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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 01:43 AM
    Yeah, I'm aware. ;) I'm also fine with minions 'dying' because they flee, surrender, collapse in panic - or can't bring themselves to cross a wall of flame, say. The mechanics are that the minion who takes any damage is done, exactly how can fit the narrative however. /Somethig/, if not everything, about hit points and saving throws is going to have to strike you odd at /some/ point. ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:12 PM
    That's a lotta classes, and all the classes with significant healing. ;P Banning the short-rest-heavy options (Warlock, Monk, BM) and resource-light options (Thief, Assassin, Champion) would likely be less intrusive.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:49 PM
    Cute variant. I like it - you could call it "imploding dice." It actually /doesn't/ 'defeat' it because a minion has a pretty decent chance of surviving an attack by a PC anywhere near it's nominal level (about 10 above its 'real' level), even though PCs can do /damage/ on a miss with things like Fireballs and Reaping Strike, because it has a special escape clause: "missed attacks never...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:05 PM
    One 4e trick along those lines was to dig up minor-action attacks. Some striker classes had minor action attack encounter powers, there was a feat that let you use an at-will as a minor action 1/encounter, Dragonborn Breath, etc. Then you'd 'Alpha* Strike' with a high-damage encounter or daily as your Standard Action, Action Point for another(+ an extra basic, perhaps, from PP feature), then...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:42 PM
    There sure was a lot of glee whenever PF sales numbers edged out D&D sales numbers. I doubt conscious wallet-voting was an entirely trivial part of that. (Though, to be fair, surveys indicated a /lot/ of crossover between D&D and PF fans - that is, lots of people bought into both for their respective runs - and the kind of single-ed-insistent 'pride' being alluded to was also shown, in WotC...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:14 PM
    Their most successful product - Pathfinder - was based on Pride & Resentment - not /their/ pride or resentment, but you sure can collect a lot of money from proud, resentful people intent on voting with their wallets. NPCs were statted up, in 1e, just like monsters. Heck, there were humanoids - actual humans, under the not-sexist-at-all entry "Men" - in the MM, with monster stat blocks. Other...
    233 replies | 15535 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:48 PM
    Heck, that's when I gave up on D&D for about 5 years. 2e may be /T/SR, but IDK if it qualifies as /O/SR? It doesn't seem Old to me. Hackmaster? /2/e A&DD?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:57 AM
    That's something that might not be easy to see from just looking in from the outside. The classic game (and even 5e) is deadly, at first, but eventually (quickly) becomes a lot more survivable, and, even if things go south, probably recoverable. But, 3e, went from merely dangerous to rocket tag, and, there was the whole win-at-chargen thing, so what was mildly challenging to one character could...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:21 AM
    AFAICT, 2e ditched demons & devil's &c to be less offensive, maybe they decided to cut down on the orientalism/cultural-theft for similar reasons?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:12 AM
    I mean, seriously, that makes sense and is intuitive to apply, right? Freakishly, it's not what the DMG actually says .. ...but, then, so many 1e Gygaxisns are freakish, that way... part of the charm, I guess, just downright baroque.
    184 replies | 4752 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:09 AM
    The 3.x/PF rules do lavishly reward that sort of meticulously-applied system mastery, yes. It's /also/ that, yes. I love doing a good build-to-concept in 3e or 4e or in other systems that are better for that approach than any edition of D&D, like, oh, Hero. ;) But 3e was probably the height of D&D for that style - it gave you so many options, so much flexibility, and gulf between an...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:57 AM
    Not /that/ 0 hps rule. The DMG 0 hp rule says you fall unconscious if you are reduced to /exactly/ 0, then start bleeding - if you're reduced to -1 or less, either at one go, or by being hit again while unconscious, you're dead. I know you read it differently, and I guess a lotta DMs in my area did, too, because it alsways seemed to be played that 0 down to -10, regardless of how you got there,...
    184 replies | 4752 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:52 AM
    4e minions did a decent job of cashing the check the DMG wrote, there. I mean, there may have been a hold on it while it cleared, but, ultimately, it wasn't rubber. 13A, IMHO, did even a bit better with it's mooks, which combined some of the ease of DMing and threat of swarms, with the progressive figure-removal of minions - and of old-school wargames, where you'd remove figures from the rear...
