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And I just posted the above, which now shows up after another admonition to be completely silent.
I'm going to talk about this issue once, and accept that I am taking a risk in doing so:
When I got my "you're in the Top 32!" email, one of the things it strongly suggested was to go out and post on the boards, introduce oneself, get to know each other and the community, and build visibility.
Then on these boards we're advised to post on, we're being constantly scolded to keep completely silent.
Receiving such conflicting advice is very frustrating. (And I recognize the parallel in that sometimes that happens in the publishing world too.)
Yes, the more we say anything, we can run a risk of disqualification (or even just turning off voters). We have to be expected to be mature enough to understand and accept that--that's part of trying for a professional position.
The less we say anything, the more we run a risk of alienating each other and the community. We also lose a tremendous possibly one-time-opportunity to get to know some really cool, creative people.
The rule not to talk about one's entry before or during voting is crucially important. Not debating that at all.
It is also important not to be distracted by the boards so we end up not putting due time into our entries. Not debating that either.
But this is also a pretty unique situation where we get a chance to chat and network with some really cool people, and it's kind of sad we're now being told not to. I understand and appreciate that everyone's advice is only out of concern, but the conflicting nature of the advice is overwhelming (nice thing about actual publication work is you're usually working with one lead editor and what they say ultimately goes, even in a team-based environment; here we are effectively beholden to Paizo, the judges, and the voters).
If we really should not say a single word, anywhere, ever, once the Top 32 are announced, then I hope in the future that the encouragement to do so is removed from the notification email.
I am brainstorming monster ideas like crazy. Part of me really wishes they would post the rules early, but that's because I will probably have to report for jury duty on Wednesday. Such is life! I'm pretty sure there will be no early rules postings this year, so just trying to come up with as much as I can right now, so if I am in Top 16 AND get called up (I find out both 5 pm on Tuesday), I can hopefully have something that will work that I can submit early.
Now, onto to other important topics:
Not that interested in football, but I do love Superbowl snackfood. I might just make some for the hell of it. (More popcorn, maybe... mmm...)
I love "Arrow," "Flash," and "Gotham"--and like Taylor, all for slightly different reasons.
If I am going to get technical about the question, though, I would say Flash is the best super-hero show, in that it has the most "superhero comic book" feel--it is a little more light-hearted, it has superpowers in it, it has that broad feel of the grand fight for justice on a big scale. And even though all of the shows are basically origin story-based, I feel like Flash's take on the origin story is the most fun. I also really like its cast--I think there's really at the moment no character I dislike or feel is superfluous, and I actually like the main character which is rare.
Arrow and Gotham are those Nolan-style "realistic" superhero shows... more about real-ish people in extraordinary circumstances, and Gotham, as it focuses on the police force, etc. is basically just a crime/noir show set in a version of the DC universe. That said, I love crime/noir and I like at least some versions of the DC universe so that combination is a win/win for me (I get that it isn't for others). They are both good shows, but they aren't the best superhero shows, if the distinction is understandable.
Arrow is one of those shows where I really don't give a crap about the main character (I never liked Ollie in the comics either) but the world build itself is interesting to me and I tolerate-to-enjoy the rest of the supporting cast. Merlyn is one of my favorite villains ever, and John Barrowman is great. I hold the unpopular opinion of enjoying Laurel's story arc as well, even if the inconsistency in how she's been written makes her hard to root for--but I'm really excited about her development recently. I feel like this season is the strongest season so far and I look forward to seeing where they're going.
Gotham again, is just a great crime/noir piece and I love all the characters, both original and with comic book counterparts. The take on Penguin is great. I think Bruce and Selina are fine in small doses, but I agree that the show is best focused on Gordon and Penguin. I dislike Barbara Keane intensely but it looks like they're working on turning her into a person now rather than a plot device, so I'm interested in seeing how well that develops. I also really love the world's aesthetic--there's a really distinct grimy art deco feel the show's designers have done a great job with.
