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Ashiel's page

RPG Superstar 2015 Star Voter. 10,483 posts (10,486 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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Mark Hoover wrote:
In keeping with gods (and not having read this entire thread) Ash; Hardwares: do you have monks in your setting that are religious without being martial artists? In other words, do you have abbots, nuns, friars etc?

Absolutely. There are tons and tons of characters in the world, far too many to have different classes for, but that's A-OK because we don't need different classes! :D

The vast majority of magical characters in my campaigns are adepts. And there are certainly plenty of religious folks that don't possess or practice magics. Most of them would be commoners, experts, etc. In some cases, warriors and aristocrats if they lack the Paladin-calling.

In the same vein, a lot of Monk-classed characters aren't monks at all. A steely orc pugilist may not have a religious or spiritual bone in his body but he's pretty good at breaking everyone else's.

In the same vein still, a group of elven assassins and spies might have levels in monk but are far from the monastery-iconics.

That said, there's a certain amount of equal-opportunity in the main religions of my campaign. Their are male and female priests for example, and though it hasn't come up I suppose there could be male nuns, but generally speaking you'll see lots of acolytes, squires, and other introductory positions in faiths.

Similarly, hobgoblins refer to most any arcanist as a "witch", whether they're wizards, sorcerers, or the witch class. Some psionicists might fall into this category too, depending on how much their mojo looks like arcane magic to them.


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thegreenteagamer wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
KenderKin wrote:
DM Under The Bridge wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
But certainly there can be Bad DMPCs and Good DMPCs.
I agree!
I am also in agreement.
Just as some people can play kender and some can/should not.
No, let's be real here. GMPCs are one thing, but nobody should play kender. They exist as a food source for more highly evolved species, albeit as junk food.

My first character ever was a kender in a Dragonlance game. The party loved him. The minotaur even respected him, said he was the bravest creature he'd ever met, even after (probably because of actually) he asked the minotaur quite innocently which was the cow, his mom or his dad, having never seen one of his kind before.

(I want to point out I had never read any Dragonlance books at the time, but rather read the game description of a kender, and the DM said after two sessions he'd never seen anyone play a better or more realistic kender that wasn't just a one-dimensional rip off of Tasselhoff. :-D )

So what you mean is you had Kender written on your character sheet but played something that isn't a kender. Because Kinder are hellspawn and need to be killed with bees. :D


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KenderKin wrote:
DM Under The Bridge wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
But certainly there can be Bad DMPCs and Good DMPCs.
I agree!
I am also in agreement.
Just as some people can play kender and some can/should not.

No, let's be real here. GMPCs are one thing, but nobody should play kender. They exist as a food source for more highly evolved species, albeit as junk food.


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Joynt Jezebel wrote:
Can you lot make up your mind if you want to do away with labels or have protracted discussions on getting the labels right. :P

Amen. Goes back to lurking


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The Alkenstarian wrote:
Now we're getting somewhere, because I actually happen to agree with you on this.

Awesome! Hive fives all around! :D

Quote:

What I am disputing is not that this is the right thing way to go about this. Because it absolutely and definitely is. Unquestioningly so, in my opinion.

What I am challenging is that this is how it is actually done in many game groups and by many GMs.

I'm not saying GMPCs are a bad idea because bad. Dixit. No further reason required.

What I'm saying is that GMPCs are bad because all my experience with the issue leads me to conclude that the solution you are outlining above is never successfully implemented.

That's fair. I think it's important to be able to achieve meta-cognition out of game as well. It's obvious that you've had poor experiences by lots of GMs who have done a very poor job of handling this sort of thing. Understandable, though that is, because experience is a thing we have only just after we needed it. However, it's obviously burned you and I understand the concern.

The thing is, we could truly replace your bad experiences with GMPCs with...most anything. I've seen a lot of stinker GMs and honestly I've got a big list of my own red flags and pet peeves that are at best early warning or caution signs and at worst auto-disconnect programs (if a GM says something insane like "psionics is OP" or "wizards need help having fun next to martials" it's probably a good sign that I should probably avoid eye-contact and possible contamination).

But when I say it could be anything, I mean we could just replace GMPC with:
- Paladins
- Clerics
- Dungeon crawls
- Heavy roleplay games
- Roleplay-lite games
- Overland adventures
- Aquatic adventures
- Planar adventures
- Dragons
- Familiars
- Bound outsiders
- Romances
- NPCs
- Playing in a group with the GM's lover

Really, anything that has just been consistently screwed up over and over for you in the game. I've seen this happen with a lot of people. I've had players join my games who all but refused to try to flesh out their characters who have any interest in any NPCs because they just KNEW that if they showed any affection for an NPC or had siblings or a family or whatever, it was just going to be used against them by the GM or tortured or killed or something. It led them to believe that you can't have PCs with families and just shouldn't. No matter what it was a bad idea and the temptation for the GM to bring ruin was just too great and it couldn't be done well.

Sound familiar? It should. Because, well, this is just kind of par for the course. We could replace "NPCs who mean something" with "elves". God, elves, those bastards. Why doesn't everyone hate them? They're horrible in every game you've ever played in. Always obnoxious, stuck up, no redeeming qualities, holier than thou, backstabbing, with like twelve more levels than everyone else and their inclusion means the GM is going to make you quote passages from the Silmarillion if you want to get XP this session. :P

Quote:
No, this is not an attack on you. Or anyone else.

S'cool. I haven't felt attacked at any point in the thread. I've mostly been content to poke holes in logical problems (it's like bubble wrap, except instead of little pops you get the suffering screams of Grognards, which are like momma's lullabies). :D

Quote:
That is not the same thing as telling everyone else they can't do it if they want to. It's just me saying I'm not willing to do so, myself.

A funny fact...I actually don't have GMPCs very often. The last time I had a dedicated GMPC it was at the request of the party (and each time previously). The current campaign I'm running has lots of what I would define as GMPCs but they didn't start out that way initially. Two are memberd of the religious order that the Paladin is part of, two are the mothers of the party face, one is the Paladin's squire and other PC's adoptive sister, and the last is one of the PC's bizarre adopted lover follower thing that would double as reason for psychological profiling.


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Twigs wrote:
D&D Deities have always frustrated me. Difficult to worship as a Pantheon, seeming to provide little for their followers in terms of teaching, benefits or enlightenment and bizarrely specific domains... and with the case of the Standard/Greyhawk deities, ridiculous amounts of overlap. Do we really need Nerull when we have the (far more interesting) Wee Jas? Both Obad-Hai AND Elhonna AND the supposed "Old Faith"? Also I'm somewhat glad paizo (sort of) discarded racial deities. Eugh.

Yeah, I was talking to Aratrok about that when I joked about "Gorg the Defiler" and his bizarrely specifc (and super evil) domains, yet despite writers frequently doing everything they can to make a deity worthy of universal revilement, they somehow always manage to turn around and insist that there's not only a healthy level of followers in the deity's service but that there are enough of them that they are a real threat to other less ridiculous religions. :P

Also, amen to that! Wee Jass forever man. :D

Quote:
It's always a struggle to make any of these faiths feel like actual religions. It's something I've learned to relish the challenge of when playing a cleric PC. (And earned myself a few vaguely threatening PMs from a pastor halfway across the world for just adapting scripture wholesale. What drew him to my little corner of the web is beyond me).

That sounds funny actually. I'd love to hear more about that. :P

One thing I've done in my campaign setting is try to give reasonable accounts for deities and their faiths. The good deities and their faiths are far from perfect, and the evil deities still have worthwhile qualities.

For example, one of the most prominent major good deities in the setting has a sort of heretic war going on between his followers. The larger mainstream tradition actively oppresses and hunts what they believe are dangerous heretics, while the heretics form resistance factions and secretly spread their version of the faith. Neither side of the coin is wrong, so the faith's biggest enemy is itself. This is something that some of the Paladins and Clerics in the campaign have to come to terms with and ultimately decide where they stand on that issue.

Meanwhile, evil deities have reasons why you'd worship them. For example, there are two sister goddesses that reside over the oceans, one good, one evil, but the two are often worshiped as a pair and each paid respects for different reasons. The evil goddess is commonly revered out of respect for her authority and tributes and respects are paid so that she will pardon your trespass or turn storms and the like away from you. However the two goddesses have a rivalry, and the good one often challenges the wrath of her sister for sport (the good deity is also the goddess of surfing and loves riling her sister up so she can get some serious waves going). Coastal cultures generally adore both of the deities for different life lessons that they teach.

Quote:
Questions! What's the status of your blog these days?

The status is: not updated nearly enough! Though I might make a post about deities now. :o

Quote:
What do you think are the most interesting deities in the published pantheons?

Oh lord...uhhh...

