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Alzrius's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 1,612 posts. 72 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist.


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Chris Lambertz wrote:
Removed some more posts. Guys, we asked you to please not derail this thread. If you want to have a discussion about real life gender issues, there are plenty of ongoing threads for this purpose.

For everyone's convenience, when deleting posts because there are "other threads about that," would you mind posting links to those threads so that people know where they should go?


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Guy St-Amant wrote:
Alzrius wrote:

Honestly, the whole "getting off-topic" reason for locking threads has always struck me as being incredibly poor.

Conversations, by their very nature, are fluid; topics change organically as people talk, and that's not a bad thing. I've been the OP in threads where the nature of the discussion has changed, and I've been a part of that change, only to suddenly find the thread locked for getting away from the original topic - it's frustrating, and unnecessary.

I honestly wish the mods here would stop doing that, or at least tone it back.

There are differences between evolving naturally and intended thread derailment (even if the derailment can be made in subtle manners).

When someone is intentionally derailing a thread, that's cause for removing their posts - locking the entire thread because of that is just giving the derailers what they want (e.g. the original topic is no longer being discussed).


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Honestly, the whole "getting off-topic" reason for locking threads has always struck me as being incredibly poor.

Conversations, by their very nature, are fluid; topics change organically as people talk, and that's not a bad thing. I've been the OP in threads where the nature of the discussion has changed, and I've been a part of that change, only to suddenly find the thread locked for getting away from the original topic - it's frustrating, and unnecessary.

I honestly wish the mods here would stop doing that, or at least tone it back.


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The Fiend Fantastic wrote:

What if we gave the succubus a delicious icecream?

Nudge nudge

I'd prefer succubi with cake; optimally, with her inside of one.

...of course, being Chaotic Evil, the cake would be a lie.


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Umbral Reaver wrote:
For my next game, players will only be allowed to be catgirls.

I'd also like my next group of players to be catgirls - though I don't really care what sort of characters they'd make.


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OldSkoolRPG wrote:

Another interesting discussion has been taking place in another thread on whether you can force someone that you have grappled to stand up from prone.

So in the context of this thread the question would be if a succubus has been knocked down and is prone and I have successfully grappled her can I then knock her up?

Clearly you'll need to try many, many times in order to find out for certain.


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MMCJawa wrote:

Cats and hyenas are more closely related to each other than either are too dogs, but it still really isn't accurate to refer to them as cats

With similar logic, if you are going to call hyenas cats, than you should also be referring to walruses, seals, bears, and skunks as dogs, since all of those are in Caniformia.

...and trying to cross-breed them is what's known as Canifornication.


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The Fiend Fantastic wrote:

Come to think of it, wouldn't this qualify for Golarion geographic?

They're always searching for new stuff to show the masses.

I hear that some succubi like it when the masses watch.


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xavier c wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Wiggz wrote:
I'm trying to learn what, if anything, that I'm not considering.

On the one hand, I think you're underestimating what "legal convenience" actually amounts to. It has been estimate that there are something like 2000 individual legal rights that accompany a legal (heterosexual) marriage by default, many of them traditions (like spousal testimonial privilege) that date back to common law and that may not have been formalized into statute, depending upon where you live. If you assume that each right requires one document to formalize, and each document, in turn, requires an hour to prepare, that's a full-time job for a lawyer for a year to draw up an equivalent of marriage..... and then you have the risk that there were actually 2001 rights, and he through ignorance, mischance, or error missed one.

There is also an issue is that many of the privileges attendant upon marriage are in fact policy decisions that depend upon a third party. Insurance companies, for example, don't generally have a choice about whether or not to cover a legal spouse, but they can and do play games about unmarried partners (see pH unbalanced's comments above). The middle of a medical crisis is not a time to have to worry about legal and financial ones as well.

On the other side,.... religion. Nothing brings out the crazy obstructionism like religion.

You know there are progressive christians and gay christians

gaychurch.org or gaychristian.net are some gay christian websites

And there are LGBT affirming denominations like

Ecumenical Catholic Church

Metropolitan Community Church

Old Catholic Church

Quakers

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Don't forget the Dudeists, man! As an ordained minister, I can say that we, like, totally abide the whole same-sex marriage thing; weddings serve a lot of white russians.


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Arikiel wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
Arikiel wrote:

I don't.

Once you set the animal-people precedent then you have to start allowing squirrel-people, and giraffe-people, and aardvark-people, etc. While magic can be used to take on such forms they just don't exist as species in my world.

Your logical fallacy is: Slippery Slope.

True but the only way to avoid going down that slope is to arbitrarily limit it to only "cool" animals.

Which doesn't really make any sense.

It's not arbitrary if you posit that many of these races were created by meddling wizards and interventionist deities.

God of Awesome: I'm going to create some cat-people, it'll create a cool contrast to the minotaurs and lizardfolk that the world has.

God of Nerds: But that'sh totally illogical! You can't jusht arbitrarily create new raches bashed on shome animalsh and not oth-AAGH!

*God of Awesome uses Wedgie on God of Nerds! It's super effective!*


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Because I want to play a samurai that makes pizza, and since that's already two-thirds of the way there...

(A free internet to anyone who gets the reference!)


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RJGrady wrote:
Social justice is, broadly speaking, correct. And so Social Justice Warriors are, broadly speaking, on the right side.

This statement seems to ignore the distinction I was making in my prior posts. The philosophy of social justice - applied to the realms of legal, workplace, and social situations - is one that I would indeed classify as (morally) correct. "Social justice warriors," by contrast, are those who feel that it should also be applied to art, fiction, and media, which I think has legitimate points of critique.


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LazarX wrote:
It's not much... it's a question whether or not there is a SINGLE scene in a movie where two women talk to each other, and it's not about a man.

Forgive the nitpicking, but the requirement is actually that two named female characters talk to each other about something other than a man. The caveat that they be more than nameless background characters tends to be overlooked a lot when the guidelines of the Test are relayed.


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LazarX wrote:
That makes absolutely no sense. The people who crusade in the banner of "GamerGate" are doing a ton of nasty things which they feel quite justified in doing so. How could something they hate be so important without being perceived as a threat?

