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Matthew Koelbl's page

1,433 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Yeah, I'm generally fine with 'he goes so fast that something awesome happens for... reasons'.

For me, the real issue with super-speed is simply the lack of consistency. In this episode, they talk about how Barry has yet to go faster than the speed of sound. But in a previous episode, we've seen him move fast enough to have an entire (one-sided) conversation with Iris while she was effectively frozen in between seconds.

It was a cool scene, sure - but if Barry can do that, how does he ever lose any fight? It is the inevitable problem with characters with super-speed - it should be an 'I win' button for almost any fight, but that isn't very interesting to see. So how fast the character can move changes wildly from one moment to the next.

How fast can Barry go?

As fast as required for the drama of the moment.

sunshadow21 wrote:
Matthew Koelbl wrote:
It is much easier to say, "Hey, great RP with your action, you regain Inspiration" rather than saying, "Hey, great RP, let me spend a few minutes thinking up a good way to reward that or a way to make your stunt work or etc".
This is perfectly doable in any system. 5E may make it a bit easier in that particular area because it provides a single mechanic to do so, but I've played with many DMs in many different systems, including 3.x/PF, who have done similar things with virtually no difficulty or extra time required. It's an interesting mechanic, but far from groundbreaking and unique.

Yes, it is something a DM can do with any system. That doesn't change the fact that I find it to be a useful tool. Much the same as Page 42 from 4E - providing guidelines and support is not necessary for a DM to adjudicate free-form RP (or combat stunts, or creative spell combos, or whatever), but can certainly assist in doing so.

I certainly don't think it is groundbreaking or unique - I've seen it in other systems, and have homebrewed similar rules for my own game. That doesn't change that fact that I like that it is present, and the way that the Background Ideals / Bonds / Flaws put an extra emphasis on asking you to develop your character's story and personality.

In my mind, it is a good approach and one I am glad to see in the game.

EntrerisShadow wrote:

Rangers suck

Wow, do they suck. After years of getting used to Fighters being such a disappointment that I'd just play a Ranger, I'm finding the reverse to be true. There's nothing a Ranger gets that a Fighter won't do better. And the new Favored Enemy bonuses are so situational that they'll almost never be used at most tables. The Beast Master archetype is the lamest thing I've ever seen. You sacrifice your attack to make your companion take a (much weaker) attack. Perhaps someone here sees something I don't, since I'm still new to it obviously, but I can't find much redeemable about them. Seems like Rangers are the Rogue/Monk of 5E.

I really didn't think highly of the Ranger when I read it in the book, but seeing one in action recently has been pretty impressive. Horde Breaker at low levels and Volley at high levels made them even more effective than our caster at handling groups of enemies. I've heard quite a few folks dismiss them, but I think the Hunter path has several decent uses. And a lot of their other features are very handy outside of combat, much like the Rogue and Bard's useful skill features.

The Beast Master I'm less sure about. It looks like it eventually comes into its own at the later levels, when the proficiency bonus is giving the beast a pretty solid attack, and when you can get a mix of attacks from it and yourself. Or at 7th when it can start 'Helping' you in combat to give you free Advantage on your own attack. Still, doesn't seem to quite hold up against the other options, particular since if the beast dies, you are out of luck until you have a full day to find a new one.

EntrerisShadow wrote:

Magic is broken, still

I think I see where they were going with this. The idea is that, even with bonded accuracy, a Fighter will put more points into Dex/Str than a Wizard, and have more weapon options, so he'll come out ahead. Which he does, kinda --- but really, a Sorc/Wiz will probably use a finesse weapon and pump Dex, so it's all the same. Spells (especially Cantrips) should've been weakened or their accuracy dropped.

No way! Cantrips at high levels are cool, but they definitely fall well behind what most non-casters do - since non-casters are typically getting multiple attacks a round. (Or one huge attack, such as with Rogues).

From what I've seen, Cantrips are working they way they should - a good resort for the casters when they are out of bigger options. But in those situations, when resources are low and the party is fighting with what they can just do at will, the non-casters of the party remain the stars of the show.

EntrerisShadow wrote:

Magic is improved, kinda

A lot of 1st-Level spells are actually weaker now, but they also work in a better way. QED, I'm playing a Cleric with the War Domain in a friend's game. One of my 1st level spells is Divine Favor, which lets me add 1d4 Radiant(Holy) damage to each of my attacks for 1-minute. Not really that much, but it also lets me cast as a bonus action - so I get to cast and attack. I love this. It's not system-breakingly powerful, but it lets me buff at the beginning of combat and do damage in a way that highlights how my battle cleric is different from a strict martial.

Yeah, I quite like this. I particularly like that they have both Cure Wounds and Healing Word - so you can be focused on healing as your primary goal, or you can play a cleric that heals while beating up enemies. Having both styles supported is quite welcome.

EntrerisShadow wrote:

The difference is very GM/Player dependent

Yes, very much this. The impact and use of Advantage and Inspiration are huge areas where a DM's style can directly translate to play. Another similar example is Wild Magic - even with a Wild Mage Sorcerer in the party, the DM has total control over whether they want it impacting the game constantly, occasionally, or not at all.

And, yes, all of these are areas where a DM can similarly make such judgement calls without needing any systems in place to support their ability to do so. But honestly, having guidance and support makes it much easier as a DM to feel justified in the way I am using such things. It is much easier to say, "Hey, great RP with your action, you regain Inspiration" rather than saying, "Hey, great RP, let me spend a few minutes thinking up a good way to reward that or a way to make your stunt work or etc".

I can certainly feel for someone who envisioned 'the perfect system' with modularity that can simulate any prior edition with ease. But I don't think that was ever going to be remotely feasible.

I am hopeful that the DMG *will* have enough new options and systems to help guide a DM in designing the game that best fits their group. Even just from the PHB, there seems a decent bit of that. (Do you include Feats / Backgrounds / Multiclassing? Do you use a grid? Do you focus on Inspiration and Ideals/Bonds/Flaws? Do you only hand out Advantage by the book, or do you use it to reward stunts and creative actions?)

You can already end up with vastly different games based on the answer to those questions alone. That said, there is no guarantee the system will live up to the perfect ideal one might hope for, and I don't think that failing to do so is a matter of 'lying' to customers. I think it is entirely fine to be disappointed it if doesn't give you what you are looking for, it is entirely fine to realize it isn't the game you want to play. But acting like that is the result of willful deception is, perhaps, not entirely fair.

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The Lion Cleric wrote:
If you are not a casting class, you can get away with starting with 20 in the stat, if you're not using arrays. if that stat is Dex, you can have just 1 less AC than the guy in full flate, while still having advantages, such as being able to stealth, doing more damage (because you have +5 modifier on your bow/rapier), spending much, much less money, and most likely more HP as well, due to higher Con. The only two advantages a high Str guy would have is his carrying capacity and his ability to initiate maneouvres. You can protect with Dex against them too.

How are you starting with 20 in a stat? With point-buy, the highest you can start is 15, and racial modifiers would only bring that to 16 or 17. I suppose you can end up with a 20 if you were rolling stats and had the right race, but there are plenty of unbalanced possibilities in any system where you are rolling stats.