    794 replies | 23407 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:42 AM
    It doesn't do that. Rather, it offers an alternative mechanic for defeating those same ogres. Instead of hitting AC 16 repeatedly for a total of 40hp, the DM can require you hit AC 25, once, and not have to worry about damage. Kinda like the old called shot variants, but in the DM's bailiwick, chosen by him when building an encounter.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:53 AM
    Not a huge difference, it was pretty hard to be a non-fighter specialist, like a Paladin or Ranger, because they were just hard to get into, anyway. Specialization, at all, OTOH, was a huge deal, it seriously powered the fighter up. I want to highlight this because it's still, by far, the strongest part of your case. All this hair-splitting and RaW invoking to paint a picture of 1e PCs maybe...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 11:50 PM
    It seems like we sometimes grapple with a concern that the requirements of fitting magic into a game system, at least, one where all the participants won't have equal access to magic, requires compromising the vast sweep of what magic seems able to do across the various sources of inspiration. It might be more helpful to look at what magic in the source material actually allows any one given...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 10:09 PM
    It sounds like the main problem isn't the spell, but the kind of complicated simplification of rolling every-off-turn-everything and some on-turn stuff, all into the harried Reaction.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 08:14 PM
    Nod. It's not rocket science. But, it does have limits. Changing a creature from standard to solo - while, for the sake of "simulationism" (in the Forge Sense), holding its XP value constant to maintain that it is, in fact(actually, fiction), 'the same creature' - only brings it down 9 levels. So, 4th level party vs Type V Demons, for instance, not going to cut it. ...I think the...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 07:38 PM
    That's an amusing way of thinking of it. ;) I like it.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 07:18 PM
    Answering before I read the thread... I'll probably make a fool of myself... You could go with the old Item Saving Throw paradigm. The PC failed his save, so each of his items must also save! Depends on how you interpret "/body/ of a dead creature" ("remains" would have been more favorable to the possibility, IMHHO) and "restores any missing body parts." But, really, the Disintegrate...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 07:11 PM
    I think we can all acknowledge that D&D was played very differently by different groups back in the day - but still, if we're interested in the question - look at how the published rules, themselves, stacked up in terms of theoretical lethality. The results, if any, is going to be just that, theoretical. The reality already happened, and happened differently, for different groups in different...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 06:02 PM
    Time? Yes, like 2 years, and the encounter guidelines weren't even ready until /after/ we'd starting running HotDQ. Resources? Maybe not s'much: the future of D&D was uncertain during those two years, and it didn't seem like Hasbro/WotC was giving Mearls a lot of $$$ to make 5e happen. PF's future seems uncertain, but it sounds like Paizo /is/ putting some resources into it - didn't you...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 04:15 PM
    That's just D&D from time immemorial (if you can't remember 1974, anyway). 5e is nice enough to share an approximate value of X (ok, and Y, short rests) at which it's nominally intended to balance. Since Paizo is sensibly done with trying to be more D&D than D&D, PF2 needn't stay with that attrition paradigm. But, you still took them in 3.x: slept to prepare spells, took a few minutes...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 06:57 PM
    I recommend sblock and trigger warning. Aside from that, great post... ...y'all'll hafta just imagine a cynical quip, here. Maybe later.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 06:28 PM
    Not that many monsters cast spells. There is a Mage Slayer Feat, though, that well, just read it... I mean, a 5e caster in a world where everything had Mage Slayer would still have it easier than an old-school magic-user.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 06:22 PM
    After L5R? What did L5R do?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 06:16 PM
    Playtest? Seriously, though, if the point was ditching the small, established, loyal market for the much, much larger potential market of /people who might like your game if it didn't suck quite as hard/, then just coasting on name recognition as your marketing strategy, so that you only reach that established base you just cut loose, just might have been at cross purposes. But, I...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 05:50 PM
    Weren't those committed 3.x fans the basis for even having PF, in the first place, though. Now that sounds like angling to repeat 4e marketing blunders.
