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Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 1,954 posts. 71 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist.


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GM_Beernorg wrote:
Also, ummm, what the hell happened to the entire middle 1/3 of the story of the Chronicles, someone forget to tell the producers there were three books, and ALL of the plot is important.

The funny thing is that the Chronicles Trilogy itself overlooks a fair amount of the original material from DL1-14.


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Huh, so Gate seems like it's skipping a bit from what's in the manga (which I presume is a reflection of what's in the novels).

Spoiler:
Specifically, they're moving directly onto Rondel, apparently bypassing the detour with the minotaur entirely.


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To my knowledge, the only tabletop RPGs that even attempt to try and simulate an economy that can survive casual scrutiny are Harn and ACKS (the Adventure Conquerer King System).


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To my mind, the reason that there's no D&D animated series is that, in the West, we tend to associate animated programs with comedy.

...which is a shame considering that in the last few decades, we've had plenty of successful instances of animated shows that have flown in the face of that, such as G.I. Joe, Transformers, the DC animated universe, etc. So hopefully that presumption is breaking down.

I think there's also a perception that series set in fantasy worlds are inherently more difficult to relate to than ones set (or at least starting out) on Earth.


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Alzrius wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
yes. More please.

That's about the limit for anime based on eroge that I'm personally familiar with. That's mostly due to happenstance, but also because the series that pull this off with the greatest success sometimes develop a body of work that can require some commitment to fully get through.

The best example of that is the Fate/Stay Night anime (the original work in what eventually became the entire "Fate/" series). Other notable titles include Koihime Musou, Comic Party, To Heart, and Da Capo.

Krensky wrote:

Muv Luv and Baldr Force come to mind.

Then there's Kanon.

Add A Bridge to the Stary Skies ("Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi") and The Fruit of Grisaia ("Grisaia no Kajitsu") to the list of anime based on eroge as well.

(For completeness' sake, Shuffle! and the original Utawarerumono were also noted in earlier posts.)


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So Utawarerumono: The False Faces continues to move one step forward, two steps back.

The current plot development was very much a step in the right direction, setting up an interesting dynamic for the characters to react to. However, it immediately managed to botch things by taking a relatively minor point (e.g. Kuon's reaction) and not only stretching it out to fill the entire episode (due to everyone involved being complete idiots, as usual), but having the resolution be so paper-thin as to make it completely unsatisfying.

This series just keeps missing opportunity after opportunity...


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Thanks to everyone for kicking around ideas. Since there doesn't seem to be any Pathfinder rules for this, I'll go back and check some 3.5 resources.

The tooth is out there!


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A friend of mine asked me if there are rules anywhere for a "false tooth," which could contain a single dose of a poison/potion or something like that.

I checked several books and can't find one, but I wanted to ask if maybe someone else has seen such an item somewhere.


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So at the two-thirds mark, Utawarerumono: The False Faces seems like it's finally willing to start giving us some concrete answers, as well as start moving the plot forward.


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Biggs/Vicks and Wedge.


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houstonderek wrote:
If you run ToH straight, short rests, etc, will mean nothing. Most of the traps and stuff just kill you if you're not cautious. The hard part of running it in 5e is that the game, while it gives a nod to AD&D, isn't AD&D. They still have DCs, and a host of mechanical things that a die roll and not your brain will resolve.

Very well said. A few years back I tried running my group through the 3.5 update to the ToH; they went in very cautiously, aware of the module's reputation. But after they kept making skill check after skill check to discover and disable the traps, it very quickly became anti-climactic to the extent that everyone felt sort of disappointed.


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Continuing with the series centered around the "reincarnated hero" trope, I just now finished reading the English fan-translation of Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu ("Jobless Reincarnation: I Will Seriously Try If I Go To Another World"). As with the previous series I mentioned, this was originally written as a series of web novels that are now receiving a light novel, and manga, adaptation. There's been no anime announced that I'm aware of (though once again I'd guess such a thing to be likely).

The first thing to mention about Mushoku Tensei is that it's not at all short. Even dedicating some time to reading it almost every day, it still took me over two weeks to finish the series, and it's not hard to see why. The main story composes two dozen novels that I'd wager collectively total somewhere between two hundred-fifty to three hundred chapters (with most of the chapters being divided into parts). There are also a few supplementary stories, some of which are still being translated. This is not something that can be read in an afternoon.

Mushoku Tensei is the story of a young man named (in his new life) Rudeus Greyrat. After living a worthless life on Earth, and dying while pushing a girl out of the way of an oncoming truck, he's reborn in a magical world. From there, the story can largely be divided into three major arcs: the first covers the early portions of Rudeus' new life, the second deals with a major disaster that devastates his hometown and separates his family, and the third is about his maneuvers and preparations for defeating the series' antagonist.

Now, that's a pretty general overview. Leaving aside my not wanting to give spoilers, the details of this story aren't anything particularly groundbreaking. In fact, Mushoku Tensei epitomizes what I've said before about quality not relying on ingenuity; this series exemplifies the paradigms you'd associate with a story like this, rather than trying to break them. (In fact, given that this story began in late 2012 and became such a hit, I have to wonder just how much it's responsible for the recent spate of "reincarnated hero" stories.) Rudeus is extremely gifted with magic, becomes a famous hero, and ends up having relationships with multiple women at once.

The series' length ends up working both for and against it. The unhurried pace that the story sets can feel frustrating at times - the entire middle section of the story is dedicated to a journey that takes literally years to accomplish, for instance - but at the same time the story's refusal to rush things means that it can spend a lot of time fleshing other aspects out, not just in terms of events but particularly with regards to its extensive cast of characters. This is a series that works far better if you're willing to let it unfold at its own pace, rather than wanting the major aspects of the plot to push forward quickly.

