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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 02:20 AM
    It's worth nothing that in 3e, for instance, it might be summed up more like: 0. DM changes the rules if he really wants to. 1. DM meticulously documents the aspects of the setting the players are likely to interact with. 1.5 DM describes the PC's experience of the world as play advances. 2. Players state actions, referring to the rules the DM is using. 3. DM adjudicates any grey areas...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:25 PM
    You get a more authentic experience than if a fake jerk were running it.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:04 PM
    In-jokes and references to the classic game can keep experienced players entertained, as a last resort, you can even let them regale the table with tales of their old characters. Level-up the un-used pregens so new entrants can step in at the same level as everyone else. Or, don't bother with experience, pick a level, like, oh, 3rd*, and just always run at that level. And just show up and run...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:39 PM
    HP are a mechanism the game presents for resolving uncertainty. Was so-and-so killed by such-and-such? Yes/No: narrate it. Not certain: determine damage and compare to remaining hps. Saying that's "bypassing hps" is doing it out of order. Hit points only come into it if you're not sure they're dead. It's like resolving any other action declaration. Sometimes you just don't call for...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:27 PM
    The idea, as I see it reading 5e's, admittedly natural and thus ambiguous, language is that the determination of uncertainty happens before referring to the mechanics that might be used to resolve said uncertainty. Yes, that. It's prettymuch the Empowered DM's privilege. Presumably because we (as DMs) don't want to. But, there's no reason a DM couldn't do that. Personally I don't care...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:48 PM
    Now we're just straying into immemorial failings of D&D. ;P Seriously, though, a rule (of thumb) that if the player's action declaration boxes the victim into a certain death scenario, the victim dies, isn't even really a variant, it's just the 5e describe-declare-resolve cycle. The player declares the action that initiates the inescapable-death-scenario, the DM narrates success, no...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:02 PM
    IDK, I've heard it coming from players who (miraculously) get the drop on someone, too. If you combine the two, though - player control of the narrative as a reward for victory, with damage held in abeyance after an attack roll - you could get there. The character defeats an enemy and choses to hold him at knife point with his last attack rather than drop him (4e style), but then hold the...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:55 PM
    Stealth? Disguise? Death attacks? Sounds like a ninja. Leather armor & shield? ...no idea. Ninjas hadn't quite become pop culture icons in the 70s, I don't think. And the iconic assassin of that & the preceding decades, if you even remembered he was supposed to be one, would've been James Bond. Maybe Bronson as the Mechanic. ...I'm probably missing something. Did Nehwon have an...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:29 PM
    The Ranger was, originally, Aragorn. Sorry, it was just a model-one-hero-from-fiction class, a testimony to the profound inflexibility of the class/level system. To me, it's a superfluous/redundant class in most editions since that Aragorn thing in the early game. Prettymuch since we got Kits and non-weapon proficiencies, it's been questionable whether it was called for at all. Once we had...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:22 PM
    It is, but 1e, at least, wasn't /as/ susceptible to it - if creatures were "sleeping or otherwise helpless," I think the phrasing was, you could kill them at 1/round. No CdG or anything. If the DM takes the knife-to-the-throat scenario as helplessness, it was taken care of. But there's one huge, unspoken assumption in that scenario... The assumption is that you can get a knife to...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:01 PM
    There's no end of possibilities. And, you can do it on the player side by adding options (like a "Dive for Cover" use of your Reaction, say), or on the "monster" side by giving them special abilities that impose genre conventions (like being knocked prone if in the beaten zone, but missed), and/or just be resolving and narrating things in accord with genre tropes. In 5e you can be pretty...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:13 PM
    I'm not saying it isn't able to allow a Barbarian to rush into melee even in the face of twanging crossbows or dragon's breath or the like - given the right sort of character, at the right levels, wearing the right armor, with the right good save. Just that: 1) it doesn't do it without some willingness to be flexible when it comes to visualizing the character and what hps mean in the story and ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:55 AM
    The ol' sneak up and kill a sentry? 5e: Narrate success or failure depending on which'd set up the better scenario - or, if it doesn't matter call for regular attack & damage. 5e has an assassin sub--class that pulls these kinds of murders as a defining feature, so giving it out for free could be off.... that said, a ranger should be able to manage some serious damage. 4e: Make it part of...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:23 AM
    FWIW, in one instance I statted a minigun as an Area Effect that attacked everyone/thing in its beaten zone.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:03 AM
    How are characters in genre supposed to behave? It's not perfectly consistent: in some sub-genres or instances they'll be /fairly/ cautious of some hazards, but much of the time they'll act boldly, take crazy risks, and survive. Sometimes it makes little sense if you think about it too hard. The same character in a movie or TV show might counsel caution to a minor character in a hazardous...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:36 AM
    In 5e, you just shoot in melee - you have disadvantage, but you can do it, and it's not an added danger over and above regular melee. It's not realistic, of course, neither are a lot of things. It strikes me mainly as a compromise for playabilty and to make the game less tactically challenging or frustrating - faster combat, too. I suspect it'd be OK in many other settings, too, even a little...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:16 AM
