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Alzrius's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 1,547 posts. 72 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist.


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JoeJ wrote:
Are you seriously asking for a realistic story about an invulnerable flying space alien who shoots laser beams out his eyes?

To paraphrase Wolfgang Baur:

"Realism" in this context is shorthand for "functions according to internal logic and consistency of the setting," not "functions according to real-world physics."


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boring7 wrote:
a buncha folk wrote:
...Sam and Dean from Supernatural...
Were using Ghost Salt Shotgun shells and magic rituals to banish spirits. Oh hey I just solved your irreconcilable equation. Are we done here?

I'm not sure you solved it.

The essence of this thread - as I understand it - is that when it asks if there's any concept that can't be made using the "existing rules," those last two words are meant to be taken as "class abilities."

In the case of Sam and Dean, they don't have any particular class abilities that grant them any non-natural powers (the major caveat being Sam's demon blood-powers in the second through fourth seasons...and I agree, he's since retrained those away).

Everything else they do is either using equipment (mostly mundane, occasionally magical), skill checks, or incantations, all of which are available to anyone.

Of course, that's all something of a moot point anyway. The fact is that Pathfinder can make Sam- and Dean-style characters just fine; the problem is that it can't make them viable 1) at the higher-levels, and 2) in a setting where magic and highly magical monsters are both prevalent and powerful.

Supernatural takes place on an Earth that's pretty clearly a low-magic, E6-style campaign. Pathfinder can do that easily - heck, doing that is just a matter of what you take away, rather than what you add. But something that's viable under those circumstances isn't going to necessarily be the case in "baseline" Pathfinder. (I once wrote stats for Sam, with his demonic powers in the fourth season, using a Pathfinder-compatible point-buy character-generator - I was able to place him as being a 3rd-level character).

There's really nothing wrong with that, that I can see. Unless they received some sort of major power-up (which might be the case for Dean going into Season 10...), they'd get their asses consistently kicked in a higher-power world. After all, we see them get their asses kicked in their own world quite often as it is.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Does Charisma include a component based on a character's physical appearance? Sure it does; it's right there in the ability description (emphasis mine):

Quote:
Charisma measures a character's personality, personal magnetism, ability to lead, and appearance.

The issue here isn't that people misunderstand the nature of what Charisma represents - it's that when you try to divide the sum total of a person's physical and mental characteristics into a grand total of six categories, you're going to end up mashing different aspects of who they are together under a single umbrella. Charisma is the result of that. It's been awkward since its implementation, but like most of the warts associated with D&D, has become associated with the game's sense of identity.

For good or for bad, beauty is one of the defining characteristics of what Charisma represents, unintuitively combining that with personal magnetism, leadership, and other force-of-personality-related qualities.


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Gwen Smith wrote:
I assumed it was the convention that was "fake"...because that other stuff makes no sense at all.

That was the crux of the joke I made in the second post.

To reiterate, I was comparing the idea that there are "fake" geek girls with the idea that there could be an entire fake convention - it makes an analogy between the ludicrousness of the latter idea with that of the former, thus satirizing the fact that some people thought that "fake geek girls" were actually a thing (and a thing worth being very upset over, at that).


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owenstreetpress wrote:
Jessica isn't telling you what you are or are not allowed to think is too soon to be funny, but what she thinks is too soon to be funny.

Actually, her first sentence in the post I quoted above could very well be read that way. Saying "you can think what you want" can be read as carrying a tone of "I'm giving you permission to think what you want."

To be clear, I don't think that's what she intended to communicate when she said that. However, as you noted below, the lack of context clues was such that that's how it initially appeared to me, before I went back and gave her the benefit of the doubt.

owenstreetpress wrote:
It's not about your sense of humor as it is about her experience, which we need to respect.

I disagree to the extent that it is, in fact, as much about my sense of humor as it is about her experience. That's what I read as being the actual intent of her previous post, in fact - she's saying that I have my opinion, and she has hers, and they're different; neither is more valid, or less valid, than the other.

I should also note that I did mention that my disagreement with her was respectful - so the need to respect that was met before you reiterated it. ;)

owenstreetpress wrote:
Humor can be a useful tool for criticism, but it's also completely subjective, and the effects of humor, its success, failure, or appropriateness, is dependent upon the audience. This is why comedy is hard. This is also why comedy on an Internet forum is hard, because the audience doesn't have inflection or body language to tell that it was a joke. I read it as a joke now, because of the expanded context, but upon first reading it I have to admit that it didn't come off as a joke. Perhaps if my own personal experience had been different, I would have read it as such, but that doesn't change the experiences of the other posters.

I find this to be heartening, because it acknowledges that there has been an expanded context that allows the original joke to be read in the manner in which it was intended.


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Jessica Price wrote:

Hey, you can find funny whatever you find funny.

For me, after the past couple weeks, it falls pretty firmly under the header of "Too soon."

I respectfully disagree - I don't think it's ever too soon to laugh at those who promote ignorance and close-mindedness. Why pass up such self-declared golden targets for humorous mockery?


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Liz Courts wrote:
Alzrius wrote:

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

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

It's considerably less funny when you've been the target of it.