Because what they don't agree with, and what they perceive as a threat, isn't the media - it's the people on the other side of the debate, the "social justice warriors," whom they perceive to be trying to reshape the nature of what's acceptable in the media along ideological terms (or at least, ideological terms that opponents of "SJWs" don't agree with).

Quote:
What's important without being significant? If it's significant, it's because it's perceived as a threat, either to your person, or what you perceived as your "god given right".

It's not a question of "important without being significant"; you've substituted the word "significant" - which in this context is essentially a synonym for "important" - with "powerful," which was the word used previously.

Something can indeed be important to you without it meaning that that thing is powerful. The people with a philosophical opposition to "SJWs" don't - in my understanding of them - think that the media has much power (if any at all) to shape attitudes and beliefs. However, they do think that people have a great deal of power to shape the media. It's that attitude amongst the "SJWs" that's perceived as the threat - not as a threat to their person, or to their "god given anything," but that they don't agree with the idea that media is immoral if it does not adhere to the standards of social justice.

RJGrady wrote:
Many of my interactions with people who have a problem with "social justice" end up complaining about "censorship" and "reverse racism" and feminism ruining discussions. So, they clearly believe privilege exists, they just think that women, minorities, people with disabilities etc. have too much of it, and white, heterosexual males have too little.

To be clear, the discussion that I've been having has largely been about people who have a problem with "social justice warriors," rather than the concept of social justice itself. Notwithstanding trolls and other self-absorbed jerks who are using the term as blanket disparagement without giving any thought to the philosophy behind it, those who are concerned with "SJWs" have an ethical issue they're trying to debate; by contrast, those who disagree with social justice as a whole are coming from a very different place (in my opinion, of course - I don't speak for everyone).


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Crystal Frasier wrote:
Probably relevant to this discussion that "social justice warrior" is originally an insult, not a self-description. A few people may call themselves that now--mostly in jest--but it's mostly just a mocking label applied by a certain category of people on the internet who don't like it when a minority says "stop insulting me."

It took me a while to understand that the people using the term "social justice warrior" weren't using it to refer to anyone who believes in/advocates social justice. Rather, they seem to be using it to make a mockery of the idea that the principles of social justice should be applied to artwork, media, and fiction to the same (or similar) degree as to legal, workplace, and social situations.

From what I'm given to understand, the basis for this is that people who mock "SJWs" fundamentally disagree with the belief that media has the power to normalize attitudes and behaviors - at least to any appreciable degree - and as such implicitly reject the assumption that changing what the media displays and how it displays it will necessarily make any positive changes to society at large. Rather, they're of the opinion that the media reflects attitudes already in place, and that changing the media requires making more fundamental changes to the social fabric of society, rather than vice versa.

This isn't to say that there aren't people using the term to justify acting like spiteful, self-centered jerks, of course. But the above attitude seems to be at the core of those with a philosophical opposition to "social justice warriors."

At the macro level, this is a debate about whether life imitates art, or art imitates life.


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Erik Mona wrote:
No employee has even left the company since we published our trans iconic, so the theory is nonsense on its face.

But perhaps there was an employee who left sometime between the conceptualization of the character and its publication, and that would explain...wait...

*checks*

Doggone it, which one of you jokers put this tinfoil hat on my head again?!

Seriously though, it's nice to have this so quickly and thoroughly debunked. Nothing more to see here, people! Carry on!


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Liam Warner wrote:
I should clarify this isn't to determine opposition to the party it's for the world setting. How much of the population are level x affects all sorts of things. For the opposition sure it's whatever necessary but if you walk into a village there's rules for highest level caster and the like but if 90 of the 100 people are less than 6th level it allows quick setting up of power balances.

Purely as a world-building exercise, I like to configure the population along a binary logarithmic scale. That is, I presume that one-half (e.g. 50%) of the population is first-level, and then halve that percentage for each successive level.

So 25% of the population is 2nd-level, 12.5% of the population is 3rd-level, etc. I think that nicely makes the higher-level characters (including the PCs) feel like they're major movers and shakers as they gain more and more power.


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Lilith wrote:
Alzrius wrote:
Maybe Paizo was planning on being there, but accidentally signed up for a fake Geek Girl Con?
:| Can we stop with the "fake geek girl" inanity? It's ridiculous, and not even remotely funny.

I disagree; it's funny because it's ridiculous.

(If it wasn't clear, the joke I was making was on the people who put any stock in the whole "fake geek girl" nonsense.)


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Set wrote:
Prince of Knives wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Int-witches still bug me a little, though I see what they're going for and why they didn't want yet another Charisma-based arcane caster. But screw it, at least there should have been options for a Charisma-based witch.
Nah bro. Wisdom.

Yes to all.

Witches could have a tripartite option to follow the way of the Bell (Cha), Book (Int) or Candle (Wis), using the selected stat to govern their bonus spells, and spell and Hex DCs. (With the 'book' being as metaphorical as the bell and candle, a 'book' Witch would still store spells in her familiar, just like most other Witches).

It's certainly better than my idea of Bed (Cha), Knob (Int), and Broomstick (Wis).


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
1. "KoK"?
Kingdoms of Kalamar, which I didn't think was WotC...

That's sort of a gray area.

As part of WotC's settlement with Kenzer over illegally reproducing their Knights of the Dinner Table strips from Dragon in the Dragon Magazine CD-ROM Archive, WotC agreed to let Kenzer make their HackMaster RPG use a lot of (older editions of) D&D mechanics and intellectual property, and write Kingdoms of Kalamar material under the D&D (Third Edition) banner.

The latter clause, however, was not a blank check. Any Kingdoms of Kalamar product that had the D&D logo on it had to be run by WotC, who reviewed it and either approved it or noted what needed to be changed and how. So in essence, they had final say over a lot of the KoK D&D materials.

I say "a lot" of the materials because Kenzer side-stepped this process quite a few times by simply releasing 3.5E KoK books that didn't have the D&D logo on them, and so didn't fall under the purview of their settlement with WotC (I can't remember if these other books used the OGL or not; I believe that they didn't, and just relied on the idea of "copyright laws give us enough protection already," as - if I recall correctly - David Kenzer is an IP attorney). Hence why something like the Kingdoms of Kalamar Villain Design Handbook has the D&D logo on it, while the Player's Guide to the Sovereign Lands does not.

