I'm really pleased with the tengu; the kenku minis that are already out there aren't very satisfying, and this guy looks like he has great personality. Outside the AP, I can definitely see a player picking that mini for a tengu PC!
The other two I'm less excited about (I'm not particularly nostalgic for the first critter, and the last seems very niche), but they are indeed something new and unlike anything out there! And maybe I'll see more possibilities when I get them in hand (as I'm sure I will :-)
Love the cook! Can't have too many NPC minis, and this is something really new.
For people looking for demilitarized NPC's, while we wait for Paizo/Wizkids to provide them in prepainted plastic, it's worth looking at Dryw the Harper's Imperfect People paper minis at www.onemonk.com in the meantime. Best part: They're free! Though they require some cutting and gluing on your end. I've gotten great use out of them in encounters like this.
With respect to Oni, I'm just hopeful in the broader sense that you'll eventually release a set of Jade Regent minis. I read through that AP very recently, and was struck by how hard it would be to field a convincing set of minis for it. There's just not enough oriental-themed prepainted stuff out there to support this kind of campaign at present, whether we're talking PC's, NPC's, monsters, terrain, whatever. (Though things are improving on the terrain front with the Japanese terrain Kickstarter that's presently running.) I can understand why you'd be wary of committing to a whole mini line for it, though; while on the one hand it's a pretty wide-open market, on the other hand it's pretty niche, and I'm sure a lot of PF DMs never run an Asian-themed campaign. I never have. (Though partly that's because there aren't the minis for it....)
If we can dream about other huges it would be fun to see, here's a few:
-- An Ulgurstata (if it's not WotC IP, I haven't checked.) Or, if that's not an option, one of your other cool really big undead monstrosities.
-- A really big ooze, like a Huge black pudding. In my fondest dreams, it would be modular, so that it would actually be composed of several pieces that could be disassembled to become split puddings as it took hits. Tricky, I'm sure, but it must be doable, right? And the paint job would be as easy as it comes -- 1 or 2 steps, done.
-- An alternative treant to the ones put out long ago by Wizards.
-- I saw someone mention Huge snakes and scorpions, and think that would be great!
-- A Mammoth. They show up more often than they used to in adventures, it seems, and there doesn't seem to be anything out there for them.
-- An elasmosaur. I found a nice Large-sized one in the Horrorclix line, but a Huge option would be cool. Bring on Golarion's Nessie!
I actually sell a fair number of minis on Ebay, and I've been tempted in the past to put together lots specifically geared toward running particular campaigns, using what are in my judgment the best proxies for things that don't have dedicated minis already available. Apart from the time that would go into generating such a lot, I've just been concerned that there aren't that many people out there who are (a) looking for this sort of thing and (b) willing to pony up the kind of money it would cost. We're talking about a lot of minis for any particular AP, and usually some rare and expensive ones as part of the mix. The closest I've come is setting up "Build Your Own" lots that let people pull together whatever mix of minis they like from the stock I have on hand. Feel free to check it out if you like:
PC's available here
Monsters available here
Berk the Black wrote:
Paper instead of plastic? Shame on you guys. I think you want the blog down the hall.
Trust me, if you saw my collection of plastic, you'd agree I'm a true believer. But not everyone can afford my obsessions, and for them, paper can be a viable alternative. And some stuff, alas, simply isn't available any other way. Especially if you want non-martial NPC's, which simply haven't been done much in pre-painted plastic, but which are available in abundance as free paper minis (witness Dryw the Harper's Imperfect People.)
Or you can print up unlimited numbers of paper versions if you get yourself a free pdf, and I know there's a stirge available somewhere on the One Monk site, like here: http://onemonk.com/monsters. (They used to be a free download, but looks like not anymore. On the other hand, for less than the cost of one plastic stirge, you can print up as many paper stirges as you can stand.) Alternatively, I think maybe there's a stirge in the Skulls and Shackles paper minis set too?
I love the female halfling bard, both because to my knowledge she's the first such represented as a prepaint, and because she'd make a great NPC who doesn't look like she's about to kill somebody (though the axe certainly speaks volumes.) And I like Mazra's idea of using the vine choker as a vegepygmy, at least until we get a vegepygmy mini (hint hint).