    It might have seemed un-necessary, but it was certainly there - some DMs got /really/ into that "your character wouldn't do that" is not an unfamiliar phrase from back in the day - while others were like "WTF, no, go ahead play a Ranger/Druid/Magic-User, wear whatever you want..." ...but I see the point, you /could/, if you wanted to, break you class proscriptions and be demoted to Fighter or...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 11:45 PM
    You can, in D&D, at a point. That point is reasonably high level, and if you're willing to have your Conan be more the later REH version, in full armor. If you're insisting on the oiled-up bodybuilder movie version, you'll really need a whole lot of hps, more than D&D typically gives you. Well, and if you have some way of dishing out the sheer volume of attacks to build yourself a pile of dead...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 11:27 PM
    Let's see, my old AD&D campaign was weekly from '85 through '90 ...more sporadic after that... until wrapping in '95 I'd have to guess like 400 sessions. The amazing thing about that was that in 84-86, about the same group was also playing a couple of Champions games every week, and Traveler, and GURPS - we spent like 30hrs a week gaming: Thurs & Fri night, all day Saturday, and Sunday afternoon....
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 10:48 PM
    … no, I do enough reactive edition warring as it is … it was a long time ago, I barely remember … … yeah, that's my story. /Everything/ was interpreted differently in different groups back in the day. ;) IMHO/PX, the more old-school interpretation was that anything not on your class list was proscribed. So not just MUs didn't know how to use armor, but /couldn't/. By 3e, it had gone to...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 10:18 PM
    I guess I did say "better," but it was in the interest of humor and sarcasm. I /did/ like the crazy way the M:tA Paradigm rubric let you mash genres (to say the least), and didn't find it in the little I saw of M:tA*** - but I'd really already lost interest in Storyteller by the time the nWoD came out, so everything that followed - including all your obvious trauma** - wasn't on my radar. I...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 08:08 PM
    Specifically referred to them like he did Bishop Odo &c when claiming the Cleric as his own?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 08:03 PM
    Vitriolic? You clearly didn't read the post I wrote. ;P ...now, /sarcastic/ I'll cop to. Storyteller & the oWoD were very much a product of the 90s, which, ironically, in spite of being a rather pleasant period economically & by a number of other measures, sported pop culture rife with conspiracy theory. The idea of Vampires pulling the strings in every major city, Garou fighting a secret...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 07:48 PM
    Well, Greyhawk. So you don't have any of the insider testimonials you were looking for on that topic? I was just looking at similarities because someone asked. The D&D Thief didn't use innate/powerful shadow-magic like Shadowjack, for instance, in fact, like Cugel, it didn't have innate magic, at all. It did use magic scrolls via Decipher script, which is closer to Lieber's Grey Mouser than...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 07:23 PM
    Not quite like any of them, but I'd say more like The Mouser. Shadowjack had substantial magical powers of his own. Cugel often used items. The Mouser was a failed magician's apprentice. I can't recall any of them using anything like a D&D scroll (but it's been a while). The Grey Mouser though, had a fascination with languages and deciphered ancient writings on occasion, and Gygax's...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 07:10 PM
    I'm not sure which is more out there, the denial that ranged weapons can & do kill in D&D (ask any number of imaginary orcs with imaginary elven arrows sticking out of them - the death toll over the last 45 years must have been staggering), or the denial that people /do/ close with gunmen in spite of being shot at, or even actually hit several times?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 06:59 PM
    You mean like testimonials from some insider back in the day going, "yeah, I totally ripped off _______"?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 06:41 PM
    You mean it isn't mapped to an actual move action. It's modeled in attack rolls, however. It doesn't take six seconds to swing a sword once - let alone the full minute of a 1e combat round - there's a lot of attacking, parrying, dodging, "ducking & weaving" if you like, and movement in the course of the round. 5e lets you attack within a move action, so you can model moving-and-fighting a...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 06:32 PM
    That should shock no one. I can see that 'tude with the fighter, it just fights, the fighting hero is an ancient thing. Heck, Gilgamesh, right? But the D&D magic-user is not the same kind of thing, bearing little resemblance to users of magic in myth and legend (who were often divine or supernatural in nature, rather than in learning), nor to the learned /mageia/ of antiquity, nor the...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 04:50 AM
    Yes, why wouldn't they? Leather, wooden shields... one unusual magic item was scalemail made of enchanted autumn leaves. But, like Glassteele or something, no. Clerics, no, loss of spell-casting, IIRC, though it never came up. But, even back in 1e I'd customize priesthoods, so some could. A Priestess of Teema, for instance was only supposed to use light-bladed weapons. ...and WTF? It...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 03:29 AM
    Well, sure, if he has a squire. If he takes a page(npi) from Robillar, OTOH, and has a wizard Henchman, even one of half his level, it could be well worth it, in some situations.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 02:12 AM
