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I'd also note that if you're just trying stuff out and you have Microsoft Office, and it is the package that comes with Microsoft Publisher, you could play around with that. It's nothing compared to InDesign or Quark Xpress, but at least for seeing what desktop publishing software looks like and the general concepts within, it's a start if you already have it. (If you don't already have it, don't bother getting it though if you're planning to buy a different bit of commercial software.)
I use Publisher for personal projects since I get it with the Office suite I have to use for work and hell... I'll be honest, it's not even as friendly as the Quark XPress I used to use in 1998 when I was (briefly) a newspaper layout editor, but it'll do for what I need it for. I used it not long ago to make a poster for my local meeting house, for example, and it did just fine.
Mind, I'd do favors of a possibly questionable and inappropriate nature for a copy of InDesign though, if only to properly learn it. Unfortunately it is expensive, and I don't need it for my current job so I can't beg off for a free license.
I think the next few months will be very interesting. Paizo has been #1 in the industry for several years now...but lets be honest, D&D was basically a sleeping dragon for almost all of that time. Actual published products were coming few and far between, and came to a full stop almost 2 years ago. My prediction is that if WotC offers good support, to include both adventures and setting material (instead of almost exclusively rules supplements), they will retake the #1 spot in relatively short order.
Probably, especially since there's always a jump in sales when a new core book comes out, and DND has the advantage of being new, and still being the better known brandname.
What will be more interesting is looking at sales two or so years from now, after the new car smell has worn off. DND products may be on top, or Paizo, or be tied (as they were for awhile)--it'll just be interesting to see how they're both doing, and what tactics are being the most successful at getting sales.
That said, and again, I hope they are both successful, as that is good for gamers and the games industry.
For dancing lights, where there are up to four lights, it seems it would be cool to use glass beads/floral "gems" of an appropriate color. They're cheap (link leads to a bag for $1.50). And place out the beads where the dancing lights are being directed.
They'd also be good to show areas of darkness/light etc. in mixed light regions--black beads on squares where there is magical darkness, etc. Could also do that with clear plastic sheeting or plastic math tiles too, which would be less pretty but more convenient (because you can put a mini on top of them.
To the thread topic...
Scanning the quickstart rules, it looks like a good game. I wish they had just created a new setting rather than a rebooted-rebooted FR (I love FR, but would prefer to see it retired than changed as much as it's been, and see a new thing in its place). But I can still deal (indeed, by just using the mindset that it's basically, to me personally, a new setting with an old name).
If I find an opportunity to play, I'll probably use the quickstart rules to make a character and play, and buy the books later if I find a group that will play in multiple campaigns (I probably won't buy them at launch because see below).
I will still also play Pathfinder, and having invested a lot of time and money into it, GM most of my own campaigns in that system.
Especially as, Pathfinder is still a living, supported system in its own right.
I expect Pathfinder will be the dominant system in my life some time to come, but apart from my current preference to run that system (because I like it for my campaign world and because I've already got a lot of material for it and more will continue to come out) that is very largely out of convenience... while I know a lot of gamers, most of us are in our late 30s/early 40s and many are now busy raising families or occupied by other things... those of us who do have time to play/run.... Pathfinder's the system the particular circles I run in people know the best and can often agree upon. Although I'm sure if we found a GM willing to run DND many of us would also try it. So I probably won't buy the DND books at launch simply because I don't know if I'll get to really use them. I have a few game books on my shelf I've never really gotten to use, so I've started not buying books until I know I can be guaranteed of getting a few campaigns out of them. That's less to do with disinterest in a new system and more to do with sheer frugality.
I find the "there can only be one" attitude amongst many gamers distasteful. I think we can prove ourselves to be better than blind brand loyalty. I generally think the more active, loved, supported systems in the RPG world, the better. The more successful game companies in the world, the better--for us and the game companies. Even if I still ultimately end up mostly playing Pathfinder, and of course I continue to wish Paizo success, I also truly hope that DND does well, that people enjoy it, that it attracts new RPG players to the fold, and that WotC is very successful with its launch. I also hope that indeed that there are many gamers who do play BOTH games, and encourages a gamer community where we do not arbitrarily draw lines in the sand over favorite brand names but rather share with each other the many different games we like and play them all with each other and have fun no matter what book's open on the table at the time. I think that will be a stronger and healthier gaming community, and will enable the industry itself to be stronger and more profitable.
The Evil Queen wrote:
Of course. And when the next Bestiary comes out, I am not going to piss on the parade of the people who really want it by spamming its product thread about why I think it's a waste of time and why I think people who want the Bestiary are wrong and terrible people. Just because I personally don't want a book, I still respect the fact that others do. (If I implied otherwise, I apologize.)
However, in this here Monster Codex thread, I was just trying to post that I'm glad this thing is coming to be and that Paizo isn't ONLY (but not never) producing Bestiaries as monster sources---because I see room for this AS WELL and that I personally have even more use for it. I want to give Paizo the feedback that the new thing they are trying is also appreciated. I should have just left it there, but people started telling me I was having fun wrong and I got defensive and let myself go off topic. My bad. This is why I try not to post in the discussion boards any more. And with that, I'm out.
The only point I should have made and left it at: Paizo, thanks for making this. I plan on resubscribing when it comes close.