    233 replies | 15535 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 05:37 PM
    ...another good reason to play a game now and then. ;) The voice is less at issue than the message. And, if I seem strident about this, it's because it's not just your too-narrow, exclusionary definition and it's not just in this context. The Forgites do the same thing, multiplied by their copious lexicon, and it happens way to much in RL politics. It's fine to stipulate a definition...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 03:38 PM
    Controller was as much an excuse to grandfather in more of the wizard's favorite toys as a role, but, the rationale appeared to be that large-area damage would limit enemies' tactical options. Thus minion-sweeping also fell to the controller.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 08:36 AM
    That point first started getting made 15+ years ago, in 3e forums. The thing that's funny is MMOs came up with "aggro," because they were trying to implement the traditional D&D Fighter role, but didn't have unwritten DMing rules that most monsters just attacked the fighter, most of the time, especially if he made any pretense towards getting in the way. I guess we could just figure 5e has a...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 08:21 AM
    There are no strikers in 5e. There are characters that have little to contribute /in combat/ but damage, and have more to do outside of combat, and there are tougher characters who have little, at all, to contribute besides damage. But there are no strikers. Anyway, the only ballgame in DnDtown is Fire/ball/.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 08:10 AM
    Its all you need, but it helps to give the impression you're following /something, an AP, even just notes you made earlier. Its ok to just make it all up, it's better not to project that you are. There is none. Wealth & mundane gear have little impact on PCs ability to meet challenges. That should be adequate to keep the wizard viable. More spells from captured spellbook is just...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 07:42 AM
    Your definition of role-playing is simply too narrow. Especially given the need to go all caps and bold like some sort of outraged Darth Vader voice. There's at least a 3-way distinction. There are games that aren't role-playing, there are instances of playing a role that are in no way games... ...and there are role-playing games, that integrate (not merely juxtapose) the two. In an RPG...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 06:59 AM
    Sorry, but this is hilarious on several levels. One is just who you're talking too, I mean, you are barking up a tree he ain't never climbed. You're also confusing your post-TSR trends, a little. 3.x had the RaW-uber-allies zeitgiest going. But, it's the OP, Sacrosanct, a dyed in the sandtable old school headmaster, who has insisted on confining this debate to the actual, verifiable,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 06:43 AM
    True, if youre playing poker or polo or pachinko, your play experience is not a roleplay experience. And, if you're playing Hamlet or Naughty Schoolgirl or Devil's Advocate, your roleplay experience is not a game-play experience. But if you're playing an RPG, it really /should/ be both. Is that undesirable? Because, if it is, freestyle RP is totally a thing, and you won't need to deal...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 06:30 AM
    Its an RPG, the whole thing is about roleplaying. Relative to the other WotC eds the biggest 'pro' in 5e is the DM - DM Empowerment. But, the real "pro" of 5e is... Move product in volumes not seen since the 80s.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 03:20 AM
    Yeah, the actual play experience will be subjective, so looking for the difference there will, at most, uncover some dusty system artifacts that might reveal which system was used, but nothing much more. Now, whether via system procedures, or via some naïve-RP/freestyle/make-believe consensus, the same persons could have established the same elements of the fiction in the same order. ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 03:03 AM
    IDK. Would the existing PF fanbase be offended if their system were positioned as Advanced D&D (w/1e UA & 2e Complete & Option books), to 5e's Basic D&D?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 03:00 AM
    That's fair. I mean, 5e /has the bloodied condition/, without having the "Bloodied" /Condition/. So any rule you could write in 4e like "when the <insert creature> is not bloodied and attacks a bloodied enemy <bad things happen>" you could as easily write, in 5e "when the <insert creature>'s current hit points, not including temporary hit points are greater than half its maximum hit points...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 02:51 AM
    I was searching for some way of making a statement general enough to avoid implying any specific system or set of assumptions. But, y'know, RPGing is something we all do. Any time we do that, is an 'instance,' right? So, in any given instance, we might decide to go beyond the scope of the system we're using, or even merely the scope of what it does well. And, /if/ we're a group with a good...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 02:25 AM
    It's not the most clearly-stated rule ever (even by 1e standards), but, yeah, that's the only way to parse the rule that allows the optional -3 'single blow' phrasing to make any sense. TBH, it /doesn't/ make a lot of sense, no matter how you try to parse it. Every group I ever saw use the -10 rule, allowed that you dropped unconscious if reduced to anything from 0 to -9, then bled at...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 01:31 AM
    The whole DMG is essentially optional rules. (really, the whole game is, but don't admit it to the players) nb: that's to /exactly/ 0 hit point. If you drop to -1 or fewer you die. That's what happens while you're unconscious, after having been reduced to exactly 0. You lose 1 hp per round, going from 0, to -1, etc, down through -9, then die when you reach -10. If you don't take any...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 12:07 AM
    No problem. I'd've not replies if I'd noticed you taking down the post I was responding too...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 12:05 AM
    ..it'd be an issue, because there are INT based casters & 1/3rd casters who already need a lot of INT, which otherwise does nothing for combat - suddenly they could leverage it. And, those 1/3rd casters (EK & AT) are otherwise weapon-users... ...oh, and Bladesingers...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 11:40 PM
    I've heard about it but never checked it out. What did they do, just dial up encounters?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 11:38 PM
    That's the thing, you don't need to talk about 20-level builds to new players. They can play a 'starting package' or pregen. Really, in any edition, pregens are a good idea, that's why modules had 'em back in the 0e days (In Search of the Unknown, which came with the c1977 basic set had pregens in the back), and 5e has 'em in the Basic PDF. Encounters pregens came on laminated half-sheets. ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 10:47 PM
    Oh, yeah. Especially some messed up monsters early on, and the off-kilter encounters in KotS and the like, could be deadlier than EL would indicate, and, until the MM3, if you weren't playing like 8-enounter days, EL=Level could seem a little too easy. It'd've made more sense, as a practical matter of how it seemed 4e got played 'in the wild' to peg monster math/EL to a 3-5 encounter day, and...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 10:41 PM
