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DeathQuaker's page

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8. RPG Superstar 2013 Star Voter, 2014 Star Voter, 2015 Star Voter. Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber. 6,191 posts (9,501 including aliases). 5 reviews. 5 lists. 1 wishlist. 14 aliases.


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

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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.

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

I love archetypes and I think it is a particular challenge to do one well--I thought that was a great round back in 2013 in particular, some of my favorite Superstar things came out of that round.

OTOH, I also love maps, so...

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

RonarsCorruption wrote:

Anthony, I have the same feeling as you regarding too much Nar-Voth, but I have a slightly more specific complaint: too much Court of Ether. I don't have Into the Darklands myself, but is it the only named place in Nar-Voth? It's literally part of a tunnel system that travels beneath nearly all of Golarion!

EDIT: found a map online, and it's not! I see eleven other locations on the map alone whose names I didn't see four or five times each round.

Maybe it gets the most detail, or it was just unlucky enough that so many people picked it. Whatever the cause, I know I was much more enamoured with, in both rounds, the people who didn't tie into the Court of Ether over and over again.

People could have made creatures with hellish influences in Krva, or described something from beneath Osiron around Bloodcleft. But instead it ended up being the same thing over and over again.

It really did fatigue me for the setting.

Although I can largely only speak for myself and only guess at what was going on for the others...

I think the challenge we faced regarding using the other named locations in Nar-Voth is that most of those areas are heavily dominated by existing sentient creatures---derro, duergar, mongrelmen, troglodytes, vegepygmies---that if we put our encounters there, they should logically STAR those existing creatures, not the creatures presented in R3. Or if not, the R3 creatures would be threatening the residents, and we'd have to think of a way the PCs would be involved when they'd likely go, "well, let the jerks kill each other off." I even tried to still put my encounter near one of those locations (Kuvohshik) complete with some of its inhabitants, and ended up having an unfocused encounter as a result.

Likewise, it would have been hard in R3 to design new creatures for those areas--at least based on my sense of what I found during my research, what creatures exist in many of those settlements is pretty well defined--the ruling race, their slaves, their beasts of burden, etc.--that it would be quite a challenge to create creatures for those locations and make it feel natural and right, like, "Oh, of course those duergar we've known about forever work all the time with those magical beasts we've never heard of before now." That the Monster Codex in fact filled in a few of those gaps recently (for duergar and troglodytes at least) didn't help. There are likely ways around those issues and perhaps we even missed some opportunities there. Still, it made a lot of sense to design for the "underground wilderness" the majority of Nar-Voth is supposed to be--where there is a much bigger niche to fill--both monster wise, and then ergo encounter-wise.

Undergound fey were one of the few categories of creatures that hadn't been fleshed out, so I would wager the Court of Ether was the one safe sentient-occupied settlement for folks to work with. Of course I can only guess since I didn't make a fey.

On the upside, as there are less restrictions now, hopefully some of the module proposals will involve some of those locations and/or a wider variety of what is available in Nar-Voth.

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

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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.

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

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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... ;)

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

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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. :)

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

CONGRATS!!!

The competition has been seriously tough and I really look forward to seeing what the Top Four produce.

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

Scott LaBarge wrote:
R Pickard wrote:

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

In other news, I sleep now.

I believe that's Brian you want to be shouting for, though I appreciate the sentiment!

And in other news, I am being invited by the RPGSS page to submit my entry for the next round. If only!

That's what I get for trying to read tiny print on my phone! And being slightly delirious. I feel better knowing the system made the same mistake. ;)

Serious apologies to both of you. That's embarrassing. Post is fixed.

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

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

In other news, I sleep now.

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

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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? :)

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

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Good luck with your training, Monica.

And to everyone on the results!

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

OMG yes thank you!!!!

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

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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...?

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

WOW. That is amazing. A lot of hard work!

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

Yay!

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

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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.

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

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
R Pickard wrote:
Mikko Kallio wrote:
Scott LaBarge wrote:
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?

Not all the time, and not quite the same, either.

But sometimes I admit it's a bit like RPG Superstar in slow motion. Instead of waiting a few days to see the monsters or encounters, you may have to wait 6 to 12 months to see how much the developer changed something you wrote, how the art looks like, and how people like it.