The Evil Queen wrote:
Don't make assumptions. I think most non-humanoids are so impressive they don't NEED class levels. :) (But I've got four books' worth I will probably never even get to use half of, however awesome--there are only so many games and terrains PCs will cross!)
But when I DO need savage humanoids, this will come in incredibly handy. Especially as my homebrew world has a nation full of orcs and goblins of a variety of walks of life. (And just so you don't go jumping to conclusions again, there is also a thriving and powerful dragon population, hordes of aberrations and magical beasts, and very active and involved outsiders of all kinds, among others.)
This isn't a monster manual, it is an NPC codex using monsters instead of standard races.
And I want this faaaaaaaaaar more than a new Bestiary! With 4 Bestiaries I've got way more monsters I'll ever be able to use (I enjoy the Bestiaries, but I feel no need whatsoever for more), but being able to easily flesh out stuff like savage orc tribes or noble distant giant cities with pre-statted leaders, shamans, and the like, that's REALLY useful and will save me a lot of time.
All right, I'm tossing in for now.
Mythic--My vote is yes, but I would not be offended or disappointed if it was not used.
ETA: On the Opportune Strike thing, which I just saw: am I reading this correctly that the only time the damage kicks in is if a critical hit is achieved or if a character is suffering a negative status effect? If you are using that rule I will rescind my rogue character, as my die roll luck means I would almost never, ever get to use that ability, and trying to set up for a negative status effect would be a royal pain. And especially as I'm playing a small character with a Strength penalty, Sneak Attack's the only way I'm going to get to do damage. Flanking tactics, easy. Getting drop on someone, easy. Hoping someone fails a save/circumstances are right someone is shaken or whatever or the near impossibility of my rolling a 20 on an attack roll? Sorry, no. Especially as it basically adds a gear/feat tax to rogues to have high-crit index weaponry and related feats. That won't work for me.
If that rule is a definite in, then I guess I am a definite out, as I don't really have time to build another character. Sorry to waste your time. :(
If you're doing small people.... I could adapt my gnome rogue Ceru to this... She is currently written up for Jade Regent but is homeless and this looks like a much better style game for her. She is in my aliases.... I will update her and post when I get home (am currently running errands. Actually am currently at a hair salon but then I'm running errands. Anyway.)
I've largely gone into lurk mode, guys, but I wanted to come out to do an utterly shameless plug for anyone in the MD/DC area:
The New Wave Singers of Baltimore will be performing a benefit concert for Moveable Feast on June 7 at 7 pm at St. Mark's Lutheran Church on St. Paul Street (cross streets of St. Paul and North).
The concert will feature an INAUGURAL performance of "I am in Love with the World" by Nathan Hall, a tribute to author Maurice Sendak, inspired by the interview he gave with Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air (only a few months before he passed away, IIRC).
The New Wave Singers are a LGBTS chorus and a nonprofit devoted to community building and diversity. Concert tickets are $20, and 50% of the proceeds go to Moveable Feast.
For more information on the chorus and for concert and ticket information: www.newwavesingers.org
Christina Stiles wrote:
DeathQuaker--What happened to this article? I would be interested in publishing it within this book.
Wow. Thanks for the invitation! I will see if I can find a copy--and as it was in some form published elsewhere (even if removed later), I'd have to doublecheck to be sure it would be okay to print it somewhere else. (I believe the editor said it would be but I would want to be sure.)
Alternately I could write something new along the same lines. If you are interested, please PM me and let me know if you have any length/format guidelines, etc.
I'm actually traveling and should not really be on the Internet at all (I'm supposed to be on retreat in fact and not getting myself worked up about things on message boards) but I'll check back in a few days.
Here's another thing that really annoys me: when someone (usually female) talks about frustrating things she encounters, and someone (usually male) takes it personally (even though the concern expressed clearly had nothing to do with that individual) and replies defensively, "Well, I NEVER do that, or I do that for a TOTALLY valid reason..." and generally completely ignores or discounts any of the concerns expressed by the first person...
... rather than, say, express sympathy or acknowledge the first person's pain or frustration at all in any way.
Is it really that hard to just listen and show some compassion when someone is upset?
For what it's worth, my examples were regarding people I've known for years and years, in well-established groups where the tone of conversation is very casual and often rowdy, to say the least. Of course you don't speak with vulgar language to strangers, regardless of gender. Sorry I couldn't just assume that was a given (no, in fact, I am NOT a complete barbarian). Anyway, my point was holding back on a way of speaking SOLELY because of someone's gender is annoying---WHERE OTHERWISE SPEAKING THAT WAY IN THE GROUP WOULD, ACCORDING TO THE GROUP'S ESTABLISHED ACCEPTED PRACTICES, BE CONSIDERED ACCEPTABLE BY ALL. Saying, "You're new, I can't say that in front of you because I don't know what you are comfortable with," versus "You're a girl, I can't say that in front of you because you are a delicate flower who will wilt at a hint of a suggestion of a cuss word," are two different things. Do I make myself clear?
ETA: I'd also like to meet the mythical unicorn women who are "repelled from the hobby" by an off-color joke because every gamer woman I've ever met generally are the ones making the most jokes (maybe we're the ones repelling other women?). The only repulsive commentary, i.e., of the kind that would scare someone away, that I've seen from gamers are outright harassment (commenting about a person's own body, hitting on them or making suggestive comments to them inappropriately, etc.), which is a whole different animal.
