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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 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
    Today, 12:59 AM
    Ö 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
    Yesterday, 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
    Yesterday, 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
    Yesterday, 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
    Yesterday, 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
    Yesterday, 05:27 PM
    You're not wrong about those being similarities, but they're not identical, and the play dynamic they generate can be /very/ different. The short/long rest distinction in 5e, for instance, is 1 vs 8 hrs, often time enough for one is time enough for the other, you just can't take more than one of the latter in a given 24 hr period - the design assumption is 2-3 short rest & 6-8 encounters per...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:50 PM
    So you can get more XP than the next guy, pull ahead of him, and 'win' the game? That's not an entirely unfair characterization - I'd note that in 5e, XP does have an effect, in that the XP requirements to level relative to the XP value of a standard encounter budget, lead to faster leveling in Apprentice Tier, and after 11th level, and slower leveling through the putative 'sweet spot.' So...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:40 PM
    OK, I had noticed you said something about auras, and now that definitely reminds me of an encounter in, IIRC, PoS, with Chillborn Zombies. In 4e, virtually all auras didn't stack when overlapping, but - wonders of exception-based design - a few explicitly did... ...and illustrated why they shouldn't've. ;) I can't recall exactly where, but I heard that 8 encounters was the original...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:47 AM
    When you say "always conceptually bugs..." you're possibly even righter than you know: that was a frequent criticism of D&D back in the day. Any number of games used 'more realistic' experience systems, including 2e, and all later eds, as a result. /Just/ gold for XP is an odd variant, usually you could get XP from combat, too, just maybe not the lion's share depending on how good you were...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:43 AM
    It depends on how cunning the invading supernatural forces are, and how slow the modern society is to accept the reality of them. Come in quietly, reconnoiter invisibly, polymorph to infiltrate, and then charm/dominate/replace key people? Apart from some logistical concerns the world is yours, no one even notices. Encircle a major city with your undead horde, and cackle your demands for...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:02 AM
    5e is definitely not bloated like 3e, for just one example. Also, it should be pretty obvious that 5e managed some faults of it's own that 3e didn't suffer from. Do I really need to argue something so obvious? Have tobacco companies gone out of business? Has global peace broken out?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 11:55 PM
    Except magic in the source material /does/ follow patterns, they're just patterns in the unfolding drama of the narrative, not in the (non-existent) underlying reality of the implied 'magic system.' A gnome who can spin straw into gold - but not mind-control people, render himself invulnerable with shields of force, throw balls of fire, etc, etc, etc (so, y'know, not as powerful as a 5th level...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 11:17 PM
    Ha! Blatant Nerd Stereotype! Öand true. Thank you, yes.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 11:05 PM
    That's an issue, because we have no guide as to which of the various deadly monsters in TSR eds parties were supposed to face at a given level. We have decades of experience giving us a really good idea, but that's still all subjective, and it would tend to shift the game towards whatever desired level of lethality we were working towards...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 10:14 PM
    Off topic - why not, after 6 years a topic can drift, right - say you were a ghoul in 4e. And say you were a /vegan/ ghoul. What do you do now, in 5e, that there are no more Wilden?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 10:08 PM
    IDK, I read the article and the original thread and this one, and I feel like a very simple cogent point being made by said article is missed or ignored or bulldozed or something: Magic in traditional TTRPGs like D&D fails to model or evoke magic in the sources of inspiration they nominally draw from.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 09:29 PM
    I should hope so, that's potentially some powerful drama there. (I'm picturing WWI, for some reason, not being too into the DitV setting.) Does the character conceive a death wish and get killed? Find a renewed reason to live and survive - or die tragically, or even heroically, in spite of that? Become a stronger person or descend into an emotional spiral - if the latter, how can he pull out...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 09:11 PM
    Yeah, that's a given. 4e DMing was phone-it-in easy. I felt like I'd almost forgotten how to run after a few years. ;) But it's like falling off a bicycle. (something else it turns out I'm good at) And armed ones using iterative attacks, that got brutal, too. Published adventures varied quite a lot. With modern eds, you can compare how PCs stack up to the encounter guidelines. ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 09:09 PM
    I believe I said that. 5e didn't get rid of the things that were complained about, it put /back/ the things that those stalking-horses were really about. You have no idea. I'm a bitter, cynical, old man on my best day, discussing the most innocuous things. I turn it down to 11 when I'm here. Heh. Depends how you run it. 5e /brought back/ the faults of 3e - and, more importantly, those...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 07:22 PM
    Seems right up FATE's alley, and something that could be touched upon in systems that model the character's psychology in some way (Hero, would be the one I'm most familiar with: psych lims), that can be tested (EGO roll) and change over time (changed around, or exp to 'buy down/off'). Certainly not with the same detail and play dynamics, of course... I didn't follow that, probably because I...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 06:39 PM