But you know it's been accepted for publication.

Not always.

A lot of freelance work form some companies is "Pay upon publication," with no requirement that you be told if it's going to be published, or when. But you can't use it for anything else in the meantime. And you may have spent weeks, or months on it.

I wrote a 120,000 manuscript under a contract in 1998. It still hasn't been published. I can't even find the publisher or my editor anymore. But it could, in theory, be published any day now...

Interesting. Good to know!

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

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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

Mikko Kallio wrote:
Scott LaBarge wrote:
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?

Not all the time, and not quite the same, either.

But sometimes I admit it's a bit like RPG Superstar in slow motion. Instead of waiting a few days to see the monsters or encounters, you may have to wait 6 to 12 months to see how much the developer changed something you wrote, how the art looks like, and how people like it.

But you know it's been accepted for publication.

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

Thank you! I know you are undoubtedly crazy busy.

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

If you go to the main superstar page you should see a confirmation that you submitted your entry. (Although now you're making me paranoid my map didn't go through. But it is at least safely in my sent box with a timestamp well before 5.)

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.

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

Okay, since the half page is confirmed -- just note the sample grid map is 8x10.

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

R Pickard wrote:
Mikko Kallio wrote:

Regarding the maps, the rules say:

•Your map should be one half-page (8.5" x 5.5").
•Your encounter must fit on a Pathfinder Flip-Mat (24 by 30 5-ft. squares, or 120 ft. by 150 ft.). You can download a blank grid with these proportions here (the download is supplied at 150 dpi for printing).

The orientation in half-page maps is landscape, while in full-page maps it's portrait. But if you're allowed to use the whole flipmat (not just half) it should be a full-page map, correct? I've understood that at least in PFS modules that's how it works (exceptions exist but are quite rare, I think).

So, which is the preferred orientation for the map?

As the rules are clear as to what they want for this round--and half page/landscape size may be better for screens so voters can look at it easily--I'm doing what the rules say until I hear otherwise.

I've also definitely seen smaller than full-page flip mat references in PF books. I've seen full page maps too.

Well, we may need to revisit this, given the grid download we were provided is 8"x10" portrait. Which also provides no real room for a key (I am presuming you don't want to obscure what would be part of the flipmat).

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Couple other notes --

First, yes, metal minis can be better off varnished.

I varnish sometimes less for the protection and more for appearance -- a matte varnish makes sure everything is appropriately uniformly flat/matte in appearance, especially an issue if I've used some inks, washes, or additives that have left an odd shine on some of my paint work. I think it just looks nice, too.

A gloss varnish, while it should be used judiciously because glossy minis can look off and ruin the contrast in a paint job, can also be appropriate for appearance if you want to make something look slick and wet, for example (I use it on bits of my WarMachine Cryx figures to make them look appropriately oooky). Gloss varnish IS also very protective (with the caveat about bendy plastic figures that Doug's Workshop notes), and does help protect things from getting scratched.

All this said, it is not necessary, and minis can look just fine unvarnished and not scratch or chip much either.

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

Mikko Kallio wrote:

Regarding the maps, the rules say:

•Your map should be one half-page (8.5" x 5.5").
•Your encounter must fit on a Pathfinder Flip-Mat (24 by 30 5-ft. squares, or 120 ft. by 150 ft.). You can download a blank grid with these proportions here (the download is supplied at 150 dpi for printing).

The orientation in half-page maps is landscape, while in full-page maps it's portrait. But if you're allowed to use the whole flipmat (not just half) it should be a full-page map, correct? I've understood that at least in PFS modules that's how it works (exceptions exist but are quite rare, I think).

So, which is the preferred orientation for the map?

As the rules are clear as to what they want for this round--and half page/landscape size may be better for screens so voters can look at it easily--I'm doing what the rules say until I hear otherwise.

I've also definitely seen smaller than full-page flip mat references in PF books. I've seen full page maps too.

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

Thank you!

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

Given two Monday holidays occur through the Superstar season, perhaps a good idea to consider a different announce day than Tuesday in future contests.

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

Thanks, Chris!

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

We can submit our entries, but have no rules for them yet.