Well, I'm a big fan of Wee Jass from Grayhawk because I love how she's a non-evil goddess of magic, death, and knowledge and generally seems pretty cool. I posted some stuff about a Paladin of Wee Jass I played in a campaign years ago and would love to get back to playing that Paladin (or one like her) in the future.

In Golarion, I'm fond of (apparently early versions?) Asmodeus and Urgathoa because they really felt like they broke the mold for evil deities in a typical setting as they both had a presence that made them believable as gods people would actually want to worship and who would have roles that would be appreciated by the common people, such as those praying for deliverance from disease, or the fact Asmodeus kind of moved in and restored order for a nation of people and even if he's a bad dude, his presence was obviously a stabilizing force.

Serenrae is probably my favorite good deity in Golarion because she's super good in an unusual way, having love even for the evil gods in the pantheon. She feels like a super mary sue goddess of goodliness except without the Mary Sue part, which is hard to pull off and awesome. I also like that her followers are often screwed up which is very humanizing. She's got crazy religious military extremists trying to spread her love with swords and bloodshed. Seems pretty...human.

In Eberron, the Silver Flame and Vol are the only deities I really remember because I was interested in them. The noble order with the child prophet seemed cool and there was a lot of gray area in the church of the silver flame and a lot of cool "what ifs" here and there. A friend of mine who was an avid fan of Keith Baker got me interested in Vol because he explained prior to Wizardification, the cult was a grayer shade than the "Generic evil undead god", explaining that the cultists believed that mortals could unlock the secret of godhood but in a cruel trick by the gods were given lifespans too short to discover it. Believing that the secret to godliness was in the blood, their undead members were like martyred saints who forsook their own chance to become gods in exchange for the lifespans needed to discover the secret.

Though not technically a deity, there was also a philosophy that was popular amongst Kalashtar and monks (the name of which escapes me at the moment) but it was listed amongst the deities while explicitly noting that it wasn't actually a deity so much as kind of a self-improving philosophy.

In Forgotten Realms, I don't know a whole lot about the various deities but the ones I am somewhat familiar with and liked were Mystra and Shar 'cause I thought their weaves / shadowweaves were pretty cool, and I liked Eliastree (or however you spell her crazy name) and had a ranger that worshipped her in a FR game I was in once (unfortunately the GM thought it was stupid for our non-cleric PCs to be religious and would sic random encounters on us if we did or said anything relating to their beliefs).

Quote:
What did you have for lunch today?

A pack of nabs and two protein milkshakes.


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Morzadian wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
The Alkenstarian wrote:
But there is simply no way it ever CAN be equal terms, because the GM automatically possesses vast and extensive knowledge of the campaign that the players don't.
Don't metagame. Problem solved.

Ashiel it's a bit more complicated than that.

Once you know the information you can't delete it from your mind, it will always influence a GMPCs actions, negatively or positively.

Its always taken into consideration.

The fact that the villains in my games don't walk around with *insert party composition*-bane weapons is evidence that it really isn't that complicated.


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The Alkenstarian wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
The Alkenstarian wrote:
But there is simply no way it ever CAN be equal terms, because the GM automatically possesses vast and extensive knowledge of the campaign that the players don't.
Don't metagame. Problem solved.

Oh boy ... this is going to be a long reply. I apologize in advance, but please bear with me, because I'm getting to the point where I think I need to try to get to the bottom of all this.

Firstly, Ashiel ... yes, not metagaming would solve the problem. It's a perfect solution.

Except for two issues (both drawn from experience):

1: It can be practically impossible to completely avoid that for some people. I'm not saying there aren't people who can't do it, but certainly not every GM using GMPCs is actually capable of not metagaming. In fact, a lot of them ... 100% of those I have played under who tried, in fact ... can't actually avoid it, despite all their good intentions. Your own experience clearly differs. I acknowledge that. No skin off my nose. But it is simply not the experience I have had with this, not even with very, very good GMs running the games.

The problem is it's 100% required just to be a competent GM. I mean, if you can't not metagame or at least curb your metagaming, you really don't need to be GMing. Because NPCs aren't supposed to know all that you know. You know all of the PCs' weaknesses, motivations, etc. Most of the villains shouldn't. You shouldn't use metagame knowledge to craft PC-specific encounters. You shouldn't have NPCs act on knowledge that they wouldn't have.

Metacognition is a skill that all GMs will need to be successful and/or good GMs. You need to be able to think about why you think something and if when you are evaluating a character's thoughts and motivations, if you recognize that it is stemming not from in-game cognition...knock it off.

What you are describing is no more than an exemplary practice of the very same skill that GMs must use to keep their BBEGs from acting on knowledge about the PCs that they wouldn't rightfully have, such as what spells they have prepared or what feats they have picked or the name of their little sister back at the farm.

If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball. :D

Quote:
2: Even if you don't metagame, we're back to one of my previous points, namely that you have to dumb down your GMPC, to avoid using the knowledge you have access to as the GM. Unless you're somehow capable of discombobulating your brain into two separate entities (and never shall the twain meet), where one half runs the GMPC and the other half runs the game, then there's going to be overlapping knowledge and if you want to avoid metagaming, you're going to have to avoid doing things that may be logical or desirable, from an IC point of view. Not in every situation, I absolutely acknowledge that, but certainly occasionally.

Again, I disagree. You don't have to dumb anyone down, you just don't elevate them. All characters have things that they should rightfully know and/or be able to adapt to. It's no more dumbing down your GMPC to not have all the answers to an adventure when it's inappropriate than it is dumbing down your BBEG by not tailoring his selection of spells explicitly to exploit the party's unique weaknesses and/or to counter their specific strengths.

You simply don't do it. It's not even hard. You just put yourself in their shoes rather than them in yours. For example, if you come to a room that's trapped, you know it's trapped, but when you put yourself in their shoes and forget about what you yourself know and instead assume the knowledge of what they know, they do not know of a trap and are thus trap-bait.

If a role-playing game isn't the perfect place to develop this sort of metacognitive skill, I can't think of a better one. Again, it's practically required to be a good GM.


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BigDTBone wrote:

Your example will greatly help me to illustrate.

Scene A -

Group says, "Hey! Lets charm that enemy lieutenant and get them to tell us the stuff they know!"

Scene B -

The person who knows exactly what information is needed and is available in what locations, and the exact will save of the information holder says, "Hey! Lets charm that enemy lieutenant and get them to tell us the stuff they know!"

Basically, in scene A the party doesn't know if it will work. They are being creative and trying stuff to solve a problem.

In scene B the person knows exactly what information is needed and where to get it and the best way to get it. They suggest an action that they know has a high chance of success. They are leading the party to the solution.

The problem is there's still a will save involved so it has just as much chance of not working for the GMPC as it does for any other player who suggests doing such a thing. What does seem suspect to me is that such a commonplace suggestion would even cause someone to bat an eyelash.

I wrecked an entire encounter with giants with grease because I knew that Giants tend to have poor Reflex saves, what with them being really big and all. They could have made their saves, but they didn't. I was a player...how is this any different?


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The Alkenstarian wrote:
But there is simply no way it ever CAN be equal terms, because the GM automatically possesses vast and extensive knowledge of the campaign that the players don't.

Don't metagame. Problem solved.


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Aratrok and I were talking about this on Skype and I thought I'd share some of the funny parts of the conversation here. :D

Keep in mind a lot of this is tongue-in-cheek.

Ashiel wrote:

Hahaha

[1:32:39 AM] Ashiel: Seriously, I see a /lot/ of parallels between Urgathoa and Christian religion, even if they're not intended to be there. The biggest difference is that Urgathoa is more hedonistic than altruistic, whereas Jesus is super altruistic, but he also professes an importance of loving oneself (which is really important in spiritual development I've discovered).
[1:34:26 AM] Ashiel: Meanwhile, the promises of the faith are remarkably similar. You have a mortal that died and returned to life as a god. Both promise eternal life after death for the faithful. Urgathoa's afflicting and recalling diseases is remarkably similar to the old testament descriptions of god (who giveth and taketh).
Aratrok wrote:

I wouldn't say "more hedonistic than altruistic", because it implies there's any altruism to Urgathoa's faith. :p

[1:35:00 AM]There are some cool parts but they're still a murder-death-kill cult for the most part
Ashiel wrote:

Actually, according to the written account, there is. A major aspect of her religion is aiding others who also seek that same transformation.

[1:35:40 AM] Ashiel: And let's be real here...Catholics are ****ing cannibals. :D
Aratrok wrote:
Yeah, aside from not literally killing and eating people/children like worshippers of Urgathoa often do. :p
Ashiel wrote:

See, that's probably the big part. I haven't actually seen anything for that. All the information I've got in my books points to Urgathoa being a kickass deity. lol

[1:37:54 AM] Ashiel: But then, is that really any different from our own religion? I mean, we have some pretty grimdark sick evil as the devil's kidneystones stuff in our religion, like the supposed accounts of god instructing isrealites to enact horrific acts of depravity on people, including but not limited to cutting open the bellies of pregnant women and spilling their unborn babies on the rocks of the ground.