I would add to all that's been said--all good stuff--that a challenge to making puzzles is incorporating in the cooperative/team play that much of playing an RPG should, IMO, encourage. While everyone has their own niche/way to shine, a good adventure offers challenges where everyone must learn to rely upon each other's strengths, shore up each other's weaknesses, and do things that require folks working together to survive.
A lot of puzzles are designed such that they only really occupy one character--or worse, as Brian said, one or two players solving the puzzle effectively out of character. A brief puzzle like that could be okay if it means, say, the wizard is getting his high-Int moment to shine (but the wizard also rarely has trouble shining elsewhere), but it's hard to make that compelling or memorable over the course of the adventure.
Things where the PCs really have to work together ("okay, you stand on that square, I'll stand on this one, and Bob'll pull the rope") can engage everyone and make everyone feel useful, and is a good way of emphasizing party teamwork outside of combat.
Even then it has to avoid a lot of design pitfalls though.
Certainly a compelling puzzle within an encounter/adventure proposal could really help a Superstar-contestant shine... but it's also risky in alienating voters who just generally dislike puzzles.
I am a roleplaying game line subscriber. Two issues:
1- I do not want the Strategy Guide. In fact I thought RPG line subscribers weren't going to get that one? Someone told me the last time it was supposed to have been released. But I see it in my queue of items to be shipped in future. Can I skip this without unsubscribing or do I have to unsubscribe and resubscribe again? (If so, please unsubscribe me and I'll resubscribe later to get Unchained.)
2- A much smaller matter: My "roleplaying game subscriber" title seems to have disappeared (but my account does show that my subscription is active).
Alex G St-Amand wrote:
The elemental domains (water, fire, air, earth) transform your elemental resistance into elemental immunity at level 20.
As for another poster's,"clerics don't get anything on even levels," most cleric domains improve on even levels, though only to a somewhat limited degree (most of them get a single boost at 8th level). That said, most cleric domains also improve in a level-based fashion (even many 1st level granted abilities become more powerful at higher levels by improving bonuses granted, etc.). I think these factors often get forgotten when considering what a cleric gains as they level.
That said, I'd love to see domains reworked slightly so they advance more uniformly and, indeed, give every cleric something cool at 20th (even if it is something simple like "fire resistance becomes fire immunity").
Remember, the judges are not looking for pro cartography, they're looking for a good sense of environment and adventure potential, combined with a good enough sense of design that a pro cartographer could easily turn your basic design into a pretty map.
Which is to say, that's a gorgeous map, but if your map does not look like that, you should not be disheartened.
In other news, reading the judges' commentary on that map/encounter (and others) is really helpful.
Ben Parkin wrote:
That was last year, when the monster round was round 2 (because the round was design a monster appropriate to a certain region).
Presumably, if the monster round is similar this year in that specific region info is necessary to help produce a good entry, they will provide the .pdf to the Top 16.
As for your AClG, you should contact customer service. :)
Taylor Hubler wrote:
I am not you, and have nothing to do with your overlooking anything!
No, I will never stop with that joke. :)
dana huber wrote:
I think I managed somehow to submit toward close of business on the West Coast, so Chris Lambertz saw it pretty quickly and added it to the submission pool. Probably once the office opens again today it'll get taken care of, if it hasn't yet.
Have a good weekend everybody! Once your submission's in, get some sleep! :)
I have submitted mine and now live in perpetual fear, especially since it's Mercury Retrograde, the email will be eaten and it won't be seen and I'll be disqualified even though I sent it in early. (All you people talking about panic and anxiety, I have no idea what you're talking about.) (ETA: the nifty submission tool thingy on the main Superstar page says my submission was entered, so phew.)
And for anyone panicked I got it in early--I have to go away tomorrow morning, so I had to submit it now! As it is I have not yet packed...
