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Alzrius's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 1,524 posts. 73 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist.


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master_marshmallow wrote:

Who said anything about rolling?

Who said anything about player creativity being inhibited?

Your perceived method of rolling stats seems to imply that you have no control over what stats you get to put into what ability and that you will always roll bad. A problem with rolling sure, but not a justification for point buy.

Okay, I just realized that you're talking about point-buy attribute generation (e.g. a 32-point buy to assign points to Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma) in by-the-book Pathfinder, rather than class-less point-buy character-generation.

To be fair, using the same terminology for two different things can be a legitimate point of confusion.

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master_marshmallow wrote:
Unless they want something that might conflict with the prerequisites for their class abilities, which forces the game to change the design to accommodate for that, which means people who don't use the point buy system are getting hit by a select group of players.

I'm going to have to ask for an example here, as I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. I'm not sure that I know what "something that might conflict with the prerequisite for their class abilities" means, for instance. Let alone how whatever-that-is "forces the game to change the design [of what?] to accommodate for that."

The argument is entirely system based.

Given that it still seems (from what I can tell) to be based around the idea that the point-buy players are somehow screwing over the non-point-buy players in a hybrid game, I disagree with you here.

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Odraude wrote:
Honestly, having played point buy systems, I can tell you that would really be easy to abuse and game.

Any system that allows for greater freedoms will necessarily have greater potential for abuse. That doesn't necessarily mean that the freedoms it grants will be less worthwhile because of that - nor, for that matter, does it mean that such potential abuses will necessarily occur.

Simply put, the potential for abuse is in any game that grants players a great deal of leeway. One doesn't have to look very far on these boards to see that Pathfinder is already filled with examples of "broken" and "overpowered" combinations of abilities. Given that, why not let players have the freedom to make a wider variety of characters (without requiring a massive increase of highly-specified mechanics required to build them)?

Odraude wrote:
Point buy systems can never beat experienced advice.

JoeJ already mentioned this, but it's worth reiterating - the two are not mutually exclusive.

In fact, this idea of experience "beating" a point-buy system showcases the line of thinking that these two are somehow opposed to one another. In fact, that's not the case - the two are meant to be complementary.

The main things that stop abuse of a point-buy system are 1) the player(s) don't want to try and break the game; ideally, they're focused on a character concept that they want to make, instead of focused on min-maxed, optimized roll-playing, and 2) the players will consult and work with the GM to make sure that everything's going to work for the campaign, the same way the GM will take into account the way the campaign is shaping up and how fun it is for the players.

There's an idea behind the stance that "point-buy is too open to abuse" that I personally find to be rather insidious: the players can't be trusted. It's this idea that if the opportunity to break the game is there, the players will seize upon it, either because they want to or because they're inept enough that they'll blunder into it accidentally.

Certainly, there are bad players out there - but I find that bad players can wreck a game regardless of the game rules. Writing the game rules so that they protect the players from themselves and each other, and in the process restrict a lot of character options from being (effectively) playable, doesn't strike me as the answer.

Captain K. wrote:
A class builder would also not work because either things like Druid would be shown to spend way more points than lesser classes, double or triple the Rogue, or his class abilities would have to be super cheap to compensate.

Disclaimer here: I use a point-buy class-builder for Pathfinder and I think it works spectacularly well.

That said, breaking down the Pathfinder rogue compared to the Pathfinder update to the 3.5 druid shows that you're right - the rogue doesn't get as many points as the druid does (though not nearly to the degree that you posit).

That's not because of any inherent mis-match, however. It's just that the druid has several restrictions that they're getting credit for, such as on what weapons and armor they can use, and their religious duties (though the Pathfinder druid does buy that one off, since most PCs tend to ignore that anyway).

That said, the idea that "point buy can't work in Pathfinder" isn't one that I subscribe to, since I've seen it work just fine.

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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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Updated with a new article on converting the cleric (rather appropriately).

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Lissa Guillet wrote:
Can you point to the thread that had the link that caused the issue? That would help a lot.

Krunk. I'm unable to locate it again.

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Lately, I've been getting an annoying message when I try to navigate the boards.

"You have made too many requests for the same page too quickly. Please wait a minute and then try again."

I'm paraphrasing, but I've received the above notification twice in the last few days.

This is odd, since the second time I'd only just logged in, had checked a single thread, and was clicking a link from there to a separate thread. That was literally all I'd done, but the server was reacting like I'd just clicked the link twenty times, rather than once.

This seems to be a pretty new issue, as I've never had this happen before a few days ago.

