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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 09:25 PM
    Valid concerns can be expressed without relying on double standards. It's not that hard a bar to clear. And, answering concerns in detail is not dismissal.
    307 replies | 7979 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 09:00 PM
    Gotta ask: which Gamma World? Like, what's the copyright date? IDK about "epic" (that implies all sorts of things to me that are not synonymous with dungeoncrawling), but the long arc implied by zero-to-hero leveling and the "need" to have stories paced to enforce 6-8 encounter/ 2-3 short rest 'days,' both work against a purely episodic approach.
    4 replies | 244 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 08:03 PM
    Ok, I can kinda see why. BTW, a friend & fellow GM back in the day used to say "Pop like a toad!" usually in reference to some monster or character being attacked by something quite potent, or taking a lot of damage. Never did get the reference...
    2 replies | 167 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 07:52 PM
    Sci-fi for two of the 9 Traditions and 2-3 of the 5 Conventions (depending on how far the Progenitors are taking it in the story, and the Syndicate & NWO don't need to go there, at all) - cyberpunk for only one of each. In no one plays a Virtual Adept or tangles with It-X, no cyberpunk. No SoE or Void Engineers, no space opera. You might get some Tom Clancy level sci-fi from the Progenitors...
    49 replies | 1168 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 07:28 PM
    Sure. Focus fire is the obvious example - hp damage imposes no penalties, so, focusing on one enemy at a time is always the best tactic, and accepting hp damage in return for enabling some other objective is often a pretty easy choice. Nod. That kind of pedantic player calculation, though, actually can enable a genre-appropriate action on the part of the hero - apparent 'risk taking' or...
    307 replies | 7979 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 06:57 PM
    Oh, wow, so exactly like a Companion character, then? That's nice. Odd choice of name, when Companion hasn't been used for anything else, and Henchman is so much more traditional... ::shrug:: … and in a product called "Essentials" it can hardly be just another example of the reflexive horror of all things 4e … Edit: Oh, wait, maybe not "Henchman" because Villains have Henchmen (or...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 06:12 PM
    Also the ratio between types of rests is a factor. As we all know, D&D has always depended on pacing to impose balance upon class resources and encounter challenge levels. In the olden days it was just spells/day classes vs unlimited sword-swinging classes vs encounters/day. 5e added short rests and classes that primarily used them. And it has resource-rich, moderate & poor classes, of...
    18 replies | 422 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 06:03 PM
    I'm with you on most of these, but two of them, I think, the underlying reason is too compelling: A hard 1 spell/round limit might be simpler. From the start of your turn, to the start of your next turn, you can cast /1/ spell, it might be a bonus action spell, in which case you can make an ordinary attack or other action, a regular action spell, or a spell you cast as your reaction - but once...
    20 replies | 645 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:12 AM
    I'm just recently well enough to return to running my campaign, and the first session back I ran an underlevel complexity 4 SC to handle progress toward finding a certain goal in the Elemental Chaos. It was mostly RP, but at some points, failure could trigger a quick encounter.
    7 replies | 302 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:54 AM
    IDK. walls are typically made of stone, their not nearly as dense as some PCs can be... ;P But, seriously, go right ahead. If a creature can become non-corporeal or something, it could slip right through the grapplers' fingers. Not out of line at all to add something like that, or just rule it on the spot. The game, itself doesn't think of everything, and, while a module is meant to do a...
    47 replies | 1259 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:38 AM
    Yeah, most saves not scaling is an obvious problem. Cancelling out the initial +2, though is just shifting the issue to 1st level in a way. I wouldn't have raised the save DC, instead, give the initial +2 to the normally-proficient saves, and just the scaling over that to the bad saves.
    15 replies | 425 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:03 AM
    rec.games.frp.storyteller and alt.games.white-wolf were very active back in the day, though discussion covered mechanics and PbP as well as more. But what sorta made that claim ring a little true, to me, was the way oWoD books were written & Organized: they were generally pretty good cover-to-cover reads, but terrible in-game references. There was also an increasing emphasis on the...
    49 replies | 1168 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:51 AM
    Sure, the DM is as free, in 5e, to narrate success when players declare the characters flee, upon realizing they've taken on something too much for them too soon. 13A even has a formal mechanic for it, a "Campaign Loss," I think it's called.
    47 replies | 1259 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 22nd June, 2019, 06:26 PM
    That is a really good idea, and on more than just the topic of simplification. Doesn't that rapidly overwhelm proficiency scaling/BA? (Or did I miss that being replaced with a similar level bonus?)
    20 replies | 645 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 22nd June, 2019, 05:49 PM
    Consuming Action Surge - which a 5e Fighter in a standard/assumed 6-8 encounter/2-3 Short rest day would get to use about as often as a 4e daily* - might make sense, to activate a more powerful mmaneuver. That or multiple dice, though hilights the problem with not level-gating maneuvers in the first place: all BM maneuvers must be 3rd-level appropriate abilities, so getting your 4th&lower...
    76 replies | 2446 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 22nd June, 2019, 05:24 PM
    Count each formation if regulars or undisciplined mob as a swarm. A modest sized battle becomes readily doable with regular rules, and individual high-level creatures can interact with them in a reasonable/playable way. One thing I'd do was let swarms inflict full damage on eachother with ranged&melee. Swarms of same-size creatures occupying the same space? Maybe not? Some kind of "fighting...
    51 replies | 1966 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 22nd June, 2019, 03:56 AM
    Nod. None of those eventualities would be accomplished by simply giving the guns in question moar damage - That'd simply result in a dead hero, or, if the numbers added up just right, an unconscious one, in 5e making death saves. Now, there have been moments here & there in D&D history when a weapon attack might do something aside from just hp damage. In 5e that's locked in the BM subclass.
    307 replies | 7979 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 22nd June, 2019, 03:14 AM
    Its not like 1e casters would lag multiple levels behind, the Fighter, their whole careers. All casters didnt even consistently level slower than all non-casters. You just described LFQW. Yeah, a fighter hit things steadily more often, doing more damage, on average each round. An MU's magic missile did steadily more damage, too, and he got more of them, and more & more higher level spells...
    22 replies | 783 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 22nd June, 2019, 02:35 AM
    Strictly Order Of Hermes, then. Arbitrarily narrow, but doable - an Horizon Realm or just some little college town the Ascension War doesn't quite reach, with Bygones instead of other supernaturals.
    49 replies | 1168 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 22nd June, 2019, 12:22 AM
    I suppose that's varied a bit from one edition to the next. Back in the day, there was a rule along the lines of "sleeping or otherwise helpless creatures can be slain at a rate of 1/round." In latter eds, there were 'Coup de Grace' rules that made it a lot more likely, but not guaranteed, that you could kill a helpless victim. In 5e, hitting a downed character will kill it pretty quick. ...
    307 replies | 7979 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 22nd June, 2019, 12:11 AM
    If you're watching that scene in the movie, do you really expect the hero to get shot dead in that moment? Seriously? That's not to the contrary, at all. That's what pemerton would call 'orthogonal.' It's really nothing to do with it. Whether you conceive hps as 'plot armor' (they represent narrative reasons why your character won't die) or 'luck' or skill or 'ability to defend yourself'...
