Hi. I was wondering about a good source (perhaps by a 3rd-party publisher) for an alternate magic-type class, that meets certain criteria.
First of all, I want it to be easy for a player to learn, and easy to figure out how to use it effectively. I don't want to have to juggle dozens of combinations of options to figure out an effective one. Back in 2009, I looked through the Advanced Player's Guide playtest, and found it to be too... well, advanced.
My second criterion might not seem to make much sense, because it will sound like I'm asking for an alternate RACE, rather than class.
You see, back in the days of D&D 3.X, I was excited by the idea of Level Adjustment. For the price of four class levels, for instance, you could play a pixie, able to fly, and stay invisible while attacking. The "Savage Species" book really excited me, as I imagined slowly gaining the powers of, say, an astral deva, a hound archon, or a djinni.
I've recently come to accept that trading hit dice for powers is a thing of the past, and I feel that the extra powers I would want from Savage Species are too powerful, and therefore unbalancing, with the hit dice. Going back to the pixie example, maybe greater invisibility - usable for an indefinite number of times per day and an indefinite period - is too powerful to make a balanced PC, and the same goes for the indefinite number of times a pixie can use the Special Arrows ability. (Sorry, zerzix. I don't mean any offense. I know you worked very hard on that conversion. But those conversions do look rather overpowered, now that we don't give up hit dice for those powers. And even WITH giving up hit dice, if the professionals at Paizo feel that such creatures are too powerful, who am I to argue?)
But it also seems to me that getting nifty, potent powers is too much for just the "race" element to handle. The alternate race books I've seen don't seem like fun. I'll admit to one huge exception: the Aellar and Kestrels from "Races of Wind and Wing" seem quite exciting. (The Advanced Race Guide is on my wishlist, by the way, but its high price makes other items rise above it on that list.) But it seems to me that most of a PC's great powers come not from RACE, but from CLASS as they level up. Therefore, if, mechanically, a class could give powers that, in the game world, actually stem from race, that would be neat.
In a way, I'm describing the Sorcerer class, as different bloodlines can give you extraordinary, spell-like, and supernatural powers as you level up. But what if a class could take that idea even further? After all, most of a sorcerer's useful powers come from his spells. What if a class got rid of spells altogether, and gave you ONLY powers? Then you could use lots of very powerful powers without having to cast any spells.
So, for instance, instead of learning the Sleep spell and the Greater Invisibility spell, you gained those as supernatural powers at certain levels because you're some fey creature. Instead of praying to a deity for the power of Holy Smite and the Cure Light Wounds spell, you get them as spell-like abilities because you're some kind of celestial being. (A "fallen angel", perhaps, who slowly regains his powers on the path to redemption?) Instead of casting the Gaseous Form spell, you get it as an ability, and at some level, you'll get, say, the Whirlwind power, because you're some form of Genie. If the Bestiary monsters are too difficult to balance as PCs, then maybe some variation of those monsters, with somewhat different powers, could be designed (for instance, by limiting the number of times per day those powers may be used, or by limiting those powers in other ways). I'm not saying that I want those particular powers, by the way. I'm just using them as examples.
If my second criterion is too outrageous, then maybe I'll settle for something else. Back when I was first getting into 3.0, I was really excited to see a 3.0 conversion of Al-Qadim, particularly the Sha'ir and Hakima classes. I'm not sure why those classes impressed me so much when so many other alternative spellcasters didn't. Maybe it's because I was familiar with the work of fiction on which they were based. (Maybe Archetypes will suffice, once I figure out what the heck archetypes are.) Or maybe those two classes impressed me because they did away with old restrictions by replacing them with new ones. (For instance, a Sha'ir can cast an indefinite number of spells per day, but the catch is that it takes a long time for a Sha'ir's gen familiar to retrieve a spell, which it must do before the Sha'ir can cast it.)
I see lots of alternative magic-using classes for Pathfinder RPG (particularly by Super Genius Games). Would any of those fit the bill? Does my question even make any sense?
I go to the page
I looked in the rules FAQ and searched the boards for this question, and didn't find it.
Suppose a paladin wants to use his Lay On Hands ability to deal damage to an undead creature. Suppose he makes a melee attack roll and misses. Does this consume one use of Lay on Hands for the day? Or can he "hold the charge" and try again like with a spell?