That settlement agreement wasn't perpetual though, which is why HackMaster eventually changed to HackMaster Basic, followed by the new HackMaster game (calling itself "HackMaster 5th Edition," if I recall correctly, several years before the Fifth Edition of D&D came out). Likewise, Kenzer Co. eventually had to stop printing 3.5E books with the D&D logo on the cover, though the non-D&D books could still be published (this was before 4E came out - though 4E KoK campaign setting books came out that flat-out said that it could be used with 4E D&D; insofar as I know, this wasn't due to any agreement with WotC or using the GSL - it was just them doing it because they were sure that they could).


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Eric Hinkle wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
memorax wrote:
I'm glad we will have access to both the Dreamscarred Press version and the Paizo one. I wonder how long it will be before the cries of blot begin yet again.
I am pretty sure some people have been making those cries since the Advanced Player's Guide, so not sure how it is really relevant
I beg pardon, but "blot"?

Haven't you heard? Rules blot is a serious issue; I know that when there's a stain that covers up some of the text in my book, it seriously affects my game.


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I didn't know him very well, but his reviews were always insightful and informative. This is a loss for all of us.


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Have the player's character be from Lamordia. That solves a lot of the problem right there.


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Draco Bahamut wrote:
Rogue/Illusionist Hybrid: I know we have the arcane trickster, but people who could remember the Bluehand from Ad&d miss what the ninja really should be.

Major props to you for the Bluehand reference! Here I thought I was the only one who remembered that fascinating section from the Complete Thieves' Handbook.


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Mark Hoover wrote:
DM Pendin Fust wrote:

The next very important question:

When do we cast time stop?

No, not time stop. You'll want slow for this.

Except towards the end, when you want to use haste.


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Lincoln Hills wrote:
Jaçinto wrote:
I don't hate Conan, I just don't like Conan. Just not a fan. It's ok but just never really grabbed me. If you know a Conan story that you think would grab me and bring me in, shoot. I'll give it a shot.
Since you ask, I'd recommend "Tower of the Elephant" or "Red Nails" as self-contained Conan stories that are short enough to read all the way through before deciding whether you enjoyed it.

I'll second the recommendation for "Red Nails." It's my favorite Conan story, with the possible exception of "Queen of the Black Coast."

You can find the former story (and quite a few others) over on Project Gutenberg.


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Dead Phoenix wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
Paladins of Asmodeus have been retconned out of the setting, at least as NPCs with actual levels of paladin.

Correct. That wasn't a retcon, actually. That was us correcting an actual and legitimate error. In the same way if we spell the word "Wizard" as "Wziard," that doesn't mean that there are actually characters out there with levels in a new class called "Wziard."

I was so looking forward to playing a Wziard though! Are you saying there isn't going to be a book called Misspelled Class Guide?
There better be. The Rouge class is in serious need of a buff.

And my babarian character had a serious lack of elephantine features.


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You're not the only One - there's also Neo and Jet Li.


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Kirth Gersen wrote:
That's a really excellent example, and I agree completely: at home I actually replaced all those +2/+2 feats with a single "Skill Synergy" feat ("Choose any two skills other than Perception...").

That's an example of where the solution is both an obvious one, and is simple to fix - I suspect a lot of GMs have done the same thing. The problem (at least to me) is that there are a lot of other areas where the solution is neither obvious nor simple.

Quote:
Note that I still included a caveat, because without it the new, more flexible rules are practically begging people to boost Perception through the roof, and that's not the intent. Granted, that's a problem with Perception being too good, not with the feat -- but Perception as a super-skill, in turn, is too big a problem for that kind of simple fix.

Skills are sort of a wonky area, in terms of reforming character-generation to be more flexible. That's because the skills themselves are technically a separate area of the game, but there's a lot of overlap in terms of how the PCs interact with the skill system.

My suspicion is that the answer here is to have skills offer a comparatively modest "baseline" of effects that a particular skill can offer, and then have enhanced results limited to some sort of ability that characters can take. There aren't many examples of this in the d20 rules, however; the big one is that if you're a rogue, you know how to Disable Devices for magic traps as well as the mundane kind.

Now, it's probably more elegant to just have everyone be able to disable magic traps, but if you want to grant enhanced use of a skill, it shouldn't be limited to a particular class, since that comes with a large amount of baggage - it's combinations like that that are the source of my frustration.

Kirth Gersen wrote:
Another issue I have (and I suspect you share) is how the multiclassing rules do not work -- at all -- and how Paizo is attempting to patch that by adding whole books full of hybrid classes, instead of addressing the root issue.

Quite right. I couldn't agree more here.

Kirth Gersen wrote:
In any event, I appreciate the illustration of your point and your correction of my misunderstanding.

Not at all. Looking back, I was somewhat unclear in what I was trying to say, so I appreciate the chance to better elucidate my position.

LazarX wrote:

That's not a reasonable expectation for what is essentially a class based war-game. Actually it's not a reasonable assumption for ANY game, but for D20 it's a lot less so. Maybe you're too young to remember when the choices were literally nothing more than fighter, cleric, magic-user, and thief. No archetypes, no kits, nothing. The problem that this is not a rules loose narrative system like Storyteller, but a rules tight war-game that has been piling roleplaying additions on it since Chainmail.

On the other hand, you need flexibility on the player side as well. Instead of huffing when you can't pound your square peg in a round hole, filing some of the sharp corners a bit. Try to find parts of the concept that you can live with out.

I disagree. As thejeff already pointed out, I've found a d20 variant that already does this to my satisfaction.


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LazarX wrote:
That book landed Wizards in a fair sized tub of hot water. Palladium outright threathened to sue for the Palladium inclusion mechanics within, and TSR sent a cease and desist over the inclusion of AD+D game mechanics in it as well.

Yes, but that's completely irrelevant to the discussion in general and the point I was making in particular. The book's quality in its presentation of stats for gods remains stellar even without the conversion notes in the back (to say nothing of that threat ending in a settlement, rather than a judgment).

Lincoln Hills wrote:
Of course it's an opinion - I didn't try to disguise it as a fact. The term 'badwrongfun' inherently mocks the attempt to make something subjective sound objective. I'm sure nobody was confused.

On the internet, you can never be too sure.

