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Old Marm

DeathQuaker's page

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8. RPG Superstar 6 Season Star Voter, 7 Season Star Voter, 8 Season Star Voter. Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber. 6,393 posts (10,015 including aliases). 5 reviews. 5 lists. 1 wishlist. 17 aliases.


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RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Thanks for the reply, Cort.

Personally I'd love to see a counter on my profile or something that shows how often I've voted, but I don't need or want it in my title.

I love Ambrosia Slaad's idea of an icon, but also share her concerns about bandwidth on y'all's end. We already tax your servers quite a bit. That would look really cool though...

Congrats on getting the season 9 glitch fixed!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

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Yes, this is what we call "victim-blaming."

The onus is on people to not be creeps, and the community to discourage a!!%#$# behavior. The "jerks will be jerks" attitude is unbelievable -- jerkish behavior is BEHAVIOR, and behavior can be changed. I can't change that I am a woman, and the notion that 51% of the human population should hide who they are or be ashamed of it because they might get hurt is ridiculous.

It's all the more ridiculous on a message board owned by a company with a large female staff, including a female CEO. Should we tell Lisa Stevens not to tell anyone who she is because she might get harassed in the gaming industry?

ETA: Oh, and I missed this the first time: the suggestion that people who get harassed encourage it for attention's sake is downright insulting. No lynching, just callout, a flag, and a block for that. That's what we're supposed to do, right?

Upthread I've encouraged people to report when stuff happens and be clear about boundaries with folks, and that's the best we can do--and what I have done (the situation that did happen to me I did report, explain to the person why I was uncomfortable, and got out of the situation). We can also call people out on poor behavior, and encourage a welcoming community. That doesn't preclude sympathy to those who may not feel secure playing with certain strangers on the Internet, especially as even if we did build an ideal community of nice people here, they may still have had bad experiences elsewhere.

But always, always, always, the effort is to make folks be comfortable to be themselves and assert their boundaries, not make them feel like they have to hide or be ashamed of themselves with this community. Note "be a jerk" is not included in "being yourself" as again, toxic social behaviors are not innate and can and should be encouraged to change.

Korak, I agree, you have to set boundaries very clearly, especially in communities where a number of us are socially awkward/not good at social cues.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

You could also check out the armor as DR rules (although I hate dealing with damage reduction personally) as another option.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

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I know I'm being a fuddy duddy, but I've been finding I want to vote less this year in Superstar because I've got this long string of "star voter" tags and don't want to make my title any longer than it is. It already feels cluttery to me. (The season 9 glitch just makes it worse.)

I am also proud enough--perhaps overly, I warrant--that I'd rather just have my Top 8 tag show up without any other things next to it to distract from it (save perhaps my subscriber tag, which got eaten by my top 8 tag due to some other forum glitch).

I know many RPGSS voters are very proud of their voting accomplishments, especially those who've reached champion and marathon, and this is not intended to diss those who've put so much time into the contest and want to wear their badges proudly. I'd just personally not rather have the voter tags.

Can they be removed? (Without borking anyone else's up?)

Thanks.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

I felt that the advanced classes were one of the problems with d20 Modern because the forced multiclassing could bork BAB/Save progression (they hadn't quite gotten that figured out properly).

For your purposes, I would suggest using straight up Pathfinder classes--especially because you ARE using fantasy, and the PF classes are properly balanced for fantasy (nitpickers take the comment with the requisite grain of salt but hopefully you know what I mean), but take abilities and feats from d20 Modern suited to contemporary/future technology---maybe turning some base class talent trees into archetypes for Pathfinder classes.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

You could also go back to d20 modern for ideas. An innate class-based Defense bonus reduces reliance on armor which may be needed for a setting like that.

I wouldn't limit spellcasting classes to 10th level, as IMO the ability to cast spells will at some point fail to mitigate the considerably lower base attacks, saving throws, and hit dice. If you're worried about too much magic power, I might limit spellcasting classes to "half-casters." I am not familiar with Dreamscarred's psionics rules to make suggestions (unfortunately I'm one of those people who was all for switching psionics to just another form of magic and had already done that for my own revision of d20 Modern), but the equivalent of maximum 4 or 6th spell level classes rather than full casters.

Most class conversions would otherwise focus on updating skills and knowledges for contemporary knowledge.

The main thing otherwise in terms of conversion is to think about how you want to handle firearms if they exist in this world; if it is post-contemporary, contemporary firearms load faster, carry more ammo, etc. than what IIRC the Paizo firearms rules allow for. (Many feel the d20 Modern firearms did not do enough damage, but those folks forget that system used a differing damage threshold system that effectively made them potentially more lethal. The problem there is that damage threshold system can also complicate things and is probably not worth using.)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Thanks, Jiggy. I'm sorry you went through that, too, and hope you reported it.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

GM Solspiral wrote:


-Past top 8's write the good joke items knowing they won't win but will give some people pause and there's a secret board somewhere where they laugh at our snark and praise threads.