No doubt, but that doesn't make the whole idea of "fake geek girls" - or the people who unironically promulgated it - any less worthy of mockery (as Dork Tower has demonstrated).

I respect that some people don't find it funny in any regard, and would prefer that the entire subject be purged from our cultural consciousness. I personally disagree with that stance, as I think the idea is so inane as to be a vending machine of humor.


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

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

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


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Aelryinth wrote:
Just to throw fuel on the fire, there was a spell in 2e that did gradual minor permanent physical changes. I don't remember if it was called FLeshsculpting or what. The showcase was a bard using it on this harpy child to over time remove the offensive harpy elements and transform her into a beautiful winged female whose appearance rather reflected her voice.

I remember that adventure; it was "Melody" from Dungeon #48.


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Maybe Paizo was planning on being there, but accidentally signed up for a fake Geek Girl Con?


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

Yes to all.

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

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


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

That's sort of a gray area.

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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Wiggz wrote:

When I go to it now I just get an introduction page and no links to books or rules...

http://paizo.com/prd/

The links are now collapsible on the left-hand side of the page. Click on which book you want to look in, and a menu will appear for it.


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These are just my guesses, but I'll take a stab at some of these:

Thelemic_Noun wrote:
Does the character's height and weight change? If so, is it rolled randomly or is the same roll used but with the new base?

My presumption would be that - in reference to the height/weight tables for races - you'd keep the same roll but use the new base.

Thelemic_Noun wrote:
Does true seeing reveal the transmuted creature's true form?

My original inclination here was to say no; my reasoning being that, as an instaneous effect, this potion is essentially altering what a creature's "true" form is. As such, true seeing wouldn't see through this any more than it'd see that someone petrified by flesh to stone was actually a person and not a statue.

However, the actual text for true seeing says that it "sees the true form of polymorphed, changed, or transmuted things." That's very broad language...enough so that I'd probably concede that true seeing does see through the effect of this elixer.

Thelemic_Noun wrote:
If a race is described as always female, but picturing a male version is trivial (such as hags), does the elixir work?

I'd call this a solid "no." The elixer states that it has no effect on races with no sexual differentation. Given that hags are a unisex race per se (needing members of another race to reproduce), I'd say that this elixer has no effect on them if they imbibed it.

Thelemic_Noun wrote:
If a race has different ability modifiers for different genders (as is the case with many far-out, nonhumanoid creatures), do the character's ability scores change?

My hunch here is that they would, though it'd certainly be easier and less math-intensive if they didn't. That said, given the lack of a disclaimer in that regard, I feel fairly solid on this being an affirmative.

Thelemic_Noun wrote:
Can a Spellcraft check reveal that the creature's form is the result of a magical effect?

I don't see why it would. Reading over the skill description, I don't see anything that implies that it can, by itself, recognize effects created via magic.

Thelemic_Noun wrote:
Can an analyze dweomer or greater arcane sight spell reveal that a creature's form is the result of a magical effect?

The answer here is "yes, but..."

As an instantaneous effect, after consuming the elixer I'd say that this only works as per the rules for lingering auras, as there'd be no active one. Since this magic item has a caster level of 9th, it has only a moderate aura, meaning that it's lingering aura after being used would only be detectable for 1d6 minutes. After that: gone.

Thelemic_Noun wrote:

If a character is sterile before drinking the elixir, are they sterile afterwards?

On the same note, if a woman is sterile due to menopause, does drinking the elixir remove the sterility?

I'd say, respectively, yes and yes.

There's nothing indicating that this elixer changes any underlying conditions a creature has, so if something caused them to be sterile before, then that'd be the case now.

The sole exception would be conditions imposed solely due to biological sex, which menopause falls under. Changing that condition removes the effect that it has; ergo, a menopausal woman using this elixer to become a man would have (barring any other condition) sperm that function the same as any other man of their age.

Thelemic_Noun wrote:
Can plant creatures, undead, outsiders, and/or dragons use the elixir?

I don't see why they couldn't. It would probably have no effect on a plant creature, but a female vampire could become male (or vice versa), the same way a dragon could become a dragoness (or vice versa), and an outsider could switch sexes presuming that it had a biological sex to begin with.

Thelemic_Noun wrote:

If a character is suffering from an effect that can only target creatures of one gender (such as certain types of venereal disease, or familial curses such as "the firstborn sons of House Blahblah shall all die before their sixteenth winter"), does drinking the elixir remove the effect?

And if the effect is removed, does it return upon drinking a second?

Respectively, I'd say that the answers here are yes, and maybe.

With regards to the first question, removing yourself from the list of applicable targets that the unspecified "effect" can affect seems like a legitimate way to avoid it.

As to the second, that depends largely on what the effect is. More specificity is required, though I suspect that this might end up being a GM's call anyway.

Thelemic_Noun wrote:
If a creature drinks the elixir while under a polymorph effect to assume a form ineligible for the elixir, does the elixir effect take hold upon returning to the creature's base form, or is it wasted?