But I'm sitting here instead eating celebratory homemade pan-popped popcorn with roasted garlic butter. /wins RPGSnackerStar
Thanks for the feedback, Solspiral. I know you don't hold back so I take a 4.5 as high praise. And I did struggle with the name, so I'm not surprised at that reaction. :) FWIW, an early version did have the plant-bane property but that both boosted the cost and moved it toward an exclusively offensive focus that I felt conflicted with the feel I was going for. I certainly understand why you'd desire that, however.
Thanks for all of your feedback! I've finally got a bit of a breather to respond. :)
I worked a lot on theme before specific mechanics and I'm glad that came through--even if more work could have been done to further reflect the desired theme without raising potential problems. Something to continue to work on.
Likewise, cost is a challenge--and I realized I halved the base item cost with everything else for the cost about a day after I submitted the item. We were spoiled by wondrous items! As for its price: I calculated what an item using diminish plants would cost and then roughly halved that, then added the cost of a +1 keen weapon. It could definitely be tweaked more.
Thanks for this opportunity, and your votes--and even your downvotes, because yes, there's always room for improvement. :)
I've got to choose between a riskier thing that if it pays off shows better potential design ability... and a safer thing that has more of a storied feel but is less challenging in terms of design.
I may just go for risky... seems like it might be best to just go for it. It's hard though!
Good luck everybody. This is definitely a challenging round.
Jacob Kellogg wrote:
I agree with trying Kinko's (or asking an obliging friend). If you do scan, you should be able to set it when you scan, or alternately, when you get into your image editing program, you can set the resolution in the "image size" option which is usually somewhere in the edit menu. While it is not the user friendliest, GIMP is free and there are probably other image editors out there as well.
Okay, I'm done singing and have words now.
First word: CONGRATULATIONS to all of you on this amazing ride. I am humbled and honored (and still a little disbelieving) to be here with you.
Now... introductions seem to be the thing to do:
Hi, I'm Rep and I'm a gamer. I love games, music, comics, and chocolate. Professionally, I am an administrative assistant at a university (in other words, I have no money but secretly all the power); I also am a freelance copy editor. Past professions have included small town reporter, magazine grunt, and bookstore heavy box packer and carrier. Oh, and sometimes people pay me to assemble and paint miniatures too, but that's a bit more under the table (shh!). I have an MA in English Literature and I am a certified conflict mediator. Unprofessionally I sing soprano in a local LGBTQS chorus and play games and am active in my religious community (Quaker in case that wasn't clear).
Please forgive me if I don't post much--I've got a map to work on!
Good luck everybody!
The bits of your map getting cut off in production would be a problem if you were the cartographer (i.e., this is the final production art that is going in the book, not a rough guide for the pro to draw the final). But yes, I had a feeling that would still be desirable--actually, come to think of it, you wouldn't have to make the cartographer adjust to have to make a margin later.
I knew it was a stupid question. But thank you.
I realized I've never really answered the initial question here. I haven't favorited either post.
I have a sense from prior years is that there's a fairly notable gap in favorability ratings between items that get culled and those that don't... and my own guess is that the "big" cull this year was that that's where the gap fell. What I'd prefer is not the "big cull" per se--as in, I don't want them to formally change things to just always have a large cull--but to keep culling whereever that gap falls. I know I am not articulating myself well here and probably not choosing the right terms, but hopefully my sentiment comes across.
I definitely DO think a cull is helpful and I would prefer one cull rather than several (as it is some voters wait till after the cull to vote, and they might wait till after the "several" to vote, so I'm not sure how helpful more would be).
Snorter's post, which you edited the context out of, mentioned the spreadsheet. If I interpreted him correctly, he suggested it's unwise to jump to solid conclusions based on a fan made sheet. And I think he's got a good point: while I am absolutely certain the folks who maintained the sheet did their utmost to make it accurate--and you know what, it probably is--but it's still an unofficial attempt at collecting things. It was also a sheet editable by anyone and could be messed with---always hard to be absolutely 100% certain that something didn't get accidentally deleted, mis-sorted, etc. etc. I think it was valuable to see, but I also think someone who absolutely counts on that entirely could potentially set themselves up for unnecessary disappointment. And the voting algorithm is random enough that it is possible somehow even someone who just spent all day and night for the last few weeks voting rather than anything else might have missed something.
