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Austrailan Diver

Cleanthes's page

804 posts. Alias of Scott LaBarge (RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8).


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It's also worth pointing out that the bonus from archaeologist's luck is a luck bonus, which is otherwise pretty hard to come by and stacks with everything (including heroism). Also a very self-reliant character.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

GM_Solspiral wrote:


-Past top 8's write the good joke items knowing they won't win but will give some people pause and there's a secret board somewhere where they laugh at our snark and praise threads. They bet on who will get the most thinly veiled comments/references to their item. Season 8's winner was the popcorn staff.

Nothing to see here, nothing to see here. Move along.


Imbicatus wrote:
Cleanthes wrote:

Heroism and inspire courage don't stack; they both provide morale bonuses. And the bonuses of archaeologist's luck apply to all the most important rolls a player makes, including saves.

You are incorrect sir, inspire courage is a competence bonus.

D'oh! I actually hesitated before writing that, but I wasn't in a position to check. Sigh. Thanks for the correction!


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Heroism and inspire courage don't stack; they both provide morale bonuses. And the bonuses of archaeologist's luck apply to all the most important rolls a player makes, including saves.

As I've said, my experience has been that, with Lingering Performance, I have not enough rounds to do what I have to do. I have to economize, yes, but to my mind that's good game balance. But we can of course agree to disagree!


Matthew Morris wrote:
plaidwandering wrote:
Torbyne wrote:
except as noted by others, there are favored class bonuses to grant extra rounds, Lingering Performance triples the bonus and frees up action economy further and extra performance is also a thing (when the two feats are combined you get better action economy and ~24 rounds of luck)

None of that is archaeologist specific, those are feats available to it or standard bard, thus a comparison is without them is perfectly valid.

you shouldn't need to jump through extra hoops to get a workable for more than 1.5 encounter class ability when the one its replacing is meant to do so and for the whole group...the bard takes them when he wants to be able to handle a really long day. The arch would have to to handle...just about anything, thus crimping their choices in other character building decisions

Given the other bonuses (rogue talents, evasion, bonuses to perception and knowledge skills) *and* that it stacks with bard song, *and* that it stacks with heroism I've never had any issues with my Archaeologists (an Archerologist and a meleeologist) running short on luck. +2 on pretty much everything is a heck of a bonus at 1st level with the right combo.

This. I was just about to point out that the bonus is a luck bonus, which is otherwise hard to come by. Heroism + Archaeologist's luck ftw! But Lingering Performance is a must.

I should add: my archaeologist was part of a very small party, so having the effect only work for her and not the whole party wasn't a big deal. I needed a couple of characters who could take care of themselves without much support in a wide range of circumstances, and an archaeologist was perfect for that.


Fwiw, I'm not pushing for Interpretation 2, whereas my own inclination was always to prefer Interpretation 1, which seems to be the consensus here anyway. I was just thrown by the discussion I saw in that Dragon article, which may or may not reflect the author's considered view of the question, didn't see anything on the messageboards that addresses the issue, and thought I'd check and see what other people thought. So thanks for your responses!


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James Risner wrote:
Benjamin Roe wrote:

It all sounds very reasonable ... but as a retailer I can tell you that 4th edition books ... "literally impossible to sell" once Wizards crossed the power-level-errata threshold Paizo's now teetering on the edge of.

pushed me over the edge ... it's making my stomach sink.

As another retailer, I never noticed any dip in our strong sales of 4e books sales until they went out of print and many months later announced 5e.

Some are unhappy with errata, and some like me are sending them cookies. Let's hope it encourages more errata and FAQ clarifications.

With GM's empowered with Rule 0, a single table with two different printings of a book is easily fixed. The player and GM works it out once and doesn't look back until the next errata document arrives.

DM Sothal wrote:
if the store says: "Sorry, we wont stock up on new printing if we haven't sold out of the ones on the rack

We employ a different approach, discount the older versions and stock up on the newer versions. I've never had a customer complain about this tactic.

Alternatively, take the 4 page UC errata and print 2 up double sided on one sheet for 10 cents cost on the laser printer every business owns.