Lisa Stevens wrote:
Soooo, a shark champion? With a really big tongue hanging out?
Maybe I speak only for myself, but I'm totally thrilled that you're going back to do minis for APs that already exist. My group moves at a snail's pace, so by the time we're ready for our next AP, I'll have at least a couple new APs to pick from all kitted out with minis, and there are so many Paths I've read through and would love to run that it's not that important to me that the new APs get their own minis right away. I also imagine that every time you release minis for an earlier AP, you're going to see a big surge in purchases of all the stuff related to that AP as more people go back to revisit it. That said, the earlier Paths I'd most like to see supported are, in descending order: Kingmaker (!!!! -- fey please!), Serpent's Skull (think of all the faction opportunities!), and Jade Regent (not enough Asian-themed minis out there!).
I think this is a great choice, and I'm thrilled to see it! I think the only AP I'd have liked to see supported more is Kingmaker, and that's mostly because I'm running a campaign in it now. But I've always thought that we needed more aquatic minis, and I expect to see a lot of them here. Dare I also hope for some cool dungeon dressing sorts of pieces? (Or maybe ship-dressing in this case?) For instance, a nice Large-sized rowboat would be cool. I'm rooting for a ballista too!
If I were DM'ing this issue, and a cleric wanted to learn high-damage spells like Fireball, I'd probably insist that the same issues that affect arcane casters casting in armor would affect divine casters of these type spells too. So maybe a cleric could research them, but they'd have to give up armor or risk miscasts too. Or, as the earlier poster suggested, make them cast it as a higher level spell, so it no longer becomes a no-brainer. Or make the research itself prohibitively difficult or expensive. There are already paths open in the game for getting characters who can cast from both lists (Use Magic Device, anyone?), and I'd like to see those get used first.
I've read the first several pages of this thread, and the last couple pages, so I hope I'm not repeating or ignoring something from the middle.
For starters: I'm not a big fan of guns. I don't own one, I've never so much as held a real one, and don't really want to. I've thought about going to a gun club just to learn my way around a gun, just so I'd know, but I'd do it as something distasteful, not as something to get excited about.
That said, I also don't blame gun enthusiasts for being gun enthusiasts. The vast majority of gun owners are responsible and don't pose any more of a threat to you, or me, or kids in school than I do. It's not unreasonable to want a gun (or even many guns), whether for self-defense, or sport, or hunting. Or even armed rebellion against a tyrannical power, which I agree was what motivated the 2nd amendment, although I imagine they were thinking about external invaders more than about their own government. (More on that soon.)
Now let's start where everyone agrees. What happened in Connecticut, just awful. Horrific. Our hearts all break. We all wish desperately it hadn't happened, and we want to stop it ever happening again.
So what can we do? What makes such a thing happen? Well, we have to look at the elements. Sick individual with the will to commit such a horror. Tool with which to accomplish said horror. Vulnerable victims. I think those three suffice.
So what can we change there?
Could we make the would-be victims less vulnerable? We can turn our schools (and everywhere else?) into fortresses. When people talk about arming teachers, I imagine this is what they have in mind. But personally, I think this idea is a non-starter. The solution to this problem shouldn't involve hammering into our children that they should be afraid everywhere and all the time. Now, in fact bad things can happen to them anywhere and at any time -- that's true for all of us -- but it would poison anyone's life to obsess about that fact, and I hate to think of what it would do to young children to have it rubbed in their faces everyday. That doesn't mean take no precautions at all, but the answer is not Fortress Schools.
What about the tool? Obviously this is where the gun control argument kicks in. And even if you disagree with the argument, you have to acknowledge its basic appeal: If the would-be killer can't get his hands on the killing tool, he's going to kill a whole lot less. And where it's possible for us to minimize the lethality of the tools available without trespassing on legitimate gun owners' legitimate rights and interests, we can all agree we should, right? But on the other hand, to bring up and point that's already been made in this thread, there's no way we can ensure that dangerous killing tools never make it into the hands of people who want to commit horrors with them. If someone is determined to kill innocent people, there are just too many possible ways to do it. To repeat: that doesn't mean we should do nothing. Reducing such horrors is a necessary goal even if we can't make them impossible. But I don't think that's ultimately where we should address the problem.