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Scott_UAT wrote:
I would suggest hiring someone who does desktop publishing. Their rates are pretty reasonable and will end up looking pretty solid (I have a list of folks I've used if you want me to share it with you).

Would you mind PMing me that list?

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Every so often, I'll think about dabbling in some third-party work. Usually that's just writing down some ideas, but sometimes I wonder about how layout works.

Since I know nothing about the latter topic, I wanted to ask the publishers here: what tools and techniques do you use for graphic design in your PDF products? What's the process for making the transition from black text on a white background to something more visually pleasing?

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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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KtA wrote:

(I see Alzrius' posts linked above use the arcane = ambient, divine = direct power from a god/force/etc model too.)

The big question is, why is the witch, with a patron, an arcane caster and not a divine one? Presumably because the patron only grants the "solar panel" - the ability/tools to absorb and use ambient energy - not the energy itself.

Thanks for the name-drop KtA! Incidentally, I wrote another article about the witch's patron a while back too. You can find it over here.

Insain Dragoon wrote:
After all Psionics has been around since second edition and is therefore new and scary :)

Actually, psionics debuted in First Edition. It just didn't get its own book, being integrated into the PHB and DMG. You can even find entries for psionic abilities as a standard part of the stat block for 1E monsters.

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thejeff wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Red Sonya of Rogatine, a one off character in "The Shadow of the Vulture" who was a sword and pistol wielding Renaissance warrior was severely altered by Marvel Comics. For bonus points does anyone remember that there were actually TWO Red Sonjas?
In what sense? And in whose version?

I'm guessing he means that, in the comics, the original Red Sonja died, and subsequent comics picked up with her descendant/reincarnation, who also came to be called Red Sonja.

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Set wrote:
In the Forgotten Realms, where arcane magic explicitly comes from / is at the whim of an ancient magic goddess, arcane magic is really kind of divine magic by another name anyway.

It's not quite that simple.

Mystra is the goddess of magic, and she controls/administrates the Weave, which isn't arcane magic itself per se, but rather is the interface between magic and those who want to use it.

The thing is, it's possible to use magic without going through the Weave to get to it. Shar has her Shadow Weave, for instance, which allowed for the users to cast "shadow magic" - which was basically normal magic with some minor changes, the biggest of which was how it had a hard time interacting with "normal" magic, and vice versa.

Likewise, during the era of the Spellplague (e.g. Fourth Edition) both Weaves were destroyed, and magic was accessed directly...albeit with less efficacy, hence the nature of magic in 4E.

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Though I don't live in Australia, I feel your pain, Tinkergoth. What good is a classification system if it's being so egregiously distorted?

I thought America was bad enough, but what you talk about on your blog is worse.

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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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A while back I wrote a four-part series of posts over on my blog about translating the "gamist" aspects of magic in Pathfinder (e.g. saving throws, body slots, etc.) to have in-character explanations.

While these are just my takes on answering questions like the OP's, hopefully some will find them useful.

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I had one friend whose best quality was that he was always in a fairly jocular mood. He honestly seemed to find that very few things in life needed to be taken seriously, and so was constantly finding amusement in everything. Likewise, he was always cracking jokes and trying to get people to laugh.

The problem was, when we got him to game with us, this lack of seriousness didn't fit the mood around the table at all.

Every action he took - from making a character to his character's actions - were meant to be funny, rather than try to contribute to the game in any tangible fashion. It was mildly amusing the first time his lesbian elf groped a female NPC, or took a combat action to pull a bad guy's pants down. By the twelfth time stuff like that occurred, we were thoroughly sick of it. Talking to him about this didn't help, since he honestly couldn't seem to understand what our problem was.

He's since moved, so the problem eventually solved itself, thankfully enough.

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Orthos wrote:
Protean Milkshake wrote:
Orthos wrote:
Lincoln Hills wrote:
You're not the only one to wonder what, exactly, is going on with yellowdingo.
Man, NOBODY knows what is going on with dingo.

It helps me to picture 'Dingo as a physical protrusion into our reality of a hyperintelligent pan-dimensional being. "His" race (re)shapes reality in their home dimensions by Words of Power, which is why he seems so puzzled by the ineffectiveness of government petitions and Internet conversations to affect meaningful quantifiable change.

He also makes a delicious mango chutney and enjoys a rousing game of Brockian Ultra-Cricket.

I thought they were using mice for that.

Babies. Everyone knows dingoes eat babies.

No, really.

