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If you are wise, you'll take the second monkey. It's the only one that does not directly put you at risk. The key is simply learning to let go of your hatred, or at least understanding that if you have $50 million, it really doesn't matter if someone else has $100 million.
Failing that, you could always wish for things that would be nice to have but not in excess.
Simon Legrande wrote:
Unfortunate use of the word irony aside, that's still incredibly ignorant.
Nobody says only whites can be racist.
OK, most people don't say that. A very select few do. Just like a few people will say all heterosexual sex is rape. But their numbers are so negligible that they could hardly be counted at all and are more often used as a strawman to conflate valid arguments with ridiculous ones.
It's not that people of any race cannot be racist. It's just that institutionally whites have power in America. That's such a plain fact to say it isn't a level of denial I can't even begin to debate with. And the problem is not that people are racist - which sucks, but will never be solved - but that this particular racism is widespread and institutionalized.
Taken individually, it doesn't matter if Abdul next door to me thinks all white people are shifty-eyed devils, or if Jim Bob down the street thinks all blacks are intellectually inferior criminals.
What matters is that our entire culture had been built upon the backs of an oppressed people, and in many ways continues to do so while also disenfranchising those who are identified by other socially outlying features. That is what needs to be fixed, and ignoring it is a tacit endorsement of a system that is still heavily weighted against minorities. Deflecting onto those individuals whose attitudes you find distasteful gives you an all-too-convenient excuse not to worry about how those people are treated.
GM Xabulba wrote:
Amy was not useless, she has legs you can look at to forget...hmmmm...Amy's legs.
This right here sums up a huge problem with Moffat's run.
Rose: Provides a human connection and through sheer determination alone - without advanced strength, wits, or technology - rescues the Doctor and all of the human race from a Dalek invasion.
Martha: A brilliant medical student, eventually doctor, who while not possessed of Time Lord intelligence, is easily the most clever of the companions. On many occasions it is her cleverness - The Family of Blood episodes, Last of the Time Lords - that ultimately saves the day.
Donna: Provides a moral center that keeps the Doctor form straying too far. She convinces him that even fixed points in time provide opportunities to do something right, and the lack of her influence is felt severely in the "Waters of Mars" episode.
Amy: Has nice legs. The actress, Karen Gillam, was essentially hired on that feature alone. Moffat was going to pass because thought she was "wee and dumpy". It wasn't her acting ability, or her personality that changed his mind - he just had to see she was actually tall and fit.
Claire: Fairs marginally better, but is constantly subjected to unflattering physical comparisons to Amy and quips about her looks. Also the whole "born to save the Doctor" nonsense. He found a way to keep stuffing the same character in the fridge over and over and over and over . . .
Really, I know there's a lot of complaints about it, but I feel like the sexism wouldn't even be that bad (still bad, but sadly not any worse than most of the industry) if not for the nonsensical storytelling, the recycling of recent plots, and the lack of interest in coherency or motivation. Matt Smith's characterization and now Peter Capaldi's is infuriatingly nonchalant about sacrificing others to save himself. I get that he can be dark, he can resort to killing if he has to, but the peaceful resolution isn't even a blip on his radar any more. The end of this most recent episode - which has earned an inordinate amount of praise, imho - goes right back to that.
For me, there's one saving throw that could be made, and a few people have suggested it. This is all speculation (I don't think Moffat is actually clever or moral enough to make it happen, but I've read a couple of fairly convincing arguments), but right now about the only way to redeem this incarnation is if he actually does turn out to be The Valeyard.
They changed that in the 5th season in "The Time of the Angels" and "The Flesh and the Stone". Truthfully, it was when I realized I really wasn't going to enjoy Moffat's run - the angels were creepy when we didn't see them move.
When we did, they were just crappy CGI.
I'm honestly shocked how much praise this episode of Who received. It's the exact same Dalek episode from Season 1! It uses even almost the exact same "WHAM!" line:
I know people wanted a 'darker' Doctor, but really not a fan of how easily this - and the Smith incarnation - are always straddling the line of 'murderous psychopath'. I don't know, maybe that is closer to the incarnation from the 70s, but we have enough of those types on television now. Do we really need another show with an insufferable genius who really doesn't care for people and only shows interest in them as 'mysteries' to be solved?
OK, I've tried avoiding this thread for a while, but this is so endemic of everything wrong with this debate and society in general I can't let it go.
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
It's not a No True Scotsman. If his family had immigrated from a Latin American country and had a background there, then I would have no problem saying he's Latino. At some point there's a difference between NTS and just ignoring facts.
The Dutch colonized Africa, too. Most South Africans speak a version of the dialect they inherited. Do I get to say I'm black now? If you answer "no" to that, well, then I suppose you're submitting to No True Scotsman. I could easily be mistaken for a really, really, really, really light skinned black guy, so obviously I've faced discrimination.
Remember, if you point out the absurdity of that, you're engaging in a logical fallacy!
If I insisted that Larry Correia wasn't Latino because he doesn't act stereotypically Latino enough, or doesn't trace his lineage far back enough, you would have a case on your hands. But that is not the case at all.
Nobody was insisting he, personally, is rich. There was some conversation about gaming typically being a middle upper-class hobby, which is predominately white. But being a poor white person is not nearly the same as being a poor PoC. Just like being a poor man is not the same as being a poor woman. Or being a poor straight person is not the same as being a poor gay person. Wealth is its own distinction with its own set of inherent privileges, but poverty is not the great equalizer everybody likes to treat it as.
If that's what we were saying, most of us would be calling ourselves racist. I didn't agree with a lot of what A.A. George wrote. But there is a HUGE difference between disagreeing with an article, and being utterly dismissive and calling the author a racist.