Lincoln Hills wrote:
I hope you took my general point - that stats for gods bring out the 'topper' in optimization-lovers.

I took that point, I just don't think it's a genuine disincentive for having stats for gods. That's because 1) I don't live in fear of the optimization-lovers, and 2) they're going to do what they do anyway. We already have char-op boards, so it's not like not having stats for gods is somehow the only thing constraining them.

Lincoln Hills wrote:
Major shake-ups are good, as I said; allowing the GM to choose when they happen, as opposed to the blindness of a natural 1 in an unexpected place, is not necessarily bad. Therefore stat blocks present a hazard that 'unstatted' gods don't.

I don't believe the second sentence follows the first, because it presumes that there's no middle ground between something being purely GM fiat, and something that's decided by nothing more than a roll of the die.

Just because you have stats for gods doesn't mean that the PCs are necessarily going to be able to then engage them directly in a fight. There's a large space between "under the GM's absolute control" and "the GM's hands are completely tied."

Lincoln Hills wrote:
Accept the risk if you like.

Leaving aside that I think the risk is mostly illusory, I can't accept it. Not having those stats available means that I'm not being given the choice to accept it. The best I can do (notwithstanding third-party materials) is try to figure out a way to make them on my own, which is a far and away more difficult task than having them already be available for use.

Lincoln Hills wrote:
Sentence 1: agreed. Sentence 2 does not follow from Sentence 1 because it treats all deicides as equal.

I don't believe that it does treat all deicides as equal. Rather, it points out that the threat of "PCs killing gods" is not an absolute one, and can be managed by the GM, instead of being some sort of bogeyman that needs to be kept locked away at all costs.


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For me, part of the frustration with Pathfinder is an inherent element of how the game mechanics are designed, in terms of PC-generation.

The PC rules enforce what I call "defensive design" in terms of balance. That is, there's an implicit understanding that the players can't be trusted not to create an "unbalanced" character, and so the game rules are set up in such a way so as to constrain the available choices to those that are balanced.

I find this problematic for several reasons.

The biggest one is that this principle leads to the idea that anything published by Paizo abides by this rule; that is, that Paizo has made sure to rigorously playtest and "balance" everything they release. This leads to "primacy of RAW"-thinking that suggests that because you can create some outrageous combination using the existing rules, that must be okay. How could it not be, after all? Paizo published it, so it must be balanced.

The problem is that this is all based on the false presumption that balance can be mechanically enforced (or that it was ever an issue of combat parity at the encounter-level to begin with). This isn't the case in a game with Pathfinder's level of mechanical complexity and wide array of options.

Worse, this implicit sanction of being balanced undercuts the role of the GM in the game. It used to be understood that the GM was a referee, and that part of what he or she was refereeing was not only the course of the campaign, but what the players brought to the table. Game designers did the best they could, but there was no guarantee that something wasn't going to be problematic, let alone this idea that everything would be on the proverbial table so that you could cherry-pick whatever you wanted from a huge variety of splatbooks.

That meant that the GM had to step up to keep things flowing smoothly. While I'm of the opinion that the best GMs found a way to compensate for overpowered characters in-game by making sure that everyone found some time in the spotlight, it wasn't considered out-of-bounds for the GM to say "your character is becoming a problem; we need to talk about this." Heck, the game even had in-game mechanisms by which solutions could be delivered - rules that were heavy-handed because the GM was trusted not to abuse them, the same way players were trusted not to create overpowered munchkin characters.

The same way the game itself trusted the group to figure out what worked best and go with that, rather than writing the rules to protect the players from themselves.

To be fair, previous editions of the game were much heavier in what was disallowed. Ability score requirements for races and classes, demihuman level limits, etc. all offered far fewer options. But there was a reason for that - older versions of D&D didn't want to be a game that could be everything to everyone. It knew what it wanted to be, and if that wasn't your cup of tea, then it was quite forward about not being the game for you.

Third Edition, with its credo of "options, not restrictions" broke from that tradition. It wanted to let players do whatever they wanted - but it found that it couldn't live up to that promise, since that could conceivably result in some options being "better" than others on their face. Worse, giving players that many choices required breaking elements of restriction that were hard-coded into the game (e.g. powers and abilities that were tied into packages via "class levels), and breaking those down would change D&D to the point where it didn't look like D&D anymore.

The end result was the current mish-mash of mechanics that were - despite the "options, not restrictions" mantra - very restricted. Rather than giving us the tools to make whatever characters we wanted, we were given a very limited set of options, with the promise that if we kept up with the supplement treadmill, they'd proliferate to the point where there might as well not be any options. Can't make the character you want under the current rules? There's a supplement for that! Order now!

That's not only not true, but it never will be true. Mechanics that are built to protect against - rather than trust in - the agency of the people playing the game by definition won't offer a full spectrum of choices, since it can't guarantee the "balance in every combat encounter" presumption that it (and many of the players) have come to expect.

The result is an ever-growing system of rules that pretend to be balanced, when the reality is anything but, all rubber-stamped to be presented as options that are all equally good.

So yeah...I find that a little frustrating.


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Little Red Goblin Games wrote:

WOW

Sorry for the triple post here but this has quickly become our fastest moving free product ever. Would you guys like to see support/expansion for this in the future?

I certainly would.

I disagree with Zhayne in that I find that putting restrictions into base classes - provided that such restrictions have a rational basis for their existence - can be a fun way to create flavor for a class. Quite often, boundaries give us greater freedom than the paralyzing "any combination of anything," in my opinion at least.

Though I did note that, under the "Spells" header, the first sentence of the first paragraph says that a forsworn prepares her spells from the druid spell list, whereas the third sentence of the fourth paragraph says she prepares her spells from the cleric spell list.


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Jessica Price wrote:
A lot of the accepted "truths" about what women are interested in don't distinguish between what they like fantasizing about versus what they actually want or are willing to do in real life, spring from the answers researchers got to questions framed based on what they knew about male sexuality, and aren't necessarily trustworthy because they don't compensate for the negative consequences women have suffered (and still do suffer) for answering honestly.

This is a very good point.

I believe that what someone likes in their fantasies versus what they like in reality is an important difference that all too often is overlooked with regards to everyone, not just women. That said, it does seem to be held against women more often with regards to sex.

