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Old Marm

DeathQuaker's page

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8. RPG Superstar 2013 Star Voter, 2014 Star Voter, 2015 Star Voter. Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber. 6,283 posts (9,714 including aliases). 5 reviews. 5 lists. 1 wishlist. 16 aliases.


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RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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"Well, I REALLY don't need another Bestiary, unless it happened to contain a large number of monsters/monster-types that would be really useful for the d20 Modern revision I'm eternally working on...."

*product description lists a large number of monsters/monster-types that would be really useful for the d20 Modern revision she's eternally working on*

DAMMIT!!!!!! *keeps subscription going, forks all spare money to Paizo*

But I bet my grays are better.


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LN Human Monk (Wanderer 1) | hp 8/8 | AC 16 T 16 FF 13 CMD 18 | F +2 R +5 W +5|
Spoiler:
Acr +7 Cli +3 Craft Veg +8 Esc Art +3 Know Geo +4 Know Loc +4 Know Nat +5 Perc +7 Prof Chef +7 Ride +3 SM +3 Stl +3 Sur +7 (+9 find fd/h2o) Swm +2

Mimi would be nearby too as she was second course

Reflex: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
Acrobatics: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9

Seeing her roommate fall, Mimi sidesteps to try to catch her. She stumbles herself in the process, so while she does not manage to catch Tessara, she is quickly kneeling beside her, and gives Tessara's face a light slap.


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LN Human Monk (Wanderer 1) | hp 8/8 | AC 16 T 16 FF 13 CMD 18 | F +2 R +5 W +5|
Spoiler:
Acr +7 Cli +3 Craft Veg +8 Esc Art +3 Know Geo +4 Know Loc +4 Know Nat +5 Perc +7 Prof Chef +7 Ride +3 SM +3 Stl +3 Sur +7 (+9 find fd/h2o) Swm +2

Mimi of course is impeccably dressed and presented. But whether the focused expression comes off as professional or sour and disinterested...

The only stat a monk can get sway with dumping: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (17) - 1 = 16

... Fortunately for Mimi she has managed less of a "resting b&&!+ face" and rather a more confidence-inspiring set of her jaw.


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LN Human Monk (Wanderer 1) | hp 8/8 | AC 16 T 16 FF 13 CMD 18 | F +2 R +5 W +5|
Spoiler:
Acr +7 Cli +3 Craft Veg +8 Esc Art +3 Know Geo +4 Know Loc +4 Know Nat +5 Perc +7 Prof Chef +7 Ride +3 SM +3 Stl +3 Sur +7 (+9 find fd/h2o) Swm +2
Dinte Dolce, "Sweet Tooth" wrote:

Totally shows how much I'm overworked and underpaid right now. I thought that had been there for weeks....

I'm also reminded that I still lack a weapon and armor....

Hopefully this doesn't turn out to be a disaster!

It's been there for awhile... I just kept forgetting to comment on it. I'm pretty sure it was not there from the get-go though....


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LN Human Monk (Wanderer 1) | hp 8/8 | AC 16 T 16 FF 13 CMD 18 | F +2 R +5 W +5|
Spoiler:
Acr +7 Cli +3 Craft Veg +8 Esc Art +3 Know Geo +4 Know Loc +4 Know Nat +5 Perc +7 Prof Chef +7 Ride +3 SM +3 Stl +3 Sur +7 (+9 find fd/h2o) Swm +2

Also, I noticed the new tag line you've put on the game under the campaigns tab.... CRE-epy.....


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LN Human Monk (Wanderer 1) | hp 8/8 | AC 16 T 16 FF 13 CMD 18 | F +2 R +5 W +5|
Spoiler:
Acr +7 Cli +3 Craft Veg +8 Esc Art +3 Know Geo +4 Know Loc +4 Know Nat +5 Perc +7 Prof Chef +7 Ride +3 SM +3 Stl +3 Sur +7 (+9 find fd/h2o) Swm +2
Kehlysch wrote:
"I did consider the popular Varisian dish (Oysters Rockafeller), as I could incorporate crumbs from Chef Mimi's bread, which I thought would add to the coherence of the entire meal. But I also considered doing something a little more unusual to fit the romantic occasion. I was considering steaming the oysters and marinating them in either a white wine or brandy sauce, and serve them in two crystal chalices. The oyster fillets would be cut small, but not diced, so that our guests could sip the pieces from the chalice, savor them a moment, then allow the fillets to slide down their throats."

Mimi blinks at Kehlysch. "You seem confused. First you referred to our head chef by my name. Now our bread baker. She is Chef Tessara. I am Mimi. I handle the vegetable courses." She holds up a bunch of wild onions that were in her apron pocket.


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LN Human Monk (Wanderer 1) | hp 8/8 | AC 16 T 16 FF 13 CMD 18 | F +2 R +5 W +5|
Spoiler:
Acr +7 Cli +3 Craft Veg +8 Esc Art +3 Know Geo +4 Know Loc +4 Know Nat +5 Perc +7 Prof Chef +7 Ride +3 SM +3 Stl +3 Sur +7 (+9 find fd/h2o) Swm +2

Wednesday Evening:

Chef Sali wrote:

To Mimi, Chef Sali responds,

"Yes. We will move forward from here, and you will each be held responsible for your own actions."

A slightly odd expression crosses Chef Sali's face, but it is quickly gone.
Instead, she refocuses on Mimi with a slight smile.

"Chef Mimi, I wanted to mention ... I was most impressed and intrigued by your stuffed squash. The flavor was delicious, and unlike any I have tasted before. I consider myself a specialist in foods that refresh and foster a healthy body and mind. Some might even say I do so at the expense of flavor."

The barest hint of a scowl appears, but she moves past it quickly.

"At any rate, I wanted to commend you for creating such a hearty, healthy, and flavorful dish. You said it was your twist on a Shoanti recipe?"

Mimi nods to affirm Sali's response. When Sali compliments her dish, a faint coloration of her cheeks appears and dissipates.

"Thank you, Chef. I am glad the dish met your approval." She nods. "There are Shoanti tribes that prizes the 'three sisters' -- three plants which grow companionably together, corn, beans, and squash. The idea of 'companion plants' fascinates me and I have been experimenting with how this may transfer to combining complimentary flavors."

I am making this up based on a loose understanding of some American Indian foods, and it may not mesh with Golarion lore

Thursday Morning

Mimi's expression looks a little blanker than usual as Sali describes their first challenge. Romance was a thing rather out of her personal experience--although she was well aware cooking for couples would not be an unusual request.

Quote:

"Ashley, sure, I haven't thought 100% about it yet, but I think that I will need to configure with chef Mimi as well, since hers and mine will be sharing a plate. hmmm....

thinking deeply for a moment and then looking to Chef Mimi

"Depending on what your definition of romance is it could mean different things to different people after all, That would mean different types of food. since I know nothing more of vegetables then I know of tea perhaps I can only say what my definition of romance is." To quote Brillat-Savarin "Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are." My definition of romance at this point is something that is hearty and heart warming, Comfort food with a twist. hmmmmm..... Ah! I got it"

(snip)

Well, Chef Mimi? Chef Ashley? what do you think? should I whip up a couple of servings for you to taste? Chef Sali? how about you? Anyone? I would be more then happy to do this.

Mimi listens, eyes flickering back and forth as she watches the energetic Bahram rapidly brainstorms a possible contribution to the menu.

"For potential 'marriage' of flavors, your plan has merit. My only concern is that a stuffed pasta dish such as what you describe could be too rich or filling for a second course -- with filling meat and seafood to come afterward, let alone dessert. We must be sure to leave them wanting more."