That was...awkward to read the first time I might add.

Aratrok wrote:
"Urgathoa is an utterly amoral, hedonistic goddess, concerned only with satiating her own interests regardless of the consequences for others." is literally the tagline for the deity. :p
Ashiel wrote:
[1:38:56 AM] Ashiel: Mmmhmmm. What are her interests though? Oh yeah...helping others along the same path of enlightenment as herself. :P
Aratrok wrote:

"She has tasted the brains of human inffants to savor their innocent thought-meats, torn the heart from the last living member of a race just to know the sensation of its hot blood on her hands, and brought low with boils and leprosy the most handsome princes just to see the unique patterns on royal flesh."

Those are her interests.

Quote:
[1:39:38 AM] Ashiel: Ooh, where's that at? :o
Aratrok wrote:
The article on her from Ashes at Dawn
Quote:
Ashiel: What's Ashes at Dawn?
Ashiel wrote:

"and brought low with boils and leprosy the most handsome princes just to see the unique patterns on royal flesh"

Jobe. That is all. :3

Side discussion about Jobe, then Isaac...

Ashiel wrote:

We do have an account of God afflicting a poor child with a lifetime of emotional trauma however, when he was like "Kill your child, for me"

Then being like "Nah, I was just kiddin' dawg" at the last minute

Aratrok wrote:
I wouldn't really say trauma, Isaac went on to be a fairly big deal and was pretty unfazed by the matter.
Ashiel wrote:

Dear god, that poor child. Being tied up and literally experiencing being murdered by his father in all but the actual deathblow.

[1:43:38 AM] Ashiel: Well, yeah, they wouldn't write about the amounts of therapy he surely had to go through. XD
[1:44:29 AM] Ashiel: But I mean really, put yourself in Isaac's shoes for a sec. Imagine your dad deceiving you, then jumping you on a mountain, tying you up, dropping you on the sacrificial alter, and seriously and obviously going to murder you and his reason is "I'm sorry but this is what God wants"
[1:44:40 AM] Ashiel: Poor Isaac was probably flipping his s!%@. XD
[1:44:47 AM] Ashiel: Thinking his dad had flipped his. >_>
[1:45:45 AM] Ashiel: And then it was all like "Nah man, I was just kidding. I know I'm omnisient and supposedly know the hearts of man from the moment of their creation, yadda-yadda, but I still totally needed to actually watch you almost go through with it" XD
Aratrok wrote:

Also fairly sure it wasn't for God's benefit. That would be pretty redundant- it's heavily implied that the purpose was more as a reaffirmation of faith. In the same way that when you're asked if you'd do something in a serious situation, how you answer that question doesn't necessarily reflect your circumstantial actions.

[1:51:54 AM]: Also seems like Paizo authors are really not on the same page as far as deities. They're supposedly unable to directly interfere in mortal matters beyond granting spells and talking to people, but then the article on Urgathoa talks about her making food taste good/bad for people, cursing people with starvation, paralyzing people's legs, inflicting disease, and delivering freshly killed animals/humanoids to starving faithful.
[1:52:14 AM]: Which is a big pile of things that would get her a cosmic b$+*% slap from everyone else involved in their deific non-intervention treaty.
Ashiel wrote:
Haha, yeah totally.
Aratrok wrote:

Also, really not a fan of the "deities aren't allowed to interfere because reasons" solution to divine intervention in fantasy stories.

I'm much more partial to either "Divines are still in the realm of being stabbable to high power mortal groups who might oppose them and don't really want to be a target for some up and coming godslayers" or "Divines are actually incapable of intervention"

Some side conversations about the bible and stuff not important for the thread nor amusingly funny.

Ashiel wrote:

But yeah, I really, really do see a lot of parallels. Which is one of the reasons I really like Urgathoa as a deity. She feels like an evil deity done right. Too often I see evil deities in D&D that read like this:

Gorg the Defiler's Portfolio includes
- F++$ing babies
- Cutting the dicks off puppies
- Murdering your family
He counts an enormous number of followers hidden in the corners of everywhere, which are at war with Almander the Epic Dudeman, patron god of Puppies, Unicorns, and Weed.

Aratrok wrote:

There's a passage in the Urgathoa article about communities tolerating necromancers that round up uncontrolled and destructive undead because they'd rather have them guarding a hermit's tower than wandering around in their fields. xD

[2:06:12 AM]: Bloody skeletons sometimes get called "Sons of Urgathoa"
[2:07:23 AM]: Basically, there's some stupid stuff about Urgathoa killing babies and whatnot that you can toss out to make the deity remain interesting.
[2:08:00 AM]: Heh. Urgathoan church marriages don't include the line about "until death do us part". :p

Side conversation about Taylor Swift as another friend of ours jumped into the conversation. Also a comment about Gorg the Defiler sounding like a deity in FATAL.

Aratrok wrote:
"In the church, the date someone becomes an undead is a memorable event called ashenmorn, commemorated annually like a birthday. For undead that cannot stand the light, it also represents the last time they saw daylight. Ashenmorn is a solemn event and a time for personal reflection rather than sharing with others, especially as some undead don't know what day they turned or have been undead so long they no longer remember or have ceased to consider it relevant. A particularly sentimental undead who can create spawn may choose to convert a loyal servant on his own ashenmorn as a gesture of affection."

I love these conversations. :D


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What's in the box? wrote:
I was also impressed with the Urgathoa mythos. I have an NPC (Melinoe the Dead Peacock Priestess) who is(was?) in a love/hate relationship with Urgathoa. Idolizing the goddesses ability to ASCEND TO GODHOOD BY PURE WILLPOWER! And hating her own weak stupid mortal flesh that is incapable of doing the same thing...

You must love yourself. It was the Pallid Princess' undying love for herself that freed her from the bondage of death. If you love others as you love yourself then all wounds will be healed. He who believes in she shall have but one death and then everlasting life, but those who do not will die and be dead forever. Won't you join us and help spread the good word and everlasting life?

This sounds remarkably familiar...then again, I technically worship a zombie.


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Tels wrote:
I know we've had this discussion on Urgathoa/Pharasma before, but do you intentionally omit the times when the Urgathoans intentionally try and release plagues into the world to kill as many people via disease as possible?

It's mostly 'cause I just haven't seen it. Golarion isn't my first campaign choice unless I'm playing in an AP. The info on Urgathoa in my copy of the campaign setting book and on the PF wiki paints a very different picture, possibly because both are talking about the goddess rather than her followers. For example, here's a word for word transcript of Urgathoa's writeup from the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting, page 169. Bear with me as I'm holding the book in my lap and typing it out while I read it.

PF Campaign Setting wrote:

Some claim that Urgathoa was a mortal once, but when she died, her thirst for life turned her into the Great Beyond's first undead creature. She fled from Pharasma's endless line of souls and back to Golarion, bringing with her disease to the world. She appears as a beautiful, raven-haired woman from the wasit up, but below that her form begins to rot and wither, untill only blood-coveed bones remain at her feet. Urgathoa is worshiped by undead as well as dark necromancers and those hoping to become undead. As such, her clerics must often keep their activities a secret. Some who are sick with the plague make offerings to the Pallid Princess in hopes of alleviating their illness, but most turn to Sarenrae. The occasional gluttonous prince might make offerings to Urgathoa as well, be it for more food, women, or other carnal pleasures. She and Calistria vie for control of their overlapping interest, with the elven goddess representing lust and the undead one representing physical excess.

Ceremonial clothes in her church are a loose gray floor-length tunic with a bone-white or dark gray shoulder-cape clasped at the front. Traditionally the lower half of the tunic is either shredded or adorned with strips of cloth or tassels to give the overall appearance of increased damage as it approaches the floor, mirroring the goddess' own decay. Because most ceremonises involve indulging in large amounts of food and wine, these garments are usually stained from spills. Her temples are built like feast-halls, with a large central table serving as an alter and numerous chairs surrounding it. Most temples are adjacent to a private graveyard or built over a crypt, often inhabited by ghouls (which exhibit all three of the goddess' interests). Her sacred text is Serving Your Hunger, penned by Dason, her first knight-blackguard.

Urgathoa sometimes gifts female clerics who serve her particularly well by transforming them after death into hideous undead creatures called the daughters of Urgathoa. She has also been known to lend support to the daemon Horsemen from time to time, for many of their goals closely match her own. It is not uncommon to encounter daemon servants and guardians in her most powerful temples as a result.