There are also distinctions that might be missed... for example, someone might not have been culled but disqualified---some non-qualifying entries sometimes slip past the initial review and voters report them. Someone could feel they were unjustly culled due to voter preference when the reality is it was a mistake they themselves made that got them removed from the list.
(I know having only voted a mere few hundred times, I still swear I only saw about 25 items in different combinations (seriously, there were at least five items I could NOT get away from, pre or post cull, and several more that popped up repeatedly, while a huge bulk I never saw, my own item included. My item is listed on the post-cull list but I can't help but wonder if that's a cruel joke. ;) )).
And while I know it's not currently against the rules, I have to wonder if such item listing is a good idea. Everyone wants to know if someone's seen their item, I know, but I wonder if it is potentially, negatively distracting. Yeah, I know voters need something to do (and I liked checking the list and appreciate folks' hard work) but something I'm finding hard to articulate niggles at the back of my head as to the idea that this might be a troubling trend for some reason.
Mind, I think most of the people who believed they were culled handled it with aplomb and their ruminations were more enlightening than anything, but at the same time there was some unnecessary bitterness (sudden suspicion of the voting process, etc. etc.). Folks have to remember this isn't a contest for best item, it's a competition between people to show they've got their best stuff, and "best stuff" includes not only their actual entries, but also attitude and sports(wo)manship. This last bit I think is the point some folks are trying to get at here, in particular.
The black raven wrote:
The problem is MY most dirty-minded friends are also the kind of friends not to point that out just to see the disastrous results. :)
Lady Firedove wrote:
Wait, I missed the "not!" Damn!
*looks down and sighs at 3"x2" chartreuse and iridescent map drawn on her gilded abdomen...*
That could work. I think I might just go with Planar Common, and talk about "a body." But all possibilities can be considered.
Well, that, along with "yinz" and "you guys," would imply "everybody" and I don't mean "everybody" either. :)
No, I certainly wasn't referring to you personally! Definitely a general "you" there. I've got to get out of that 2nd person habit...
Andrew Black wrote:
That's certainly possible. It is easier to make a wondrous item interestingly thematic in many ways (why, indeed, the Superstar contests clung to that category for so long). The fact that it is easier I think is also a good reason to change things up. I definitely know making something not wondrous was harder in that there were extra creation rules I had to pay attention to (for one example, a wondrous item doesn't have to include the cost of, say, a masterwork boot or cape, but a weapon or armor has to include the base item cost).
I want to be clear that I wasn't trying to "guess" what was once a wondrous item and auto-downvoting it if I suspected it to be one once... but more that it seemed obvious in several circumstances someone did do a poor job of conversion, and when I say "obvious" I mean truly obvious things like somebody accidentally leaving in a reference to "bracelet" or "circlet" or some very clear mechanic that is far more frequently found in a wondrous item than the item it had been made into. And that I found a lot of these particular oversights, errors, etc. in rings.
And I think these designers might have done better--and made fewer careless mistakes--if they had come up with something from scratch.
I think the real issue is don't try to shoehorn your wondrous item into a ring when they switch up the round 1 contest. The problem with many rings and rods in particular, and to a lesser extent some armors, is they were obviously converted wondrous items.
The secondary issue is that if the contest puts out a twist that throws you for a loop, try to run with it rather than convert an old idea that doesn't really fit (and save your awesome old idea for a situation where it can be better used, such as submitting it to Wayfinder).
I chose chocolate, because death by chocolate means I can't live to enjoy more chocolate.