She pauses, considering. "One approach would be to manage portion, and balance--miniature shells, with lighter textures throughout. Another would be to perhaps apply a deconstruction: tomatoes and cheese are the key to the pairing you propose. A caprese salad, instead, perhaps? That would showcase your unique mozzarella in particular."

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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Baltimore commissioner acknowledged Freddie Gray was denied medical attention when he asked for it and that he was not buckled into the paddy wagon. They are investigating the exact circumstances but have acknowledged that serious misconduct occurred. The officers involved have been suspended with pay until the investigation is complete.

There were nearly 2 weeks of peaceful protests before the violence erupted. I think this is part of why outside agitators are sometimes being blamed, because things were going fine, and the tragic death/murder was being investigated. Mind, yesterday was Freddie Gray's funeral which also obviously may be part of the timing, although of course these actions fly in the face of the family's wishes.

A lot of the looters, etc. were caught on video and Mayor and police have said the video will be used to arrest those participating.

A lot of Baltimore citizens uniting today to clean up and help out where needed, and encouraging to support businesses and homes damaged by the events. These are the great social citizens working together at a grassroots level to make Baltimore a better place.

Violence solves nothing, and it's only making it harder for the people really working for justice and serving the community.It's telling when the Crips and Bloods unite to tell people to stop the violence.

I pray after this that Baltimore's city council's efforts to get bodycams on cops and other precautions are no longer blocked.

Main sources for the above: Baltimore Sun, WJZ, and WYPR.


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LN Human Monk (Wanderer 1) | hp 8/8 | AC 16 T 16 FF 13 CMD 18 | F +2 R +5 W +5|
Spoiler:
Acr +7 Cli +3 Craft Veg +8 Esc Art +3 Know Geo +4 Know Loc +4 Know Nat +5 Perc +7 Prof Chef +7 Ride +3 SM +3 Stl +3 Sur +7 (+9 find fd/h2o) Swm +2

Once Bahram places the key on the counter, Mimi lets go of him.

She looks at Ashley. "Where there is more than one person, there will be confrontation sooner or later. I fear for your health." Mimi does not look at all fearful.


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LN Human Monk (Wanderer 1) | hp 8/8 | AC 16 T 16 FF 13 CMD 18 | F +2 R +5 W +5|
Spoiler:
Acr +7 Cli +3 Craft Veg +8 Esc Art +3 Know Geo +4 Know Loc +4 Know Nat +5 Perc +7 Prof Chef +7 Ride +3 SM +3 Stl +3 Sur +7 (+9 find fd/h2o) Swm +2

I think it's a good idea if folks want to plot here -- I've been playing along as my character would react but I don't want to spoil something (although I do think we should feel free to react as we would).

If there are plans for PCs to steal from other PCs, I think that's something we should discuss HERE -- I don't think it's okay to presume.

On other things... Mimi's being a bit of a killjoy too--but I don't otherwise see how her particular sort of Lawful Neutral diehard honor fiend is going to react to the chaos being sown at the moment. I will have to watch that. Feedback is welcome--I don't want to be too heavy handed in what's supposed to be a lighthearted game.

On another note -- I've realized I've shoved myself in the ever popular "antisocial character in a social game" corner, something I have a bad habit of doing. I don't want to change my character, but I've realized the challenge of being sure she gets some positive interaction with people is made harder by the fact that we have a party twice the size of a normal adventuring party, and a ninth active commenter in the discussion board. It's a lot to keep track of, and Firedove and Tac know I've not always handled that well (Firedove let me play anyway, which is more than nice of her to do). I will do my best to interact with people as I can. I also heartily invite you to chat with Mimi, as people talking to her may lead to more productive conversations. Hopefully not all our interactions will be explosive or antagonistic. :)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka DeathQuaker

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Anthony Adam wrote:
R Pickard wrote:
I just want to say I check the boards every day, if not several times a day, solely to check on PBPs and see if Anthony's reviewed my map yet.
I'll do yours next then :)

<3

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka DeathQuaker

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I just want to say I check the boards every day, if not several times a day, solely to check on PBPs and see if Anthony's reviewed my map yet.


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LN Human Monk (Wanderer 1) | hp 8/8 | AC 16 T 16 FF 13 CMD 18 | F +2 R +5 W +5|
Spoiler:
Acr +7 Cli +3 Craft Veg +8 Esc Art +3 Know Geo +4 Know Loc +4 Know Nat +5 Perc +7 Prof Chef +7 Ride +3 SM +3 Stl +3 Sur +7 (+9 find fd/h2o) Swm +2

Just checking in for now to get this to show in my campaigns tab, will post more later.

Looking forward to playing with all of you!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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Rhedyn wrote:
Eltacolibre wrote:
d10, full Bab, 2 good saves and 1 poor save is frankly not that bad.

So? It doesn't fit the concept*

*Monks do not have to have a high will save, but a high will save is a way to handle the effects will saves normally generate, which is what a monk really needs.
*Also, concept as in, concept of the monk I wanted. The monk you wanted could be different and thus unchained may deliver for you.

It sounds like what you want is a defensive focused monk, which the core monk is (and archetypes can enhance). So you've already got that, and it's not going anywhere.

The Unchained Monk appears to be a take on the monk with a more martial focus that is not bound to having to full attack to be combat effective (because of full BAB and other new combat options with ki pool, etc.). You could probably even use both unchained monk and core monk in one game for people who wanted to use different focuses.

The devs aren't going to make a class that is going to have full BAB AND all good saves. They just aren't. And the monk isn't gimped all that much... give it will still have high Wisdom, still mind, and other mental defensive options. One could playtest it out, but I'd wager that the difference would be negligible.

And as it is, the point of Unchained is to encourage people to tinker and incorporate whatever rules they like or not. This isn't going to be a hard-coded book that Paizo is going to hold you down by the throat and force you to use (they don't do that anyway, but it goes double for this book). Heck, why don't you play the Unchained Monk with and without the boost/loss to Will saves and tell us how both builds work out? That would be useful.

There's a lot of fretting here about what might or might not work in theory. But what happens in practice is, in my personal experience, far more valuable...

(And on another note, from another POV, Paizo of course doesn't have to make any class anyone wants or not but the one they themselves want to use. If you don't like them making the things they want to make, then don't buy the product.)


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Gnome Rogue 3 | AC 19 T 14 FF 16 | HP 14/21 (normal Max HP 23) | F+2 (current +1) R+6 W+2 (+2 vs glyphs) | Perc +9 (+10 find traps) Init +4 | arcane mark 1/1, comprehend languages 1/1, message 1/1, read magic 0/1, Det Mag: 3/3
Spoiler:
Acr +9, App+7, Blf+7, DD+13/16glyphsetc., Esc+8, KArc+3, KEng+3, KLoc+5, Lin+5, Per+9/+10tr, PCook+9, PScr+5,SMo+7, SOH+9, Stl+13, UMD+12

Well, Ceru is IN the final round, but her act is simply to keep running and helping the others escape. As this is no different than prior posts, there's not much point in adding to the thread. :)

I've already submitted a character to the Cooking game. Ceru needs a vacation, the muse is pretty quiet at the moment. Heck, I've got fandom-based muses being louder at the moment (Annah from Planescape Torment has been loudly in my head for some reason lately. Wouldn't be the first time a tiefling outplayed a gnome.)


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Gnome Rogue 3 | AC 19 T 14 FF 16 | HP 14/21 (normal Max HP 23) | F+2 (current +1) R+6 W+2 (+2 vs glyphs) | Perc +9 (+10 find traps) Init +4 | arcane mark 1/1, comprehend languages 1/1, message 1/1, read magic 0/1, Det Mag: 3/3
Spoiler:
Acr +9, App+7, Blf+7, DD+13/16glyphsetc., Esc+8, KArc+3, KEng+3, KLoc+5, Lin+5, Per+9/+10tr, PCook+9, PScr+5,SMo+7, SOH+9, Stl+13, UMD+12

A belated thanks for understanding, guys (my Internet was on the fritz and I've been busy in terms of lunch breaks, etc.).

