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Old Marm

DeathQuaker's page

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8. RPG Superstar 2013 Star Voter, 2014 Star Voter, 2015 Star Voter. Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber. 6,226 posts (9,562 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

Congrats to your wife, Benjamin, and good luck to both of you!

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

Petty Alchemy wrote:
Congrats Monica! Next year's big voting stage thread won't be the same without you!

Am I wrong thinking she can still vote?

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

Monica Marlowe wrote:
R Pickard wrote:

Frustratingly, in past years, PaizoCon was held on 4th of July weekend, which never worked out because I had family (or other) obligations.

This year they moved it!

... to Memorial Day weekend, when this year and this year only, I have a family obligation that if I miss I'm pretty sure the ghost of my mother will haunt me forever.

And to add icing on the cake, this year, I'm free on 4th of July weekend.

*bangs head against wall*

Rep, if I recall correctly you and I live within a reasonable driving distance, we should hook up one weekend and have coffee.

I live a little far away enough to drive for coffee but certainly if it ever is convenient, I'd love to do that.

I do hope to get to Paizocon at some point, and was really hoping this would be the year, it just didn't work out.

Russ Brown wrote:


DQ, we will post lots of forum updates at least! :(

Thanks! :)

And yeah, a meetup would be fun.

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

Frustratingly, in past years, PaizoCon was held on 4th of July weekend, which never worked out because I had family (or other) obligations.

This year they moved it!

... to Memorial Day weekend, when this year and this year only, I have a family obligation that if I miss I'm pretty sure the ghost of my mother will haunt me forever.

And to add icing on the cake, this year, I'm free on 4th of July weekend.

*bangs head against wall*

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Apparently the release is 9 AM PST, so depending on the timezone you live in you may not be able to get it till later.

I'm annoyed too, I'd hoped to start the DL early this morning, but ah well.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Umbral Reaver wrote:
I've played through the NWN2 OC and Mask of the Betrayer on my main PC. I haven't tried Storm of Zehir, since I heard it has basically no story or characters.

That's not true at all on either count. It's no Planescape: Torment... it's a much more pulpy feeling story than an in-depth philosophical literary narrative, but it very definitely has a followable storyline, and all the characters have distinct personalities; the people you interact with frequently or who you can bring with you in your party are both distinguishable and memorable. I found myself struggling to figure out what NPC companions I wanted to bring with me in terms of what personality I liked best versus mechanical skill, and that's always a good sign the characters are written at least well enough---if the NPCs were only valuable for the mechanics, there would be no such dilemma. There's a decent amount of banter from the NPCs, whether companions, base officers, or people you run into during your travels.

People who wanted "more of the same" in terms of something like Mask of the Betrayer were probably disappointed, but when they made Storm of Zehir they made it clear they were taking a different approach and developing stuff like overland maps and sandboxier elements for folks who wanted more straight up high adventure rather than a grittier personal story.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Umbral Reaver wrote:

Damn! I'd forgotten that in NWN1 XP is divided amongst the party... including creatures that don't even track XP such as familiars and summons.

And I chose to play a summoning-focused wizard. :I

Regarding the PC: understood.

Regarding NWN... that sucks! But IIRC you'll still get enough XP to level up pretty high.

Does NWN2 run on your machine? That is another set of adventures and fan-made modules to download--yes, the engine is clunky and it takes awhile to get the camera to move the way you want it to, but it's still another set of adventures to play through. Of the official games, the OC is pretty good once you get the keep (it's just the slog you have to get through to get to that part), and Mask of the Betrayer is great. Storm of Zehir is fun in a more dungeoncrawl, emulation-of-a-gold-box game kind of way (it reminds me a lot of the Sword Coast Gold Boxers with much better graphics), and it also lets you work out of a keep (actually the same one from the OC--you're playing one of the guilds that moves into the keep) and do some trading/building, etc.

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

MONICA!!!!!!!! Congrats!!!!!!

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

Anthony Adam wrote:
Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
Also, leaving feedback is so important, which I've also really tried to push this year. I don't know if other designers do, but I still go back from time to time and read comments on all of my entries, and they can be powerfully motivating, whether they're praise or criticism or both.