Which is what happened. The first people to start throwing around the "R" word were people who wanted to dig at "SJW" types so they blatantly called A.A. George a racist. And then we were racist for pointing out that Larry Correia is actually Western European, so even if you say "OK, that's Latino", it's still really disingenuous to describe himself as a person of color.
If you want to break this down into a way oversimplified version of events, it's a lot more like:
"I definitely agree with Larry. That tor.com was full of it."
People on this side of the divide have been very careful about calling those on the board on the other side racist. mechaPoet even apologized for straddling too close to that line. But pointing out problematic attitudes or acknowledging that white privilege exists is not the same as saying white people are racist. The same way most men aren't chauvinists or most heterosexuals (well, sadly, that still depends on geography a bit) are not homophobic - it's just that those who are privileged by a system tend not to notice it. We live within a very narrow experience and don't bother to look at it through the lens of somebody who hasn't had that experience.
Saying, "Your attitude is contributing to a problem," is not the same as, "You're a racist." But nobody likes to hear they're part of the problem, so it's far easier to dismiss anybody who points it out as a bunch of wild-eyed slacktivists who are just looking to slap labels on people.
That, itself, is making assumptions. I didn't take it that way, neither did thejeff or mechapoet, and even the people who are actually participating in this thread area small sample of all people on the Paizo messageboards, let alone the general population.
We are all responsible. Businesses reflect their consumer base - not perfectly, but predictably. No, in the grand scheme of things they do not have the power to change that dynamic everywhere. But something cold be done to change it here.
OK, this is a bit of a tangent, but that attitude irks me. Going beyond GenCon, just overall, this irks the hell out of me. For one thing, it assumes white America cares about what is happening to minorities. (One look at the overwhelming disparity in response to the shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson illuminates nicely that, on the whole, they really don't.) Your advice actually is great in the context of an actual dialogue between two parties in a disagreement. But that's not the context we're speaking of.
But the really bothersome part is that it's ultimately saying that the onus is on those people who have historically been oppressed. (Again, not just black people but women, LGBTQ people, immigrants, Muslims, Native Americans, and so on.) After years and years and years, how could people who have had no wrong done to them and - even if they'd not personally contributed, silently benefited from the system that perpetuated it - have the unmitigated gall to say, "Now I'll listen, but only if you watch your tone"?!
These are difficult things to hear, and I understand the resistance. But it's our responsibility to get over that. Just like the "privilege" you used - Growing up poor, my first response to white privilege was, "That's a load of crap! I haven't had ANYTHING easy!" Of course, when I actually read what was actually meant by white privilege and how it applied, it's indisputably true. Sorry if the language isn't dressed up enough not to offend, but we're not talking about a term that says all white people think this way or act that way. Just a term that means being born white in America comes with certain unfair advantages, which it does.
EDIT: Whoops, kind of got ninja'd on that one. Took WAYYY to much time getting the quote brackets right.
Adam B. 135 wrote:
I don't find it offensive at all.
Too often (usually) well-meaning white people say, "I don't see race" as confirmation that they're not at all racist. But it is a rather ignorant thing to say for precisely the reasons he's pointing out. What he's saying is that it is used as a way to be able to ignore other cultures and experiences because, to you, there is no difference.
There's a reason Stephen Colbert mocks the "I don't see race" line in his conservative-pundit guise. It is a dismissive thing to say. (And too often used to justify ignoring very real racial disparities in hiring, education, and our criminal justice system.) To respect a person is to respect the whole person - that includes understanding how their experience differs from yours due to not being a member of the dominant culture. The statistics do not lie - being black in America is very different from being white. (Also being gay, Latino/a, a woman, or non-Christian, but one thing at a time.)
He, uh, never claimed it was factual. And, much as I'm actually a strong advocate of working to destroy subconscious and cultural prejudices (which are a serious problem), a lot of people who go on about them come come across precisely like that, especially when they talk about it on the internet. So...it's a caricature, but not necessarily a completely inaccurate one.
The factual claim was in response to Hama's post. Hama did call it a factual, well reasoned argument - which I did not find the response to be at all.
Also, I don't accept the 'caricature as not entirely inaccurate' argument. A personal anecdote: My greatest shame is that in my late teens and early twenties I was one of those MRA guys. I technically believed in equality for women, but I saw every argument as the work of feminazis trying to undermine men at every turn. Women should have rights, but if we weren't careful, these castrating man-haters would make all penetrative sex classified as 'Rape'.
The turnaround came when somebody finally asked me if I had ever, personally, encountered a feminist who was actually like that. When I had to really think of it --- no, no I hadn't. Not on the internet. Not in real life.
No, the only feminists like that I ever "encountered" were straw feminists and precisely that type of made-up caricature everybody just knew existed. Even the actual woman that were often singled out as being the perfect example of how those women REALLY exist- Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinem, Andrea Dworkin - came across very different when you read them in context and not as clips cherry picked to sound terrible. Those marauding misandrists I'd been told about existed only in the heads of my fellow men's activists.
Worst of all, because that was how we saw the opposition, the things we said truly were vile. You can justify so much when you just know the other side is ten times worse. And once I was out, I saw it in so many other groups that had picked sides in the so-called culture "war" - because all is fair in love and war, after all.
So I ask you - How often have you actually encountered these kind of "SJWs", and how often has that encounter been second hand through people complaining about them? I'm betting if you really stop to think about it, most of that awareness we have of those sort of people is through news stories that thrive on drumming up controversy (Don't get me started on the infamous "Some are saying..." 'news' pieces) and people like Larry Correia that want to make a point.