I've looked at a lot of Paizo modules, AP volumes, and PS scenarios over the years, and I'm afraid I've found only a few of them to be all that awesome. I'm curious to know what 3PP PFRPG-compatible adventures people might recommend. (Mind you, if someone feels that a certain Paizo adventure is really exceptionally good, and meets some of my criteria, I'll consider that too.)
Here are some of my criteria.
For one thing, I usually prefer shorter adventures, less than 32 pages. For an exceptionally great module, I might go longer, even as much as 100 pages, but I'm not in the market of a big super-adventure or AP right now.
One big selling point for me is an intriguing back story or hook. In the days of AD&D, I was a big fan of "Dungeon" magazine, for that reason.
Also, my players and I can't stick with a single dungeon complex any bigger than 32 pages, and even 32 pages is pushing it. With bigger adventures, I prefer that they have SEVERAL small dungeon complexes, and enough of a plot in between them to give the players a reason to explore them. For that reason, I loved "The Speaker in Dreams", and I'm currently running the "Coins" trilogy (from the "Kingdoms of Kalamar" line) to give some examples. (And the first "Coins" module, "The Root of All Evil", also begins with a good example of an intriguing hook.)
Wilderness exploration is OK, but I detest naval adventures. I could live with a ship voyage with an encounter or two, but anything more than that I'd probably skip or replace.
Also, I don't want anything too difficult for players. Some adventures give puzzles and problems for the players to solve, or might force the PCs into some awkward situation, like having to infiltrate an enemy base and bluff their way through it. My players and I don't like that.
I prefer low-level adventures. The lower the better. I would never run anything higher than 12th level, and I'd prefer 6th or below.
Also, there's one kind of adventure I'd like even if it IS just a big dungeon, and even if it doesn't have such an intriguing back story or hook. If someone knows of some 1st-level dungeon crawl good for introducing players who are new to RPGs, I'd be interested. I'm afraid that "Crypt of the Everflame" wasn't my cup of tea. It was too contrived (even more so than usual for a dungeon crawl), too linear, and too difficult for new players without modification. I'm afraid that "Master of the Fallen Fortress" didn't do it for me either.
Master of the Fallen Fortress:To be sure, I could change this stuff for beginning players, but somehow, I just didn't find the fortress and its denizens interesting. If I don't find anything better than that, I'm sticking with my favorite module of that kind, "The Sunless Citadel". (Come to think of it, I'd still prefer such a module to be 32 pages or less, so maybe it's not such an exception after all.)
Requiring a 1st-level party to make a DC 25 Climb check was a bit of a turnoff, as was the collapsing floors.
If a module is for an unusual campaign setting, I'd consider that a major drawback (although I might be more open to such a product in the future).
Does anyone have a suggestion?
I recently noticed that arrow traps got tougher in PFRPG. In D&D 3.0 and 3.5, a CR 1 arrow trap attacked with a bonus of +10 and did 1d6 damage. In PFRPG, a CR 1 arrow trap attacks at +15 and does 1d8+1 damage. Does anyone know why Paizo made this change?
I'm looking now at a 3.0 module with a CR 1/2 arrow trap, which attacks at +5 and does 1d6 damage. Another arrow trap has a CR of 1/3, an attack bonus of +2, and does 1d6. If I were to run this in PFRPG, I feel safe in assuming that those traps should do 1d8+1 damage, but what about attack bonus? Should I just add 5?
...and I don't mean the Beginner Box, nor some simplified form of the game. I mean the real, complete Pathfinder RPG. He made some great progress in it, and I feel compelled to boast of his exploits.
Some of you may remember my stories in the past about my son playing Basic / Expert D&D at the age of 4. He rose to many challenges in that D&D game, and overcame them. He continued that campaign for a long time. Among other things, he played "Palace of the Silver Princess" to its completion.
So when he asked to play Pathfinder for the first time, I dared to get ambitious. Not only would this campaign be a first for him, but a first for me in several respects... at least, in a REAL campaign.
You see, sometimes, I might just create some characters and run them through a bunch of adventures on my own, in order to learn the system. In order to teach myself D&D 3.0, I ran a solo campaign. In order to teach myself D&D 3.5, I ran a solo campaign... and in fact, I never played a real campaign in D&D 3.5, as no one else wanted to play 3.5 with me, so I stuck with 3.0 for my real campaigns.