    307 replies | 7979 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 11:54 PM
    Prof to AC as long as you move on your turn could work.
    307 replies | 7979 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 11:28 PM
    That was the FASE-RIP system RIPped off from the first Marvel Superheroes. Thanks for the reminder. I can add those to my list, too. ;( I'm a huge GW fan, and the most-D&D-ish editions, the 1st, 2nd, 4th, Omega World, and the last (7th, by my count, which said "D&D" right on the box, and had clear 4e DNA) were generally the best, most fun & over the top. Hopefully, any 5e-based GW...
    93 replies | 4452 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 11:16 PM
    I don't think that's quite fair. I mean, yes, casters were generally Tier 1 & 2, and non-casters 4 & 5. But it was hardly new nor unique to 3e, worse than ever, perhaps, but only a /little/ worse than an ever that had always been pretty darn bad prior to 3e, and isn't exactly a whole lot better, now, with 5e. At the same time, it's a little over-generous: ToB hardly closed that gap. It...
    22 replies | 783 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 10:32 PM
    It peaked at 5 or 6, in the oWoD as I recall. And one of them, Mage, you could take careening off into almost any genre. Virtual Adepts & Akashic Brothers vs Iteration X & Syndicate: Cyberpunk. Void Engineers vs Nephandi: Space Opera. NWO vs Sons of Ether: James Bond. Traditions + Technocracy vs Marauders: superheroes. Marauders vs Nephandi: Tokusatsu. Syndicate vs Euthanotos:...
    49 replies | 1168 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 10:07 PM
    It's a truism of internet discussion that if you make a general statement about what people have done, someone will pipe up with a testimonial to the exact opposite. This time, it's me. My longest-running AD&D campaign went from '85 through '95, and used not a single published module. But then, I never ran modules after the first year or two with the game. I played in enough - and in...
    350 replies | 10604 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 09:37 PM
    There is a lot of complexity, but it's hard to jettison without depriving players of options. Obviously, first, don't use any optional rules. Feats & MCing are just added complexity. Bonus actions and concentration add complexity, for instance, so do reactions - removing everything that uses them would reduce the complexity of the game. Not removing the mechanics (which might render a...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 08:24 PM
    Yeah, the primal spirits felt a trifle forced or out of left field, maybe the decision to include a Shaman class had something to do with it? Druids as a remnant of 'old religion' always appealed to me, in 4e, Druids gaining power from ancient pacts with Primordials would have been more evocative, IMHO, making them natural underdog rivals to the divine classes, and being consistent with their...
    72 replies | 2870 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 08:02 PM
    Nod. Feel or expectations seems like it's the main stumbling block Hit points can and do model the same sorts of things when swords, arrows, fireballs, and lightning blots are flying around. But itty-bitty pellets of streamlined lead start flying around ...
    307 replies | 7979 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 07:41 PM
    Ah, so you know my players! ;)
    47 replies | 1259 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 07:38 PM
    I don't suppose there's a whole lot of functional difference between HP as 'plot armor' or hp as 'ability to defend yourself.' Either way, if you're being shot at, you're not being hit, or taking less serious hits, whether it's modeling author force (plot armor), divine intervention, a sixth sense, finite luck, or desperate defense. Picking one of those possible interpretations and calling it...
    307 replies | 7979 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 07:29 PM
    IIRC, Steve Jackson himself came right out and said it. May well have been in one of the GURPS books. But, remember, we're talking acknowledgement of 'inspiration' - there's no hint of plagiarism or being 'derivative' or anything like that. There was a lot of rancor between GURPS and Hero System fans over which was really 'first' in one sense or another. GURPS was the first RPG, as far as...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 06:47 PM
    Exactly. The DM /can/ narrate a villain's escape if he and his group are playing for a dramatic story arc, or, he can narrate his capture/death because the players like 'getting it right' and subverting genre tropes - or he can call for checks, set DCs, and 'let the dice fall where they may' like an old-school wargaming judge. They're each equally valid under the 5e DM's role - a big part of...
    47 replies | 1259 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 06:35 PM
    I don't suppose there's a whole lot of functional difference. Either way, if you're being shot at, you're not being hit, or taking less serious hits, whether it's modeling author force (plot armor), divine intervention, a sixth sense, finite luck, or desperate defense. And in some genres, bullet-time would be just fine. In most genres, characters being shot at do move & dodge, defending...
    307 replies | 7979 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 05:54 PM
    Nothing most 70+ y/o athyreotic stroke survivors aren't taking.
    307 replies | 7979 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 05:49 PM
    I'm not sure any particular range of integers is automatically fun. The fighter /is/ supposed to be "Best at Fighting" (with weapons) (without magic). Feats and magic items shouldn't be required for that. If that's the case, a tweak to the standard rules (before feats, w/o items) might well be in order.
    44 replies | 1183 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 05:44 PM
    box (n.2) "a blow," c. 1300, of uncertain origin, older than the verb, possibly related to Middle Dutch boke, Middle High German buc, and Danish bask, all meaning "a blow;" perhaps imitative; box (v.2)"to beat, thrash, strike with the fist or hand," late 14c., from box (n.2). Meaning "to fight with the fists" (intransitive), whether gloved or not, is from 1560s. Related: Boxed; boxing. So,...
    46 replies | 1556 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 05:38 PM
    In 5e, that's not even a switch or an override, it's just making different rulings. The villain tries to escape, the DM narrates successful escape, the players try to stop him, the DM narrates failure, the party tries to track or pursue him, the DM narrates the pursuit taking them to a side-encounter or dead end. Perfectly orthodox 5e play dynamic.
    47 replies | 1259 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 05:34 PM
    Wow, when you put it that way, the fighter sounds, not at all great.
    44 replies | 1183 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 11:17 AM
    Rulings aren't 'house rules,' they're a necessary DM function, especially in 5e, where essentially every action resolution technically includes a ruling from the DM. The thing about a starting point is you move on from it. The Rules of 5e are Written, as much as possible, in natural language, so they are naturally ambiguous. When the rules aren't perfectly clear & explicit, you make a ruling,...
    32 replies | 976 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 04:32 AM
    That'd work for a lot of 'em. There's 5 other saves but rarely for 1/2.... ...does 5e also have Mettle, I wonder?
    51 replies | 1966 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 03:15 AM
    3e had swarms (and hordes? for size M participants, I think it was), and so does 5e, so I see no objection to the observation.
    76 replies | 3122 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 01:43 AM
    That's a good point. If the strategy encourages holding on to high level slots longer, it may cause the caster to pass on good opportunities to use the slot very effectively early in the day, or find him, later in the day, with the slot available to take advantage of such an opportunity. OK, I follow that, but I'm not sure I buy it. It can actually be pretty hard to predict which of your...
    60 replies | 1898 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 01:32 AM
    IDK, maybe: Versatile Fighting Style You gain the benefit of Greatweapon Fighting Style when wielding a versatile weapon two-handed. Choose a second fighting style useable with a one-handed weapon, you gain the benefit of this style only when using a versatile weapon one-handed - you must still meet any other requirements of that style. Yeah, that's versatile.