In terms of the overall tone of the story, it dances back and forth between serious and not-so-serious. A great deal of the humor comes from Rudeus being both slightly thick-headed and rather lustful. At the same time, the story isn't afraid to step back from this, and while it never gets anywhere close to what I'd consider "dark," it does have plenty of times when it's not trying to be funny, and even a few instances of being genuinely moving.

Overall, Mushoku Tensei can very well be called the archetype for the (sub-)genre that it occupies, due to both its "dramedy"-style presentation and for how lengthy it is. Getting into this story is quite an investment of time, but if you enjoy shonen-style adventure tales, you probably won't even notice.


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WOOT!


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So the recent notation about how "a person dies in the real world, then reincarnates with all of their memories in a fantasy world" is a popular trope now, got me thinking about a few other series that are currently using that idea. To that end, I wanted to post some quick thoughts on a few of those here as well.

This is slightly awkward, as most of the series that I'm familiar with aren't technically anime...at least, not yet. Rather, they're light novels (and were sometimes web novels first), virtually all of which have manga adaptations, but so far haven't had any sort of anime adaptation announced (though I suspect that this is, if not inevitable, then at least highly likely). I call this "awkward" simply because this thread is for anime per se. I'll just have to ask for everyone's lenience in my bending the rules regarding this thread topic.

With that said, I wanted to mention one of the more unusual series that uses the aforementioned trope: Re:Monster.

Re:Monster is the story of an individual from Earth's future, where space travel, aliens, and most notably espers - individuals with psychic powers - are par for the course. The protagonist has the power of absorption, where he can eat (at least part of) a creature and gain some of its powers. Having killed and eaten many alien creatures, he's gained a great deal of powers when the story begins.

...and then a stalker stabs him to death with a taser-knife as he's buying beer from the convenience store.

The story really begins when the protagonist - now named Rou (actually, "Rou" acts as a suffix, with the beginning part of his name being his race, so when he's a goblin he's "Goburou," when he becomes an ogre he's "Ogarou," etc.) - finds that he's been reincarnated as a goblin in a high-fantasy world. However, not only does he remember his human life completely, but he's retained his absorption power (though none of the other powers that he's absorbed previously). Re:Monster is the tale of his life in that other world.

I mentioned before that this series was unusual, and that's not so much with the premise, but with the execution. Each day of Rou's new life is recorded as its own entry; moreover, this is done in a quasi-epistolary format. That is, while this isn't technically him writing in a diary or anything, the presentation is very much in that vein. Each day is written from a first-person perspective, describing the events of that day. Moreover, each such entry is presented as a summary, which means that there's almost no actual dialogue to be found here; conversations and interactions are likewise summarized, rather than presented as they happened.

Rou's new life also defies a lot of narrative conventions regarding how you'd expect a story like this to go. There's no particular antagonist that he's working against, nor does he have any particular long-term goals that he wants to accomplish. Rather, his only motivation is to keep securing and enhancing his lot in life via the accumulation of new powers, more subordinates, more money, and greater influence. It's also worth noting that Rou is very much an amoral figure; he has no use for cruelty for the sake of cruelty, but doesn't hesitate to use, torture, or kill others if that's the best way to accomplish something. On the flipside of that, he recognizes that happy subordinates are the best subordinates, and acknowledges that his closest followers are important to him.

Given that, it's surprising that I found this story as engaging as I did, and it took some time to figure out why. The conclusion that I came to was that this story isn't so much an adventure tale as it is a sort of "sim"-style (or, for those who are familiar with this genre, a "raising"-style) tale, wherein you essentially follow along and watch as something great is built up little-by-little from something small; in this case, Rou's impact on the world around him.

In a canny move, the story helps to push this presentation by conspicuously calling out each time Rou gains a new ability. In fact, Rou even notes that these acquisitions appear in his mind as a sort of "psychic announcement." This isn't limited to gaining new powers either, as Rou also hears similar "pings" in his mind on the rare occasions when he ranks up; that's what it's called when monsters in this world, which can't use job classes the way humans can, hit their maximum level and evolve into a higher form. Rarely, he'll also hear these mental announcements when he's accomplished some sort of great deed (e.g. a quest clear). All of these help to punctuate new instances of accomplishment, and so highlight the story's unusual presentation.

So far there are three hundred some-odd days written, though only a little over two hundred-fifty or so have been translated to the point of making sense (the rest are in various stages of translation by the fan community). Most compose more than a few paragraphs, with the odd instance of an extremely long or an extremely short entry for a particular day. In addition to the novel, there's also a manga adaptation of the story (which is also being fan-translated into English).

While I've often said that innovation isn't that important with regards to how enjoyable a story is, Re:Monster serves as a good reminder that - presuming the story is still told well - doing something a little differently can yield great results.


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Lincoln Hills wrote:
Most players I've met who run a dwarf have fallen into the Bigot (as I suppose we should call the Racist, to make it clearer) or the Misanthrope character patterns.

I had a lot of fun playing a bigoted dwarf a few campaigns back. I'd decided to give him a German accent, rather than the standard Scottish one, and one of the players made a crack about his being a Nazi. I decided to run with it, having him complain about how "ze gnomes" were coming in and taking everyone's jobs, and because of that the standard of living was low (illustrated by holding his arm out, palm facing the ground, fingers together), and we needed to raise it heil-, er, high (raising his arm straight from the shoulder).