    But, you haven't gotten to the pedantic part, yet!? Asked and answered: they only feel heavy after you take them out of the water.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 10:31 PM
    Realism? In a discussion of hit points? Nope, we don't. A very slight trauma involving relatively little injury can kill instantly, profound trauma over much of the body can be survived. The human body is freak'n weird. People fall in the shower and die. People fall out of airplanes without parachutes and live. It's not because some people rolled 1 on their HD. It's not because falls do...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 10:13 PM
    I ran 4e, for the run of Encounters (and beyond, but with an established group), so that's a /lot/ of introducing the game to brand-new players. Something I'd done back in the day, and done, since, as Encounters opened up to the Next playtest, then 5e. 4e is /easily/ the most accessible of the WotC editions, to brand-new players. Now, sure, you /could/ do 30-level builds if you were so...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 09:59 PM
    Not much variance, on that count, I'd think. The EL guidelines of 4e were quite straightforward, relatively dependable, and an exact-at-level encounter was a resource-ablating 'speed bump' (same intent as a single CR=Level encounter in 3e), that'd break deadly only towards the end of an unusually long day (8+ encounters in all likelihood). Lower ELs below level -1 or 2 rapidly became trivial,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 09:37 PM
    The campaign I'm running meets weekly, so not an issue; the one I play in has the same frequency as yours, but is 4e, so, again, not an issue - even if we have 'long rests' or just hard-resets because we missed a session or two, and have freshly-printed character sheets, between sessions, and thus 1-encounter days, it just means a harder encounter, we don't have any e-Classes, so everyone gets to...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 09:30 PM
    The answer to the question of ignorance or expediency or malice is really kinda moot. (But my guess is expediency.) 3e fans have PF. When PF rolls rev, anyone else can publish a 3.875 under the OGL and the party keeps rolling. The things built into 5e to appeal to them seem more like olive branches - they're there to keep those fans from warring against 5e by validating their preferences,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 09:21 PM
    A few possibilities have been floated using Bonus Actions or Reactions, to represent tactical planning or springing a tactic. There's already a lot of uses for those kinds of actions, especially reactions, in combat. How about representing keeping a 'Tactical' overview of the battle by requiring /Concentration/? Hey, no battle-plan survives first contact with the enemy('s weapon, unless you...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 08:56 PM
    To be fair, 4e was very much designed based on criticisms of 3e (and earlier) - 'static combat,' LFQW, 5WMD, CoDzilla, Sorcerers inferior to Wizards (heck, everyone but CoDzilla being inferior to Wizards), broken combos/exploits, broken spells, 'Rocket Tag,' /needing/ 20-level builds, whacked Epic-levels, lack of functionality outside the 'sweet spot,' burden of prep & difficulty of running for...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 08:38 PM
    It's in the DMG, it emphasizes the grid, including flanking, adds /facing/ of all things, and lets anyone mark (or maybe that's a separate variant?). Anyway, it credibly delivers the "grid dependence/tactical-boardgame" people who didn't like 4e complained about. They did seem to be working primarily from criticisms of 4e. 2 & 3 prettymuch go together. There also really was this...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 08:21 PM
    5e does add back Marking in the tactical variant, but it's a case of turn it on and anyone can mark. So not too helpful. Standard Rules, Protection Style > Battlemaster, which has a maneuver or two that might help, you could also pick up the prime warlord-like maneuvers, too, while having the fighter's extra attacks and action surge. You'd be a primary-Striker, tertiary-Leader/Defender. ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 06:38 PM
    I meant it as non-specific and all-inclusive. I would absolutely include things like those things, in 'things.' The example was illustrative, not exhaustive. Now, if you want to get down to the level of experiencing system artifacts, sure, even freestyle, with no system to speak of could be said to have those, and they'd be different from an actual system. But, my point was not that...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 12:59 AM
    … see, that's not cynical, at all... (I shouldn't talk, I'm totally cynical.) TBH (not just cynical), denying that system makes a difference strikes me as pointless. Obviously, systems are different, and those differences can't be quite meaningless. Now, to turn around the prior cynicism: The "cost" can include no longer being able to abuse or leverage that lack of systematic...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 11:31 PM
    On the one hand, that's not really much of a perk. Most Combat Styles actually make you better at something than the next guy. If your INT is 16, this makes as good with a Rapier as the guy with DEX 16. ::shrug:: Maybe have the INT bonus add in some other way. Maybe just add it, rather than replace it? With some proviso about the type of weapon & enemy or something? IDK. OTOH...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 11:18 PM
    Now that I think of it, there were other references to Level /n/ Monsters here and there in 1e. Summoning for instance. And a whole little blurb about how they used the word 'level' for a /lot/ of different things that didn't necessarily correspond. Oh, yeah, but you could be subtle about it. DM's Screen hides a multitude of sins. One of the biggest things was the convention that...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 07:08 PM
    I think it's important to keep in mind that 5e short rests resources are pretty pointedly /not/ encounter-based, the intended theoretical balance-point for encounters:short:long is 6-8:2-3:1, or about /two/ encounters between rests. And, that's in theory, in practice, it depends on how much time you have between encounters and whether you use a variant, like the 'gritty' variant that makes short...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 06:57 PM
    Sorry to riff off of just a couple sentences but... Seems like "informal practices" could be pretty varied and readily mutable (or set in stone, and violently defended, I suppose). If I'm following, that's an example of 'informal practice,' and - I'm really hoping - neither 'informal practice' nor 'GM stipulation' nor 'consensus roleplaying' have any extra-special...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 05:27 PM
    You're not wrong about those being similarities, but they're not identical, and the play dynamic they generate can be /very/ different. The short/long rest distinction in 5e, for instance, is 1 vs 8 hrs, often time enough for one is time enough for the other, you just can't take more than one of the latter in a given 24 hr period - the design assumption is 2-3 short rest & 6-8 encounters per...