    44 replies | 1183 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 12:32 AM
    A Tiefling, a Cambion, and an Alu-Demon walk into a bar...
    350 replies | 10604 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 12:28 AM
    The 2e CPH went into that idea in considerable detail. Forces & Philosophies, I found it very interesting and developed a number of them back in the day.
    68 replies | 2205 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 10:53 PM
    Close competitors, I guess, rivalry can be bitter. Like the more contentious D&D and Pathfinder fans - though there's a lot more mutual appreciation, in those broader d20 communities, I think. NP. I know I'm getting old because I can just drone on and on about stuff that happened in the 20th century. ;)
    14 replies | 501 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 10:46 PM
    I've played both (but never GM'd GURPS). They use a similar resolution system, not so dissimilar to d20, really, but 3d6 roll-under with all sorts of modifiers. They're both build systems, and GURPS originally billed itself as a purpose-built Universal system (thus the U) and gave up on it calling itself "Multi-Genre" after a few editions, while Hero started as a de-facto core system and grew...
    14 replies | 501 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 10:34 PM
    Since all 5e classes use magic, it's about the same thing, really. (Though, yeah, that makes the Fighter & Thief "arcane.") ;P
    73 replies | 2203 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 10:33 PM
    That's the thing, whatever plot armor mechanism you settle on, it'll either make only that last bullet a 'real threat' - or it'll fail as plot armor (at least some of the time, a "protagonist who shouldn't die at this point in the story," will). Meh. RQ, for instance, did scads of things differently from D&D, not just eschewing a plot armor mechanic. Armor absorbing damage, skill-based...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 10:05 PM
    Always great to see that happen! :)
    109 replies | 5368 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 07:52 PM
    the DM must make a ruling. Seriously, the observation that "no rule says you can't" doesn't mean "the rules say you can." Nor vice-versa. It's 5e, Rulings not Rules. Even when the rules seems to say one thing, and the DM rules another, it's not a 'House Rule' it's a Ruling.
    32 replies | 976 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 07:36 PM
    Whoops! Should have gone Barbarian. ;) 3.x/PF Fighter: elegant, but not simplistic. It's great for system masters, because you /can/ wring an adequate performance out of it through the sweetspot, if you're really good.
    14 replies | 501 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 07:30 PM
    Yeah, they have diabolic ancestry, not Demonic. Totally different. Typical play wasn't. All we can go on, for sure, is the written rules at the time (& commentary, there was a lot of Gygaxian commentary woven into said rules), albeit, with the caveat that virtually no one used all of them, exactly as written, nor was there any given crazy rule that absolutely everyone ignored. ...
    350 replies | 10604 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 07:17 PM
    From the discussion of Metics thread: Sure sounds better than that game you guys are discussing, here.
    8 replies | 491 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 07:11 PM
    Agreed. 5e definitely found the right compromise between advanced and acceptable. TotM may be a relatively new label, but the necessity of playing without a play surface has been around as long as D&D has been played in tiny dorm rooms and the like. ;) It really is kind of an "advanced technique" though, if the system doesn't have fairly solid support for it (Like 13th Age, for example)....
    109 replies | 5368 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 06:49 PM
    Spam spam spam spam. Lovely spam! Wonderfulspam! Spam spa-a-a-a-a-am spam spa-a-a-a-a-am spam. Lovely spam!Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Spam spamspam spam!
    39 replies | 3673 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 06:40 PM
    Yep. Mike stated his intent, in the playtest, that Fighters & Wizards would do it differently, but they'd be able to take on armies at the highest levels.
    76 replies | 3122 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 06:28 PM
    And you play D&D. My condolences. That'd be a /fair/ game. Those options may still be imbalanced, players of any skill which just ignore the inferior ones. If it is, it'll be pointed out that its "Not D&D" and "lacks the classic D&D feel." So, how much "an RPG /like/ D&D can be balanced..." eh... debatable. Hyperbolic enough, that if this had been Gleemax in 2005 you'd've set me...
    7 replies | 332 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 05:15 PM
    Yeah, CON is a bit of an uberstat in 4e, because it adds to 1st level hps, and surges, which scale, so it getting the fuzzy end on skills is one thing. STR getting the same treatment was an issue, but breaking Athletics out into more skills would hardly be helpful. It easily is an over-valued skill: it's the knowledge skill for three origins, for instance, for many rituals, and for questions...
    46 replies | 1556 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 03:57 PM
    There were 17 skills, INT applied to 3 of them: prettymuch exactly a fair share. INT was very worthwhile for a warlord because it powered some commanding presence choices and power riders, the sane was true of other classes. It's a proven-effective mechanism.
    46 replies | 1556 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 03:48 PM
    Niether a 3e nor a 5e thread, but no bringing back a problematic mechanic so INT can add to it, not ideal. Also not as pressing an issue in 4e, where INT isn't disfavored the way it is in 5e.
    46 replies | 1556 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 03:28 PM
    ...and, when you take Heal, everything else goes from a risk of not being used that day, to a certainty of not being used. Which is how the Cleric got it's Band-aid stereotype back in the day. (Nowadways, "healbot" - no trademark dilution that way.) You'd prep the up-cast spell in the higher level slot. Same opportunity cost, different dynamic. 3e essentially had Vancian...
    60 replies | 1898 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 07:04 AM
    You no longer have that high-level slot to spontaneously cast a high-level spell that could win that encounter - or the next one, or obviate some other challenge. Its a very real downside to the caster. Well then, it must be Evil.
    60 replies | 1898 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 06:54 AM
    Its precisely because I'm all too familiar with a variety of ways of modeling - and failing to model - plot armor, that I find the idea tweaking firearms to high-damage in D&D is a poor solution. Hps are a model of plot armor, and a workable one. That's better than a lot of other, nor sophisticated systems have managed. Yes, thinking of them as undifferentiated physical structure that must...
    307 replies | 7979 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 01:50 AM
    To start with, try the visiting alumni vs the graduating class, but, for the sake of simplicity - almost as simple as the mob of fighters vs the champion - limit everyone to just casting Magic Missile. See how that goes. ...then add shield...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 01:37 AM
    Yep. RQ 3rd added sorcery. The RQII I played had Battlemagic, which you just learned and spent POW to use. Battlemagic used a focus, like a lesser rune, that you needed to cast it, and your own POW. You could also get a Matrix, a magic item that 'knew' the battlemagic for you, and Power Crystals - drops of god's blood shed before time - that you could store POW in, then recover it, yourself,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 01:08 AM
    Or something like the old samurai 'psychic duel?' (Which I don't remember well enough - it might've just been a contested check.) 5e's so all-in with sub-classes, I'd want to go that route as much as possible. Combat Styles, alone, could mostly-adapt the Fighter & (spelless) Ranger to the setting. Rogue could get a Gambler sub-class ;) ...
    307 replies | 7979 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 01:03 AM
    The difference between a 4e minion and just a very under-level 5e monster is mainly that the minion has a chance of surviving AEs ('missed' attack never damages a minion - in 5e, it'd be "minions are never killed by damage taken in spite of succeeding on a saving throw"), and that it's hitting closer to even money vs just-barely-enough-to-be-relevant under BA.