Only in my solo campaigns did I use a published campaign setting. For my real campaigns, I would typically create the setting myself, or just handwave the setting. When I played Basic D&D with my son, I mentioned that the characters lived in the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, but I never did anything with that.
But I had always wanted to set a real campaign in an established setting, and make real use of the setting. Now, I've finally done it. I showed my 6-year-old the Pathfinder Campaign Setting book (the 3.5 version), opened the map of the Inner Sea "Reigon" (sorry, Paizo!) and said "Your characters live in the kingdom of Nex."
My son was fascinated! He started asking questions about Nex and the surrounding areas. (In fact, it was uncanny that he asked about the very places that would become important later in the campaign. It was like he could tell the future, or read my mind.)
Also, my real campaigns had all been hodgepodges of small adventures with little or no connection to each other. I've never run a single adventure or series of adventures bigger than a 64-page module. I've never even tried, except in solo campaigns. For instance, I taught myself 3.5 by running a bunch of characters through "The Red Hand of Doom". I got most of the way through it, but quit when my party got TPKed by that...
Red Hand of Doom:
...large red dragon in part 4. I tell you, that dragon was WAY more difficult and dangerous than its CR would imply!
But now, for the first time, I decided to start running a complete series of adventures for a real campaign, because I had always wanted to run the "Coin" trilogy of modules ("Root of All Evil", "Forging Darkness", and "Coin's End" by Kenzer and Company, written for the Kingdoms of Kalamar campaign setting.)
One of the reasons I wanted to run that trilogy is that it had such an intriguing hook.
Root of All Evil:
Towards the beginning of the first adventure, while the characters are still at first level, the party witnesses the BBEG of the trilogy become dangerous, even playing a part in the incident (sort of).
And it worked! My son was impressed with the need to stop the baddie. Maybe that was part of the reason he stuck with the campaign for so long.
When I run a campaign one-on-one, I usually have the player control two or three characters, while I play two or three "DMPCs", thus forming a full-sized party, and that's the way I did it this time.
To be sure, such a young child has some things to learn. During one battle, after my characters engaged in melee, my son announced that his cleric character would hang back and do nothing.
I tend to give my son advice, in consideration of his age, so I said "Why? Even if the cleric doesn't dare battle the monster directly, she could still step up to my characters, in such as way that the monster can't reach her, and then she'll be ready to cast Cure Light Wounds on my characters."
"No, she won't do it."
And my son smiled, showing that he was wise in the way all children consider themselves wise, and said "I have my reasons."
Consequently, one of my characters was killed in the battle. Even though it was my character, not my son's, and even though the party won the battle in the end, my son became upset. He saw that I wasn't pulling my punches, and after that, his characters acted much more sensibly. He continued the series for a long time after that, and there haven't been any more character deaths, as of yet.
But my son taught ME a few things as well, showing that he could make use of the "sandboxy" nature of a campaign setting. At one point, he said "Why should I travel all the way to Quantium just to find out where <a certain NPC> is? We know that he's in the Mwangi Expanse. Why not just go to the Mwangi Expanse?"
I argued "The Mwangi Expanse is a big place." I showed him on the map, and asked "How will you know where to look?"
He replied "We'll ask around."
I thought about that for a while. Why not? It could work. I could throw in some encounters that could lead him in the right direction. And if that doesn't work, he could THEN go to Quantium to get the information. So I prepared for this change of course. Then my son changed his mind and decided to go Quantium after all, but if he hadn't, the whole campaign might still have worked.
Of course, even when he follows the railroad, I'm not running the trilogy verbatim. For instance, I ripped out the whole...
Root of All Evil:I replaced it with a few treks across Nex, complete with wandering monster encounters, and threw in some other stuff, such as "Euphoria Horrors" (from Dungeon magazine issue #34).
And it was a success! I was surprised to find that my son finished "The Root of All Evil", and I had to start work on converting the second volume, "Forging Darkness". The trilogy was written for 3.0, and of course, it was written for the Kingdoms of Kalamar setting, so I have to convert it both for PFRPG and for Golarion. Also, I think that a lot of the encounters are too tough and deadly, so again, I have to replace them. For instance, I decided that the...