That said, yeah, Dex is weighted pretty strongly, as is Con. The one nice feature mitigating that is how saves now exist for every stat. Thus, while a high Dex-Con character had great Ref and Fort in both 3rd Edition and 4E, in 5e a Dex-Con character remains vulnerable to Strength saves, and that can be a big deal against many opponents.

Personally, I really like the stat-buy system. The cap of 15 on a starting stat, and the way the costs are weighted, feels like it encourages me to end up with a much more well-rounded character compared to point-buy in earlier editions.

Yeah, I do like how feats + background lets you build some surprising variations on classes without much difficulty.

For me, I'd like to see the Elemental Monk get a bit more finely tuned (it is the only class path I'm less than impressed with.)

More sorcerer bloodlines is a good one. I'd like to see another option for the ranger, as well. Maybe something like the 4E Warden?

Steve Geddes wrote:
In 'pricing' shield proficiency, I was struck by the fact that a magicuser can get a +1 to dex/str(?) plus proficiency with light armor (which doesnt use a hand and is up to +3 to AC, from memory) for the cost of one feat. So my thought was that shield proficiency should be a considerably lower investment than that. We also discussed it being potentially worth a couple of skills (either in the skilled feat or from a custom written background which is ultimately my preferred option, I think).

My thought regarding the feat comparison would probably be to shift things in the other direction. If a feat that just gives Shield Proficiency seems lackluster (and I agree it does), the solution in my mind would be to add more abilities to the feat, to bring it up to par. Designing a custom Shield feat for non-armored characters would let it be a character designing element.

Whereas trying to create a trade-off to acquire the proficiency via other elements of the system seems dangerous, if only because the same logic could be extended to other feat elements. Why not trade in skills for an armor proficiency? Or for +1 to a stat? Those are also 'partial' elements that come from feats, after all.

All that said, I don't think it will break the system to come up with a way to harvest skills for other bonuses, or create a custom background that goes a little farther afield in the benefits it gives. But it does seem like the sort of thing that can imbalance the system, and would need to be handled with care.

Adjule wrote:
I don't think delaying your turn works that way. But that's probably a discussion for another thread.

I think it is the sort of thing where 4E, for example, explicitly defined "if you have a duration tracking until the end of someone's turn, and their initiative order changes, you still track when their previous initiative was in order to know when to resolve the ongoing effects." Which works in theory, but I definitely have had plenty of games where keeping track of all that can get... kinda out of hand, and in 3.5, the exact same thing.

Thus 5E, instead, decided to simply avoid any effects that adjust initiative order, as part of the overall goal of simplifying and speeding up play. Note, in fact, that the Ready action doesn't move your Init in 5E - it just lets you spend your reaction to take an Action later in the round. You still go again normally on your next turn. As far as I know, there isn't anything that changes your Initiative during a combat.

Given the goal of 5E is also to have relatively quick rounds, I think the designers are hoping that Ready can cover most scenarios where you want to react to enemy activity. And that if you really do just want to wait and see what happens before taking your turn, you can represent that... simply by waiting until your next turn comes up, which shouldn't take all that long.

I like the approach in general, since initiative shifting is one area that can get kinda complicated. More importantly, though, it is also an area where it is trivial to house-rule back in the older versions of Delay and Ready, if you have a group that wants to use them.

Shield Proficiency doesn't seem something to give away lightly, since AC has a relatively strict band in 5E. For characters who have the free hand to make use of shields - many casters, rogues, etc - getting +2 AC from a shield could be a pretty big deal.

So I think simply letting someone swap a regular skill for it would seem rather strong. A Feat seems a reasonable way to go about it (in terms of resources), and it shouldn't take much to design a custom feat for shield use for lightly armored PCs if one was so inclined.

Multiclassing also would be a way to pick up shield proficiency - and, again, seems an acceptable investment in return for such a benefit.

Of course, if you aren't using the feat or multiclassing rules, that limits options. I'd still be wary of just letting one swap a basic skill for it. Making it part of a background could be a solution. Most backgrounds give two skill proficiencies and 1-2 tool proficiencies or languages. You might consider having a background that gives up most of that for 1 shield or armor or weapon proficiency.

But honestly, that starts to go down a tricky road in terms of trading less combat relevant resources for combat relevant resources, and I personally would be awfully wary of going down that route. I'd probably only recommend it if it was supremely relevant to someone's character concept, and none of the other approaches to acquiring it are able to work, for whatever reasons.

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Yeah, I wasn't too bothered by Absorbing Man being able to work some mojo to take on the car without any problems. I was much more bothered by him being able to intercept it without any explanation for 1) how he was fast enough to get ahead of it; and 2) how he located it so easily. That was much more immersion breaking, especially since they didn't even try and offer any sort of explanation.

That said, I did really like him as a villain overall. Especially after some of the previous villains being epic monologuers, having a villain who was just intimidating and generally just went about his business without any grandstanding or bantering, was a nice change of pace.

I finally got my copy, and was very impressed with it. I really liked the art, and I found a lot of depth and details in some of the background elements. Kua-toa as a psionic race driven so insane by their enslavement to mind flayers that they now, in their madness, literally invent new gods to worship <i>who become real because the Kua-toa believe in them</i> was one good example of something just dripping with story flavor and plot hooks.

I don't know if this is drawing on a background they've had in past editions. But I can't remember anything from previous MMs about them other than them just being generic crazy fish people who worshipped another generic evil god. But while this version draws on those elements, it takes it in a direction that really feels unique and interesting, and plays up those elements that were already there (religious fanaticism and madness) and uses that to make something that stands out on its own.

So seeing things like that was what has impressed me with the book so far. That doesn't mean every entry in the book will wow me in the same way, but is certainly a promising sign.

Yeah, I think a lot of those books get a bit more flak than is deserved. The names are a large part of the culprit - the idea itself of having a diverse range of monsters within a monster entry is not a bad one. But while this led to some very creative monsters in terms of mechanics, the creativity often didn't carry through to naming the critters.

It wasn't always completely awful, but the worst ones certainly stood out, and provided lots of fodder for mockery.

Whether the naming was done for IP reasons or because the designers thought melded names had a touch more distinction, it did end up reaching somewhat silly levels, and often distracting from areas where the creature design and background was, itself, reasonably interesting.

Would there have been less complaints if the Fire Archon Emberguard, Fire Archon Blazesteel, and Fire Archon Ash Disciple were instead simply named the Fire Archon Templar, Fire Archon Trooper, and Fire Archon Magus?


I'm hoping some of the creativity in design will carry over in the new edition, while also stepping away from the less impressive areas, such as creature naming.

1) Advantage/Disadvantage:

The big thing about advantage is that it allows you to sneak attack. It is not the only way to sneak attack, however. While flanking no longer exists, the rogue has a special rule that they can sneak attack (with melee or ranged attacks!) if, essentially, at least one ally threatens their target.

So if you have friends that will often be in melee, you will usually have targets to sneak attack.

If not, you will need to find ways to gain advantage on your own. The most common way will be via the hide action. This will tend to work best with ranged attacks, since you will usually need to getout of sight of the enemy. Some races can impact this - halflings can hide behind larger creatures (like, say, other party members), while wood elves can hide in certain natural forms of light cover (mist, foliage, etc).