Really interested in the perspectives of store owners! This is closer to what I expected. I would assume that for every hardcore PFS player who watches rules changes closely, there's a dozen (a hundred?) people who buy the books that interest them, take them home, use them how they use them, and never look at the Paizo boards even once. It's probable that the sorts of people like us who read and comment on these boards are the exception, not the rule. (Which is not to say that our views/interests don't matter or shouldn't be taken seriously by Paizo.)


For that matter, I'd personally be happy to see Paizo develop a new campaign setting eventually. I certainly don't want to see the kind of fracturing of campaign settings that helped do in TSR, but eventually a campaign setting with a really different feel might be just the thing.


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Genuine question: How many of these problems come from inadequate game-testing? Could Paizo do a soft release in PDF form only, and then sell print editions only after the chief problems have been revealed and (hopefully) solved in play? I know that you already do this to an extent when you release early versions of new classes and rulesets for playtesting and player feedback, but would it be impossible to make the PDF publication of new texts another round of playtesting to make sure you get it right?
Also, how many of the problems arise from the simple fact that, the more feats, classes, spells, magic items, rulesets you create, the more combinations of such become possible, the more complicated the game becomes, and the more corner cases multiply? I certainly remember that happening to 3/3.5. Is the solution then perhaps to just *stop releasing new class collections and new rulesets*, and instead concentrate on all your other lines? (i.e. adventures, campaign setting expansions, game supports like flipmats, cards, minis, etc.?) In the short term it may not produce as much revenue as pushing out a new big rulebook every year, but in the longterm it may generate more revenue because the core game is viewed as stable and dependable, and new players constantly get drawn in to the proven, reliable experience.


I agree that the article was discussing a different issue, but what made me ask my original question was the way it was interpreting the application of damage from the spell. Do we agree that, given the way their illustration worked, if asked my original question they would have responded with Interpretation 2?


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Benjamin Roe wrote:


...but as a retailer I can tell you that 4th edition books really did go from "selling really well" to "literally impossible to sell" once Wizards crossed the power-level-errata threshold Paizo's now teetering on the edge of. 4th had the character builder software you could subscribe to, and players nearly universally used that instead of books because they knew they couldn't trust their books to be right. Paizo has PDFs and the PRD to fill much the same role. This update just pushed me over the edge of beginning to feel like I can't trust my books, and it's making my stomach sink. If people stop trusting their books, they'll stop buying them, which will cause retailers to stop supporting the game, which will dry up demand for the game very quickly. I don't mean to get all doom-and-gloom on you, but the last few updates are perched at the top of a very slippery slope.

That's really interesting, and I hadn't considered things from that angle. That's got to be a very hard line for a company to walk, especially when it has only good intentions in issuing the rule-changes and clarifications in the first place. Somehow it brings to my mind the millennia of Jewish Talmudic commentary on the Torah; somehow all that interpretation and re-interpretation never led the believers to abandon the ur-text. But then, they had a different set of motivations available to keep them attached to the game.


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It can't be said often enough: Unless you're playing PFS and so have to play by shared standards, you can ignore any and all of these changes in your home game. (Though I do understand that these changes can be a source of player/DM conflict when one of the two was already unhappy with the status quo. Still.)


I don't have it in front of me right now, but I'll type up a quote tomorrow when I'm in the same room with the issue again. (It's Dragon 315, though.)


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Considering how good that bonus is, I think it works just fine as currently written. The archetype gains a fair number of other bonuses to compensate.

This. I play an archaeologist in one campaign, and it's a wicked powerful ability as is. I've found that taking Lingering Performance gave me enough rounds to get through all but the most grueling adventuring days.


Interesting. I ask because I was looking over a Sage Advice column in an old issue of Dragon, and the rules-guru there clearly was employing Interpretation 2. And it's not a 3.5 vs. PF thing; the spells works the same in both versions of the game. I guess they got that one wrong.