Definitely! Although freelancing time demands didn't let me participate hardly at all this year, I have started going back to the map round and adding a review when I get the chance - I will do this through the next month or two until I have done them all :)

5 down, 27 to go ;)

This is much appreciated!

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

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

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

Quote:


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

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

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

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

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Umbral Reaver wrote:

The specs of this rubbish old machine are not very useful, since they say it should be able to run Crysis.

For reference, I'm currently playing Neverwinter Nights (going to try out some of the modules mentioned) and it still has framerate issues when I turn some of the graphics options off.

:I

The issue is probably that if it's a netbook, you have an integrated video card, and some of those don't play well with video games (like Crysis). Still, it's hard to make suggestions to you when we don't know what your machine can run.

I agree generally with the suggestion to just search GOG.com and go to town.

Or, maybe not buy video games for awhile, throw all the money you'd spend on games in a (not necessarily literal) jar, and eventually buy a new computer instead. You could probably buy a new, still cheap laptop that could outdo your current one by a longshot for a few hundred bucks.

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

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What a lovely post, Monica.

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

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

Chris Lambertz wrote:

Just dropping in to say that Owen has been a wonderful host for this year's competition! Thank you for picking up the responsibility for making this contest awesome, and it's been so great working with someone with such great enthusiasm for the contestants/voters/onlookers throughout the whole thing :)

R Pickard wrote:


CripDyke, I think I know what you’re coming from, and I think particularly in oldskool online forums or intentionally obvious forums where your username is a NAME YOU HAVE PICKED for yourself, so obviously the default is to go with what the person has picked for themselves.

Here, Paizo staff (like Owen), however, just by default have their whole real names as their usernames. I can’t speak for them, but I think unless one of them specifies otherwise, it’s safe to presume they don’t expect to be addressed by their whole names any more than you would address a human being in meatspace like this: “Hello, Bob Smith, how are you, Bob Smith, what are you doing today, Bob Smith?” It would just be weird. Likewise I think anyone who registers a username that IS their real name or something resembling it is okay with just being addressed by their first (or last) name. (And that hopefully if that is not the case they will be clear about that.)

Oddly we Superstar contestants don’t get to pick what’s displayed in the Superstar forum–-it defaults to the name we registered for our mailing address when we registered for the site. I didn’t realize that UNTIL I had gotten into the top 32; I always thought we’d get notified before the announcement and they would ask us what we wanted our author byline to be. Oh well. That's what I get for not paying attention to certain things.

When I registered back in, what… 2008? I never even...

Heya DQ, if you'd like your name reverted, this is definitely within our capabilities! My sincere apologies for not noticing sooner! Go ahead and ping community@paizo.com if you'd like this changed.

And I agree, this is definitely something we should...

Thanks, Chris! If I figure out for sure what I want to do I will email you. :)

Always appreciate how much all of you listen to feedback. I understand not all feedback can be incorporated but feeling listened to is still so important. Thanks.

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

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

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

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

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

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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DM Jelani wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

In PBP I would strongly recommend doing something similar.

Quote:


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

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

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

Quote:


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

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

Quote:
4) normal initiative rules

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anthony Adam wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

Story Time!

When I first got a job at Wizards of the Coast in 2000, I was eventually paired to work on "Tempest Feud" with Jeff Grubb. I was more than a little in awe of Jeff - I still have the 1st edition Monster Manual II I got as a birthday present from my parents in 1983, which though credited to Gary Gygax has Jeff Grubb as a "design consultant."

So I stammered and goobed and generally made a fanboy of myself, and kept calling him "Mr. Grubb."

Eventually, Jeff said if we were going to get anything done, I'd have to call him Jeff. That felt weird for weeks, but eventually I got used to it. And then it helped me feel like we were in the same community.

I have no issue with people being either polite or formal, and I think there's a time and place for using someone's full name.

I also think of all of us as part of the same community. I was a Pathfinder fan long before I was a Paizo employee.

So if anyone is more comfortable using my full name, that's totally fine. But I'm also perfectly happy with being called by my first name here.

:D

Fact Time :P

At least one of us on these boards is a little in awe of EVERY Paizo employee, past, present and future - and a tad jealous too ;)

So I guess, you are all now our "Mr. Grubb" equivalents!

When I first started posting here, I was always addressing Paizo folk as "Mr. Jacobs" and "Mr. Reynolds" and "Ms. Stevens." :) I've gotten more informal since, I don't know if that's a good or bad thing.