Schnorzel, if you decided you were acting in character--then you were acting in character! Don't feel bad (if you do). :)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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Thanks for your patience.

I am finalizing the character still, but the alias with the character sheet is here: Mimi. I need to write in the history but the crunch is largely done. ETA: History now done. Comments and corrections appreciated.

I recognize the concept/character may not suit the tone of your game--although the attempt is to be humorous, it's supposed to be very deadpan and I don't know how well I will carry that off. If she ends up not being suitable or steps on someone else's toes that's fine, just let me know.

What follows is my interview, but I wrote the narrative before checking the die rolls, so I may edit post die roll if I rolled spectacularly badly (or well). (ETA: Editing finished.)

Disclaimer: Mimi is not social, charming, diplomatic or in any way a “people person.” She will be off putting and I accept her answers would not necessarily be “good interview responses.” OTOH, most chefs, stereotypically speaking, are notoriously not polite people.

CHEF INTERVIEW

Quote:

On your appointed day, after you have spent time in Lord Schmultzfeather's sizable and well-appointed kitchen preparing, you are ushered out past two armed guards, and into a fine hall. An elegant elderly couple sit behind a table, holding silver utensils and facing you. A servant gestures for you to place the three dishes you've brought onto the table in front of the gentleman and lady. As you do so, another servant casts a spell (detect poison), squints at what you've brought, then nods in approval. The elderly gentleman speaks up in a raspy-yet-friendly voice, eagerly asking you the following questions, and nodding while listening to your answers.

"Greetings! I am Lord Schmultzfeather, and this is Lady Schmultzfeather. Who are you, and why do you want to be a chef at my fine new restaurant?"

The wiry chef enters with a graceful, measured pace, her chef whites immaculate. Hanging off her apron is a thick sheath containing her butterfly swords.

She narrows her eyes at the servant who casts detect poison on her food. She has more than enough discipline and restraint to say nothing, but her face briefly but obviously displays outrage at the suggestion that she would have attempted to dishonorably poison Lord Schmultzfeather. Of course, it is possible that her irritated reaction is misread...

Charisma: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (9) - 1 = 8

In fact it is very likely misread. Not a good start...

When addressed, her offense immediately disappears from her face and she takes on a neutral expression, replying in a flat, low voice. “I am Mimi, Chop Fu Master of the North and black belt bearer in Mush-Chung-Room. Your restaurant would benefit from my mastery, and I would gain an irreplaceable opportunity to learn from this region and the other chefs.”

Quote:
"I see; I see. Which is your Consumable Specialty?"

“Produce.”

Quote:
"Please describe the three Consumable Specialty samples you have brought as we taste them now..."

Craft Vegetable: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13

“First course: Cremini caps stuffed with a melange of wild mushrooms and herbs. The local produce I foraged locally.”

She presents the stuffed mushroom caps, piping hot, and full of aromatic pleasures even before they touch the mouth. A hint of shallot and sherry helps play off the rich local fungi, which in turn are set beautifully against the solid, meaty mass of the domestic mushroom cap. Still, while she does a professional job, they are fairly standard stuffed mushrooms.

Craft Vegetable: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (13) + 8 = 21
“Second course: Roasted butternut squash with corn and hazelnut stuffing, with a maple-balsamic reduction. My twist on a Shoanti recipe.”

The squash was roasted whole in its shell, then halved, then filled with a stuffing of both whole corn and corn meal, toasted hazelnuts, mild onions; hints of other aromatic vegetables such as celery and parsnip help tie the stuffing together. The whole dish was re-roasted a few more minutes to finish off the squash and brown the top of the stuffing. In addition to the sauce drizzled over the top, roasted seeds from the squash are also sprinkled on the top as a crunchy garnish. The result is a whole, vegetarian entree, with an expert balance of softness and crunch, and sweet and savory flavors.

Craft Vegetable: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15
“Third Course: Fresh cucumber salad, with daikon and a hint of chili paste. The flavors should stimulate tongue and digestion, while cleansing your palate.”

Remarkably different from the prior earthy courses, the cucumber is light and crisp, accented with julienned daikon. Just a dash of chili paste and rice vinegar gives the dish a bit of “something something in terms of flavor, while the vegetables indeed leave the eater feeling refreshed, without unpleasant aftertaste lingering in one’s mouth. Not as good as her main course, but a fair attempt at rounding out the meal.

Mimi lets out a breath. This is the most she ever speaks, and she finds it exhausting, but she still maintains her focused demeanor.

Quote:


"Interesting flavors! Now, explain exactly why I should hire you (and not someone else) for this elite position."

Profession Chef: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27

She walks over to a table, and produces from her apron pocket a carrot, scallions, swiss chard, and some radishes, and places them on the table. With a liquid-smooth gesture, she draws the butterfly swords from her sheath and with rhythmic rat-a-tat-tat peels and chops the vegetables with lightning speed, so that in just a minute or so, on the table is a gorgeous, colorful, mandala-shaped display of finely chopped vegetables garnished with radish “roses.” She sweeps any peels and stems into her apron to be discarded later, leaving no mess for the servants to clean.

She stares at the lord as if to say, “Does that answer your question?”

Quote:


"If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?"

She blinks once and pauses a bit before replying. “Focused. Dedicated.” She pauses again, and gives her third, most enigmatic answer. “Unfinished.”

Quote:
"Finally, please indulge me a strange question: What makes you laugh the most?"

“I do not laugh.”

Quote:
"Thank you; thank you. You'll be called for if you are chosen. Next!"

Mimi bows stiffly, then exits.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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I have been interested in this -- unfortunately, my Internet has unexpectedly gone on the fritz (I'm writing this on my phone) and I can't get a character uploaded yet.

If I get access and recruitment is open, I will post a character. If it ends and I haven't been able to post, I understand you will move on without me (and might anyway as you may not like my idea anyway).


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Gnome Rogue 3 | AC 19 T 14 FF 16 | HP 14/21 (normal Max HP 23) | F+2 (current +1) R+6 W+2 (+2 vs glyphs) | Perc +9 (+10 find traps) Init +4 | arcane mark 1/1, comprehend languages 1/1, message 1/1, read magic 0/1, Det Mag: 3/3
Spoiler:
Acr +9, App+7, Blf+7, DD+13/16glyphsetc., Esc+8, KArc+3, KEng+3, KLoc+5, Lin+5, Per+9/+10tr, PCook+9, PScr+5,SMo+7, SOH+9, Stl+13, UMD+12

Hi guys, I tried to post a reply to this earlier this week and several attempts got eaten, and that made me think I just needed to think on it more. I haven't been sure whether to just PM this to Tac or say things publicly, but I feel like it's better to tell everyone where I am with this.

First: Tac, you are a good GM. I love how enthusiastic you are and how much you push us to be creative and find interesting solutions in things. I think in many cases you're doing a good job in explaining things.

Where I struggle first off is just that there are just too many people and too much going on. And I recognize this game was an experiment to see what could be done with this. I also recognize that I probably bit off more than I can chew and this type of game is one I am not mentally capable of handling competently. So, that's my mistake and a lesson learned. My inability to grok this sort of thing is none of y'all's fault, and being in the same room I am certain would not help.