ETA: On a more actual Superstar related issue, come to think of it, I think this is why I tend not to upvote death related items (unless they're just obviously the better of the pair, like the other item is just a mess of formatting and bad mechanics and unoriginal ideas)... I've seen many items, this Superstar and prior, where the trigger for the item's ability (or most original ability) is either the owner's death or the death of someone killed by the owner. While we like our PCs and don't want them to die, I don't want to plan on my PCs' death either---and would rather own cool magic items that help protect them/fight so they don't get TO the point of actually dying. Likewise, managing to kill a creature can actually be pretty circumstantial (if you're playing in a party, hard to predict who's going to always get the killing blow), and it can discourage good teamplay (the player whose PC has the cool item activates on killed creature death is always insisting on getting all the kills in the party---or on killing a creature, even, that the other PCs may want to leave alive). On a meta perspective, I can tell that the item is designed by a player who is used to lethal campaigns and is designing for him/herself, thinking like a player, not thinking like a designer who is trying to come up with something usable in a variety of campaigns (not all campaigns are lethal, some not even for the enemies involved---frex, an intrigue based urban campaign may have little fighting or the PCs may want to leave their enemies alive to interrogate them, arrest them, etc.).
Some "on creature death" items might make sense for an NPC to have (a soul trap item could even contain the soul of a person the PCs are trying to save). But they've got to be well designed so they're story-useful.
Sorry this particular thought is probably better for another thread but it's here because of chocolate.
OT -- that is very cool. I may try that for when I go hiking.
Nice post. I am so, so, so very glad they switched up round 1. We needed a refresher. The focus on swift turnaround is also important, something often forgotten.
I would disagree with your final statement slightly-- the top 32 shows what developers look for, as they are picked by the judges. This intersects with what fans & customers look for but isn't exactly the same thing. Peoples' personal keep lists and the top 100 voted shows what fans and customers look for. The differences between these things and the top 32 show what differs between the judges' (developer) preferences and general fan sentiment. One of many key differences is simply the judges are voting for a designer; many voters vote for the items themselves, not the designer the item effectively represents. Still understanding all these things are really valuable.
I feel like this year for whatever reason had had a more civil community surrounding it. It's had its issues, as internet message boards will, but I've felt better hanging around the Superstar boards more this year than in previous.
Grognard's Ring of REAL Protection
I'm pretty sure Paizo planned a cull regardless of anyone asking.
Likewise, if their intent is to share the rules ahead of time, they will. If they weren't planning to, I doubt this'll change things. That said, I can't find the post but I thought I recalled Owen Stephens saying the map rules would be posted ahead of time. Even so, this is only the first full day of judging, so the Superstar folks probably have other things on their plate.
At any rate, personally what I'd plea for is patience.
I don't think the math has to be perfect, just the designer has to show a good instinct for working with the system, which is both art and science. I'm just not going to count a high price--if it was gotten to by a reasonable method--against a designer for the sake of it being a high price alone.
That said, I love the auction idea, Eric. ;)
I don't think I've overdone anything, I just take a different approach than you do.
Simply, in my opinion, it is is easy--too easy--in this system to make a item with perfectly reasonable powers that ends up being incredibly expensive because of the way the item creation rules work. I, personally, am not going to hold that against the designer AS LONG AS the designer showed they understood the mechanics they were working with. (It should also of course go without saying that the item itself should be a good item.)
You approach it from a different perspective and vote differently accordingly. I got it. You are heard. I simply disagree with your approach and am noting I personally will not take it. The world will continue to turn for us both regardless. Not much else to say.
I do think both posters should be careful about not getting specific about items. If you can identify the specific item from the person's post, even if it's just from one word like "corn," I think you're being too specific. I also think mods need to be more zealous about policing posts like that, but I think we should have the wherewithal to be able to police ourselves first.
Being able to recognize an item from people's discussion CAN influence how you vote--whether for good or ill. It makes you pay attention more to an item perhaps you otherwise wouldn't have. I KNOW there are items I looked at differently because of chatter in the thread, even if all I was trying to do was guess if it was one someone was talking about. Maybe it even caused me to look at it closer and vote for it when I otherwise wouldn't have.