Hey! How come I wasn't invited? ;_;

Lorathorn wrote:

RPG Superstar is not meant to cultivate creative talent so much as it is to cultivate efficient editors and developers.

I know people are joking, but I feel the need to point out that while I have done some freelance editing for Paizo (and hope to keep doing so!), that was under an application entirely separate from RPG Superstar. :p

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

GM Mowque wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
. I've already had to deal with creepy invasive GMs before and am not keen to do it again. I don't feel the world is unsafe, I KNOW it is unsafe based on direct personal experience.

And that is a sad, sad thing that even PBP online gaming isn't safe for people.

I never even thought about this issue, to be honest. But is obviously a real one. I suppose there is no way to address it for a GM who is normal (like myself)?

Thanks for being concerned.

I would just strive to be respectful to your players and if you want to deal with controversial or potentially triggering material, then check in with the players beforehand to be sure they are okay with such a thing---and if you see someone being treated badly, to report it.

If it's a question of presenting a solo game so people feel safe to apply to it---well, some folks will or won't and there may be little you can do to change their minds; people are going to do what they're comfortable with and that's about it. But you can in your solo games make it clear what your parameters will be in terms of tone and the like, and if you establish a reputation as a trustworthy solo GM, more will apply to such games over time.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

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DoubleGold wrote:
The world is safe. Just certain cities that aren't, but I also live in a town/city where troublemakers are rare. And where I work, the worst you get is a jerk/rude customer 10% of the time.

I have been made to feel unsafe on these boards, which was the point.

Good for you, that your circumstances allow you to remain oblivious to the harder parts of life. I pray you learn to be compassionate towards those who can't be, rather than insinuate they're wrong for living a life different from you.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

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I think it can also depend on either experimental attitudes -- seeing how one character can handle something -- and the type of story you want to tell (there's one "hero" rather than a band of players).

FWIW I'm with you regarding the leeriness, I wouldn't volunteer for a solo game with a GM I didn't know or trust (I'd totally be down with someone I did know well and trusted). I've already had to deal with creepy invasive GMs before and am not keen to do it again. I don't feel the world is unsafe, I KNOW it is unsafe based on direct personal experience.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Well, for Fallout, as long as I have a 3rd person option, I'm good. I'm not one of those people who needs 1st person to "feel more immersed." I like playing in 3rd person.

But for other games, yes, adjusting FOV mitigates, though does not cpletely eliminate the effect. I was able to play some Borderlands with a friend for a little while because the FOV was more forgiving.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

Indeed! The issue of digital programs came up because some folks don't have scanners to scan in a hand-drawing.

But IMO some of the best maps we saw last year were handdrawn. (We also had excellent computer generated ones and half-and-half... it's all down to the quality of the design, as Taylor says.)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

Twisted Path wrote:


I'm guessing that in that Campaign Cartographer thingy, that you would be using artwork that is built into the tool, such as grass, trees, rocks, whatever?

Does this mean we can use something like RPTools to make our map?

The rules in previous years said you can use map-making programs (as well as digitally draw, or hand-draw and scan), as long as the work is your own.

The one thing I would be careful about is making sure any artwork you use that comes with the program is licensed to be used freely (e.g., don't use icons that have a restricted license/IP).

Note they could always change the rules for this year.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

Town of Griffon Falls

(Obviously, we did a map on any scale. We had to stick to an 8x10 sized image. We did flip-mat sized encounter maps for round 4, but I did my round 4 map in Campaign Cartographer, albeit with some digital cleanup afterward.)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

Jason Daugherty wrote:
Are there any good suggestions for programs to do that with?

My personal answer is the GIMP (http://www.gimp.org/) which is a Gnu-license raster image program akin to Photoshop. When I have mentioned this before, there are some people who've responded "NOOOOOOO" because they find GIMP non-user-friendly. And, well, while there are aspects of it that take some getting used to, I've not had much issue working with it (I'm a secretary and freelance copy editor with a degree in English, so no pro graphics training here). I did the digital aspects of my round 2 entry last year in this program.

If you happen to have Photoshop or a similar program, of course, use that.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

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Twisted Path wrote:


I'm hoping that I make to Round 2, but concerned about being able to submit a legal map entry if I do make it.

So, 24 x 36 grid, or 24 x 30? People have said both in this thread. So, my entire image should be 24 squares x 30(36?) squares, with nothing going outside that area.

I don't have a scanner, or a printer. So, I'm also concerned about being able to use the grid that will be supplied to us.

I'm pretty much looking at drawing by hand onto a sheet of graph paper. That leads to another issue, making this the right DPI. I'll probably have to take a photo of my map and then load it into my computer. Not sure about how I'm going to meet the requirements from there.

This is all moot if I don't make Round 2, but I'm hoping to figure this stuff out in advance, just in case.

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!

If you have a means to edit images digitally (there are free programs that can help you with that), you could also create the image on the grid you download without needing to either print or scan anything.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

Thrawn007 wrote:

Although it's slightly off topic, because I'm not about to post on DQ worthy sins, but my outlook is very different than the majority of the voters. I hear again and again how much pricing errors can be forgiven, but template errors are a major sin. Or that "cool" is ore important than sound mechanics. I come at things from the exact opposite side of things.