Christina Stiles wrote:
I've got to get offline soon and can't come up with something pithy and quotable off the cuff... but my gender-related problems I've faced as a woman include...
- The presumption I am a newbie. While it's never been explicitly said to be because I am female, I have sat at a table full of a mix of players, new and veteran, been the only girl, and I am the only person the GM or veteran player will "explain" things to (often explaining things I already know or even explaining them incorrectly--they're always REALLY happy when I correct them, too). The annoying thing of course is this is well intended... many women ARE newer to the hobby, and the male players are trying to be sure the new girl knows what's going on, but often the new girl is a vet who ultimately gets talked down to, while often newbie males are ignored. (So this hurts both genders.)
- Related to the above, the general presumption I need help without asking. When I am thinking about what I want to do in combat, I get lots of unsolicited "advice" in certain groups that is not offered to the guys, even when we are all equally skilled and experienced. I've seen this happen very specifically to other female players as well.
- Overprotectiveness. BS like male players playing male PCs who jump in front of the 18 Str female Paladin who is trying to get in a smite, because "we must protect the delicate wimmenfolk."
- Expressed fear of melting my delicate, apparently easily offended f%&&ing ears with hints of vulgarity or rude language. Weirdly, gamer dudes do this WAY more often than other guys I know. I don't want lascivious creeper comments---that's different--but I don't mind if somebody cusses or makes a boob or dick joke--and I will frequently make them myself. I do not need to be protected, god f~#$ing dammit!
- Summary: just the general presumption that women (and female PCs) are incapable, inexperienced, unskilled, delicate, fragile, plain old stupid, who can't handle the wind without blowing them over, who must be guarded from themselves and everything around them and all times and must have explained everything to them as if they were a child.
ETA: A kinder, gentler, summary: some male gamers show no confidence whatsoever in the abilities of their female counterparts.
- Specific incident of my writing an article about making games more inclusive to newbies, including women who are new to gaming, and the editor reworking it to make it about gamer guy's girlfriends (which thereby presumed all existing gamers were male and all girls were nongamers and were girlfriends). (Mind, I used the ubiquitous "how do I teach my girlfriend to game" as an example of what the article would apply to, but he took the example in what was meant to be an inclusive article, and used it to make it narrow-minded and exclusive.) The editor told me he would run his edits by me before he published and then did not---editors don't have to do that, but that he said he would then didn't was the problem. He did remove the article at my request. ETA: I will note this editor was someone who was generally vocal about wanting to be more welcoming and inclusive of women--but I think he still saw me and other female gamers as outsiders to be brought in, not already part of the community, and his acts versus his intent did not always reflect each other well.
- Online harassment. Not even going to go into that.
- People telling you you're a terrible person for objecting to online harassment.
- People telling you you're a terrible person for wanting to create a safe space for female gamers (remember that thread here, y'all?).
I'm in an LGBTQS chorus with a wide range of folks of ages, backgrounds, etc. and my anecdotal observation is the younger gay men more often speak what I call "fabulous" while the older ones sound, for lack of a better phrase, "neutral." But the older ones would have been realizing their sexuality at a time where it was even harder to be out, so. And age isn't the only indicator. (The first man I ever encountered who spoke "fabulous" was my high school art teacher--a man in his 40s or 50s, in the early 90s, in a hick school where it was surely dangerous to be out.)
Interesting stuff. I definitely agree one of the main issues is--as many articles have recently stated (there was one on the Mary Sue and I think on GeekMom not long ago)--the tendency to shrug and say, "Oh, well that's just the Internet." What that behavior actually IS is implied, tacit approval of bullying and harrassment. Frankly, anyone I come across who says, "Well, that's just the Internet you have to put up with it or stay away..." or something along those lines, I mark as a person who is just as much a detriment to the community as the person doing the active trolling. When you don't speak out for the guy in the line of fire, you are an accessory to getting him shot. Maybe it's because you don't want to brave the line of fire yourself, and that's perhaps understandable, but even so, it's cowardice and it's still enabling others to be horrible people.
Putting it another way... the Wired article the above article links to mentions people waving off Internet abuse as "harmless locker room behavior." Last I checked, most people victims of locker room pranks end up deeply emotionally scarred by them. The people who call it "harmless" are the perpetrators and the sheep too cowardly to stop it. There is no such thing as harmless bullying. Being mean and then calling it teasing is just lies on top of cruelty.
A at the same time, to encourage people to speak out against harassment and bullying, creating a safe space to do so helps tremendously.
The article's discussion of a tribunal system is interesting. It may be effective--and I think what it DOES do is it makes people feel safe to speak up. The process is an aid to empower those who would speak out against trolling.
The question I ask is--but is the right message getting through? (And is it possible to send that message?)
I remember a discussion here on these very boards where someone complained about the flagging system as a means for, from his point of view, the community to gang up on and silence the people who disagreed with him. Others felt the same way. I am absolutely certain, based on circumstances, that at least 99% of the incidents recalled were people being hateful and being flagged and having their posts deleted because they were being jerks. But they could not see, "Gee, the community really doesn't like the way I word things, maybe I should review how I communicate and try to assert my opinions in a more kind and civil tone of voice." To them, everyone was ganging up on them and silencing them, and all they could think was, "This is unfair, everyone is against me, the problem is THEM not ME."
