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Medusa

Amber Scott's page

Contributor. Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber. 582 posts. 4 reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Tangent101 wrote:

Heh. Now I'm feeling guilty, as I'm a writer and know what negative feedback is like.

Amber, I'm not protesting the quality of your writing. I've not even read it (I'll probably read it eventually when the print copy of the AP reaches me). I just don't like the format of having serial stories in the APs. And hey, here's a soapbox! ^^;;

No guilt necessary! I wouldn't be a writer if I wasn't able to hear both likes and dislikes about my work. I understand this thread is about the format of the fiction and not the content specifically (though it certainly can be) but I still find the comments interesting and useful. :)

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1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. Good or bad it's always useful to hear. :)

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Thank you!

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5 people marked this as a favorite.

Female. I think she's actually the first female protagonist I've written in. Pathfinder fiction. :)

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Tyler: The book is 64 pages but not the adventure. The rules state "Paizo’s Pathfinder Modules are 64 pages. The winning adventure will be approximately 32-40 pages in length. The remaining material for the book will be filled with additional content appropriate for the adventure and its location, such as monsters and magic items. (Paizo will provide this additional content. Some of this additional content may come from earlier rounds of RPG Superstar 2014; if so, the authors of that content will be paid for their work and credited in the module!)"

I really enjoyed this proposal and its scope didn't immediately knock it to the bottom of my list. In the end there were others I liked more. :)

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1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm not a judge in this round, so carry on. ;)

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3 people marked this as a favorite.

*furtively cribs notes from this thread*

What? What's that? Oh, nothing. Just carry on.

*slinks off to work on various projects*

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1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks everyone, this adventure was SO fun to write (and I think you'll like the journal too!)

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5 people marked this as a favorite.

Whee, I'm very excited! One might even say...SUPER excited!

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I came looking for this thread just to see if Limp Lash had been erratad. I'm wondering if it's supposed to be a named penalty (like an enhancement penalty) that doesn't stack? You can keep focusing it every round to try to increase the penalty by rolling higher, but not adding to it...that's my best guess anyway. Or a level typo.

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7 people marked this as a favorite.

Alright, forget the sexism angle. What about the gimmick angle? Isn’t this basically just a marketing ploy?

I don’t believe so. As others have pointed out, “all women writers!” isn’t exactly a strong selling point, so if it’s a marketing ploy it’s a pretty weak one. From conversations with Louis and the Gamer Girls panel at PaizoCon last week, it seems more likely that it’s an effort by the company to support and develop more female talent in the industry.

Publishers use gimmicks all the time. They publish themed anthologies instead of just taking the best stories. They put popular monsters on covers even if the beastie only appears once halfway through the adventure. They use cheesecake art to get people to pick up the product. They coax tired writers out of retirement to produce lukewarm stories so that the writer’s name can get splashed across the cover. Publishing is marketing, and if women writers sold, you can bet every company in the industry would be hawking their sweet team of superwomen writers by morning. The fact that they’re not shows that an all-female AP is not a marketing ploy, because there are far more lucrative and time-tested marketing ploys.

You keep saying it’s important to develop women writers. Why? Do women really write differently than men?

Of course. Writers from different cultures also write differently. So do writers from different socio-economic classes and writers from different generations. Every individual has a unique existence that shapes his or her writing. Encouraging underrepresented writer groups, of which women writers is but one, invests diversity and a variety of styles and voices into a product line. Gamers are a diverse lot with a variety of tastes and playing styles. It’s unlikely that one subgroup of writers could produce material that appeals to everyone.

This is a ridiculously long post.

Sure is. TL;DR version: I think an all-female AP, in this time and place in the industry, is a good idea that can help develop underrepresented writers and hopefully inspire more women to enter the industry—not because men aren’t doing a good job but because variety is good for the industry.

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7 people marked this as a favorite.

But SEXISM!! I mean you basically just said it is totally sexist!

Ok, it’s totally sexist. I have a feeling the schism of this thread will end up being “is sexism ever justified?”

In essence, this is an affirmative action argument. Affirmative action is a set of policies that takes into account non-merit based criteria in order to combat discrimination or to offer opportunities to a historically underrepresented group. The term is American; in Canada we usually call it employment equity. Call it what you will, it’s an incredibly divisive topic. I don’t honestly expect to change anyone’s minds because it is so divisive; this piece is becoming more and more a way to figure out my own thoughts.