I'm hitting a point too, however, where I'm just not feeling it, and this is where I will lay in my only criticism: for me, personally, this scene has gone on way, way, way too long--in addition to too much happening at once and too many moving parts to track. I think in real time we've been at this ONE SCENE for months, and even in game it's gone for more rounds than any Pathfinder combat should really last. I feel like it's one of those JRPGs where you fight the boss, beat him, feel this overwhelming surge of victory----but then he gets up and says, "But now I will reveal my true form!" and then that happens about twelve more times, and that surge of victory fades into a quickly exhausting frenzy of button mashing that goes on for HOURS and in the end your thumbs hurt, you have to pee really bad, and you just don't even care if you win the fight you just want it to be done. And for me at that point, I shut off the console without even finishing the fight, toss the disc out the window, and look up the ending online because while I liked the story, the grind required to get to the end of it was no longer worth it for me. I am in a place where my thumbs hurt, I need to pee really bad, and I just would rather look up the ending online.

Moreover, I'm at the button mashing phase. I am out, entirely, of ideas, excitement, or creative juice. And without creative juice, which is the stuff that Tac wants to most see, I can't really contribute meaningfully to this.

I have decided to be frank and honest about this because I respect you all enough to share this (if I'm quiet and reticent and say nothing, that's when I'm REALLY upset and really distrustful of the people around me). I am SORRY, truly, if any of the above hurts, but I figure it is more helpful to be clear about where I am with this than just avoid or drop out without a word, or just phone in a few posts here and there. I don't write any of this with the intent to be hurtful, but to clear the air.

I really, really, really appreciate being invited into this game. I STILL want to play with y'all. I'm looking at Firedove's cooking game -- if she would still have me after saying all this. I would love to play in another game that Tac GMs provided it's a smaller scale adventure, like an AP or module with a smaller initial group of players.

I recognize also that there were stalls and complications in this game that were REALLY REALLY nobody's fault AT ALL. Happy healthy baby is very good, and the most important thing than any game by a very very very long shot.

In the end though, I'm out of useful things I can give. So I think it's best for me to bow out now.

So: Ceru runs, prioritizing the safety of the innocents she is more certain she can save than those she cannot run back and not. She does not have the combat strength to meaningfully help the party with the daemons, and I don't have any good ideas.

I am sorry, truly. I want this to go well but I've not nothin'. I'm sorry.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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So what you're saying is you would use the Argonauts book. Got it, LazarX, thanks!

Everyone has their own preferences and vision for what they want to see happen in a given game. Even parameters like "inspired by Greek mythology" can be pretty damn broad; the OP didn't say, "I need this to be exactly as Homer wrote it." After all, you could say the Xenaverse is definitely "inspired by Greek mythology" given the presence of Olympian gods, the Three Fates, the base setting in Greece, etc. but that particularly nutballs universe also contains several different forms of magic, Judeo-Christian angels and demons, what are effectively qin-gong monks, reincarnation, and the very important fish fighting style (one handed, two handed, two-fish, with reach, and thrown).

Generally, there's no right or wrong way to run a fantasy campaign. I can say how I would do it, but that doesn't make another person's take any less valid---and more to the point, potentially any less entertaining.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka DeathQuaker

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Regarding privacy concerns -- the name they reveal is the name you have registered as your name for your mailing address in your Paizo store profile. You have to confirm this is not a misrepresentation of you, but you don't have to reveal your full name *cough*. However, I do believe they expect you to compete under at least a pen name and not your message board alias.

I accepted that I'd have to reveal my name/name I'd want to publish under and was willing to take that risk when I entered--after all, no one is going to take seriously a professionally published piece by "DeathQuaker." (I've also professionally published under my real name before so it's already out there.)

They asked us for hometown with the clear note of IF YOU WANT TO, and they said they would not use it if we wanted it to remain private. The same goes for photos, which the top 8 were asked for (but only the top 4 got posted)--we did not have to supply one if we didn't want to.

Due to a bad past situation of my own, I asked to keep certain information about me private, and Paizo fully honored that. They repeated to us several times that they were not going to reveal information we didn't want them to for privacy reasons.

I have a feeling the item is, as you mention, probably more about the issue of COMPENSATION than privacy and it might be a good idea for them to clarify that. You're right the wording makes it more extreme and potentially loopholey in a bad way.

Your concerns here are absolutely valid, and I hope Paizo examines them. I hope I can at least be somewhat reassuring in that I can at least say in my experience the contest runners did make clear to us their intent to be reasonably protective of our privacy and were very respectful of it.

As for Paizo owning the IP-

This is stated in the first paragraph of the rules:

Quote:


All entries become the property of Paizo Inc.

In case anybody misses that when reading the rules, when you're about to submit an entry, you get the full submission agreement mentioned in the rules displayed to you, before you finalize your submission. This repeats that you're about to give up your rights to the IP amongst other specifications which are largely just repetitions of the rules as publicly published. The submission agreement is their way of going "Are you sure?" and making sure everybody knows all the rules clearly before they enter. We also get the submission agreement every round, just to double check every round we are still on board with what they are doing within the rules they set up.

The reason Paizo does the contest in this way is because they may publish ANYTHING submitted to the contest and want to be able to do so at any time. Look at the recently released "Daughters of Fury," by last year's Superstar Victoria Jackson. Several monsters and wondrous items from rounds 1 and 2 were published in that module. And they may decide to publish any entry down the line. My understanding if they DO publish your entry, you will get paid for it.

It may be strict, but I understand why they do it the way they do it and was willing to accept that when I entered not just this year but my two attempts prior. While some fiction publishers do allow an eventual IP release, these publishers have different publishing and sales models than Paizo specifically and game companies in general. Someone can explain it better than I can (and have done so in the past--there are discussions of it in prior years' forums), but it's basically for their protection. Since the rules clearly state this up front and repeat it before you finalize your submission, I don't feel like they're doing anything sneaky and underhanded--you personally may not have realized it before Christopher Wasko told you, but we were all well aware of it, and so should anyone be before they enter the contest (and now you are too). I can understand your discomfort with it, but Paizo isn't doing it just to be unfair. They make what was at least up until recently the best selling RPG in the world (I don't know how D&DNext's sales are doing/will do) and they need to protect themselves on a fairly high level.

If anything this is just a good reminder to everyone to read the fine print before jumping in.

BTW just as a reminder, when you post to the message board, you give Paizo the right to repost or use anything you post here in any way (although in this case they do not claim IP rights):

Paizo FAQ wrote:


Who owns my comments?

While Paizo Inc does not pre-screen message content, Paizo Inc does reserve the right to edit or remove submitted messages or material at any time. Paizo Inc is not responsible for the content of messages submitted by users of the site. Users posting messages to the site automatically grant Paizo Inc the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, sublicense, copy and distribute such messages throughout the world in any media.

(Most corporate-owned message boards have the same stipulation.)

For something lower stakes, I would suggest checking out 3PP open calls (checking their fine print as well, of course). Wayfinder's a good place to start.

I truly hope you find a way to submit your ideas in a way where you feel safe and comfortable, as you've shown from your posts you are an intelligent, humorous, and incisive writer. I've enjoyed reading your posts and I hope wherever you may decide to publish or express yourself you'll let us know what you do. I also hope you'll keep sharing your concerns as these kind of conversations do need to happen, and repeatedly.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka DeathQuaker

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Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
You could probably ask them to change it, DQ. I asked them to add my middle initial as I'm somewhat OCD about using it for when I publish. They certainly didn't complain about the change (at least not to me; they might have in the office). :)

At this point since the contest is over (and has been for me for a few weeks) and I can't enter again it's not that big a deal, but I may just ask them not to convert my name in the SS forum.

Quote:


Oh, and since you've been so open about requests, I hope you bring back hometowns next year, Owen. That was often added in for the Top 32 after they were announced in previous years, and I think a lot of people liked knowing. I know I ended up meeting one of the previous Top 32 only because his tag mentioned he was from the same area as I am.