So in the original campaign setting book that I've used for Golarion since I bought it, she seems pretty legit. She's got a dark side but it's no worse than the deities people actually worship in reality and seems plausible enough that you could actually see someone worshiping her. I feel that she bypasses the really big problem that most evil deities in RPGs have: the fact no one in their right minds would ever worship them because they have no redeeming qualities. Urgathoa, however, seems slathered in redeeming qualities.

Now this might be a strong point for Paizo in this in that they can write "villains" that I can appreciate. This is an "Evil" goddess that I could definitely see normal people worshipping, or even having relating about their happy events as children around the feast halls, or insisting to other non Urgathoans that they just don't understand all their is to the Pallid Princess beyond bad press she gets from some of the other religions.

Now it could be a problem with the fact I haven't seen Urgathoa actually do anything bad. Maybe it comes up in an AP or something (I haven't gotten to run more than the first CotCT book, but I know there's a plague later; so maybe she's involved somehow?), yet the information that's available openly pretty much describes what I have described here, hence where I stand on it currently.

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Or when they move into a village and murder all of them and raise them as undead or trap them to feed them to undead in the area? Or when priests travel the world to cure minor illnesses and infect them with something more deadly? 'Cause these are all things the followers of Urgathoa do. They also have things like "brood mothers" in temples who's sole purpose is to brith childen to be either raised as followers, sacrificed as a part of a ritual, or eaten alive in a feast.

See, I might just not have all the material, but I haven't seen any of this. Much of it doesn't even make any sense. The disease thing kind of maybe makes sense, but the lore on Urgathoa also remarks that it's fairly commonplace to beseech the princess to lift diseases from people, which makes sense. I mean why would you go to someone else to ask for passage from disease when you could beseech the actual master of disease?

Side Note: What's the best way to stay healthy and resist disease and/or naturally recover from diseases? Eat lots of food and drink plenty of liquids, even when you're not hungry and have lost your appetite. The best way to, without medicine, fight most diseases is to act in accordance with Urgathoa's tenants.

Maybe that would actually be the reason. Disease encourages people to become closer to their goddess. Disease also encourages people to embrace undeath because the undead are immune to diseases. However, since it would appear that the vast majority of her followers are still very much alive, it doesn't make a lot of sense for them to be interested in spreading deadly plagues that could end up wiping themselves out as well, or wiping out the living and thus starving their undead members who need those living members to remain functional (the vampire members would especially be pissed if you were actively killing off their lovers/food supplies).

I've also never heard of a brood mother. It sounds, honestly, much more in line with Lamashtu than Urgathoa based on the lore I've read. I'm not saying that you're wrong, I'm just saying that it's very contrary to what I've personally read and seems very contrary to the mode of operations that are ascribed to Urgathoa.

That said, followers be crazy. I mean, let's be real here: people are nuts. Look at the horrific things that human beings do in the name of our "most holy", "good", "loving", "merciful", and "peaceful" gods. Frankly it wouldn't surprise me if there was a support group for those molested by priests of Sarenrae somewhere, or people lobbying against Sarenrae for her insane radical followers in the Cult of the Dawnflower with her Dawnflower Dissidents trying to clean up the messes and conflict within her own orders.

And for the record, Sarenrae is like the most goodly good goddess of goodliness who has no enemies, even evil deities, other than Rovagug, and even a large portion of her followers are crazy ***-holes and somehow they still end up getting spells, so...yeah. >_>

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I don't know if you're just unaware of everything Urgathoans do, but they aren't just the gluttonous party people you seem to think they are.

Though, I would say that out of the Evil gods, her followers are probably amongst the least harmful in the long run. They don't get up to as much raw destruction and evil as many of the other followers of Evil gods do.

Like I said, I might just be working on really limited data, but according to the campaign setting I bought and the info on the PFwiki, this is pretty much what I get out of it. A believably evil goddess who actually seems like someone that could actually amass cults in the world with real day to day people having reasons to actually worship her. Asmodeus is another that seems pretty legit in that fashion as well.

The more balls to the walls crazy blatant world-destructing evil that the god/religion has, the harder it is to believe that it's even a real religious presence. Urgathoa has a lot of redeeming qualities and her mastery over disease, both its affliction and redemption, reminds me very heavily of the "giveth and taketh" of certain deities from our own world.


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137ben wrote:

So, Ashiel, have you seen the In the Company of Dragons: Lost Isles KS? (Corresponding thread).

It's a revision/expansion of an earlier supplement for PC true dragons that are balanced alongside normal PCs.
I was somewhat skeptical prior to getting the original, but it fixes essentially all the problems I had with prior attempts at implementing PC-friendly true dragons.

The second stretch goal is options for psionic dragons by Jeremy Smith.

And yea I'm just randomly posting this in different places, 'cause I want to get to playable psionic dragons!

Wow, cool. I hadn't seen/heard of this. :o

I always liked dragons as PCs. I haven't had any player ask to play one in ages but today I think I'd be okay with them playing a dragon. :)


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Tels wrote:
I don't know if you've followed along with the playtest thread after it ended, but Mark has teased a lot of stuff about the Kineticist. One of the things he did was intentionally released a weaker version of the Kineticist to see if anyone could come up with some gamebreaking combos, while the one at full release will be more powerful.

W-what!? W-why the **** would you ever do that!? *headdesks* (>.<)

Playtests: DOING IT WRONG!

Way to just completely invalidate any data collected. D:<

/nerdrage

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Yeah, it's difficult. The issue is that it's pretty easy to use nearly any race and make a strong caster, because caster's themselves are strong. The stat boosts of the Gnome, +Con and +Cha, makes it a little difficult to make most of the 6th level casters because, while Con is nice, it's a lot more important to boost Strength or Dex instead of Con because the point buy gets more expensive the higher you go. It's easier to get a 16 or 17 in Str/Dex with a 12 in Con using a +2 Str/Dex than it is with a +2 to Con.

The problem I see, is that, basically, the only good way to build a Gnome is to use magic in some way, and that irks me.

Gnome paladins are pretty baller. The +2 Con/Cha makes them very tanky, as does the +1 to hit and AC. The only downside is their -2 Strength, but you can do something like 12, 14, 14, 7, 12, 16 for their stats and make 'em pretty awesome. Optionally take the mount at 4th level, then use archery and lances from the back of your medium-sized mount. With small size, good dex, and so forth, your AC is pretty awesome and your mobility is top notch. One divine grace comes online, the Cha-bonus is effectively +1 to all saves.

Their favored class for Paladin is almost as good as the tiefling's (+1/2 level to lay on hands) but affects more than just the paladin (making them a decent pocket healer). The 12 Strength means little at low levels and can be compensated for at high levels.


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What's in the box? wrote:
It is Thursday and no one has posted anything for 2 days... This is one of the only forums I have followed since it started and I am like 16 pages invested... So... Somebody Ask Ashiel something...

Sorry about that. Been working mostly. (^~^);

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Ummm... Outside of the Detect spells what is the best way to determine an NPCs alignment?

Observe how they act and invest some ranks into Sense Motive to tell when they're just acting.

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What's your favorite Golarion god? Why?

Urgathoa. Partially because my least favorite is Pharasma (I think the supposed omniscience is both stupid and impossible), but mostly because I think Urgathoa is just really cool. Going by the her writeup on PathfinderWiki, I like the non-evil aspects of Urgathoa the most. She has a really cool liberalization and personal empowerment feel as she wasn't content to stand around and be judged and have the fate of her soul decided for her, and so she took her ball and went home. This act apparently was so profound that it made her a god without the starstone or anything. You go girl. (o_o)

Further, her religion seems really cool too. Hedonism is the name of the game but it's obvious that there's a communal aspect that balances it out. According to her relationships with other deities, she's capable of being friendly with other deities and it's clear she's not insane-evil, and seems to strongly agree with people doing what makes them happy without being repressed (which is why she doesn't like religions and such that stifle people's desires).

Her clergy are actually described as pretty cool individuals. Each of her temple-cults keeps pretty much to themselves without some sort of overarching command (which I would think drastically cuts down on corruption throughout the faith as a whole, but likely increases the chances of you finding variances in doctrine, kind of like early Christians). They are defined as having little responsibilities other than "helping those who desire undeath" and "protecting their own", and neither of those things sound particularly nefarious as both are quite altruistic and passive.

Their religious traditions pretty much involving having parties. Her temples are feast-halls and everyone gets together and has a big dinner. It's kind of like Thanksgiving every holiday. Heck yeah!

My least favorite thing is that apparently several of her priests are completely insane, based on this piece:

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Senior priests of Urgathoa sometimes practice a ritual known as the Reaping. The priest will put on a grey robe, and arm himself with a vorpal scythe. The priest then heads out into the world to cause as much death and destruction as he can before he is driven back to his sanctuary. They believe that if Urgathoa is pleased by the outcome of the Reaping she will grant a boon to the priest.[8]

The thing is, they simply believe that she will, which is pretty weird (it doesn't say why they believe this, or how often she's actually granted anyone a boon for this). Most of the rest of her lore is self-involved, not violent, and not even blindly malicious. If you read the whole thing, this paragraph feels bizarrely out of place. It doesn't seem to serve a purpose and is weirdly specific (so in a small cell-based cult structure, senior priests just happen to have a 72,000 gp (minimum) scythe lying around?