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

CripDyke wrote:

My bête noire?

Quote:

...but its TRUE power...

Oh, please.

So it doesn't actually do that other thing you just said it does? That's its false power? What?

Worse, if possible, are "...but its real power..." and "...but its actual power...".

It turns out my REAL power as a voter was to down vote every item that used this.

Lots of items have multiple functions. Inevitably, most functions will be different in power. This does not make one more "real" or more "true" as a power than any other. Frankly, this was a quirk of one or a few writers in Advanced D&D that has been reflexively (and, IMNSHO, regretfully) been carried forward.

If you really think that the other power isn't "true" or "real", fine. Why did you include it? Did you make it clear that the item just tricks its owner into thinking it does that?

If you really think that the other power is "true" or "real" or "actual" and you used this phrase anyway, it says that you haven't even thought about what the words you are writing actually mean.

If you can write an item without thinking, well, I compliment you on possessing this odd ability, but it's not remotely something I would consider "superstar".

This post is valuable, as is this thread, no matter when it had originally been created. Advice like this always needs to be reviewed.

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

Russ Brown wrote:


I learned a lot, especially in the monster round and I will be continuing to pursue RPG design, most likely as a second career in addition to my day job.

*CHEERS*

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!)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

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I ban whining, chatter that distracts from game when the GM asked people to shut up and focus ten times already, and people who do not provide the GM chocolate.

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

The competition is really tough, and this is one where I'm not sure if the exit polling will be accurate, so I wouldn't jump the gun. There were pros and cons to everything, but I truly thought everyone had some great ideas. :)

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

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Thanks all for the feedback and comments. I fully admit I have not designed a lot of monsters in my time so really wasn't sure how this was going to turn out, and even in spite of many--legitimately pointed out--flaws, I am happy with how this turned out, and moreover that many were sufficiently creeped out by it or could see ways to use it. It's interesting to see it compared to a lot of things from pop culture I'm not actually familiar with (except wheelers, but I wasn't really thinking of those). :)

What follows is a lengthy set of explanations and answers to concerns and suggestions mentioned. They are not excuses. Read or not as you desire.

Spoiler:

YOU DIDN'T ALPHABETIZE THE IMMUNITIES None of you will ever understand how very angry I am at myself for doing this, given I only checked the document for consistent alphabetization approximately 800 times, and my friends who checked over my creature didn't notice it either.

How does the "wheel" work? Being a magical creature, it could any number of ways, but I picture it like this: the hind legs of this insectoid have turned in and move on a complex series of turny joints, and have grown large chitinous flaps that come together to make the wheel shape. If you looked with invisi-vision through these flaps, you would see the hindlegs gyrating away to create forward or backward motion.

Although I also dig the idea of a symbiosis or synthesis with a giant pillbug. Why not?

"It's not a magical beast!" So, I did a LOT of Bestiary reading through, and a LOT of examining of magical beasts in particular. I also looked at, for comparison, aberrations, animals, and vermin. Amongst the magical beasts, I read about many truly bizarre creatures, such as a human-faced shapeshifting spider spellcaster (aranea), a elepha-camel that drinks and spews magic (disenchanter), a bull with natural grown stone armor and a breath attack (gorgon), a space whale (oma), and many more. I don't see "huge bug with a spherical hind-limb" to be any weirder than those things (in many cases it's less weird), and no less likely an "evolution" than, say, a lion that's grown a scorpion tail and dragon wings. The PRD says

PRD wrote:
Magical beasts are similar to animals but can have Intelligence scores higher than 2 (in which case the magical beast knows at least one language, but can't necessarily speak). Magical beasts usually have supernatural or extraordinary abilities, but are sometimes merely bizarre in appearance or habits.

The spiroskek fits this; it is more insectoid than animal, but other intelligent insectoids and arachnids are found amongst magical beasts, such as the aranea and ankheg.

It also is much more like an aranea, ankheg, or gorgon than it is like, say, a cloaker or a gug or most other aberrations, whose "bizarre anatomies" tend to not merely stop at something like a wheel-like appendage and be more things like carnivorous eyeballs and flaps of stalactite shaped toothy skin that eat people. I feel strongly aberration would be inappropriate.