FWIW, they did ask the top 32 our hometowns if we wanted to have them be revealed.

I asked for mine not to be revealed since I had an online stalker/harasser problem several months ago.

If because I asked to have my info stay private, they just didn't display anyone's hometown (until the top 4, who did have their info and bios put up), I'm sorry if I ruined anyone's fun.

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What a lovely post, Monica.

And all four of you... whatever happens next... take a moment and BREATHE..... relax.... pat yourselves on the back. Well done all.

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Anthony Adam wrote:
Heh heh, sounds like your mum was like mine and instilled old school gentlemanly manners in you too! :)

Heh. Both my parents were school teachers, and very much into ensuring good manners were had by all. ;) In fact I think my dad is more manners obsessed than my mom was (himself an old school gentleman), but both were very courteous and wanted to instill good etiquette in their kids.

They did a good job teaching me certain niceties, but didn't even quite realize it at first... as I was also a headstrong kid and would butt heads with them. But I really did respect what they taught me, I just couldn't admit/SHOW that right away. They went to a parent teacher conference with MY teachers expecting to hear how stubborn and noncompliant I was only to have the teacher compliment them on my politeness.

Lesson to parents: your kids do listen and follow your example, even if you think they don't. :)

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DM Jelani wrote:

Hello, I was wondering if anyone else has any interest in working on something like this with me? I've done some modding in a non-organized way when running my own games, but I'd like to develop a robust set of houserules that I can just start using in all my games.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Some things that cause problems off the top of my head:
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

1) waiting for the DM to tell you whether you hit/you beat SR/you beat DR/what the monster got on its save/etc.

I actually have found the "hide the AC/defenses" mode of thinking to be increasingly useless. I think the idea has always been to "create suspense" and avoid metagaming but it seldom really has a useful effect and just slows things down.

So in TABLETOP, let alone PBP, I just write on the battlemat the creature's AC, DR, and SR (and in fact in very recent games I've just houseruled out DR and SR entirely in favor of other defenses), so the players can just do the math and get on with it. They still have to figure out in character (with Knowledge checks) things like the source of the DR (so the player knows they have DR X/silver but the PC does not know silver bypasses the DR), but I've got good players who don't cheat with that kind of knowledge. This has done nothing but improve combat and happiness around the table in my games.

In PBP I would strongly recommend doing something similar.

Quote:


2) the DM saying "Okay, everyone roll perception." or "Everyone roll initiative."

The best/most efficient PBPs I have played have the GM do both. The players have no issue with this. They just use the die roller to roll in a spoiler.

For Perception checks, another method--and this is also something I do in tabletop for ambush noticing and the like--is I will sometimes roll a huge block of Perception checks at once. Then when a Perception check is needed, I check the block, use the results, and cross off the line once used. This spares immediate rolling but there's still some suspense and the players don't necessarily know when I'm checking the block. I do this of course only with explicit player permission.

Quote:


3) abilities that have to be declared after a roll, or in reaction to something

I am not really sure I've seen that come up or have it be a major issue. Sometimes stuff is just going to have to be retroactive. If it's a matter of a reaction or defense that will always happen, then the player should put the reminder the ability exists in their race or class line on their profile so it shows up by their name in the PBP forum.

Quote:
4) normal initiative rules

I've had bad experience with the "block" system as people seem to get confused, but that may have been an issue with a particular GM/set of players. Normal initiative can work as long as either --

-- People post reasonably quickly on their turn (they should if it's a "I expect you to post once a day" and that is enforced by the GM), and if they don't, the GM bots them (this again requires advance permission i.e., "Yes it is okay you bot me if I don't post in 24 hours) OR

-- Everyone posts when they are able to post, and the GM just summarizes the actions in initiative order afterward

I'd say "eliminate initiative completely" if there would be a way to fairly determine what/when the monster(s) went.

Some of this makes more work for a GM but a lot of copy/paste can help a little.

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To be helpful, it would be good to know what you have played and what your laptop's specs are.

If your computer can handle it, Pillars of Eternity comes out this week.

The Avernum series might work on your computer. I don't know if they still are but they were recently on sale at GOG.

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Thanks, Curaigh! Feedback is always appreciated.

I've not read that book,but it sounds fascinating, and yes the possibility of those kind of practical applications was what I was going for far more over any sort of sunder ability (its value in the hands of someone already good at sundering is obvious, but that wasn't meant to be the focus).

I'll definitely check the book out!


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Gnome Rogue 3 | AC 19 T 14 FF 16 | HP 14/21 (normal Max HP 23) | F+2 (current +1) R+6 W+2 (+2 vs glyphs) | Perc +9 (+10 find traps) Init +4 | arcane mark 1/1, comprehend languages 1/1, message 1/1, read magic 0/1, Det Mag: 3/3
Spoiler:
Acr +9, App+7, Blf+7, DD+13/16glyphsetc., Esc+8, KArc+3, KEng+3, KLoc+5, Lin+5, Per+9/+10tr, PCook+9, PScr+5,SMo+7, SOH+9, Stl+13, UMD+12

Ceru jumps in fright at the booming (even if quiet for him) voice, nearly a distance as high as her own height, and then jumps again as she realizes the massive creature is addressing her.

She looks in front of her, utterly confused, and particularly at her own hands, to see what she could possibly be pushing. Seeing nothing, she stammers, with tears of confusion in her eyes, "I-I'm sorry!" and just runs away faster.


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Gnome Rogue 3 | AC 19 T 14 FF 16 | HP 14/21 (normal Max HP 23) | F+2 (current +1) R+6 W+2 (+2 vs glyphs) | Perc +9 (+10 find traps) Init +4 | arcane mark 1/1, comprehend languages 1/1, message 1/1, read magic 0/1, Det Mag: 3/3
Spoiler:
Acr +9, App+7, Blf+7, DD+13/16glyphsetc., Esc+8, KArc+3, KEng+3, KLoc+5, Lin+5, Per+9/+10tr, PCook+9, PScr+5,SMo+7, SOH+9, Stl+13, UMD+12
Ceru wrote:
[dice=Perception or Perception aid]1d20+9

With wind, rubble, and chaos, Ceru can barely perceive of the new threat a good 200 feet behind her. Realizing there's little she can do, she just keeps going, muttering plaintively, "I wish we were all safely outside this cavern!"

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka DeathQuaker

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Curaigh wrote:

One other thing I would like to see, which is more for the community than for Paizo. Can we limit participation in the 'let-voting-steam-off-thread' to people only with a Star Voter* tag. (This year's So far I've seen or last year's Voter's Incessant Ramble.) I feel those threads sway voter's against something particularly mentioned. Even non-negative comments can affect this. 'I see a lot X' makes it look like X is not very creative, when in fact X** is just a weapon found on page 123 of the CRB. A lot of new voter's especially take cues from more experienced people here.

As Rich mentioned it adds to the community dialogue so is very easy to bring new people in. Maybe it is just me,*** but I feel it can really sway opinions when people get excited about a very cool contest and want to participate.

To whomever starts that thread next year please include a little bit of etiquette along the lines of Eric's Guildhall. Maybe Mamaursala's New viewer's guide can also mention it.

*Star Voter is kind of random, the community might come up with a better guideline.
**see previous statistics on the overuse of filigree.
***I've seen enough other people's posts to suggest it is not just me. :)

I really dislike this idea. I know the root of what you want to achieve is a good thing, but I am not fond of the suggested method. Voting requires time and Internet access not everyone has in great supply. I get "merely" to Star because that's what my time allows for, and that "small" amount seems to absorb an inordinate amount of my free time I really probably should be using for the rest of my life. If people vote--or even if they just want to observe the contest, ask questions, etc--they should feel free.