Forging Darkness:...encounter was too difficult, so I replaced it with "Centaur of Attention" (from Dungeon magazine issue #60), which he completed. With our characters reaching 4th level (at the medium level progression), the campaign still kept going strong.
There's no point to this story. As I said, I just felt compelled to tell it. Now I'm just trying to decide how to rewrite the...
Forging Darkness:Well, I'll figure something out.
...hellcat encounter. In PFRPG, a Lesser Planar Binding spell can no longer work on such a powerful creature... and anyway, a hellcat is no longer a devil in PFRPG. Maybe I should replace the hellcat with a flock of imps? Of course, imps don't usually attack openly like that. Maybe I should forget the whole "invisibility" thing, and just use a couple of barbazus instead.
My current Pathfinder campaign should be heading to the Mwangi Expanse sooner or later, and for various reasons, I want to include Tasloi encounters there. I got the D&D 3.5 conversion for Tasloi from this page of WotC's website, and scribbled a PFRPG conversion. I would like to post it here and ask people to help by proofreading it.
Would there be a legal problem with posting that?
So I'm looking at the first Bestiary, Appendix 2, titled "Monster Advancement", pages 294 - 296. For those of you who don't have the book handy, the information is on the following page of the PRD: Monster Advancement (although for some reason, the "Reducing Hit Dice" sidebar from page 296 isn't there).
I'm wondering: by what criteria do you decide whether to apply the "young" template to a monster, or whether to reduce its racial hit dice (assuming that the base monster has more than one hit die)?
Is it simply that it's easier to use the template? And if that's the case, then does reducing the hit dice give better results? Or are there entirely different reasons why you would want to reduce hit dice rather than use the Young template?
Obviously, all the same questions apply to adding hit dice vs. using the Giant Creature template.
I wonder if anyone knows whether Jay Stratton, of Pantheon Press, has ever tried Pathfinder RPG. In my effort to find out, I looked at some Pantheon Press products, which do in fact include some Pathfinder-compatible "Nobis" products and conversions, but I'm not aware that Jay Stratton had anything to do with any of these.
What brings me to ask this question? He wrote an editorial recently.
Jay Stratton wrote:
Is it just me, or does anyone else think this article screams "SELL ME PATHFINDER RPG!!!"
It may be high time to appease the Deity of typographical errors. You know, at "The Altar to the Old Golds"
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
Seriously, though, now that I'm "between" RPG campaigns, it's good to know that Paizo keeps putting out adventures that I'd like to order someday just to READ. There are several on my personal wish list.
I tried posting about this idea in the "Card & Board Games" subforum. Now I'm going to try again, in a subforum that might get more attention.
I was toying with the idea of playing Chess with some other user over these forums, using Golarion-related images as pieces. I would post links to an image of the board, like this...
...and the other player could post his/her move, with a message like "Knight from B1 to C3," and I would make my move, and change the board image accordingly.
In case there's any confusion about which image is what piece, I could provide a...
Would anyone be interested in playing such a game?
(Also, I'm open to suggestions for other icons for the pieces.)
I don't even know whether this should go under "Card & Board Games," "Gamer Connection," "Forum Games," or what.
Anyway, I was toying with the idea of playing Chess with some other user over these forums, using Golarion-related images as pieces. I would post links to an image of the board, like this...
...and the other player could post his/her move, with a message like "Knight from B1 to C3," and I would make my move, and change the board image accordingly.
In case there's any confusion about which image is what piece, I could provide a key.
My first question is: Does anyone have suggestions for images to use for pieces? Some of those images have nothing to do with Golarion, and I'm sure someone could come up with better ideas.
My second question is: Would anyone actually be interested in PLAYING such a game?
(What can I say? I'm no longer in a position to play PBPs, and I always fantasized being the "tactical map keeper." This comes close, at least.)
I read a book in the late 1970s (or maybe early 1980s?) whose title I don't remember, and I wonder if anyone can help me to identify it.
It was a children's book, with no internal art. The plot was like this: A young girl finds an old diary that her aunt had kept when SHE had been a young girl. The aunt, at the time she had written the diary, was superstitious, paranoid, and high-strung. She believed that her ring was cursed, and that it could do evil magic. Whenever something bad happened, the aunt believed that the ring was responsible. The aunt was afraid to go out at night, for fear of what the ring might do. (I'm sure I'm getting the details wrong, but it was something like that.)