Criteria #1 for me is always - How would this item impact the game if it went in as is?
- Is it too powerful?
- Is it too cheap?

Those are the biggest sins for me by far. If it's something that would require errata or house rules to keep it from ruining aspects of the game, then that tells me the author doesn't really have a fundamental sense of play balance. Lots of people can write fluff. I want sound mechanics first and foremost. Good fluff to go with it is icing on the cake.

Why? I see this as a window into how this writer will balance other things. If they start out creating unbalanced items, will they follow with unbalanced encounters in an adventure? A lot of GM's (like everyone running PFS) depend on the writers to walk that fine line between too strong and not challenging enough. Having potential writers who have things that stray far from that line is a huge red flag to me.

So not a DQ worthy thing, but just another perspective from a voter. (A minority perspective I'm sure.)

Template errors are complained about and considered, in a certain sense, more egregious, because they are ENTIRELY AND VERY EASILY AVOIDABLE. All you have to do is copy and paste the template from the rules page, and use it. Boom! No template errors.

A template error also suggests that if they didn't use that template, which is provided on the detailed rules page, that they didn't in general read said rules page at all.

If a contestant can't be bothered to press Ctrl+C and then Ctrl+V (and probably read the rules to boot), what else can't they be bothered to do? It doesn't make the writer look good on any level. Definitely not Superstar.

Not to mention, most items with major template issues seldom are well-written either. Few if any ever make it into the top 32, and not because of template problems per se, but because they were not Superstar material for many reasons. Failure to perform that kind of attention to detail shows up elsewhere as well, usually.

Pricing issues are, while a major potential balance issue as you say, a far more subjective issue, and nowhere near as easily avoidable. While there are rules that guide one to determine the price of a magic item, there is a LOT of leeway there, depending upon the item's actual effect (the calculation for the crafting spell's effect may not be suitable if the item only does part of what the spell actually does--or more than what it odes). Even following the rules precisely, folks may determine your item to be over- or underpriced (which has happened to me). You can't just copy and paste the magic formula to make your cost automatically perfect; there's nothing in the contest rules to help you (save to reference the very broad and subjective existing pricing rules), and a lot of little stuff to simply remember (like don't halve the masterwork item price when determining cost for crafting weapons and armor.... *whistles innocently*). This is an area where it is as much art as science, and there probably are even published items that are poorly priced, unfortunately, because of this.

Publishing-wise, if the item is otherwise excellent, it's easier for a developer to fix a price/cost issue (one-two numbers need to be edited), than to take the time it takes to fix the formatting (several lines of text need to be edited).

A Superstar will probably ballpark a decent item price, but anyone can copy and paste a template. If someone fails to do even the latter, that person is not only not a Superstar, that person has even failed to accomplish what anyone can do.

Bottom line, if it's easy to do, it's more unforgivable, because the designer should have known better. The harder thing is more forgivable because even a pro might screw it up.

This isn't to say price/cost isn't important, it's just a different level of evaluation. Good pricing of course is always an impressive feat worth a lot of praise, and sign that someone is a talented and careful designer, at least. It will matter more as the vote goes on and more culls occur, when what it may come down to is two very good items, but one is priced better.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

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NOTHING IS WORTHY OF ME, NOTHING! ALL IS BENEATH ME!!!!

.

*cough*

.

Oh, right.

You know, "disqualification" is one word. Shouldn't it be "D"?

Thus ends DeathQuaker's annual THE ABBREVIATION FOR DISQUALIFICATION HURTS MY HEAD post

Anyway, yes, just to repeat it the nth time for fun, it's if you obviously designed the item for a different game. Errors are not auto-disqualifications. It'd be like saying leaving in one of the ZZs in the pastable template is against the rules. It's not, just a mistake. IIRC, even some of the winning module proposals have had (minor) rules errors in them.

I think the disqualifiable stuff is the big, broad rulebreakers like breaks 300 word limit, is written for other game, violates IP, writer identifies their own item prematurely, etc.

*goes off to buy a Blizzard(TM)*

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

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Rather than speculate further, I'd just advise re-reading what Owen has said about the round so far, not read too much into it beyond what he has said, look at prior map rounds and encounter rounds, and practice practice practice.

Regarding quality of artwork: what is important is clarity, what the person can see there. Good artwork AND clarity might wow some voters, but the point is to make something a professional cartographer can turn into a final art product (read: you are not expected to provide a final art product).

READ OVER THE PRIOR MAP ROUND. You'll see black and white drawings with high praise--because the location was INTERESTING and the design was CLEAR--and pro-looking artwork dismissed because it was not exciting and it wasn't clear what everything was.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

Thrawn007 wrote:


I would just hate to assume that, and then find out that the cartographer expects lots of notes on the map to help them along in visualizing it.