    It's effing hilarious.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 06:34 PM
    Any chance your formative play experience with 4e included Keep on the Shadowfell, Thunderspire Labyrinth, and/or Pyramid of Shadows? (Because, while the middle one was actually mostly pretty good, each included at least one example of completely whacked encounter design.) ...or, y'know, alternately, maybe your DM just liked killing you... ;) Vs encounters run closely to guidelines,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 06:26 PM
    That proves what I said. The AD&D fighter's save improved from needing a natural 14, to needing a natural 9 - and that's vs anything trying to petrify or polymorph him, from a cockatrice to a medusa to a 19th level Lich. He got /much/ better. Your 18 CON 3e fighter goes from needing an 8 at 4th level vs a 4th level DC, to needing a natural 10, vs a 10th level DC. He got /worse/. And, that's...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 05:53 PM
    Most of the things people complained loudly about in 4e, 5e retains in at least some measure. Fighters casting spells, wizards being 'nerfed' (relative to 3e), martial healing, overnight 'natural healing,' dissociated mechanics, etc, etc... ...nor was it "presentation" - PF2 need have no worries on that score - Essentials desperately scrambled to give a mussed, fluff-heavy presentation,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 05:24 PM
    Thank you. It'd be awesome if you'd stop saying there weren't, going forward. If what you mean is "at low level, 1e fighters had crap saving throws, and at the highest levels had the best saving throws in the game and could expect enough bonuses from randomly generated magic items to fail only on a natural 1, even before name level, PCs casually drinking poison for the flavor because it was...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 03:22 PM
    I suppose it doesn't, by itself. A TT gaming renaissance, being able to research the game on-line without the top hits being rants about how wrong and evil and not-D&D it is, the name recognition and rep of the "First RPG," these things bring new folks in to try (or at least, don't keep) D&D for the first time. A master DM who has internalized all the DM know-how, is just waiting for them, he...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 07:56 AM
    And and, monsters could pull the same tricks. 3e had SoDs, and vs bad saves that only got worse relative to rising (let alone optimized) DCs, and negative levels worked a little differently, mechanically, but we're still pretty awful.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 11:30 PM
    What? Really? All of it? ::imagines who forests vanishing with the click of a mouse:: ;)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 09:41 PM
    Precisely my point. 3.5 went out of print ("end of life," maybe I mistakenly mixed a tech term into a publishing discussion, there?), and Paizo kept selling PF1 to 3.5 fans for another 10 years. Because 3.5 had just established that kind of loyalty. In another sense than product cycles, 3.5 (in the form of open-source d20) is /immortal/. As long as anyone wants to buy it, it can be...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 09:18 PM
    I always figured it was inspired by Sting, Orcrist and Glamdring in The Hobbit. I mean... ...that fits the MO of Orcrist the Goblin-Cleaver, in reverse, right?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 08:53 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Yes. Typo. Fixed. Thanks for catching that. I'm not /intentionally/ using any common variants....
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 08:48 PM
    It is, because there was a very significant event that impacted the hobby in 2000: the release of 3e. In contrast, I'd be more inclined to accept data from '97 applying to 98 & 99, for instance, as not /that/ much changed - alarm over the failure of TSR probably lessened. I'm not arguing the other side. By saying that 1999 data isn't valuable for making one claim about 2002-5, say, I'm...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 08:41 PM
    I agree with Sacrosanct that 2e could be shifted to the left in that ranking of lethality. But, as I said, above, there's some truth to it, in terms of relative PC durability at first level. In general, as the eds progressed, 1st level PCs were made more durable, from 3d6 in order to more liberal stat generation, from random 1st level HD to max, from no healing at 1st to bonus spells from WIS,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 08:16 PM
    Yeah, I've never known us all to agree. ;) 3e, for instance, was plenty deadly, it went all-in on giving monsters the same options as PCs, so much of the assumed advantages the system quietly gave PCs in prior editions quietly vanished - also 3e retained SoDs, /and/ saves didn't keep up with DCs, in contrast to prior eds where saves genuinely improved with level. I'd tend to agree. 2e...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 07:15 PM
    There are melee weapons that can be thrown. So there's a very practical distinction between "attack with a melee weapon" or "melee attack with a weapon," as throwing an axe at someone is ranged attack with a melee weapon, but not a melee attack, at all. Hitting someone with a bowstave is a less common example of the same distinction.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 07:02 PM
    Yep, understandable. Storyteller sold a /lot/ of books in the 90s, and they were, especially for rulebooks, pretty good cover-to-cover reads, but good luck finding a specific thing you vaguely remembered reading in one of them. Serious point-build systems, Hero, GURPS, could sometimes go the exact opposite, especially in presenting their core mechanics, very dry stuff. Both more complex and...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:52 PM
    I intended layers. ;) I also think it's a perfectly workable variant. Oh yeah, I've seen that in action. Most dramatic example: a one shot Firefly scenario that included a prison break - one of the players was a correctional officer. It was positively comical when I was a kid, 14yo's arguing about 'how stuff really works.'