If only I'd been able to find stats for a wheelchair, I'd have had Dwarven Strangelove.

Milo v3 wrote:
What do people think about characters who do the opposite of "racist" where the player makes a character everyone is going to discriminate against?

I like to combine that with giving said character a massive racial superiority complex. I call it "the master race-baiter."


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thejeff wrote:
It's not a matter of rather, but in addition to.

That doesn't make it right. Literature written by private entities has no particular responsibility to anyone. It doesn't need to offer affirmation to someone, and cannot reasonably be blamed for the fact that it doesn't.

Quote:
If what you see from the media in general reinforces the toxic nature of what you're getting from your immediate circles, that helps build the impression that they're right. That it's just how the world works.

The idea of "media reinforcement" isn't one that comes across as particularly compelling. Self-evident fiction doesn't have the power to reinforce any particular ideas, beliefs, or attitudes amongst rational-minded adults. Likewise, you have a rational basis for expecting your immediate circles to be invested in your emotional well-being; you have no such expectation for works created by people who don't know you, and have no particular reason to care about you.

Quote:
And of course, in many cases the only exposure to some of these concepts many of the parents, teachers and complete strangers may have is that same media.

That's not a good enough reason to suggest that self-evident fiction is somehow at fault for not promoting the general welfare.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Saying you don't like something and then explaining why you don't like it isn't censorship. What kind of blind consumer are you that you're going to decry any criticism of a game's content?

It's more correct to say that we're decrying criticism of the moral character of the people who made it and the people who don't believe that it should be censored. We're decrying that particular attitude being so prevalent that it creates a climate of fear and discomfort. We're decrying the idea that self-evident fictional media has so much power that it needs to adhere to moral regulations.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
I'm not sure which is more bizarre, that you think media and culture are entirely divorced from each other or that you think telling a lesbian that she's going to grow out of her attraction to women isn't going to cause any psychological harm at all.

It's far more bizarre to think that pointing out media's role as being reflective of culture, rather than instructive, is somehow saying that it's entirely divorced from it. The same goes for thinking that a video game is able to cause psychological harm to a mentally-competent adult.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
I'm guessing you've never had to question your identity. If you had, then you would know that being told by everyone around you-your parents, your teachers, complete strangers that you overhear in passing-that what you feel isn't real and is only a phase you need to suppress until it's over is a pretty unpleasant feeling, and having those ideas affirmed by the literature you try to escape from it all with just rubs salt in the wound.

That's not the fault, nor the problem, of said literature, nor the people who wrote it. To blame them, rather than the parents, teachers, and strangers who are actually at fault is irresponsible and misguided.


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N. Jolly wrote:
The fact that the impact of media is being completely phased out in this argument makes me realize that we aren't even having the same conversation.

That may very well be the case, since the whole idea of "impact of media" isn't really one that's worth discussing. Violent video games do not cause violent. Homosexual characters do not make heterosexual people turn gay. Games with "offensive" content do not promote offensive behaviors.

Quote:
So as per the original point, NOA has the right to change (since I'm not even willing to consider it censoring at this point) the game to suit the market as they and many others have done in the past to fit the customer base of which they are targeting.

"Rights" are a question of legality, whereas this is a conversation about morality. The two are completely different discussions.

Quote:
They did it due to people's moral concerns including a negative portrayal that was harmful to the LGBT community, you don't appreciate things being changed to moral concerns. When something makes the world better for a minority group, I consider that a good change, regardless of the reason. So yeah, you can disagree with it all you want, it still happened and I'm still happy about it.

They did it to preemptively assuage people who would whip up outrage by making the claim that what goes on in a video game was somehow "harmful" to the gay community. No matter how righteous someone's indignation is, that doesn't mean that it's okay to label fiction as being "harmful," since that presumes that self-evident fiction has the power to harm in the first place.


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N. Jolly wrote:
What I really find amusing here is the concept of censorship has really only become an issue when it's something that the majority group would want to avoid being censored for their own enjoyment.

Except that's not at all what's happening here, as evidenced by the fact that most of the anti-censorship posters are saying that censorship is bad, period. It's more correct to say that what's amusing here is that we have a lot of people who claim to be against censorship, but think that it's somehow okay when what's being censored is an idea that they don't like.

Quote:
Alzrius even brings up DOA Xtreme 3, a title that was not considered for a western release because the producers of it thought there wasn't a market for it. That's not censorship, that's a business decision.

This is a falsehood. The fact remains that one of Koei Tecmo's own employees stated that the game wasn't being released due to a potential backlash. The company later put out a statement saying that that employee wasn't speaking on behalf of the company, but still didn't clarify their own official reason for not releasing the game here.

Quote:
If you're just going to say all censorship is bad without taking into account any context, you're not really having a conversation, you're just complaining because the market is changing in a way that content producers are accepting.

Incorrect. We are having a conversation, one about how a particular group of people are trying to leverage the content in a way so as to influence the producers to conform to that group's morals.

Quote:
Again, it's a matter of one group finally not being catered towards and lashing out because of it, mostly because they're not the majority of the market due to the expansion of gaming as a whole.

Also false. It's the matter one group - the censorious people claiming righteous cause - forcing everyone else to cater to their moral desires and lashing out at anyone who doesn't cater to them. These people are not the majority of the market, but continue to demand that nobody produce content that they don't like.

Quote:
Seriously, we left behind beat-em-ups, rhythm based dancing games, and text based adventures. Seems like treating LBGT people like objects is joining that list, and I couldn't be happier.