    51 replies | 1966 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 12:11 AM
    As in other whack-a-mole threads, one common theme I see is that the solutions generally seem to work by hosing the healer's allies. To approach it from the other side, you could: 1) Make healing more potent for the slot cost. 2) Cut and/or power-down offensive spells from the primary-healer lists, like the Cleric, Bard (and, Gygax help me, the Druid, just as it's gotten cool again after...
    60 replies | 1898 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 12:06 AM
    Same benefit as re-rolling initiative, with less complication.
    60 replies | 1898 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 12:02 AM
    I mean, if you want that, fine, but I don't think that model the genre that well - that is, you might manage to create high-damage guns, low-hp characters, combat rules to incentivize them dodging and use cover and other genre bits to avoid getting hit - and what you'll have is a combat that plays out as a LOT of missing. A completely separate, almost non-combat, sub-system for a showdown,...
    307 replies | 7979 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 11:12 PM
    But I don't think high-damage guns and reduced hp PCs is part of the solution, either. HP are a central mechanic in D&D, they're essentially plot armor, and old-west heroes are as plot-armored as any others. Their hats get shot off, their friends get shot, their horses get shot out from under them, posts & waterbarrels & windowsills get shot right in front of their faces, and they take shoulder...
    307 replies | 7979 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 10:55 PM
    Grabbing just keeps you from running away in 5e, they'd have to immobilize both his hands if the spell had S components, or gag him to stop V components, but those aren't things the Grappled condition covers. There's no OA for casting in melee and no reduction in effectiveness unless the spell attacks AC. 5e doesn't evoke the classic game in /all/ instances. ;(
    76 replies | 3122 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 10:51 PM
    Ironic. One 3.0 build I never got to use was a "backseat adventurer" - a sage, he just kibitzed from the back ranks, but it gave you bonuses. In 4e he'd've been a Tactical Warlord, in 5e I guess he's back to being a Lore Bard. Of course, the stipulation /effective/ removes him from consideration, since he was a 3.0 bard...
    4 replies | 231 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 09:16 PM
    Yes, you may goad monsters into Overkill and 'waste' their damage or 'gain' let's-pretend-healing damage due to heal-from-0. Sure, bloodied, even without disadvantage, did that for most characters - monsters could be more dangerous when you were bloodied, for instance, without having to actually gimp you into some kind of death spiral. But, I don't think penalties are necessary: just...
    60 replies | 1898 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 09:01 PM
    ...before you do something cool or heroic, at any rate. There's really no good* reason hp couldn't work well in another genre. Yeah, 5e did cut some corners as far as off-turn actions & movement was concerned, but most other eds, I think, handle that sort of thing well enough. What else is so bad? ... it's bad, it's bad come on
    307 replies | 7979 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 08:48 PM
    The whole Animal Companion thing was just a take on the old Animal Friendship spell: it exists in 5e. You could use it to befriend (charm) and train (advantage on 'social interaction' should count) an animal - you might be using a slot on it per day for a while, but you could do it. At higher level you could Awaken it.
    16 replies | 484 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 08:21 PM
    I'm not sure I agree that's what's going on: It may be more a matter of casters having better things to do with their high level spells than heal up a damage sponge significantly, rather than just stand him up with a low-level slot, tempting the monster to waste another round knocking him down again. Yes, the damage sponge may lose actions or get killed, but you can always wring him out on the...
    60 replies | 1898 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 06:49 PM
    I think they'd both just be /confused/...
    307 replies | 7979 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 06:42 PM
    I can't agree. Both the 'role' and the 'playing' refer to quite different things depending on whether you're roleplaying with a therapist, a friend-with-benefits, or a GM... ...or a director. You can improv all you want in the context of a TT wargame - or not at all - it'll have no effect on play, and at worst might annoy your fellow player & the judge, if any. I don't think there's a...
    350 replies | 10604 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 06:26 PM
    Hero System (Champions! c1981 through HSR/BBB c1989-99 & FRED was OK, too) 1) Effects-based universal point-buy system. You can build any character, monster, gizmo, power, cool move, hazard, or, heck, plot point, from any medium or genre, based simply on what it actually /does/, not it's press releases, not what it "is" or how it does it, just the actual 'effect' it accomplishes in the story....
    22 replies | 1200 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 05:57 PM
    Well, starting with 3e there were explicit encounter guidelines. They may not have always delivered a consistent level of difficulty, but they could be said to tend one way or the other? Prior to that you could go off tone, advice, and some vague sense of HD ~= level, sorta. Is that a dictionary definition? Because, if so, it's more likely alluding to Therapy and er.. 'games' that...
    350 replies | 10604 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 04:46 PM
    Its a daily struggle... In a way, yeah, I suppose so. In seeking balance, 4e had to push the envelope of D&D sensibilities on the martial side, but still barely covered what they might do in an 'action movie' kind of reality that'd've still balked at actual magic - like 300, where the Spartans were doing some crazy stuff, and the sorcerers were throwing grenades, which both strained credulity...
    76 replies | 2446 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 05:23 AM
    That was mainly 3e, I think. I mean, 3e/d20 was hugely influential, so that's not dismissing the point, but classic D&D was prettymuch choose race, choose class, hold on for dear life. 4e, you could retrain every level. 5e, feats & MC are optional.
    109 replies | 5368 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 04:56 AM
    Yeah, we all know how you feel. :P
    76 replies | 3122 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 04:42 AM
    How are you guys even quoting eachother?
    76 replies | 2446 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 01:25 AM
    If I'm not running 5e under AL, I see no reason to opt into feats, myself.
    76 replies | 2446 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 12:38 AM
    Oh, the arguing, I get. I'm down for a nice argument. ;) There is a range, yes. How you model a character 'avoiding' the deadly bullets, though, can vary quite a bit. In 5e, the DM could choose to narrate hp loss more as near-misses, dropping prone to avoid being hit, ducking fully concealed behind cover, and the like - increasing desperation & disadvantage (not the mechanic) rather than...
    307 replies | 7979 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 12:34 AM
    There's no reason to assume that an optional expansion of BM maneuvers would always/only be used in campaigns that opt into feats, so it makes no sense to write them as if feats were assumed, but, rather, to write them as if feats were, optional - because they are. What reason is there to 'protect feats?' What's the harm of feats & class abilities duplicating, considering that, in the PH,...
    76 replies | 2446 view(s)
    2 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
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California
Game Details:
The last serious game I ran was an Heroic-Epic campaign lasting from 2012 through 2018. I picked it back up a year later, and it's still going, the second-longest campaign I ever ran.
The longest being '85-'95, spanning 1e & 2e AD&D. I never did get around to a 5e campaign, just AL and one-shots.
More information:
https://www.isleofgamers.com/
My Character:
The last PC I played was Ghourah the Foresworn, a Disgraced Dragonborn Noble Bravura Warlord, Mercurial Assassin*, Deadly Trickster.