It cannot be vermin, because vermin by definition are always mindless, without an Intelligence score (even an ankheg, with its whopping Int of 1, is a magical beast).

No, Rep, I'm sorry, it's just too weird: My magic pruning tool and quaint cliffside town were seen by some as too normal, boring, and safe. I figured I needed to amp it up a little. Can't win. ;) Really, the Darklands is occupied by mongrelmen, vegepygmies, araneas, gugs, and other utterly, twisted and bizarre things. If I was going to make a Darklands creature I felt it needed to be a bit odd and creepy at least. Sorry it didn't work for some.

Small, Medium or Supersize? I most definitely checked statistics for an elk before drawing the comparison and expected most detail oriented enough to question it would do the same; as you can see from the link they are Medium-sized creatures. Cervids do look bigger than they are because of their antlers; I wanted to draw a similar comparison because I pictured the spiroskek's antennae, etc. also giving it "height." In retrospect, perhaps I should have picked a different creature.

I did not want to make them any larger than Medium for this reason: I have run Darklands-based adventures, and high level ones at that. Many high CR creatures are Large or larger. But Darklands are supposed to be full of tunnels, and even larger caverns can be filled with columns, stalactites, and other obstacles. Running fights with Large or larger creatures--using for example the Darklands flip-mat or the Caverns map pack to help provide terrain--I found that PCs quickly had the advantage regarding maneuverability. So I felt what the underground needed were some Medium, maneuverable enemies, and the spiroskek in part came out of this concern. I would definitely not be cool with the spiroskek being made larger. Its momentum is in part the source of its force---force equals mass times acceleration squared, after all. For its Medium size, it could have been heavier; that's one of those things I don't have a good sense of estimating and need to work on.

As for if it is TOO big or awkward or weirdly built to do what it does: tunnels where most adventures take place would seldom be smaller than Medium, because many PCs are not smaller than Medium, not to mention many Darklands residents such as duergar, drow, troglodytes, and mongrelmen. And duergar in particular would probably be pretty good at maintaining travelable passages for its slave caravans, trade groups, fighting sorties, and so on. So I figured a Medium-sized creature would not have trouble maneuvering. And especially not in Nar-Voth in particular, where there appears to be, relatively speaking, lots of passages to major settlements (good hunting grounds for the spiroskeks) connected by the Long Walk. Maybe I misunderstand how it works, but my sense of the Long Walk is it is large and generally smooth enough it could be host to spiroskek speed rallies easily. An early draft did mention the Long Walk and trade routes but I had to cut it for space.

I do dig the concern about there being a lot of difficult terrain in many areas, and in retrospect, rather than nod to that meagerly with Nimble Moves, I should have just allowed wheel barbs to ignore difficult terrain, which would also reduced charge issues with monstrous momentum.

Silent Image feels tacked on: I worried about this; an early draft had nothing like this and a friend commented it needed some mystical abilities to reflect Darklands flavor more, and that if it hunted humanoids and fey, an illusory ability would be appropriate. Another friend commented it needed something to help tie its tactics together. This did it and I felt made it feel more "Darklandy"---BUT I concede this: it should have been a special ability that more limitedly just glamered terrain. I honestly did the spell-like ability because it strained the word count less, and that's not good reasoning.If I could revise this, I would change the ability in this way.

With its mental stats, it should have more culture: I wanted it to seem vicious and thus "uncultured," but in retrospect I agree, and actually I should have built on the idea of an "oral" (well, clicky-vibraty) tradition of hunting stories and so on. I do stand by it being loyal according to nest and not species, but accept one's mileage may vary on that idea. FWIW, I gave it its own language because I don't see it capable of "normal" speech (much like the flail snail has its own written language it scribes with its slime).

Bleed doesn't work/isn't explained well: I imagined the spiroskeks relying on it in the way theheadkase described. But I also concede it's not described well. One thought I've had since is that it should instead have a gore attack (like horns on a stag beetle) which fits in with a creature whose attack is built on a charge.