    Not in the sense that you add the damage bonus to the extra crit dice (and that goes for any bonus that doesn't say it adds to crit dice, but to damage rolls). But, yes, in the sense that all your damage bonuses go into calculating your max damage when you crit, in the first place, and yes in the sense that Pick Expertise is an untyped bonus, so stacks with any other bonuses just fine. If...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 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.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 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.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 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...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 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...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 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...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 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
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 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 a few classes that primarily used them. And it has resource- rich, moderate, and poor...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 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...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 23rd June, 2019, 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.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 23rd June, 2019, 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...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 23rd June, 2019, 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.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 23rd June, 2019, 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...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 23rd June, 2019, 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.
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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?)
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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...
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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...
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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.
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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...
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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.
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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. ...
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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'...
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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.
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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...
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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...
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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:...
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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...
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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...
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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 ...
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    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 07:41 PM
    Ah, so you know my players! ;)
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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...
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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...
    14 replies | 546 view(s)
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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...
    54 replies | 1666 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...
    393 replies | 10538 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 05:54 PM
    Nothing most 70+ y/o athyreotic stroke survivors aren't taking.
    393 replies | 10538 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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.
    47 replies | 1472 view(s)
    1 XP
  • 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,...
    51 replies | 1755 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.
    54 replies | 1666 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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.
    47 replies | 1472 view(s)
    1 XP
  • 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 | 1031 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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 | 2092 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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.
    81 replies | 3810 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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 | 2046 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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.
    47 replies | 1472 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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 | 11038 view(s)
    2 XP
  • 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 | 2225 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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 | 546 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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 | 546 view(s)
    1 XP
  • 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
    78 replies | 2491 view(s)
    1 XP
  • 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...
    393 replies | 10538 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 10:05 PM
    Always great to see that happen! :)
    109 replies | 5475 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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 | 1031 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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 | 546 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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 | 11038 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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 | 533 view(s)
    3 XP
  • 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 | 5475 view(s)
    1 XP
  • 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 | 3734 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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.
    81 replies | 3810 view(s)
    0 XP
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About Tony Vargas