In general, I support employment equity provided a number of principles exist beneath the policies. In short:
-the groups who benefit from EE are genuinely underrepresented or discriminated against. Equal opportunity to seek and be considered for jobs does not currently exist at a reasonable level;
-a baseline of merit is required before candidates will be considered, regardless of what group they belong to; and
-enough opportunity exists for members not of that group to find analogous opportunities elsewhere if a specific opportunity is denied them.

My belief system is a bit more complicated than that, but that’s it in a nutshell. In this case, I believe an all-female AP meets the criteria and does more good than harm.

The first point is the most contentious. Women are genuinely underrepresented as writers in my opinion, but hard numbers are difficult to come by. It’s an opinion formed more by experience and anecdote than study. Others have already commented on the baseline of talent required for this AP and there are plenty of jobs available for male writers; there’s not a shortage of opportunity by any means. For these reasons I support this incarnation of EE.

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7 people marked this as a favorite.

But ALL women? Isn’t that sexist?

Yes and no. It’s definitely sexist from the point that individuals are being excluded on basis of their gender. The presumed corollary is that all other companies operate as meritocracies and so women have as good a shot as anyone to get into a project. Or at least most of them. But do we really know? As someone pointed out, I was the first female AP writer for Paizo and mine is issue 73. Right up until 72 everyone assumed Paizo was hiring the best writers available and they just happened to be male (right?) Proving that is, of course, impossible. Proving they didn’t and they deliberately sought out male writers is likewise impossible. I happen to be convinced that Paizo hires the best people for the job and it was finally my time; I’m a very experienced writer after all. In fact, I have found Paizo to be the best, most fair and evenhanded company I’ve ever written for.

When you’re a minority writer, it can be difficult to know when you’re losing out on jobs because of your appearance or because of your talent. The default as far as I’m concerned is always to presume my (or others') lack of work is merit-based; I'm (or they're) just not good enough yet. I doubt that's true in every case, though. I’ve experienced sexual harassment and heard of far worse, blatant discrimination levied by experienced writers, publishers, even pretty famous people. I don’t like to name names because, as I said, it’s so hard to prove. But it happens, and it can be very discouraging to non-mainstream writers.

It seems unfair that writers would be excluded from a project because they’re men. Writers are excluded from projects for a ton of reasons that are not merit-based, however. I’ve been excluded from projects because: it’s not my specialty, because I just did something like that, because I’ve never done something like that, because they want someone local, because I’ve written too much for the company recently, and probably because the editor just doesn’t like me. None of those reasons are merit-based. Because an all-female AP is non-merit and gender-based, though, it’s seen as "more" unfair—male writers can’t help being male. That’s true. But writers also can’t help having never worked on monster articles or having written a lot of projects with the word “righteous” in the title (at least, they can’t be responsible for knowing that would make a difference down the road) and no one bats an eye when they are excluded. Sexism is much dicier, and understandably so. It's full of emotion and questions of ethics. Yet I think in this sort of instance, when the balance is so heavily skewed towards men and women are still struggling to contribute to the industry, it can be understood.

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8 people marked this as a favorite.

I’d love the chance to jump in here with my thoughts. Ever since the AP was announced I’ve been considering what the ramifications of it are and what objections could be raised. I have a few thoughts on why people might resist the idea of an all-female AP and why I support it. I started writing out my points and it turned into a ginormous megapost so I'll break it up into smaller posts.

(This is all imho/ymmv/etc.)

Why restrict the writers to women? Why not take the most talented writers?

If writing jobs were limited to the most talented, there would be very few of us writing. I know I personally was not as developed a writer when I first started out as I am now. It seems a logical assumption that most jobs are placed via a sort of flowchart where the most talented writers are in the top bin, and if they’re not available you move on to the B-list writers, and so on. But that’s not always the way it works (nor should it be the way it works).