Restricting to voter count also just increases the bizarre competitiveness for voter ranks as well. It frankly got really boring watch people bicker over who was going to get to Champion, Marathon, etc. first. And anyone who votes at all, whether it's once or 10,000 times should feel appreciated.

The issue of those posts is they can build a negative tone. (And I apologize for any of that I might have contributed to in the past.)

You want to have a less negative tone, don't put arbitrary restrictions on people based on what they choose to do with what little or ample free time they might have. Instead, set an example for the tone you'd like to see, by starting positive threads or question/answer discussion threads, and ask others politely who are being overly negative to back off.

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Curaigh wrote:

A couple of thoughts for the sake of discussion.

Tight timelines are understandable. I think they should be a measure of a potential freelancer which RPGSS is all about. I wonder if tight timelines need be a measure every round. That is: do five tight timelines tell you more about a potential designer than four do? more than two? more than one? I am guessing a huge difference exists between one and five, but it might be a smaller difference between three and five.

The open call had the tightest deadline of any Round 1 yet. Tight not only in terms of days open, but tight as in here's a twist go back to the drawing board.

One good reason--that has nothing to do with testing entrants' sensitivity to deadlines--to elongate the R1 deadline is to ensure enough people find out about it and have time to enter. I know a lot of die hard Pathfinder fans. None of them, save one who is a regular poster on this board, had EVER heard of the Superstar contest until I told them I was in the top 32. And even though I know about Superstar, I only heard about the contest opening until a few days before the deadline. Obviously I did alright ;) . But regardless, making sure the word gets out is a good thing. OTOH, I know there were a lot of R1 submissions so maybe restricting visibility is intentional. Anyway, just food for thought.

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I had some thoughts on the monster repetition issue... but wanted to wait until the round was over so I could talk about it a little more freely.

So, my name is Rep and I used the geomaw.

(Hi Rep.)

So -- one thing to note is I at least devised a location first, then picked the monster that I felt suited it best. So that was the geomaw. I expect at least some of my fellow geomaw users may have thought along similar lines. There's some assumption here that creature is always picked first so just thought I'd point that out.

And the thing is--while yes, it was fairly easy to predict that the encounters would include R3 monsters and take place in Nar-Voth, we couldn't be sure of it until the rules were announced. To get a 1400 word item and map anywhere close to perfected, I at least felt I had to start drafting encounters well before the rules reveal. That meant drafting a number of encounters that didn't RELY on use of a given location or creature, or could at least be modular enough we could take out or insert whatever the eventually announced twist would throw at us. And I think that's why so few monsters got picked from, because it was tempting to pick a monster that would be reasonably easy to insert or replace in a given encounter as needed. I could be wrong, but that's my theory.

At any rate--yeah, it's odd, a weird fluke, even, that only a quarter of the available monsters were used. But maybe there were other contest specifics that contributed to that, however subtly. Also, the monsters chosen were cool monsters. :)

And I don't think, even having gone through this, it would be a good idea for the top 8 to confer on what they're picking for the reasons stated--sometimes seeing how two different people use the same monster can be as enlightening, if not more, than see people use a different one. It would also be a shame if someone avoided using a monster that really would be PERFECT for their encounter because they felt they couldn't because someone else was using it.

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Benjamin, can I guess you were thinking of the spiroskek for that encounter? :)

Lady Firedove wrote:

Hey, Top 32!

What do you think?
Would you rather have a more condensed overall contest timeframe, but a full week to complete each round?
Or are the off-weeks valuable to you?

There are pros and cons to either. Having some down time to both research and brainstorm as well as to do laundry, work, rest, and do other life-living stuff is a good thing.

On the other hand, and this contest can nearly, depending on circumstances, put your whole life on hold for two months if you are a contestant--something folks entering really need to bear in mind--so it being shorter definitely would have its benefits beyond just helping keep people engaged.

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If I could change one thing... get the encounter back to 1500 words, especially if there's going to be a lot of additional requirements like traps. Seeing how tightly people can write is important, but the contestants also prove that with the 300 word item and the 550-600 word monster (and in other years, an additional written entry in round 2-3). I feel like there was a good reason the round was the way it was for prior years. The word reduction was the only change or twist that happened this year that felt like it was done ONLY to make things arbitrarily harder. (Comparatively, the no-rules before reveal and tight deadlines with weekdays only to work also made things a lot harder, but I could fully understand the reasoning behind them in terms of showing what you can produce within a certain period of time, etc.) They may not seem like much, but I think those extra 100 words could help with descriptions, establishing scene and urgency, etc. I'm not just speaking from personal experience here, but also what I would have liked to have seen from the other--PHENOMENAL--entries, and compared to prior years' entries.

Regarding Nar-Voth -- well, at least with so many Nar-Voth rounds, I felt like my purchase of Into the Darklands was worth it. ;)

This is a very specific area with some very specific limitations on what kind of creatures or locations can exist there... more restrictive, I think, than "river" or "urban" -- had the requirement been simply "Darklands," that would have been more comparable. This specificity creates, perhaps, a greater challenge for contestants, although working within greater restrictions can sometimes make things easier because you can quickly eliminate a lot of possibilities and get down to a short list of ideas quicker. I can't speak to whether it's the reason some interest was lost/comments were fewer this year--I really have no idea how it felt to be an observer this year up until now. :) If it WAS, I'd guess it's because it's a region I'd guess a lot of people don't feel too familiar with; as far as I was able to find, relevant sourcebooks and APs are from quite awhile ago (Into the Darklands is a 3.5 book) and maybe because people didn't feel that familiar with it, they felt like they didn't have a lot to comment on. OTOH, this is also probably why Paizo is wanting new material on Nar-Voth NOW.

On a personal note, I was only disappointed in the Nar-Voth requirement for round 4 because I had a really cool idea for an encounter that used a Round 3 creature that didn't take place in Nar-Voth.... I know, I know, that doesn't make sense because the creatures are from Nar-Voth, but I made it work... ;) But on the other hand, it's a cool setting and generally speaking I thought people usually liked the Darklands. Personally I do prefer other settings myself, but I did enjoy the challenge and themes that came along with it.

Also regarding audience interest.... maybe I miss something, but it really feels like this contest doesn't get marketed much after the open call and Top 32 announcement. Customers/observers will certainly lose interest if they don't get reminded of it, particularly since this contest goes for so long, and voting doesn't take up your time like it does in round 1. I could be wrong, but don't recall getting any updates in the Paizo newsletter about it for awhile. When you go to the main site, you usually get the Store Blog rather than Paizo Blog updates, and you can glaze past that Superstar link if you don't know what it's for or it's not why you're there. Now, I'm not on Facebook, so I don't know if Paizo does stuff for it there. I am on Twitter, and I didn't see a lot of Tweets about Superstar, not from the @Paizo account nor from the many Paizo staff I follow. I admittedly don't follow masses of external gaming sites, but the only external support/shout outs/discussions of Superstar I saw outside this board was at EnWorld--where the announcements were focused on the "free items/monsters/maps" etc. that the contest effectively produces rather than on the contestants or the purpose of the contest--and the Know Direction podcast which I did not see publicized here at all. Seems like there should be press releases going out, statements made, and social media manipulated if you want people continuously paying attention through this three-and-a-half-month-long event. I am not noting this as a contestant as much as coming from the point of view as an observer... in prior years I KNOW I forgot to check in with what was going on about Superstar as time went on because no one, outside of this forum, was ever talking about it and in the two weeks where you're waiting to see who advanced... it's easy to lose sight of things. NOW... all that said... maybe it's better less attention is drawn to it--there's still a massive pool of people who enter during the open call and that could get unwieldy the more publicity this thing gets. But just on the subject of why interest appears to wane.... that's my two cents (you don't own that phrase, Neil!).