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:40 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Well, I mean, OK. 1e: 1st level fighter, longsword & shield, splint, 16 STR, 14 CON: AC 3, 1-10 (5.5) hps, hits self on natural 17 for 2-9 (5.5) damage (1.1 DPR). 5e: 1st level fighter, longsword, starting package, duelist style, 16 STR, 14 CON: AC 18, 12 hps, hits self on natural 13 for 1d8+5(9.5) damage (3.8 DPR, 4.275 w/crits).
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:34 PM
    Odd, why would you describe something as the exact opposite of what it was? Powers were very structured in presentation, and the mechanics had fairly clear/exact jargon definitions. Anything but jumbled or messy. Indeed, the aesthetic, if it could even be called that, was more 'technical manual' than anything else - which is great for understanding or looking up what you need, but less than...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:25 PM
    So they were being dishonest? Alignment was a rule - you had to choose one - and it had mechanical effects, including things the character /could/ do, items it could use, etc, as well as restrictions on it. So, I'd think, even from a purely "gamist" (not necessarily in the Forge sense) perspective, you'd want to choose the 'best' alignment for your strategy, rather than try to talk the DM out...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:13 PM
    Missed that, sorry. Between 1999 and 'early 2000s' 3e was released. I suspect it had an impact. So 2003 GenCon, sounds relevant, FWIW. 1999's survey, while it might be stronger data, just isn't relevant to the 2000s.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 03:23 AM
    "Balanced at the Encounter" just means "pacing doesn't matter." Even 4e didn't go there, though the closely-related 7th ed of Gamma World did, and it worked pretty well, actually. Any indication PF2 wants to go there?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 02:24 AM
    You have a choice of rules to use (or not): Carrying capacity, it's 15 lb/STR, if the fighter's gear & the other character & his gear exceed that, he's pushding/dragging and his move drops to 5' - otherwise fine, this is the simple default for carrying stuff. Encumbrance ("Variant"): Up to 5lb/STR he's fine, but it's unlikely a medium ally is under 100lb, which'd be the limit for 20 STR. ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 01:13 AM
    Sounds plausible (that he'd like a mechanic like that), 4e had a lotta* re-rolls, from the notorious Elven Accuracy on, and it seemed like there were just more of 'em after he took over. In particular, the Avenger had a special ability that was "make two attack rolls and use either result. Ö If another effect lets you roll twice and use the higher result when making an attack roll, this power...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 12:51 AM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    I may still be stuck in the idiom of the D&D Pedantry Thread, but it seems like there's a whole lotta RPGs that don't particularly fit between those. Good to know.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 12:25 AM
    My memory's bad, but I'm fairly certain that the "Summer of 1999" occurred /before/ "the early 2000s." (I mean, I've been "fairly certain" and turned out to have been wrong, before, so y'all might wanna to double-check.)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 11:29 PM
    I suspect that'd wear you out. ;) A quick search of some modern archery guidelines, and, yes, you increase wear on a 'natural material' bow if you leave it strung a long time, apparently even a few hours is worth avoiding. Apparently, a strung bow is under tension and a bit dangerous if the string or stave breaks, too. More detail than D&D generally goes into with weapons. Adventurers...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 11:18 PM
    They've had more or less mechanical impact in some eds (and I'm sure, some places/groups/etc back in the day, when we were a less disunited-by-the-internet, merely more diverse, community). Obvious examples of early alignment mechanics are alignment requirements for classes, damage for touching an artifact that doesn't match your alignment, detect this and know that, etc... 3e peaked, with the...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 10:24 PM
    No expert, but I've heard yes with regard to the bow. But I'm fine with arbitrary. Medieval rossbows, IIRC, weren't like guns - there's no safety, the bolt can just fall out, etc...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:59 PM
    If every single mechanic is upturned, then it's hardly just a re-boot to re-start the supplement cycle, is it? Sounds more like substantive change.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:56 PM
    I actually kinda like common. In general, things seem more fantasy (or mythic, perhaps) to me, if everyone can talk to everyone else. You could conceive of Common as just "the gift of language" in the sense of communication, it's not just a language everyone strangely learns, it's the language everyone who can speak at all, can speak by default. All other languages would then be...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:34 PM
    You bank the fire before you go to bed, uncover the coals in the morning, add kindling, and blow on it. IDK why I happen to remember that, but it's actually a good example. If I didn't, your character would be screwed trying to start a fire in mundane domestic setting without a flint & steel, D&D-matches (tindertwig?), or, well, since this is 5e, Firebolt... ...so not really screwed...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:23 PM
    There is the important act of stringing the bow, you could make that an Action, and require it be un-strung to stow (only slightly arbitrary). If you also impose more plausible RoF on crossbows and slings, that'd about take care of projectile weapons as fast-swapping alternatives to melee.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:11 PM
    I blame Elan... ...OK, and every version of the Bard class that preceded him.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:07 PM
    Don't mind me, I'm just being pedantic... "How the /Hell/ is it you speak Infer-" "... oh, nevermind, answered my own question, really." But it doesn't specify if that that's oral route, IM, naso-gastric, IV, topical, suppository...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 08:57 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Or that, yeah. Actually, now that you mention it, my second 4e character was an "old-school high-elf fighter/magic-user," he was a wand wizard, and he did explain his Scorching Burst as "an old Wand of Fireballs that doesn't work like it used to." (There was, in that campaign, a conceit that magic had historically, or pre-historically, worked as it had in prior eds, so I got to lampshade the...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 08:21 PM
    I'm getting a sense of deja-vu here... Ö yeah, it's like it's 2003 and someone's going on about the 'cash grab' Ö ...which went on to command such loyalty from fans that Paizo has been selling PF1 to that base for an extra decade past it's end of life. ...so, yer say'n PF2 could be Paizo's 3.5!