    233 replies | 15535 view(s)
    1 XP
  • 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...
    84 replies | 5376 view(s)
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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...
    184 replies | 4752 view(s)
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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...
    84 replies | 5376 view(s)
    1 XP
  • 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...
    39 replies | 1682 view(s)
    1 XP
  • 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?
    233 replies | 15535 view(s)
    1 XP
  • 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...
    24 replies | 759 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 11:17 PM
    Ha! Blatant Nerd Stereotype! …and true. Thank you, yes.
    794 replies | 23407 view(s)
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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...
    184 replies | 4752 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 10:14 PM
    Off topic - why not, after 6 years a topic can drift, right - say you were a ghoul in 4e. And say you were a /vegan/ ghoul. What do you do now, in 5e, that there are no more Wilden?
    78 replies | 14322 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 10:08 PM
    IDK, I read the article and the original thread and this one, and I feel like a very simple cogent point being made by said article is missed or ignored or bulldozed or something: Magic in traditional TTRPGs like D&D fails to model or evoke magic in the sources of inspiration they nominally draw from.
    24 replies | 759 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 09:29 PM
    I should hope so, that's potentially some powerful drama there. (I'm picturing WWI, for some reason, not being too into the DitV setting.) Does the character conceive a death wish and get killed? Find a renewed reason to live and survive - or die tragically, or even heroically, in spite of that? Become a stronger person or descend into an emotional spiral - if the latter, how can he pull out...
    794 replies | 23407 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 09:11 PM
    Yeah, that's a given. 4e DMing was phone-it-in easy. I felt like I'd almost forgotten how to run after a few years. ;) But it's like falling off a bicycle. (something else it turns out I'm good at) And armed ones using iterative attacks, that got brutal, too. Published adventures varied quite a lot. With modern eds, you can compare how PCs stack up to the encounter guidelines. ...
    184 replies | 4752 view(s)
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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...
    233 replies | 15535 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 07:22 PM
    Seems right up FATE's alley, and something that could be touched upon in systems that model the character's psychology in some way (Hero, would be the one I'm most familiar with: psych lims), that can be tested (EGO roll) and change over time (changed around, or exp to 'buy down/off'). Certainly not with the same detail and play dynamics, of course... I didn't follow that, probably because I...
    794 replies | 23407 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 06:39 PM
    It's effing hilarious.
    38 replies | 1586 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 06:34 PM
    Any chance your formative play experience with 4e included Keep on the Shadowfell, Thunderspire Labyrinth, and/or Pyramid of Shadows? (Because, while the middle one was actually mostly pretty good, each included at least one example of completely whacked encounter design.) ...or, y'know, alternately, maybe your DM just liked killing you... ;) Vs encounters run closely to guidelines,...
    184 replies | 4752 view(s)
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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...
    184 replies | 4752 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 05:53 PM
    Most of the things people complained loudly about in 4e, 5e retains in at least some measure. Fighters casting spells, wizards being 'nerfed' (relative to 3e), martial healing, overnight 'natural healing,' dissociated mechanics, etc, etc... ...nor was it "presentation" - PF2 need have no worries on that score - Essentials desperately scrambled to give a mussed, fluff-heavy presentation,...
    233 replies | 15535 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 05:24 PM
    Thank you. It'd be awesome if you'd stop saying there weren't, going forward. If what you mean is "at low level, 1e fighters had crap saving throws, and at the highest levels had the best saving throws in the game and could expect enough bonuses from randomly generated magic items to fail only on a natural 1, even before name level, PCs casually drinking poison for the flavor because it was...