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Spanky the Leprechaun wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Terquem wrote:
Am I the only one who uses Sherry britton as the form and image of the Halfling Goddess, Nilaria, Goddess of Arts, Letters, and the Progress of Communication through forms other than Speach, for his campaign world?
Yes. and that's all I'm saying as I'm not motivated enough to click your links.
I'd click the link. I learned something.

Yeah, that was actually a rather interesting page to read.

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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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Sissyl wrote:
So, sailor moon had no pantyflashes? That what you saying? :)

For the most part, yes.

While there may have been the occasional flash by the main cast when untransformed - or by female supporting cast members in general (e.g. Haruna-sensei's skirt gets flipped up in an early episode of the original series) - there are no panty flashes by the senshi when they're in their transformed state.

There's a very good reason for this: they're all wearing leotards as part of their costumes. :)

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

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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."

James, is that more because you think that paladins of evil gods shouldn't happen in general, or is that an unwritten expansion of the "all divine spellcasters' alignment - not just clerics and druids - must be no more than one step away from their god's" rule?

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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.

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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Kirth Gersen wrote:
It's a spectrum, not a pair of endpoints. You can increase or decrease the amount of ad hoc adjudication that's needed, by tightening or loosening the rules set.

I'm not suggesting that it's a pair of endpoints. I'm suggesting that if the rules are written to constrain choices, rather than add to them, then increasing the amount of mechanics will tighten the system to the point of choking the people trying to play the game.

Kirth Gersen wrote:
Technically-speaking, you cannot remove all the toxins in a water supply, either, but you can decrease them drastically.

I don't think that analogy works very well here. I'm talking about rules that don't try to constrain the players because they trust that the player-GM interaction will solve issues of "balance," versus those rules that are written with the idea that the players are trying to make over-powered munchkins, and restrictive rules are the only thing that can stop them.

Kirth Gersen wrote:
The system you're advocating -- very rules-lite, no real written rules for character creation, just make something up and ask the DM if it's OK -- is what I'm calling a "very loose system."

Okay, I think I see what's going on here: that's not at all the system I'm advocating.

Kirth Gersen wrote:
The rules element is very small compared to the Magical Story Hour element. To tighten that system, as you very correctly point out, "requires more rules to deal with unexpected interactions between the existing rules, which in turn requires more rules to deal with those interactions, etc." Most players/DMs are not equipped with the system mastery and insight to successfully do that.

I agree that most players and GMs aren't equipped to deal with the level of system mastery that such a series of cascading rules would require. But as I said above, I don't think that the only answer to this is a rules-light system. Rather, I think what you need is a flexible set of rules that aren't written around the idea of exception-based design.

For an example of this, look at the difference between the feats Skill Focus and Alertness.

Skill Focus grants you a +3 bonus to any single skill of your choice, made when you take the skill. That's the sort of dynamic flexibility I'm talking about; you have a single feat that applies to whatever single skill you need it to apply to.

Alertness, by contrast, grants you a +2/+2 bonus to Perception and Sense Motive. If you want to have a +2/+2 bonus to some other pair of skills, Alertness can't help you - you have to find another feat. If there isn't another feat out there that grants you the specific pair you're looking for, you're out of luck.

Alertness is an example of the problem, because it's needlessly restrictive by being limited to two specific feats, instead of letting you pick whatever pair you want the same way Skill Focus does for a single skill. If I want a feat that's +2/+2 for Swim and Use Magic Device, by the RAW there's nothing for me out there. Yes, that combination isn't narratively intuitive, but that's easily solved via one sentence's worth of imagination ("my rogue grew up on a sailing vessel, and spent some time studying under the ship's wizard").

Now, this is a comparatively small problem; it's easy to Rule 0 another feat that's a +2/+2 bonus to Swim and UMD. But it's an example of the larger problem - that degree of flexibility isn't in the rules, at least where character creation is concerned. Things are rigidly specific in what they do, how you get them, and how they interact with everything else. That degree of specificity is killing the flexibility I'd prefer the system to have - that doesn't require less rules per se, it just requires that they be able to handle more.

That does still require some interaction between the player and the GM, simply because having that much flexibility will allow for enough options that everyone will want to check and make sure they're on the same page. But then, that's how I think it should work anyway.

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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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thejeff wrote:
Looking for different things in a system. We may have gone back and forth about this in an earlier thread. Unless that was a different fan.

Hm, I thought I was the only fan of this particular system on here, but I don't recall that conversation. Oh well.

In short: PF is already far more of a "builder's game" than I'm interested in. Eclipse opens that up even more.

Rules-light it's not; I'll grant you. Opening it up even more is exactly what it's supposed to do, and that's not going to be everyone's cup of tea.

