel like 5e design was nearly that exacting.
    65 replies | 1827 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 01:17 AM
    possibly on the theory that defense style stacks with all the others?
    106 replies | 2311 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 01:11 AM
    I'm sorry, we can't accept that answer, we were looking for silly, pedantic, complaints. Thank you for playing, and enjoy a selection of your choice from the free offerings on DMsGuild, as a parting gift. They're monotremes? Do the males have a /venomous/ calcaneus spur? Like vision, but in the dark, instead of the light.
    146 replies | 5231 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 11:37 PM
    Some players might. Others will mysteriously change characters at some point. But, more typically, campaigns will just wrap at some point after the system starts to fall apart.
    16 replies | 556 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 10:40 PM
    Well, sure, balance falls appart by the time you've covered even half that. ;P And, it's not a new problem. The classic game always had a narrow sweetspot that didn't extend past name level. So, when making 3e research showed not much play beyond 10th, so why bother balancing It? 1-20. There's no good reason to present dysfunctional levels of play.
    16 replies | 556 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 10:01 PM
    The original Fantasy Hero (1985) had the "Delayed" power modifier to do exactly that. D&D went from the "memorized" rubric to "prepared" a long time ago. Since 3.0, at least, though it might've been floated long before that.
    24 replies | 712 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 09:03 PM
    Brief side observation/perspective: Even just being able to model a valid genre character concept is still a challenge RPGs aren't exactly all up to, even though some have been doing it for a long time. Even if that were true (D&D class & alignment, among other things, do put constraints on PC personality), it wouldn't be comparing Exalted to D&D, but Exalted to freestyle RP.
    682 replies | 18319 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 03:39 AM
    I've never glanced at Exalted. All I've heard about, 2nd-hand, is that it was WWGS's ST-like stab at fantasy, the PCs are demigods, and most of all, in a very derogatory way, that it's wild, over-the-top superheroics. "...then you might as well be playing Exalted!" Like it was the RPG equivalent of Godwins Law or something.
    682 replies | 18319 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 03:10 AM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Nothing can stop a DM from house ruling, or, y'know, just running a different system, but a system might not present as much perceived need or opportunity to do so. And, a system can set the stage for players to enthusiastically accept or violently resist outright house-rules or even any deviation from RAW orthodoxy. Objectively, sure, but when are these things ever objective? ...
    231 replies | 7901 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. :)
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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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My Game Details
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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Thursday, 18th July, 2019


Wednesday, 17th July, 2019



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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...

Thursday, 6th June, 2019

  • 01:45 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Tony Vargas in post Throwing ideas, seeing what sticks (and what stinks)
    So, what I'm thinking, based on these ideas would be something like this (roughly, I haven't done any math): Create a 'damage table' which looks something like this -5 -2 0 +2 +5 defensive 4 3 2 1 1 normal 6 4 3 2 2 reckless 8 6 4 3 3 So, level difference reads 'this much or more' and is calculated as target - attacker. Now, in this system you COULD just do away with defensive (and offensive) level bonus entirely if you want. Or you could have the bonus/penalty types Tony Vargas has outlined based on your 'tactics'. As with MoutonRustique's idea you would have a fixed 'boxed' hit point total based on your role (or for PCs it might be based on class/race/con, whatever).