    184 replies | 4752 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 03:22 PM
    I suppose it doesn't, by itself. A TT gaming renaissance, being able to research the game on-line without the top hits being rants about how wrong and evil and not-D&D it is, the name recognition and rep of the "First RPG," these things bring new folks in to try (or at least, don't keep) D&D for the first time. A master DM who has internalized all the DM know-how, is just waiting for them, he...
    38 replies | 1586 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 07:56 AM
    And and, monsters could pull the same tricks. 3e had SoDs, and vs bad saves that only got worse relative to rising (let alone optimized) DCs, and negative levels worked a little differently, mechanically, but we're still pretty awful.
    184 replies | 4752 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 11:30 PM
    What? Really? All of it? ::imagines who forests vanishing with the click of a mouse:: ;)
    233 replies | 15535 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 09:41 PM
    Precisely my point. 3.5 went out of print ("end of life," maybe I mistakenly mixed a tech term into a publishing discussion, there?), and Paizo kept selling PF1 to 3.5 fans for another 10 years. Because 3.5 had just established that kind of loyalty. In another sense than product cycles, 3.5 (in the form of open-source d20) is /immortal/. As long as anyone wants to buy it, it can be...
    233 replies | 15535 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 09:18 PM
    I always figured it was inspired by Sting, Orcrist and Glamdring in The Hobbit. I mean... ...that fits the MO of Orcrist the Goblin-Cleaver, in reverse, right?
    79 replies | 3196 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 08:53 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Yes. Typo. Fixed. Thanks for catching that. I'm not /intentionally/ using any common variants....
    231 replies | 8353 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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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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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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Tuesday, 23rd July, 2019

  • 11:18 PM - pemerton quoted Tony Vargas in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    you had to hit each minion to kill it. <snip> we get the polite fiction of BA applying to saves bonuses & DCs, low-level foes potentially making successful saves vs fireballs without needing to roll natural 20s - and dying instantly from the 1/2 damage.In 4e a minion is also killed by any damage that doesn't require an attack roll to inflcit - eg zone damage. Having GMed a long campaign with a zone-heavy sorcerer I've seen the anti-minion effect of such zones. In the fiction, this is a sign of the power of the fire (or whatever it is) that this sorcerer conjures up. As far as AD&D and 5e save-for-half is concerned, it's always struck me as odd that most ordinary beings (1 HD or less including kobolds, goblins, men-at-arms etc) are incapable of diving for cover and surviving a fireball or similar (because the half damage is still going to be fatal for most of them on most occasions). That's all minions are, really, an alternate-resolution way of keeping a much lower-'level' monster us...
  • 08:04 PM - Celtavian quoted Tony Vargas in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    Their most successful product - Pathfinder - was based on Pride & Resentment - not /their/ pride or resentment, but you sure can collect a lot of money from proud, resentful people intent on voting with their wallets. We're calling preferring a different way of playing D&D pride and resentment? Really? I gave 4E a shot. I didn't like it. So I moved to Pathfinder. I tried 5E. I thought it was ok and liked a lot of the mechanical changes, but boring to me. I stuck with Pathfinder. I always give D&D systems a shot. I'm glad Pathfinder existed or I would have still been playing 3rd edition with no adventure support.
  • 03:54 PM - amethal quoted Tony Vargas in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    So, /only/ 3.x of all the D&D species, built PCs & NPCs/monsters on exactly the same rules by default. It was always an option in all the others, but the presentation of monsters/NPCs in completely different blocks is the norm for D&D, just one of the few ways that 4e was normative D&D.That's clearly the case with monsters. However, whilst probably no edition of D&D has used exactly the same rules for PCs and NPCs, the rules were very similar up until 4th edition, which was a massive change in the way NPCs were statted up. 5th edition dialled it back a lot, but the NPCs still look bizarre to me - an NPC might have 15 hit dice, cast as a 9th level wizard and have the proficiency bonus of a 7th level character. In a funny kind of way, 4th edition NPCs made more "sense" to me - "he's a senior cultist of Orcus, his stat block is nothing like yours because his life path has been very different to yours" - rather than 5th edition's "he's a wizard Jim, but not as we know it".
  • 02:19 PM - Celebrim quoted Tony Vargas in post Designing holistic versus gamist magic systems?
    Not hypothetically, not according to exposition, but what that one character actually accomplishes with magic, "on screen," in the course of the story. Looking at D&D's magic system vs LotR that way, for instance, resulted in the famous "Gandalf was a 5th Level Magic-User" - though, really, a 5th level magic-user would probably still have done some stuff Gandalf never seemed to get around to. It's very clear that magic in LotR doesn't obey the principles of the Vancian inspired magic of D&D, and it is a stretch to try to force those principles to apply to Gandalf. But, the really interesting thing is that even though the principles D&D magic presumably works on don't apply to the LotR, Vancian magic with spell slots tends to create in practice the same frequency and diversity of magic observed in the story. Gandalf may not be observed memorizing spells or carrying spell books or using material components or doing a lot of the things we'd expect a Vancian caster to do, but neither does he u...