The niece, now reading the diary, believes in the curse, and happens to get hold of the ring. She talks to her aunt, who has no memory of the ring, nor of what she had written in the diary. When the niece brings up the subject of the curse, the aunt has no idea what the niece is talking about. Clearly, the aunt no longer believes in magic.
The niece, over the course of the book, happens to meet some old man who has a pet bird. For some reason (perhaps because she's determined to know the truth about the curse?) the niece commands the ring to kill the bird at midnight. She immediately regrets this, and freaks out all night. Finally, unable to stand the suspense any longer, she visits the old man... and finds that the bird is fine. The whole curse was just a product of the aunt's imagination.
I just applied the "young" template to the troglodyte. (Those of you well versed in modules may guess why, but I won't name the module, so as to avoid spoilers.)
Anyway, I wonder if I did it right. Can anyone spot any mistakes in it? And I wonder if I should reduce the speed to 20 feet, since the young troglodytes are of Small size. I don't think there's any rule that I should, but it seems right.
Any thoughts? Thank you for your help.
Young Troglodyte CR 1/2
Stench (Ex) A troglodyte secretes an oily chemical that nearly every other creature finds offensive. All living creatures (except those with the stench special ability) within 30 feet must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 11) or be sickened for 10 rounds. Creatures that successfully save cannot be affected by the same troglodyte’s stench for 24 hours. A delay poison or neutralize poison spell removes the effect from the sickened creature. Creatures with immunity to poison are unaffected, and creatures resistant to poison receive their normal bonus on their saving throws.
I just dug up my copy of Crypt of the Everflame just to take a closer look at the stats for the iconics in it (the first-level PFRPG versions of Valeros, Ezren, Merisiel, and Kyra.) I wonder if anyone could shed some light on any of my questions about them:
1) Kyra's Dex is 8, so her initiative modifier should be -1. Why, then, is it 0? Does she get a +1 from somewhere?
2) Merisiel has a BAB of 0, a Strength modifier of +1, and a Dex modifier of +3. So her CMD should be 14. Why, then, is it 15? Again, am I missing a +1 somewhere?
3) With a Strength score of 12, Merisiel should carry up to 43 pounds as a light load. In the Crypt of the Everflame version, she's carrying 46 pounds of equipment. Shouldn't that reduce her speed to 20'? And yet she's listed as having a speed of 30 feet.
4) Have there ever been official listings of the iconics' height and weight?
5) How about age? (I've seen years of birth for Ezren, Seelah, and Seltyiel - 4665, 4687, and 4679, respectively - but what about the rest of them?)
6) What languages does Ezren speak?
I meant to add, but forgot to mention, that I was once about to buy The Complete Northwest Smith, because I heard that the hero uses a ray-gun instead of a sword. But then I heard that the stories involve fighting ancient, evil, Cthulhuesque horrors, rather than high-tech challenges, so I didn't buy the book.
Hopefully, that will help clarify what I'm looking for, and what I'm not.
..Back in the days when I read and used Dungeon magazine, I regarded Willie Walsh as the most recognizable contributor name, second only to that of Chris Perkins. I'll never forget Huddle Farm, and my friend and I had great fun with Fraggart's Contraption...
...and much later, when my players and I switched from 2E to 3.0, I was hesitant to do so. There were so many 2E adventures I wanted to run, and I wasn't confident that I could convert AD&D material to 3E to my satisfaction. In point of fact, I could, and I did so many, many times thereafter. But at that point, I wasn't sure if it would be worth the effort, even if I could do so. So for my first conversion I had to choose an adventure that was worth it. One that was special. One that I really, really wanted to run.
I chose Clarshh's Sepulchre.
And boy, did it work! I first started fleshing out the geography of my campaign world with the map from that adventure, and that world gradually grew over the next 3 years. That adventure had...
...a trapped statue that was actually a GOOD thing, meant to SAVE the PCs from a deadly trap. And my player thought that nothing good ever came of statues in D&D!
Clarshh's Sepulchre and The Speaker in Dreams:
...gave the PCs a connection to an Arcane, giving the party a dealer so they could trade their useless magic items for ones they wanted. And that was very useful to me as a DM too. When I wanted to send the party to Brindonford in order to start the Speaker in Dreams adventure, I used the excuse that Sereen (great name for an Arcane, isn't it?) was going there, and the party was motivated in the adventure to rescue Sereen from the wererats.