I would suggest looking at last year's round 2 (ninja'ed by Jacob with the same advice!) - we were only given 8 words for a map title and were allowed to include a legend (I am not sure what your rules are regarding a legend) so everything had to be apparent from the map itself or the legend. Reading comments on 2015's Round 2, especially from those by the cartographer-judge, Robert Lazzaretti, will also help with might might need to be obvious. While those maps are often larger than flip-mat size, it doesn't matter for depicting what's on them clearly.

Also look at any years' round 4 maps for those encounter maps, and what ones were considered most useful.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

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I would GUESS that the map would be an encounter map and someone in round 4 would have to chose from round 2 maps to use in their encounter.

So, IF I AM CORRECT (and I may not be), it would be an encounter map first and foremost.

Note a lot of flip-mats ARE also specific adventure locations in Paizo's adventure paths and modules, however: the pirate ship is the PC's pirate ship in "Skull and Shackles;" one of the first dungeon maps is the entire dungeon in "Crypt of the Everflame"; the bandit outpost is a key location early on in "Kingmaker"; etc. So good flip-mats are detailed enough to serve as specific locations while also being versatile enough to sell as products that a GM may use for a number of purposes.

Just make lots and lots of maps, basically.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

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I didn't submit because I can't (and if I could I wouldn't because I'm still exhausted from the last Superstar), but I came up recently with an entirely non-Superstar, completely useless item that I LOVE: a wooden artist's mannequin that takes on the appearance of any humanoid you want (for the purposes of accurate drawing and also sticking it next to your sleeping party member and seeing their face when they wake up next to a tiny orc). Because every adventurer needs that!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

IIRC, the ancient Celts were one of the races that first developed iron -- the absolute HEIGHT of technology of that time. Were they not largely, eventually conquered and assimilated by Romans, Anglo-Saxons, etc. (who had better technology of war) they as their own race would probably embrace whatever tech allowed them to advance, same as anyone else.

Many of the gods are nature oriented for the same reason for other similar pantheons--the "gods" represent otherwise inexplicable forces of nature (and such forces of nature can still rock a steampunk--or contemporary world--as seen by earthquakes, typhoons, etc. and their effect on the real world). No one is going to stop recognizing the power of nature because of technology (although perhaps some of our own cultures try, usually with little good result). At the same time, Celts who had access to high technology would very likely, certainly use it.

I would tie steamtech to artisanship (the arts/power of man), magic (in an ancient view it is another form of technology), and of course war, for its uses theirin, and thus the gods most likely to deal with technology to be Brigid, the Morrigan, and Ogma.

I would not bind yourself to tying the druid CLASS to the concept of "druid" in ancient Celtic society. "Druid" was a sort of ruling class of the Celts; it means, more or less "judge." Druids included the learned, the lawmakers, and yes, very much so the priests. But even these priests were not necessarily, immediately associated with summoning animals and shapechanging, things that we connect to that character class. And in fact, the druid CLASS is a bad thing to associate with the druid ROLE because druids-the-class are designed to be nature hermits who either wander the world or who protect a certain area but tend to outright avoid civilization. Celtic actual-druids were leaders----better reflected by clerics, inquisitors, and oracles. Some accounts speak of secret initiation rites and secret rituals, but my understanding is they would be connected to a community to lead.

And generally speaking, just make all the divine classes available for all the gods, and individual characters pick whatever class suits whatever role they serve, and don't worry about how class name fits a role name (generally speaking the names of classes that are pulled from specific cultures don't actually mesh well with their origins--magi are nothing like Hermetics, paladins are not princely protectors, etc.).

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Hey Serge, would you mind coding those into links?

Type (url) before the links, and (/url) after them, but replace the parentheses with brackets: []

Thanks.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

My reason for wanting it to stay as is was more as homage to the old Fallout RPGs than how easy or hard it made things (though I personally would call it being a "win button" hyperbole at best). I'm sure it could have been rebalanced, if necessary, without changing its core function. The change hints to me they are taking it away from its RPG roots, and since I===personally, me, my own opinion, not a judgment or pronouncement upon anyone else on how they should play===play this game for its RPG elements more than the combat elements, it has me mildly concerned.

NV swapped Damage Reduction for Damage Threshold, which vastly fixed how damage soak worked and kept you from being invincible (and I did, hilariously many times, blow up myself in VATS due to bad grenade bounce. But my explosives expert character was Int 1 so that somehow worked. :) ).

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Amanuensis wrote:

Sorry if I came over as judgemental or condescending. I'd like to think of myself as an open-minded person. I'm curious by nature and I take my inspiration from many different sources.

I did in fact watch several anime classics and certain shows that were recommended to me by friends who know my personal taste and preferences. It just didn't appeal to me on a very basic visual level. I had trouble figuring out what was going on in that video-sequence you provided. As you've said, I'm propably an anime-illerate, similar to certain people who don't enjoy reading books. But that doesn't mean that I belittle your passion for anime.

Fair enough. :) (And I'm not that passionate for anime, just that particular one. ;) )

The action sequences are jumpy. FWIW she is summoning animated golems, bats, birds, and snakes made of paper to fight for her.