The most important reason for searching for non-A list writers is because if you don’t, you run out of talent quickly. Writers can only produce so much material and there are so many publishers who need material. If you only hire the same people over and over again, you run the talent well dry (and all your products start to look the same). Offering opportunities to new writers is a way to discover and develop new talent and keep the writing fresh. RPG Superstar is an example of this—you could easily make the argument that Paizo shouldn’t be offering jobs to untested people via a contest when they could be using their most talented staff all the time.

RPG Superstar, though, is seen as a meritocracy, and in a lot of cultures merit is seen as a neutral, laudable method for selecting individuals. It’s hard to argue with “the best person gets the job.” Where meritocracies fail is when individuals are barred from entry on non-merit based criteria before the selection process (and there are other potential issues, but entry criteria is the one I’ll focus on, as the others are much more philosophical and convoluted).

I’ll probably come back to this idea of self-opting out of a system later, knowing me, but for now I’ll say that there are not many women in writing, and for a publisher to consciously solicit and develop female talent is a smart way to build new blood in a company.

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Thank you!

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I somehow managed to miss the banquet last year so this year will be my first. I wanted to check--if you show up with a small group, can you be seated as a group? Also will there be vegetarian dishes offered? Thanks for the help.

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RSVPd on Facebook. :)

Sorry if I'm slow about this, but what is "VO"? Are regular attendees able to grab the shuttle between the listed hours?

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Todd Stewart wrote:
First of all, this is an awesome book. :)

Thank you!

Quote:

Secondly, if I can snare Amber's ear, I've got one question now (and probably more later) ...

I like the reference to Lady Taramyth the Singing Flame that shows up in the book. Makes me happy. :) Was she originally going to get a full writeup, or did the agathion paragons/leaders (like Taramyth, Kelumarion, etc) get a slightly downgraded status versus some of the other NG empyreal lords that weren't linked to a specific agathion subtype?

No, none of the empyreal lords were downgraded or left out from the outlined version of the book. I can't say why (cause I don't know), but perhaps the mysterious inner circle of Paizo has plans for them. :)

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mark kay wrote:


Just to ask, as it didn't really get a clear answer I think, was Ragathiel's obedience intended to be full out ritual sacrifice? Would full out ritual sacrifice qualify for it despite being, well, full out ritual sacrifice of someone likely bound and helpless for it? My own takeaway had been that killing someone appropriately evil in the course of battle as it might come up would qualify, along with requisite ritual prayer after.

It was intended to be the latter--the mystery cultist comes across Evil Person, slays Evil Person, and gets boons. Not all the obediences would necessarily take an hour, but none should take longer than an hour. For example, Black Butterfly's obedience of doing an anonymous act of charity could involve leaving some gold on a doorstep, knocking, and running--no need to turn it into an hour-long ritual.

I see under Celestial Obedience on page 5 it says the rituals are "typically an hour" but for the feat it says "only an hour." The former was my intention. I'm guessing the discrepancy occurred when the feat text was aligned with the Demonic Obedience feat. (I am only the author though and don't have the 'official' answers :) ).

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A few comments here--

1. Ragathiel's obedience is pretty onerous. My thought process as I created his boons and obedience was the idea that this is an incredibly powerful empyreal lord with very strict standards (and correspondingly powerful rewards). I think most games in which a PC plays a mystery cultist would see the PCs come into conflict with evildoers on a regular basis and that would allow for the obedience to be fulfilled. During downtime/between adventures there may not be opportunity to fulfill the obedience which I think is important too. Even the most devout servants can't serve perfectly all the time.

I think what I didn't do was anticipate how popular Ragathiel would be as a choice for players. I could have taken that into account more as I created the entry. If the obedience is too strict for an individual game, I agree that Dammerich's obedience makes a good substitute.

2. Ritual of Possession was supposed to grant channel energy 3+Cha times per day, yes, if you don't already have the ability. That was a mistake on my part.

3. Blood of the Martyr was added in development, but I agree it would seem that good-aligned casters would only use it on willing targets. Summon Stampede was likewise added in development.

4. Vinetrap was originally much different when I wrote it. It was a persistent area spell that targeted flying creatures passing through its area. I think what happened is my original spell block at the top of the spell was accidentally left unchanged (but I can't say for sure). I'm going to guess it should be a standard action to cast with a target of a single creature.