On a quick skim, it seems pretty easy to abuse and since it's a mechanical system it has the same issues with "It's in the rules, so I can use it."

I sort of addressed this above; that's only true if the GM doesn't exercise any options regarding what to allow/disallow, or review any of the modifications (via corruption or specialization) that players might want to make to literally anything in the book.

Any system in general, and a point-buy one in general, will be open to abuse. What's most important in avoiding that is in having players that don't want to abuse the system to begin with. That's certainly far better, in my mind, than any attempt at defensive designing.

Mostly though, I like simpler, looser systems and am not really attached to D20. This doesn't solve any problems I have.

That's cool.

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thejeff wrote:
Someone around here has been praising a point-buy d20 class builder system. Damned if I can remember the name of it though. Sorry.

I think I know whom you mean. :)

As a note, I hope that doesn't make my earlier comments seem disingenuous in that I held back from mentioning that I'd already found a system that solved all of my issues with the standard d20 System. I just didn't want people to think I was shilling for a supplement that I liked, rather than raising some real points.

Didn't really work for me, but it might be close to what you're looking for.

I'd be interested in hearing why it didn't work for you.

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Kirth Gersen wrote:


Any system that relies on the DM to work against it in order to make it work is really only part system, and partly a game of "mother-may-I."

We've been down this road before, Kirth, and I suspect we're going to have to agree to disagree.

Any system that relies on the GM creating and enforcing some degree of limits is far and away better than a system that imposes strict limits by itself (I'm speaking purely in terms of character creation, here) to me. That's because the GM can change their mind, make up a new campaign, have a new GM take over, etc. In other words, the system can become whatever the people playing it need it to be.

If the system itself sets the limits, then it can't be anything other than what it is. It's static, rather than dynamic, which will impose limits far less changeable than any GM.

The more DM fiat is needed, the less of a system it is, and the more of a story hour.

I disagree completely, simply because GM "fiat" is always needed; some systems acknowledge that more than others, is all. The only way to reduce reliance on a referee is to either make the game extremely limited in what actions the players can attempt, or so chock-full of rules that it runs all calculations for you, but this in turn requires more rules to deal with unexpected interactions between the existing rules, which in turn requires more rules to deal with those interactions, etc.

No matter how large a set of rules you make, you can't take adjudication out of the picture if you're going to allow the "anything can be attempted" nature of a role-playing game.

But then we have Rule Zero. Starting with a very restrictive system, the DM can loosen it at will, with very little effort; if the group trusts the DM, they tell him to go for it; if not, they ask him to stick to the RAW. Starting with a very loose, permissive system means that tightening it up requires careful consideration of rules interactions and unintended consequences -- it's a lot harder to do in that direction. If the group trusts the DM, they can let him try; if not, the game cannot possibly work, at all.

You seem to be reiterating my earlier point here, though I'm not sure what you mean about "tightening a very loose system." If you mean taking a system where most any character concept can be created, then this would be disallowing certain concepts - or maybe certain options in building characters.

That can work too; having a system where almost anything can be made would require a setting that's virtually omni-versal, and not every campaign will be like that.

That said, I mentioned previously that GM-player interaction is the bedrock of such a system, since it's not concerned overly much with balance.

I'd posit that Paizo wanted to reach the largest possible audience with Pathfinder, so they tried for a reasonably tight system that could be loosened to taste usiong Rule Zero. Granted, a lot of people, myself included, feel that they failed to achieve a reasonable "defensive design" -- some so-called "options" are so constrained as to be pointless or even counterproductive, and others are so open-ended as to be infinitely useful and essentially unconstrained. But the failure to achieve that design doesn't mean that the effort, in itself, was done without consideration.

I have no doubt that they took great consideration into account. I don't hold the limits of Pathfinder against Paizo - they inherited Third Edition's limits.

Personally, I'm against "defensive design" in the first place, largely because I don't like its premise ("the players can't be trusted not to create overpowered munchkins") or its results ("enforcing its conception of balance-as-combat-parity-in-every-fight").

Not all options will be the same; that's not only a given, it's a good thing. Players that have an idea that they want to role-play will presumably not try to break the game when they make their character. Players that want to roll-play a min-maxed character that can run roughshod over the game world, the other players, and even the GM will find a way to do so, no matter what the game rules are.

"Why constrain the role-players in an ultimately futile attempt to constrain the min-maxers?" is what I'm asking.

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Lincoln Hills wrote:
It's not badwrongfun for gamers - even if it's not to my tastes. But it is badwrongpublishing for game designers.