To me, the essential heart of the problem is the sick individual who did these things. (And in calling him sick, I'm not thinking of him as a victim. He did something horrible, he bears responsibility for that, and I can't bring myself to feel sorry for him no matter what.) The best way to keep these things from happening is to keep people from being sick in this way. So how do we do that?
I don't think we do it by testing everyone for mental health. Too intrusive, too Big Brother-ish, and will just feed the paranoia of those who think the government is out to get them.
Treating mental health with the seriousness it deserves and using public resources to address these problems when they become apparent wouldn't hurt.
But ultimately, for my money, it's our culture that's the worst culprit. I'm raising 2 young kids, and their media world is saturated with violence of all kinds, and gun violence in particular. That really bothers me. But it's not even just the guns on TV and in games. It's the callousness with which human life and suffering is treated in our media. Stuff that would have been considered horrible, dark, and creepy when I was a kid has become the norm. Characters who are utterly indifferent to the value of human life are now a staple -- and they're not villains, either. Combine that with a culture that makes the capacity for violence a hallmark of masculinity and a social world in which other paths to masculinity are increasingly blocked, and you get a toxic mix that leads to these horrors. (And guns are symbolically unique here; there are countless ways to kill people, even lots of people, but guns are the method that gets used over and over. Why? Because a gun is not just a gun, not just a tool. It's a symbol, as rich a symbol as we have in our culture. Just think about the incredible amount of care lavished on the portrayal of guns in movies and video games; they're symbols of the men we want to be.) So it's not just the guns on TV and in video games. It's the callousness that accompanies them, and the consuming public that not only tolerates such stuff but pays massive amounts of money for it.
Plus, the whole mass-killing thing has become a sort of sick-person meme. Just look at the attention these people get! If you had that kind of sick perspective, and saw what's going on around events like these, it'd have to look like an appealing way to go. So the events become self-reinforcing. (I hate thinking about it, but the next killer is out there watching the media coverage, and the wheels are turning....)
So what is the culture? WE are the culture! If WE change, the culture changes. It's small, it's incremental, but if enough of us stop supporting the parts of the culture that create and reinforce the toxic attitudes, those parts of the culture erode.
I for one want to start changing. I bought a hyper-violent video game a couple weeks ago, No More Heroes. It's a perfect representative of the kind of toxic attitude I'm talking about. I'm getting rid of it tomorrow, just throwing it away I think. Now, it's not that I think I myself am going to snap and go out and kill people if I play video games like that. I can't imagine the scenario that would lead to me doing such a thing. But by playing that sort of game, buying tickets to that sort of movie, etc., I'm feeding that part of the culture. And I've had it. Those movies and games can be cool and fun, but no amount of coolness and fun is worth the toxicity they inject into our community. We as a culture need to decide to be entertained in other ways. And as part of that, we need to revisit what masculinity involves.
I never got back to the issue of the people who fear their own government, but this has gone on too long already. Maybe another post soon. :-)
There are some great resources one can dip into for inspiration here. On the gaming front, of all the books on fey I've seen, the one I've thought was deepest and most interesting was a d20 book called Faeries, by Bryon Wischstadt at Bastion Press. It does a great job bringing to life a vibrant fey world that is familiar enough to be recognizable but alien enough to be disturbing/dangerous.
I've got to agree with the people who are saying this boggard looks like he's leadership-class -- chief or shaman. I just can't see it looking right to have lots of them on a battlemat; he'd need to have a proper weapon. Honestly, I'd put him as an uncommon and move something else into a common slot.
That's what I thought. I just seem to see people on the boards talking about using wands to cast mirror image on other people, and wondered if they knew something I didn't! And honestly, I think most people's mental image of how wands work involves a simple point-and-shoot, and with that mental picture it's not hard to imagine using all wands on other people.
I've been searching these boards for an answer to this question, but haven't found one, so I figure I'll ask: If a spell normally permits only the caster as its target (mirror image is what I have in mind at the moment, but spells like alter self and disguise self raise the same question), and one crafts or acquires a wand of that spell, is the only available target still the caster of the spell, i.e. the wand holder, or can the wand be used to cast the spell on others in ways that the spell as normally cast can't be?