Clarshh's Sepulchre:...had long-lasting results that I still can't believe.
Any other Willie Walsh fans out there?
Is it just me, or has anyone else found problems browsing the messageboards on paizo.com lately (for the past 18 hours or thereabouts)?
Sometimes, the site is painfully slow, and at other times it's fine. Sometimes, I can't seem to load a page, and after minutes of waiting I have to go back and try again (to have it respond right away.) Sometimes, a page loads the important stuff (i.e. the text), but hangs while trying to load the icons (and on one occasion, even the fonts.)
Whenever I clicked on the "new posts" link for the thread "Pathfinder Adventure Path series question" the server would think for a while and then send me back to the page I had been on. (I eventually got around this by clicking on the thread title instead.)
I think someone needs to hit the server, like Han hitting the Falcon's control panel in The Empire Strikes Back.
I'm trying to understand the Fast Healing ability. It's supposed to be "just like natural healing." But natural healing requires a full night's rest (8 hours of sleep or more.) Does this mean that creatures must sleep for their fast healing to work? Or in the case of monsters that don't sleep, do they need to rest, at least? Will they heal while taking move-equivalent actions? Or will they heal even while attacking?
I don't watch horror movies, but I'm told that the characters in them are inhumanly stupid. Upon seeing 17 dead bodies directly outside a house, they proceed to enter the house. This is to make the audience shout "NO! DON'T GO IN THERE!"
This must be what they feel like. I feel this childish impulse to shout at the Thing in the Shadows "NO! DON'T TIP THE BAD GUYS OFF!"
Also, I would ridicule the "Life is bad, therefore undead must be good" logic. Obviously, that would do nothing to convince anyone, but still...
Actually, it's GOOD that the strip got this reaction out of me. It's been weeks since I felt much interest in the series.
I'm trying to understand how PBPs work, and the netiquette involved. I see that when a PBP calls for, say, 5 people, then the first 5 people who respond get to join, and the next few are put on a "reserve list."
What exactly does that mean?
Suppose a long time goes by and one player doesn't show any signs of creating a character. Could the GM say "John Tardy, post within 2 days or I'm replacing you with the first reserve player," or something like that?
Suppose the game has been going on for months and months, and a certain player drops out. Does the GM expect the people on the "reserve list" to be following the PBP for all those months? Would the GM be expected to say "Jane Reserve, if you respond within a week, you get to fill the empty slot?"
I recently read the Pathfinder Gazetteer, or about 95% of it, anyway. Very interesting. It makes me wonder if there's some kind of list somewhere of modules, AP chapters, PF Society Scenarios, etc. by location?
I'm not talking about the obvious "hot spots," like Varisia, Andoran, Kortos, etc. Those lists would be huge, I'm sure.
But if no such list exists, I wonder if someone could tell me of adventures set in - or Pathfinder Chronicles / Companion books (besides the Campaign Setting book, of course) that elaborate on - some of the more distant, but interesting locales? Such as...
Druma (which is technically not remote, but still interesting)?
Thank you in advance for whatever help you can give me.
Posting this will be pointless if I get no answers within 18 hours.
I've had almost no exposure to Golarion material before. I just ordered my first AP module, Burnt Offerings, from amazon.com. To my surprise, it came in only 3 days. (Not bad for free shipping!) This would be a great opportunity to read it over the weekend, but...
If I read it around the house, my kids may see it, and that full-color art may get them curious about it. They may ask me to read it to them. And I've heard that some of Paizo's modules have some mature content in them.
I don't censor violence from my children (much to my family's chagrin,) but I strictly censor sex. I thought I heard about something objectionable in The Skinsaw Murders, but I could easily have misunderstood. Is this something I should keep out of my children's sight?
Thank you in advance for your help.
No, there was a funnier post than that.
There was once a Middle East political thread that descended into a lot of flaming, trolling, and name-calling, which ultimately led to the thread getting shut down. But before it got shut down, someone joked that Israel was Lawful Neutral. And right here, Paul Watson piped up
Paul Watson wrote:
Please don't bring alignment into this. We're trying not to get too heated and controversial.
I laughed out loud at that one.
Ah, who am I kidding? This post is just a transparent excuse to bump my own thread now that the messageboards are more accessible again (I hope).