I've played several devout worshippers of Urgathoa with a surprisingly human bent. They do things like cook grand meals to honor the dead, give self-appreciation motivational speeches, have an appreciation for love which has a direct connection to loving yourself (and thus making the gifting of yourself all the more meaningful), etc. One of these characters was my vampire vitalist healer.

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Have you ever played a dwarf?

Yep, dwarves are hax. :P

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Do you or your players ever harbor racists opinions about any of the PF races (my party ALWAYS hates Gnomes, and one time I played a Half-elf and as I RP'ed I kept making these REALLY xenophobic comments about humans, like completely unintentional but I found myself repulsed by humans- never found out why...)

Not really. I've had a lot of players over time (I used to spend all my free time running games for different groups online) and I've seen some weird racisms against pretty much everyone (including humans). I myself actually love gnomes.

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Change the game forever!!! You have to pick one: What one class should be included in EVERY party? (I assume you will pick Psion, but idk... maybe you are full of surprises)

Ehhh, well, it goes against everything I believe in game design terms. I really believe no class should be mandatory (it's one of the reasons I freaking hate thieves in pre-3E). So the one class that should be included in every party is whichever class you want to play right now. :)

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Change the game forever!!! You have to pick one: What one (core- because saying Gillmen doesn't really have an impact, Gripplis??? Grip WHO?!?!) race should be eliminated from the game completely?

I'm not really fond of Wayangs but honestly I think it probably should vary from campaign to campaign. :P


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Aranna wrote:
I don't think people are understanding personal bias. Personal bias doesn't necessarily mean favoring a GMPC over the players, although that is a form of it. Every decision is colored by your own take on things and that is what personal bias is. Good personal bias might be favoring the PCs over any monsters or NPCs, saying yes instead of no by default when a player suggests something, or even favoring heroically themed adventures over villainous ones. Everyone has some form of personal bias by being human.

I think I have an issue with personal bias being equated with judgment. Most notably...

Bias wrote:

noun

1. a particular tendency, trend, inclination, feeling, or opinion, especially one that is preconceived or unreasoned: illegal bias against older job applicants; the magazine’s bias toward art rather than photography; our strong bias in favor of the idea.
Judgment wrote:

noun

1. an act or instance of judging.
2. the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion:
a man of sound judgment.
3. the demonstration or exercise of such ability or capacity:
The major was decorated for the judgment he showed under fire.
4. the forming of an opinion, estimate, notion, or conclusion, as from circumstances presented to the mind: Our judgment as to the cause of his failure must rest on the evidence.

What you describe as good personal bias I see as a very bad thing as well. As a GM, I will not favor my PCs over monsters and NPCs, say yes instead of no by default, etc. In fact, I will not do the opposite of those things either. I will, however, judge each situation as fairly as possible. This is not bias, it's doing your job.

By accepting the risk of bias one can overcome it. There are many very negative things that are innate aspects of our humanity, including but not limited to destructive instincts and behaviors that we can rise above. Even the mere fact that some people here note that even if they think that GMPCs could work but that they themselves do not feel they can pull it off shows a great deal of higher thought process from these people as they can evaluate their situation and make a well thought judgment on it, recognizing their own strengths and playing better to those.

But I apologize, I just do not agree with your proposed bias.


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Qaianna wrote:

Given some of the traits available, I can see some argument here. 'Oh, I have 900 gold at first level. While the barbarian decided to get UMD as a class skill and the wizard will always have +1 initiative.'

Honestly, I wouldn't allow Rich Parents to be picked up from the Additional Traits feat. Unless you had a REALLY good reason. One that amused me sufficiently, anyway.

As a GM, remember, 'It's just WRONG' can be a valid excuse. Which is why I'm not pressuring mine to let me build that +1 flaming frost greataxe yet.

What's wrong with a +1 flaming frost greataxe?

Name it Coldfire.
EDIT: Or Emberice.
A few other cool names could include...

Balor's heart, Twins' Axe, Unity, Nature's Wrath, Axe of Quasielementalism, Thermo-Cleaver, etc.


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Cap. Darling wrote:
Hmm you should never bother is not a har rule but i see your point. But what if they after level 6 come in really great numbers? 32 of them is a CR encounter after all.

I suppose at that point it's GM's discretion. I'd probably only award the XP if they were actively doing something to provide a challenge.

For example, I would probably include the XP of some CR 1/4 kobolds in an encounter where preventing the kobolds from pulling levers and such to mess with the party was a thing, or if they were running around actively aiding their higher CR brethren (aid anothers, body blocking, etc). Truthfully, because kobolds are NPC classed they can pull above their weight class pretty strongly (they are definitely the strongest of the CR 1/4 critters) but I'm not sure I'd award XP for just catching a bunch of hapless kobolds in a room and mashing them into paste.

Which is kind of what I think is happening with the rats, except more unfair. Maybe if they were rats trained for combat who were somehow supporting their rat-king overlord. Mmmm, fun times could be had with that. :3

That said, even if the GM was imposing a -1 CR for the "encounter" for the extreme disadvantage of the rats, getting to level 5 for 500-ish gold is cheapsauce and once you're 5th level, you should quickly be able to catch back up to your WBL since if you pick your poison Gygaxian-style, you can probably use your party's 5th level durability + spells to go wreck some CR 1-3 things en mass and gear up. :P


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Rich Parents seems like a good trait for the new Vigilante class.

I see what you did there. :3


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Cap. Darling wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Cap. Darling wrote:
Ashiel wrote:

I once took Rich Parents + Dusk Agent for a character to start with 1800 gp. I then used the 10% discount to acquire a lot of onyx stone and spent the rest on spellcasting services and began the game as a Mummy.

EDIT: Best. First. Level. Ever.

If i were to play with your group i would take the trait and spend 535 gp on rats and kill them all. Instant level 20 on slow progression;)

Best. First. Session. Ever.

Wouldn't that kind of run into trouble at 6th level when the rats stopped giving you XP points?

EDIT: Also, who the heck statted rats? They're CR 1/4? Really? A rat has more HP than a commoner?

Humorously being a mummy put me at "5th level" so it seems pretty similar, though your method would be way better for a spellcasting class (since who wants to eat -5 caster levels?). :D

It's worth mentioning the GM thought the idea was funny and OK'd it before I tried it. :)

Why would rats stop giving Xp at level 6 they give a amazing 100 pr rat or 10000 pr gp. It was in D&D 3 and 3.5 that gp was changing with character level.

And of cause your gp would need to approve it and that is why my trick Will never happen.
Edit: and yes rats seem to be stattet for the familiar role and seem a bit in the High end.

Because when something is -10 CRs below your APL they stop granting XP. It's in the core rulebook where it explains XP. So you'd...

Kill rats, reach level 2.
Kill rats, reach level 3.
Kill rats, reach level 4.
Kill rats, reach level 5.
Kill rats, reach level 6.
CR 1/4 is 6-10, rats give no more XP for you.


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Cap. Darling wrote:
Ashiel wrote:

I once took Rich Parents + Dusk Agent for a character to start with 1800 gp. I then used the 10% discount to acquire a lot of onyx stone and spent the rest on spellcasting services and began the game as a Mummy.

EDIT: Best. First. Level. Ever.

If i were to play with your group i would take the trait and spend 535 gp on rats and kill them all. Instant level 20 on slow progression;)

Best. First. Session. Ever.

Wouldn't that kind of run into trouble at 6th level when the rats stopped giving you XP points?

EDIT: Also, who the heck statted rats? They're CR 1/4? Really? A rat has more HP than a commoner?

Humorously being a mummy put me at "5th level" so it seems pretty similar, though your method would be way better for a spellcasting class (since who wants to eat -5 caster levels?). :D

It's worth mentioning the GM thought the idea was funny and OK'd it before I tried it. :)


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bookrat wrote:

Whether you're a GM or a player, at some point in your gaming career you will encounter a cheater. Cheating may include fudging dice rolls, altering character sheets mid game, having illegal builds, and more.

Sometimes, the cheating in accidental, like a person making a mistake on a character build. Sometimes it's intentional, but beneficial to the game, like a GM fudging dice rolls to keep a character alive or to enhance the story. Sometimes it's just someone who wants to have the "best" character and is hoping you won't notice.

I informally surveyed some of my friends and have received responses ranging from "I dont tolerate it at all and the person needs to be confronted by the GM or the group" to "if a person really has to cheat in order to enjoy the game, then so be it."