Also, is it me, or did the judges post less often than in prior years? I realize they are FREAKING BUSY and should not be expected to entertain the masses on top of doing their jobs, but without them to help engage conversation, that could be a factor as well. Wasn't there a year where SKR was "host" but not a judge; should someone play that role again?

What I can definitively say -- it's been an absolutely amazing opportunity to be a contestant here. Gruelingly hard, too, but amazing. I really appreciate all of you who have been able to take the time to post, comment, and keep everyone's spirits up and engaged as possible. I am pretty sure all of the top 32 and above feel that way as well. Now that I get to be part of the audience too, I will try to return the favor. :)

ETA: Anthony, I'm still waiting for your commentary on my map, now... ;)

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Thanks for all of the very substantive and helpful comments. They have helped me see very clearly where I have done well and where I need to improve.

Not going to do a point by point response this time, but I'll note for those who are perhaps thinking about how to approach encounter design in future competitions... because I know if anyone at all is reading this, it might be a top 8 contestant next year trying to research the round...

It may not seem the apparent source of my issues, but I let the trap twist trip me up (say that 10 times fast)! Not a Superstar thing to do! I had, prior to the reveal, pretty much the whole encounter (expecting the traditional 1500 word limit, a little over 1400 words) drafted, albeit roughly. I knew that I should expect an additional twist like a trap or something. I still did not quite work it in well. The focus was originally much more on the geomaw and shrine itself--and the shrine's effect on the geomaw and environment. There were going to be incidental troglodytes more as set dressing, to help emphasize the idea lots of creatures are being drawn to this place and wanting to investigate it for different reasons. But I needed to have a reasonable source for the trap and this led to me emphasizing the troglodytes' (later, troglodyte) role.

Long story short I ended up with less of a central focus and too many moving parts. I could have scrapped everything and started from scratch, and that's a decision you have to make in situations like these--whether it's easier to try to salvage an idea that ends up not quite working but would take less time to rewrite, or start from the beginning and hope you can produce something as polished in a short amount of time.

I did try to make sure my pre-reveal encounter drafts (I had a few) had some modular, moving parts so I could adjust for any twists... but not enough, it seems. If future Superstars continue in the vein this one did, where rules are not revealed (save in round 5) prior to the voting results, that modularity is something contestants will have to think about when preparing their drafts. So that's my 2 cents as it were... and also something to take home as I think about where to go from here.

I've learned so much from this competition and feel more motivated than ever than to polish my work and get submitting where I can ASAP -- and get back to editing! -- and am grateful for this opportunity. I'm also enjoying the chance to kick back and watch the top 4 in action from here. :)

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Monica, Brian, Kalervo, Christopher, can you hear me shouting? Congratulations!

In other news, I sleep now.

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In other news... I don't think anyone's posted a link to the Know Direction interviews. I'm on my phone... Can someone else please put that in a new thread? :)

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Good luck with your training, Monica.

And to everyone on the results!

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I think it also takes longer to read through and analyze the entries. Possibly some folks are trying to playtest the encounter, though it seems unlikely.

The relative silence is a bit unnerving though.

I think certainly active interest in these forums wanes as time goes on... in years past, I know I've seldom posted much in the past post item round... I just felt like I ran out of things to say. Folks frankly get weary too... this started back in December, it goes on for quite awhile!

ETA: How many random ellipses can I throw into a stream-of-thought sentence...?

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Captain Phoenix wrote:
RonarsCorruption wrote:
I just want to say, as a usability geek, this is one of my favorite threads of this years competition. I really appreciate all the contributions within.

So true. Such a wealth of information. This is what I've been loving about RPGSS, it's a free school for 3PPs and freelancers.

I'm interested to know how an editor runs through a writers work and checks dashes. Find & Replace was mentioned, but is there more to it than that? Does Find & Replace catch all the variations?

There's a visible difference between the dashes. You just look and be sure it's the right one. And you want to do more than find and replace because beyond replacing hyphens with dashes, you want to be sure the dashes are being used correctly. Em-dashes can particularly be overused or misused. Sometimes this does mean going line by line to be sure everything's correct, but then again, that's basically what editing is.

Quote:
Also, with regard to style guides, what other guides are common in the industry? Are there British English style guides that anyone can recommend?

For British guides, I don't know, but I'd suggest looking at major British publications that accept submissions and see what they have in their instructions for authors. I'd guess that the Oxford style guide is common, but this is entirely a guess and could be wrong.

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Scott LaBarge wrote:

DQ, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading your very thoughtful and delicate reply. Everything you said made a lot of sense. Especially about competition vs. collaboration — the competition is fun, but it would be a totally different kind of fun to build something collaboratively with a crew like this!

Also, for all that the competition can indeed be isolating, it's also given me an opportunity to have some great exchanges with other contestants, present and past, whom I might not otherwise have gotten to know at all. You people are even making me toy with the idea of a visit to PaizoCon (though don't tell my wife!)

And the "chin up" is appreciated, but don't worry, I'm fundamentally doing great. I've been having a blast the whole way through, and don't regret a minute. It just gets harder to wait through the downtime each round, and there's less and less distraction here on the boards to be had. But happily, my life provides other distractions in spades, most of them welcome ;-)

Rock on! This is indeed a unique and exciting experience and I'm glad to be getting to know everyone too. Don't mistake anything I've said--I did not want to come off as unnecessarily negative, more sympathize--for the fact that I am very grateful and honored to be here, with all of you.

(And I SO want to go to Paizocon and it always ends up being scheduled at the same time--entirely randomly given the new date--as a major family event.)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka DeathQuaker

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You realize, Feros, if something happens tomorrow like Paizo's servers going down suddenly and unexpectedly, we WILL be blaming you. :)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka DeathQuaker

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Scott LaBarge wrote:

I'm not sure why, but I'm finding this wait harder. Jacob said something in one of his Sword for Hire blog posts about being kept awake at night by RPGSS-related thoughts, and I've definitely been feeling that way much more this round than before. This obsession is much more unpleasant when there's nothing happening on the messageboards, too.

Question for successful freelancers out there, especially ones who have been Superstar contestants: It isn't like this all the time for a freelancer, is it? Do you walk around obsessing about game design constantly? Or is the dynamic of the competition a unique thing? I'm kind of appalled with how much head space this whole business is taking up.

I hear you, Scott, and Monica too. Although at this point, I feel antsy just about the general idea of waiting for something to happen at all than that what happens to me specifically. Do not get me wrong--I am very grateful for this opportunity, which if nothing else has been a giant, necessary kick in the pants to get me properly committed to freelance game design work which yes, I am new to (outside of freelance-editing some game materials).

I am NOT new to the idea of freelancing in general, and have done a good deal of freelance editing and a little writing; I've also worked full time for publications and am more than well aware of deadline crunch and the hurry up and wait game that the process sometimes entails. I've worked for a local newspaper--under a man I swear was the clone of J. Jonah Jameson--and have had to do things like, no exaggeration, write a long, quality, correct front page level article in 10 minutes because it was a breaking story but the paper needed to go to bed immediately. And I understand bizarre, doom-impeding stresses that come with when you hear someone proclaim things like "crap, we've got to edit the blues" and other things that sound nonsensical to the outside world. I've also worked in other areas that are high pressure and sometimes publicly viewed. While all of these come with notable pressures, one of that has been anywhere near as emotionally or energetically draining, nor moreover, obsession inducing, in precisely the unique way that Superstar is.