I'm trying to figure out how to understand the way harm works, and I'm confused about how to determine how much damage the spell does w/ respect to damage with and without a successful save. Imagine, for instance, that an 11th level caster casts the spell against a creature with 50 hp. How should the damage be calculated?

Interpretation 1: The amount of damage the caster threatens to do does not take the target's hp total into account. In this case, the 11th level caster threatens 110 points of damage if the creature fails its save, and 55 points if the creature saves successfully. Either way, the spell ends up doing 49 damage to the creature, leaving it with 1 hp.

This makes the save effectively pointless for creatures significantly weaker than the caster.

Interpretation 2: The amount of damage the caster threatens to do does take the target's hp total into account. In this case, the 11th level caster threatens 49 points of damage if the creature fails its save, and 24 points if the creature saves successfully.

In this case, the save matters, even for the weakest possible targets.

I don't see anything in the text of the spell that decides between the two interpretations. I suspect that the 2nd interpretation is intended, but I can't rule the first one out by RAW. Your thoughts?

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

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Question: If an item only works on creatures w/ a heart, would it work on Donald Trump?

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

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chaoseffect wrote:
Thrawn007 wrote:
pH unbalanced wrote:
Oh my. I'd forgotten how pre-cull items were.
I am really thinking about hanging it up until after some culling. I feel really upvoting things on over half the matchups I've seen.
How long is it supposed to be until the first cull anyway, do you know?

TOO LONG!!!!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

I've only been able to get the webpage to load often enough to do a few votes, but I have to say, so far it's been a painful reminder of how dismal pre-cull voting can be. Several items have had basically no formatting at all. The cull can't come soon enough for me.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

Staves *are* weapons. If you submit a magical quarterstaff that's made via Craft Magic Arms and Armor, no problem. It's magical staves that are made using Craft Staff that are DQ material. They're different design spaces.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

PolyamoryPrince wrote:
I feel like the rules could have been slightly clearer for those of us not as familiar with Pathfinder. I caught the restrictions on intelligent items and artifacts. However, I mistakenly believed rings to be part of the "wondrous items" category. There are some unofficial sources that list them as such.

I can understand your frustration, but I guess it doesn't seem to me like a bad thing if a contest for Pathfinder game designers sorts out people who don't know the Pathfinder ruleset well. The point of the contest is to find people who can freelance for them, and people who don't know the game probably aren't good bets.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

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Well, yeah, but just imagine if I had had that name!!!! Whole new ball game.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

Although I will just point out that my request last year to be renamed "I. Love OwenKCStephens" was rejected without much of a hearing.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

Nope, there's nowhere to hide -- at least not on the RPGSS forums.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

Yeah, I think you're asking the wrong questions. It's not "general" vs. "thematic". It's "Where's the mojo?" Either sort of item can be great if it simultaneously feels surprising and inevitable. With the best items, the different elements of their design pull together in a new gestalt that makes you think, "oh wow, I never thought about that possibility, but that totally works, it's imaginative and evocative, and I totally love it!" And all sorts of items can do that.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

Isn't it top 8 (encounter round) who will get a choice of maps for their encounter?

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What I've hard about maps so far is that round 2 will be a map, and this year it will need to be something that would fit on a flip-mat. If it's like last year, they'll be fine with either hand-drawn and scanned or something made with a map-making program. I'd be surprised if they changed that, especially since I doubt very much that all their existing contributors use map-making software. (There's an old thread where SKR shows the difference between horrible-to-good map submissions that's eye-opening, though I'm too lazy to find it now :-p )

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

Monica Marlowe wrote:
Jeff Lee wrote:

Read the rules.

It's okay Jeff. I know the words to Soft Kitty if that will help at all.

Nah, I'm fine. I post this because at least it has the potential to be helpful. My knee-jerk reaction when someone doesn't read the rules and totally blows it is to say "Wow. You're not very bright, are you?"

That's well and good for *you*, but maybe *I* want to hear Soft Kitty! Go right ahead, Monica.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

Unless it's called out as a quarterstaff and treated as a magical weapon rather than a magical staff, you'll need to write something else. If, as has been pointed out, you didn't submit it yet.