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1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks for the well-wishes everyone. :) Things are much better now I'm happy to say. I'm looking forward to chatting about CotR and other projects at PaizoCon this year with the people I meet!

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Jason and I will be there as well.

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2 people marked this as a favorite.

This should be fun! I might even bring a PowerPoint. Put my business degree to good use.

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Azure_Zero wrote:
Though I noticed that not every empyreal lord listed in the inside cover was covered in detail in the book (Not all had boons).

The inside cover lists all the "main" empyreal lords as well as the "lesser" ones from pages 54-55. The latter are not detailed but give an idea of all the potential empyreal lords out there. We did give them favoured weapons and domains just in case players really liked one of the minor ones.

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11 people marked this as a favorite.

I can't tell you all how glad I am to hear all these comments. I wrote this book during pretty much the worst year of my life. I remember sitting in the sun with Wes at PaizoCon and telling him about a friend of mine who had just passed away and how fresh and raw everything was.

I returned to Canada, went back to school, and in between classes and helping my newly-widowed best friend and dealing with my own grief (and an unexpected medical issue--yeah, it was quite a year), I wrote this book. It was comforting, in a weird way, to leave behind "earthly" things and contemplate what the ultimate good in a multiverse would look like. I tried very hard to give capital-g Good a lot of nuance and a lot of different dimensions. To think of all the different kinds of suffering and what would provide a balm. I hope I invested in it the gravity and peace and joy that I imagined during the writing.

Of course I tried to put in a lot of fun flavour and mechanics too, a lot of cool options and awesome crunch. I love how the mystery cultist turned out, particularly the capstone ability. I love the spells. And the mortification rituals! The empyreal lords, as you can imagine, were the most fun to write. I've always loved fairy tales and myths and legends and I tried to draw on them to make the lords epically fantastic, like Tabris covering seven leagues at a step, or Ragathiel wrestling in the Maelstrom for 16 years, or Eritrice's origin. I love Arshea and Bharnarol and Irez and of course Vildeis and who am I kidding, all of them.

This is not to say the book is perfect and those who have complaints, I will take them to heart. I just wanted to say that this book was a labour of love and also healing and I'm so glad it turned out the way it did.

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3 people marked this as a favorite.

Reading these comments has pretty much made my month. Possibly year. So glad everyone is enjoying the book!

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2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm so excited to see this in print. Very cool hearing all your comments. :)

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K_GM wrote:
This upcoming AP is in my humble opinion, the most compelling AP yet. This AP has the feel of the 'Diablo' PC game to it, and reminds me of a few old Steve Jackson & Ian Livingstone Fighting Fantasy novels I had from adolescence. Paizo couldn't have picked a better AP, and I'll gladly buy every single episode. Bravo.

I read those Fighting Fantasy books obsessively. FF was the first RPG I actually played, before even AD&D. /memories

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11 people marked this as a favorite.

Thank you, everyone! Yes this is my first AP and while I'm no stranger to long, complex projects, an AP installment was certainly a dragon of a different color. The Paizo team gave me a tremendous amount of support and guidance, as always, and I think this series is going to be amazing. Can't wait to see it in print!!

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Jason and I will attend, along with two friends we are dragging along from Canada. :)

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Hm...I wonder if I could bring a cooler as checked luggage...

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When I first checked my lottery results it said I was signed up only for Casting Plaster Bricks, as was my buddy. Then the results vanished while the issues were all sorted out, and our new schedules have only MinionQuest (and open events). Which is fine, I'm not going to worry about it. :)

Edit: To clarify, we saw the Casting Plaster on our schedule on Wednesday around 4 pm-ish. I checked the message boards and saw the schedule finalization was still "in progress" and didn't think much more of it till I checked our schedules today and saw MQ instead. I think we'd rather game than cast plaster (though I will miss hanging with SKR) so it's really not a big deal.

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So the schedules up now are the right ones? It looks like I lost the one I originally had and got into one different one. Was hoping for a few more successes than one, but I'm sure I'll find some pickup games and have fun.

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I don't see a way to register for open events either. Maybe they open up once you get your lottery schedule fixed?

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As I will be "meeting" more than "eating," I am fine with either place. Can't wait to see everyone!

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Holy crap, that cover art is amazing!