All of these games are still around. Likewise, nobody is treating any actual people like objects, since these are games about fictional people. Fiction is not required to hold up to anyone's moral standards.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Some people are straight guys who wish they could f&~$ lesbians.

And some people can dislike particular content while still maintaining that it's wrong to censor it. You don't seem to have allowed for that possibility.


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So I've watched the two episodes that are currently available for KONOSUBA -God's Blessing on This Wonderful World! ("Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!"), and I have mixed feelings about it so far. So far I like it, but I have some familiarity with this series, and I'm doubtful regarding its staying power.

KONOSUBA utilizes a trope that seems to be in vogue these days (or has always been popular and I've only recently noticed) wherein the hero is someone from this world who dies tragically, only to be reincarnated in a fantasy world with all of their memories of their previous life intact. In this case, the hero is one Kazuma Satou, who arrives in the afterlife after dying while saving a girl from being hit by a truck.

Of course, KONOSUBA is quick to make a mockery of this trope, as the goddess Aqua that Kazuma meets in the afterlife is quick to reveal the circumstances under which Kazuma actually died, and openly mocks him for it. After having a laugh at his expense, she explains that he can go to boring ol' Heaven, or be reincarnated in a fantasy world (at his current age, no less) with any one item or ability of his choosing. Angry at being made fun of, Kazuma chooses reincarnation, with Aqua as his "one thing," and the two of them now have to get along in an RPG-style fantasy world.

I mentioned that I was familiar with this particular series before I started watching the anime. That's because this (like so many anime nowadays) was originally a light novel series, with a manga adaptation, both of which have already had fan-translations, under the title "Gifting the Wonderful World with Blessings!" It's from having read these (though admittedly not that much, since the series couldn't hold my interest to get through all of the translated material) that I'm dubious about how much I'll enjoy the anime overall.

Simply put, KONOSUBA is a comedy series first and foremost. While it's technically an adventure-comedy, the adventure part is a very distant second to the comedy. Personally, I don't think that comedy, as a genre, stands very well on its own. There's a reason why it's usually partnered with some other genre (e.g. rom-coms, "dramedy," action-comedy, etc.), and when it does stand alone, it's usually confined to stand-alone movies or series where each individual episode is unrelated to the others. That's not a universal truism, of course, but the "relief" in "comedy relief" comes from the fact that comedy works best when it's letting us take a break from something more serious, rather than being its own sustained thing.

In KONOSUBA, the comedy comes from the fact that Kazuma, Aqua, and the comrades they gather are all incompetent. While they're able to accomplish the tasks they set out to do, it's an unending comedy of errors as we watch them eventually bungle their way across the finish line each time. The problem, at least for me, was that once you realize the show's formula, it gets old fairly quickly. The only question becomes what new way can Kazuma and company make complete asses of themselves while somehow managing to squeak out a win.

It's entirely possible that the series will graduate from this as it goes on; as I mentioned, I didn't read very far in the light novels that have been translated, and the manga hadn't advanced very far when I read it either. So maybe the hijinks will be tempered with a more serious foundation; alternately, the series might simply be short enough that the comedy won't wear out its welcome, simply being a short-and-sweet series that exits before it becomes boring.

Either one would serve the show well, and so far I'm resolved to stick with it and see what it does. The first few episodes are definitely the honeymoon period, when the series' hijinks still feel fresh and new. It's how long it tries to sustain itself on comedy alone that will determine the show's fate.


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As its own thing, I didn't think the novel was that bad. *ducks tomatoes*


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Arachnofiend wrote:
"It's bad, so we fixed it." I agree that it's not really the same, but only because the Soleil issue is much worse than shipping shoddy gameplay (I mean hey, they shipped the grind happy trashfire that was Awakening heyooo).

Except that the statement can more accurately be summarized as "other people think it's bad, so we 'fixed' it to make them go away." It's definitely not the same, since that can't really be considered worse than shoddy gameplay in any sense; one scene that people might not like (and might not even encounter) doesn't ruin the game nearly as much as the game having unbalanced mechanics.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
The thing is that censorship just... isn't happening? Nintendo decided to revise their own material based on consumer criticism. You wouldn't have an issue with it if the Japanese version was horrifically imbalanced and they fixed it for the American version.

Characterizing changing the content to preemptively appease moral outrage as "consumer criticism" strikes me as being rather disingenuous. It's certainly not at all akin to changing a gameplay mechanic because it was too hard, too easy, or otherwise imbalanced. Characterizing both changes as being equivalent in terms of "consumer criticism" is a reduction that doesn't stand up to scrutiny.


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From what I've heard, a lot of it should be melting over the next day or two, so hopefully things will be better very soon for everyone that's been snowed in.


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thejeff wrote:
In the strict narrow sense you want to make it, you're right.

And in the much wider sense - which is what I actually want to make it - as well.

Quote:
Playing violent games doesn't make you a murderer. Seeing a homosexual scene doesn't infect you with "The Gay". Nonetheless, people do draw on stories for their understanding of the real world, just not in as direct and obvious a manner as you reject. That's the point of stories. That's why we've told them throughout history and prehistory.

You're leaving aside that stories can be told simply for reasons beyond being instructive. Even overlooking that, using self-evident fiction to form our understanding of the real world is the province of children and the mentally incompetent. Rational adults are able to draw a dividing line between what's real and what's not.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
You can deny that media has any effect on culture all you want, that doesn't make it any less true.

You can pretend that it's true all you want; that doesn't make it so.