Still, one doesn't have to look very hard to find instances of people of any gender being punished for expressing an appreciation for something as a fantasy that they know would be unacceptable in reality. While they know the difference, most of their critics don't seem to, since they seem to think that the maligned person is advocating in favor of whatever-that-fantasy-is actually happening to real people.

This is not only tragic, it's ironic, since this sort of unthinking reprobation accomplishes nothing save for heaping misery on someone who's not only done nothing wrong, but was exhibiting a fair amount of courage to speak up in the first place.


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SRS wrote:
Nonsense. Criticism is just as valid as artistic intent.

I'm not saying that criticism isn't valid. I'm saying that your criticism, made above, isn't valid.

The reason for that is that you're saying you know for a fact that the creator was intending to make the characters in the picture convey a specific presentation, such as sexiness (above and beyond the presumption that that presentation is there to begin with). Worse, you're saying you know what the artist's motivation was.

That's not criticism; that's simply making things up based on nothing at all.

Quote:
In fact, an artist's personal intent is irrelevant for some forms of criticism, and suspect at best. What is perfectly allowed is to view artwork in its context and extrapolate intent.

Leaving aside the inherent contradiction of admitting that it's "suspect at best" to look at an artist's personal intent and then saying that it's "perfectly allowed," you seem to be missing the point. Extrapolating intent from what's shown in the picture is simply guessing, with absolutely no criteria for determining how accurate that guess may be.

Interpreting what's being depicted in a piece of artwork is variable enough on its own. Trying to use that as a medium to divine the intent of creator is basically impossible. Art has always been a heavily opaque medium where communicating a message - if one even exists - between the creator and the viewer is concerned.

Your supposing that you've done just that is the height of disingenuousness.

Quote:
If you think my interpretation is off, then make your case without all the emotional nonsense.

I've already made my case. Attempting to dismiss it with weak ad hominem statements like "emotional nonsense" only shows that you have no real answer for what I've said. That's to be expected, as there's no real way you can defend your guesswork as being in any way analytical.

The fact is, your interpretation of that picture is no more or less accurate than any other interpretation, and trying to say what the artist meant to showcase is a fool's errand.

Quote:
Read some professional art criticism in peer reviewed journals.

Pot calling the kettle black does not a pithy argument make.

Quote:
Put simply, your rules make it impossible to say things like "the artist intended to draw females" and "the artist intended to make them sexy." Seriously?

Realizing that you can't draw conclusions about a person by the art they create is something I take seriously indeed.


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SRS wrote:
The vacuity is intentional. It accomplishes two things. 1. It makes the women appear available, because they are the type that overflow with lust. 2. It makes them seem menacingly hungry, but unintelligent enough to yield to the powerful male viewer.

In all honesty, this sort of sentiment strikes me as far more offensive than any of the pictures linked to so far. SRS, unless you're the creator of that artwork, how exactly do you know what the artist's intent was?

Simply put, you don't. You've assigned motivation to the artist, and through that, an objective interpretation of the picture, all based on absolutely nothing. That makes your statements completely misrepresentative, which is bad enough, but its misrepresentation also assigns poor (by which I mean "likely to be offensive") intent to the artist, which is even worse.

This kind of falsification doesn't help the debate; it inhibits it. If you find that a picture is evocative of something, just say that that's how you personally view it. Don't try and say that must be what the artist was going for all along.


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Lord Snow wrote:
Sure, I'll try to explain. The easiest way to understand my problem with it would be for you to try to imitate the pose (I tried it myself and couldn't really manage it). Just try standing like that. Look at the way her hip is twisted sideways and to the back, while the lag on the other side is forward.

The problem I have with this reasoning is that it's incumbent on the presumption that illustrations need to maintain total fidelity to reality (at least insofar as drawing people goes).

Notwithstanding sketching a live model, or the artist otherwise making a deliberate attempt to draw a life-like picture (which quite often gets into a whole 'nother can of worms regarding "how do we judge the artist's intent?" and "to what degree does the artist's intent matter anyway?"), I don't see any reason to make that presumption.

Indeed, the idea that something is "bad art" because it's not completely realistic in some regard strikes me as being a poor metric for judging aesthetic works. Most artwork, in my opinion, has a strong symbolic element that runs counter to the very idea that it needs to be realistic in what it portrays.

This is especially true when it comes to the human form, which is easily recognized without needing to display it in a manner that's photo-realistic. Do the character designs in Order of the Stick warrant outrage for how unrealistic they are?

Hence why I don't respect this particular criticism.

Quote:
The second thing I'd do to understand is to try and imagine her standing like that in a room with other people, and ask myself "what situation is this?" Will someone stand like that while talking to friends? perhaps while in combat? or while casting a spell? I think you'll find the answer to all of these potential questions to be "no" - this is simply no way for a human to stand. What it is is a way for a sex toy to be posed. Which is the problem, as far as I'm concerned.

Likewise, I can't respect this particular critique either, because it hinges on your failure of imagination in contextualizing the image.

Given that the character is divorced from the background imagery - and so all we have insofar is contextualization goes is the picture of the character herself - the reasons why she's standing like that can be literally anything that can possibly be imagined.

Without any clues to go on as to what her situation is, any and every possible scenario becomes equally plausible. Is she seducing someone? Is she a spider-person polymorphed into a human form and isn't sure how to distribute her weight? Is she Tacticslion's wife, standing how she normally does? All are equally possible, since there's nothing - no clues or context - to narrow the range of what her circumstances could be.

To say that the way she's carrying herself is beyond any scope of possibility is not an indictment of the artwork; it's an admission that you can't think of any, rather than there not being any. This places the onus for a perceived lack of plausibility on you, rather than on the picture.

I can understand your objections, but understanding them doesn't mean that I think they're particularly cogent.


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Spanky the Leprechaun wrote:

Land of Flowers

Topless woman destroys St Pete McDonalds; then eats ice cream out the damn machine!

...and the rest of the Justice League high-fived at the footage of drunk Wonder Woman.


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[Note: This is a cross-posting of the review I wrote over on RPGNow. I'm not affiliated with Silver Games, just to make that totally clear.]