Dare I mention 3rd party products here? Fat Dragon Games has lines of printable 2D tiles and 3D pieces you cut out, fold, and glue together that are modular, flexible (in the sense you can put them together in lots of different ways, and relatively inexpensive. (If you make a lot of them, the biggest expense is probably the ink, but because of their modularity you usually only need to make a big set once.) Check out their Gallery on their forum; you'll find all sorts of amazing builds there. The forum is friendly and lively, too. (And fwiw, I'm just a fan and user of their stuff, I don't stand to gain from this plug.)
I totallY agree with you about this, but of course we're talking about *fantasy* medieval Europe, and the conventions for what *fantasy* medieval Europe looked like are pretty well set. I imagine the fantasy mideast or Africa wouldn't bear all that much relationship to the reality either. For instance, hardly any city maps I've ever seen have got crap and garbage all over them, but let's face it, high sanitation standards have been pretty rare historically speaking o.O
I think it's a great idea to make the map packs easier to use together with the flip mats. For instance, I love the jungle map pieces, which are great individually, but so far as I know there's no jungle flipmat to use with it. That would be really great.
I also think there's lots of great environments that haven't been done well yet:
In my campaign, she was noticed during the first encounter, but the party made no attempt to follow her. Then, during the Flood Festival, I had her compete in an obstacle course I ran as a contest, but she wore a hat of disguise which no one saw through. At the line-up she started flirting with the party monk, a LG good orphan who had taken a Vow of Poverty, whom I decided she was fascinated by since he was so different from herself. She even goosed him at the start of the race, affecting his initiative roll. Then during the course of the Festival she ended up revealing herself to the monk, and they struck up a relationship that lasted through the rest of the campaign. When the monk died late in the campaign, the player even decided to run Jil as his new PC, seeking revenge for the loss of her lover (and to take over the Last Laugh in the process ;-)
So here's the set-up: I'm playing an Aasimar with a variant set of racial abilities, which happen to include in my case Detect Thoughts as a spell-like ability. As such, it has no verbal or somatic components, so I can activate it mentally. The question: If, without giving any outward sign, I activate it while in conversation with someone and keep it trained on that person for 3 rounds, such that the person then gets a Will save to avoid having his surface thoughts read, would the person know that his thoughts were being probed? Would he know whether or not he made his save? Only if he made his save? Not even then?
Fwiw, my inclination is to say the subject certainly shouldn't know his thoughts are being detected before the 3rd round; otherwise the traditional use of the spell to find out whether the room behind a door is occupied would alert the occupants to the presence of someone, which would remove much of the point of using the spell. But I also tend to think a subject wouldn't know its thoughts were being read if it failed the save, since otherwise, if it did realize that, it might try to change the content of its thoughts, and that doesn't seem fair. The hard case, to my mind, is the case where someone makes the save and resist having their thoughts read. In that case, I can imagine saying that the subject knows something's going on and feels mentally invaded, though he might not be able to pinpoint the invader. But I can also imagine ruling that this is purely a passive effect and leaves no trace, even when the spell is resisted. And this matters, since I might try to read the thoughts of someone I don't want to make an enemy, and if there's a chance my attempt will be detected, I run the risk of pissing that person off.
In any case, I'd like other people's thoughts about this! Please make them detectable! :-)
While we're making wish-lists, might as well add my 2c:
I'm getting ready to start a Kingmaker campaign, and given how slowly my players move, there's *lots* of time for you folks to bring me Kingmaker minis! In particular I'd love to see fey better represented; it's a category that none of the pre-existing pre-paint minis lines ever did much with. Pixies, dryads, spriggans, nymphs, etc.
But as far as general strategy goes, if I were in *your* shoes and trying to maximize my sales, I'd be thinking about the following:
(1) What minis are already out there in forms that already fit Pathfinder's look? If WotC sets already fill the need, I'm not going to be all that motivated to buy PF minis. Examples: I wasn't terribly excited about minis like your Wolf or your Dire Bear. Got all the wolves and dire bears I need already. With creatures that PF has reinvented, like goblins, that's a different story, but there's lots of creatures where you folks have reinvented the wheel a little.