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Erik Mona wrote:

I use that guy a fair amount, so I can't explain it if he's not popular. One of the few WotC minis still in relatively heavy rotation at my table.

I use him too, but it's rare I sell a copy. Go figure!


Yay, new previews!

I dig all these. I'm sure they'll all be popular. THough I've always been surprised that the old WotC Kobold Sorcerer isn't more popular. Hopefully this one will be more so!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

Filigree, step aside. There's a new meme in town.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

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What Matthew said. When I made my Keyhole Stiletto last year, for instance, it started as a +1 ghost touch adamantine dagger, so I made sure that all the crafting requirements for a ghost touch weapon were listed, and then built out from there. I think that's the safe play.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

So long as they leave it up until people have finished their submissions, it's played it's most important role. It'll be interesting to see what they do.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

Christopher Wasko wrote:

For many of the reasons listed above, I also support the "no participation for top 8" legacy rule. I think the spirit of the contest is to drum up new talent, and that becomes difficult when the same few people keep popping up because of their obvious ability. It's like how International Champion Barbershop Quartets are automatically retired from competition: people like new blood.

I have never before in my life been compared to a Barbershop Quartet in any capacity -- but I like it! =7

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

I do have to admit, seeing that "Click here to submit" button on the RPGSS page every time does spur a curious set of emotions. This little voice in the back of my head keeps whispering, "Click it! You know you want to...."
(not that I would, though. :-p)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

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Nothing to see here. Move along....

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Not to nitpick, but shouldn't the RPGSS 2015 forum show up on the RPGSS forum lists before RPGSS 2014?

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Halloween will slip in there. Back to school too, alas.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

I would just point out that the judges are fallible human beings too, and sometimes they overlook stuff (like the plane shift connection with ghost touch weapons.) My own feeling is that, so long as the spells you assign for crafting are defensible, it's not likely to be the sort of thing that keeps your item from making top 32, and if you can do something clever with the spell selection -- and I'd personally say the make whole spell choice counts as clever for sovereign glue -- that can help you. The only other thing I'd add is that, to my mind, lower level spells are better when you can make a plausible case for them, simply because they will reduce the item's cost. The lower the item's cost, the more likely it would see use in play, and that's a benefit.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

For those who are in the know: Has there been massive distance in the past between the Top 32 selected by the official judges and the top 32 that would have been selected if the voters had decided? Or have the two sets of judges largely converged?

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

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As one of the people you're describing, I thought I would offer my perspective on this issue. Admittedly, there was a part of me that was bummed when I fell into the gap between those who could enter again and those who would get the opportunity to publish something with Paizo. But in my case, anyway, it was in some ways a kind of relief. I have a very satisfying full-time job already which keeps me very busy, and the last round of the contest in particular would have come at a time when I would have been swamped with other stuff and would have had a very hard time putting my best foot forward. And honestly, my publishing efforts ought to be directed more towards my day job than game designing. But on the other hand, my success in RPGSS (of a degree, anyway) has encouraged me to consider some other game design possibilities that I can do on my own schedule, and I might not have taken those possibilities as seriously without the contest. So even though there is a twinge of envy that others get to ride the rollercoaster again and I don't, I also feel incredibly lucky to have had the experience I had, and there's definitely something to be said as well for being able to watch from the sidelines without fretting about my submission. A lot of the fun of Superstar is watching old and new favorites show their chops, and I still get that pleasure in spades!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

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Mike Kimmel wrote:
Felix01 wrote:
So if we submit, can we vote?
Yes.

Indeed! Over and over and over and over and over and......

Plus, it's one of the great joys of RPGSS to run into your own item and vote for it! (or not, depending on how honest you are about the comparative brilliance of the two items.)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

Bardess wrote:
Covent wrote:

Good luck all, however a word of warning.

Please, Please do NOT give away any info that might ID your item such as when you submitted it or any mistakes you may or may not have made.

It would be horrible if anyone got (DeathQuakered) DQ'ed for something like that.

Again best of luck and I hope everyone has fun.