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thejeff wrote:
I really should just stop, cause I know this doesn't go anywhere good, but I keep failing will saves.

That's because you have a low Wisdom score. ;-P

Quote:
Two main points: You're right that there are different ideals driving the arguments. I don't think you're right about what they are.

I disagree. That's self-evident, but I feel that it's worth saying again.

Quote:

It's not about "offending that side's personal opinions", at least as they see it. It never has been. It's about representation. It's about not reinforcing bigoted social tropes (like gay conversion*). It's about ways media can do real good or real harm.

I know you don't believe that such things actually matter and I don't expect to convince you, but the other side does believe it and that's what's motivating them, not just being offended.

That may be the case, but I believe that that motivation is completely wrong-headed, by which I mean that it's based on a perception of reality that I don't believe matches up with what can be generally observed. I can understand that they're sincere in their belief that self-evidently fictitious media (I say "self-evidently" to contrast it with fiction that is being portrayed as truth, e.g. lies) can influence and shape popular attitudes and beliefs, but I don't believe that to be true.

The hallmark of a mentally-competent adult is that they're able to distinguish between fiction and reality. Playing violent video games does not make you violent. Seeing an openly gay character on a television sitcom will not make heterosexual viewers question their sexuality. Having a villain in a fantasy show be a member of a particular demographic will not make you hate all members of that demographic, etc.

To that end, the entire idea of "media can do real good or real harm" is a canard (and quite often a cover for simply not wanting to be exposed to people, themes, situations, etc. that they're uncomfortable with). In terms of self-evident fictional media, the idea that it has the power to reinforce anything among grown-ups who don't have problems distinguishing between what's real and what's not is a non-issue.

One side thinks that art imitates life (or rather, imitates imagination) and so should be left alone. The other side thinks that life imitates art, and because of that art needs to be controlled.

That's the debate.

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As for your side, it's a completely unreachable and frankly undesirable goal. Free speech is a wonderful thing, but requiring such speech to be free of consequences including "social or economic attacks" is ludicrous.

Even if it is unreachable, that's not at all a strike against it. A society that's free of crime is similarly unreachable, but that's not a argument for giving up on stopping crimes before they occur or investigating them after they do.

However, I strongly disagree that it's at all undesirable. No one is talking about free speech being free of consequences; that's a complete misdirection. However, there's a difference between consequences and censorious actions made by private pressure groups. Implying that consequences includes organized attempts to legally intimidate, harass, or coerce people into changing their behavior to said groups' satisfaction is, quite simply, not okay.

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Free of legal attacks certainly, but social or economic "attacks", whatever such attacks actually are, are the proper response to bigoted speech.

Attacking other people because you don't like the content of their speech is never okay. That includes organizing a group to try and undercut their livelihood, as well as trying to ostracize them from society at large.

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Respond in kind - telling other people what was the problem and why you think it was a problem. When it's a large organization you're dealing with, the response needs to be organized to have any effect.

It's not the act of organization that's the problem; it's when such an organization makes - whether explicitly or implicitly - a threat, or otherwise engages in coercion. Putting together a petition to call for changes is one thing; having that petition say that the undersigned will never again engage with that particular business until said business changes its activities to what the undersigned want is something else again.

Quote:
Beyond that, it's far from just the "social justice" side using these tactics nor are they nearly as dominant as you seem to think. As a silly example, wasn't there just a kerfluffle over Starbucks not having an explicit Christmas image on its cups? Or on a smaller scale, the people who've flipped out here everytime Paizo adds a LGTBQ character in something.

It's worth noting that nobody in this thread has talked about "social justice" anything (or "SJW" anything) before you brought it up just now, so you're refuting a point that nobody has made...in other words, made a strawman argument (again). That's why this entire point is misapplied: the sides in question are between those who think it's okay to harass content creators into changing their works so as to confirm to the harassers' views (for whatever reason), and those that think that such actions are not okay (no matter how noble the stated goal is).

Quote:
Of course, once you've decided that all these changes are due to the "public climate of fear of social opprobrium and organized economic coercion" then it's easy to use the same tactics to fight them and still be principled.

Except the people who aren't in favor of censorship aren't doing that; your assertion that they are was based entirely around re-framing the debate as one of "SJW vs. anti-SJW" instead of censorship versus freedom of speech.


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thejeff wrote:
No. You're free to apply commercial pressure to not "censor" translated games, by not buying them, by organizing boycotts, by causing a stink on the internets, etc.

Again, this confuses legal ability with moral action. You're "free" to do all of those things, in terms of them being legal undertakings. That doesn't mean that they're necessarily the morally correct thing to do.

That's leaving aside that attempting to use economic coercion to force the changes that you want to see is, by its very definition, censorship, which is why the people who are against censorship don't tend to use those tactics to begin with.

Quote:
You are however not free to buy a product that the company in question doesn't want to sell. All you can do is try to convince them it'll be better for them in publicity & actual sales to do what you want.

Or rather, you can try and convince them that doing what they want to do, free from external pressure, is better for them (and everyone else). Yes, it's better for their publicity and maybe even their sales to take the path of least resistance and so give in and accept the censors' demands, but doing so comes with its own costs.

Quote:
Which are of course the same tactics you decry from the other side.

Saying that "all actions, and therefore all sides, are equivalent" is disingenuous, because it ignores that there are very different ideals driving the debate. One side wants everyone else to change their works so as not to offend that sides' personal opinions; the other side wants everyone to be free to make whatever they want without fear of social or economic attacks.