Hiding takes an action, which means at level one, if using it heavily, you will typically end up hiding one round and then attacking the next. However! At level 2, Rogues get something awesome called 'Cunning Action'. This is a bonus action they can take every turn, usable only to Dash (double move), Disengage (avoid Attacks of Opportunity) or Hide. So this makes it much more viable to dart in and out of hiding every round while attacking your enemies.

Other ways of gaining advantage include allies helping you in combat (the new form of Aid Another), or spells and abilities of various sorts. As an Arcane Trickster, you can pick up some of those spells yourself. As an Assassin, you get advantage vs creatures that haven't yet acted, so that can help in round one of combat. Or, if you multiclass into the right class (Barbarian, Fighter), there are various ways to get advantage on a regular basis.

Disadvantage is bad for you because it can negate your own advantage and prevent you from using sneak attack. Concealed enemies cause disadvantage on your attacks. If you are Blinded, Poisoned, Prone or Restrained, you have disadvantage. So those are things to watch out for. Ranged attacks no longer provoke if threatened, but instead have disadvantage up close, so that is also worth keeping in mind with some builds.

2) Optimal weapons:

Assuming you are a standard dex based rogue, the Rapier is always a solid choice. A short sword can work as an off-hand weapon - you don't need any special feats to attack with two weapons. Your off-hand attack won't do a ton of damage, and it won't let you sneak attack twice a round, but it will give you two chances to hit, which can be nice. It does use up your bonus action to take that off-hand attack, which means it conflicts with that Cunning Action ability I mentioned early.

So if you are a rogue that wants to bounce in and out of combat and the shadows, dual-wielding will probably be less useful. But if you plan to roll in and just keep stabbing the enemies your fighter is keeping busy, it can work quite well.

Daggers are lower damage but give you the flexibility to throw them.

3) Assassin:

The big thing for the Assassin is that it is very scary in that first round of combat. You gain advantage automatically on any creature that hasn't yet acted. And if you can actually catch enemies by surprise, you can auto-crit them. (Which doubles the damage dice you roll. Which, with Sneak Attack, is quite scary!)

How useful that is will often depend on the party. Is the party as a whole sneaky enough to occasionally catch enemies by surprise? Or will they be willing to let you scout ahead to try and take some sniper shots at unexpecting foes? If so, the Assassin can definitely pay off. But if the group just charges into each fight without caution, it won't be as useful.

Trickster gets you quite a bit of utility, both in and out of combat - summon your own concealment with Fog Cloud, go invisible, create illusions, charm enemies, etc. Or even lets you pick up a few direct damage spells to help out in non-standard ways for a rogue. But I think it doesn't get too much raw power until later levels. Early on, it does get quite a few cool tricks, like picking locks from across the room, so that can be neat.

4) Wood Elves are a pretty good rogue choice. They boost your speed by 5'. They also get good stats for a rogue (+Dex), can hide easier than most, and gain proficiency with the longbow (a great ranged weapon for a rogue sniper).

However, keep in mind that starting at level 2, Cunning Action lets a rogue double move and still attack (or do other stuff). So even a dwarf rogue can end up moving pretty fast at that point, compared to most other classes.

5) There doesn't seem much involving either of those in the basic rules. Assassins gain proficiency in making poison, but the actual details on that seem to be elsewhere (presumably the DMG when it comes out).

Irontruth wrote:

I do like the base rules and how things operate. My knock right now is the structure of classes. I don't necessarily need a plethora of options, but rather just the opportunity to make choices.

Character creation is good IMO. I'm very happy with it so far. Just looking down the road, I wish I had more control.

I am curious whether we will see, in addition to new sub-class options themselves, also new additional choices / alternative class features, on a smaller scale.

For example, the Totem Barbarian gets to choose an animal spirit bonus at levels 3, 6 and 14. When they do so, they can choose from the Bear, Eagle, and Wolf totems. I could easily see a future book adding more animal totem options to that list.

Or even with the Berserker Barbarian, who doesn't have any options to make - could they at some point add those in? At level 6, the Berserker gets immunity to Charm and Fear while raging. Might they introduce future options that the Berserker could take instead? Perhaps he can choose between Mindless Rage (immunity to Charm/Fear), Unstoppable Rage (bonuses vs prone / grapple / forced movement), Instinctual Rage (blindsense or bonuses vs invisible enemies, blindness/deafness, etc)?

I mean, I think to some extent the Berserker Barbarian (like the Champion Fighter) are intentionally lacking in choices and decision making. But I think options could be presented within even those, if one wanted to do so, much the way alternative class features were presented in 3.5.

I think adding new options via the subclass approach is more likely, myself. But at the same time, more totem animal options for the barbarian or more Hunter options for the ranger, both seem well within the realm of possibility.

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I finally got my copy of the PHB, and now that I can see different path options within each class, I'm really feeling the approach the class design, even more than what I saw in the playtest.

So I figured I'd start up a thread for everyone to share the elements they've noticed that have them most excited or interested in the edition, or any other stuff that just looks cool.

Here are the big ones for me thus far:

1) Character choices having a big impact.

I'm really impressed by how much weight goes into the different character path choices within each class. Wizard specialists not just being about having different spells, but actually getting truly unique abilities that fit the flavor of their specialization. Same goes for cleric domains, with domain impacting skills, equipment, spells, special abilities... that's really cool.

It also shows me the direction, I'm guessing, for any future content. Will we eventually see future classes like the Psion? Sure, seems likely. But plenty of other character options seem like they will simply be incorporated as path variants within the existing classes. Why come out with a Psychic Warrior class, for example, when you can just make that a Martial Archetype for the Fighter - just as the Eldritch Knight is?

Adding new variants within each class seems like it will let you capture plenty of unique builds and concepts without needing to resort to countless new classes / prestige classes / paragon paths / etc. Which has me hopeful that they will have plenty of room to develop new content without going down the usual path of option bloat and optimization.

2) Character abilities that really feel unique.

Warlocks who have made pacts with Great Old Ones (ie, Far Realm / Star Pact / etc) just straight up get telepathy at level 1. Wild Magic Sorcerers have a chance to trigger a wild magic surge every time they cast a spell - or more often, if the DM invokes it upon them! Rogues are wily, crafty skirmishers who get free utility actions each round of the combat, letting them dash safely past enemies, dart out of sight to go hide, disable traps while tossing a dagger at a foe, etc.

I feel like they have done a good job, with many abilities, of giving out benefits that feel meaningful and useful, without being overpowered. I'm not sold on every such build - the Shadow Monk looks awesome, for example, but the Elemental Monk hasn't really grabbed me.

But nonetheless, I like how just about every class has something unique going for it (or at least has some options in that category). I feel like it avoids the disparity of 3.5 (where some characters were pretty mundane from start to finish), while also avoiding the 'sameiness' that could crop up in 4E.

3) Taking the best of both worlds.

I like seeing the blend of concepts from editions - not just in the mechanics, but also in the flavor. Discovering the Avenger was still around - as a Paladin buld - was a great surprise.

I was thrilled at how the Warlock incorporates elements of both the 3.5 warlock (with at-will invocations) plus elements of the 4E Warlock (with different pacts, unique spells like Hellish Rebuke, the Fiendish Warlock's ability to gain temps by killing foes, and the ability to Hex enemies for ongoing damage bonuses).