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

CripDyke wrote:


It seems not to be common here to address people by their full 'nym, but elsewhere on the internet, that is the social norm. One of the arguments is that this is a chosen name (you get to choose exactly what is displayed), so I should respect your choice. However, if I was to use shorter forms, unless someone called me "Crip" or something first, I'd shy away from using the "first name" part, even in circumstances where I am less confident that the first name actually does equal someone's first name.

If I'm being a stuffy stick-in-the-mud, do let me know.

CripDyke, I think I know what you’re coming from, and I think particularly in oldskool online forums or intentionally obvious forums where your username is a NAME YOU HAVE PICKED for yourself, so obviously the default is to go with what the person has picked for themselves.

Here, Paizo staff (like Owen), however, just by default have their whole real names as their usernames. I can’t speak for them, but I think unless one of them specifies otherwise, it’s safe to presume they don’t expect to be addressed by their whole names any more than you would address a human being in meatspace like this: “Hello, Bob Smith, how are you, Bob Smith, what are you doing today, Bob Smith?” It would just be weird. Likewise I think anyone who registers a username that IS their real name or something resembling it is okay with just being addressed by their first (or last) name. (And that hopefully if that is not the case they will be clear about that.)

Oddly we Superstar contestants don’t get to pick what’s displayed in the Superstar forum–-it defaults to the name we registered for our mailing address when we registered for the site. I didn’t realize that UNTIL I had gotten into the top 32; I always thought we’d get notified before the announcement and they would ask us what we wanted our author byline to be. Oh well. That's what I get for not paying attention to certain things.

When I registered back in, what… 2008? I never even heard of Superstar and, oddly enough, registered with what I wanted to show up on a mailing label, not what I wanted as an author byline. My "Superstar" username IS of course an abbreviation of my name and not a misrepresentation, but it is kind of irksome and weird to be called “R” or "R Pickard" now—but that’s not any of the users’ faults and I don’t care enough to correct them. Oh well. You probably can change your mailing address name, but again, I never realized that’s what they were using for this, and I thought it would be weird/confusing to change it after I got into the top 32. Also, I don't want to change it because I still want have my packages from the Paizo store addressed to R Pickard.

But for what it’s worth, I’d rather be called DeathQuaker or DQ, and otherwise Rep or RP. I don’t mind initializing nicknames, which is a pretty common practice on message boards these days, and there are even people IRL who know my real name who call me “DQ” instead. ;)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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

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

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

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

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Thanks, Curaigh! Feedback is always appreciated.

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

I'll definitely check the book out!

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

Running this contest cannot be easy. Thanks for your hard work, Owen.

I wanted to echo something said here and something I said awhile ago... I never would have entered were it not for the round 1 changeup, that got me interested in and excited about the contest and got some creative juices flowing. And because of that... I'm in the top 8, and looking at places to submit work.

I can't help but share some feedback/idea... but I'd say keep round 2 something different every year, also to keep people on their toes and to make things feel fresher. R3, 4, and 5 are probably always going to be monster, encounter, pitch and 1 even if it's switched up a bit is probably always going to be an item of some kind, so 2's the only opportunity to help freshen things up. I think the map round was cool in part because it was new, but could be something people get tired of (I am not speaking for myself here as I can never have enough maps to look at). BUUUUUT I think a map round should be one of the possibilities that gets cycled into Round 2 (along with, say, archetype, organization, etc.). I also think the map round should be restricted to a larger scale (town, overland, etc.), rather than an encounter/dungeon map since we will see those always in round 4.

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

Woot! Congrats Jason!

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

I think that's a good idea, Anthony.

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

Well, thanks! #o_o#

I'd be down with a shorter voting period--PROVIDED Paizo would be sure it gets enough votes to get the items adequately sorted. I remember some really tense threads popping up toward the end of the voting period this year and I have a feeling some voting fatigue contributed somewhat toward that.

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

I think that's a great idea!

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

Fair enough, Curaigh. :)

But I think the only possible way to stop any expression of bias would be to ban all discussion of items while voting. And I think that might be too extreme to be a valid solution.