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Thursday, 18th July, 2019

  • 10:35 PM - Manbearcat quoted Tony Vargas in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    I didn't follow that, probably because I lack the frame of reference... How did 4e Combat Challenge/Superiority map to all that ..er.. sports stuff? ;) If you've never been a grappler, it will be a little bit difficult to attempt to convey things conceptually, but Chess (which I suspect you've played or at least had exposure to) should suffice. Look at grappling (Brazillian Jiu-jitsu in particular) as a series of decision-trees where your opponent is imposing ever-progressing catch-22s upon you as they control you (takedown > deployment of a progressive series of pulls/hooks/passes/sweeps/transitions to improve position and prevent opponent from doing what they want > gain superior position > tap opponent with whichever submission they choose; again, catch-22) until checkmate (submission or an impossible to recover from position where all you can do is stall) is arrived at. Basketball may be a little easier. If you're an on-ball defender in Man defense, you're making personal positioning choi...
  • 08:12 PM - billd91 quoted Tony Vargas in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    Though hps and soaking damage won't get you far in 3e. A same CR monster like a Giant could demolish a reasonably tough fighter in a round, maybe two - if the fighter was optimized, it was prettymuch even money which do the huge pile of hps to the other first... Giants are a particularly odd case for the transition between 2e and 3e. Up close, thanks to the weapon bonus damage, crits, lots of hit points and Con bonuses, giants are generally more dangerous. But before Brutal Throw came out as a feat, they got a significant downgrade at range because their throwing was based on Dex, not their upgunned Strength.
  • 07:23 PM - Sacrosanct quoted Tony Vargas in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    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 his *GOOD* save, at 10th, he might well face a similar DC 21 save against which his bonus could be as low as +2 - maybe +4 or 6 with feat, decent stat, and/or protection item, that's not just worse than he had it at 4th level, that's worse than the 1e fighter had it at 4th level! You claimed that there were no SoDs in 3e, and that 3e /save progression/ outstripped the AD&D save matrix. 3e /did/ have SoDs, and it has rising save DCs with level, net of which, even good saves fell behind the AD&D save matrix progression. You brought up the save matrix and claimed that 3e save bonuses outstripped it. Th...
  • 07:00 PM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    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, 4e characters were often dropped, sometimes very greatful for the next long rest, but rarely killed outright, let alone TPKd. You could make that happen pretty easily by just dialing it up - EL mostly delivered as advertised - but you could, with enough experience & artistry, make any ed as deadly or survivable as desired.Sure but dont you figure it actually didn't require as much skill or art because EL delivered..
  • 06:52 PM - CapnZapp quoted Tony Vargas in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    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... I'd say you keep focusing on the wrong thing, Tony. What makes you think 4E succeeded where 4E failed, even if all those things were true? That's right - because it wasn't those things that made 4E fail, and it wasn't really those things that people disliked. It was the way they were used in 4E that made people balk. Since the edition wars are long over, and this isn't about 4E anyway, let me skip the details and just establish that 4E and 5E looks, feels and plays very differently. That's what's important. Whether any given detail or feature is similar or even identical does not help or matter when that is so. No, 5e returned to meeting longtime D&D expectations. Random lethality at 1st level segueing into a 'sweet spot' followed by increasing...
  • 06:37 PM - CapnZapp quoted Tony Vargas in post Similarities 4E PF2?
    Grognards won. Ha - that's funny. Everybody knows true grognards only love the edition from 20-30 years ago. So 5E isn't up until 2040! :p
  • 05:57 PM - Sacrosanct quoted Tony Vargas in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    Yes, you added your CON bonus, no the progression did not outstrip the 1e save matrix, because DCs rose continually through your career, while save penalties even at high level, were very rare in 1e. A 3e 'good' save was lucky to tread water, if the DCs you faced were being optimized even that would fall behind. Bad saves - the other two besides Fort if you were a Fighter - fell behind /rapidly/. At 4th level, the fighter saved on an 8 in 3e. On a 14 in AD&D. A 10th level fighter in AD&D needed a 9 to pass. It looks like typical DCs for monsters in the MM have DCs around 21 for CR10 creatures. A 10th level fighter, not counting choosing feats to improve save chances, would have around a +11 bonus. So AD&D was much harder at most levels players actually play PCs with, with 3e finally overtaking the difficulty only at high levels. Levels that hardly were ever really played. Ability damage was pretty awful, actually, it's not like your abilities went up the way hps did, so it was dam...
  • 04:42 PM - Parmandur quoted Tony Vargas in post Similarities 4E PF2?
    Actually, the last 5 or so years have been a great time to be a grognard! OSR has had a big influence on the hobby, D&D has finally recaptured it's 80s popularity by repudiating just about everything grognards hated about 3e and 4e, and training a new generation of fans to appreciate it's take on RPGs as if it were the only one. Grognards won. The power of big data at work, finding out what works.
  • 12:03 AM - Parmandur quoted Tony Vargas in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    What? Really? All of it? ::imagines who forests vanishing with the click of a mouse:: ;) Actually, just checked, only 21 3.x books are PoD right now: Red Hand of Doom, Ruins of Undermountain, the Draconomican, the Spell Compendium, and a bunch of Realms, Eberron and Ravenloft (from White Wolf!) setting stuff, no core books (those are PDF only).