I know there was a couple cases where someone said, "Look, I'm gonna flag this guy's posts as he's saying awful things, and I encourage everyone else to," and that added to the sense of being ganged up upon.
In short, there is a big issue that the people most guilty of committing persecution have the worst persecution complexes. Doubtless, indeed, they feel powerless somehow in their lives and thus act out, and when they are called out on their bad behavior, they feel even more powerless. This is not to say I feel sorry for people like that--hell, personally, there is a dark part of me that thinks anyone who harasses and bullies deserves to personally experience every imagined punishment they threaten upon other people. Seriously, they can literally "go die in a fire," for all I care--get them out of the gene pool. But the kinder and more analytical part of myself notes they have a massive lack of self-awareness that allows them to realize, "Gee, maybe if I changed my behaviors, people would listen to me." Instead of think, "Nobody listens to me, so I must yell and scream. THEN I'll earn their respect!" The more compassionate part of me says, answer to the pain they're feeling and then they won't inflict pain upon others.
So the solution can't just be booting them out or putting them on trial, as it were. It must also involve communicating to them in a way that helps them build that self awareness, as well as empathy (you are not talking curses into a computer, you are talking to live human beings with feelings just like yours). If that's possible--after all, a lot of these people's issues are things that aren't going to come up on the Internet; for them the Internet is where they vent their hostilities and don't imagine what they're doing is really hurting real people. But somewhere in the punishment and reward system there needs to be something that telegraphs clearly: this is about YOUR behavior; it is not always what you say but HOW you say it. If you feel ganged up on, now you know how you make everyone else feel.
The Internet is really the worst form of communication. It is accessible, but easily misinterpretable and encourages misinterpretation. We seldom "see" a whole person, just whatever part of themselves they represent here. In building real community on the Internet, the issue is getting that real humanity present and that is very hard.
Well and that was a lot of babble. I just want people to be nice to each other, g~! d++mit!
I was thinking, "You may as well just play--or try to recreate--Beyond Zork." And that an IF engine might be the best way to do it if you really wanted to do the work for it.
You could also, say, create the module in something like Neverwinter Nights/Neverwinter Nights 2, but it would take a tremendous amount of scripting, even with half the tools there for you.
Oh! Poster tack.
Holds flip mats and map cards to table, holds up minis prone to falling over, holds together squares to temporarily make larger base for large monster. Stick ball to table, put condition or buff card in to hold it up to make it easily readible. Generally pulls off anything without marking it (can stain some paper so you do have to watch that).
I largely agree on most of your points, Rynjin, but I think the blow-away good moments for me balanced out the disappointing ones.
I am 100% certain at this point there is a real Amanda Waller played by CCH Pounder, and Robot!Supermodel Amanda Waller is the one we see; R!SAW has enough AI to operate on her own independently, but once real Amanda has time to notice she's off her game, she'll reprogram the decoy so it'll operate better.
I agree the pregnancy is really super random. If for no other reason than it would strike me a super-pro warrior-spy type like Lyla would be on several forms of birth control, if not actually have her tubes tied, not to mention both of them seem to have the sense and foresight to be the types to think to use a condom. I know, I know, condoms don't exist on television, but really. I know realistically birth control doesn't reduce chances of impregnation to 0 but still. Obviously they're working more on Diggle's story and they're giving him a stake to fight for (why can't he just fight for, I don't know, himself and his principles? Jesus, people.).
I also agree it was lame that Waller was the one who blew the "surprise." So Lyla told Waller but not Dig? Or is Waller just omniscient?
That was some fun TV watching. Worth getting up at 6 AM to watch.
And wow, I think I actually hit most of my predictions.
Yes, and she did leave with the LOA. Bizarrely chirpily, in fact (pun originally unintended, but left once realized).
That is exactly as it is apparently. It ends with uncertainty. I was actually wondering why he seemed unharmed by all of his encounters with the bad guys. Internal injuries, yech.
And yes indeed. I liked what happened. And I think Fallen_Mage's prediction is going to come true. My only sadness is he isn't in the other facility to be tormented by Harley Quinn.
Well, that was a wishy washy "prediction" so no points for that. I'm almost disappointed Nyssa killed her, cool as it was. I feel like Ollie, Dig, or Felicity deserved the kill shot on that. I actually WOULD have liked her to survive to become the Queen, and keep Ollie away from Queen Consolidated.
And yes, indeed. I also liked that it was just plain old kevlar that protected Malcolm.
And I could see Roy was just pushing Thea away without his realizing it.
And her saying, "I thought I could be Thea Queen" indicates she is going to decide to no longer be Thea Queen. I think she's going to start going by her middle name, which is also her mother's maiden name, Dearden.... and maybe (less likely but still) even change that first name to swap the "Th" with an "M" for Merlyn.....
I loved Felicity throughout this episode. She really, really shone in many ways, and I love that she got that hit in on Deathstroke. The "Olicity" tension is interesting... but it seems like the acknowledgement is they really do care for each other and aren't going to go there because they know it would complicate things. Plus I like to think Felicity has enough self-respect not to get into a relationship with Oliver, who, let's face it, is a whore. What I'm getting at is stuff like... he and she both I think admitted that they have cared for each other deeply... even while, say, Ollie was banging Sara in the Foundry. She does not need to get involved with that hot mess.