At any rate, I like your archetype ideas and look forward to seeing more!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

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Monica Marlowe wrote:
R Pickard wrote:


I haven't voted much because of it. But I don't want a voter tag because my tags are getting crowded (I actually wish I could get rid of the ones I have), so I'm kind of aiming for less than 100 votes anyway.
Well except for that ONE tag ;-) Hey DQ! :-)

No, not that one!!!!! Just my Star Voter tags!!!! :)

Good luck on the module writing!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

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As long as they don't abandon the 3rd person view entirely (I don't believe they are)... if it ever becomes entirely 1st person I won't be able to play their games any more (I'm one of those people who gets sick playing first person games -- sadly it's one of those things that's getting worse with age rather than better, & it's not the kind of thing you can do repeatedly to "get used to it"--I used to be able to play some 1st person games when I was younger and can't now).

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

I'm not jazzed about VATS not pausing time. I didn't always use VATS but it was nice to have it... and I liked as the last homage to the original Fallouts' turn based system.

Do like that they have improved enemy AI and movement.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

Einhänder wrote:
I thought this was going to be about the lag time and loading. It's so much worse this year. It's proving very difficult to vote at all for more than ten items or so. Very time consuming and frustrating.

I haven't voted much because of it. But I don't want a voter tag because my tags are getting crowded (I actually wish I could get rid of the ones I have), so I'm kind of aiming for less than 100 votes anyway.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

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Sorry to hear you are discouraged.

Just FYI, you should be selecting the item based on, from what you can tell, which writer you think would be the better designer, not which item you would personally use in your campaign. (The vast majority of people vote the latter way, however.)

Seeing the same item over and over again is a bummer, and unfortunately the way the sorting rhythm works it happens a lot (there was one item last year I could not escape). But it also has to be a choice between two items for how it sorts the items. Someone better at math than I am can explain why (I have a graduate degree in English, the attainment of which requires the deadening of all math-based brain cells).

The lag is frustrating but on the other hand hopefully that means there are a lot of voters.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Amanuensis wrote:
Glad you like it. I always feel completely lost when people start to mention manga/anime characters (never got into it).

Sorry for losing you then. We're even though, as I get lost when people say "I'm not into anime" as if it's one tiny thing rather than the giant chunk of media that it is, like books or live-action film. There's a lot of anime I strongly dislike. There's some anime I like. Much the same with games, books, movies, etc. It's not some giant monolithic thing you have to like all or none of. Though I guess there are people who never read any books at all or never watch any live-action movies either. :)

I actually presumed Maggie was the source of inspiration due to her quasi-unique take on paper powers (although course she is one of many paper masters in her world, as the sequence shows). My mistake.

(As an aside, if you enjoy the idea of a global espionage/detective tale with superpowers--largely but not only paper themed--and a strong literary theme, I highly recommend Read or Die and its sequel R.O.D the TV. Not because it is anime, but because it is an excellent, if pulpy, series of stories with fantastic characters. If nothing else, good research for visualizing what paper magic can look like. :) )

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

Jeff Lee wrote:
Wow, that's a really good camping item. Not superstar, because it's a camping item, but I have characters that would definitely want that.

An exemplary item can break the Sean Advice... they are guidelines for what he felt were overdone or problematic, not hard rules.

(I love good camping items too).

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

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Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Monica Marlowe wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Season 9 will be it's own tag. We felt everyone who earned Superstar 2015 tags and positions deserved to have their accomplishments be given the same respect and uniqueness as all previous years, where you had one chance to get fame and renown. So the progressions is Superstar 2014 - Superstar 2015 - Superstar Season 9.
Good thing too, cuz if I have to defend my title, the gloves are coming off!
Gloves of the mamma bear is a great name for a wondrous magic item. :)

Oddly, only when you take them OFF is when you gain the bonus to unarmed attacks.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

I am presuming the following:
- Takes place largely in underground setting, natural or built or both
- Primary monsters will be undead, aberrations, animals, vermin, oozes, constructs, evil humanoids and monstrous humanoids, possibly evil outsiders
- PRD only

4 person party (not exclusive to men only ;) )
Ranger, Deep walker archetype: With a melee focused combat style and favored enemies chosen from the list above, does respectable damage AND can lead the party through the dungeon, being expertly alert for most issues and being able to identify many threats.

Rogue: Unchained if you can get it (although that currently breaks my own PRD only guideline), but straight up rogue, with focus on mobility and stealth. Be wingman to the ranger, both as scouting partner (who can stealth ahead when needed) and flanking buddy--needs to be designed so he can move and flank whenever and however possible. Of course building out trapfinding abilities as a typical "death dungeon" is going to have buckets of traps (other trapfinding classes could work but rogue has most skill points/freedom to spend where needed). Rogue talents like trap spotter, fast stealth, etc. very useful in dungeon setting.

Cleric: While many divine classes could suit the role, for both healing and anti-undead I still like a classic cleric (with perhaps Sun or Glory Domain for undead fighting) the best, with channel energy and spontaneous cure spells. Cleric can hold their own in combat as well as support others very effectively.