And there IS a difference between getting sick of an item because you're seeing it a lot and because someone else is complaining about it. We're humans, social beings. How we process "what I think of this" and "what they think of this" can have different, powerful influences. I want to be influenced largely by the former.
I know this and the other threads are all in good fun. I know that no one intends to call anyone out to be cruel. I don't want to piss on the parade of people who've been calling things out. But I think this needs to be said. I'm sorry if your parade feels pissed on because of this post.
But I also think that always, always, discretion is the better part of valor. And that we here are all potentially mature enough to manage upholding that virtue. (You there, stop snickering.)
I think it is totally possible to post vague comments to vent or praise. I try to do that. If I do mention a trend, I still try to keep it vague. If I failed, I apologize.
I do think certainly the tone of the various critique threads is better this year than some prior. I distinctly recall one a few years ago turning me off so much I just stopped voting entirely (because I have a habit of reading the forums while the countdown goes down, so avoiding the forum meant voting got too boring). So things are certainly getting better.
pH unbalanced wrote:
Although I always wish I could send the copy of SKR's caveat against "items that make you vomit" to the people who write up those ones.
On the other hand, I also kind of what to do the same thing to whatever Paizo developer who put spells like that IN THE GAME and say, "NO! Ew!"
Lady Firedove wrote:
I hear you Lady Firedove. Though I have gotten my tag, I think I've generally been less busy than you have been, but I can't imagine how people can ever get to Marathon or Champion at all... Dedicated seems like a massive accomplishment.
Oddly, either my process is very similar OR...
I see two items I've read before or are very fast to read or the difference between the quality is obvious for some reason....
Then I realize the countdown is only at 50 seconds...
So I go do something else...
Then forget I was voting.
The voting process is not ADD friendly.
Ooh, ooh, I want to play... this year's process for me:
1. Ages ago, decide never to enter RPG Superstar again
* No one actually died.
It looks like according to the bottom post on this:
He may have taken down functional public downloads of his content because a Persistent World server was stealing his material, in spite of clearly posted permissions requirements on the Nexus.
The same link has a contact button where you can find his email address, perhaps if you contact him he might send you a functional version (if of course the information is still valid and he is willing).
Woody Elliott wrote:
Seriously though, can you imagine the amount of multi-classing abuse that would happen if all of the pools were made into one?
Not really. Even as the game is written, a lot of pool-based abilities are also dependent upon class (not character) level. For one example, a monk can't use ki to heal wounds until 7th level. For another, many gunslinger deeds cannot be activated until 3rd, 7th, 11th, 15th, or 19th level. Multiclass abuse would then in fact restrict your pool's effectiveness--you might have a vast pool of basic abilities you could activate, but still often those only one at a time, and nothing terribly powerful.
If you were to redesign the classes from the start--which WOULD have to be done to make this work properly--to have a unified pool mechanic, you'd just have to be sure all classes using the mechanic had scaling, class-level based pool-based powers (as many of them already do), and possibly some action economy restrictions (perhaps no more than one pool-based ability active at a time, or a certain type of action required to spend a pool point).
I have to say I have always hated pool-based abilities with a fiery burning passion. In an already complex system, it's just more crap to keep track of. I would probably hate them less if, indeed, they were at least a unified mechanic. And I agree with the above poster that it wouldn't eat at a given class's uniqueness, as what I'm gathering from this conversation is that what you can do with the pool of points would still be dependent upon how a given class uses the points.
Maybe you could even tie the universal pool back to Hero Points.... come to think of it, d20 Modern used Action Points, which were basically Hero Points, but in addition to the basic universal usages (boost a die roll, etc.), you also used them to activate certain class abilities. It actually worked very nicely and didn't take away from what a given class was capable of, and in fact made multiclassing easier without making it overly powerful (you could in fact still weaken yourself direly by multiclassing yourself too much). d20 Modern was a flawed system in many was, but its Action Point system was one of the best things about it.