I wish, as we all do, I had more time---unfortunately the week the top 16 was announced, I became occupied by a number of things entirely out of my control, including having to serve jury duty and being selected for a trial. I've kept Superstar pretty high priority, but even it is beaten by showing up for the trial so I don't get arrested for contempt of court. I actually turned in my monster early because I was afraid on Friday I was going to be in the courtroom without Internet access all day through the deadline. Oh, and yes, I did make practice monsters before the round, but I did not anticipate the "twist" AT ALL (I figured underground monsters had pretty much been done, but I guess that's why making more new ones is a challenge)--so it goes. If this were a real freelance assignment, when the editor/client contacted me about it, I would have immediately explained the circumstances and said I could definitely deliver something but it might lack the polish it deserves, and that if they decided to go with another writer, I'd understand. And with the spiroskek, if you decided it lacked polish and thus decided to give your vote to another monster, I understand.

Coulda-Shoulda-Woulda: If I could revise this creature, it would have the above mentioned gore attack instead of bleed, a more precise terrain glamer, and wheel barbs would allow it to ignore difficult terrain. Nimble Moves would be removed and feats would be rejiggered to include Dodge, Mobility, and Spring Attack (adding any of these as bonus feats as needed).

This has been an especially exciting round, and the competition VERY stiff, so it's just amazing to get this far, even if I go no further.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

sanwah68 wrote:
Just for info, I had used the Humbrol brush-on varnish, and the mini was still tacky after about 3 months....however, hit it with some Testor's Dullcote and the tackiness was eliminated....magic stuff.

Humbrol varnishes are solvent-based, intended for use with their enamel line of paints (used for things like model cars); they are normally not compatible with acrylics--what most people use for game minis--which are water-soluble. They can definitely make any acrylic-painted model tacky, regardless of whether it's Bones or not. (And if not tacky, they can actually remove or otherwise wreck the paint job. This doesn't always happen, but it can.)

The Dullcote's own drying agents probably effectively removed the solvent.

Presuming you are working with miniature-line paints (Reaper, Citadel, Vallejo, etc.) or otherwise with craft acrylics, you have to make sure any additives and sealants you use are acrylic compatible. As a rule of thumb never mix anything solvent-based with water-based unless you're really sure of what you're doing.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Regarding tackiness---first of all, I have yet to deal with tackiness on my Bones so I'm only guessing based on others' reports, but it looks like there's two possible times the mini can get tacky:

- If you use a primer/basecoat that is not compatible with the PVC the Bones are made of.

- If you use a sealant/varnish after painting that is not compatible with the PVC the Bones are made of.

It's important to note the sealant or varnish is not necessary... and because Bones are pretty durable and/or you just want table ready minis for gaming, you may be fine without it.

If you do want to varnish your minis--it can look nice and protects your minis--all I can say is I've had best results with Testor's Dullcote anyway (looks nicest and applies well and with adequate shaking even works in the humid area I live) and find it worth the money--which, mind, is between around $5 and $8 depending on where you buy it and it lasts awhile, so I don't consider it a bank breaker either.

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

I feel for you, dude. Hard enough being a "P." A lot of folks seem to peter out about halfway through.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

GentleGiant wrote:
Just be aware that if you do decide to prime the Bones minis and you use the wrong kind of primer, you'll end up with tacky minis that won't dry completely.

True, although if he follows your excellent advice about washing the mini first, that minimizes that danger.

Since it sounds like Lorathorn is aiming at getting a Reaper kit to start with, he should be okay.

But you remind me... another good product to keep on hand....

A bottle of Simple Green cleaning liquid. If you have a botched paint job, soak your mini in an undiluted cup of Simple Green for about a day, then brush/scrape off paint under running warm water. That will safely strip most minis, even plastic ones, and Simple Green is okay to pour down your sink unlike many other agents others suggest for paint stripping. (Plus Simple Green is a pretty good cleaning fluid to keep around).

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

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R D Ramsey wrote:

So let me ask, in all good faith...

Does it make a difference to readers of the published materials?

And if not, why bother?

Makes a difference to me. Now, I'm not a typical reader in that I also do freelance editing so I often notice "wrong" dash usage and find it distracting, but it shows me a given publisher has high production standards and is ensuring easiest readability for their readers. The truth is many readers might not actively notice the differences, but yet their eyes will still scan the pages differently if punctuation choices are off (as Garrett elaborated upon).