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








* yes, that was a terrible choice, but it fit - he worked /for/ a Mercury Dragon for a while, who turned out to be an Exarch of Bane - really, a terrible choice on a number of levels.
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Monday, 24th June, 2019


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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).

Wednesday, 5th June, 2019

  • 08:12 PM - Lanefan mentioned Tony Vargas in post Jonathan Tweet: Prologue to Third Edition
    Initial-release 2e was very much "tamed and genericized" in comparison to 1e, and despite some less-tame releases later in its run was never really able to overcome this. Combine that with all the other 1990s-era TSR mistakes and mis-reads ( Tony Vargas hits some of these just above) and - somewhat sadly - 2e's fate was sealed.
  • 07:43 PM - Yaarel mentioned Tony Vargas in post How To Clone 4E Using 5E Rules
    Tony Vargas Heh, if anything, the lasso targets the Perception defense! Not the Reflex defense. Anyone paying attention can easily render a lasso useless. Tony Vargas Maybe Sneak Attack against an unaware target, targets the Perception defense thus bypasses the Reflex-Armor defense.
  • 07:39 PM - Yaarel mentioned Tony Vargas in post How To Clone 4E Using 5E Rules
    Tony Vargas Heh, if anything, the lasso targets the Perception defense! Not the Reflex defense. Anyone paying attention can easily render a lasso useless.
  • 07:02 PM - Yaarel mentioned Tony Vargas in post How To Clone 4E Using 5E Rules
    Garthanos and Tony Vargas I really want to consolidate AC and Reflex. So, a sword attacks the Reflex defense. A ray attacks the Reflex defense. An armor improves the Reflex defense, if the Strength/Constitution prerequisite is met.
  • 05:02 PM - Yaarel mentioned Tony Vargas in post How To Clone 4E Using 5E Rules
    @Tony Vargas, @Zardnaar 5e long rest grants complete healing PLUS hitdice. What if a long rest only gives hitdice? Thus someone who is fresh (unbloodied) can spend hitdice in the form of second-winds. But someone who is injured or exhausted must spend the hitdice immediately to recover, thus is more vulnerable to further damage from future battles. @Tony Vargas, @Garthanos, and others Personally, I love the 5e proficiency bonus, and feel it more than adequately addresses the 4e half-level bonus. Student Tier Levels 1-4 (Proficiency +2) Heroic Tier Levels 5-12 (Proficiency +3, +4) Paragon Tier Levels 13-20 (Proficiency +5, +6) Epic Tier Levels 21-24 (Proficiency +7, also allows ability scores to improve beyond 20) Moreover the Epic Tier can come with an Epic Destiny, becoming ‘Immortal’ by various methods. 5e feats include certain ones that are a ‘half feat’ plus a +1 ability score improvement. It is easy to equate smaller 5e feats as one or two half feats. I consider 4 skill proficien...