I do not accept that any caricature is accurate, because I have had it demonstrated to me firsthand how blinding and dangerous that sort of thinking is. If there is a group or individual this guy thinks is wrong, he needs to argue with that group/individual. His issue is with the tor.com writer's assessment of GenCon and gaming - so that is the argument that should be had.
Also, this thread's title is misleading . . . it's true he DID say that, but it was a minor point in an article with a very different main thesis.
Fair warning, this is going to get rather maudlin.
Lately, it seems like there has been an uptick in threads blasting Paizo for the editorial decisions they've made. I won't be too specific here, but let's just say there have been complaints levied about the insulting lack of eye candy, or Paizo menacingly pushing the so-called 'gay agenda'. And to the credit of the posters here - and the human race - most of the community has rushed to Paizo's defense.
But I'm tired of waiting an reacting to negativity. Too often those of us who are impressed by the decisions a company makes are content to say 'Oh, that's nice' to ourselves and move on, while the bitter and angry minority tries to drown out the rest to sound bigger than they are.
So, apropos of no (specific) complaint:
Thank you, Paizo, for making a dedicated effort to include LGBTQ individuals - who have made up a large part of the human experience, but who have been relegated to obscurity bordering on invisibility.
Thank you for writing well-rounded female characters that are not relegated to damsels in distress and trophies to be won. For not treating female sexuality as something sinful or shameful, or as something that exists for men and male players.
Thank you for presenting humanity as a wide range of ethnicity and body types, and creating a human 'culture' that is as varied as our experiences in the real world. We are not uniform as a species - our art should reflect that.
Thank you for being accessible to your consumers. Far more often than not it feels as though companies are an unknown entity, rather than actual organization made of up of living people. Many companies, especially the larger ones, are content to allow third party intermediaries handle any direct public interaction and remain hidden behind official press releases.
Does Paizo achieve these things 100% of the time? No. Nobody does. But they are perhaps the most consistently thoughtful of any major tabletop or fantasy publisher on the market today. That they strive to reach a goal that is ultimately impossible, while managing to get a little closer at every opportunity, is something most of us appreciate - even if we do not say it often enough.
I started playing Pathfinder because I love role-playing and I love fantasy. It could have been any fantasy TTRPG, but with nearly every decision that Paizo makes in its materials and as a company in general, I feel more confident about that decision. There are very few companies I will gladly give my hard earned money to without a bit of ethical trepidation, and Paizo is chief among them. Thank you for being that, especially in an industry that desperately NEEDS a company like that.
Alchemist is just too weak.
I'm very curious about this, particularly since your preferred list includes both the rogue and fighter. Why would you call the alchemist weak? I've heard a lot of complaints about flavor, but I don't think I've ever heard an alchemist called weak, so I'm wondering what strikes you as weak about it?
OK, sorry for three posts in quick succession, but this has been gnawing at me since I read it. I didn't want to derail the thread, but the first thing is as infuriatingly wrong as the rest of it that I cannot just let it go without challenging it.
Religion is not forbidden in public institutions. You can read your Bible, pray, talk about Jesus, use public institutions to have private meetings for religious groups if they provide equal access for that sort of thing. (Don't even get me started on schools granting ease of access to religious groups for these purposes and then shutting out atheist or LGBTQ groups.) What we ask is that the tax dollars WE ALL pay for not be used to codify or show favoritism to one particular religion. Give me one good reason why I should pay for a model recreation of a scene from YOUR holy book.
To say Christianity is somehow maligned in a society where 75% of the population is some form of Christian, your churches are granted tax exempt status (often even in the face of obvious politicking - a fact that makes me guffaw whenever a fundamentalist says gay marriage is granting 'special rights' to homosexuals), and all of your major holidays are federally recognized is ignorant to the point of delusion.
And that precious "God" mention wasn't even in the Pledge of Allegience until the 1950's - claim what you will, history is on our side. Even Bellamy's family didn't support the move when Eisenhower and Congress officially recognized the change. They actually changed a secular pledge to be more in line with your beliefs.
I would like to argue with the bit about male/female sexuality being neutered because it offends gays, but I can't. It's so ridiculously wrong on so many levels it can't be argued with - because nobody has given that as a reason for ANY of the artistic decisions. It's an absurd strawman argument you invented.
I don't see any issue with the way the new iconics are portrayed. I would prefer more Jirelle's to Seoni's, given that Seoni's outfit might be sexy, but seems like the least practical thing ever to wear for adventuring.
Actually, Seoni's outfit makes decent sense for a sorcerer to me. Every caster I've ever played wore robes until late levels when you could buy mithril light armors that had 0 ACP and a Spell Failure chance of (pretty much) nill.
You could make the case it is still unnecessarily sexual - there's probably not a great reason to bare that much skin when you're wading into combat, although my understanding is the outfit does fit the Varisian culture. (I'm not super familiar with Golarian, but Varisians are meant to be Roma equivalents, right?)
Overall, I'm of a split mind on this. On the one hand, it's hard not to wince at sexual depictions of women when you consider how our hobby is perceived by the outside world. There's especially the danger of making it unappealing to women* - who, more than just being invaluable for their perspective, are ultimately essential to the survival of any product. TTRPG's will not survive without a strong female player base. That's a fact.
On the other, it's sexist in of itself to say that a woman must never be presented as sexual. To say nothing of the commentary it makes to insist that a woman who displays her body or sexuality has no value beyond her physical appeal to men. But it's very difficult to find the line between sexual agent and sexual object and clearly delineate it. Read any argument over Amiri to see this in action.