This one is tricky. The rules for polymorphing effects state that "While these spells make you appear to be the creature, granting you a +10 bonus on Disguise skill checks, they do not grant you all of the abilities and powers of the creature." Given that the wording there implies that this is largely an appearance-based (in other words, superficial) change, I'd say that this elixer still works.

However, the elixer itself is based on a polymorph spell, which makes it likely subject to at least some of the general polymorphing guidelines, such as "You can only be affected by one polymorph spell at a time. If a new polymorph spell is cast on you (or you activate a polymorph effect, such as wild shape), you can decide whether or not to allow it to affect you, taking the place of the old spell."

As such, I suppose I'd end up defaulting to that last sentence, and say that someone under the effect of a polymorph effect of any sort (regardless of if it makes them into a creature that is normally ineligible for this elixer) can choose whether or not it affects them.

That strikes me as a pretty unintuitive answer though, so I suspect that this one will be a judgment call for most GMs. Personally, given that polymorph effects are usually temporary changes that don't change what you actually are, whereas this elixer is an instanteous change, I'd say it works anyway, with the change becoming apparent once the polymorph effect ends.

Thelemic_Noun wrote:
If a character's race is normally gendered, but the character is genderless as a result of, for example, a mishap with the girdle of masculinity/femininity, does the elixir have any effect?

That also looks like it might be a GM's call. That said, if the effect is an instantaneous one (like the elixer itself) then I'd say that the elixer has no effect on them, as per its clause regarding races with no sexual differentation (a strict reading would say that the character's "race" still has sexual differentation per se, even if that character doesn't, but that's a little too pedantic for me).

If the effect that made the character genderless are an active effect, however (even if a permanent one), I'd say that the elixer does still affect them, though the effect wouldn't show until the effect that made the character sexless was removed.

Thelemic_Noun wrote:
What happens if a Formian Queen drinks the elixir?

This is splitting hairs, but I'd say that a formian queen is technically a different "race" from other formians, and so she wouldn't be subject to the elixer's effects. Basically, even if a creature has a broader category that it falls under, if it has its own creature listing then it's a member of a separate race. That's just my own guideline, though.

Thelemic_Noun wrote:
Could a limited wish, wish, or miracle spell remove the effect, and if so, does the target get a saving throw?

Given their scope as some of the most powerful magic in the game - and certainly higher-level than a polymorph spell that's used in this elixer's creation - I'd say they definitely could remove the effect. I'd also definitely grant the target a saving throw versus these spells in this case (though they could always choose to voluntarily fail it, if they wanted the effect removed).


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boring7 wrote:

"In order to hide from the city guard, I chose to disguise myself as myself."

"Why?"

"My disguise check is so bad, no one will believe that I'm really me."

Amusingly enough, something to this effect actually happens in the old 2E Planescape adventure Faction War. The Factol (leader) of the Xaositects has a hit put out on him, so his faction makes up roughly a dozen or so fakes, and puts bodyguards on all of them. The PCs are assigned to guard one of the more fake-looking doubles.

Naturally, he's the real Factol, in a disguise as someone in a bad disguise of himself. ("Chaos!")


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Liz Courts wrote:
Alzrius wrote:
JRoss wrote:
I want to know if, for whatever reason, I don't get to use the logo, does that preclude me from releasing any Pathfinder-compatible material?

I've worked with a company that did just this, so I can say with some confidence that the answer to this question is a definite "no."

The Open Game Content in Pathfinder products is still released as OGC under the Open Game License. As such, so long as you abide by the terms of the OGL, you can use Pathfinder OGC in your materials.

Quote:
If I could still release it, could I still refer to Pathfinder by name within the book, or would it have to be in a roundabout way?

Presuming that you didn't use the Compatibility License, you'd have to refer to it in a roundabout way. The book I worked on used the term "PFRPG" in that regard, since we couldn't reference Pathfinder directly.

Now I'm curious what company this is, and why they chose not to claim compatibility... :)

The company was Fantastic Gallery, and while I was just a freelancer and so not privy to any intra-company discussions, I'm fairly sure it was because the book had gratuitous amounts of T and A. ;)


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JRoss wrote:
I want to know if, for whatever reason, I don't get to use the logo, does that preclude me from releasing any Pathfinder-compatible material?

I've worked with a company that did just this, so I can say with some confidence that the answer to this question is a definite "no."

The Open Game Content in Pathfinder products is still released as OGC under the Open Game License. As such, so long as you abide by the terms of the OGL, you can use Pathfinder OGC in your materials.

Quote:
If I could still release it, could I still refer to Pathfinder by name within the book, or would it have to be in a roundabout way?

Presuming that you didn't use the Compatibility License, you'd have to refer to it in a roundabout way. The book I worked on used the term "PFRPG" in that regard, since we couldn't reference Pathfinder directly.


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


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Joe Hex wrote:
I'd be happy to see a well done class builder system. I have faith that smart players and GMs could make good use of it and create something that sticks with a theme not available with the current class options.

In that case, I'd like to point out a previous post of mine that links to just such a system.


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Updated with an article on converting the wizard.


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Updated with an article on converting the rogue.


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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."

Quote:
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.

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

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

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

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

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

Quite right. I couldn't agree more here.

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

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

LazarX wrote:

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

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

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


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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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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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