Thursday, 30th May, 2019

  • 01:18 AM - Fenris-77 mentioned Tony Vargas in post Unsatisfied with the D&D 5e skill system
    That is a lot of salt. Don't get me wrong, I like a little salt on my rhetoric, I feel like it really brings out the full range of flavours in a post. Not just the dissatisfaction, but the rage and angst too. When you add the long multi quote it smooths out the rough edges on the palate and really pulls the whole post together. When you add too much salt though, especially when mixed with store bought sarcasm, it can really bring the whole thing down. I've played worse than nothing. 5E ain't it. Tony beat me to the post. The above was not @Tony Vargas

Saturday, 25th May, 2019

  • 05:28 PM - Fenris-77 mentioned Tony Vargas in post The Charismatic Fighting "Hero" - Which Core Class does it Best?
    I don't know about PrCs. The current MC rules already have a lot of min-max type synergy built in, adding PrCs could just make that worse. That's a design issue though, not a barrier to service. In fact, in a lot of ways, a 3-5 level MC dip functions a lot like a PrC anyway. Tony Vargas - the player controlled part is a potential issue. Maybe put the whole PrCs thing in the GMs hands and tie them in to the specific world and story. If there is a knightly order that has certain standards and whatever, then make the player work for it in character, rather than just choosing a knightly PrC based on pre-reqs.

Thursday, 23rd May, 2019


Sunday, 19th May, 2019

  • 02:09 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Tony Vargas in post In Defense of 4E - a New Campaign Perspective
    ...9hp is significantly on the low side for a hill giant, but the rules tell us that these do exist. This one is just significantly less tough than its brethren. It probably doesn't get in a lot of fights. Likewise, it's possible for a goblin chieftain to have more than 9hp. It's possible for the world's toughest goblin to be tougher than the world's weakest giant. But in every case, that HP total still represents its ability to withstand an impact of given force. Or, alternatively, and still well within the bounds of HP as explained by Mr. Gygax, this particular giant, while just as tough as other giants, simply lacks the connections to fate and luck needed to avoid a particularly skilled thrust made by a dwarf fighter with his trusty bastard sword on the rd of Crackrock in the Forest of Grin, land of Kinergh. It is really that simple. And when we are talking about humans who gain dozens, possibly even 100 hit points, over time, it is pretty hard to justify it any other way, as Tony Vargas has just pointed out. You are factually incorrect on this point. I played at level 16, and nothing was going down from one hit, unless it was a minion. A level 1 (non-minion) goblin has between 25 and 29 HP. As a level 16 character, my at-will arrows still only deal 1d8+10 (or so). Even my encounter powers could fail to break 25, if I rolled low. I would leave someone like MwaO to comment on this in detail, but I find it unlikely to say the least. I'm sure it is POSSIBLE to neglect your attack capability to a great degree, but even level 1 PCs generally do the sorts of damage you are talking about here (Level 1 sword and board fighter, 16 STR, long sword, making an at-will attack, and assuming the player took even one feat which helps damage, is already at 1d8 + 5, and this is a low damage output PC using his worst attack. Give him 16 levels and he's now got STR 20, and at least a +3 weapon. This already got me to 1d8 + 10 and I have EIGHT FEATS to spend which can improve on that....

Thursday, 9th May, 2019

  • 06:10 AM - Hussar mentioned Tony Vargas in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    *ducks back in, waving a white flag* Totally, totally not trying to start anything. Honest. I just want to point something out iserith. When three different posters, at least, at three different times - myself, Oofta and now Tony Vargas, all come to the same, or at least very similar conclusions based on what you are posting, perhaps, and I'm not saying this is true, but, perhaps, the point you are trying to make isn't as clear as you think it is. I mean, you're dismissing Tony Vargas because apparently he's been scarred by edition wars. You dismissed oofta so hard that he's still on your ignore list. You dismissed my points as well. I'm not saying you're wrong here. I'm not trying to pick a fight and my horse in this race is long dead. I'm just saying that perhaps, just maybe, your point could be misconstrued. I mean, heck, once you actually pointed out an actual example, I realized that there is not much difference between your table and mine, I just don't insist on such strict adherence to formula - I skip steps. Otherwise, the end results between your table and mine are probably pretty close. However, it took an actual example to see that. I guess what I'm trying to say is, continuously repea...

Tuesday, 7th May, 2019

  • 02:58 AM - OlegRu mentioned Tony Vargas in post Help me with good RP/Optimization balance for Half-Elf (probably)Valor Bard (archer?)
    So from reading all of the replies, here are my follow-up ideas/questions for you guys - @Zardnaar, @TwoSix, @Mistwell, @Tony Vargas, @Treantmonklvl20 I'll format this to go by topic: Is there something you'd recommend outside an archer bard that would fit my char's style (maybe some simple-type multiclass I mentioned in the OP or something else)? Also, is a ranged bard preferable to keep him safer due to lower defense/HP and for spell concentration? Ability Scores: Cool so I'll probably take the STR10 DEX16 CON12 INT10 WIS12 CHA16 then. (I care about strength as I'd like to have decent athletics score and wisdom, again, for the skills) Although, I'm a bit worried regarding the CON - I've seen a lot of talk that it's important - for concentration I think? So in order to avoid issues casting, I should equip just a sword if I'm not using ranged at the moment, not the shield? (and keep shield around just in case, but I'm not sure when I'd use it) For armor, yeah I don't want penalties to stealth as I'd like my char to be able to sneak around in the wilderness camouflaged or hide places, so I guess the best opti...

Thursday, 25th April, 2019

  • 04:05 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Tony Vargas in post messy's 4e newbie questions thread
    83. do 4e elves and eladrin correspond to 5e wood elves and high elves, respectively? While I think Tony Vargas has a decent answer, I think that 4e's elves and eladrin aren't PRECISELY like anything that came before. Eladrin are more like 'Fey creatures', the 'shee' of Celtic myth in essence. They live in an otherworld, the Feywild, and often readily travel back and forth, entering the mortal world through 'Fey crossings' and such. They are inherently magical, being more loosely tied to time and space than mere mortals. Powerful Eladrin enter into the ranks of, and become indistinguishable from, the 'arch fey', a category of creatures somewhat analogous to things like demons and such. Elves, I would say, more represent something that doesn't really exist in European folklore, and is much more closely aligned with Tolkien's depiction of 'Avari' or something like that. A race which has withdrawn from its more magical roots and become essentially mundane creatures, though still with some distant connections to their ancient fey origins. There simply aren't exact parallels with AD&D elf t...