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 08:07 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    The difference in ease of use is certainly there, that's been the game's direction the whole time, it's one thing the WotC era hasn't deviated from. Maybe it was just 'pervasive' that threw me. Because, yeah, neo-Vancian is way more versatile than old-school Vanican, and way less limited in in-combat used. OTOH, the breadths of spells isn't as great, and some of them are, well, 'less...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 07:16 PM
    "Good night everybody!" - Yakko Warner
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 07:13 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Ok... Magic has always been /so/ pervasive in D&D. It's an infinitely-renewable, daily (or 4hr-nap) resource. You kill a few monsters, one of them'll eventually drop a magic item. There's /fewer/ items, in theory, in 5e, and not really a lot more spells/day (and fewer spells overall)Ö Ö and then there's cantrips, which seem to freak people out, but if you've played with Warlocks and...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 06:36 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Definitely. I played 3e & 4e each for their full runs. 5e was like coming back to AD&D, in contrast. If I'd never left, it'd seem radically different, because I'd be noticing all the little (and huge) technical differences, rather than the broader similarities, the ways in which the game had changed, rather than ways it changed back. /The/ major thing, IMHO, is the privilege of the DM...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 06:25 PM
    My 3.x group always did that. One of the more extreme ways I've ever seen of dealing with a bad HD roll at level-up, was to repudiate the level. That's how the player put it "I do not accept that roll! I repudiate the level!" I was Ok with it, his fighter dropped back to 2nd, and she ultimately made it to 4th (with less disappointing HD rolls on the way)Ö ...she was, BTW, one of those...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 06:14 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    And, at high level, in 5e, they get a lot safer, which is /also/ similar to 1e, as you accumulate hps and get better saves and more protective items and more spells to negate/reverse bad things happening to you. While the details of the systems are quite different - 5e has bigger hp/damage/healing numbers, 1e has much more significant scaling on d20 targets (which it used moreso than bonuses,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 06:06 PM
    OK, that is just too good an observation to just XP and tacitly agree with. Yes, I totally get that, and agree it's very much a thing. I kinda alluded to it in the OP, with how you'd build a fire in the absence of any knowledge/wisdom Nature or Survival skill ("...you'd describe exactly what you do, and if you & the DM were in the same boyscout troop, probably succeed"). Because another...
    88 replies | 3515 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 05:43 PM
    Sharpshooters'd use finesse weapons as melee backup. The way STR characters use heavy thrown weapons as ranged backup. Which, I think, illustrates the issue. Heavy thrown weapons are a pretty serious downgrade from archery. Rapiers, as the OP points out, are not a downgrade from longswords, really, at all. This is D&D. Magic is supposed to be just better. Not the worst idea I've ever...
    87 replies | 2824 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 05:32 PM
    There are no new ideas. It certainly /did/ it badly (if at all) in '93. Since 3.0, it hasn't been so bad, mechanically (OK, diplomancers were pretty horrid), in theory, if DM's'd use the mechanics, and players'd respect them when they didn't break their way... Ö/IF/. If not, well, machete, gasoline. Problem solved.
    88 replies | 3515 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 05:02 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    There was no CR in 1e. You could totally face orcs (or heck, gnolls, zombies, an ogre, etc) at 1st level. ('Face' not necessarily to be taken literally.) Part of the appeal, I should think. (Of course, CR /guidelines/ don't prevent you from facing an Ogre - or disinterested dragon - at first level, they just wave a red flag at the idea.) So it's an Orcs to Orcs comparison. Orcs just have...
    231 replies | 8156 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 04:34 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    The logic seemed irrefutable to my 15yo self. ;) "So, hey, Tony, it says here that peasants have 1-6 hps and or '0th' level." "Well, yeah, they're not as good as characters with classes, they don't have levels, but they do have some hps." "Right, but before you have a class you don't have a class, right?" "I guess." "So my magic-user, before he became a magic user, he had 1-6 hps." "That...
    231 replies | 8156 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 02:51 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Well, or the alternative wasn't. More likely, it was another thing that varied a lot. I recall Max 1st HD (because Rangers) being a very common variant. One group even figured that, at 0 level, everyone, even mere peasants, got 1-6 hps, so your first level HD should add to those. The version of that I encountered was the "brevet" - start at 2nd, but 0 exp...
    231 replies | 8156 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 02:39 PM
    A standard game with no optional rules turned on. Feats & MCing are explicitly optional. You don't ban them, you just dont bother opting into them.