Does it support every build found in every edition? Well, no, but that's a bit of an impossible task. But I was impressed at how many different versions and references seemed to be around.

Does it only have the best options from every edition? Given that 'best' is subjective, the answer there is inevitably going to be no. There are certain some elements I'm not entirely sold on, as well as things I miss from some editions that got left behind. But they obviously made an effort to try and incorporate as much as possible for those who liked different styles of play, as well as different elements of flavor that cropped up in each edition.

4) Character build flexibility.

One of my fears about the new edition was that options would be somewhat limited. And there are some areas where elements of that are true - once you make some of your big choices (character path within a class, feats, etc), you might not have many more decisions to make within your character build.

However, within those choices themselves, I feel like there are a vast number of playstyles and character builds that are not just available, but feel perfectly viable for play.

Fighter is a great example of this. Do I want a 4E style tank that protects his allies? I take the Protection Fighting Style, the Battle Master Archetype with Goading Attack, and the Sentinel Feat, and suddenly I've got all the best aspects of the 4E protector.

Do I instead want an Elven Bladesinger? I go Eldritch Knight with the Dueling Fighting Style, a finesse weapon, and the Defensive Duelist and the Mobile feat. I'm fast, agile, hard to hit and able to wield sword and spell to good effect.

Or let's go for a Warlord! I take the Inspiring Leader feat, and snag Commander's Strike, Manuevering Attack and Rally as Battle Master options. I can hand out temps to help my friends, and give them free movement and attacks (with bonuses) on my turn.

Having a class that can so easily accomodate those builds - as well as more classic builds like sharpshooting archers, or charging greatsword wielders - or more unusual stuff like unarmed grapplers or shield bashers - is a very good sign to me.

The big worry, of course, is whether those builds are viable at all levels. You don't get a feat until level 4, after all. You don't get your fighter archetype until level 3. On the other hand, it seems intentional that the first few levels should get pretty quickly - and are even perhaps deliberately less defined, so that you have a few levels before really having to decide where to focus one's build. I'll wait to see how that plays out.

Still - overall, I find myself thinking of countless different types of characters I can build and play with these rules. For me, that is a very good sign of things to come.

Irontruth wrote:

My one complaint right now is that for some of the classes, once you finish making the character at level 1, there are little to no meaningful choices to be made.

I'm playing a Barbarian, which I get that it's supposed to be one of the simpler classes available, but I get to make a choice at 3rd level. That's pretty much it. I get to play the character how I want, but mechanically, if I made 3 barbarians, they're all going to be very similar to each other IMO. The differences will largely be superficial and purely in how I present myself to the group.

This is my one big worry with 5E - that the number of choices you make with some character builds is very small compared to past editions. Now, I don't think that the second part of your statement follows (about making 3 barbarians and them all being very similar to each other.) When you do make choices, those choices are pretty big - and a Half-orc Berserker Barbarian who is a Great Weapon Master is going to be very different in play from an Elven Wolf Totem Barbarian with the Inspiring Leader feat.

But I do still worry about some of those builds and how few choices you may be making. Your berserker barbarian gets to make big choices when getting the chance for Ability Score bonuses / feats - but you are ending up with half as many feats as you might see in 3rd edition. Now, I think those feats and choices have a definite impact and support a wide range of builds - especially since there is also multiclassing still on the table. But there is still many fewer decisions to make, especially if going with the more obvious feat and stat bump options.

That said, this applies to some builds more than others - and having several very straightforward builds is something many playtesters asked for. So having a mix of both types can be a good thing. And I think they've set themselves up well for adding more character paths and feats that will expand the options available over the life of the edition.

Having just gotten the PHB and read through all the builds and options, I'm feeling reasonably optimistic about it all. I do really like how much impact there is in the choices you make. Choosing a Domain for a cleric isn't just making some slight adjustments to a spell list - it completely defines how the character plays. That's huge in my book, and really shows me what the system is capable of, allowing a wide range of new builds and paths within each class, without the need to instead keep expanding with more and more new classes themselves.

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Bave wrote:

The problem is with simplified you get undesirable side effects. The simpler a game system is the less variability you have in it. I could easily make a simple game with the rules on a 3x5 card, one class, one race, one mechanic. Great, but it's boring.

The problem I saw in 5th ED was that the damage was toned down heavily, the healing increased dramatically which leads to grinding battles.

I agree that a game without options or choices is not an especially compelling one, sure. But 5E is a far cry from that. Is it as robust and developed a system as existing systems like 4E and 3.5... which have had years and years of support books and supplements? Of course not. But it seems to present a solid amount of potential for character creation, and I've seen plenty in the PHB that has me very excited about making characters. (For example, the new Warlock, which melds together all my favorite things about both the 3.5 and 4E warlock.)

I also haven't seen any indication that combats are about lengthy, grindy battles. In my own playtesting they were fast and quick-paced, and other reports have been largely the same. Yes, a character moving and taking one attack is going to be much less damage than a character taking 4 attacks with a full-round action. But the counterpoint is that the time it takes to resolve that turn is much faster.

A fight in 3.5 might take 3 rounds of combat, while one in 5E might take 8 rounds of combat. But the 5E fight, in my experience, will take half the real world time of the 3.5 fight, if not less.

I think that 5E Prot Energy is definitely weaker than the sort of things you could do in 3.5 - but for me, at least, that's not a bad thing.

I like that you've got spells that can reliably protect you from energy damage (by dropping it in half), but that stopping it entirely is much more difficult (as opposed to 3.5 Resist Energy, which could trivialize most energy-based encounters).

Similarly, I like the idea of buffs being a much more precious resource, rather than all the casters just burning half their spell lists on pumping everyones AC and Saves, and giving protection vs all incoming energy damage and immunity vs poison, fear, etc.

GreyWolfLord wrote:

I actually DID play the Rogue. Was out done in skills by a Bard, outdone in battle by the Barbarian, and really DO feel like the Rogue isn't that impressive...BUT I DID give it a shake.

Maybe I just don't understand exactly what the Rogue's speciality is supposed to be in D&D next.

My take on it would be that the Bard is good at both skills and spellcasting, while the Rogue is good at both skills and combat. A focused spellcaster (like the Wizard) will be better with spells than the bard, while a focused combatant (like the Barbarian) will be better at combat than the rogue.

But, in return, the bard and rogue have their improved skill use and utility features to give them a solid role in the party.

When compared against each other, meanwhile, the bard has the bonus of spells, vs the rogue's greater capability in combat.

I wouldn't think that the bard would be better at skills than the rogue. I suppose it could be the case that in the specific adventure you played, the bard's skills and abilities happened to be more relevant to the situation, but I think that tends to balance itself out over the course of time.

bugleyman wrote:

Because that's not how D20 games work? Seriously, it really isn't. The game is designed so that the majority of one's ability is defined by class; ergo, if you want to be good at fighting, pick a class that's good at fighting.

I'm not saying that's good or just is. Fighting the design of system seems like an unnecessary headache.

If that was the case, things like skills, feats, race, ability scores, background, etc, would not exist. Class is a central part of a character - the most central part, even - but many of the last few editions have had plenty of other elements that make up one's character.