Several key differences between Superstar and the freelance/publishing work I've done are that
-- Working on a publication is collaborative, not competitive. Which is why I love this kind of work (by which I mean writing, editing, publishing). Even if you're editing from your bedroom 3,000 miles away from the publishing office, you're aware you're a part of a whole team and contributing to something bigger than just your bit. It's great to feel like you're part of this great big project that's going to look and read amazingly when it's done, even if all you did was delete a comma or get a cranky editor coffee or tweak a graphic, let alone if you wrote most of the content. You want to do well not only to show how well you can do but also to do right by your team. You're always communicating with the team--no, you should not be asking unnecessary questions or wasting people's time, but my general experience is there's always a lot of open communication between editors/clients/writers and the work you're doing is the better for it; you can't communicate with the judges, though, the way you'd stay in touch with your editor/client. You also CAN, although of course you must be very politically sensitive and polite about it and be sure not to be being reactive or defensive, tell your editor/client you think they're wrong right away. ;) But Superstar is by it's nature competitive and moreover we are, understandably, warned against saying anything, and thus it is extremely, extremely isolating. And I never realized how isolating it would feel until I was in the thick of it. That's where checking the board obsessively comes in, to feel less disconnected. :)
-- Even if the end result is very public, you don't feel in the public eye the way you do when you're waiting for people to vote for you. And moreover, usually pre-publication, NDAs keep you from interacting with the public--but also, because it's pre-publication, the public isn't going to be talking to you anyway. We're in a weird situation where the public has access to something and is talking about it publicly, before we're allowed to talk about it. (ETA--yeah, the public can bug you about giving spoilers for something that's been announced but not out--to which you very easily just go "nope" and move on your merry way--but that's different from responding to feedback.)
-- More with the public eye, I think we're in a very small (relatively speaking) but avid group of observers and we feel a lot more WATCHED than most folks who have credits on a game book. This can contribute to some performance anxiety.
-- In freelance or publishing, I've yet to get as an assignment in the following manner: "we need you to write something a month from now, but we're not going to tell you what the subject matter is until two and a half days before it's due, so you can't even research what it is we want you to be working on."
-- The whole point of freelancing is you control your schedule, and do your work when you have time to and set your commitments around that. Obviously, you have to make yourself available and accept jobs whenever possible, because if you're always telling employers "well, I can't do it because..." they'll stop asking you to work for them. But at the same time, you can be very up front with your editors/clients about your schedule, e.g., "I work full time so it would be best to get assignments/jobs for the weekend, even if you don't get it to me until Friday afternoon and I turn it in first thing Monday morning" and they can work with you on that. Even though you absolutely MUST prove you can work hard and fast and stick to deadlines (getting things in early even), scheduling is, within reason, flexible and negotiable. When you sign up for Superstar, you signed up for a very fixed and unforgiving schedule---now, we all knew what we came in for and the schedule was posted well ahead of time--but then you're asking if this is what freelance is like and my general experience is, no, it's not.
-- It's not usually a three-four month long ride with a lot of hurry up and wait in between (although there definitely can be hurry up and wait issues in publishing); with a freelance project it's more often a project that comes in, you do it, and it's done, often in a week or less, and then you get on with your life till the next thing comes in or your decide to respond to an open call, etc. I've had longer projects like editing novels, but those are sustained activity rather than rushing through a two and a half day deadline and then waiting two weeks for the next assignment while being largely isolated from anyone I'm supposed to be working with.

The last I think is why Superstar is particularly stressful... just because of the sheer length of time you end up committed to this cycle if you are successful. And it's a reality that doesn't really set in until you're in the middle of it. And that's also why the obsession kicks in--because it's important, and you don't want to lose sight of it while you know you're only waiting for the next step to happen, so your brain keeps reminding you of it. And you want to check in with everybody on the message board to be reminded you're really not alone in this. At least, that's where I'm coming from. Maybe it's just me.

Please note none of the above are complaints, per se, just my observations on what I feel are differences between freelancing/publishing work and this contest, and why those differences may contribute to some anxiety/compulsiveness. Most of the aspects of Superstar are the way they are for GOOD reason--including not replying (which is really to protect US) and the way the schedule works, etc. And who knows... maybe this is what freelance game design in particular is like... but I doubt it is as isolating at least.

All this is to say--chin up, you're getting some good writing challenges and experiences and I am pretty sure it isn't always going to feel like this. :)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka DeathQuaker

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Treasure is an interesting thing, as I didn't really think about it for this round since we were told not to. But it occurs to me, while I've written a lot of encounter and adventure outlines as a GM (which I fully recognize is different from writing one as a designer), most of the treasure I've often written has been bearing partly in mind the specific party I am running for. Obviously what is appropriate to the particular creatures/challenges/environment is the other part of it, but I'm used to tailoring.

I'd be challenged to think about what to include when you have to consider all kinds of different party make ups -- as you still want stuff that is going to be interesting or useful for most PCs. And yet at the same time you don't want to be obviously generic...

Maybe it's not the most important thing, but something I should incorporate into practice runs and collections for my portfolio.

Glad we did not have to do a treasure line for the round though, for the reasons the rules themselves state.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka DeathQuaker

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The goblins already have my soul, my happiness, and my chocolate chip cookies. If they take my submission I will hotglue them to the Happy Hut and force them to watch the Brady Bunch forever.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka DeathQuaker

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Monica Marlowe wrote:
dana huber wrote:
*eats popcorn, observes!*
We will remember this moment Dana.

But I still have the garlic butter for the popcorn... *whistles*

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka DeathQuaker

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*hits submit*

*applies fresh coat of deodorant*

(Seriously, actually sweating up a storm and it's a balmy 7 degrees outside.)

Christopher Wasko wrote:
And now, of course, I think of one little tweak that would have made my encounter significantly stronger :/ Ah well, the die is cast.

Oh, I'm right there with you. Already thinking of things I should have done differently.

Is this the part where we all hold hands and pray?

And Kalervo, I'm with you too. Was nearly falling asleep at keyboard, went to bed, proceeded to have endless actual nightmares about things going crazy wrong with the map, word count, etc.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka DeathQuaker

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Christopher Wasko wrote:
Pedro Coelho wrote:
If you have the chance, I strongly recommend that you playtest your encounter. There's still time to make some tweaks afterward.
If I had time and a group to do so with, I would. But everyone works, sadly :/

This. Remember unlike previous years we have not been given full rules until the advanced contestants are revealed (and in this round the rules were further delayed a little), and the deadlines have been designed specifically so we don't have the weekend to work with. (As an aside, my freelance editing clients usually, though of course not always, do give me the weekend, even if it's only those 2 days.)

While I think a lot of us probably guessed many of this encounter's details beforehand and started work early, still hard to be sure you're on the right track (and worry about wasting time barking up the wrong tree), or make arrangements with friends to help, especially when friends also work, have families, etc.

Certainly under other circumstances, finding time to playtest when possible would be ideal.


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Gnome Rogue 3 | AC 19 T 14 FF 16 | HP 14/21 (normal Max HP 23) | F+2 (current +1) R+6 W+2 (+2 vs glyphs) | Perc +9 (+10 find traps) Init +4 | arcane mark 1/1, comprehend languages 1/1, message 1/1, read magic 0/1, Det Mag: 3/3
Spoiler:
Acr +9, App+7, Blf+7, DD+13/16glyphsetc., Esc+8, KArc+3, KEng+3, KLoc+5, Lin+5, Per+9/+10tr, PCook+9, PScr+5,SMo+7, SOH+9, Stl+13, UMD+12

Busy now! Bot Ceru as needed! :)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka DeathQuaker

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Gabriel, Monica, Brian, Kalervo, Ben, Scott, and Christopher--Congrats!

Is it me or are the rules for the encounter round not up yet? 'Cause if round is already open, we need the rules! Minutes are going by! *panics*

(Ninja'ed by Mamaursula. It's not just me!)

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