I'm alright with Sara leaving with the LOA, which I kind of expected. She never had any name other than "Canary" and I think she may go the route, ultimately, of the White Canary (though never be so psycho-b@$*! crazy). I do wish they had time to show her with Nyssa, talking to her, see really why she was okay going back to her, especially since she seemed downright happy to leave by the end. They are the ones with the relationship, however messed up it might be, but we don't really see that in this episode. I know some of that was simply that she felt empowered to make the choice. I'm sure we'll get to see her again next season and maybe some of that will get filled out a bit though.
Ollie honestly bored me a bit until the very end...I love that he finally saw the way to punish Slade, to "win" -- to make Slade realize that all he's done is push Ollie to be the hero he is. I felt proud of him by the end.
Slade, on the other hand, just felt more and more pathetic to me. I realized this whole thing wasn't even about Ollie, it was about Slade's anger at himself for not admitting his feelings for Shado before it was too late. And that's just some pathetic BS right there. I say this in part because I'm exactly the kind of person who is awful at admitting my feelings for someone, and blaming that failing on anyone else but yourself is just pathetic. In the end, I saw Slade as a sad, loveless coward.... badass, surely, but anybody can learn to beat people up. He's got no heart or soul worth being interested in. (Compare to, say, Merlyn, who I think has some more interesting complexities and has the balls to own his insanity.)
Thea and Merlyn played out more or less as I expected. I was kind of sad with both him and the LOA in town that there wasn't a showdown there, but I realize there was no time for that. Wished it could have been acknowledged in some way.... maybe even at the end, Nyssa being like, "Oh, we're leaving some men here, as Merlyn was spotted, kthnxbai," leaving Team Arrow with a Duhn-duhn-duhn.
Poor Quentin. Poor Laurel. Poor Quentin. I think he's kinda dead. Maybe not. Interested either way where that will take Laurel. Sara did literally pass her mantle (well, jacket), if not figuratively. Laurel has a way to go before serious kicking of butt though--her bit of self defense and firearms skills doesn't quite cut it yet. She was wearing red and gray all before in the episode and I really thought with Kate Spencer dying, Laurel might go the route of Manhunter. Dinah Laurel Lance as Manhunter is an Elseworld story I'd definitely follow. But now I'm not sure what they plan with her. If Lance dies, it'd be interesting to see her become a PI (as Larry Lance became in the comics)... which would be an unexpected twist that could still take her the eventual route of becoming a heroic vigilante.
Oh dear, I must go to work. Perhaps I'll babble more later.
Sadly, there are some people who have been taught by bad example that the only way to get attention is to throw a tantrum. There are people who truly do believe the only way to get what they want in the world is by bullying their way through life. Sometimes they succeed on the surface, but seldom satisfyingly or in long term ways.
There are other people who just don't feel heard, and "yell louder" so to speak before their forebrains catch up and realize that's not the way to go about having a discussion. Maybe it would help if we reinforced and thanked others when they're behaving the way we appreciate. Maybe that's weird but... I know the days I get cranky and post stupid things are when I'm not thinking AND I feel like no one cares what I say anyway. A couple times, though, I've received PMs that say, "hey thanks for thing you said in positive way you said it" and it actually makes me think about how I post and I actually work harder to keep posting constructively rather than belligerently... for a little while.
Depends on the process and the equipment, but doesn't necessarily mean it's bad equipment per se. It also depends on what you can afford. A friend of mine had a book scanner that tended to wreck the book a bit, but the trade off was a good quality scan with good OCR--she was blind, and scanned the books so she could have them read to her from her computer. She needed to use a scanner that automated the process a bit so that she didn't need to check if it was, say, centered/angled properly because she could only tell via touch. I think the scanners are better now than the one she used then, but it depends on whether you can afford to get the best quality/keep updating your equipment.
Although the world tries to frequently convince me otherwise (I find myself frequently thinking "you are a bad person" just reading posts on this message board), my religious belief that the seed of god exists in every person makes it hard for me to say with any real conviction that a given person, GMs included, may be, inherently, bad. There are some bad people, and there are a lot of potentially good people who disregard the best part of themselves and who, therefore, make some very poor, and often hurtful, decisions. This can of course include GMs. They can always improve--if they decide they want to.
"Bad GM" is too broad a trait, and I don't think, inherently, someone who has poor GMing skills is a bad person. We are in many cases talking about talent versus a capacity for ethics or morals. I have seen bad GMs become good GMs.... or at least better GMs than when they started. I'm fairly certain my first attempts at GMing were disastrous, and I still make a lot of mistakes (oh dear, looks like I'm human, dammit).
For the particular issues the OP brings up:
I've been guilty of the GMPC thing (long ago, thankfully), and most GMPCs stem not out of any cruelty or heartlessness, and more out of two things...
a) The GM is often a new GM, and misses being a player, so they want to still bring in their cool character concept and play it (and get overzealous about it)
b) The INTENT that the GMPC is there to fill in party role gaps and/or help carry the plot along.
The GM in his overenthusiasm makes the story about his character rather than about the players. A poor GM who is a good PERSON who gets the problems of the GMPC pointed out to him in a reasonable manner will figure out how to tone things back and make more productive use of his NPCs.