(2) What monsters are in your APs that are really hard to find good stand-ins for? For example, the pugwampis in Legacy of Fire aren't too hard to find subs for, since there's a number of WotC critters that can do the job (Lolthbound Goblins, for instance). But there are other creatures that no one has supplied good minis for yet, like the pixies I mentioned above. Or shocker lizards, small spiders, an elasmosaurus, and so on. Bonus points if the critter shows up in more than one AP.
(3) I think you could fill out a set's uncommons range with unique PC's and individual monsters from 3 or 4 APs rather than just one. For instance, it would be wonderful to have some pirates for Skull and Shackles (esp. since there aren't that many piratey prepaints out there); Nyrissa, the Stag Lord, and King Irovetti from Kingmaker; some faction leaders from Serpent's Skull, etc. (Some faction-themed commons might not be a bad idea too, to support your campaign setting.) But I think you'll sell more (and increase sales of a wider range of your APs) if you give carefully targeted support to particularly helpful minis from a handful of sets instead of tons of support for just one.
But fundamentally, I'm excited with all the new minis and their quality, and am looking forward to whatever you do next! (Just make your minis a little less brittle too! I know I'm not the only one who saw breakage issues in this last set....)
I think there's something to be said for both systems. The last big campaign I ran, I dispensed with XP and simply leveled people up at appropriate points. I had a special reason at the time, however. I was running the campaign for a group of 9 players, but I confined them to 6 active characters at a time. (Any extras on hand were given mapping or note-taking duties, or just hung out and enjoyed the game, which they were fine with.) On the one hand, this made it relatively easy to get a game together; even if one or two players couldn't make it, there was almost always enough players on hand to forge ahead. But it also made XP awards problematic, since inevitably some players were around for more encounters than others. And when some players disappeared for months to study abroad or whatever, tracking xp would have put them way behind. Leveling up at set spots kept everyone in the game on the same terms. I also agree that dispensing with XP can be freeing in terms of game-style; if the thing that gets you a new level is progressing to a set point in the plot, the specific means to get there become less important.
On the other hand, I had to develop a new system for handling magic item creation and powerful spells like wish with an XP component. Since I was using fate points in my game, I developed an algorithm to let players convert fate points into XP for the purpose of crafting or spell-casting, and that seemed to work pretty well. (They *treasured* their precious fate points, so surrendering one to write some scrolls made them hesitate, just like XP costs should.) But it did add a layer of complexity to the game.
Also, there is something primally satisfying to watching an XP total grow. I don't want to deny that. That's why in the next campaign I'm running, where I expect to have a more traditional group of players that all meet with about the same relative frequency, I intend to track XP. (Plus, moving from 3.5 to PF, it's easier to track XP in the new system.) I can always switch back to the story-based system if it turns out to be a problem.
While we're on hags, please register a vote for a Large Annis Hag at some point. They show up with some frequency in adventures, but I don't think I've ever seen a prepainted mini of one.
I'm generally quite happy with my case; I got a full set, some of the minis are awesome, I got good numbers of the ones I want numbers of, etc. I was especially impressed with the Karzoug Statue, which is almost as big as the Rune Giant. (Wow!) I do have to report as well, though, that I too had problems with minis threatening to come off their bases when I removed them from the packaging, and Kaven Winterstrike was the worst offender. I got two Kaven's; the first one came right off his base with practically no force applied, and the 2nd one felt like he would have too if I hadn't been extremely careful. Other mediums joined only at the feet seemed to have the same issue, though to a lesser degree. I wonder, does Paizo have a replacement policy?
They're willing to swap out Sophie partly because they're responding to customer feedback, but also because in this specific case it probably saves them money. I think most of us who want to switch Sophie out see a big mini like the dracolich as being way more valuable, but the plastic used to make the dracolich is way cheaper than the tin used to make Sophie. So in this case, they'll save money. The same wouldn't be true if they let you switch plastic minis for other plastic minis. Plus, it's going to be a big headache to box all the orders if every Vampire order is different. This way, they can toss a Vampire in the box and then deal with the rest. Sophie is going to ship in September anyway, so she was already a separate ship.