  • 05:10 AM - billd91 quoted Tony Vargas in post Why Did They Change Gold Dragons?
    AFAICT, 2e ditched demons & devil's &c to be less offensive, maybe they decided to cut down on the orientalism/cultural-theft for similar reasons? Not with Oriental Adventures and Kara-Tur still out there. Plus, the 3e and 5e gold dragons retain the 'beards' of the classic Chinese dragons. If I had to guess, I'd suspect that they were given wings so they didn't get short-changed an attack form. 2e dragons introduce the wing attacks. Any dragon without wings would lose out on that attack form. And so the 2e gold dragons have wings in their natural form - as do all versions since.
  • 03:01 AM - Maxperson quoted Tony Vargas in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    Not /that/ 0 hps rule. The DMG 0 hp rule says you fall unconscious if you are reduced to /exactly/ 0, then start bleeding - if you're reduced to -1 or less, either at one go, or by being hit again while unconscious, you're dead. I know you read it differently, and I guess a lotta DMs in my area did, too, because it alsways seemed to be played that 0 down to -10, regardless of how you got there, was unconscious and dying (bleeding 1 per round). Which may not seem generous compared to death at -(max hp) or three death saves, but was more so than the "RAW" offered by either the 1e PH or DMG. Okay. That makes much more sense. And yeah, every table I played with used -10 as the bottom and it didn't matter how you got there. If you had 2 hit points and took 8, you were at -6. A few tables allowed you to save someone at -10, provided someone got to him that round. Most just had you die the instant you hit -10.
  • 02:18 AM - Maxperson quoted Tony Vargas in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    For instance, in the area and years I played 1e (SF bay area, 80-89), the 0HP rule was virtually always used, and often in a more generous form than the DMG version I don't understand that statement. How do you use the PHB 0 hit point rule which says 0 is always death in a way that is more generous than the DMG rule, which says 0 is never death?

Monday, 22nd July, 2019

  • 07:24 PM - GreyLord quoted Tony Vargas in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    I think we can all acknowledge that D&D was played very differently by different groups back in the day - but still, if we're interested in the question - look at how the published rules, themselves, stacked up in terms of theoretical lethality. The results, if any, is going to be just that, theoretical. The reality already happened, and happened differently, for different groups in different times & places. The interpretations of 1e are harder, of course, as it was less clearly-presented, but, FWIW, I couldn't agree with Max's interpretation of the 1e death/dying rule, at all. Not that I'm convinced that 1e was more lethal, but 2e definitely seems LESS lethal to me NOW compared to 1e than when I first stumbled on the thread Everyone ran games differently back then (heck everyone does, today, but there's an on-line 'consensus' (groupthink?) of sorts). For instance, in the area and years I played 1e (SF bay area, 80-89), the 0HP rule was virtually always used, and often in a more gener...
  • 06:49 PM - GreyLord quoted Tony Vargas in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    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, rules-in-print, in spite of being well aware of the prevalence of variants back in the day. Need more really be said? I think most of the discussion now isn't with Sacrosanct, but others. I brought up the flaw in the discussion and was willing to listen to how they thought 2e was more lethal when it was using what I see as a more correct interpretation. Instead of actually addressing that...they figured to try to argue that their interpretation was the ONLY correct interpretation (OH REALLY...this is AD&D 1e we are talking about, and this is the 1e DMG especially....something that was a core bra...
  • 06:42 PM - Parmandur quoted Tony Vargas in post PF2 and the adventure day
    Time? Yes, like 2 years, and the encounter guidelines weren't even ready until /after/ we'd starting running HotDQ. Resources? Maybe not s'much: the future of D&D was uncertain during those two years, and it didn't seem like Hasbro/WotC was giving Mearls a lot of $$$ to make 5e happen. PF's future seems uncertain, but it sounds like Paizo /is/ putting some resources into it - didn't you (or someone in another thread) say that they had a lot of ex-WotC designers working on it? Thank you, it's odd that we have to keep going over it, but people keep popping up with statements about this or that edition that imply it's just done something shocking, when, in fact, it's nothing remotely new. ;P But, it's something we already know! Since 5e went and made short rests a full hour, and added a couple classes with significant short-rest-recharge resources, it made not just the ratio of Encounters/day dreadfully important for imposing class balance & encounter balance, it also made the rat...
  • 05:47 PM - Parmandur quoted Tony Vargas in post PF2 and the adventure day
    Hard to believe PF2 will have a hard time competing with /that/, whatever it does - yet it not only must, it has essentially no chance. WotC spent a lot of time and resources on developing the asymmetrical system, certainly.