Trying to portray these two positions as being equivalent because they both have the same avenues of action available to them (which ignores what actions they actually take) is fundamentally dishonest.


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thejeff wrote:
"I'm not gonna buy your stuff if I don't like it" is a fairly basic right.

Even leaving aside your continued focus on "rights" - which are what you're legally permitted to do - this is a strawman argument, since no one is suggesting that you don't have the right to refrain from purchasing products you don't like.

Quote:
Expanding that to informing the company why you're not buying it is perfectly reasonable.

This is also a moving of the goalposts. Writing a letter or an email to a company to explain why you don't want to buy their game is not at all the equivalent of creating a public climate of fear of social opprobrium and organized economic coercion in order to make someone else produce the changes you want to see. That kind of action is in no way reasonable.


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thejeff wrote:
Lemmy wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
The number of people in this thread complaining about "censorship" is really concerning.

What is really concerning is that people still think sparing someone's feeling is more important than allowing the free market of ideas.

Something offends you? Don't buy it. Support stuff that pleases you. Don't force or pressure others to stop using whatever it is that you find offensive. Truth and freedom of choice are far more important than hurt feelings and political correctness.

So, if their changes offend you? Don't buy it. Support stuff that pleases you. Don't force or pressure others to stop using whatever it is that you find offensive.

False equivalence. Objecting to a mindset of "change your content so that it doesn't offend me" is not reducible to "well, that's just you pushing your ideals onto me."


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thejeff wrote:
1)Yeah, just like an editor or a publisher is a third party between creator and consumer. And yet works get changed based on that all the time. Nintendo is already changing the work for the US audience. That's their role here.

Trying to present this change as being no different than any other editorial decision in the localization process is disingenuous. This isn't a case of changing something because intellectual property rights are different between countries, or lingual idioms don't carry over well between Japanese and English, or local laws require certain things to not be shown.

Rather, this is the editorial equivalent of removing the crosses from the old Castlevania games because it might upset Christians. It's preemptively trying to avoid the attention of morally self-righteous activists who will work to demonize anything that offends their sensibilities.

Quote:
2) Is censorship because we think customers won't like this and we'll lose money really at all similar to "fear of reprisal based on previous incidents"? Who is the censor who punished the high-visibility target and cowed Nintendo into doing this?

The censors are the ones who worked to make a scene like this be perceived as socially unacceptable to generate. They're the people who maintained that scenes like that were evidence of a bigoted, morally corrupt mind that hated and feared homosexuals. They censors are the people who maintained that video games have the power to shape popular morality, and so had an inherent duty to only provide content that lauds that morality and indicts that which transgresses it.

The censors are the reviewers who pushed these ideas again and again in their coverage of these games. They're the people who started petitions calling for individuals to be fired from their jobs for making content like this, and the people who signed those petitions by the thousands. The censors are the people who encouraged others never to buy anything from these individuals, the companies they worked for, or the retailers that sold their games ever again, because to do so would mean that you're signing off on hatred and bigotry, and thus become a hypocritical, hateful bigot yourself.

That's who the censors are.


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spectrevk wrote:
I don't like that the scene was in the game in the first place, but you don't get to pick and choose when to be anti-censorship, IMO.

Very well said!

The fact is, it's easy to be in in favor of freedom of expression when the expression in question is one that you approve of. The real test comes when it's an expression that you don't like. At that point, a lot of people suddenly start coming up with reasons for why it's okay to change, remove, expel, or even destroy the thing in question.

Being against censorship means that you're against the censorship of things that you would otherwise not want to exist.

thejeff wrote:
They've got the rights to change it as they please.

The discussion is one regarding the moral/ethical dimensions of free speech versus censorship. By contrast, a discussion of "rights" regarding freedom of expression is a legal argument. These are two distinctly different topics.

Insofar as whether or not this is "really" censorship goes, I think that it is. America has amply demonstrated that it has a lot of people who are willing to work (often in coordination) to socially demonize - and even economically harm - individuals and private companies that create content that they personally don't like. Preemptively changing your work to avoid their wrath is still them acting censoriously.


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Dragon78 wrote:
So who has seen Dragonar Academy, Umi Monogatari, Bodacious Space Pirates, A Letter to Momo, Summer Wars, Familiar of Zero, Leviathan: The Last Defense, Qwaser of Stigma, and/or Momo Kyon Sword? Also what did you think and if it would be worth owning any of them?

Well, I wrote a short review of The Familiar of Zero last year. The one-line summary is that it's a fun-filled show that knows exactly what it is (harem hijinks during a series of adventures) and isn't ashamed of it.

With regards to Qwaser of Stigmata...it honestly felt like it was trying too hard. The show has a super-serious tenor which works against it in terms of how palatable its execution came across. The show wants to be an action series with titillating moments, but keeps going for "extreme"-style instances of violence and sexuality, which come across as off-putting rather than tension-building.


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Lemmy wrote:
Yeah... I really liked the original show... But this one is tiring. Nothing really happens, characters introductions feel forced, the protagonists barely do anything... Haku is supposed to be charismatic, but he doesn't really display any charisma other than characters magically liking him despite he not saying or doing anything remarkable.

You bring up a good point with regards to how slowly the plot has been progressing. While we do seem to see it picking up now, I really don't think that the entire first half of the show needed to be devoted to introducing and showcasing the cast. That was a process that went on entirely too long (especially when it got to the tertiary cast members, most of whom feel annoyingly one-dimensional).