Basic Information

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Details of games currently playing and games being sought.

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

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








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

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

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








* yes, that was a terrible choice, but it fit - he worked /for/ a Mercury Dragon for a while, who turned out to be an Exarch of Bane - really, a terrible choice on a number of levels.
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Thursday, 27th June, 2019


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Thursday, 27th June, 2019

  • 12:10 AM - Garthanos mentioned Tony Vargas in post The Intelligent Fighter , Thibault's Circle.
    Tony Vargas normally whatever fighter I am building I want to think of how they deal with 2 enemies in basic attacks. (cleave,dual strike, slash and pommel) Cleave is good for a two handed weapon use... Dual strike is better for pretty much everything else but if you arent building up your off hand weapon at low levels where at wills are mostly used a Brawler might take slash and pommel but cleave still works. Now realistic fencing is often seen as not likely to deal well with the situation of being swamped by minions but on the other hand being able to do just that is common of heroic fencing types like zorro. The above use weapons as limits (not always) So my thought is I might not need anything more But I have an idea called "using one against the other." which might be closer to attack one and he basic attacks his ally.

Monday, 24th June, 2019


Friday, 21st June, 2019

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

Wednesday, 19th June, 2019

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

Tuesday, 18th June, 2019

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

Monday, 17th June, 2019

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

Thursday, 6th June, 2019

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

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...


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Thursday, 27th June, 2019

  • 02:31 AM - Ovinomancer quoted Tony Vargas in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    It's worth nothing that in 3e, for instance, it might be summed up more like: 0. DM changes the rules if he really wants to. 1. DM meticulously documents the aspects of the setting the players are likely to interact with. 1.5 DM describes the PC's experience of the world as play advances. 2. Players state actions, referring to the rules the DM is using. 3. DM adjudicates any grey areas and oversees the resolution of the action, using the rules he has settled on previously. 4. DM narrates results. 5. Repeat. Nope. It is the same loop, just different expectations and mechanics. The 5 step loop I presented is essentially core to most RPGs, with small edits to the scope of abilities and roles here and there. You can use the 3.x expectations in 5e -- just look at how many people on this board do so. The loop is flexible enough to even support very different rulesets. All PbtA game follow the same loop, FATE follows the loop, etc., etc. There are a few games that alter the loop e...