A GM who repeatedly just makes the campaign about his GMPCs is clearly just about telling the epic story they want to tell... they aren't a BAD person per se, either (that is, they are not intentionally trying to hurt other people emotionally or physically)... but they're being selfish, certainly. Saying, "Well, clearly you're here to just tell a story, not do something interactive, so you can go tell the story to yourself while we all go out to the movies," is called for then.
GMs who truly are playing favorites do need to be called out on their BS. The biggest issue I've observed is the issue of a GM playing in a mixed group of good personal friends of his as well as relative strangers, and the GM naturally, perhaps without realizing it, gravitates toward being more fair and inclusive with his friends than with the newbies to the group, perhaps sometimes consulting with his buddies on campaign plans but leaving the newbs in the dark, for example. This can be an issue of awareness though -- making the GM realize that's what he's doing could help him realize he's being unfair. Sometimes you just think to ask your friends their advice and don't think to check in with the new person. A selfish GM may be caught out in this case, and then of course that's a sign to move on.
For the specific example of giving out treasure, that's SO circumstantial... if it's a matter that one party member seems to get all the good stuff and everyone else gets crap consistently for months of the campaign, then that's a favoritism issue. If it's simply that this storyline was a good opportunity to introduce the holy avenger, and the rogue will get his super backstabbing sword later, that's another matter. Issues of giving out treasure may also be dependent on what people have got... if the light armor wearer has got amazing stuff and then foolishly puts on the armor without id'ing it, that's kind of his fault, not the GMs, and likewise, if the paladin has been running around in the same suit of scale mail since level 1 and has little for gear, maybe the holy avenger is a nice boost. I've also seen GMs be tricky with treasure to teach the player a lesson... I don't know if it's the most mature way to handle things, but for example, I was in a game where the paladin player was in fact begging for a holy avenger nonstop, which was getting annoying to everyone.... so the GM gave him one... which was intelligent... and which had an EGO that could beat the paladin's fairly easily. It was a "be careful what you wish for" sort of thing. Again, I'm not sure there was a best solution there (that particular GM I think was a bit vindictive) but the issue was initially triggered by player behavior.
There ARE spells with no saves (such as magic missile). There ARE prisons with no keys (such as a maze spell). In fairness, there are fewer diseases with no cure, though some magical diseases are described as needing additional measures to cure than just the cure disease spell, and I could buy perhaps a hazard or curse which needs specific circumstances to overcome it. (Saying "you have an incurable disease and are going to die tomorrow" IS the GM being a bastard however, but it's not clear that's what's insinuated.)
Those things alone aren't necessarily signs of bad GMing. Nor are they really signs of railroading either (to me, railroading is "but you have to clear the dungeon, you can't go to the tavern!). If a GM chooses solely features of a game that are exceedingly frustrating to overcome, they could be designing their challenges unfairly. Or, perhaps they've got good reason to pick the problem that isn't easy to solve.
Nor is merely challenging the party a bad thing--that is, in fact, the GM's job. I'm not going to call BS because a GM used a spell that is listed as having no save or SR if they're using the spell as written and it makes sense for that spell to appear. I might call BS if the spell seems misplaced, overpowered, or is homebrewed without advance notice such things would be in the campaign.
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess you had a GM who behaved selfishly or cruelly, and I can only hope you took your own advice.
I think a lot of your specific examples don't necessarily indicate bad GMing. I think many of them can be used by GMs making mistakes who would be willing to correct those mistakes if someone talks to them about it civilly.
Certainly, there are GMs who are bullies and use GMing as a power trip, and yes, you should get away from those GMs, but not all bad GMing decisions are borne of willful sadism.
I use plastic math counting tiles as place holders, mini bases, and terrain on the battle grid.
I certainly do look up sample maps, etc. for ideas for adventures. (For modern day adventures, the best GM tool is the news, especially tabloids, for ideas for adventure seeds.)
It probably is intended as a GM tool to an extent but it's more set up to be a writer's resource, but I love Seventh Sanctum's random generators.
Blood was shown earlier in the season as being reasonably stealthy. Between Slade presuming Blood's loyalty (Slade is smart but I think he is also impressed by his own capabilities enough and assumed Blood would be too intimidated by him to betray him), and Blood's own capabilities, he just managed to sneak off long enough. I also need to rewatch, but I thought I recalled Slade instructing SOMEONE to take the cure somewhere to do something with it, so he wouldn't immediately notice it was not where it was supposed to be.
Blood is pretty tough (and I actually expected more of a bang of a fight with Isabel than the whimper we got) so he could be alive, but I doubt it. They paused to show the body and the wounds in a comic-book-tv show kind of way to go "see, we are showing the body, he is dead."
I also just realized that the lame duck period for mayors in Starling City is extremely short, if only a week or so passed between episodes. ;)
This is a bit of a handwave, but my sense is the mayoral election was happening at all because of course the old one was dead. The newly elected mayor becomes sworn in as the interim mayor until the official beginning of the term.
In my city, our mayor got convicted of a crime and was ousted. The city council president in this case became interim mayor, until we had our normal election and term beginnings. If we extend this to Starling City... probably the head of the council of Aldermen was interim mayor, and doubtless Blood, as an alderman himself, had schmoozed/threatened the head alderman to let him become interim/official mayor as soon as he was elected.
This. You're not just buying content, but medium and any number of other things. In a print book, I can't touch a word and the book magically turns to its definition in the glossary. I can't leave the book at home and still read it on the bus. (But I CAN benefit from hard copy in other ways, as it is easier to read, etc. so it is worth owning both and paying for the unique convenience each format provides).