  • 05:25 PM - CapnZapp quoted Tony Vargas in post PF2 and the adventure day
    That's just D&D from time immemorial (if you can't remember 1974, anyway). 5e is nice enough to share an approximate value of X (ok, and Y, short rests) at which it's nominally intended to balance. Since Paizo is sensibly done with trying to be more D&D than D&D, PF2 needn't stay with that attrition paradigm. But, you still took them in 3.x: slept to prepare spells, took a few minutes out after every encounter to use the WoCLW. Really, no different from sleeping to memorize spells and resting (maybe even binding wounds, if your DM was nice) the balance of the turn after combat in, 1e. You're really good at stating what we already know, did you know that? :) Short rests are only meaningfully distinct from encounters, though, because 5e made them take an hour. And that's only a balance concern because a few classes have more significant short-rest resources than most. So... there is a difference, then. Now, apply this discovery and do over your post, and things might get inte...

Sunday, 21st July, 2019

  • 10:45 PM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    Sorry, but this is hilarious on several levels. One is just who you're talking to, I mean, you are barking up a tree he ain't never climbed. That just needed quoted
  • 10:19 PM - Parmandur quoted Tony Vargas in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    After L5R? What did L5R do? Fantasy Flight released a new RPG edition last October: it's the second best seller in hobby stores as of Fall 2018, between D&D and Star Wars.
  • 09:38 PM - FrogReaver quoted Tony Vargas in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Not what I'm arguing. (Though, also not exactly wrong: sure, a functional mechanic should deliver it's intended experience more consistently and over a wider range of users than would freestyle RPing from the same assumptions.) Rather my point is that, because you prettymuch can RP (broad definition) anything, including, hypothetically, delivering any given RP experience (just w/ or w/o specific system artifacts), trying to compare or analyze systems on the basis of what experiences they can't deliver is fraught, and will invite push-back and descent into subjectivity, rather than thoughtful engagement. And, that's just an observation - of this thread and others like it, really. Agree 1000 times over.
  • 06:45 PM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post Show me how to build a defender....
    Not that many monsters cast spells. There is a Mage Slayer Feat, though, that well, just read it... I mean, a 5e caster in a world where everything had Mage Slayer would still have it easier than an old-school magic-user. That might be ok if something is rare enough it isn't something to count on or worry too much over ... however it REALLY REALLY seems strange a mage is immune to the interference of the Cavalier adjacent to them. Hard to imagine they cannot ... something about mechanics being unnecessarily different, yada yada yada memory escapes me. Mage slayer looks like it has some bite against adjacent casters but not much benefit for the targets of their spells. A level 6 Paladin letting allies gain a bonus on saving throws based on their charisma is interesting.
  • 06:20 PM - Parmandur quoted Tony Vargas in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    Starfinder went well, right? Superheroes, though? How would they work "...finder" into that? Crimefinders? Justicefinders Society? Actually, I'd think (and I've never made a right prediction like this yet) that the thing to do, in the face of 5e's even-wilder-than-d20s-wild success, would be to happily go back to making APs and accessories for D&D. PF subscribers could get versions with PF stats, perhaps? Honestly, that's where the money would be. The superhero is more of a for example: any other genre would do. Starfinder is a top 5 seller, currently the 4th biggest RPG in the hobby market, after Star Wars and Legend of the Five Rings.
  • 06:09 PM - Parmandur quoted Tony Vargas in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    Weren't those committed 3.x fans the basis for even having PF, in the first place, though. Now that sounds like angling to repeat 4e marketing blunders. Yeah, exactly. The playtest did not give the impression that the designers were on a journey of discovery with their fans, which is what made the Next playtest a marketing hit.
  • 06:03 PM - CapnZapp quoted Tony Vargas in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    Weren't those committed 3.x fans the basis for even having PF, in the first place, though. Yes. So?
  • 04:31 PM - FrogReaver quoted Tony Vargas in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    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. LOL. I apologize for the caps. It was 2am and I went too far in trying to emphasize. I don't think so. I think that in order to not sound one true way you have included things under the roleplaying umbrella that aren't actually roleplaying. There's at least a 3-way distinction. There are games that aren't role-playing, there are instances of playing a role that are in no way games... ...and there are role-playing games, that integrate (not merely juxtapose) the two. In an RPG the fact that you are playing a game and the fact that you are playing a role are inseparable. I disagree. Just as a cute off the cuff mental example. Suppose that D&D had a mechanic where everytime your character took a hit you had to do 5 jumping jacks. Are you seriously arguing that doing 5 jumping jacks upon taking a hit is inseparable from roleplaying? ...


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