Wednesday, 17th July, 2019

  • 10:36 PM - Parmandur quoted Tony Vargas in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    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 published. WotC is, indeed, selling 3.5 via Print on Demand.
  • 09:39 PM - Xetheral quoted Tony Vargas in post What are your Pedantic Complaints about D&D?
    I'm trying to figure out the circumstances where the difference would matter - or why Crawford got this question in the first place. (Clicking the link gave no context, just the answer). Is someone wondering whether whacking a monster with their longbow counts as a "melee weapon attack"? I don't even get why this question would come up... ETA: I know this is the thread for pedantry, and this is pedantry and so it's appropriate. But the fact that Crawford got asked this question just blows my mind - I just have to know why it matters! 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. Tony's answer is spot on. In my experience, it's a common question asked by new players trying to figure out which a...
  • 08:45 PM - Lanefan quoted Tony Vargas in post OSR Gripes
    Well, I mean, OK. 1e: 1st level fighter, longsword & shield, splint, 16 STR, 14 CON: AC 4, 1-10 (5.5) hps, hits self on natural 16 for 2-9 (5.5) damage (1.375 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). Er...in 1e splint-and-shield by RAW gives AC 3, doesn't it? (and by common house rule where shields give 2 AC points, that'd be AC 2). That's going to lower the odds of hitting a bit, and thus the DPR.
  • 08:15 PM - uzirath quoted Tony Vargas in post Why do you play games other than D&D?
    1999's survey, while it might be stronger data, just isn't relevant to the 2000s. Whoa, that's a strong statement. I don't follow gaming statistics and don't much care how many people play whatever, but from an academic standpoint, it seems hard to swallow that a survey in 1999 wouldn't be at "relevant" to the years following it. I'm sure the release of 3e had an impact, but to bump the figures to 90% would be fairly extraordinary. I was attending conventions and game store events regularly back then and gaming with a wide array of people. I don't recall any sort of blind rush back to D&D. It certainly wasn't harder for me to find GURPS and CoC groups. I'm not arguing that my anecdotes are data, but market events tend to change market preferences over time, not instantaneously. So 1999 seems like an excellent place to ground one's data for the next five years. Ideally, we would have a similar study conducted in 2005. Alas.
  • 07:09 PM - Parmandur quoted Tony Vargas in post Similarities 4E PF2?
    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 presented in a less clear way, yes. But the less clear way is /natural language/, which is more comfortable to read, even if, having read it two or three times, you're still not clear on the intent. ;) It was a design decision made up-front and shared from the Next playtest on - and generally well-received. Which just shows to go you, human nature. ;) Maybe PF2 will manage /both/ form & function, both comfortable/entertaining presentation /and/ clarity/precision, organization & a good index. I prefer my rules in clear, concise, efficient presentation that's easy to find & understand the t...
  • 06:54 PM - Parmandur quoted Tony Vargas in post Similarities 4E PF2?
    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 inspiring. Well, it was a playtest document, I'd expect the final version will be winnowed of redundancy, and or spiced up quite a bit. Also, redundancy might not be fair. It's not necessary redundant to have two classes both have an option that, say deals 1d12 damage, just because they use the same die. Even if the /flavor/ is quite different, it's not redundant. (Though, if there's no flavor text, as 'bland' implies...) Well, I don't really read technical manuals for any reason at all, and definitely not for fun (poetry or philosophical treatises are more my jam). Presentation and aesthetics matt...
  • 06:48 PM - Celebrim quoted Tony Vargas in post Homogenized Races?