What's your toleration limit? How do you deal with it - as a player or a GM? If your response is, "It's the GM's job," then how do you deal with it when the GM either doesn't deal with it or is too afraid to confront the cheater? What do you do if the person cheating is the GM? Is it different than if the person cheating is a fellow player?

How much cheating do you tolerate?

None. Respect or find another table. If it's an accidental mistake in the build you can fix it (we all make these mistakes from time to time, there's a lot to keep track of). If you're cheating at dice, I'll warn you once that every time you "fudge" your dice I'll "fudge" mine and karmic justice is a b*$*@, so you better carefully consider if cheating is worth getting auto-crit with a life drinker sometime down the line.

As a GM I do not fudge dice. I do not think it helps the game and I have never once seen it do anything that wasn't ultimately harmful to the group. I'm vehemently opposed to cheating on an ethical level and it's one of the few things I'm very rigid on.


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DM Under The Bridge wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:

Ok.

Allied NPC: character created by the GM to accompany the PCs. It's on a character sheet and levels with the party, shares loot, etc.
GMPC: same exact thing, only the GM has "emotional attachment", and then ruins the game with it.
By your quote marks, should I conclude that you consider emotional attachment to be a foreign concept, Kryzbyn?
I have emotional attachment to all of my NPCs. :3
It is sad if they get it in the neck, but such is npc life.

I've seen the "icky GMPC syndrome" occur for major NPCs as well. It's not limited to GMPCs. A lot of GMs are likely to cheat to keep an NPC they put a lot of work or thought into alive or ensure that the BBEG cannot die or something. All of this stuff relates to the exact same problems that lead to GMPCs being an issue for groups. It's all connected at the root.

Honestly it's very hard to find a GM that's worth playing under, GMPCs or otherwise.


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Tels wrote:
Burn is a mechanic that, damages the users body. For every point of burn you possess, you take a number of points of non-lethal damage equal to your character level. So a 10th level character with 4 points of burn has 40 points of non-lethal damage. The non-lethal damage cannot be reduced or healed in anyway, except for resting for 8 hours. So no Damage Reduction, regeneration, Wish, Miracle etc. to remove the non-lethal damage or remove the Burn.

Wow, I really wish they didn't do that. I like the burn as a drawback but breaking the normal rules for nonlethal damage means tracking three different damage pools for two different types of damage. Now you have to track which amount on nonlethal damage is real nonlethal damage and which amount is burn nonlethal damage because they heal at different rates.

Normal nonlethal damage heals 1 HP/HD every hour.

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And... I'm going to just stop here. I'm a big fan of what they're doing with the Kineticist, and I have a tendency to ramble on about it.

Feel free. Your rambling has never bothered me before and I'd dare say won't start soon.


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Tels wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
I wonder if that's what Paizo meant by "our answer to psionics". Aratrok and I have been trying to figure that out. Maybe they meant "these classes will be easily refluffable like psionics"?

My understanding is Paizo doesn't like the power point system because it's a different casting system than all other magic. In addition, they also think that newer players tend to blow all of their PP and nova with the system, which they don't see happen as often with vancian casting.

I'm also betting they had some bad run-ins with the abusive players from the previous edition that abused aspects of the psionics frequently.

All that insanity aside (they say psionics is OP and publish Spellbane :P), I meant we were confused because of that. We'd heard that Paizo intended it to be their answer to psionics but all it seemed like was more vancian stuff because we knew they weren't touching the mechanics (which also seems weird because the vast majority of psionics fans that I've seen wouldn't be half the fans if not for the amazing mechanics). So, maybe they meant as something more fluffable, y'know?


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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
I just did a good deed by giving some money to a guy to help him replace the money he'd accidentally dropped and was picked up by someone else. He'd been crying because without the money he'd be stranded at the airport, so I withdrew some money from my checking account to help him, and his relief was palpable. He even hugged me! I know this was the right thing to do. So why do I find myself feeling guilty about it and trying to convince myself of that? In an RPG I'd do that sort of thing in a heartbeat. Why does it feel like I wasted money instead?

I would estimate that it's several factors, including (but not necessarily limited to) the fact that our money is often hard earned and we're (probably rightfully) conditioned to not waste it or throw it away frivolously. So that probably feels weird having given a man money with nothing physical to show for it.

In an RPG, you don't value money in the same way because it doesn't affect your life in the same way. However, while the sacrifice is more meaningful in reality, so too is the good that it does. In RPGs, giving out some dosh means you get a few more good-points and go on about your day and it means nothing once you turn off the machine or step away from the table. In reality, the money you have was a real sacrifice because it means you no longer have something, but the impact that you have was in turn all the more real in that you just helped that guy get back home.

There can be conflicting emotions, especially depending on how much you value money. In the end, I'm pretty proud of you that you helped him out. My mom once had some conflicted feelings in my stead when I was working one of my first jobs. I've never valued money that much beyond having enough to function, so when I overheard a coworker of mine talking on her phone during her lunch break with her husband about their money issues and concerns about the holidays coming up, I decided I could do something about that.

Where I worked handled money and cashed checks for people, so when I went to pick up my check, I asked the receptionist at the desk to do me an odd favor. I asked her to cash my check for the week, put the money in an envelope with my co-worker's name on it, and tell her that someone left it there for her. The look on the receptionist's face was pretty interesting. XD

(Though not a relevant part of the story, the receptionist came up to me a while later and remarked that she had never seen anyone do anything like that in all the years she worked there. Apparently my coworker started crying tears of happiness out of relief and amazement since this was like an extra week of pay for her out of nowhere. I'll admit that felt pretty nice to know that it would definitely help her out when she needed it.)

When my mother learned what happened she was concerned for me that I just dropped a few hundred dollars on someone anonymously, mostly because she didn't want me to put myself out or anything. Motherly concerns. However my Grandma told me later that even though my mother was concerned, she was indeed proud of what I had done, and my mother did things like that too.

So I guess what I'm saying is, it's natural to feel a sense of buyer's remorse (even though you haven't actually bought anything) but if it makes any difference I'm proud of you for making a difference.


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Crystal Frasier wrote:
I also tend towards the martial classes--fighter, barbarians, rangers, and rogues--so naturally I am widely hated here at the Paizo offices :D

It all makes sense now! (^o^)

Have you tried out anything by Dreamscarred Press? Particularly in their psionics or path of war line?


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Ceaser Slaad wrote:
Jesus loves the OP and everybody else in this thread.

This is not what Lunch Money says. :P


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Skeld wrote:

Has Gorbacz posted to this thread yet? He's on my ignore script.

-Skeld

That seems like a waste of free entertainment. :P


I wonder if that's what Paizo meant by "our answer to psionics". Aratrok and I have been trying to figure that out. Maybe they meant "these classes will be easily refluffable like psionics"?


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Kalindlara wrote:
thegreenteagamer wrote:

S***f posts are an insult now?

...I was just doing it because I dig blue chicks, and apparently I've been assigned S***fette for most of my s***f avatars.

FF's Shiva is sexy. I damn near developed an ice fetish as a teenager thanks to her.

I always liked Maduin myself. ^_^

S'where Terra got her good looks. ;)


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thegreenteagamer wrote:
FF's Shiva is sexy. I damn near developed an ice fetish as a teenager thanks to her.

Amen. :P


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Sissyl wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:

Ok.

Allied NPC: character created by the GM to accompany the PCs. It's on a character sheet and levels with the party, shares loot, etc.
GMPC: same exact thing, only the GM has "emotional attachment", and then ruins the game with it.
By your quote marks, should I conclude that you consider emotional attachment to be a foreign concept, Kryzbyn?

I have emotional attachment to all of my NPCs. :3


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Sissyl wrote:
And when used poorly and well, was that in any way related to the GM rooting for the GMPC as THEIR CHARACTER IN THAT GAME? See, that is the only relevant distinction. If you consider a GMPC to mean a character traveling with the party, of course they can enrich a campaign whatever their power level. But once the GM indulges his/her desire to play as well, things go south fast.

I root for all the PCs in the game, and then I drop a beholder on them. I still hope they win though. :)

EDIT: A summary of Ashiel the GM as follows.

When Assisting Players: Lawful Good. I want to ensure everyone's having fun, and I'm perfectly open to examining homebrew content or making some for you to help you have your character be healthy and happy.

When Arbitrating: Lawful Neutral. I liked that character too but it failed its save. That's the breaks.

When Making Encounters & Challenges: Lawful Evil. 'Nuff said.


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Jaelithe wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
thegreenteagamer wrote:
Wow. I almost expected one, but two people? That's unheard of, and pleasantly surprising!
So we have two posters who are generally Anti-DMPC agreeing that they perhaps can be done right...but no DMPC running DM's that have conceded that perhaps they shouldn't be running them?