Wednesday, 26th June, 2019

  • 08:34 PM - Bawylie quoted Tony Vargas in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    The idea, as I see it reading 5e's, admittedly natural and thus ambiguous, language is that the determination of uncertainty happens before referring to the mechanics that might be used to resolve said uncertainty. Yes, that. It's prettymuch the Empowered DM's privilege. Presumably because we (as DMs) don't want to. But, there's no reason a DM couldn't do that. Personally I don't care for opposed checks: set a DC for the PC's group athletic check and resolve the (presumably not very important nor potentially fun, but still uncertain?) combat that much faster. Yeah, I agree that you could and that it wouldn’t be too much fun. You might do it if you’re short of time and want to expedite some of the game play to hit a solid end. But I don’t think you’re forbidden from bypassing HP simply because HP exists. I mean, there’s no real rule in place to cut the sting off a giant scorpion, either, but that doesn’t mean it should be impossible.
  • 08:12 PM - Celebrim quoted Tony Vargas in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    Now we're just straying into immemorial failings of D&D. ;P Seriously, though, a rule (of thumb) that if the player's action declaration boxes the victim into a certain death scenario, the victim dies, isn't even really a variant, it's just the 5e describe-declare-resolve cycle. The player declares the action that initiates the inescapable-death-scenario, the DM narrates success, no reference to mechanics required. It's worse than that. Because either we only know if it is a certain death scenario if we can project out the scenario using the normal rules, or the GM either decides in arbitrary abrogation of the rules that this is a certain death scenario. So either this rule does nothing except saying if there is no chance of survival after rolling the dice, you don't need to roll the dice, or else this rule basically means the GM can decide for any reason whatsoever that something is just dead bypassing hit points. "First level Town Gaurds come up on you unaware. They have their cr...
  • 08:03 PM - Bawylie quoted Tony Vargas in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    Now we're just straying into immemorial failings of D&D. ;P Seriously, though, a rule (of thumb) that if the player's action declaration boxes the victim into a certain death scenario, the victim dies, isn't even really a variant, it's just the 5e describe-declare-resolve cycle. The player declares the action that initiates the inescapable-death-scenario, the DM narrates success, no reference to mechanics required. It's a ruling, yes. Probably not worth splitting that tree-trunk. That kicks the uncertainty upstream in the process. The question becomes "how do you get that knife to the victim's throat?" Which is, I think, a better question, because it might be resolved using more of the game's resolution systems, in more functional ways. I think my last example of sneaking up on an unwary NPC suggests an answer to that question. If you sneak up on someone who isn’t on guard duty (or perhaps is on guard duty but is otherwise distracted) and approach them such that they are...
  • 07:04 PM - lowkey13 quoted Tony Vargas in post On the Origins of Classes (1e, OD&D)
    Stealth? Disguise? Death attacks? Sounds like a ninja. Leather armor & shield? ...no idea. Ninjas hadn't quite become pop culture icons in the 70s, I don't think. And the iconic assassin of that & the preceding decades, if you even remembered he was supposed to be one, would've been James Bond. Maybe Bronson as the Mechanic. ...I'm probably missing something. Did Nehwon have an Assassins' Guild? I seem to recall they had Beggars' and Thieves' Guilds. The eponymous Assassins, btw, hid daggers in scrolls so they could stabbed nobles in the guise of petitioners. Not much help there. I got nothing! The closest I get when I look around is that it was an Arneson class, and that Kask tried to "sage" it (make in an NPC), but was "overruled" (don't know by whom). BUT ... I can't seem to find any sourcing from the various Blackmoor veterans that there ever was an Assassin class in those campaigns? It really looks like it sprung up in the Blackmoor Supplement? And no one, that I know of, takes...