I've only just gotten back into painting miniatures after decades away (just in time for the kickstarter! Must be fate!), and I find that the paints go a really long way. You'll probably be inefficient at first -- I had loads of paint left on my palette after my first batch. But you figure it out quick, especially since it's usually wise to water down your paint a bit. It will also depend on how wide a variety of colors you use; there are a few colors I come back to all the time, so of course they get used up faster. But those kickstarter paints will last you a really long time, and even if they don't last through all 200 (!!!) minis, you probably won't need extras of most colors, and it will be cheaper to buy extras of just the few you use all the time.
Btw, there's loads of great stuff out there on the web to help beginners (like me), and here's a couple I've found particularly helpful:
That second one has its articles in multiple languages, but it's not hard to find the English version.
Hope that helps!
For anyone wanting to make paper minis, there are some great free bases at the One Monk Miniatures webpage, here. You can also find a wealth of free paper minis for fantasy campaigns there, especially scads of NPC's that Dryw the Harper has made which fill holes for "ordinary people" minis that the pre-painted market still has.
Yeah, one of the reasons we didn't move faster (making me work up the curtailed end-game) was all the backstory side-quest stuff I worked up for the players. (We spent months on the Flood Festival alone.) But this was the first campaign most of the players had ever played, and I wanted them to have the full experience. Besides, the point of playing the game is to have fun, and it's so much more fun when the players get to influence the story and see how their characters can shape their own world, right? We had to rush a bit at the end, but it was still tons of fun!
It's nice to hear that people have enjoyed my cardstock builds over at Fat Dragon; I had a great time making that stuff. (Elcian, do you post over there?) As for the next campaign, I'm not sure what happens next. It looks like 4 or 5 of my original 9 players are going to be staying in our general area, so it's possible we'll be able to keep playing. I might force them to take on the DM role for a while and let me take at least a short turn as a player. But I'm sure I'll start a new campaign eventually. My thinking right now is to switch us from 3.5 to Pathfinder and do one of the adventure paths. Since Shackled City was so heavily urban and pretty railroad-y, I'm thinking maybe Kingmaker for a big change of pace! And it would give me an excuse to put together lots of new terrain, too! ;-)
A couple more deaths to report, these 2 inflicted by Vhalantru/Orbius, who became the final boss in the Fiery Sanctum in my shortened campaign. The party had 7 players going in, and only 5 of them walked out. Before they finally killed Orbius, only 3 of the 7 were still capable of taking actions, with 2 dead and 2 asleep, so it was a pretty near thing. Anyway, the fatalities were:
2 more deaths in our Shackled City campaign, these courtesy of Moltenwing:
When the party encountered Moltenwing, they were pretty boneheaded about their approach to chatting him up; the (soon to be deceased) diviner just started telling him exactly why they were there and what they wanted to do, so Moltenwing knew right away that he was dealing with enemies. So they didn't need to talk for long before hostilities started. Moltenwing got the second move, lined up the party's dragonborn fighter and the diviner, and cut loose with his disintegrating breath. The fighter made his save, the diviner didn't, and poof! the party had a pile of ash and no wizard.
Shortly thereafter, Jil, who had found herself stuck on the wrong side of the dragon with no good options for retreat, was already at half hit points thanks to a blown Tumble check that got her a nasty bite. On his next action, Moltenwing circled around her and bullrushed her toward the lava lake. He beat her opposed check to push her right up to the very edge of the lake; the square she ended up on had a very thin slice of ledge that I ruled she could still stand on, but her heels were hanging over the pool. On her next action, she decided to try to do a standing long jump backwards over a 5' gap to a stone island in the lake. By the odds, she should have made it; it was only a DC 10, and she had something like a +4 modifier in Jump. (We're doing a curtailed version of the campaign, so the characters are lower level than you'd usually see for this adventure.) But her player blew the roll (and a 2nd roll he bought with a fate point too), fell into the lava, and was burned to a crisp, which Moltenwing then happily lunched on.
The dragonborn fighter got knocked into negatives a couple rounds later by a full attack routine too, so Moltenwing certainly made an impression on the party!