That's an opinion disguised as a fact. The most you can say towards that idea is that the Paizo people don't care for the idea of stats for gods because it doesn't fit their personal opinions of what gods are.

That's fine; it's their game after all. But it's just their opinion.

Heck, Paizo CEO Lisa Stevens once helped work on a book about stats for gods, and it is (in my opinion) one of the best RPG books ever written.

The goal isn't in-game stability: change creates challenges, challenges create adventures, and a world of adventure is the whole point of designing histories for game worlds. I was referring to metagame stability: game writers need to be able to make certain basic assumptions about the world. "Day will follow night, the universe will not suddenly implode, gods are relatively eternal, and water flows downhill."

There's nothing in the idea of stats for gods that necessarily invalidates this. Just because major shake-ups are possible doesn't necessitate that they're going to happen, let alone happen with such regularity as to throw off even the most basic assumptions on a continual basis.

Each of the deicides you refer to (well, assisted suicide in Vecna's case) is a scripted event that was designed to put the world in the shape it is. Scripted events are 'stable' in that metagame sense. In fact, in cases such as the Avatar crisis or (ugh!) the Spellplague, they allow you to release and sell a whole slew of new books (surely you've noticed that Armageddon has a tendency to boost sales!)

Which shows that the entire idea of gods dying is not, unto itself, anathema for the game world. Indeed, that helps to support the idea that "we can't have this because it would ruin the setting" is a false idea. It essentially removes in-game considerations from the list why stats for gods are a bad thing.

'Unkillable' gods prevent annoying publication problems such as releasing 6 months of AP featuring the church, agents, herald, and finally direct contact with, say, Iomedae... only to have dozens of GMs complain because their Iomedae was killed in a previous campaign.

The idea that those GMs would complain about that is ludicrous in the first place. Nobody seriously expects published materials to conform to your personal game, and that's not a serious disincentive for doing something.

That'd be like never publishing anything for Numeria because your campaign doesn't have androids or robots.

It's different in a home-brewed world, of course. Maybe the gods are constantly being assassinated by PCs wielding sphere of annihilation-shooting...

Then publish a book of generic gods, perhaps? It doesn't have to be "Stats for the Gods of the Inner Sea."

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Kydeem d'Morcaine wrote:
What you're describing is something completely outside of a d20 type game. Or even most of the RPG's I have read about.

I don't believe that it is. I believe that the d20 System can do this; only the character-creation rules would need much of an overhaul.

Kydeem d'Morcaine wrote:

I guess I would suggest looking at the Dresden RPG. At least that is what I think it was called. It sounds more like what you are looking for. I know some people really like that kind of loose anything goes type of game.

I personally don't like them because it is way to dependent on the whim of the GM. What I did last time was really effective, but maybe he gets bored with repetition or is in a bad mood today so it doesn't work.

I'm not interested in finding another rules system, though (partially due to the sparsity of finding players of another system where I am). Rather, I'm interested in making the one I like do what I want it to do.

That said, I agree that a less-rigid system would require a higher caliber of GM, since it puts more of a burden on them with regards to running it.

thejeff wrote:

There are also point-buy systems like Hero, that let you build up damn near anything out of generic bits of powers.

And they're not at all "loose anything goes types of games"
But they're also a big change from d20.

Point-buy is the answer, I think. I just don't believe that you need to switch to another RPG to have that. Likewise, it's not a question of "anything goes," but rather a question of "being able to play the character concept you want, rather than having to fight the system to try and get something remotely close."

Kydeem d'Morcaine wrote:
Yeah, but I didn't think that was what he was describing. He seems to want more of "no restrictions anything I can think of even if it was never imagined in the books should be a working possibility" type of thing. I don't think a point-buy type of system will get where he wants to go.

I'm not sure why you wouldn't think that a point-buy system wouldn't get there, since that's pretty close to what I'm looking for.

Likewise, I wouldn't call what I want "no restrictions." I do think that the system should be able to accomodate anything - in terms of character concept - and that a flexible-enough point-buy system will be able to accomplish that.

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zylphryx wrote:
Assuming material is balanced and assuming material is allowed are two completely different things. If you run a table and do not outline what is and what is not allowed, you alone are to blame.

I don't disagree, but just because the two are different doesn't mean that they aren't interrelated.

From what I can determine, there's a general train of thought that goes like so: "If you (implicitly) acknowledge that this material is balanced, then how can you have any non-personal reason for disallowing it at the game table? After all, if something is balanced then it by definition won't be disruptive. Ergo, this is you either pulling a power trip, or making your personal issues into my problem."