I think it's so self-evident it doesn't need to be conceded but ... since you're still on about it: I readily concede that point. You are correct on that aspect of the issue, DrDeth.

Dude ... no one's saying you haven't made valid points.

On the other hand ... no DM running DMPCs is going to be aware that he or she should cease and desist if no one's called him or her on the issue, assuming one exists. Players who don't speak up don't effect change ... and that's the likely consequence of their reticence.

Pro-DMPC DMs in this thread have conceded that they've seen it done wrong, that they themselves have done it wrong in the past, and that it's not something that players who don't like it should subject themselves to after a reasonable attempt at accommodation.

That's as close as the two sides are likely to get.

Honestly speaking, there's no way for a GM to know they're doing anything right without feedback from the players. If players secretly hate that the GM uses puzzles but when he asks for feedback they explicitly never mention their distaste for puzzles then they'd best get used to seeing more puzzles.

I tend to ask for feedback on my games from my groups frequently if not after each session. Common questions include things like:

1. What was your favorite part of the game? Why?
2. What was your least favorite part? Why?
3. For your least favorite part, what would you have liked to have seen or how might it be better?
4. Are there themes or elements that you'd like to explore or have the opportunity to explore?

Stuff like that. In all honesty, the argument that the GM may be running one and his PCs not telling him they don't like it is about as silly as suggesting that GMs are probably bad because they use orcs, because the players may not like orcs but won't tell you. Replace "orcs" with literally any aspect of the game ever.


Qunnessaa wrote:
The Minis Maniac wrote:
Crystal Frasier wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Crystal Frasier wrote:

It varies from person to person, but:

1) Most trans people don't want their old name shared, especially without their permissions. To most people, especially women who've transitioned and live fulltime, it is a vulnerability, like sharing their medical information or allergies without their permission.

Is there a place I can find the statistics on this sort of thing?
It was a giant mistake for me to come back into this thread
:(
On a related note, I don't quite recall if she discusses things statistically - though I think she does - Viviane Namaste in Invisible Lives considers barriers to an ordinary life in many trans* folks' lives, particularly in my hometown, including the number of people who are even reluctant to, say, go to a pharmacy to get medication they might need because they don't trust that their names will be respected. Her work, and the sources she cites, would probably be the place I would start to look, but I doubt there's much numerical data. It's such an intuitive thing that I doubt anyone's been moved to collect any.

Thank you.


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Ashiel wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
Hah! Good times! :D
One of the reasons the 5 ft. step is getting the axe is we're already encouraging more mobility in encounters. We're probably going to replace it and withdraw with moving defensively which essentially trades away actions to move while covering yourself. It's also going to use a hex map so we won't have 1-2-1-2-1-2-1 squares anymore.

For the record my group has been using a hex grid to play Pathfinder for quite a while. It's glorious how well it works. :o


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Tacticslion wrote:
Hah! Good times! :D

One of the reasons the 5 ft. step is getting the axe is we're already encouraging more mobility in encounters. We're probably going to replace it and withdraw with moving defensively which essentially trades away actions to move while covering yourself. It's also going to use a hex map so we won't have 1-2-1-2-1-2-1 squares anymore.


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Well we're probably murdering the 5-ft. step, so the wording would need some re-arranging at least. :P


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Mathius wrote:

Cloth cleric is thing that is needed.

How are you handling neat class only things like wildshape or spell combat.

Feats? Class options?

Leaning primarily towards class options. If you've seen my psychic monk from way back when, you'll notice I'm very, very fond of optional class features (you'll notice that the vast majority of the monk features got reshuffled into optional talents).

We're theorycrafting some standards for class design at the moment and weighing their pros and cons, but we do know that however it comes out the need for things like archetypes will be greatly diminished if there is one at all.

At the moment we're letting classes cook on the back burner while we're working on the main course (the core), but here's some of the ideas that we've already got cooked up.

A Core Mechanic: I mentioned earlier that classes that share a vastly different mechanic from one-another are worth being their own classes, while classes that share a similar mechanic can be merged together. Here's two examples of what I mean.

A mechanic that defines a class is likely to be something like Grit, or Rage, or Spells. A sort of resource-driven thing that other class features will often tie-into. I remarked to my brother that I will of course rebuild my gunslinger for the new core, but it won't be a gunslinger. Instead it will be a daring warrior that uses a resource (grit) to do awesome things. Guns will be an option, but you could just as easily have a set of talents and features that are aimed at melee weaponry, or inspiring others, or tanking, or doing other cool things.

Meanwhile, we will probably include optional paths or major class choices that determine specializations. For example, Paladin and Ranger plus an arcane knight equivalent that does not exist in Pathfinder would probably share the same chassis. However, you might have a Champion path (for smites/challenges), a Hunter path (for Favored Enemy type things), or a Magic Knight path (granting the ability to channel spells through weapons), but then they would have talents that could be shared between them (such as animal companions or the ability to add enhancement bonuses to their weapons).

We'll probably also include options for mixing it up between classes. Tels pretty much nailed it when he mentioned things like wild-shaping magi or bards with animal companions and stuff like that. We're pretty excited about it.

Making it Easy: Foremost, I hope that everyone recognizes that Aratrok and I are all about keeping the optimization floor high and the ceiling low. We're also very much aware of the "option paralysis" that can overtake some people. Because of this, when we do finally start working on the classes in detail, we will be including themed packages that will come pre-optimized for certain roles and themes. Allowing people to just dive right in, or use it as a starting point for developing their own characters.

For example, maybe you really like the Ranger package but you don't want to have an animal companion to keep track of, so you might instead opt to make traps instead, or you might decide you like the stealth hunter aspect of it but you would rather trade out your hunting bit for the ability to channel spells through your weapons and then choose spells like contagion and poison to be a sort of magic assassin with a flying familiar as a spy.

Aratrok and I both believe that Roleplaying should never be punished by bad mechanics. If it's not something that we ourselves wouldn't be happy to play, we're not going to make it. We would never dump useless abilities into a package or class and then make the excuse of "it's for flavor". Ideally, we wouldn't make useless abilities in the first place. :P

Quote:
Love the revision so far.

Thanks. It's back to working on it now that I'm home from work. :)


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What's in the box? wrote:

That sounds exciting. Are witches there? I likes me some Witches Ash (I watched the final season of Charmed if that is any indication) so I would like to throw my hat into the circle of Witch packages.

Thank you

The beauty of the d20 system is how modular it is. Given the way that we're planning to implement spells, picking witchy-themed spells will be easy. As for setting them up with things like hexes, well that's just a few optional class features away.


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Off to work, be back in about 8 hours.


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More on Classes
Here's some more considerations about classes.

Old Tropes, New Options
Since we're cutting the number of classes down and picking the options up, one of the first things that springs to mind as a possibility is cutting down on variant classes. Let's use divine characters as an example for a moment.

Traditionally you have three different archetypes for the divine in fantasy: The holy warrior, the D&D cleric, the white mage. Pathfinder has the Paladin and the Cleric but the Cleric is also kind of the White Mage (it's a hybrid class that casts 9th level spells).

In this system if you wanted to make a holy warrior you would take the Perfect BAB + 1/2 Casting chassis and go that route. The cleric would go to a 3/4 + 3/4 routine (getting up to 7th level spells). Finally you'd have your squishy priest who performed miracles as their primary mode of operation with the 1/2 BAB + Perfect casting.

Same could be said for Rangers or Feral Druids, D&D Druids, and Merlins/Shaman type archetypes.

Same further could be said for a Mage Knight, Bard/Magus, or Wizard/Sorcerer.


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What's in the box? wrote:
Good luck :)

Thanks. :D


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Keeping it Classy
I'm a bit of a paradox when it comes to game design. I simultaneously believe that "less is more" and "the more the better". The catch is, it varies depending on what "more" is. When it comes to more classes, I'm definitely leaning towards the first, but when it comes to more options I'm shoveling the coal to fuel the engine.

Long story short, I'd rather have 12 classes that can cover virtually every single concept ever, rather than making an entirely new class every time something new comes along. There's a lot of class overlap in Pathfinder (especially after the advanced class guide) and it was just horrible in 3.x.

Instead, we're looking into a simpler system where each class tends to fall within certain standards and is defined from each other by a core mechanic and what talents, feats, and spells they decide to invest in.

For example, Paladins vs Rangers and Clerics vs Druids and Wizards vs Sorcerers are pretty redundant. Instead you'd have 3 classes that you could make into all of those things.

A Comparison to Something Existing
Barbarians in Pathfinder got it right. There usually aren't tons of archetypes for barbarians rather than tons of new rage powers and suggested rage powers for making a barbarian of a certain flavor and fashion.

The Big Three
Because there are no spell lists in the game, there are three primary chassis that are projected for development.