You represent you are a strong character by having a high Strength - not by being a fighter. You represent whether one is capable with a weapon via weapon proficiency. Being a Fighter is one way to get that proficiency, but not the only way. It also gives a variety of other benefits - even if I play an Elven Wizard with high Strength who is proficiency with a Longsword, that is still going to be a very different character on the table than the Human Fighter. Even if both are swinging swords at the enemy.

Modern design of d20 games, at least, seem to value having a variety of options available for customizing one's character, rather than having the entirety decided by class choice alone. For me, that's a valuable part of such systems, and one that in this instance, I think is being handled quite well.

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GreyWolfLord wrote:
Can't see any reason to play a Rogue, just play a criminal or other background for proficiency with Theives tools and you are set.

See, for me, this is a feature, not a bug. I like that if I want to play a rogue for the playstyle, the option is there - but if I want to be a thief of Olidammara who serves as the party's trapsmith, the options are right there to do so.

Playing a rogue still has plenty of perks - they get awfully good at skill checks (and with the new bounded approach to most bonuses, doubling one's proficiency bonus on expert skills is a huge deal.) I love how elegantly they made rogue's into dynamic skirmishers by giving them extra actions in combat - but all of them non-attack actions. Sure, the Fighter can flip out and take a flurry of attacks in one round and shred someone.

But every round of combat, the rogue can dart out of the shadows, shoot someone in the neck, and then dash back around a corner. Or can fling a dagger with one hand while the other hand unlocks a door. Emphasizing those utility perks and abilities, for me, is what gives the rogue a great role - but without making them a 'required for play' choice in order to deal with traps. For me, that's the best of both worlds.

Logan1138 wrote:
es, I am aware that Wizards won't do as much damage but they simply should not be able to hit as well with weapons as other classes. They don't spend much time training with weapons and they should suck hard when it comes to using them.

Except we are explicitly talking about Wizards who do spend time training with weapons. That's the point of them being proficient! Whether they spent a feat on it, or have a racial benefit, the idea is that this isn't some random scholar who just picked up a sword, but someone who actually has spent time and effort learning to wield a blade. Why shouldn't they be perfectly capable of swinging the sword with skill, if they have the stats and proficiency to do so?

thejeff wrote:
The Wizard's AC and hp would be a bigger concern than being able to hit and add to the hit point damage of the bad guys.

Of course, this entire thing is mostly moot unless someone is playing with your houserule limiting cantrips.

Other possibilities:

1) Say my mage has Shocking Grasp as my main damaging cantrip. Usually it is good enough to do what I need when I run low on bigger spells. Then I run into something lightning resistant - suddenly, being capable of contributing in another fashion seems like a good thing.

2) Even better - what if I don't want to take a damaging cantrip? A Mage gets 3-5 cantrips over their career. I could easily see someone wanting to fill up on some of the more useful utility ones, especially if they can feel like they will be good enough at swinging a weapon to still contribute when needed, as opposed to swinging that weapon being completely pointless once past the first few levels.

3) Here's one from experience - the opportunity attack. The scene: The party has nearly finished off a powerful adversary, who is down to the last few hitpoints. On his turn... he flees out the door, with the wizard the only one nearby that can take a swing on him. The wizard swings his weapon, he needs a 20 to hit, the villain escapes. Having at least a chance to hit would make that scene a much more interesting one.

thejeff wrote:

Except that the wizard won't survive long, in the front line with a horde of orcs. Since they'll be able to hit her.

And swinging with a sword will be so much worse than her other options

That could well be the case. It could definitely be that 'being able to hit enemies' might be true, but meaningless besides, 'not being able to do appropriate amounts of damage' with such attacks. I haven't really seen things play out yet at that level.

But, at least for me, the approach being taken makes it feel more like a viable capability than in the last edition or two. I'm not looking for a complete redefinition of the nature of the game - but it is a nice perk and an example of something like about how the system works, overall.

thejeff wrote:
And again, it depends on what you mean by "decent swordsman". If you mean "Can hold a sword without embarassing himself", that's been possible with minimal investment in every version of the game.

Except that isn't the case. If a wizard, in 3.5, spends a feat on Martial Weapon Proficiency, and has an average Strength score, than they are moderately competent with it at level 1, when compared to the Fighter. But, by level 10, it has become basically useless for them.

With the approach Next is taking, the Wizard who has some basic melee combat ability at level 1 will still retain that basic competency at level 10. Does that mean that swinging the weapon will be their best option each round? Probably not. But the ability to use it and not embarass themselves will be there, without the significant investment it would take to do the same in previous editions.

thejeff wrote:
If you mean "Can compete with the martial classes in melee", which is what I assumed the OP meant by "get to learn how to fight", it's also always been possible, but required enough investment to weaken their casting abilities.

Ok, sounds like we are actually on pretty close to the same page. A lot of the comments I've seen were concerns that the removal of different BAB classes made the wizard 'as good a swordsman' as the fighter. I don't think it does, but I think it does give them a level of melee skill that is functional, without being nearly as heavy an investment as required in the past.

I agree that a build where the wizard is just as much a threat in melee as the fighter, and just as capable of taking punishment on the front lines, is the sort of thing that should require a specific build and the right resources to manage.

But I also think that there is a difference between being a capable melee combatant, and a melee expert, and that letting wizards have access to the first option - if they have the stats and proficiency to back it up - is a good thing.

thejeff wrote:
Given that spellcasters are already by far the most powerful classes in the game, I'd actually kind of assumed you were being sarcastic.

Spellcasters are the most powerful in what game? In 3.5? In Pathfinder? In Next?

Just because spellcasters had a problematic power level in a past edition doesn't mean that is guaranteed to be the case in the new one. Assuming that they have found a better way to balance them - and my sense thus far is that the have - allowing for more versatile builds for the class is not inherently unbalancing. And a wizard able to be competent in melee combat - but still not the star of the show that the fighter will be - seems quite reasonable to me.

One can object to the idea for thematic reasons, but as mentioned, there are plenty of works of fantasy fiction (like LOTR) where being a wizard doesn't mean you can't swing a sword. You can object to the idea for balance reasons - but I haven't seen any actual indications that anything here unbalances the game.

And, again, the wizard does just inherently become an expert swordsman. If you have the stats to support it, and the proficiency to wield a weapon - whether from racial features or otherwise - you get to be competent at using that weapon. Like you said - past editions had plenty of ways to blend such skills, including Elves in 0D&D.

So now an Elven Wizard gets to be a decent swordsman. Why is this version somehow a problem compared to the versions in the past?

sunshadow21 wrote:

The problem is that a lot of the audience they are trying to grab may very well be more familiar with Thor the Norse God, not Thor the Marvel Superhero, whose backstory happens to include being a Asgardian. This is where it just doesn't work for me, and wont' work for a lot of people.

Those who are familiar with, and accept, Thor the Norse God, are not going to find it any easier to get into the character because they made Thor a female, and are likely to be turned off by the seemingly random and entirely political correct nature of trying to use an established male character's name for a female character on a story that may or may not end up being decent.

So, when Thor was replaced by a horse-faced alien, that was apparently completely trivial to accept alongside the existing Thor mythology - but Thor replaced by a woman, on the other hand, is just too far?