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Having just watched the latest episode of Utawarerumono: The False Faces, I'm beginning to get a little tired of Haku's character. It's not so much that he's lazy and self-indulgent (or even how that makes him seem cowardly), but that he becomes indignant whenever anyone wants him to do something, even when it's quite clearly important.

His whining in that regard is really beginning to grate on me.


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Atarlost wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
Or imagine Star Wars where 60% of the galaxy are Jedi (or Sith or other force users).
In Episode IV, only one guy can cast interplanetary teleport for the party. That guy is Han Solo. Just because his material component is a giant ship instead of something in a pouch doesn't mean Luke and Obi-Wan are the only magic users there.

One low versatility SLA does not a caster make. Han Solo has one shtick. He flies the space taxi.

It's not even a unique shtick.

No no, that's the "partial" in "partial niche protection." :D


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One of my personal pet peeves is when a particular story is described as being "emotionally manipulative." To me that term says far more about the person using it than it does about the story in question. That's because I think that getting an emotional reaction out of their audience is one of the raison d'etres of fiction, and while a particular attempt may more or less successful in its execution, there's no particular "wrong way" to try and provoke your audience into feeling something with regards to your work.

Then I watched the thirteen-episode series Black Bullet, and, while I still think it's wrong-headed to call a work of fiction emotionally manipulative, I can see why someone would be moved to do so.

Set in the near future, Black Bullet is a world where humanity is under threat from the "Gastrea" virus, which mutates humans into mindless monsters. Such monsters inevitably go on rampages, killing indiscriminately and leaving survivors infected. Worse, these monsters have regeneration that can only be stopped by the artificial metal varanium. As such, humanity now lives in city-states that are surrounded by varanium monoliths.

What sets the stage for this anime is that those who are infected with the Gastrea virus don't mutate until it's infected more than 50% of their body, and doesn't progress without external contamination. As a result of this, pregnant women who are infected below the mutation threshold have given birth to the Cursed Children: a generation of girls (such children are always born female) who, due to being born with the virus, have acquired special powers from it, but are still at risk of mutating if they surpass 50% infection.

It's against this backdrop that we're shown the adventures of Rentaro Satomi, a "civil security" agent (e.g. specialized Gastrea hunter) and his partner Enjuu Aihara, a Cursed Child.

I've mentioned before that there was a period where I was wildly mistaking the genre/tone of various anime that I was previewing. That was the case with Black Bullet, but unlike some other series I feel like this was more because of the series' description than my own misunderstanding. To whit, this show is technically an action/drama, but it gets there via tragedy.

This gets back into my initial rant about "emotionally manipulative" stories, because Black Bullet evokes tragedy not by letting us get to know its cast and become invested in them before it hits us where it hurts, but instead by leaning on the Cursed Children being 1) very young, with the oldest being no more than ten, and 2) subject to severe discrimination (to the point where a bill to grant them human rights is highly controversial).

In other words, we get a lot of scenes of violence being directed against minor characters that we viscerally want to protect because of what they are, rather than who they are. For example, a scene where a mob of grown men throw rocks at a little beggar girl. (It's implied that many, if not most, of the Cursed Children don't have powers that are combat-applicable.)

The result is that the series does succeed in evoking the emotions that it wants, but it doesn't feel very satisfying in having done so. The most artful depictions of pathos, at least to me, are when we can identify with what the characters are going through, rather than being repeatedly subjected to things that make us viscerally react. Trading empathy for reflexivity rarely creates narrative staying power (or so I've experienced).

This is a shame, because the story that Black Bullet clearly wants to tell isn't a bad one. Yes, the idea of "suffering so much to protect a society that hates you" isn't particularly original, but I don't think that originality matters nearly as much as how artfully a story is told. In that regard, however, Black Bullet simply isn't telling it very well, giving us the tragedy-equivalent of "jump scares."


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My idea for a "it'll never happen" campaign was to make the players members of the Resistance in a post-Judgment Day Terminator game, where there'd been a world-wide infestation of xenomorphs, a planetary invasion of Predators, and a global outbreak of the Evil Dead, all at once.

I like to think of it as the whole "Points of Light" idea taken to an extreme. Essentially, humanity's best hope for survival is that each of these four factions is more focused on each other than on annihilating the few remaining bands of humans.


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Ssalarn wrote:
Just to be clear, to counterspell you first have to select a specific opponent to counterspell. You then have to ready an action to counterspell. You then have to identify the spell being cast and either have the same spell (or same school of spell if you've grabbed the right feat) or Dispel Magic available. If the person you've chosen to counterspell decides not to cast, or if you fail your Spellcraft check, or if the spell he casts isn't one you have an appropriate spell available to counter, you've just wasted an entire turn.

Or if you use dispel magic but fail the caster level check, then it's also wasted.

But yeah, as-is counterspelling is a terrible option. In fifteen years of 3.0/3.5/Pathfinder, I've only ever seen it used once, and that was by me, when I decided to do so purely on a lark at a particularly boring gaming session several years back...where I failed by caster level check on a dispel magic to counterspell (hence why I mentioned it here).


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Kirth Gersen wrote:
at that point, it's far better to simply move to a classless system.

Personally, I like that idea. To use your example, you'd have a total pool of points that you could distribute as you liked among each of those four attributes. So if you had a grand total of 8 points, one person could make their character B1, C3, S3, U1, another could go B4, C1, S1, U2, etc.

This allows people to set what their own niches are, and how much they're overlapping with others, essentially tailoring the degree of niche protection to individual preferences. I think that would solve a lot of problems (except that people seem to be terribly afraid of characters that have 4's in two abilities and 0's in the other two).