FWIW I think any amount of experience I have in the contest only increases my personal biases. I may try be more careful not to express them, but even then only because I'm the kind of person who tries to be careful about that kind of stuff, but I can't guarantee I never will (I probably will indeed fail to do so; stupid, pesky humanity). Especially as all I can do in the future is vote. A newbie might even be better about NOT influencing voting biases because they're not going to pre-anticipate torcs and filigree and earthbreakers and start joking about them the moment they see one of those things and making others sensitive to or anticipate those sorts of items.

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

Establishing that kind of bias will happen no matter who is having the conversation -- and for that matter, the greater amount you vote is probably only going to increase your biases and your desire to vent them, not reduce the problem. The amount you vote in no way qualifies you to be capable of policing your language.

Paizo can decide whether these biases create a problem statistically or not. If they really are a problem, then they can ban certain discussions.

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

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Curaigh wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Curaigh wrote:

A couple of thoughts for the sake of discussion.

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

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

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

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

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
I certainly don't go for "mean," any jokes to the contrary aside. I do want to go for "effective," both in finding a writer we can actually use and in filtering out people who are unlikely to be able to survive the long-term pressure of freelance RPG writing.

I wasn't suggesting you or anyone else involved was being mean about how the rounds were set up. I apologize if that's how my post came across.

The contest is meant to be a challenge. "Nice" things are rarely challenging. That's all I meant. :)

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

RonarsCorruption wrote:
DQ (or should we call you RP, now?), that's very insightful - I never suspected the problem was exactly the opposite that I suspected: that it was the only not-well-defined area in Nar-Voth.

Sorry, missed this earlier. :) DQ is fine, but I'll answer to RP too. :) My name is Rep, although sadly I didn't bother filling out my first name field when registering for the site, never thinking anyone else would ever see it.

Bombadil wrote:

Not at all suggesting that quality has decreased. I think it increases each year and this year had an amazing increase in overall quality in the first round. There is a large pool of potential freelancers from all of the RPGSS finalists. As a community, we're learning and improving from this contest and it shows each year.

Just simply, I'd like to see the contest give designers more time in each round. Even an extra few days would be great to shift pressure away from time and give them every chance to fully develop their idea.

On the other hand, it's interesting to see what people come up with on short notice. And of course they're trying to see what you can produce under a tight deadline. I can understand why they're trying to do it.

On the other hand, it would have been nice to at least get the rules a little early for the encounter -- you are trying to produce, essentially, what you produced in round two and round three more than twice over in the same amount of time (i.e., round two was a map, round three a 600 word entry; round 4 is a map and 1400 words). I don't know if this contest goes for "nice" though. ;)

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

I could have sworn I replied earlier. Huh.

Anyway, yeah, I am really hoping the Four are plugging along nicely.

If I had a giant house and gobs of money and time, I would get all the Dwarven Forge ever. As I have a tiny apartment, a moderate income, and little time, I have to pass on their products. I barely have room for the minis I own! Speaking of, I should get back to some painting....

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Nice to know there's a workaround, but it would be cool if there was a way to fix some of this.

On a somewhat related note, I don't really care about my voter tags (I may be the only one, I know) and I'd love to be able to opt to hide them.

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

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

The reasons archetypes were cut are good ones, and when I mentioned it internally while planning this Superstar, they were repeated. They remain true, and I don't have a good counterpoint at the moment.

(Besides, I was proposing a LOT of changes. I am a bit amazed I was given as much leeway as I was. It helps that the contest is providing such good entries and great community interaction even after those changes.)

I'd modestly like to have one round that's less adventure-design-focused each year, but I can't do that at the expense of finding someone who can write a module we can publish.

But I do like the round, so I'm still thinking about it...

Mikko Kallio wrote:

It's true that archetypes aren't quite so important for a freelancer who only writes adventures.

But how many % of the content RPG Superstars and Superstar finalists design for Paizo are actually adventures?

I know Neil and Jim have written a lot of AP volumes, but it seems to me that the majority of us (Superstar winners and finalists) mostly design other types of content. Or what do you think? I think that might be a good argument for including a round not directly related to adventure design.

I think Mikko has a really good point. While the main goal is to find someone who can produce a quality adventure --- the broader goal is to cultivate potential new designers in general.