  • 06:54 PM - Celebrim quoted Tony Vargas in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    It is, but 1e, at least, wasn't /as/ susceptible to it - if creatures were "sleeping or otherwise helpless," I think the phrasing was, you could kill them at 1/round. No CdG or anything. If the DM takes the knife-to-the-throat scenario as helplessness, it was taken care of. We took, "suitably bound" as helpless, which allowed the classic hostage situation, though even this was not really endorsed by the rules since bound targets got saving throws in 1e. I don't think any DM in 1e ever really endorsed, "has been grabbed" (itself not an easy thing to resolve in 1e) as "helpless". The assumption is that you can get a knife to the victim's throat without first either reducing it's hps to the point that said knife is a threat of near-certain death, or rendering it helpless. Yeah, repeatedly gone over by both Umbran and myself, so we are all on the same page here. What D&D doesn't handle so well is the standoff scene, itself. The threat of combat isn't much of a motivator, since ...
  • 02:16 PM - Oofta quoted Tony Vargas in post If you could put D&D into any other non middle ages genre, what would it be?
    FWIW, in one instance I statted a minigun as an Area Effect that attacked everyone/thing in its beaten zone. Yeah, I'd probably do something similar - area effect in a cone maybe. The primary purpose of machine guns is primarily suppression fire.
  • 12:03 PM - CapnZapp quoted Tony Vargas in post If you could put D&D into any other non middle ages genre, what would it be?
    You can, in D&D, at a point. That point is reasonably high level, and if you're willing to have your Conan be more the later REH version, in full armor. If you're insisting on the oiled-up bodybuilder movie version, you'll really need a whole lot of hps, more than D&D typically gives you. Please. D&D is not exactly low on the spectrum here. D&D is *definitely* a game constructed to allow the Barbarian to break cover and rush into melee. Exactly the kind of behavior many people expect a firearms-enabled game to discourage, not encourage. The difference is between hp-powered games, and D&D is the archetypical example, and between games where your health points increase much more slowly, if at all.
  • 07:20 AM - Maxperson quoted Tony Vargas in post If you could put D&D into any other non middle ages genre, what would it be?
    That's another reason to seek cover, I guess. It would certainly make gunfights less interesting. Referee: Alright! Walk ten paces forward, dive for cover, then turn and shoot!
  • 03:30 AM - Voadam quoted Tony Vargas in post Good, Evil, Nature, and Druids
    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 close ties to elemental powers in prior eds, especially fire. Scarred Lands did this well in the 3e era with clerics worshiping gods and druids venerating titans with the one PC friendly earth mother titan (being a classic PC druid tradition template) having sided with the gods in the Gods-Titans war while leaving room for wierd NPC druid traditions who follow the bad guy titans of vulcanism or hunting or venom.
  • 12:43 AM - Derren quoted Tony Vargas in post If you could put D&D into any other non middle ages genre, what would it be?
    In 5e, you just shoot in melee - you have disadvantage, but you can do it, and it's not an added danger over and above regular melee. It's not realistic, of course, neither are a lot of things. It strikes me mainly as a compromise for playabilty and to make the game less tactically challenging or frustrating - faster combat, too. I suspect it'd be OK in many other settings, too, even a little less unrealistic to shoot a gun in the middle of a fist fight with just Disadvantage, than a bow, even. The assumption here, is, I assume, some sort of 'fair fight' scenario with a similar-level character-classed enemy or CR monster. Yeah, those fights aren't over instantly. OTOH, if a bunch of much lower-CR creatures charge you across on open field, you'll be able to drop some of 'em - possibly as many as you can loose arrows in the time you have. Levels & hps fundamentally change how arrows, knives, swords, and being immolated work in D&D compared to RL, too. While there's /plenty/ of clos...
  • 12:13 AM - Derren quoted Tony Vargas in post If you could put D&D into any other non middle ages genre, what would it be?
    I'm not sure which is more out there, the denial that ranged weapons can & do kill in D&D (ask any number of imaginary orcs with imaginary elven arrows sticking out of them - the death toll over the last 45 years must have been staggering), or the denial that people /do/ close with gunmen in spite of being shot at, or even actually hit several times? Wow, the strawmen you are setting up are astonishing. How many of those archers had crossbow mastery or other feats to allow them to shoot in melee. Yes, bows do kill in D&D. But mostly they do it from less than 15ft. away and only because someone else standing between the archer and the target preventing him from moving forward. Why do you think this is so? Unless you set it up perfectly, maximum range, sharpshooter if possible, rough terrain, meatshield in front of you, the enemy will, thanks to the low ranges and sequential combat, manage to charge into range in one or two turns. And he will gladly do so if he is a better melee. Oh sure, if yo...