Sorcerer with Deep Earth Bloodline: Other bloodlines are also useful and doable, but with the environment, this nets the sorcerer a number of useful abilities that both back up the ranger and add extra options that improve senses and make moving through specifically through a dungeon easier. While sorcerer lacks the wizard's potential versatility, when it comes down to it, for a high danger situation, I'd rather a character that can blast away with a number of spells known than lament lack of preparing the right spell (arcanist could work but my familiarity with that class is low). Just take a race that can add spells known as favored class ability.

Extra Characters
Songhealer Bard: Bards as always make a great "5th party member" for their buffing and support. Bardic Knowledge may also be crucial to understand certain things found in the dungeon and identify monsters. I chose songhealer here since, if we are presuming very deadly dungeon, more healing is a good thing (somebody's gotta heal the cleric if nothing else). Many other archetypes would suit--just pick something that replaces versatile performance, as building up Performance to gain largely bonus Charisma-based skills (Acrobatics is one of few exceptions) is going to be all but entirely useless in this sort of campaign. Magician would work well too, especially to add more arcane versatility, but that archetype loses the always valuable inspire courage for a lesser ability; same goes for archivist.

Archer Fighter: Any additional party members, you're going to want someone who's good at ranged combat, since dungeon crawling often means close quarters combat--you need someone who can add to the damage count while standing back. Fighter also gets Knowledge Engineering which is helpful in a dungeon and you can have them support as needed elsewhere with Crafting skills or intimidation, etc. This last slot for me is largely a "wild card slot" and if an Archer Fighter wasn't available, there's a variety of things I could also put in her--summoner for critter support, witch for debuffing and more spellpower, druid for critter support and environmental manipulation spells, etc.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

I haven't heard about them doing anything other than the digital version of the ACG, but it's still exciting to see Paizo and Obsidian work together. I hope if the ACG goes well it bodes for future collaborations too. (Dead Phoenix, I'm wondering if you're thinking of Pathfinder Online, but that's not by Obsidian.)

The classes feel like they have some loose, non-IP traceable, Pathfinder influences... 3e, yes, but also some particular Pathfinder things like the number of auras a Paladin has (even if the aura mechanic is different). So there's a lot to potentially transfer back and forth.

OTOH, I know that part of why Obsidian made Pillars of Eternity was specifically to work with their own IP. They've been burned a lot working with a lot of other people's licensed material, and really wanted to do their own thing. PoE was the result--and is proof to me personally that they were right to go in that direction.

I don't know if they'd be keen on working in a Golarion-based world when they've put so much work into developing their own world. That said, I have a sense Paizo would be much more friendly to work with than, say, Atari or Hasbro. The ACG project is different because they're just programming game mechanics into an app--it's not an RPG, etc.

Just pointing that out as a reminder of where they are, not to dissipate enthusiasm. Paizo and Obsidian are amazing companies and again I hope the ACG collaboration leads to future possibilities.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

This is a really cool project.

Caveat to all advice below: it is early and I have not had coffee yet and I may not be reading something properly.

At a quick glance, the Lawful Spells ability I find questionable... even with the bonus lawful spells... in general, aligned spells have very circumstantial use (I have a cleric player who has oft lamented that the cleric list is dominated by such spells, which tend to come in handy versus only very particular kinds of creatures). Also, more powerful creatures to be most affected by this will be chaotic outsiders with SR--so the bonus to save DCs is lost if the outsider shakes it off anyway due to SR. You're basically forcing a trade off of a not-too-powerful but generally useful skill for one that is far more limiting.

I also am a big fan of, where possible, replacing like ability with a like ability. Trading a broad-based skill ability for a very limited, circumstantial spell boost does not feel organic to me, and makes it hard to judge the balance of the tradeoff.

Instead of spell boosting, I'd rather see something skill related -- bonuses to/tricks with Diplomacy, Linguistics, Knowledge Local, Profession (barrister), Sense Motive related to the censor's duties.

For Chastening Spells, I'd suggest rewording to

"At 2nd level and every four levels thereafter, a censor can add one of the following spells to his spells known. The spell must be of a level he can cast. This ability replaces versatile performance." THEN list the spells. Otherwise someone not reading carefully may just assume he gets all of those spells (and yes, I just further ripped that from the magician's expanded repertoire).

You might consider changing the name of the castigate ability to avoid confusion with the spell (which you indeed give this bard). I realize fascinate is similar, but nonetheless. Even if it's something like "castigating oratory" or something.

Like the idea of this a lot and the general feel of it is excellent.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Didn't see your post till your new one for this week, but I just need to say I am nearly in tears (of joy) for seeing a Maggie Mui themed archetype.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

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You know, I had posted this in Sean's Consolidated Advice thread before the submission period ended/voting period began. But as it can serve as feedback as well as advice, why not put it here?

DeathQuaker wrote:


For whatever it's worth, as I find "do"s more useful than "do nots," here's my sense of what voters and judges are looking for, based on some of Sean's prior advice and that of others:

DO - Take the contest seriously and submit the best work of the kind you would want and expect to read in a Paizo product.