    87 replies | 2824 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 05:29 AM
    What do rapiers have to do with caster supremacy, Monty Haul, treasure hunting, pixel-bitching, 5MWD, magic-item Xmass trees, Vancian spell-grenades, d20s, Fruedian psionics, 10' poles, white-room DPR calculations, cursed magic itens, 30mm lead pewter figures labeled 25mm, rules lawyers, Killer DMs, home-invasion-robbery, LFQW, name recognition, 20-level builds, spiked everything, plant/reptile...
    87 replies | 2824 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 04:29 AM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    I was more than half expecting I'd made some dumb math or table lookup error. ::shrug:: CR: 1/2. I already mentioned that, yes. You want slower pacing, it's readily doable, no heavy rules-rewriting called for.
    231 replies | 8156 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 01:37 AM
    Did you notice the remarkable visual similarity between 4e & PF1 monster stat blocks? With the shading and all? Most obvious difference was purple instead of green.
    38 replies | 1411 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 01:34 AM
    The 4e Fighter's "Combat Superiority" OA spoiled the target's movement if it hit. They're mark-punishment interrupt, OTOH, did not, but could be in response to a shift or attack that didn't normally provoke. Consensus was the features made them very 'sticky,' even by defender standards. It could be automatic when they're in the fighter's Threatened area? Haven't used feats much when...
    123 replies | 7322 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 01:20 AM
    Yes. Play a Gangrel. Take the Flaw "Twisted Upbringing."
    107 replies | 3889 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 01:17 AM
    So we shouldn't mention the Pixie/Storm-Giant?
    153 replies | 6084 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 12:52 AM
    It's Sisyphean, but starting with the familiar concepts of D&D, and explaining the broader alternatives in those terms, would be using it as a baseline, but not assuming it as the only thing. Maybe? There's some of that in "if you'd just master this other system and accept it's paradigm, you'd understand..." Yeah, I can't see it by those mechanisms. Arbitrarily, though, sure. Your...
    713 replies | 19873 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 12:37 AM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Well, IDK, compare a simple, iconic Orc, for instance. In 1e, it hits a stereotypical 1st level front-liner in banded/splint & shield on a natural 17, for 1d8 (4.5) damage (0.9 DPR), and as a 1 HD monster has 1-8 hps, and was AC 6. In 5e, it hits a starting-package heavy armor PC in chain & shield (AC 18) on a natural 13, for 9(1d12+3) damage (3.6 DPR - 4.05 if you count the crit on a 20, which...
    231 replies | 8156 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 10:41 PM
    So, maybe piercing just needs to be a lot worse than slashing in some way? Because that seems like a difference, there, too. (Or the versatile blades need to be pierce & slashing, vs the finesse blades being piercing?) Or... Ö/clearly/ what's missing is ::drumroll:: 1e AD&D style Weapon vs Armor modifiers! Yep. If finesse weapons were good vs light armor and sucked vs heavy, while...
    87 replies | 2824 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 10:20 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Well, they hit more often than 1e monsters at low levels (and, thanks to BA, keep hitting at least some), and have more hps of their own as you go up levels, so stick around longer, inflicting more damage... ...doesn't sound too implausible. Certainly, I haven't seen any 5e parties breezing through 21-encounter days.
    231 replies | 8156 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 09:55 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    That's not a bad assumption, though character death is hardly unknown in D&D (to put it mildly), at some point, you reach some sort of, IDK, homeostasis, that results in PCs surviving & leveling rather than dying and being replaced. In 5e, scaling (and some class differentiation) was shifted from d20 modifiers (or targets in the case of the classic game) to hps & damage. Some of that shift,...
    231 replies | 8156 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 09:32 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    To be clear, the balance of the turn being used in resting was the obscure rule, the d3 for 'binding wounds' during that rest was very much a variant - a Len Lakofka variant, I'd guess, at least, a lot of 'em that got heavily used in my area were his, straight from his Dragon articles. Per-hour doesn't ring a bell as loudly. Per turn, does, but I can't recall a specific example, either (also...
    231 replies | 8156 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 08:18 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Not a lot more than merely setting short & long rests to different durations. You push out the time scale of the adventure. The bigger difference is table time devoted to bookkeeping, and that's not a /big/ difference, either. Again, folks played the game very differently from place to place & table to table back in the day. 5e shifted most scaling to hps, so, yeah, they balloon. ...
    231 replies | 8156 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 08:07 PM
    Crossposting. Let's take it to the Pedantic complaints thread, and get you some XP to go with that laugh. ;) Hey, and that explains why Gimli was so into her. Well, makes it at tad less creepy. Ö
    153 replies | 6084 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 07:57 PM
    Let's take it to the Pedantic complaints thread, and get you some XP to go with that laugh. ;) Hey, and that explains why Gimli was so into her. Well, makes it at tad less creepy. Edit: wrong thread... ...cross-posting...