This is like saying "I paid for the movie ticket, so I shouldn't have to buy the DVD, but I still want the convenience of watching it on my tv at home."
That attitude is narrow-minded, uncompromising, selfish, self-entitled b+~@@+$@, plain and simple. Delete this post if you need to mods, but I'm tired of dancing around the point.
I remember this thread....
I've always wanted to have a game with the PCs being a martial artist (perhaps best done with brawler now) with a sonic blast SLA, a ranger/rogue specializing in hand crossbows, and a gunslinger/rogue with the driver archetype. Who are of course being guided from a distance by a (*cough*) oracle with the lame curse and the lore mystery and maybe the seer archetype (probably with a few brawler, monk, and/or fighter levels for good measure). (Simone-era Birds of Prey).
I was re-reading through this... and a few years ago someone had suggested Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie as a powerful summoner's eidolon, but he didn't know how to give the eidolon enough spells.... I'd simply put it the other way around as we know who's in control in that relationship.... an efreeti sorcerer-wishcrafter with the efreeti magic and hypnotic alternate racial abilities, with a cohort (I guess an astronaut would be best reflected by ranger?) who only thinks he's in charge. Which, cheesy as the source material might be, would be fun to play.
When this thread started a couple years ago, I'd suggested a Yomiko Readman scroll master. I wanna add a scroll master/ranger, scroll master conjuration specialist/1-2 levels monk (for some unarmed dodging skill), and a brawler/scroll master to that (Michelle, Maggie, Anita!).
Marc Radle wrote:
Thanks, Marc, you answered this with better words than I could have used. I fear someone would argue that you can easily rip mp3s off a CD for free--but the equivalent to that is scanning a printed book yourself, not getting a free .pdf from the publisher. And the latter is an available option to people who want free .pdfs for their personal use. And if the response to that is "but it's too hard to scan it all myself!" -- Well, maybe that would suggest it's worth paying for the convenience, if nothing else. And of course the optimized .pdfs Paizo sells are far more useful, functional, searchable, etc. than a home scan.
I really think people think because something is digital--because it seems to exist in some magical etherspace where it's easy to access or look at--means it requires less human effort or work or pride to get a finished product. It really, really does not.
He doesn't in the comics, currently, either.
On other stuff...
Here are my predictions for the finale (subject to revision as I see fit):
Contrary to popular opinion, Sara does NOT die. She MAY leave with the League of Assassins.
Quentin MIGHT die.
No core member of Team Arrow will die.
I'm inclined to say Slade will not die, or he will not die by Oliver's hand at least. On this one I could be wrong but somehow I feel like they are going to make the end to his arc more complex than that.
There's a 50/50 chance Isabel will be killed or cured (to live on to become the Queen).
Merlyn is most certainly not dead. Thea will still end up following him at some point.
Statistic measurements are useful, as noted upthread, for baselines and certain general evaluations.
But you cannot (and the vast majority of theorycrafters utterly and totally fail to) properly or adequately account for the massively chaotic variables brought in by the human element--which unfortunately for the theorycrafters, is kind of necessary to make the games happen.
Innumerable variances in player skill, tactics, experience, willingness and ability to cooperate, and in GM skill, tactics, experience, and sense of fairness, and overall types of play styles, campaign styles, campaign settings, encounters designed, downtime permitted, houserules used, etc. etc. etc. etc. are going to make theorycrafting only valuable in a very limited way. Players and GMs, ones at least good at what they do, have to make a lot of judgement calls based on the situation they are in that stats-crunching is not going to help them with at all. Those judgement calls often have to draw from actual experience and from intuition, not just from system mastery.
And when I choose my group, I am going to prefer to be with a group of people who I trust to be skilled at making those judgement calls, not with a bunch of number crunchers---the number crunching skill comes with time and we've usually got at least one person really good at it to help guide us when it's actually useful, but the ability to adapt to actual human play is not a gift all gamers have, and those without that gift I have no desire to play with whatsoever.
It is not free for Paizo to make the .pdf, so I don't see why they should offer it for free (save out of incentive packages like the subscription bundles, where the value of the subscription itself makes up for the cost of digital production). .pdfs do not just appear magically when the book is published, fully formed and functional. You have to convert all of the layout/text files into the .pdf; you have to make sure it does it correctly, which is harder than you think when you've got a lot of graphics, layout extras, text, fancy fonts, etc.(anybody remember the "buttery knives" in the first Adventurer's Armory .pdf?), you have to add in the hyperlinking (like all that beautiful, beautiful tab navigation in Ultimate Equipment); you've got to make a "lite" version that is still properly functional; and you have to add in the watermarking encryption, because pirates are a*%&%!$s. There's probably other stuff they do as well that I am not thinking of because my abilities with Acrobat Professional are only so good (though I'll be taking a class soon). This requires at least one person who is good at digital production to oversee this process and add in the extra coding/technical stuff, and Paizo has to pay that person a living wage for the time and expertise spent on this process. Not to mention for the licenses for the necessary software. So again: not free for them, no reason for it to be free for us.
As it is, Paizo's .pdfs are extremely reasonably priced for the content, layout, and quality they deliver, especially the $10 rulebooks (which technically should cost a lot more based on market value).