DO - Create an item that reflects your own never-seen-before, original ideas and feels truly magical.

DO - Give your item a unique, evocative name.

DO - Create an item that has a clear, well-established theme.

DO - Create an item that does one or only a small number of related things well.

DO - Create an item that, as much as possible, does something new (as opposed to something that is already easily possible within the rules via a feat or spell).

DO - Copy the template straight from the one provided and use it.

DO - Proofread your work! And ask a friend to read it over too!

DO - Respect the 300 word limit is a hard limit--you will be disqualified if you exceed it, including through "tricks" like deleting spaces--and use those words to their best effect.

DO - Limit your text to the item's description only.

DO - Remember you are describing an item rather than telling a story. A well written item inspires story ideas without any suggested narrative actually included.

DO - Use original language--your own words! The only text you should copy from anywhere else is the item template. If your text feels like something you've already read in another item description, revise it.

DO - Be sure your item fits easily and naturally into the category of wondrous item, weapon, or armor.

DO - Be sure your item uses and follows Pathfinder game mechanics.

DO - Be sure those mechanics includes necessary specifics, such as the action required to use or how many times per day it can be used, etc.

DO - Pay special attention to price calculation and look at lots of examples for guidelines

DO - Be sure the rules for your item are very clear and understandable by all. (I suggest running it by a non-gamer and see if they can at least understand its basic function even if they don't understand the bonuses, etc.)

DO - Create items with mechanics simple enough that tables, etc. are not necessary to understand its function.

DO - Create items that Game Masters would feel comfortable with and even excited to use in their games.

DO - Be sure that if your item has a drawback to balance its effect, it is a real drawback.

DO - Imagine you were teaching your 12 year old child or niece or nephew to play Pathfinder, and the item you designed showed up in the materials you are teaching them. Would you feel comfortable with them reading/seeing/using it?

DO - Ensure item's abilities are not contradictory.

DO - Presume known rules can be looked up by the voters and judges.

DO - Proofread your work again! Seriously! And make sure the template is the one copied from the rules!

DO - Really, seriously, proofread! This is a simple way to help your text look professional and shows you appreciate attention to detail, which is a crucial trait in a game designer. No, creativity is not enough, because you will be beaten by someone who both is amazingly creative AND proofreads.

DO - Remember "disqualify" is really not that hard to spell out.*

*This may not have anything to do with item design.

And I'll shut up now.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

The rules state you are filling a single flip-mat sized grid.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

Bearing in mind I obviously have no dog in this race (I just love any excuse to talk about mapping) and likewise have no insight into the rules, etc. etc. caveat caveat caveat etc. etc. etc.

It's probably an encounter map, intended to be drawn onto a flip-mat. Think about encounter maps, battle maps, and flip-mats you've seen....

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

LazarX wrote:
R Pickard wrote:

Not to mention, sticking to a word count is really not what I'd call "strict." It's bog-standard to the publication industry, and the first thing ANY writer for ANY kind of vaguely writing related profession needs to be able to do. Exceeding a word limit will result in instant rejection for the majority of publishers, from academic journals to fantasy fiction and beyond, whether blog piece, magazine article, or printed hardcover. If you're LUCKY, someone MIGHT ask you to pare down your piece post submission, but that's normally after you have an established reputation with that publisher/editor and you've specifically been invited to submit a key piece, and even then, that's rare.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of people just read "contest" and get excited, and don't really think about what it is they are submitting to--a chance to show off professional potential. Some folks don't get past "ooh, enter for a chance to win!" I wish there were a way to discourage that, but I don't know if it's possible.

There are... and they ARE implemented in the numerous warnings, but if the author can't even be troubled to pay attention to the word count in the submission mechanic, it has to be pointed out that you can only dumb down things so much before you get to a point of diminishing returns. And the idea of a contest like this is to filter out people who won't take the time and effort to abide by professional guidelines.

I meant more to emphasize the professional goal of the contest than the word count issue specifically. I've felt in the past there is sometimes a conflicting tone in this forum particularly, where one side is saying "Submit to this fun fun contest because it's fun fun fun! Look at all the pretty colors in the logo!" and the other side is noting, "Hey, you're aiming ultimately to get a module published by Paizo. It's kind of like a job interview, except unlike a job interview, you work is up for popular vote by thousands of people." While people SHOULD have fun, the latter I feel gets lost sometimes.

Please bear in mind when considering your tone that the person who started this thread exceeded the word count and may well still be reading it.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

One really well-written strong ability is better than a million. 1-3 very related things can work, especially if it reinforces a theme. Too many abilities can actually dilute an item's effectiveness however, rather than increase it.