    107 replies | 3889 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 07:48 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    "Something akin to" is, I think, a pretty low bar. Admittedly, the balance of a 10 minute turn is a lot less resting than 5e's one hour. But it's still a rest, and it's still short. Some variant I vaguely recall even let that 'bind wounds' assumption heal d3 hps. Which, at 1st level, in particular, was nothing to sneeze at. Not spells in any standard class, now, but there were the occasional...
    231 replies | 8156 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 07:35 PM
    Well, in the sense that flames won't stop it from regenerating... ;P ...we'll see... That's an interesting question. 5e has more than a few little details lifted straight from 4e, and more than a few more re-named, bowdlerized, or otherwise reduced to an acceptable post-edition-war level. The result is /both/ absolutely nothing like 4e, and very similar to 4e. So that complicates the...
    38 replies | 1411 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 07:15 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Not a great point, actually. Old-school did actually have something akin to a 'short rest.' Play progressed in 10-min 'turns,' and if a combat didn't take 10 rounds, the balance was assumed to be spent resting, binding wounds and repairing gear. And, recovering hp & spells 'overnight' is a mere simplification of the complicated rules for recovering spells (requiring anything from 4 to 8 hrs of...
    231 replies | 8156 view(s)
    0 XP
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About Tony Vargas

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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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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. Youíre 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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Saturday, 20th July, 2019

  • 12:38 PM - pemerton quoted Tony Vargas in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    some bristling, defensive 30-something (because this was 20+ years ago, remember), D&Der would present a transcript of a lavishly-roleplayed scenario that happened in his campaign 10 years previously (or that he just made up or embellished), as proof that oh, yeah, you can totally RP the effn'eck outta D&D. <snip> systems don't make possible things that are /impossible/ in other systems, they cover things that, in other systems, are handled by falling back to Freestyle RP - GM stipulation, table consensus, whatever you want to call it - in certain obvious cases, handled that way by hoary time-honored convention.I've highlighted you use of the word things. I think you're using it to refer to certain sorts of events in the fiction. The sorts of things that might be presented on a messageboard in the form of a transcript. In my post I was talking about experiences had by the players, at the table. The transcript - the in-fiction events - is one component of these. But does not exhaust them. ...
  • 01:07 AM - FrogReaver quoted Tony Vargas in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    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. Sure. There's pros and cons to all - and often times those pros and cons may be more or less of a pro or con when filtered through an individual. Or as you surmised, some cons might become pros and some pros might become cons to some people. Now, to turn around the prior cynicism: The "cost" can include no longer being able to abuse or leverage that lack of systematic coverage. Which, to everyone not already doing so, is really more of a benefit. Of course! It depends on your goals, your likes and dislikes etc. Obviously. It's possible to RP the same character in the same scene, having the same reactions, /without any system at all/. When, for instance, you're improvising the scene by yourself, or when everyone else involved is on exactly the same page about how it should play out. It's possible. It's also ...
  • 01:06 AM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    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. Not from the DM himself which is what we were discussing... a DM finding themselves now able to cut loose instead of faking it. This meant many 4e DMs were reporting more player kills than they ever had with any edition previously One of the biggest things was the convention that many melee monsters would 'attack the greatest threat' Yeh in a world of D&D caliber magic that isnt the guy standing in front its often the one with the pointy hat

Friday, 19th July, 2019

  • 08:03 PM - Manbearcat quoted Tony Vargas in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    If you mean assertions by a forum avatar, no, no meaningful difference. Which is why I regularly encourage people to play more and different types of games. And I also regularly recommend people (at least in my life) be willing to have the self-awareness and humility to say ďI donít know.Ē I donít understand this modern phenomena of being unwilling to simply recognize that you donít know what you donít know. There are lots of things I donít know...even in the disciplines/leisure pursuits where Iím learned (you mentioned HERO in our exchange above...donít know the first thing about it...won't even guess itís play experience is like...you said itís fit to reproduce the experience I relayed...I respect your opinion on this so...sure that works for me...if I feel incredulous, Iíll wait until Iíve informed myself before offering any conjecture). So if you donít know...thatís fine...and itís also fine to not take someoneís word for something...but make an effort to know what you donít know. Youíll of...
  • 07:29 PM - Xaelvaen quoted Tony Vargas in post Similarities 4E PF2?
    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 rests 8 hrs and long rests a week. An hour or 8 between encounters? Literal "Encounter-based Resources" would recharge when you rolled initiative (or began an other-pillar 'encounter' in some formal way), and be unavailable for systematic use outside of encounters (during downtime, for instance). Yes, very true - I often forget the 1 hour short rest requirement of 5E due to the fact that when we play it, we use the 5 minute short rest alternate in the DMG - good catch though. We found that without a healer in the party, which is quite often since I'm the only one that really likes cleric all that mu...