Magic Warrior (Perfect BAB, 5th level spells)
Hybrid (3/4 BAB, 7th level spells)
Magician (1/2 BAB, 10th level spells)

Naturally we'll include non-casting classes as well, but these three chassis here cover the vast majority of what is available in Pathfinder core. Specifically it covers Bards, Clerics, Druids, Paladins, Rangers, Sorcerers, and Wizards, leaving only Barbarian as the remaining core class in Pathfinder (yes, I'm a dick and I love kicking dead horses :P).

Making it Easy To Pickup
We'll have themed starting packages for traditional roles right there in the core. If you want to just have a Druid right out of the gate without picking any abilities yourself.

What Provokes a New Class?
In this system, a new class will only be released when it changes the fundamentals of how the class plays. For example, we don't see much point in having sorcerers and wizards but we do see a point in having mages & psions, as they use an entirely different but balanced system that appeals to different players for different reasons.

Spells Known vs Spell Lists
Our current projection essentially includes allowing characters a sort of universal selection of spells. However all classes that have spells will have a limited selection of spells available to them and will be able to cast them with their spell slots. Certain talents and/or specializations may allow casting higher level spells earlier in some cases.

We've also discussed having certain spells restricted to themed packages that you can pick up with special investments (kind of like how domains, bloodlines, or discipline powers work) which can be used to further make different characters feel more different/special.


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Brb, shower, then more about classes


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Some Magical Changes
Here's a quick overview of some of the changes set for the system.

You Must Concentrate!!!
The concentration mechanics are getting revised slightly. Generally speaking you will make fewer Concentration checks but your circumstances will matter more. Things like call for lots of minor concentration checks now apply stacking modifiers to your Concentration checks instead and you only make a single check. It'll basically work like it does in this post. You essentially are always concentrating but you can take-10 on your check so unless someone is actively threatening you or your circumstances become so poor as to not allow you to succeed on a take-10, you won't even notice that every cast has a check involved.

"I run all the schools," - Generalist Wizard
One thing that's a bummer in D&D is the schools. They're flavorful and they serve specific purposes but the problem is they're often bizarre and weird and there's a lot of overlap. It's very difficult to create spells and fit them into schools properly, even for the designers. For example, ever notice that Shield is Evocation and Mage Armor is Conjuration, but Abjuration is the protective magic school? Uhhh...wait...

Because of this, spells no longer governed by schools as a supertype. Instead they belong to schools based on a subtype such as [Abjuration] and Evocation which makes it much easier to not only create new spells (for devs and GMs alike) but it allows players to diversify a bit. This is especially true because you can have a spell that belongs to multiple schools at the same time.

For example, the aforementioned mage armor and shield spells are iconic staples of wizards and have elements of abjuration (protections and wards), conjuration (conjuring armor), and evocation (force) so these spells would be [Abjuration, Conjuration, Evocation] spells. Thus if you were an abjurer, conjurer, or evoker you could select either of these spells as one of your spells during level-ups, and if you have any features that apply specifically to any of those schools (such as the Spell School Focus feat) then you'd get the benefits associated when casting the spell.

No More Spell Lists
This part combines strongly with the class design goals (which are coming in my next post) but we're giving spell lists the axe. We've decided they ultimately do not serve a good purpose and only hurt the game the more developed in becomes. 3.x was notorious for releasing new classes that then never got further support for their spell lists like all the core classes did. Further, even today in Pathfinder, classes can end up missing important spells if a dev forgets to include something that's kind of important for functioning at certain levels or filling specific roles.

Further, individual class spell lists create a lot of potential balance issues (summoner springs to mind but it's not the only one, especially when Samsarans are involved). It over complicates the creation of magic items, spell-like abilities, and more to have spells appearing at different levels on different lists.

Now what we're going to be doing is just making magic and allowing you to create your own spell lists. We'll probably also include packages so you can pick big packs of themed spells. If you're playing a class that should have access to a spell earlier than normal due to its theme, you'll be able to get early access to them as a class feature (similar to how my psychic monk can jump off the psychic warrior list for higher level themed abilities) and will allow you to cast it with a lower level slot but the level remains the same (this also means that if a class can get a themed spell like Bards with irresistible dance then their DC will still be relevant, they just get to cast it with a lower level slot).


What's in the box? wrote:
Hey Ash... What's happening with the WoWlock?

It's mostly been on hold since I'm swamped with project stuff and have little time outside of work. :(


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Mathius wrote:
Wow, your house rules sound awesome!

Thanks. :D

Quote:
When can I start playing them?

Hopefully as soon as Aratrok and I have them all into a set of pdf files that are readable. While a lot of the mechanics have been determined and some still in flux and/or in development, actually having them on paper and written well are another thing entirely. So far we've got...


  • Getting Started chapter (100% done). This chapter includes a breakdown on ability scores and their function, includes basic rules such as multiplying, common bonus types, bonus spells, and ability score arrays (including premade point-buy arrays for quickly generating characters).
  • Skill Overview (80~% done). Explains how things like ranks work, taking 10 works, and making skill checks. Though essentially finished I know that I'm going to need to make some adjustments to the section after the skill revisions have been completed (mostly because the way we're handling skills is more different from Pathfinder than it originally was; with the information posted in this thread being more recent).
  • Skill Descriptions (0-5% done). We've axed a bunch of skills and remade a few of the skills. Skills like Knowledge (Arcana) and (Religion) are now their own skills called Arcana and Thaumaturgy which not only are used for knowledge checks related to their fields but have additional uses as well (Arcana ate Spellcraft) and different benefits for putting additional ranks into them. Skills are one of the areas most subject to change during our development because skills have been having issues for a long time in d20 and we really want to get it right.
  • Equipment (35-45% done). I've got the prototypes for weapons down (though I might make a few tweaks and sidebars) so there's pretty much just armor left to do and armor will take less time overall than weaponry did to write (there's simply less variance with it and thus less to write). After that it's just adventuring gear, trade goods, and services.
  • Magic (0-5% done). We've got some mechanics determined for magic revisions but they haven't been penned yet. Noteable revisions include revised Concentration mechanics (see how Concentration works in my slotless system, which is compatible with normal Pathfinder even if you don't use the slotless rules), revisions to the schools (where schools are subtypes rather than supertypes), and a few other changes (I'm going to note these in my next post).
  • Spells (0% done). We haven't even touched this yet but we do know that a lot of spells are going to change levels slightly (mostly the spells that are different levels on different lists) and some may get some revisions.
  • Classes (0% done). I'm going to start working on the classes once the core is finished. If you've ever seen any of the classes I've made for the Paizo community you probably have a fair idea of what to expect here. I aim for thematics and replicating tropes in balanced ways as well as letting players experiment and do their own things. As little forced fluff as possible mixed with a whole lot of flavor. The number of classes is going to shrink massively though as we're going for a more refined "less is more" concept. More about this in an upcoming post.

There's a lot of 0% done bits up there but this is actually starting to move on at a pretty rapid pace now as Aratrok and I are putting a lot of our other projects on hold and working on it whenever we have any free time from work & school. Right now the skill system is Aratrok's baby and I'm working on the Combat chapter right now.

Quote:
How are you going to publish them?

100% digitally and 100% free for the mechanics. If there's enough interest then we might attempt a kickstarter for physical publication or something to that extent. We've also discussed creating a SRD site that presents the rules of the game in a compendium sort of way, where all the mechanics associated with each other are placed in alphabetical order and using links and gateways to allow you to quickly find the rules that you're looking for rather than scrolling through the entire combat chapter or entire magic chapter, etc.

Ideally I'd like to include a free primer for my campaign setting along with it. If that's popular, I might try to start a patreon or something so I can devote my time to producing content rather than only doing it between shifts at my dayjob. My lack of time is the great enemy of getting a lot of my projects done or at a snail's pace (poor Kryzbyn's been waiting on that warlock for ages, and back when I was unemployed I completed virtually all of the warlock that exists in a couple of days). Likewise, you're still waiting on the VBSC adventure... (T_T)

Quote:
Want me to play test? My group is filled with powergamers.

Awesome. One thing that Aratrok and I are both interested in is serious stress testing. We're going to want you to break the hell out of our system, especially during the playtest periods (when they're officially announced) so that we can actually fix them. Also, since the primary means of obtaining the mechanics will be in digital format, we will not be waiting for new printings to release errata onto our SRD (we'll even include a sort of patchlist on the SRD to let people know about relevant changes). We know what a FAQ is and is not. :P

Quote:
Is there a google doc or something of the nuts and bolts yet?

Only on my PC and most of them are pretty spotty. However, let me upload a couple of things real quick...

Uploads a few of the more complete files

Getting Started, Combat, Equipment.

Quote:
Also how is the vengeance of the white dragon coming?

Very slowly (I've been pretty much working on our revised core). I've actually considered writing it backwards so I could at least deliver you the encounter with the actual white dragon in a timely fashion.

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