And then of course there's the whole can of worms about male vs female sexual depictions. Can you really compare exposed breasts to exposed penises? Is there a difference between a chiseled man in artwork and a curvaceous woman? How is the specific way the characters are presented, even if both show a similar amount of skin, still clinging to the archetypal male power fantasy?
Sorry, there's really no good answer to this. I think Paizo has done as well as they can by having several women in the design team who have a level of artistic control over what is published (I remember Jessica Price mentioning something about a female Trox depiction for Bestiary 4 she had specifically denied.) but you're never going to find the perfect balance.
*I know a lot of men will also be put off by the inclusion of cheesecake - gay men, religious men, straight men who find it unappealing, etc. But women are the largest affected group, bar none.
I'm confused - None of those things you mentioned are really selfish? Lazy, yeah, (I mean, sitting at home watching internet movies - going two places for your coffee/breakfast seems like a huge pain in the butt, actually) but selfish?
Of course, every new generation is lazy, selfish, and entitled according to the generation that preceded it. Society is always going to hell in a handbasket.
Is this thread meant to be an honest complaint or a parody? It's becoming very hard to tell.
How many of you as GMs allow evil characters in your standard non-evil campaign?
Generally, yes. But if the story being told is more traditionally heroic, you'd better have a good explanation. For instance, in one of my games all of the PCs had been falsely accused of a crime and were trying to clear their name. Because of the self interested motivations, I allowed evil characters without question. In another, the PCs were tasked with saving a town and a Druid's grove from a rogue Blight Druid granted tremendous power. In that case you'd better have a compelling story why your Chaotic Evil Barbarian decided to help out these innocents instead of slaughtering them.
How many of you as players have played alongside or as the token evil teammate?
One of my most memorable characters was this. The key is never to outright antagonize the group. You can manipulate them, subtly, but never force them to do anything. I was strongly allied with the CN Pirate in our party and I simply kept the worst of what I did hidden from him.
There was actually even a great storyline where my character tried to lead the Paladin to the dark side by creating a test of moral fortitude he was intended to fail. In the end, the Paladin passed his moral test and frustrated my character, but it was a marvelous bit of storytelling that let us both test our role playing chops.
What roles do you guys find most fitting for the TET in terms of group dynamics? Alignment? Classes?
Any alignment I think works. Some people will say never chaotic evil because that means always backstabbing the team or doing the most evil thing possible all the time, but I say those people don't know chaotic evil (Stupid Evil is its own beast). But for classes? Anything with a high CHA - Bards and Sorcerers are my two favorites for this role. If you're going to be -ahem- "morally questionable" you'd better give the group a good reason to keep you around. Haste and Inspire Courage are great reasons.
Wizards, Alchemists, Rangers, Rogues, and Witches also make good choices. What it boils down to is evil PCs need to be schemers, and it's hard to effectively play evil with a class whose schtick is All Combat All the Time. You can write "CE" on your character sheet, but if your fighter is just mowing enemies down then he's no different form the other murder hobos and could just as easily be "CN" or "TN". If you want to play that evil up, you won't have the skills or spells to do much besides start random fights and kill those weaker than you.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present the Drakainia. If you don't take real life SAN damage after reading "Invert Birth", I don't know what will phase you. Plus, the artwork in the Bestiary 4 is horrifying.
Pretty sure Darakania is the most difficult monster in all of the Bestiaries that isn't a Great Old One, right? And even Great Old Ones don't have Mythic Ranks. (shudder)
For low level, though? Stirges. Just . . . freaking Stirges, man.
Instead of doing a flat "I this class because" and "I love this class because", I'll mix it up with a Love/Hate for each:
Can't speak on the ACG since I've not really played any of them yet.
I personally imagine Hodor from ASOIAF, but a bit more intelligent. No particularly useful skills, not really 'trained' in anything and no magical ability to speak of . . .
But simply a powerhouse. Seems nigh-unto invincible to the other common folk, but easily defeated by somebody with a bit of know-how, training, or mystical ability. (So, your typical level 8+ adventurer)
I mean, let's break it down with a typical stat array and capability:
STR: 14 (+1 Level)
Since most Commoners are peasants, laborers, farmers, etc. the most likely candidate for the stat boost would probably be CON. By either luck or inheritance, he would have come into a couple of magical items to represent a high NPC wealth. The actual 'value' part of his wealth would mostly go to hiring underlings, purchasing land, and paying for equipment. For giggles, let's give him a Cloak of Resistance +5 and his stat boosts would most likely be evenly divided as most of us - rather than focusing on improving one aspect - typically grow a little in all of them. To survive this long without any special skills, he's probably pretty beefy, so any feats not related to his profession are probably going to be those that represent a natural conditioning or predisposition to being hard to kill. I've also kept them to (predominately) General Feats to avoid too many prerequisites.
So how does this look ultimately?
Feats: (10 + 1(Human)) Toughness, Endurance, Diehard, Improved Unarmed Strike, Skill Focus (Profession), Great Fortitude, Alertness, Fleet, Deft Hands/Deceitful/anything that gives a flat +2 bonus to some skills, Survivor, Catch Off Guard.
The last feat is a toss up, but I chose Catch Off Guard to represent his resourcefulness, despite not being formally trained in any actual 'weapons'. If you want to make him more of a brute, put the bonus in STR and give him Power Attack. (So 1d3 + 9. Absolutely brutal to a 1st Level anything) If you want to make him less of a combatant, take out the IUS, Catch Off Guard, and replace with Knowledge feats. His saves are godlike to an inexperienced would-be poisoner, but pretty weak for a typical level 20 adventurer. He is easy to hit, but good luck taking him down permanently.