Friday, 1st February, 2019



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Monday, 24th June, 2019

  • 09:13 PM - CapnZapp quoted Tony Vargas in post If you could put D&D into any other non middle ages genre, what would it be?
    In that sense there's no 'wrong' just inconsistent. It's inconsistent to get exercised about hp loss not being a sufficient disincentive against breaking cover in a western, but not about it not being a sufficient disincentive to say, charging a horde of orcs in fantasy. Hit points are a very abstract mechanic, and can be used a lot of different ways to enable a lot of pretty cool in-game narratives. But there's a habit of thinking of them in a much more narrow, and internally inconsistent way. And there's a habit of narrowly accusing people that protest against hit points of being inconsistent in order to more easily dismiss their very valid concerns. Stop making it only about double standards. It is perfectly valid to not want to use hit points because of how that changes the game compared to games without them. I might add: Just as it perfectly valid to ignore the impact of those changes because of simplicity (hp is if nothing else easy), familiarity (everyone you play with know D&D alr...
  • 09:12 PM - Satyrn quoted Tony Vargas in post Exploding Toads! Turtle Grenades!
    Ok, I can kinda see why. Ouch.

Sunday, 23rd June, 2019

  • 04:07 PM - Rod Staffwand quoted Tony Vargas in post House ruling toward simplicity
    Doesn't that rapidly overwhelm proficiency scaling/BA? (Or did I miss that being replaced with a similar level bonus?) Ah, yes. I neglected to mention that play is focused on levels 1-11, with a practical limit being more around level 7. Trained skill users in prime stats keep pace over this range, while others will slowly fall behind. I'm fine with this since I don't like to coddle higher-level characters (and their players). They have more class features, magic items, party synergies, player knowledge of the campaign and the world, and a host of other advantages over their lower-level brethren. A simple "I roll my skill at it!" may overcome challenges early in the campaign as everyone is learning the ropes, but gradually the training wheels come off and players need to put more effort in to succeed. On the other hand, with the way the campaign is structured, players are not obligated to choose quests and goals on par with their experience levels. They can opt for lower-level (easier, less dan...
  • 05:42 AM - FrogReaver quoted Tony Vargas in post House Rule: Proficiency in all saves
    Yeah, most saves not scaling is an obvious problem. Cancelling out the initial +2, though is just shifting the issue to 1st level in a way. I wouldn't have raised the save DC, instead, give the initial +2 to the normally-proficient saves, and just the scaling over that to the bad saves. For his system I would have made it a +1 and had it scale to +2 at somewhere between 9th and 13th level. I would have done the same +10 change to DC calculation as it ties it into the attack mechanic and makes level and stat actually be the major impactful differneces with a small benefit to class save proficiency.
  • 04:30 AM - MGibster quoted Tony Vargas in post The urban fantasy market seems awfully stagnant
    But what sorta made that claim ring a little true, to me, was the way oWoD books were written & Organized: they were generally pretty good cover-to-cover reads, but terrible in-game references. There was also an increasing emphasis on the meta-plot, the changes to and developing timeline of "the lore" of the oWoD as it worked it's way to the End Times. I think a lot of gaming products from the 1990s were produced with the expectation that a significant number of people who purchased them would be reading those books rather than gaming with them. But you're right that they weren't well organized for finding the information you needed while playing. But then a lot of games published now aren't so good for finding the information you need quickly while playing.
  • 02:04 AM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post Do you miss the martial adepts from "Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords"?
    At the same time, it's a little over-generous: ToB hardly closed that gap. It took reining in casters dramatically, as well as expanding martial options beyond ToB, to bring D&D to something like parity between the two extremes. So what options were leveraged in 4e to expand Martial further (Martial Practices could be on that list but were not fully developed)