And, besides adventures, a good chunk of other RPG products are player-oriented, featuring new options for PCs: classes, archetypes, feats, spells. Testing where someone can write for this rather huge part of the RPG market isn't a horrible idea --- and a crunch heavy round isn't a bad idea either, because you need folks who can prove they understand the game's mechanics intuitively.

Still, I dig the concern that you only have so many rounds and do need to point people in the direction of adventure elements pretty quickly.

And at the same time I also like the idea of something mechanics lite to help a person show off their overall sense of narrative or design in a broader sense.

So it really can go a lot of different ways.

Neil Spicer wrote:


I really liked the change to have a separate mapping round this year, but personally I think it would be even better if it was accompanied by a 300-word, sidebar-equivalent write-up of an organization, region, or even a small nation description reminiscent of the first year of the contest which synergizes with the map itself. That way, there's some context given to the area depicted in the map, and it also showcases a bit more of a contestant's creativity with the written word, even if it's not too crunch-heavy. I think both of those components (i.e., map plus sidebar exposition) still lend themselves well to what it takes for a person to write an adventure module, which is most certainly what you want to test in these potential freelancers.

But that's just my two cents,
--Neil

While I totally dig why a lot of folks have asked for text to go with the maps, as someone who had to do the map round, I'd like to note this:

Trying to sell an area solely on map design and key alone was an amazing and unexpected--in a fun way, for me--challenge. The set up really makes one think about location in a way that perhaps one otherwise wouldn't when one can rely on descriptive text to get through. I also like that to an extent, what is there can be left to the viewer's imagination and see what they think they can do with the place. While I had my own extensive ideas for how I could use my own map, and what the places there represented and so on--I also liked seeing other people react and say what they would use it for, and see what I had communicated well... as well as what I hadn't.

I know the round was very experimental and there is in fact good reason to tweak it or try different things, but I do think there was some unusual value in it that you could not get from other Superstar rounds.

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

Where is the non-oracle seeker? I found the PFS Field Guide one, but not another.

If you were to publish that in one book, that'd been an awful lot of excess word count. But if that's the way they do it, that's good to know.

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

Although I've no reason to know better than anyone else, my instinct is to stick as closely as possible to Paizo's existing format, and consistency in rules layout is important so people always know to find things in the same place.

So.

The existing archetypes usually say, for example, "At level X, the [archetype] gains this ability. It does this. This ability replaces [other class ability]."

I would try to stick to that as much as possible.

If you are replacing single feature that several classes have and gain at the same level--let's say a druid or ranger's wild empathy--you can just leave it as "this ability replaces wild empathy."

If a class gained the ability a different LEVEL than another, and thus the archetype ability was gained at the different level, I would note the level difference at the start of the description as always, and then leave the "replaces" language the same.

For example, where the archetype is called "Weirdo" (and there is a non-existent mechanic called befuddling):

Quirkiness (Ex): A 1st level weirdo rogue or a 3rd level weirdo urban ranger adds 1/2 her level to Sense Motive checks and to Bluff checks when trying to befuddle her opponents. This ability replaces trapfinding.

If you are INSTEAD replacing two different class features but at the same level, I would do it thusly (this time we're using a cleric and oracle and our archetype is called the googly guru):

Holy Moly: At 2nd level, a googly guru adds holy moly to her spell list. This replaces a 1st level domain spell or mystery spell gained at 2nd level.

(ETA: Fixed to actually match how domain spells work. Come to think of it, the above could actually lose the "at 2nd level" as the when it replaces makes it clear when it should come in, and so the cleric and oracle would actually gain it at different times, and that would probably work okay. Generally, my concern below remains.)

I recognize all of the above language could be finessed a bit, but that's the general idea. If it was gained at differing levels AND replaced differing abilities, your language, yes, could get muddy if you're not careful, but at that point I'd be concerned more about the ability itself. It would be very hard to make such an ability that would be a balanced replacement especially if it replaces disparate abilities AND kicks in at different levels. Possible, yes, but your design concerns there are bigger than formatting.

ETA: The other subtle formatting challenge you hit is what to do about pronouns. You are supposed to use male or female pronouns for class mechanics based on the iconic for the class--but if you're using multiple classes, you may use classes with differently gendered iconics behind them. For the quirkiness ability above, I picked "her" since the rogue (Merisiel) would gain the ability first.

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!

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