I don't agree with that line of thinking, but I've run into it more than once.

This puts the GM on the defensive, as they now have to swim upstream to say why this "balanced-ergo-non-disruptive" material is being disallowed anyway.

Kydeem d'Morcaine wrote:
I always try to make it very clear up front what is and isn't going to be allowed in the campaign, long before it starts. I am working on one now that won't have PC choices of elves, orcs, summoners, guns, gunslingers, alchemist bombs, paladins, or combinations arcane and divine spellcasters. There are specific in-game reasons for each of those needing to be eliminated. (At least at the beginning of the campaign. Some of them may become a possibility later.)

I think that's perfectly valid. That said - and I acknowledge that this is a different argument than the one I've mentioned up until now - the issue of "disallowed for in-game reasons, rather than balance issues" opens up its own can of worms.

Basically, this one runs afoul of what some people's ideas of "PC exceptionalism" means. Some people don't care that their characters don't fit the tone of the campaign world, because the nature of PCs is to be characters who break the mold. As such, it's not a big deal if their character is completely at odds with the in-game assumptions of the setting, since they think that's what they're supposed to be doing anyway.

I don't care for that idea, but it's not an unpopular one that I've seen.

Kydeem d'Morcaine wrote:

I will agree with that in theory. In real life, I simply don't have the time. I have a difficult time trying (and to a certain extent failing) to keep up with what the published rules say in the books we have (much less than a 1/3 of what's published).

Way back in 'yester year' I had the time to pour over the combinations possible with what ever new thing somebody proposed. Make some mock builds. Play some what if battles. Try and see if it could overpower everything else. Would just make things un-fun. Etc...

Maybe if I had more system mastery I could just look at something and tell if it was too far up into the mountains. I can't. I have to game it out. Even then, I am often just plain wrong.*

"Supplement burnout" is a real thing; heck, I've blogged about it before.

Trying to keep up with all of the new materials that come out is, in my view, a herculean (if not impossible) task, both financially and in terms of time and energy. That's not what I'm talking about when I say keep the GM as part of the process - that process is incumbent not on having ever-growing lists of highly specific, and modular, components of building a character. Rather, I'm talking about having a method of making a character that doesn't have the restrictions that make such long lists of exception-based rules necessary in the first place.

Kydeem d'Morcaine wrote:
The other possibility is trying it in play. Personally, I would have no problem with this. The problem is that makes it a trial by use. Meaning if it does end up too over-the-top, we will need to bring it down some after the player has spent some time with the PC. Many players get very angry about that. Much more so than if it is just flat out denied in the beginning. If they wouldn't get so angry about changes after play has started, I might be more willing to do more trial-by-fire. But they do, so I don't.

I've run into that before, and I think it's a shame. You can be invested in a character without being attached to them; this strikes me as being something that's made the threat of death less present in every subsequent edition of the game, which I think is a shame.

Kydeem d'Morcaine wrote:
I will also say, the current rules allow so much, I rarely see any actual need to introduce more 3rd party content or player invented material. Nearly every time someone will tell me what he wants to do, we can find a way to do it within the existing rules. Or at least come really damn close.

I'll disagree with you here. I've had many instances of being disappointed by the rules either making a particular character concept impossible, or just making it so limited that it was essentially unplayable without the GM going out of his way to be compensatory in the course of the game (to a degree this is what the GM is supposed to do anyway, but if it's happening all the time then the character idea is one that's probably not working under the current game rules).

A popular example of this are characters that don't use magic items, even at high levels. Pathfinder just doesn't work very well with such a character idea.

Kydeem d'Morcaine wrote:
The only times I can't is when they want a specific power that simply isn't supported in the d20 type rule systems (like ritual blood magic). Or when they read about someone in a novel and want to be good at everything that character can do right from the start at first level. (Ex would be reading the Jhereg novels and wanting to make a Vlad that is an assassin, witch, sorcerer, duelist, ranger. Wanting it all at first level. And of course you have to be good enough at everything to hang with the big boys at their own specialties.)

The issue of what level you want X degree of power/versatility at is probably the one restriction I can get behind in the game rules, simply because the level progression is as close as the game system gets to an objective measurement of character capability/power. Even then, there's a lot of flexibility even within a single level.

That said, the idea of a particular concept not being supported by the system is one that I frown on, at least for a game system that purports to be about "options, not restrictions."

Kydeem d'Morcaine wrote:
Now reading this last one, I'm no longer sure what it is that you are actually wanting. Can you be more specific rather than just saying wider choices?