    So they were being dishonest? That's very hard to know. I can only be confident of what I've observed. Most logically, they weren't being dishonest with me as much as they were being unreflective on their own motivations. I can say that there stated beliefs did not seem to conform to my expectations regarding what would logically follow from those beliefs. That is, they didn't seem to play characters I thought were particularly nuanced and complex, much less that they were too complex to neatly fit on some grid for the purposes of certain spell effects. 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 of using the mechanic, at all, since that would remove benefits, as well, ...
  • 06:38 PM - Jer quoted Tony Vargas in post Homogenized Races?
    One thing I liked about "Unaligned" instead of neutral was just bowing out of the alignment system. Even better might have been to have the 9-alignment system with it's benefits & prescribed behaviors for being of a certain alignment, and an unaligned alternative, that can't access the benefits, but is left to it's own devices as far as imagining motivation. Though, again to get a little gamist, and a little narrativist, in genre, there is /often/ a critical test of the hero that is based on morality or integrity - in D&D, that tends to be based on alignment, and the unaligned character'd be looking at a 'loss.' I can't remember where I picked it up, but I know I didn't get it on my own. There was a variant of the alignment system we used where your choice of alignment was basically you swearing to the "Cosmic Cause" of either Law or Chaos - always with appropriate Capitalization - and if you weren't either then you were neutral. It wasn't about how you acted, it was literally about your ...
  • 04:35 PM - Laurefindel quoted Tony Vargas in post Finesse rebalance
    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. I like to imagine "what's happening" to my character even when the rules don't go into that level of details. If one insists, stringing a bow could be a simple object interaction, or done as part of "drawing" a stowed bow and remain mechanically inconsequential in all but the most specific conditions. The arms of a composite bow could be replaced cyclically; i'd imagine that a seasoned adventurer would even carry a few spare. I know I do with my composite recurved. Similarly, it could be part of the "off screen" maintenance of a crossbow to re-bend the prongs once in a while, and replace them when the metal is too fatigued...
  • 04:10 PM - GrahamWills quoted Tony Vargas in post Why do you play games other than D&D?
    > TLDR This data supports the conclusion that people saying that "virtually every game" or "90% of all games" were D&D in the early 2000's are wrong. A figure of just above 50% seems more correct. 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.) Oh my goodness, sometime people just like to argue for the sake of arguing! OK, let's recap -- 1) I used data from GenCon 2003 to indicate that D&D was not 80%+ of the games played in the early 2000s (as seems a common misconception) 2) We got a survey from 1999 that showed that in 1999 WOTC believed about 50-60% of the play was D&D. 3) I asserted that supports evidence for the situation in the early 2000's Now, most people would think there is a correlation between data in 1999 and data in 2003. Maybe you don't and think that unless you have data for the exact 4 days of Gen Con in ...
  • 03:58 PM - Celebrim quoted Tony Vargas in post Homogenized Races?
    Pawn stance is controlling your character in third-person, like a game piece, picking 'good' 'legal' moves for it, no? (Who am I kidding? It can't be that intuitive.) Doesn't alignment just define a set of illegal moves? Your good pawn can't use poison. That kinda thing? More or less exactly what I'm trying to convey. My experience with, "Alignment is unrealistic. I can roleplay a more nuanced realistic character without it!" is that the more "realistic" "nuanced" characters where indistinguishable from Pawn Stance, in that the decision making process about "what this character would do" seemed to be basically "what do I need to do to win". Giving your pawn an alignment implied there were moves which might be practical at the moment, but which the pawn maybe ought not do. And the player simply didn't want the pawn to have an independent motivation or wants and desires of its own. And that often ends up being a specific example of the larger subset of arguments I call "arguing aga...


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