Even though that very Norse mythology includes things like Loki turning into a female horse and giving birth to Sleipnir, Odin's 8-legged steed? Seriously, there is plenty of weirdness in the ancient norse stories, and there has been plenty of change over the six decades of Thor comics. Pretending that this one change is somehow a travesty requires a lot of intentional forgetfulness about everything that has come before.

Now, that doesn't mean you have to read it, or enjoy it, or care at all about the new character. But you also don't get to decide the character isn't 'worthy' of the name of Thor - that decision is in the hands of the writers and the story, and as long as the story and the character are well-written, that's more than enough to get me on board.

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Lord Snow wrote:
To each their own I guess. The nature of the beast has always been apparent to me, and as long as they still deliver an entertaining product, I really don't care.
But, wouldn't you prefer that some sort of minimal effort to conceal the nature of the beast was made? if only as a sign of respect to your (the consumer's) intelligence? It's not that there's a reason for anyone in Hollywood to respect the general audience's intelligence, but it would still be nice to get the benefit of a doubt...

I thought the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie was excellent. Despite it being based on a theme park ride.

Assuming they are actually making these movies, I'm guessing that they aren't planning to just show a bunch of fantastical beasts without any story to tie it all together. I imagine they'll have a plot, and character arcs, and all the other things you need for a proper movie. It will draw on the ideas and creatures in the book, and draw on the setting as a whole. Yes, with the goal of making money. Presumably making money by creating a good product that people will be interested in. What's wrong with that?

I love Toy Story. I hate Cars. That isn't due (directly) to the motivations behind them, but because I find one to be a good product, and the other a disappointing one. Now, it may well be true that marketing and other factors have played a part in making one of them an inferior product. But that isn't always the case, and even if a product is commercialized, if it still ends up being entertaining, that's good enough for me.

Lord Snow wrote:
So is this game good? I keep hearing rave reviews about it, but then I went to it's website and watched a couple of videos that really stressed the fact that there's loot but there aren't classes, which isn't what I really care about in an RPG.

It it more that it is 'build your own class'. You can allocate skills where you want them, so you can be a sneaky wizard just as easily as a diplomatic fighter. You can hurl spells while wielding an enormous sword. Skills get more expensive the deeper into them you go, so you can choose to either be a very focused character (and end up with a relatively standard rogue or fighter or wizard), or dabble in a lot of different areas. One of my characters started out very focused on being a fire mage, until I ran into a bunch of enemies made of fire. Then I shifted in some other elemental options, just to add a bit of versatility. There is absolutely quite a bit of depth to the character system overall.

Lord Snow wrote:
Is the story interesting? are the characters? is the voice acting good? how is dialog handled? Is the setting good?

I'm not too deep in, but I'm liking the story. There's a couple different plot lines going on, ranging from solving a murder mystery to cosmic obliteration, and they manage to work surprisingly well alongside each other. The game has a lot of fun with the characters and the voice acting. The amount of voice talent and dialogue put into a cheese vendor's sales-pitch that you overhear while traveling through the market is... quite impressive. Definitely a setting with a good deal of humor in it.

I've been enjoying it. I dove in rather unprepared and floundered at first, but eventually did some research and found a good party that has been quite successful.

The big discovery I had was how important it can be to control terrain and the elemental effects. There is a lot of synergy between the different elemental magics, and using them well can be a huge boost to the party - while being careless with them can get you killed.

For example, earth magic can create pools of oil or clouds of poison gas, which fire magic can ignite. Pair them together and you can leave a cluster of enemies poisoned and slowed and on fire - and your air mages can use Teleport to drop more enemies into that mess.

On the other hand, you don't want to create a huge wall of fire and smoke and end up with your warriors having nowhere safe to go to fight the enemy. So leaving them some targets is important. Or using water magic to summon rain and put out the fire once you are done with it, for example. Just be careful throwing around electricity spells once everything is wet, or you might end up shocking your own party. Etc.

Once I started paying attention to the elemental interactions and using them to my advantage, I gained a lot more control over the encounters. And I also found the tactical options added by them to really keep things interesting, and make many fights really feel dynamic in a way that CRPGs often have trouble with.

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Slatz Grubnik wrote:
Censorship is censorship. It doesn't matter who's doing the censoring.

That's not entirely true. Yes, editing posts on a message board is censorship. So is forbidding newspapers from criticizing the government. And so is telling my crazy drunk uncle not to curse at kids when the family gathers for a holiday dinner. Those are three very different situations, and who is doing the censoring, and where, makes a huge difference.

Censorship that infringes on public communication is a very different thing from censoring individuals within a private domain. I can't prevent you from cursing in my house - but I can say that if you do, I'll ask you to leave and won't let you come back in. Similarly, the owners of private internet forums - like this one - are entirely in their rights to edit posts and ban posters, and they can do so for whatever reasons they choose. You are free to show your disapproval by taking your presence to a more open message board. But accusing them of infringing on your freedom of speech is, honestly, way off base.

That said, I certainly think it silly - and even self-defeating - that posts mentioning the existence of piracy were removed out of fear that they encourage piracy. But the role of a moderator is a harrowed one, and I can understand the tendency to err on the side of caution over reason - even if, in this case, I think it the sort of thing that has done more harm than good.

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bugleyman wrote:
Charlie D. wrote:

I am impressed the PF Core Rulebook is till in spot 7 years after it released for Fantasy Gaming on D&D is in five of the six top spots. D&D has a huge spike now. I wonder what it will look like in 6 months?

The good news is it looks like both D&D and PF can both be very successful at the same time at least on Amazon. Which is good for the hobby as a whole.

Point of order: The Pathfinder Core Rulebook will be five years old next month, not seven.

I think you misread that initial line. I did the same at first! I believe the statement is intended to be parsed as 'the PF Core Rulebook is still in (spot 7) (years after it is released)'.

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The more I think about it, the more the approach to proficiency seems like a good thing to me. I like the idea that elves being proficienct with certain weapons actually means just that - they are all capable combatants when using a sword. Rather than proficiency meaning, "You suck just a bit less when using this weapon, unless you've actively built your character to be decent at it."

I like that if I can gain proficiency with a sword, my wizard can go full Gandalf and swing it with confidence. That doesn't make me trump the fighter, since they get plenty of extra capabilities of their own (like staying alive while being stuck in combat!) But proficiency in something means that, yes, I'm actually competent with it, regardless of most everything else.

Now, being *exceptional* at something requires going a step further - good ability score, plus various benefits from class features / feats / etc. And that's fine. And, more importantly, the level of difference between competence and exceptional is much more contained than in other editions - so while the exceptional character will often have the chance to shine in the right scenario, the competent character can at least take part right along side of them, rather than feeling like it wasn't even worth showing up.

magnuskn wrote:
Could you try to explain it, then? I really didn't get why what happened did happen in that exact way. Spoiler tags advised, of course. :)

Somewhat conjecture, but here is how I made sense of it:


During the movie, Cage is exposed to the blood of an Alpha, which lets him tap into the Mimic's time-manipulation ability - when an Alpha dies, the Omega can sense this in the past, and resets time. In this case, Cage takes on the role of the Alpha, so when he dies, this triggers the reset, and he retains the knowledge of what has happened.