  • 05:57 PM - CapnZapp quoted Tony Vargas in post XP for gold 5th Edition campaign
    So you can get more XP than the next guy, pull ahead of him, and 'win' the game? Yes :) But no :) 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 arbitrarily leveling that lingered too long in Apprentice tier or skipped through the sweet spot too quickly could contribute to an overall less enjoyable campaign. Of course, you don't need XP to do that. Just tell your players "level up quicker in tier I and slower in tier II" and done. ...and, in your opinion, that real purpose is? Isn't that clear? Since you no longer need different XP amounts to level up as a Thief or a Magic User, that function has been rendered moot. Since you no longer need to spend XP to enchant items, that function has been rendered moot. So here'...
  • 07:34 AM - Raith5 quoted Tony Vargas in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    Any chance your formative play experience with 4e included Keep on the Shadowfell, Thunderspire Labyrinth, and/or Pyramid of Shadows? (Because, while the middle one was actually mostly pretty good, each included at least one example of completely whacked encounter design.) ...or, y'know, alternately, maybe your DM just liked killing you... ;) Vs encounters run closely to guidelines, 4e characters were often dropped, sometimes very greatful for the next long rest, but rarely killed outright, let alone TPKd. You could make that happen pretty easily by just dialing it up - EL mostly delivered as advertised - but you could, with enough experience & artistry, make any ed as deadly or survivable as desired. No we had a homebrewed campaign which at low levels was based on B10 Night's Dark Terror. We had a TPK around 5th level were we got caught up in overlapping auras or blasts from from some undead and went down quickly. It was rather embarrassing because by the time we worked out we were in tro...
  • 02:56 AM - Beleriphon quoted Tony Vargas in post Designing holistic versus gamist magic systems?
    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. That's only because games need rules to play, "magic" in folk lore is literally anything the people of the time didn't understand sufficiently to explain in more cogent and detailed terms. Arthur C. Clarke isn't wrong about sufficiently advanced technology in the view of a Weyland the Smith making "magic" swords that are just exceptionally well made and hardened. Take the idea that a really Weyland did have a way to make really awesome swords, not like Vorpal Swords or sharped using sunshine awesome, but exceptionally well crafted and a century or two later we get Weyland forged magical blades. On the basis that knowning something will happen and using math to show that thing did happen, a...
  • 02:21 AM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post XP for gold 5th Edition campaign
    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 at picking out the better-off monsters. But, given you were using gp-only-for-XP, you could make dino teeth & hides appropriately valuable, or you could offer prize money for exterminating them... or, and this happened in 'Lost World' stories, after killing your way through a lot of dinos you could find a volcanic cave dripping with uncut jewels. Conversely, you could have excess 'undeserved' gold stolen from the PCs before they get xp from it.Always remember never bother saving the bar maid just the princess because greed is good

Thursday, 18th July, 2019

  • 11:16 PM - Nagol quoted Tony Vargas in post Designing holistic versus gamist magic systems?
    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. There is no model that encapsulates the magic shown in the sources of inspiration. It's hard for rules to model something that has no predictable pattern to start with. We've built rules in the past that model some subset of sources combined with out own biases/expectations though. A Lord Darcy style campaign gave particular attention to sympathy and contagion correspondences, for example, and required time and preparation to pull off anything but simple tricks. But spinning straw to gold, preaching so well even the birds listen, or casting curses only broken by the kiss from the right person, are difficult to model holistically in a way where the practitioners are in any way comparable ...
  • 10:35 PM - Manbearcat quoted Tony Vargas in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    I didn't follow that, probably because I lack the frame of reference... How did 4e Combat Challenge/Superiority map to all that ..er.. sports stuff? ;) If you've never been a grappler, it will be a little bit difficult to attempt to convey things conceptually, but Chess (which I suspect you've played or at least had exposure to) should suffice. Look at grappling (Brazillian Jiu-jitsu in particular) as a series of decision-trees where your opponent is imposing ever-progressing catch-22s upon you as they control you (takedown > deployment of a progressive series of pulls/hooks/passes/sweeps/transitions to improve position and prevent opponent from doing what they want > gain superior position > tap opponent with whichever submission they choose; again, catch-22) until checkmate (submission or an impossible to recover from position where all you can do is stall) is arrived at. Basketball may be a little easier. If you're an on-ball defender in Man defense, you're making personal positioning choi...
  • 08:12 PM - billd91 quoted Tony Vargas in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    Though hps and soaking damage won't get you far in 3e. A same CR monster like a Giant could demolish a reasonably tough fighter in a round, maybe two - if the fighter was optimized, it was prettymuch even money which do the huge pile of hps to the other first... Giants are a particularly odd case for the transition between 2e and 3e. Up close, thanks to the weapon bonus damage, crits, lots of hit points and Con bonuses, giants are generally more dangerous. But before Brutal Throw came out as a feat, they got a significant downgrade at range because their throwing was based on Dex, not their upgunned Strength.