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atheral wrote:
I was really enjoying gate up to the part where they went back to Tokyo...then it became a bit painful. I signed up for Modern Military vs fantasy creatures not the political agenda mouth piece from that arc, and as I understand it, it was toned down in the anime. I may go back to watching it but it'll be lower on my list now.

The parts taking place in the real world do seem to be, for lack of a better word, "slower" than the stuff taking place in the Special Region. That's largely because the show can't have any major adventuring going on in the real world, short of the "politics taken to their natural conclusion, e.g. covert military action" that we see.

That said, Gate has always had a strong political dimension to its story, more so than most fantasy fiction. That's something I personally enjoy, as it gives the story a much more grounded feel that contrasts very nicely with the high fantasy elements; it's very much a "chocolate in my peanut butter" aspect to the show.

Of course, this is somewhat diminished due to the show's idealism about the Japanese government in general, and the JSDF in particular (and, to a much lesser degree, its criticisms of foreign governments). Given the emphasis on realpolitik that the show typically has, I find the righteousness among the JSDF soldiers, particularly in how universal it is, to be a dissonant element.


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Caineach wrote:
Alzrius wrote:
Just one more day before the next cour of Gate starts!
Only thing I am looking forward to in the next set.

For a short time, I tried to avoid reading the translations of the manga or the original novels so that I could go in fresh, but since the previous cour ended on something of a cliffhanger, I couldn't help it.

That doesn't mean that I'm not looking forward to the new episodes, though. Quite the opposite, in fact.


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Just one more day before the next cour of Gate starts!


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Neurophage wrote:
I found another analysis of this in the Death Battle between Superman and Goku. The conclusion they reached is that they're the exact same character viewed through two different cultural lenses, but while Goku's amazing power comes from continually transcending his limitations, Superman's amazing power is from having no limitations in the first place.

While I think that sentiment is very poetic, I found myself disagreeing with the idea that Superman has no limitations on how powerful he is. That's a very figurative way of judging his abilities, one that's not backed up by a more literal interpretation of what he can do...which is why Death Battle used numerical calculations to measure his strength, speed, etc.

Of course, then they did the re-match Death Battle, which completely threw away all attempts to measure either characters' power, and instead interpreted the whole "Superman is all-powerful" sentiment literally (and worse, they had Goku say "hm, I guess I can't become that strong, and probably wouldn't want to be" which goes directly against the core of Goku's character).

What I think would have been a far more germane analysis is to take Goku and Superman as being notable examples of the meta-contextual differences between Eastern and Western characters. Specifically in that most Eastern characters are there to tell a story, and when the story is over it comes to a close (though extremely popular characters can outlive this, of which Goku ironically is one). By contrast, Western characters tend to be presented in-and-of themselves, rather than being an integral component of a particular narrative, and so, if popular, will tend to exist in perpetuity with new stories forming around them.

Or, as the Epic Rap Battle noted of Superman, "How many times are they gonna rewrite your story?!"


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Caineach wrote:
InVinoVeritas wrote:

I'll admit, I'm not a big fan of anime tropes in my RPGs, but all the combat/non-caster going over the top stuff doesn't bother me that much.

What bothers me are things like female hypersexualization and casual sexism, mood swings (with or without face faults), stock main characters that are easily identified on TVTropes (especially the enigmatic bishi, or the noblewoman villain), or all the screaming in combat.

My least favorite, however? Here's the world. Here's how the world works, with this new power thingy tacked on. Here's the limitation on that power. Now here's the main protagonist, who doesn't have to follow those rules.

Bonus points if the reason he doesn't have to follow the rules is because he's so highly trained and disciplined. That's just shorthand for "You must love the rulebreaker, because he has a greater moral purity than you." He's the best, so he's the hero? No. Hell no.

These aren't strictly anime, though. However, they're what I notice when people try to add more "anime feel" in their games. Otherwise, enjoy, add more anime to your and my game, that's cool.

As someone who has been watching anime for 2 decades, I can't really identify these complaints.

Took the words right out of my mouth.

Greylurker wrote:

To be fair, I do get the kind of series he's talking about. Infinite Stratos, Irregular in a Magical school, Aria of a Cursed Swordsman, Dragonar academy, Unlimited Fafnir, etc...

It's a pretty long list of very similar shows. They can be fun and some are better than others but there are only so many times you can tell the same story.

I beleive the new entry is Saijaku Muhai no Bahamut

It's not so much that I disagree - your point about those shows being similar in their overall plot structure, the tropes they use, etc., isn't wrong - but rather that I place much more of a premium on the "some are better than others" part than on the "tell the same story" part.

That is, I don't particularly care how original or innovative a story is, in terms of breaking from genre conventions, popular tropes, narrative expectations, etc. Originality, to my mind, is vastly overrated. What I'm more concerned with is the quality of the show itself; if the show has characters that I can relate to, has a plot progression that seems to follow internally-consistent factors and a believable sequence of events, and tells a story that I find engaging, then I'm all for it. There are other factors I'll take into account, of course, but those are the big ones.

Ironically enough, putting those considerations first tends to mean that you overlook genre classifications anyway, and so you don't typically run into the same type of story with a high degree of regularity.


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I'm still actively expanding my collection of old Basic, AD&D 1E, and AD&D 2E stuff.

In fact, I just got a copy of HR3 Celts that I ordered in the mail today!


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thecursor wrote:
Sauron From Lord of the Rings

If you want to see this idea taken to its logical conclusion, check out The Last Ringbearer. I've read it, and it's a great novel.

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