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Thanks for all the comments, I really appreciate it!

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I love the cover!

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Thank you so much! What lovely comments. I truly appreciate them. :)

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That's why we love him!

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Apologies if this has been mentioned (I get a bit cross-eyed scanning long threads) but I'm enjoying CoT so far. The only "misstep" I've noticed so far is in the Sixfold Trial, the text assumes Chammady and Ecarrdian know the PCs took out the Bastards of Erebus. As my player didn't want his identity revealed as a hero/rebel/whateveryacallit in the first adventure, he worked circumspectly. I suppose the Drovenges could use divination magic to learn his identity; it doesn't matter for my game, but could be useful to other GMs. :)

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Mairkurion {tm} wrote:
Amber, I think this is the first thing I've ever read of yours. I really dug it. Thanks!

No, thank you! Although at first I thought you said it was the first thing of mine you've read THAT you dug. And I was like, "Better than nothing!"

If I may post a shameless plug, you can see a list of all the Pathfinder products I've worked on here.

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Anguish wrote:
I wanted to separately add that the article on tieflings is fan-fraking-tastic. This adventure path just paid for itself, even if we never play it. We've always had fun with planetouched and this turns things even cooler. My compliments to Amber Scott for coming up with a list of 98 very interesting alternate abilities (100: one roll-again and pick two, and 7/66 are duplicates). Very clever unique thinking here.

Thank you!! The Paizo crew came up with a lot of the tiefling abilities; I think I sent in about 30, and they decided the abilities were so fun we had to expand them to 100.

I have to say I went through the roof when Wes asked me to write this, and I'm so glad you liked it!

-Amber S.

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Wicht wrote:

Just out of curiosity - Why camelopard?

Are you just trying to see how many people recognize the animal in question?

Not at all, I just loved the name. It's so fun to say and I thought it sounded kinda cool and mysterious. I would have been fine if it got changed, but it didn't, and that makes me happy. :)

And yeah, writing this book coincided with a particularly difficult time during my life and I WAY underestimated the committment. But I put my nose to the goblin grindstone, or some other humorously mixed metaphor, and I love the finished product.

-Amber S.

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My friend and I are playing through CotCT; my husband is DMing. This is the first time my friend (I'll call him Mork, because that's his character's name) has played D&D in about fifteen years.

So far, he's picked up everything very easily. He's playing a half-orc monk and really likes the range of abilities he has. He's a little reluctant to use ki points for fear of running out, but I think he's striking a good balance.

I, of course, have been playing 3.5 for a long time so I find the rules easy to adapt to. I love the more customized speciality wizards -- I'm playing an illusionist -- and the utility of the rogue (my second character) seems unchanged. I've always liked rogues.

The main issue Mork has is he keeps thinking "bull rush" should knock down your opponent. Something he'll figure out soon enough, I expect.

Will post more as we play more!

-Amber S.

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Molech wrote:
Amber Scott wrote:
-Amber S., who likes sexy medusas

Is there any other kind?

-W. E. Ray

Yeah, the one in the MM. :(

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Tarren Dei wrote:
What type of characters do you prefer to play?

All types, but I always like characters with a significant vulnerability. Someone with a weakness, with buttons to push.

Tarren Dei wrote:
Which woman fantasy characters work for you?

Smart ones, dumb ones, sexy ones, modest ones...whatever. I like independence and a noticeable personality. My favourites are probably Tenar from the Earthsea books, Miss Parker from the Pretender tv series, Agent Scully from the X-Files, Eilonwy from the Prydain Chronicles, pretty much all the women from Firefly...those are off the top of my head.

Tarren Dei wrote:


Which authors write women characters well?

I can't think of an answer to this, but I think Ursula K. LeGuin writes male characters shockingly well.

-Amber S.

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1 person marked this as a favorite.

I am also a Female Gamer (though I didn't know until now that I qualified for capital letters -- yippee!) and a Female Game Designer and I like the occasional scantily clad woman as well. What I don't like is a pervasive, unchanging image of the scantily clad fantasy-woman as the only available model in RPGs. Variety, after all, is the spice of life.

-Amber S., who likes sexy medusas

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This book is superkeen.

-Amber S., the excited

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That's ridiculously awesome.

-Amber S.

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