Crossovers are something I’ve always enjoyed, and that’s doubly true for bringing characters from my favorite media into role-playing games. There’s an undeniable joy in being able to represent your favorite characters from comics, movies, and television in your campaign.

Said characters usually tend to be superheroes or the cast of various anime, in my experience. While I knew that there were plenty of fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic who fell outside of the show’s target demographic, I wouldn’t have thought that there’d be many Pathfinder fans among them, let alone enough to warrant an attempt to bring the former into the latter.

The existence of Silver Games’s Ponyfinder Campaign Setting is a testament to just how wrong I was. While unofficial (in that it doesn’t reference any of MLP:FiM’s intellectual property), this is still THE book for playing ponies in Pathfinder. Let’s take a look and see how well it brings the show to your tabletop.

Before we go any further though, a disclaimer: at the time of this writing, I’ve seen just over a dozen episodes of MLP:FiM (and read the show’s Wikipedia entry). As such, while I have a basic grasp on what it is this book is trying to showcase, there’s a good chance that I’m missing some of the finer points; if you’re a hardcore pony fan, then keep in mind that I may be overlooking something notable from later in the show.

I also need to take a moment to talk about the book’s artwork. I’ve seen plenty of first-offerings from new companies that were clearly operating on a shoe-string art budget, and wow was that not the case here. Ponyfinder is a book that’s resplendent with full-color art! Immediately after the colorful covers is a two-page map of the Everglow campaign world, drawn in a very bright style that makes it pop off the page. Moreover, the interior pages are all set on backgrounds reminiscent of the main Pathfinder books, being lightly-colored in the center of each page but slightly darkening towards the edges, where there are subtle designs in the background.

But far more notable than that are the character illustrations. The book is absolutely stuffed with colorful images of ponies (and other races). These illustrations are remarkably talented, and more than once I found myself smiling at the adorable pictures. Visually, this book knows exactly what to show to its fans.

Of course, all of this art means that the book is about 80 megabytes in size for 120 pages. Personally, my computer had no issues with displaying the images or scrolling through, but that might be an issue for some readers. Moreover, that makes the lack of a printer-friendly version all the more notable. This is similarly true with the book’s lack of search options – the table of contents isn’t hyperlinked, for example, nor are there any PDF bookmarks for ease of navigation. Still, the text is copy-and-paste enabled, so overall the book’s technical achievements are something of a mixed bag.

But enough about that, what about the ponies? Very cogently, the book opens with the first thing most readers will want to see: rules for pony characters.

Presented as a type of fey, full PC racial information is given for standard earth ponies. Smartly, the book doesn’t retread the same ground for other pony types, presenting breeds such as unicorns and pegasi with alternate racial traits, rather than presenting full stat racial stat blocks again and again.

If it had stopped with just the basic three types of ponies, that probably would have been enough for many, if not most, fans. But I have to give Ponyfinder props here – it went the extra mile and then some: there are over a half-dozen other pony breeds presented next, ranging from gem ponies to sea horses to zebras and more!

It doesn’t stop at just mechanics either, there’s a good page and a half of descriptive text regarding the pony race, and each breed has several paragraphs of description. Humorously, the book also discusses the mechanics of a race that can use their forelegs in a somewhat arm-like manner, but lacks fingers (hint: it’s not nearly as burdensome as it sounds – after all, the ponies on the show get along without fingers just fine). There’s also several paragraphs given to describing pony members of each class (although sub-classes such as ninja and samurai are ignored, as is the inquisitor, rather oddly).

A series of pony-specific mechanics follow, including two bloodlines (e.g. Unification, which is focused around bringing the pony tribes together), several class archetypes (ever wondered how a pony would be a gunslinger?), pony-specific evolutions for an eidolon, and quite a few feats for ponies. The last section is of specific note, as it’s here that we see a lot of the more notable aspects of the show brought into game form: a unicorn levitating items with her horn, for example, is a short feat-chain here, as is the way pegasi physically push clouds around, etc.

That’s not the end of it, as the book then moves on to seven other non-pony races that live in the world, such as griffons, sun cats, phoenix wolves, and others. Again, full racial information is presented alongside a discussion of their society, alignment, relationships, etc. Each even has a few (usually just under a half-dozen) race-specific feats presented.

That was the book’s first major section. While it was largely mechanics with a generous dose of expository writing, the second takes a more balanced approach between fluff and crunch. It opens, for example, with the eight gods of the pony pantheon. Deities such as the Sun Queen, the Night Mare, and Princess Luminance are all familiar shout-outs here. We also receive the height/weight and aging tables for the races in the previous chapter (information that I thought for sure would have been overlooked – kudos to the authors there).

I was quite pleased to see rules for ponies as animal companions and familiars presented next. That’s because having ponies as prominent, PC-focused NPCs like these is a great gateway to seeing how well ponies can work in your party if your group is unsure about the idea. Finally, a few optional rules (mostly in regards to how much realism you want regarding how well ponies can manipulate objects) are given.

Everything so far has been high-quality work, but it was the next chapter that truly sold me on Ponyfinder. This section, which highlights the timeline of Everglow, the campaign world, is where the book truly comes into its own.

A relatively young world (it’s entire recorded history spans less than 750 years), Everglow’s history is covered in three broad sections. These are the early days when the Pony Empire was just beginning, the height of the Empire, and after its fall (the latter presented as the default option). After giving us a timeline, each era’s major events are overviewed. Interestingly, the book then presents major factions active in each era (including faction traits) and several era-exclusive rules, such as breeds that are found primarily during that era and no other.

What grabbed me about this section was the tone that it presented. Rather than rigidly sticking to the (almost naively) optimistic tenor of the show, Ponyfinder does a truly excellent job of presenting the ponies as living in a more nuanced world. This isn’t a setting that pretends that everything can be solved with friendship – there are differences of opinion with no clear resolution (e.g. was the early expansion of the Empire the work of a unifier or a conqueror?), wars with evil ponies, and an overall sense of poignancy as the ponies have realized that their best days are behind them with the death of their great Empire, with no clear idea about what that means for them or what they should do about it.