Saturday, 22nd June, 2019

  • 05:58 PM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post Missing Battle Master Manuevers
    Consuming Action Surge - which a 5e Fighter in a standard/assumed 6-8 encounter/2-3 Short rest day would get to use about as often as a 4e daily* - might make sense, to activate a more powerful mmaneuver. That or multiple dice, though hilights the problem with not level-gating maneuvers in the first place: all BM maneuvers must be 3rd-level appropriate abilities, so getting your 4th&lower priority choices at higher level is really underwhelming. * 3 dailies @10+, 4@20+, prettymuch regardless of class. I did indeed think of Action surge after typing the above
  • 05:43 PM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post Favorite things about your favorite edition: MECHANICS/RULES ONLY
    Count each formation if regulars or undisciplined mob as a swarm. A modest sized battle becomes readily doable with regular rules, and individual high-level creatures can interact with them in a reasonable/playable way. Indeed I think my idea was minions are great but all the monster roles are a very useful tool. I also think potential swarm size is underestimated. A tight phalanx containing a century of men might be 12x12 and quite appropriate to have 5 of those against a party in paragon. A group of soldiers might have both lose and tight formation training. (change their size) ... it might actually take more than a couple rounds to burst through them.
  • 10:15 AM - CapnZapp quoted Tony Vargas in post If you could put D&D into any other non middle ages genre, what would it be?
    And, if hp loss doesn't give you a sense of the character being in danger, functional alternatives, like Fortune Points or the like, aren't likely to, either. No, that the exact opposite of what I am saying. And for the umpteenth time, do *not* reduce damage models to plot armor. Yes, both hit points and alternatives function as plot armor. But that does not mean they are identical. Indeed, my entire point is that these differences are *very likely* to make a difference. It's a big reason why you might face acceptance issues for firearms even though you might not face any for greatswords.
  • 10:05 AM - CapnZapp quoted Tony Vargas in post If you could put D&D into any other non middle ages genre, what would it be?
    If you're watching that scene in the movie, do you really expect the hero to get shot dead in that moment? Seriously? Please don't do that, as if I'm presenting a completely baffling viewpoint for the first time. I am explaining how and why using hit points as a damage model can run into acceptance issues. Some reasons are less obvious than others. Refusing to accept that it is possible, common even, to run into issues with the hit point based damage model does not help in the slightest.
  • 06:33 AM - practicalm quoted Tony Vargas in post "I'd Never Normally Play This, But . . . ." -- i.e., That One Time You Got Talked Into Going Way Outside Your Comfort Zone
    IIRC, Steve Jackson himself came right out and said it. May well have been in one of the GURPS books. But, remember, we're talking acknowledgement of 'inspiration' - there's no hint of plagiarism or being 'derivative' or anything like that. There was a lot of rancor between GURPS and Hero System fans over which was really 'first' in one sense or another. GURPS was the first RPG, as far as I know, to call itself 'Universal' right on the cover, but Hero fans will /insist/ that Hero was de-facto 'universal' first because it had several different-genre games out before GURPS hit the shelves. Thing is, so did BRP, it was a 'core system' not universal, a game company re-cycling core system mechanics from one game to another. Heck, stodgy old TSR re-cycled systems from Boot Hill in Top Secret and D&D in Gamma World. When GURPS came out, Hero was just another Core System among many (well, several) - the potential of effects-based point-building powers was surely there from '81 on, but there was n...
  • 03:45 AM - 77IM quoted Tony Vargas in post If you could put D&D into any other non middle ages genre, what would it be?
    If you're watching that scene in the movie, do you really expect the hero to get shot dead in that moment? Seriously? No, but they might face a real cost, such as a serious injury that slows them down later, or maybe getting pinned down (unable to sprint across open ground because it's too dangerous), or maybe getting shot and toppling over and next thing you know there are four bandits standing over the protagonist with pistols and a length of rope...
  • 02:58 AM - MarkB quoted Tony Vargas in post If you could put D&D into any other non middle ages genre, what would it be?
    Prof to AC as long as you move on your turn could work. I'd probably go with some basic boost to AC for moving, and the standard bonuses for cover, and then have provision for different builds to specialise further in either evasive movement or hunkering down in cover - much the same as the choice between light or heavy armour in the standard rules.
  • 01:43 AM - BoxCrayonTales quoted Tony Vargas in post The urban fantasy market seems awfully stagnant
    It peaked at 5 or 6, in the oWoD as I recall. And one of them, Mage, you could take careening off into almost any genre. Virtual Adepts & Akashic Brothers vs Iteration X & Syndicate: Cyberpunk. Void Engineers vs Nephandi: Space Opera. NWO vs Sons of Ether: James Bond. Traditions + Technocracy vs Marauders: superheroes. Marauders vs Nephandi: Tokusatsu. Syndicate vs Euthanotos: Corporate Espionage. NWO vs Al-I Batini: 24. Akashic Brothers vs Eutanotoi: Kung-fu movies. Cult of X vs NWO: surrealism. RPGs are still dominated by D&D - they haven't expanded all that much since the mid-80s. ;( D&D had it's own vitriolic edition wars for about 6 years, there. D&D's diversity ranges all the way from crawling around in dungeons killing monsters and taking their stuff, to wandering around the wilderness killing monsters and taking their stuff, all the way to, at it's most sophisticated, getting settled in a city or noble court, killing people, and taking their stuff. I'm ama...
  • 01:26 AM - Gladius Legis quoted Tony Vargas in post Do you miss the martial adepts from "Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords"?
    I don't think that's quite fair. I mean, yes, casters were generally Tier 1 & 2, and non-casters 4 & 5. But it was hardly new nor unique to 3e, worse than ever, perhaps, but only a /little/ worse than an ever that had always been pretty darn bad prior to 3e, and isn't exactly a whole lot better, now, with 5e. 3e caster/martial imbalance was way more than just a "little" worse than AD&D. Sure, AD&D did it rather clumsily with different XP tables for all classes, but that did mitigate the caster/martial imbalance in a typical party at least a little bit. Also, unlike 3e's iterative attacks (which could only be done if you only moved 5 feet), AD&D's multple attacks actually worked all the time and all hit with the same Thac0. Another big point in favor of AD&D martials. And I know it's a point you love to repeat ad nauseam as if it's the gospel truth in all these discussions, but I cannot for the life of me justify viewing 5e's caster/martial balance as anything even remotely as bad as 3e's. Ther...
  • 12:01 AM - CapnZapp quoted Tony Vargas in post If you could put D&D into any other non middle ages genre, what would it be?
    That's one of the inconsistent expectations that monkeywrenches adapting D&D/d20 to some genres. Firearms kill. They also miss. They also wound, sometimes not even that seriously. It's a deadly weapon. So is a dagger doing 1d4. Deadly just means it does actual damage, and can kill an ordinary person under ordinary circumstances, enough of the time that you wouldn't want to use it if your intent wasn't to kill. If you want most of the redshirts and black hats in the setting to obligingly drop dead when shot, give them fewer hps. They'll also obligingly drop unconscious when you break a whiskey bottle over their head, or give 'me the old one-two. Which is probably as it should be. And again, this only takes you so far. If you're the hero behind an outhouse, and you need to Sprint across open ground to the next cover where your friends are, the excitement is whether you will make it without getting shot. If the game engine uses hit points, it might reduce the excitement to a question of get...

Friday, 21st June, 2019

  • 11:55 PM - CapnZapp quoted Tony Vargas in post If you could put D&D into any other non middle ages genre, what would it be?
    I don't suppose there's a whole lot of functional difference. On the contrary: As I've explained, it's at the core of the issue, since plot armor is only part of the problem, and many players simply can't marry hit point loss with the sensation of danger.
  • 11:11 PM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post The Intelligent Fighter , Thibault's Circle.
    The area threatened by your weapon? The edge of your reach, where you can make the earliest attack vs a closing opponent? Your circle and their circle are both involved. https://www.martinez-destreza.com/articles/demystification-spanish-school-part-ii The definitions of Box you gave are pretty new ( the reference to a container seems older ) the name pugilist and similar from Greek era is based on fist. But according to my source/sources I think either my father or my martial arts teacher I think they referred to boxing the enemy in as being about caging and controlling their adversaries movement.
  • 08:06 PM - robus quoted Tony Vargas in post If you could put D&D into any other non middle ages genre, what would it be?
    Hit points can and do model the same sorts of things when swords, arrows, fireballs, and lightning blots are flying around. But itty-bitty pellets of streamlined lead start flying around ... It's all fun and games until the lead starts flying... :)
  • 07:53 PM - robus quoted Tony Vargas in post If you could put D&D into any other non middle ages genre, what would it be?
    Picking one of those possible interpretations and calling it 'fact' is overstepping. I mis-spoke, I meant "point", but I take your point :) There's going to be more running, dodging, seeking cover, dropping prone, and more rounds exchanged - and hps ablated - before someone in a white hat gets shot in the shoulder, or someone in a black hat get's killed or implausibly disarmed. Sure, I'm just not sure it'll give the right feel for me is all.


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