Some varieties of Paladin I've seen at my table:
A grizzled veteran longbowman looking for his son that was the embodiment of "Good is Not Nice".
A simple-minded country boy who would burst into bouts of righteous fury.
A gambling, hard-drinking light-armor skirmisher who managed to never out himself as a Paladin AND never tell a lie. (Full disclosure: This one had two Bard levels.)
A Gnome with a Don Quixote complex and a large wolf mount he named 'Doggy' that he would routinely try to have accompany him in the tavern.
Be 'Lawful' and 'Good' are broad enough edicts that I would say that it is quite possible to make a variety of character types within those parameters.
I recently started DMing for a bunch of early 20 somethings. Sadly, and this includes my own son, they are a pretty misogynistic bunch. I had to put the hammer down on the use of the "b" word when referring to women, both in and out of games. Next will come the hammer on the "n" word they use when talking to each other.
If it is any consolation, I was like that in my late teens and early twenties as well. That mentality is sadly fostered by an Internet generation that is trained to see others not as individuals with real feelings but objects for amusement - women get this treatment particularly hard.
I am ashamed how long it took me to mature beyond it, but I know that my mother's influence was what won the battle for my mind in the end. Take heart that for most it's mercifully just a phase.
Something that keeps coming up is how you can make a good rogue or fighter, it's just a little trickier. I hate that argument. This is actually what irks me most about underpowered classes and why I simply don't play them on principle.
Most people here have a fairly hardy grasp of system mastery. I'm not nearly in the same league as some people here (That Carnivorous Crystal Wild-Shaping Druid is something that would not have occurred to me in a billion years) but I know it well enough to make pieces fit where I need them to be.
Like I said - it's not about comparing to what everyone else brought to the table, it's about the fact they don't do the concept I like as well as something else would. Name any typical Rogue/Fighter role, and I could probably role up a class that will do it better. At best, the Fighter is a dip for feat trees.
But what about the new players? What about new players who are introduced through APs?
My first introduction to serious role-playing was the Curse of the Crimson Throne AP. After a week of studying the CRB and Player's Guide, I brought a Tiefling (Faultspawn for the DEX and WIS boost with an INT penalty because, thanks to the CRB description, I figured DEX would be more important) Monk to the table.
I spent several frustrating sessions doing no damage, having nothing to contribute outside of combat, and unfortunately not dying. I was bored way too much of the time. I very nearly lost interest in gaming before I began because I was saddled with something not fun at all that was not just being outperformed, but rarely - if ever - contributing meaningfully in any scenario.
Eventually I was put to a merciful death and got to reroll a Half-Elf Bard. I finally had something to do. There were options at my feet. As a new player, with all of those different skills and abilities I got the confidence to try different things. Even before I really understood how to effectively use all of the bard's tricks, I had a fairly useful character.
Good for you if you can optimize a Rogue to outperform a poorly-built Wizard. Yes, the strongest players will make the best characters at the table, period. They'll spec a Fighter that makes GM's cry tears of frustration. They'll squeeze every list little known feat out of every splat book until their Rogue can hit on anything but a natural 1.
But those who don't know any better, those who get caught up in their idea of what the rogue 'can' do, only to find out FREAKING DARKNESS shuts down a sneak attack? That's who really gets shortchanged. All of the 'simple' classes are pitifully weak and those who are learning by trial and error are the ones who really suffer for it. They don't know anything about tiers or Quadratic Wizards or crazy feat combinations to make possibly gamebreaking juggernauts. All they know is they wanted to play a sneaky thief and now they're stuck with a character whose pathetic at everything their chosen class was supposed to excel at. They're sidelined unless there is some very specific hand-holding by the GM, and good luck with that because (from personal experience) it is damn near impossible to make a situations particularly suited to the rogue that someone else isn't already able to do just as well.
Kind of ninja'd me on this one, but yeah . . .
For instance, in a recent game I ran we had a Half-Elf Barbarian, an Orc Fighter, and a Halfling Rogue. Nobody knew what anybody else was making and everybody based their concept around role-play instead of optimization. The Barbarian took ranks in Diplomacy for chrissakes!
Even so, in combat the Barbarian ALWAYS outpaces the fighter unless he gets very lucky. Outside of combat, most of the rogue's time is spent healing herself from the brink of death, and when she fails at some RP-heavy aspect, the Barbarian can reliably step in for an assist. The fighter? Well . . . he got a couple of craft ranks so he can make armor. Whoopee.
K177Y C47 wrote:
I'd call that a matter of taste. I hate the grizzled anti-hero. You want to talk about overdone? Wolverine, The Punisher, Lobo, V, Rorschach, The Question, Elric, Hellsing, Batman (granted this is largely dependent upon the writer, but the most well known Batman - Frank Miller's - definitely qualifies), pretty much every video game character ever that's not a Croft or an Italian plumber.
Just . . . ugh. We get it. These characters are like cigarettes - cool and dangerous but ultimately not worth the money and bad for the health of the culture.
Cynicism is easy. I've fallen to it many more times in my life than I care to admit. It's easy and boring and vulgar (in the Shakespearean sense) and I hate, hate, hate, hate it. Even the perennial Boy Scouts like Green Arrow and Superman are getting gritty anti-hero reboots.
Finding another way, being better than the world and not capitulating to it, showing those who have all but given up that there is hope left - that is far from boring. That is the coolest thing imaginable.
The preceding, of course, is all my own opinion and I'm sure there plenty of people who feel the opposite.