At the end of the movie, the Omega dies, and my assumption is that since the Omega is constantly connected to its perception of the future, when it is killed in the future, its consciousness also experiences that death in the past.

So I viewed the ending not as another reset, but instead as its death in the future causing a ripple effect that killed it in the present. Cage's consciousness happened to be carried along for the ride, due to being exposed to the Omega's blood at the end. And presumably the ripple effect went back further in time due to the Omega being a more powerful entity than the Alpha.

Sure, it involves some guesswork and assumption, but nothing that seems too outrageous once you accept the initial premise of a race of time-manipulating aliens.

Saw it last night, thought it was great. Wasn't bothered or confused by the ending. A good, solid sci-fi flick.

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I loved the 'epic scope' of the last few books, and was not expecting something a bit more back to basics - but it worked. It worked damn well! It really showed how much he has woven the series mythology together, that it feels like he can at any time draw on such a large cast of allies and villains, can introduce new players and new adversaries, and still have it all fit together remarkably well. I had been worried that the series might be nearing its end, but this one did a great job of reassuring me that there is still plenty of room for it to keep on growing.

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I was definitely very happy with the movie. Some minor nitpicks here and there, but overall, left me very pleased, and very interested in where they go from here.


Peter Stewart wrote:
I enjoyed Wolverine taking sort of a backseat in both the past and present. Too often I've felt like it's been Wolverine and the X-Men, which again I think goes against what the X-men are and what a movie about them should be.

Yeah, this. Growing up, Wolverine was my favorite X-Man. But the focus on him ruined X-3 for me - it just became the all-Wolverine show, and completely missed what made the X-Men great.

This movie has Wolverine in perhaps the most central role as the bridge between past and future - and yet, manages to let him largely reside in the background while letting the others have the spotlight. And most importantly - he isn't there to save the day by kicking ass. The situation isn't one that can be won by physical force. Instead, his contribution was largely in the role that Professor X normally plays - to bring the team together, to give them the motivations they need to remain true to their convinctions.

X-Men 3 ruined Wolverine for me, while this movie again made me celebrate him. That alone would have made me like this movie, and it was just one great element among many.

It might require the PHB, or the Starter Set might do the job. I am reasonably sure you won't need to wait for the MM or DMG - as in the past, typically those are the tools you need to start running your own campaign, and they rely on the adventures and Starter Set to last you through the initial release.

Lord Snow wrote:
On the flip side of that, Colson seemed to have forgotten how mad he was at Fury for the TAHITI project. As I mentioned in a previous post, I think the season finale did a bad job with the various tensions that were building throughout the season.

Coulson's flip-flopping on how he felt about Fury was definitely a weak part of the second half of the season, especially the point at which he was desperately believing in Fury above all others, while simultaneously being enraged at May for following Fury's orders.

But the final resolution of it seemed fine, at least in light of what had happened to SHIELD. Fury's explanation of, "I brought you back because you were one of the only people I could trust" carries a lot more weight when betrayal by those closest to him brought down his entire secret agency and left Coulson as one of the few people who could pick up the pieces.

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I wouldn't read too much into it. While 4E had some exceptional adventures over the course of the edition, the ones they opened with were not especially exciting, and I don't think it was the first edition to have that flaw.

They may have realized that they just didn't have the resources in house to devote to both the rules and producing an adventure they would be happy with, and so decided to turn to a company that has a well-deserved reputation for designing such adventures, in an effort to help the edition get off on the right foot.

Lord Fyre wrote:
Also, I notice that Fury did not seem too upset that Colson murdered either two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents or Fury's own men. (That is a pretty major flaw - even for us violence tolerant Americans.)

You know, I was one of those most bothered by how things played out in Coulson's raid on the Guest House. But the revelations that emerged in the later half the season helped alleviate how much the team could be blamed, at least for me. Remember that it was Garrett and Ward who actually did the killing of those Agents. That changed my perspective on that scene quite a bit.

Now, Coulson definitely earned more than a few marks for incompetence in letting that come to pass (not to mention letting himself get manipulated into the assault in the first place, and blindly bringing along the big enemy with him.)

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LazarX wrote:
I really question what was on Marvel's minds when they chose to green light t his project. Captain America and the Avengers are characters with broad appeal. The Guardians of the Galaxy in it's recent incarnations, are a group that only comic nerds can love. The only thing that might save it is that they might be hoping that Karen Gillan's casting may bring the Dr. Who crowd in.

I have at least one friend who hasn't read comics in years, doesn't watch Dr. Who, and was entirely unfamiliar with the Guardians of the Galaxy comic, but the trailer alone got him to go hunt down a bunch of their recent run to read.

I have no idea how it will do, honestly. But if it is a good movie - as all the Marvel in-house movies have been, thus far - I wouldn't be surprised if word of mouth spreads and gets it a decent showing. The Marvel movies have worked well because they are polished films that blend humor, action and solid casting, and this seems well-suited to do the same. Green Lantern didn't fail because of space battles, it failed because it was a bad movie whose production and promotion was a mess.

I thought it was a great hour of television. It does leave me with some reservations going forward, but it also avoided almost all of the outcomes I was afraid of, so I'm willing to see where it goes.


The awesome:
-Thea shooting Malcolm.
-Felicity throughout the episode.
-The fight scene in the tunnel.
-Ollie, upon learning Laurel was in danger, doesn't drop everything to go after her, but puts the city first.
-Detective Lance snarking at Nyssa.
-Ollie and Slade, visibly exhausted by the fighting, still trading blows.
-The Ollie / Felicity scene in the mansion. At first because I thought it was real, and was thrilled. And then, when I figured it out, I thought it was a clever move... even if it was playing with the fanbase somewhat.
-Nyssa tranqing Laurel mid-sentence.
-Harbinger dropping the hammer on the goons filling the Clock Tower.
-Ollie, Felicity and Diggle, still the core team, still together at the end.

The less awesome:
-Detective Lance and the death-scare. I really hope they don't kill him - he was a large part of why I started watching the show, after liking him so much as Harry Dresden.
-Sarah passing on her 'jacket' to Laurel. I really don't want to see Laurel as the Canary. Laurel didn't even particularly bother me in this episode, but I just can't see her making that role work. Honestly, the character is pretty much unsalvageable to me after how she's been handled, and finding a graceful way for her to bow out would really help the show going forward.

There was definitely a lot to like in this episode.

I liked the Ward vs May fight. I liked the Fitz and Simmons scene. I liked how the Clairvoyant identity ended up as somewhat ironic foreshadowing for Garrett. I liked Coulson and Fury dealing with Garrett's new craziness, and I liked the subverting of his 'not-really-dead' scene at the end. I liked the rescue of Mike Peterson's son as 'the Ace in the Hole'.

My main disappointment was that they spent the season setting up the threat of Hydra and Cybertek, and suddenly the bad guys are just... painfully inept. They are advertising the creation of these teams of super-soldiers... who don't get to use any weaponry or armor, and who have gone from being big individual threats early in the season, to squads of mooks that are trivial to deal with.

We also discover that the entire structure of the organization is apparently built on the flimsiest of foundations. We've got an army of super-soldiers who are being controlled by their lethal eye-implants. And apparently many of the handlers controlling them are, in turn, being forced to do so via threats to their loved ones - up to and including the guy running the program itself! Like, do handlers really require such a specific skill set that you have to blackmail people into the position? Is having your entire agency built on such threats really the most stable control structure?