Pretend my post is agreeing with/corroborating Ronar's post rather than me totally missing it the first time and not realizing till Wszebor ninja'ed me.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

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Not to mention, sticking to a word count is really not what I'd call "strict." It's bog-standard to the publication industry, and the first thing ANY writer for ANY kind of vaguely writing related profession needs to be able to do. Exceeding a word limit will result in instant rejection for the majority of publishers, from academic journals to fantasy fiction and beyond, whether blog piece, magazine article, or printed hardcover. If you're LUCKY, someone MIGHT ask you to pare down your piece post submission, but that's normally after you have an established reputation with that publisher/editor and you've specifically been invited to submit a key piece, and even then, that's rare.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of people just read "contest" and get excited, and don't really think about what it is they are submitting to--a chance to show off professional potential. Some folks don't get past "ooh, enter for a chance to win!" I wish there were a way to discourage that, but I don't know if it's possible.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

Twisted Path wrote:


Gotta double check this.

Just like while I'm making this post, when I am about to submit my entry, I see my user name and avatar above, next to an empty text box. I know that when I submit this post that my name and avatar will show up. What I'm worried about, is that the same will happen when I post my entry.

Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
It will not show up until/unless you get into the Top 32.

Folks should be aware though that if you get into the Top 32, in the Superstar forum, your name automatically changes to your store account name.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

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I can say this, with the caveat that it may mean absolutely freaking nothing...

In 2013 I submitted an item I thought did a cool thing and was very useful in a game, but had no theme/"story" to it (NOT an actual backstory--backstory bad!!! but didn't indicate what I'd consider narrative potential). I built the item by creating abilities first, then writing the text around that. I did not make top 32.

In 2014 I submitted an item I thought did a cool, even flashy thing, but still was kind of more random than thematic. I built the item by creating abilities first, then writing the text around that. I did not make top 32.

In 2015 I submitted an item where I thought of a story/theme first (AGAIN AVOIDING TELLING ANY ACTUAL BACKSTORY), then designed the item. I solidified the feel first, then worked on specific abilities. I made it into the top 32. A lot of the judges and voters complimented me on the theme/feel of the item.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

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Regarding mapping, do what makes it easiest for you to work. I hand drew (pencilled, then inked in on graph paper) and digitally colored my Round 2 entry, because that's what was easiest for me for that round--I had a firm idea of the town, was happy with how it turned out, and felt digital coloring was faster than manual, especially as I had to scan in the drawing anyway.

I did my round 4 entry in Campaign Cartographer because I wanted to move pieces around and see how things looked from different angles and spots, and that program makes it easy to do that. It also means I got to have fun making funky glowing crystal effects, but as far as design effectiveness, it was neither here nor there, just me having a bit of fun.

I'd say of the two, my Round 2 map is better. Not because how it was drawn, but it was because it just was the better design. I made a better city than I did a cave/lost temple. If I had done the town in CC3 (which I actually hope to finish and show some day) and hand drawn the cave, I'd still say the town was better. And a lot of the excellent entries I've seen in past years have been pencil, ink, and graph paper and little else. So ultimately---it's what best allows you to show off your skills.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

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My only thought on choosing your own scale -- which is what we did for our round 2, but we were not restricted to flip-mat sized grid (that was round 4) -- is that if it's specifically "flip mat sized" then they probably want something usable for an encounter, which pretty much requires 1"=5' scale.

Buuuuut it's possible they want you to use that template so maps aren't all different sizes (like we were restricted to what, something like an 8x10 size page in round 2?) but don't actually care about the scale at all.

Which goes back to---draw your idea, and draw other ideas. Make backup plans upon backups and backup your backups.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

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A flip-mat is 30x24 and if they're specifying "flip map size," it means they want it to be potentially usable on an actual battle map with miniatures, meaning it would, IMO, be incredibly risky to presume any other scale than 1 inch = 5 feet.

My (unofficial, unsolicited and therefore totally discardable) advice?

Briefly jot down and sketch out your bigger map idea, because it's obviously something you're excited about, and it could be useful for SOMETHING, even if not round 2.

But THEN also generate more/different ideas for round 2 that fit within the flip mat size. 150' x 120' is not huge, but can still hold all kinds of stuff---let limitation free your creativity, not hold it back. Look at actual existing flip-mats and see the variety of things they depict for inspiration: islands, cathedrals, monasteries, small keeps, tunnels, dragon caves, bandit lairs, inns, prisons, pirate ships, etc. etc. etc. And even with all that there's a lot you could do--enchanted forests, all sorts of lairs or hiding places, vehicles, towers, etc. etc. etc.

Regarding the map being part of a larger location --- the wording of the so-far brief description of round to is contestants will be "asked to fill a flip-mat sized grid" -- so that means you have no room to draw anything other than what's within the flip mat. In past contests, YES, specifically for contests, sometimes you could draw a larger area and then specify a flip-mat sized area where an encounter would specifically occur, but the wording suggests there that is not an option. This however is only my presumption based on the existing and very brief, to be updated in future, descriptions on the RPSS blog posts.

Since you are given some wordage to briefly describe the area, you could however mention where your mapped location is in relation to a larger area. "This is the primary chamber in the lost tomb of Pharaoh Bob, reachable only by traversing a maze of twisty passages, all alike..." or "this is the town hall of Bob Town, located in Place" or "this bakery is carved into an enormous petrified donut, accessible by a staircase made from crystallized frosting...."

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