I think somebody already said this, but it deserves to be reiterated: Condensing the feats chains to scaling feats would benefit the other martials, but it would benefit the Fighter in that it would make the Fighter what it should be.
Since the Fighter is still getting feats every level, he could be the pinnacle performer in every single fighting style there is. Whereas a Paladin/Barbarian/Cavalier/whatever would become more powerful in their chosen style, the Fighter could outperform them in ALL styles. He could specialize in Archery, TWF, BFS, Sword & Board, and Mounted Combat. Sure, the Cavalier atop his mount might outperform the fighter slightly still, but if those ponies bite the dust, or they're entering a cramped dungeon, the fighter will whip out his Greatsword or Longbow and embarrass the Cavalier easily.
I've dated a wide variety of women, and honestly as a man of modest means, height, and genitalia, I'm not interested in limiting my choices too much.
But if there is one thing that will absolutely put a woman on my "No Fly" list it is entitlement.
And this is a tricky one, because I am aware of the baggage that comes with calling a woman, or any underprivileged class really, 'entitled'. It's like saying you can't handle a woman who's 'bossy' - what you're saying may be saying a lot more about you than her. So, if I may broaden the subject a bit, this would apply to any person of any gender no matter what level of relationship I am considering.
No matter who you're talking about, there is nothing more irritating than a person who believes they are owed something by the world and treat the rest of humanity as mere pissants to witness their greatness. And I feel like so many of the most common 'deal breakers' - rude to waitstaff, doesn't show gratitude, complains, can't have fun, "Nice Guy" misogynists, even racism/sexism/homophobia - can all be described as some form of personal entitlement.
If I may play GM's advocate here:
I am a lover of classic Paladins. I want the law-and-order, holy avenger, could-never-behave dishonestly types. For all the talk of "lawful stupid" Paladins I hear about, I do not think I've ever seen one played in this method.
Every - and I do mean every - Paladin I've ever encountered was trying to be a Chaotic rebel with awesome powers. The worst of these veered hard into Chaotic Neutral territory (one even skirting chaotic evil - but that's was more seriously a Good vs Evil issue, so I digress) and should anybody have the audacity to call them on it they were - say it with me now - "just playing their character."
I know I'm in the minority here since I interpret Lawful to pertain specifically to societal law because EVERYBODY has a personal code, even if that personal code is "Do What Feels Good". (I also drop the Lawful restraint from monks for this reason to remain consistent.)
Being "Good" in most tabletop games, and especially PF adventure paths, is usually pretty easy. It's the default setting for most adventures. Just by participating in most of the quests you're given you'll be on the side of the angels - and usually those scenarios where you're not it's a big last minute "Gotcha!" reveal.
Being ethical, on the other hand, is much more difficult. And it should be. Why would Paladins have to be Lawful Good if the Lawful part of that statement meant nothing?
Ultimately, Good is more important, but Paladins should exhaust every other option before resorting to anything illegal or dishonest. I have some rules for Paladins a lot of players would call 'arbitrary', but I don't do a lot of mechanical punishment. Rather I would prefer my players try to think before they just take the path of least resistance.
OK, I hate to be nitpicky, but one thing that sort of gets my goat is when people say, "Neutral just does whatever is most expedient/easiest."
When you really break down that standard, 'whatever is the most expedient' is Evil. Some examples:
You're alone with a wealthy benefactor in poor health. Upon his death, you will receive a large sum of money that you are counting on to repay a serious debt. You know you can smother the benefactor while nobody is in the room and it will be assumed he died of natural causes.
You're in charge of building a bridge. You know you could save a week's worth of work (and some serious coin) by doing a slap-dash job, even though there is a very strong likelihood that the bridge's collapse could result in serious injury or somebody's death. By the time these flaws become apparent, you'll be long-gone and beyond the reach of the law.
You're married and away on a very long business trip. After weeks of loneliness, you go out for a night of drunken debauchery, during which a very attractive person of the same/opposite gender (take your pick) comes onto you. Passions inflamed, you can easily spend the night with them.
Although these are varying degrees (murder isn't the same as infidelity, after all) nobody would call those actions 'neutral'. They all involve some sort of betrayal, maliciousness, or recklessness and in every case the easiest or most personally beneficial option would hurt somebody else.
Evil loves the easy way out. Neutrality is simply maintaining a level of common human decency - which can itself even be difficult at times - while good is exceeding it.
However, one of my personal favorites to refer to is Jack Valentine - the DEA agent played by Ethan Hawke in Lord of War. The Hero Antagonist to Nicolas Cage's Villain Protagonist Yuri Orlav, there's a scene where Valentine has Yuri cold, but can't bust him without fabricating evidence. Instead of breaking his code, he finds the loophole and leaves Yuri in detainment for 24-hours and allows his plane intended for the smuggling of illegal weapons to African warlords to be dismantled and stolen in a VERY dangerous area.
If you want to know how a Paladin should be, watch Lord of War.
Spanky the Leprechaun wrote:
WHOA! Hold up!
Okay, I never said anything about people being legitimately abused. That's a completely unfair characterization.
The OP made a point about men attacking a feminist blogger because she pointed out some of the more odious sexism that - while prevalent in all media - is particularly egregious in the video game market, since the target demographic is typically considered to be adolescent boys and young men.
Rather than addressing that, several posters completely ignored the very real issues about our treatment of women and instead said men are the ones who are REALLY discriminated against. They were insisting that there is a widespread institutional discrimination against men and that this discrimination against women was actually no big deal. That by taking steps to address this disparity between men and women we were actually guilty of REVERSE sexism.
That is entitlement speaking, and factually wrong besides. I stand by that.