Tuesday, 25th June, 2019

  • 11:12 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'm not sure which is more out there, the denial that ranged weapons can & do kill in D&D (ask any number of imaginary orcs with imaginary elven arrows sticking out of them - the death toll over the last 45 years must have been staggering), or the denial that people /do/ close with gunmen in spite of being shot at, or even actually hit several times?Don't encourage him. The real reasons why you'd want to switch to a non-hp based games are much more sophisticated than the simple issue of realism/lethality.
  • 11:04 PM - CapnZapp quoted Tony Vargas in post If you could put D&D into any other non middle ages genre, what would it be?
    You mean it isn't mapped to an actual move action. It's modeled in attack rolls, however. It doesn't take six seconds to swing a sword once - let alone the full minute of a 1e combat round - there's a lot of attacking, parrying, dodging, "ducking & weaving" if you like, and movement in the course of the round. 5e lets you attack within a move action, so you can model moving-and-fighting a little more closely than in the classic game, which just assumed that any 'melee' was a mass of fighting individuals moving around and you couldn't even take aim at one of them in particular. And, yes, all that is a big fat abstraction. Melee characters aren't /really/ meant to be interpreted literally as figures that stand perfectly still in base-to-base contact and trade thwacking great blows at six second intervals. Certainly the melee system in some editions has led to decisions that resulted in 'static' melees where everyone tried to move no more than 5' per six-second round so as to get in their ful...
  • 08:49 PM - BoxCrayonTales quoted Tony Vargas in post The urban fantasy market seems awfully stagnant
    Vitriolic? You clearly didn't read the post I wrote. ;PSorry. I'm still prone to apoplexy whenever I see someone claiming World of Darkness is superior to Chronicles of Darkness. Feel free to begin with the constructive & creative part any time. I have my work cut out for me. I'll try to post some world building later when I get more time.
  • 08:22 PM - lowkey13 quoted Tony Vargas in post On the Origins of Classes (1e, OD&D)
    Specifically referred to them like he did Bishop Odo &c when claiming the Cleric as his own? Sure. First-hand account, third party account? I mean, I know that Gygax was a huge fan of Fritz, and we have the Nehwon mythos and all that (not to mention Appendix N, references in other books, and so on), so it's completely credible- just hard, especially given that this wasn't a Gygax class. TBH, I have some doubts about the amount of credibility w/r/t to the whole Cugel and Shadowjack thing, but he did say it.
  • 08:01 PM - lowkey13 quoted Tony Vargas in post On the Origins of Classes (1e, OD&D)
    Well, Greyhawk. Gah. I was actually looking at p.4 when I wrote that, and so you can imagine where that error came from! So you don't have any of the insider testimonials you were looking for on that topic? No- always looking for some. BUT ... that's only part of it. As I explain lower- I was just looking at similarities because someone asked. The D&D Thief didn't use innate/powerful shadow-magic like Shadowjack, for instance, in fact, like Cugel, it didn't have innate magic, at all. It did use magic scrolls via Decipher script, which is closer to Lieber's Grey Mouser than the other two. There were other similarities. There were differences, too, The Grey Mouser was a swordsman comparable to Fafhrd, though using a rapier rather than a broadsword - and no early-D&D Thief was the equal of a similar-XP (let alone level) Fighter, that way. So the issue with a lot of this is that a lot of the materials were lost, and a lot of the people either forget, mis-remember, or, um, lie. The...
  • 07:37 PM - lowkey13 quoted Tony Vargas in post On the Origins of Classes (1e, OD&D)
    Not quite like any of them, but I'd say more like The Mouser. Shadowjack had substantial magical powers of his own. Cugel often used items. The Mouser was a failed magician's apprentice. I can't recall any of them using anything like a D&D scroll (but it's been a while). The Grey Mouser though, had a fascination with languages and deciphered ancient writings on occasion, and Gygax's scroll-using feature comes from the Theif's Decipher Script special ability. FWIW Well, let's look at this from the standpoint of where it was introduced, right? HISTORY! So we have the OD&D Thief. p.4 Might and Magic- here, we see the ability to read languages and read magical writings. So we know it traces back to there. Okay, how about the Great Plains Article that preceded it? Well, it's the same, except no chance of failure! That was added, so the chance of failure was definitely Gygax. Okay, so ... was reading languages and spells done by Gygax? Don't know- but the presence of the ability in the "Great ...
  • 07:03 PM - lowkey13 quoted Tony Vargas in post On the Origins of Classes (1e, OD&D)
    You mean like testimonials from some insider back in the day going, "yeah, I totally ripped off _______"? Actually, yeah. It's not that I disagree with you necessarily, it's that I don't know that I've ever seen it. I mean, for the Thief, we have the Aero Games evidence (which is pretty strong). And then, when Gygax talks about it, he discusses Vance and Zelazny AFAIK.
  • 06:42 PM - lowkey13 quoted Tony Vargas in post On the Origins of Classes (1e, OD&D)
    Don't forget Lieber. The Grey Mouser seems like an archetypal D&D Thief, with his preference for the Sling over the bow, fascination with languages, and dabbling in magic. I love the Lieber, but I have some trouble tracking down specific Mouser references! AFAICT, it's mostly the Aero Games model, with some Zelazny (Jack of Shadows / Shadowjack) and Vance (Cugel the Clever), but I don't doubt that Lieber may have some influence- just don't have a cite or way to verify.


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