  • 07:23 PM - Sacrosanct quoted Tony Vargas in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    That proves what I said. The AD&D fighter's save improved from needing a natural 14, to needing a natural 9 - and that's vs anything trying to petrify or polymorph him, from a cockatrice to a medusa to a 19th level Lich. He got /much/ better. Your 18 CON 3e fighter goes from needing an 8 at 4th level vs a 4th level DC, to needing a natural 10, vs a 10th level DC. He got /worse/. And, that's his *GOOD* save, at 10th, he might well face a similar DC 21 save against which his bonus could be as low as +2 - maybe +4 or 6 with feat, decent stat, and/or protection item, that's not just worse than he had it at 4th level, that's worse than the 1e fighter had it at 4th level! You claimed that there were no SoDs in 3e, and that 3e /save progression/ outstripped the AD&D save matrix. 3e /did/ have SoDs, and it has rising save DCs with level, net of which, even good saves fell behind the AD&D save matrix progression. You brought up the save matrix and claimed that 3e save bonuses outstripped it. Th...
  • 07:00 PM - Garthanos quoted Tony Vargas in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    Any chance your formative play experience with 4e included Keep on the Shadowfell, Thunderspire Labyrinth, and/or Pyramid of Shadows? (Because, while the middle one was actually mostly pretty good, each included at least one example of completely whacked encounter design.) ...or, y'know, alternately, maybe your DM just liked killing you... ;) Vs encounters run closely to guidelines, 4e characters were often dropped, sometimes very greatful for the next long rest, but rarely killed outright, let alone TPKd. You could make that happen pretty easily by just dialing it up - EL mostly delivered as advertised - but you could, with enough experience & artistry, make any ed as deadly or survivable as desired.Sure but dont you figure it actually didn't require as much skill or art because EL delivered..
  • 06:52 PM - CapnZapp quoted Tony Vargas in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    Most of the things people complained loudly about in 4e, 5e retains in at least some measure. Fighters casting spells, wizards being 'nerfed' (relative to 3e), martial healing, overnight 'natural healing,' dissociated mechanics, etc, etc... I'd say you keep focusing on the wrong thing, Tony. What makes you think 4E succeeded where 4E failed, even if all those things were true? That's right - because it wasn't those things that made 4E fail, and it wasn't really those things that people disliked. It was the way they were used in 4E that made people balk. Since the edition wars are long over, and this isn't about 4E anyway, let me skip the details and just establish that 4E and 5E looks, feels and plays very differently. That's what's important. Whether any given detail or feature is similar or even identical does not help or matter when that is so. No, 5e returned to meeting longtime D&D expectations. Random lethality at 1st level segueing into a 'sweet spot' followed by increasing...
  • 06:37 PM - CapnZapp quoted Tony Vargas in post Similarities 4E PF2?
    Grognards won. Ha - that's funny. Everybody knows true grognards only love the edition from 20-30 years ago. So 5E isn't up until 2040! :p
  • 05:57 PM - Sacrosanct quoted Tony Vargas in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    Yes, you added your CON bonus, no the progression did not outstrip the 1e save matrix, because DCs rose continually through your career, while save penalties even at high level, were very rare in 1e. A 3e 'good' save was lucky to tread water, if the DCs you faced were being optimized even that would fall behind. Bad saves - the other two besides Fort if you were a Fighter - fell behind /rapidly/. At 4th level, the fighter saved on an 8 in 3e. On a 14 in AD&D. A 10th level fighter in AD&D needed a 9 to pass. It looks like typical DCs for monsters in the MM have DCs around 21 for CR10 creatures. A 10th level fighter, not counting choosing feats to improve save chances, would have around a +11 bonus. So AD&D was much harder at most levels players actually play PCs with, with 3e finally overtaking the difficulty only at high levels. Levels that hardly were ever really played. Ability damage was pretty awful, actually, it's not like your abilities went up the way hps did, so it was dam...
  • 04:42 PM - Parmandur quoted Tony Vargas in post Similarities 4E PF2?
    Actually, the last 5 or so years have been a great time to be a grognard! OSR has had a big influence on the hobby, D&D has finally recaptured it's 80s popularity by repudiating just about everything grognards hated about 3e and 4e, and training a new generation of fans to appreciate it's take on RPGs as if it were the only one. Grognards won. The power of big data at work, finding out what works.
  • 12:03 AM - Parmandur quoted Tony Vargas in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    What? Really? All of it? ::imagines who forests vanishing with the click of a mouse:: ;) Actually, just checked, only 21 3.x books are PoD right now: Red Hand of Doom, Ruins of Undermountain, the Draconomican, the Spell Compendium, and a bunch of Realms, Eberron and Ravenloft (from White Wolf!) setting stuff, no core books (those are PDF only).

Wednesday, 17th July, 2019

  • 10:36 PM - Parmandur quoted Tony Vargas in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    Precisely my point. 3.5 went out of print ("end of life," maybe I mistakenly mixed a tech term into a publishing discussion, there?), and Paizo kept selling PF1 to 3.5 fans for another 10 years. Because 3.5 had just established that kind of loyalty. In another sense than product cycles, 3.5 (in the form of open-source d20) is /immortal/. As long as anyone wants to buy it, it can be published. WotC is, indeed, selling 3.5 via Print on Demand.


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