I'm referring to instances where the player knows exactly what they want their character to do, but there isn't currently an option to let them do it, requiring them to go on a supplement-hunt until they can find it.

Presuming that they can find it at all - which is by no means certain - it often comes with baggage that waters down the initial concept because it saddles them with additional materials that they didn't want in the first place.

As an example, suppose you want an arcane spellcasting character whose spellcasting stat is Wisdom rather than Intelligence (like what I thought the witch should be). That's not in the book, so you need to go hunting for some sort of class feature that will let you acquire that, despite knowing exactly what you already want to do.

Fourteen books later, you find (this is purely hypothetical to illustrate the point) a prestige class that grants that ability. But it only grants it at 3rd level, so you need to take three levels in that class - which grants several other class features that go against your initial concept for the character - in order to get it.

That's the problem that I'm ultimately referring to. There's no mechanism in the game for being able to figure out the "how do you do it?" and "what does it cost (if anything)?" for figuring out how to just let the player (with input from the GM) shift his casting statistic from Intelligence to Wisdom. Should you just hand-wave it, letting that change cost nothing? Should it cost a feat slot? Or maybe two feat slots?

There's no answer for these questions in the books; they'd rather you buy another book (or reference an SRD) for the answer - and if one isn't out there, well, keep checking the product catalogue.

I know a lot of GMs would say this is a small problem, easily-handwaved at a minor cost, but this is just one of the smaller (and easier) examples. What about, to use the aforementioned idea, you have a high-level character who doesn't want to use magic items? What about when you want a non-spellcaster whose main character abilities revolve around shapeshifting? What about when you want a barbarian shaman whose rage bonus increases the power of his spells, rather than his muscles? Ad infinitum.

That's what I'm talking about.

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LazarX wrote:
Because any options allowed for, need support.

What does "support" mean, in this context? An endless treadmill of feats/(prestige) class (archetypes)/magic items to do X, Y, and Z?

None of those are necessary, or inevitable. If you can just build the effect you want, including any restrictions or limitations that are part of it, then you don't need another book filled with feats that offer slightly different exception-based rules.

At some point you will have to put an upper limit because no matter how many you allow, there will always be some who say it's not enough. So you allow for as many options that you can decently support with followup material.

The more you can create right out of the gate (by which I mean the more it's possible for the players to use the "core" materials to make whatever character concept they want), the less you need follow-up material to begin with. Someone saying "this isn't enough" is incumbent on the fact that they're looking at a limited set of pre-created choices, rather than just figuring out how to make the character they want to make instead of having to approximate it.

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Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
I don't think I've ever met anyone with any experience that thought "Paizo published it, so it must be balanced" was true. Not saying there couldn't be a few people like that out there, but I've never met them.

I have.

To be fair, they don't say "everything Paizo makes is balanced" flat-out. Rather, they simply take it for granted that everything Paizo publishes is allowable in play - there's no discussion about if they can use something, they just show up with a new book and expect that they can use it, being honestly surprised if the GM objects.

However, I will say that it is almost always closer to that ideal than what players typically make.

I'm not surprised, since the rules are set up to try ("try" being the operative word here) and create a narrow range where you can end up when putting together something new. The unspoken tradeoff is that more than a few character options are going to be completely ruled out, or at least made very unworkable, by sticking to those rules.

That said, I'm not suggesting that players make up their own materials whole-cloth. Rather, that there should be a much wider array of options out there for them to make characters with, without the inherent fear of "unbalanced" materials that seems to pervade the game's current design.

If it's already possible to make unbalanced characters under the current rules, then it's pretty clear the restrictions in place don't do their job very well anyway. So why not just allow for a wider set of options?

Likewise, players making such choices shouldn't happen in a vacuum; the GM should be part of the process so that the end result can be something satisfying for the player without being unmanageable by the GM.

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Scott Henry wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Scott Henry wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
bugleyman wrote:
What I did do was get a hostile PM from someone in this thread ("intelligence is obviously your dump stat").
Wow. Poor form.
Almost as much as constantly harrassing me on the forums every time I post, no? Or is public harrasment allowed here? If so my bad.

If you're unhappy with a poster's behaviour you bring it to the moderators' attention.

Sending insulting pms is poor form.

So is following someone around attacking their posts.

It's not attacking your posts to point out that you have a history of harrassing and insulting anyone who disagrees with you.

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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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Sauce987654321 wrote:
I'll never understand why it's so taboo for a player character to battle a deity in a game of pretend.

Shhh, don't you know that wanting stats for deities is badwrongfun?!