Do you think that the time of submission could spoiler something?... The judges know who submitted what and when anyway. While voters won't see the submission date/time...

Telling us that you just submitted shouldn't matter; when voting begins there won't be any way to tell whether the submission was made on the first day or the last. But you don't want to say anything that could conceivably clue people to which item is yours.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

You know, I second-guessed Gabriel's nationality an hour after posting, but by then it was too late. And I still am not sure where you're from, Gabriel. Belgium, maybe? Your profile doesn't say. Ah well, I knew there were Finns around somewhere.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

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Gabriel Almer wrote:
R Pickard wrote:
The Sinister Chris wrote:

I can't be the only one that's MEGA salty about suddenly having the deadline dropped in our laps months early like this.

I have NOTHING ready. I haven't even started spitballing ideas yet. To have the deadline in two weeks rather than four months is a nightmare!
I mean, I'll do it, but it's going to affect the quality of my item.

If it makes you feel any better, I had decided in 2014 to never enter RPG Superstar again. So of course I prepped nothing.

Last December, I saw the RPG Superstar announcement 4 days before the entry deadline, the change intrigued me, and I decided to brainstorm for the heck of it. I also came down with the flu in there somewhere. After brainstorming, I picked an idea I liked and entered the day before the deadline--that's 3 days. And I got to Top 8, which some tell me ain't half bad. At least, I can't enter again (I'm just here to cheer folks on). More to the point, I think the winner, Monica Marlowe, also hadn't been planning to enter (though she can speak for herself if she sees this).

If the contest is the same as last time, the round twists also won't be revealed until those who made it into the next round are also announced; if the deadlines also stay the same it means you only have about 2 and a half days' time to work with that twist and finalize your entry.

So a LOT of this contest--based on my experience anyway--is about what you come up with on the fly. So you NEED to be able to do that. If you want to show your stuff, don't let angst about prep weigh you down and just start brainstorming. Something will come.

Agreed! Deadlines in subsequent rounds are really tough, especially if you don't have a flexible time management. You have to accept that you propably won't be able to submit a perfect entry. I don't know about the others, but I usually had to submit what I would consider to be a second draft. (Though admittedly, being a non native speaker, I had very little practice writing in...

Gabriel and RD are right on about all of this. For the encounter round in particular, I knew my submission had big problems, but I just ran out of time to do more, and the contest coincided at that point with a really busy period for real-life stuff. (HOW I wish that I hadn't had to make a 2nd map for that round! I envy this season's contestants that change.) But here's how I'd think of it: It really doesn't (shouldn't?) take that long to put together one item entry, and 2 weeks is plenty of time. And there's lots of evidence that people have done well even when they threw something together in a relatively short term. If you don't advance, you've lost little, and maybe learned something. If you DO advance, OMIGOD YOU ADVANCED!!! and your life enters a sort of time-space vortex of preparation and obsession that is going to consume your waking moments in ways you can't imagine, so just buckle up, find good people to run ideas and drafts by, and do your best! And at that point, unless you're getting married or moving or something, I think you just find ways to fit the contest into your life the best you can. And don't complain too much about it, because you won't see much sympathy from the 99%+ of contestants who would give their eye teeth to be where you are.

And Gabriel, if there's ever a Superstar-like game design contest in Finland, I'm totally counting on lots of help from you in prepping my entry in Finnish! ;-)

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Yay! I was wondering when Mamaursula would show up! Superstar's not the same without you around.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

So going forward, is RPGSS going to be every 6 months, or irregularly scheduled, or what? I'm curious how it will be timed after this.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9, Star Voter Season 9

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So nice to see twists affecting *other* people this time around!
Looking forward to watching and rooting for people from the sidelines. It'll be interesting to see how this change of timing affects the competition.


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Those all look great! And the fact that you did a small lizard gives me hope that some fair day you may reveal the long hoped-for (by me anyway) shocker lizard mini I've been waiting for all these years. But these look great in the meantime, and I'm always particularly happy to see female dwarves show up. Don't know why you always leave off their beards, though ;-)

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