After that, the conversation turned toward abused men. I've never said that a man who has been abused is just an entitled whiner. Again, though, another posted what a ridiculous argument this is. Feminists are not the people claiming men cannot be abused - it's typically a patriarchal attitude that insists a man never appear weak, in particular in his relationship with a woman, that creates an atmosphere that prevents these men from coming forward and treats them less seriously when they do.
Simon Legrande wrote:
Bards get it first level and don't have to blow a feat on it.
2. A dervish dancer bard's performance only affects the bard. Yes it will make the bard better in combat but then there is no benefit to the rest of the party.
Still a better benefit than Sneak Attack, to which the same argument can be applied.
3. Why does the bard automatically have higher CHA than a rogue? Why is this a fact that isn't up for debate?
It's not that the Bard necessarily has higher CHA. It's that the Bard gets so much more out of it. The Rogue gets a skill boost - and admittedly, a boost to his most important skill, UMD. The Bard, meanwhile, by boosting his CHA not only gets more performance rounds but also raises his spell DCs and Spells-per-Day.
4. Somebody else already mentioned Shadow Strike.
You have to sacrifice a feat slot for something you should be able to do in the first place. This is a serious mark against the rogue.
EDIT: Damn! I started this at B&N and came home and missed all the responses. I got Ninja'd on all of this.
Sorry, I should have been more cautious with my tense. But yes, it would be correct to say ongoing discrimination.
pres man wrote:
The white guy sporting the power mullet, living in the trailer park, somehow missed this year's invitation to the Illuminati dinner. Maybe he'll get it next year.
Actually, what is interesting about your choice of analogy is how perfectly it summarizes who actually holds white men back - rich white men.
Not in a Secret Cabal "Illuminati" conspiracy sort of way, but it is true that rich oligarchs have rigged the system to stagnate economic mobility and keep the lower classes - well, lower. And a big part of that is making sure that poor white men blame poor black men, immigrants, and the influx of women into areas traditionally reserved for men for their lack of economic opportunity. Pretty much anyone NOT responsible for falling wages and shrinking opportunities.
I think the Bard is just the most often brought up because it is so similar, but just so superior, to the rogue that it's an easy comparison. They're 3/4 BAB lightly-armored skill monkeys with a motif based around out thinking rather than overpowering opponents. But when it comes down to it, whatever aspect of that character you want to focus on, the bard does it better.
I want a whole mess of skills! Bard gets more.
I want to be sneaky! Bard has Stealth and a whole slew of Illusion spells to buff herself.
I want to be a master spy, a silver-tongued beguiler unmatched in disguise and intrigue! Bard has better CHA, better skills, spells to enhance herself (like she needs it) and I mean come on, seriously, we all know Bards are hands-down the best Party Face characters. Glibness, Disguise Self, Charm Person all make the rogue obsolete before we even do a Skill-for-Skill comparison.
I want to be a lightly-armored skirmisher! Bard might eclipse the rogue only slightly here, but she'll have cooler weapon proficiency (Especially for Finesse - the whip rocks) and performance is hands-down a better bonus than Sneak Attack. It's not situational, it actually boosts accuracy, and it improves the whole party.
I want to be an expert in disarming traps! A) Why would you want to focus on the lamest part of dungeon crawling? and B) Archaeologist Bard will take that focus and still keep pace in the skills department.
Snorri Nosebiter wrote:
OK, take this from a fellow white man: You have no idea what you're talking about. 'Reverse' isms don't exist. Not institutionally. Are there black people who think white people are inferior? Yes. Are there women who think men are obsolete and we'd all be better off if the 'Y' chromosome disappeared? Yes. Are there people who think we should outright ban Christianity? Yes.
Do those people have any real power? No.
The people who do have power are the politicians who are claiming that 'real' rape shuts down abortion and, besides, she was "asking for it". It is the pastors of megachurches who say that gays being allowed to marry is an affront to THEIR rights. It is the criminal justice system that says it's okay to shoot unarmed black teenagers but unacceptable for an abused woman to fire a warning shot to scare off her attacker.
Blacks are more likely to be arrested for the same offenses, sentenced to harsher punishments when convicted. 1 in 5 women will suffer some form of sexual assault in her lifetime, and enormous wage gaps still exist on both fronts. More acts of terrorism have been committed by white Christian men than any other group since our nation's founding and yet we have never profiled them as terrorists nor spawned movements forbidding them from building their places of worship. Gay teens commit suicide at 4 to 6 times the rate of straight counterparts, and I won't even get into the homeless and murder rates for transgendered men and women.
When white heterosexual males complain that somehow society is being unfair to them, it is not only wrong. It's stupidly offensive and belittling to all of the REAL discrimination that is still rampant in our society.
pres man wrote:
The craziest thing about Kucinich is that he is naively optimistic about our politics and how much 'We the People' can affect change. But he is also way ahead of his time (he warned us about the dangers of privatization before Enron - actually a big factor in why he didn't win reelection that year - and supported gay marriage at a time when speaking for equality was political suicide) and, having met him, I can tell you he is infectiously pleasant. Kucinich perfectly demonstrates the difference, for me at least, between looks and charisma.
Being chiseled, tall, and having a deep timbered voice makes things easier. But there are things that will always matter more than all of that combined. Hell - look at Prince.
I don't have much to add to the topic that hasn't been said already. All I can say is that every time a woman points out the sexism that is a major problem in our society, the MRA guys dismiss it and whine about how bad men have it. It's as inevitable as a white person crying from the halls of privilege about reverse racism. It's embarrassing.