Especially when they apparently don't bother even leaving guards to watch those oh-so-valuable hostages. Or maybe the guards were the super-soldiers and they got diverted away during the attack? But why would you use the super-soldiers to guard the hostages when the soldiers are being controlled by the people who are threatened by the hostages?

Anyway, rant over. I just like seeing a win that feels earned, and they didn't really pull that off here.

Yeah. Honestly, an appearance change alone wouldn't have really bothered me. But at least for me, I found the new version almost entirely non-functional, almost crashing my browser anytime I tried to open multiple tabs. I switched back to the old version and disabled updates as quickly as I could.

Kthulhu wrote:
Maybe the Joker killed my parents and my little sister yesterday, but I can take comfort in the fact that Batman doesn't have to feel bad about killing a psychotic mass-murderer.

I think the best explanation for Batman not killing villains, even if he knows they may break out of jail to kill again, is that he knows that he himself is not especially mentally stable, and once he crossed that line once, it might not be that far before he descends into his own area of supervillainry.

But ultimately, the problem is that the traditional form for corporate comics, as a medium, are largely incapable of preserving a long-term narrative. The comics attempt to have a legal and justice system that reflects the real world in order to preserve commonality between the readers and the comics universe. But in the real world legal system, prison breakouts and escapes are an extreme rarity. In the comics universe, they happen every other week.

And no matter what measures one writer might put in place to lock the Joker up for good, the next writer that wants to use the Joker will just come along and invent some reason why they don't work. It doesn't even matter if you kill the Joker, or cure him, or reform him, or exile him to another dimension. Eventually, he'll come back. No permanence is truly viable in a shared-storytelling universe.

It is the same reason why Reed Richards Is Useless. With the technology that he has access to and the scientific invention that he displays, countless real world issues - from disease to third-world hunger to the energy crisis - should be trivially solved. But doing so would transform the setting into a place completely alien from the real world it is patterned after, and would do so not just for his comic, but for every comic in the Marvel universe.

Same thing with, say, the Flash. There are times in the comics when it claims he can move - and fully function - faster than the speed of light. If true, shouldn't he be able to basically just stop all street crime across America? But no, because that doesn't make for a good story. For the same reason that Gotham will not only have a bunch of psychos who are willing to tangle with Batman, but will also have an endless supply of idiot thugs who will work for bosses that will kill them on a whim, and whose job description consists of having the crap beaten out of them constantly by a man in a bat suit.

Batman can never win his war on crime. Not just because the villains will always break out of jail, but also because if Gotham ever truly becomes safe, then you don't have any more stories to tell. Or at least, you can't tell 'that' story, and comics have a great deal of trouble with actually allowing characters and the setting to grow and evolve.

Even when you do have actual change in the form of legacy characters or character evolution... eventually someone will be in charge who wants things back the way they were when they first read comics. And everything resets to the default once again.

Lord Snow wrote:
Well, I'm never going to consider killing anyone, innocent or not, as a 100% moral action. What can I say, Batman impressed me. I mean, killing Garrett is certainly better than letting him live, but it's worse than neautralizing him and putting him in some jail to rot.

Right, but if you are captured by an enemy who is imminently preparing to either kill you and your partner, or torture you until you work for him, and you don't *have* the option to neutralize them... I don't see anything heroic about not making every effort to stop this homicidal terrorist before he can go through with his plot to create an army of unstoppable murder-soldiers.

Seriously, the team may have done plenty of questionable things in this series, but fighting for your life against a psychotic cyborg is not one of them.

Chris Mortika wrote:
No; gloating "I'm glad I did it," is wrong.

Yeah, as has been demonstrated by those immoral monsters known as the Avengers, who have also been known to display pleasure when they stopped unquestionably evil villains in their attempts to do unquestionably evil things.


Seriously, this show had several issues early on with questional moral behavior. This isn't one of them - and, for that matter, most of the earlier ones were largely resolved when we learned that the folks responsible (Ward and Garret) were the bad guys.

Trying to kill or disable your villanous captor before he kills you and your friend, and not regretting that act... I don't see anything wrong with that. And I don't see Fitz's line as 'gloating', just trying to put on a bit of bravery and affirm a bit of self-control while in the midst of a rather traumatic situation that seemed likely to end in his death.

Regarding DeathQuaker's thoughts on Peter's thoughts:


DeathQuaker wrote:
I'm kind of looking forward to even-more-psycho Isabel once she wakes up from the Mirakuru. But I agree, she nor the story sold the "I am a woman scorned!" story very well.... even if it is very true to the comics, from what I understand.

What really bugged me is that she proclaimed, "Do you think that I am just some jilted lover?" And for a moment, I was expecting some more powerful motivation or something genuinely serious... and instead, nope, jilted lover is it.

Slade's motivation is equally absurd, but it works just fine because he is literally insane due to the drug. But having this motivation for her felt pretty weak. If they just played up the greed part of it - the chance to take his company, gain power, no longer feel helpless, etc - I could totally buy it, but they really seemed to emphasize the parts that don't hold up under much scrutiny.

DeathQuaker wrote:
The big wall-banger there is of course that if Ollie really knew about a possible cure and didn't seek it out for Roy's sake, it makes him to look waaaaay more selfish and idiotic than I think the writers intend. Or maybe the writers did intend that.

Yeah, that was the thing that most bothered me about the episode. Especially since, again, it felt like they could have come up with some sort of explanation. ("We knew there was a cure, but knew we didn't have the resources for it, so didn't want to create false hope.") But the entire "I didn't talk about it, because I felt bad about this one moment of the backstory..." just felt kinda weird.

On the other hand, I think it did rule out the speculation I've heard about Ivo being Felicity's father, since Ollie namechecked Ivo and Felicity didn't show any unusual reaction.

You can certainly build a pretty potent Warlord in terms of how much buffing they do for the party - and that can include both healing and condition-removal, to ensure your allies are able to act to full capability.

But honestly, any class can be optimized. A Warlord certainly has more you can do with them than, say, a Shaman or Ardent. But an optimizer will typically find a way, and you can build pretty extreme versions of any of those classes if that is what you set out to do.

Caineach wrote:
So, overall I really liked the movie, but did anyone else have an issue with the fact that all of the intelligence they had came from a bad guy deciding he would tell Captain A his evil plot just before he was killed?

It bothered me for a moment, but once I considered it, I realized it wasn't really a problem.

Yes, Zola gloated and gave away the evil scheme. But think about it - even if he doesn't tell them anything, they've already unraveled quite a bit just by arriving there and finding him.

Once Cap recognizes who they are dealing with, he suddenly knows that:

1) A member of HYDRA survived; and
2) Was in some way connected with an early version of SHIELD.

Sure, it might not reveal the specifics of their plans for INSIGHT, but it would still be enough for them to figure out the general gist of what is going on, and that leads them to go after suspicous members of SHIELD, which leads them to Sitwell, who then confesses everything anyway.

So I think the real key was simply finding the facility itself - once they've uncovered that, and have confirmation that something is very wrong with the House of SHIELD, everything else flows naturally from there, regardless of how much Zola blabs to them.

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