For that alone, I admit that I’m very impressed with Ponyfinder. It’s can be tough to admit that the tenor of the source material needs to changed when changing how it’s presented; actually pulling off such a change without completely alienating the original feeling it evoked is even trickier. But this book pulled it off. I think that the best example of this is the Denial of Destiny feat found in this chapter, which represents a pony that has voluntarily scarred her Brand of Destiny (e.g. her cutie mark) off of her flank, representing her rejection of the role in life that the gods have chosen for her in favor of one she’s chosen for herself. That’s the sort of mature take on a familiar subject that elevates Ponyfinder above simply aping the conventions of MLP:FiM.

Following this are roughly twenty pages that outline the various locations of Everglow, along with several ponies (and groups of ponies) of note. I do wish we’d seen some stat blocks here, as there are no NPC listings to be found, and this would have been a perfect place for them. While I can see the advantage of not setting levels for specific NPCs (such as the Imperial Queen), it’s better to have them and decide not to use them, than to want them and find that you need to make them from scratch.

Several pages of adventure hooks (covering each of the world’s eras) are presented before we are given a chapter full of new mechanics. Here’s where you’ll find equipment meant specifically to be held in the mouth, for example, along with things like the “elements of destiny” magic items, a spell to make hooves sticky (and so grip things better), and quite a few starting traits (including ones specific to certain times and locations).

The book closes out with a bestiary, and while nothing here was bad it felt like something of an afterthought. The deeptide horse has no descriptive text, for instance, and the vanguard inevitable, with its emphasis on punishing liars and oathbreakers, doesn’t feel like its breaking any new ground. It’s a slightly weak ending for the book, though one that’s easy enough to overlook.

I should also take a moment to mention that a few errors did crop up throughout the book, though they were rarely anything more than minor. For example, the alternate racial traits for zebra ponies didn’t have a -2 ability modifier (which every other race had and so I assume was an oversight), or that the deity entries had their domains and subdomains all listed in the same line, rather than separating them.

What was more notable were several areas that a Pathfinder aficionado would likely look at as a missed opportunity. While nothing was lost, per se, by not doing so, there were several areas that could have benefited from additional Pathfinder rules. The various pony racial stats don’t have costs in Race Points (from the Advanced Race Guide) for example, nor do the gods have inquisitions listed (from Ultimate Magic). While the factions do have faction traits, I wonder if they could have benefited from full faction rules (from the Faction Guide), or if the towns listed could have had – rather than just their alignment, government type, and population breakdown – full community stat blocks (from the GameMastery Guide or Ultimate Campaign). Certainly, the fact that the Imperial Queen was an earth pony who became an alicorn is reason enough to create an alicorn mythic path (from Mythic Adventures).

I want to reiterate that I don’t hold any of these exclusions against the book; it’s just that I’m cognizant that it could have presented more than it did. Still, when the worst thing you can say about a book is that it left you wanting more, that’s not too bad a criticism.

The material that is in here though is excellent for what it presents; enough so that I’d call this a 4.5-star book (rounded down). The coverage of the source material is not only thorough, but is evocative of what’s presented in MLP:FiM while still being suitable for a Pathfinder campaign setting. While it seems like a stretch to bridge that gap, Ponyfinder successfully straddles the divide and keeps one hoof planted firmly in each world. That’s something that anypony, er, anybody can appreciate.


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Ross Byers wrote:
a Law-on-Law conflict.

You may call hot Law-on-Law action a conflict, but I call it Lawful Sexy.


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I'd say that Pathfinder is a game of disappearing bears' abilities.


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Bickering Partisans wrote:
Is it time to say "OFF WITH THEIR HEADS" yet?

I thought it'd be more along the lines of "THIS! IS! PAIZO!" and then get kicked (off the site).


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Domestichauscat wrote:

Amazing thread is amazing.

Gotta say, I'm curious about those who would assist the Bear Druid break free from this scenario.

The bear druid doesn't need assistance; he knows to go for the honey pot.

Hey-O!


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Ellis Mirari wrote:
This is not true, at least, not the way you put it. Every work of fiction is a self expression of the author. While the thoughts and feelings of character in a work are not necessarily the opinions of the author (and they couldn't always be, because you will have characters with varying opinions), how those attitudes are approached in the story reveals the opinion of the author.

I don't believe this to be true.

The most that can definitively be said about a work of fiction as an expression of the author is that the author felt motivated to write a story. Beyond that, there's nothing that approaches certainty.

You admit that the thoughts/opinions/actions of characters don't necessarily reflect the view(s) of the author, which I agree with, but then hold that "how those attitudes are approached reveals the opinion of the author." This strikes me as being counterintuitive, as it hinges on the author having enough self-awareness to be able to write characters with a different point of view than his or her own, and yet lacking that same level of cognizance required to manipulate how those attitudes are "approached."

In other words, you seem to be holding that how characters are contextualized in the body of the narrative itself infallibly shows the author's personal stances towards the attitudes said characters embody. Needless to say, this is just as flawed as presuming that a particular character is nothing more than the author's mouthpiece.

Because there's no method for objectively knowing what someone else thinks, or feels, or believes, there's no form of creative expression (that is, art) which will flawlessly convey the message - if any - of its creator. The viewer will always bring some sort of personal interpretation to that which they consume; presuming that you've found a way to accurately judge the nature of the person who made something is therefore, to me, among the worst kind of mistake to make when reflecting on a given piece of art.


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I'm sympathetic to Mystically Inclined's point, and I think that he makes some good statements with regard why "player entitlement" is a bad thing.

However, I think that his post gets the idea of player entitlement wrong, not in its definition, but in its applicability.

From what I've seen, the issue with player entitlement isn't that they want an equivalent level of control with the GM over any/all aspects of the game itself - that is, entitled players (usually; I'm generalizing here) aren't trying to add new combat rules or setting details, or things like that.

Rather, it's an issue of an entitled player presuming that there's an area within the game that's their exclusive milieu, to use a word that Gary was fond of. That milieu is their character.

In other words, most issues with player entitlement that I see tend to come from the mindset of "it's my character; the GM has no place here!" It's often used to justify characters that are disruptive, either in their presumptions ("we're playing in a tribal, savage setting, so how exactly do you have an android PC?"), or their mechanics ("I cherry-picked my feats, traits, and classes from across a half-dozen books"), or both.

In fact, this dichotomy of entitled player-character theme and entitled player-character mechanics are fairly different, and need to be addressed separately.