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Scott Henry wrote:
Has anyone tried it yet? Is it any good vs Pathfinder? I really don't see the point in handing over yet MORE money to Hasbro

You know that nobody's giving their money to Hasbro for the Basic game that just came out - what with it being completely free and all - right?

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Updated with a new article on converting the PC races!

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Since I've noticed a great deal of similarity between the game mechanics of Basic 5E and those of 3E, I've decided to try and back-convert the Basic 5E character classes and races to my favorite variant of the 3E rules: Eclipse: the Codex Persona.

For those who don't know, Eclipse is a class-less character-generating supplement, where you make your characters using point-buy progressions at each level. It's entirely compatible with 3E and related games such as Pathfinder, and offers a spectacular amount of freedom over typical class-level progressions. (Though you don't have to take my word for it, as the book's co-author has a truly huge number of examples over on his blog.)

That said, my first attempt to convert Basic 5E to the Eclipse rules can be found over on my blog, where I've converted the Basic 5E fighter class to Eclipse. It worked surprisingly well, and I'll be converting more classes (and races) soon!

(For more information about Eclipse, check out Endzeitgeist's 5/5-star review.)

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For those interested, I wrote up and posted stats for Pyrrha over on my blog a few months back.

Since characters from existing media rarely fit very well into specified class-level builds (as Tels noted, above), I opted to use (my favorite supplement, which is) a class-less, point-buy character-generator, Eclipse: The Codex Persona, to build her stats.

The result is that her stats don't - at a glance - look compatible with Pathfinder. However, they are 100% usable in a Pathfinder game without any conversion necessary (other than having the book on hand, which isn't that big of a deal, since it's free).

(For those interested, Endzeitgeist reviewed the book a little while back, and gave it five out of five stars.)

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Little Red Goblin Games wrote:


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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I'm coming to this discussion very late, so I suspect that this has already been said, but here goes.

The crux of Sean's argument seems to be this passage:

By getting rid of the idea that you have to define special abilities as either “magic” or “not magic,” you also get rid of the idea that “martial characters don’t have magic, and therefore can’t do amazing things because they’re limited to what nonmagical people can do in the real world.”

I never once saw the idea of non-spellcasters developing magical powers as being a problem. Or if I did, then I haven't in a long time.

The reason for this is, I think, due to the current "culture of fantasy." Back when D&D was coming together in the late 60's and early 70's, the dividing line between characters that used magic and those that didn't was stark. You were either a Gandalf or a Conan, in that you either knew how to use magic, or you didn't.

This isn't to say that there weren't characters who were primarily physical in their approach to conflict that didn't also know how to cast a few spells. Both Fafhrd and Grey Mouser did, for example. But most classical tales had non-wizards relying only on things that a "mundane" character could do.

Fast-forward to the twenty-first century, and that's no longer the case. Comic book superheroes have been dancing over the line between "physically possible" and "beyond human limits" for decades. Our video games regularly feature martial characters that have mystic abilities ("hadouken!"). And of course, the influence of anime cannot be discounted, be it Dragon Ball, Bleach, Naruto, etc.

So this idea, that martial characters can't ever develop any sort of special powers that let them break the laws of physics (as they are in the real world) was one that never had much traction with me. It's long been a given that big damn heroes of any stripe - in a fantasy setting - will have "special powers," real-world physics be damned.

And for those that want real-world-style martial characters, isn't that what E6 is for?

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pres man wrote:
WWWW wrote:
chaoseffect wrote:
WWWW wrote:
pres man wrote:
You just demonstrated why there is no need for it to be more flexible.
You're right. The fact that the paladin class is completely extraneous, as demonstrated in that example, clearly means it should just be removed and replaced with the barbarian class. The page savings can be used on a new core class.
Well my point was that the paladin flavor can exist independently of the paladin mechanics, so why must they be so inexplicably tangled in regards to the actual paladin class? Why can't I be a lovable rogue, Robin Hood type character who steals from the rich and gives to the poor but also happens to have Divine Grace and can Smite true evil when he sees it?
Backwards compatibility.
Yup, that's it basically. Seems more like people would like a classless system where they can pick and choose abilities as appropriate to their concept. Maybe that will be how PF 2.0 will be.

There's already a truly excellent supplement out there that allows you to do this while remaining completely compatible with the Pathfinder game mechanics.

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Alas, poor Fingolfin, fallen in battle against the Morgoth once again!

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I've cross-posted my RPGNow review of the book here.

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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.

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.

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.

Read some professional art criticism in peer reviewed journals.

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

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.

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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