Garrett, thanks for pointing out the issue with minus signs vs en-dashes in screen readers (everybody should read that spoiler)... I never knew that, and I have two players who use JAWS screen reading software and that's actually important to know as sometimes I mail them statblocks/character sheets.

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

Monica Marlowe wrote:

Good news - my dad is out of his procedure, he is fine and will be coming home later this afternoon.

Thank you everyone, you've been awesome. It's nice to have support when you need it for any reason.

Hurrah!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Part 2:

Reaper Bones do not technically need to be primed if you paint them with Reaper paint. They are formulated to work specifically with Reaper paint. Some other paints will bead off if you do not prime first, same for any other mini. So if you choose not to use Reaper paint, you will need primer for your Bones. I would suggest getting some primer anyway. Most brush on primers are fine; I use acrylic gesso but that takes a little getting used to. Spray primers--most recs I see are for Krylon matte black/white/gray primer that you can get at any old general purpose or automotive store, let alone at a craft store.

You should at some point experiment with different primer colors. White, black, grey all have pros and cons, and it's down to preference and painting style. I like to build up dark to light so I often use black primer. Others swear by white and get great results. If you're going no primer for now of course Bones default to white, but of course you could just paint them gray or black if you wanted to try something different.

I do really like Reaper paints. They have a nice consistency and only need to be thinned with water --- BUT it is important to note they feel and work differently from other paints because they do already have paint additives like flow improver mixed in. I personally find them worth the money.

However, pretty much all the miniature-brand paints are good--Citadel, Reaper, Vallejo, Privateer Press. They each have a different feel. It may take time to figure out what works for you. As time and money comes available, you might buy one from each and see how you like it. Certainly some of the packaged kits are a good way to start. Otherwise starting colors I suggest are black, white, gray, light brown, dark brown, cream, yellow ochre, metallic gold, metallic silver, and red, yellow, grass green, royal blue, light blue, purple. You may wish to throw in flesh tones and other colors as you see fit depending on your project.

If you prefer to go cheap and buy craft acrylic, make sure you buy some acrylic paint thinner too, as they will need to be thinned to be workable at miniature scale. There are other additives that may also make them more usable (some people like to mix in a little Pledge with Future Shine because it has an acrylic component that improves the paint flow).

If money left over, I suggest picking up a bottle of Citadel's Agrax Earthshade -- this is a "wash" or "shade" that is translucent, and is a useful quick shader for various purposes.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

First and foremost:

ALERT! DANGER!

DO NOT GO CHEAP ON BRUSHES.

I REPEAT DO NOT GO CHEAP ON BRUSHES.

Buy the kolinsky sable watercolor, size 2 round. If you can't afford the Series 7, settle for Windsor and Newton artist watercolor series, or something comparable. I use the artist series. It's pretty easy to find them on sale at Dick Blick's or at Plaza Art stores.

IT MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE. It is much easier to paint with a good brush, because high quality brushes do not lose their tips/their tips don't bend or splay, and when you're painting something at a 28 millimeter scale, you want that tip to keep its integrity!

Moreover, while, yes, it is more costly up front, it will save you money in the long run. A well cared for high quality brush will last you two to four times as long AT LEAST as the "cheaper" brush, meaning ultimately you will be spending more on your "cheap" brushes because you will have to replace them more often.

I told a friend getting into painting this advice. He said, "Oh, but I'm new, I don't want to waste money on my lack of talent." I told him he would regret it and he must get good brushes. A year later, he finally bought high quality brushes and he said, "Oh my god, why didn't I listen to you? I could have painted better so much more quickly if I'd had these brushes all along." (A good brush makes you paint "better" because it's easier with a good brush to paint detail and cover consistently without leaving brush marks. It won't make you more talented of course, but it works with you to get the end result you want, rather than against you, which is what a cheap brush does.)

Buy a little brush soap (cheap) to clean the brushes after every use, and store them upright (I've seen some advice to store them on their sides so excess moisture doesn't go into the ferrule, but I feel like that would just make the moisture settle to one side).

If there is ONE thing you invest in for minis, it should be a good brush.

The only "cheap" brushes you should have are for drybrushing and terrain painting.

Thus ends part 1.

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