The latter problem (e.g. mechanics) is one regarding the plausibility that all "official" rules play well together, so there's no rational basis for being denied something if Paizo's created it. A lot of players honestly seem to believe that GMs have no right to disallow a Paizo-created book, regardless of whether or not the GM has read it, because of the implicit assumption that Paizo has rigorously play-tested their materials, and so no combination of materials could ever be "unbalancing" in any regard.

Of course, that's nonsense. While Paizo certainly has high standards for what they put out, a diverse array of options and "balance defined as parity regarding combat effectiveness" are mutually exclusive for all but the most restrictive RPG systems (which the d20 System is not), and there's no level of quality control or play-testing that can change that.

Balance, I believe, is far more situational than mechanical. That is, making sure that everything is "balanced" (which I don't think necessarily means "equally effective in combat") is going to be incumbent primarily on the GM's ability to design encounters and arbitrate unexpected situations rather than how well all the rules interlock. The fact that people want different things out of the game seems to be proof enough of that, but I continue to see people who think otherwise - there's nothing wrong with the opinion that balance is a mechanical issue (there's certainly a mechanical component to it), but those who say that it's the primary issue tend to also be the ones most frustrated by the game rules, that I've seen.

The other issue is the sense of entitlement of theme of character. This is very different than rules-entitlement, because it deals with a different set of presumptions on the player's (and, to a degree, the GM's) part.

Thematically-entitled players believe in the credo of "PC exceptionalism" with regards to genre and setting convention. Questions of "appropriateness" with regard to their character don't apply, because an exceptional character will - by definition - exist free from such restraints to begin with.

Taking that view into account, telling someone else that they shouldn't be playing their character because it's inappropriate can often make them feel like you're undercutting the basic premise of playing in a heroic fantasy game. Likewise, having their character face in-game repercussions for being (wildly) different feels like you're punishing them for doing what they're supposed to be doing. It doesn't matter that they're playing a celestial-bloodline kitsune sorcerer in a low-magic medieval campaign, they're special because they're the hero/PC, so playing up social prejudice as a natural consequence is undercutting the unspoken underpinnings of the game itself.

The focal point for both views is that the player has absolute control over their character, and the GM controls everything else. How much the player insists on that level of separation and personal control is likely to be the indicator for just how much of an "entitled" player they are.


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Wow, nostalgia flashback! Man alive I remember how those pics inspired me so vividly back when I was a kid.

Ironically, the one that did the biggest number on me isn't there; it wasn't by the same artist, and wasn't from Nintendo Power. I can't find it today, but it was (if I recall correctly) on a plast lunchbox, of all things, and showed a close-up of Link on a staircase inside some tower. The stairs ended (implying a long drop) directly behind him, and a huge armored knight took up the entire stairway in front of him...and I think a window showed a castle in the background.

That, to me, was the iconic "back against the proverbial wall" image. I remember it being more "cartoony" than these images, but I was awed by it nonetheless.

Rysky wrote:


*sees picture of Marin and Link on the beach*

...

DAMN YOU WINDFISH!!!!

I think that might have been the first game where I cried at the end.


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I'm a pretty big fan of the setting. I quite like how it's pretty well explicitly stated that the PCs can't achieve any sort of real, lasting victory against the BBEG of the campaign - he's essentially Sauron with no One Ring to act as a weakness.

Some people find that to be a downer; "why play a game where you know you're going to lose?" I hear them ask.

To me, that question misses the point. Heroes are heroic (again, to me) because they struggle uphill; they know that losing is - as Dr. Strangelove said - not only possible, but likely. To them, winning may be necessary, in terms of giving up not being an option, but it's improbable. Heroes don't operate under the notion that we, the audience, have about stories requiring that heroes win in order to fulfill our expectations of narrative structure - to them, it's probably going to end badly.

I enjoy Midnight because it doesn't let that grim expectation of loss be subverted, at least not at the highest levels of good vs. evil in the campaign world. You can make a difference on a local level, but at the end of the day evil is going to win. It's quite literally a foregone conclusion.

That, to me, makes the heroes of the realm even more heroic, because they know that there's no real victory to be had by fighting...and then they fight anyway. With nothing to gain and everything to lose, along with no specter of hope (which, again, is what we the audience project onto them in our certainty that good must triumph over evil), they still go and do the right thing, even when it costs them everything.

The setting is called Midnight because it presents a pitch-black world of evil that never moves towards the dawn. As Archpaladin Zousha said, light shines much brighter against such a background.


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In an adventure set up for a small party of paladins - all of whom are endowed with full legal authority - they must fight their way to the top of a tower where a gang is producing contraband, battling hordes of thugs, corrupt paladins-turned-blackguards, and...even more hordes of thugs.

Dredd: the Adventure - because sometimes paladins make other people fall...off of buildings.


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DarkPhoenixx wrote:
Thats why when know you gonna encounter succubi you need to don your armor of Grinding.

I prefer to use my rod of lordly might on her.


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Taskmagus Black wrote:

Since we started with a Monk grappling a succubus, why didn't the monk use a style while fighting the succubus?

Was it monkey style grapple giving you your Wisdom bonus on Acrobatics checks, and take no penalty for attacking while prone, monkey moves for a Wisdom bonus on Climb checks, and climb and crawl at half speed?
Could lead to faster and easier mounting of the succubus if you try to pin.

Snake style grapple, Gaining +2 on Sense Motive checks, and deal piercing damage with unarmed attacks, then leading to Snake Sidewind to gain a bonus to avoid being knocked prone, and use Sense Motive check to confirm critical hits on unarmed attacks. This would be great for a Monk/Alchemist hybrid with the tentacle discovery because with sense motive you "HAVE SEEN" enough hentai to know where this is going and the tentacle is considered an unarmed attack. Research pending on using said knowledge for confirmation on critical hits. I just can't seem to find the right spot!

Or in the case of a female monk pinning the succubus what about Snapping Turtle Style or Snapping Turtle Clutch? Sure one handed grapple is -4 to the maneuver but you get a +1 shield bonus when one of your hands is free and your shield bonus applies to your CMD and touch AC. Hmm... I wonder where a woman would use that could be called a snapping turtle in a pin or grapple? We must research this at once!

That's without getting into the benefits of the monk using doggy style grappling.

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