If you don't want to "buy the same book twice" -- subscribe. You can start and cancel a sub any time you want (so you can skip the products you don't want), and most of the subscriptions add in the .pdf for free.
Alternately, since you don't want to lug books around, you could just buy the .pdfs, printing important portions when necessary.
Otherwise, if you feel it's unreasonable to pay for something that isn't, in fact, worth nothing, I don't think anyone here can help you.
I started posting stuff about Nintendo and game consoles, then remembered we were in the LGBT thread (not that we don't off topic all the time, but still, I probably shouldn't help derail).
Jeff, thanks for the heads up about the Queen's Cavaliers, that looks really cool. Glad they've already met their goal too. It looks like a lot of what I want to see in a new tabletop RPG system -- and it especially being queer friendly (and girl friendly) is a major bonus. That's what I like to see!
I do set up player driven campaigns.... and when I do, my players will instantaneously turn into vegetables who wait for me to pick them up and toss them down the plot-rails, failing to notice even if I toss the slightest of hints of adventure right in their faces (and doing so only after they decide to not do much of anything).
So then I devise a very specific plotline with lots of guidance (or grab one from a module) for the players to follow, in which case suddenly they have a brilliant idea, pick the entirely unanticipated "plan Z" to solve all their problems, and the PCs then walk entirely in another direction where I have absolutely nothing prepared whatsoever.
Sometimes I wonder why I GM at all save that I am a masochist, I suppose.
So generally I have a broad plot in mind, and know what my main NPCs are doing in the background, but I also try to have enough of the setting generated so that if they do decide to go for plan Z, I can have a better chance of coming up with something interesting on the fly.
My only issue is that if I realize they hit a point that would be a good spot for an encounter and I don't have monster/NPC stats ready, I myself slow the game down as I look up something of the appropriate CR/Terrain/etc (likewise for hazards, traps, etc.).
I don't know, he noticed the other guy who was behind him very quickly, he didn't seem to be aware of a threat this time.
That said, whether Thea shot him or not, I am pretty sure he is not dead. His armor is pretty protective, and he's LOA-trained. They didn't bring Malcolm Merlyn back from the dead for him to die off screen over a cliffhanger.
I do wish Arrow had a theme song. All Superheroes should have a theme song. Duhn duhn dun dun dun dun duhn duhn! Doesn't cut it. Maybe we should write one.
Hey! It's the Arrow! (Arrow!)
Heeyyyyyyy, it's the Arrow!
LAST NIGHT. That was pretty damn intense. Yay the Lance Sisters! Yay Felicity and the van! Yay Felicity and Ollie pep talk! Aawwww Kate Spencer (maybe there is a reason Laurel is dressed in Manhunter colors). Boooo lousy anticlimatic Blood and Ravager scene. Yay the clocktower! Yay John Barrowman! HOLY CRAP WHAT WAS THAT the ending!
Not to defend it, but it sounds like the original game didn't include it and they're just not adding additional code. I think it's still stupid and bigoted, but it's not like they're designing a new game around that.
If you want to get past the LGBT censorship radar, play Harvest Moon: a New Beginning and Rune Factory 4 on the 3DS. The creator has no problems with LGBT issues and wants people to play what they want -- but he also knows that with a kid rated game, if they made ways to have same sex (or transgender) characters, people would try to shut it down (which is what happened years ago when they made Harvest Moon for Girl/Cute -- the Japanese version let the female heroine have a "friendship ceremony" with girls that was in all ways identical to the marriage with the male love interests, and it got bowlderized upon localization). So.... on the surface, you choose to play male or female, which in turn determine that you date either females or males. Very hetero- and cis-normative. But....
In Harvest Moon: ANB, the character model is fairly androgynous looking, and you ultimately can unlock ALL hair and clothing types for the main character, making your character look in whatever gendered appearance as you prefer. Some people will refer to you sometimes as a boy or girl but it's fairly infrequent in the dialogue. Ultimately therefore your gender choice does not affect your appearance or behavior, just whether you can date the bachelors or bachelorettes. There are some slight differences in dialogue on occasion but it's kind of random what you get as a guy or girl character.
In Rune Factory 4, you have a predetermined appearance, but once you get past the second act, you can unlock an ability to look like anyone else in the game, including your opposite-gendered counterpart. So I selected playing a "boy" in the game (because I wanted to date the females) but currently I look like the female main character. Interestingly, even though I can't date the guys, I get a lot of flirtation dialogue with them anyway (regardless of the character's appearance).
It's a shame you can't just decide to date everybody AND look/be whatever gender you like, but I think it's pretty cool they tried to get around anticipated censorship and succeeded very well. One day hopefully we can have that without sneaky ways to get past the radar in "kids' games."
Luckily there are older games that definitely do allow for same sex relationships. While I have issues with EA (currently) and the direction of the franchise, I always admired the Sims series (rated Teen) for allowing same sex relationships, even as far back as 2000 when the original game came out. Of course there are "mature" games that allow for same sex relationships as well... the Fallout series you can seduce whomever you like, for example, and you can marry either gender in Skyrim.
Kain Darkwind wrote:
I never remarked upon Aquaman's strength. My insinuation was simply that Deathstroke would be annoyed if you were comparing him to someone most famous for being able to talk to fish.
Not really interested in a true "versus" argument, I was just joking around.