By the way, do you have any evidence that societies do better BECAUSE they have more open attitudes about sex? I'd really like to see it, but all I get when I search for related statistics is things like "more single parent families" and "decreasing population because of low birth rates". I didn't know either of those were good for nations...
Across the board, the Netherlands has lower rates of STI's, abortion, and teen pregnancy. The Dutch are known for having incredibly liberal attitudes towards sexuality - abortion is accessible and federally funded, prostitution is legal and treated like any other profession - in fact, in general, the concept of treating sex as shameful or taboo is rather foreign. Teenagers are expected to have sex and teenage partners sleeping over is no cause for alarm.
Not coincidentally, The Netherlands also has a lower divorce rate.
In fact, if you look at the best countries to live in ranked by Life Expectancy, GDP per capita, lack of corruption, general life satisfaction among citizenry, etc. - the list is consistently populated by countries who inherited enlightenment ideals and have liberal attitudes toward sex. Australia, Denmark, the aforementioned Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Canada, et al.
To be clear, it was YOU who made an assertion when you indicated in your post a lament that we, as a society, are having issues because we do not hold to Biblical sexual ideals.
Nowadays, fornication is a fairly common thing, and marriage is almost like a used tissue thrown into the trash (Very sad generation we live in). Today's society doesn't much pressure on "staying true" and "stay pure"
While it's true that one cannot say any one thing is responsible for the welfare of a country, the facts bear out that having a repressive attitude toward sexuality is unnecessary for a vibrant and happy society. Enforcing mores meant to establish very strict rules, control women's sexuality and demonize homosexuality serve no beneficial purpose.
(As a semi-related aside, the notion of "purity" is probably the most perverse sentiment I can personally imagine. I find it disgusting that we are still raising young women with the notion that they can be reduced to what happens with their vagina. As if having sex somehow creates a stain on her soul that trumps everything else about who she is as a person. How unbearably genitally obsessed and misogynistic.)
But ultimately to the original point, real world religions can push mysterious ways or 'higher reasons' all the want - especially in Pathfinder rules, evil is evil is evil. I, of course, am of the opinion that there's really no excuse for the more disgusting tenets of religion when we can easily find contemporary philosophers and writers espousing far more ethically sound ideas. But while we can debate shifting real world definitions of good, in Golarion there is an objective good and an objective evil. If you're performing human sacrifice or murdering fornicators in Pathfinder, the religion is evil. You can't really claim 'mysterious ways' when the gods plainly interact with mortals.
Here is the thing - a lot of us complaining about the rogue actually love the concept. I don't harp on the rogue because I hate the class, but because I would love to see it work. (FWIW, I think the Slayer class might fix these issues, unfortunately evil sounding name aside.)
And 'just don't play one' does not solve the problem. This is a cooperative game and if a class cannot meaningfully contribute it not only causes problems for the player but the party and DM as well. My biggest problems with rogues honestly has been as a DM having all of the fun sapped out of encounters due to the power disparity.
This - I just, wow, what?
I mean, REALLY? I know we all want to be respectful of others' beliefs, but is nobody else shocked or disgusted that somebody would make the argument that a good society could approve of killing "fornicators"?
Disproportionate retribution against people who disobey societal norms is textbook lawful evil - I think there is a tacit admission to that in the fact you were so quick to warn posters against trying to put alignments to real world religions. That anybody could hold MURDER as a morally justifiable or even righteous punishment is mind-boggingly unethical. (Worse so if one says any premarital sex is tantamount to adultery.)
Posts like this remind me why religion is definitely best left to the realm of fantasy.
And for the record, societies with more open attitudes about sex and sexuality do fare better. Comparisons between places with progressive attitudes towards sexuality and premarital sex - Sweden, Denmark, etc. - and places with regressive attitudes - the Middle-East, the conservative parts of the US - strongly favor the fornicators.
Detect Magic wrote:
It should say something, however, that you not only had to houserule the rogue to make it viable, but then STILL had to ban a class that continued to make it obsolete.
Seems like a simpler fix is just to reskin the Ninja/Vivisectionist/whatever as a rogue and ban the utterly useless Rogue-as-written altogether.
Detect Magic wrote:
I'd much more likely ban the rogue.
Having been DMing for a party the past few weeks that consists of a Wizard, Sorcerer, Sword-n-Board Fighter, and a Rogue; I can tell you it sucks a lot of the fun out of it for me. If I don't want the rogue to sit there to the side and watch the grown-ups play, I have to do a lot of adjustments. The casters will always have something to do, of course, and even the fighter will always hit things real hard and keep on trucking. But my choices essentially always boil down to either kill the rogue, not challenge the rest of the party, or specifically play counterintuitively. They could be a party of 3 and I can honestly say it would make no difference if she were there.
Even when it comes to roleplay, the Sorcerer can outshine her with his pumped up Bluff and Diplomacy and insane CHA score. At least an alchemist could be brewing healing potions or providing buffs.
Now, I understand if she had optimized we'd be looking at a different story - a bit. But that's the thing: NONE of these characters are optimized. The Sorcerer is all blasts all the time, the Transmuter Wizard's spelllist is mostly a flavor vehicle (He wanted the most 'traditionally' magical of schools, which pretty much boiled down to transmutation or conjuration, and he took the weaker option because he loved the polymorph ideas), and the fighter's not even two-handed or power attacking. Even though nobody is optimized, the Rogue is probably the closest to optimized of the group (High DEX, small size two-weapon fighting - generally agreed upon as the best-of-the-worst rogue build) and she still drags them down.
The problem is that other classes do EVERY SINGLE THING the rogue does, but better. It would be one thing if the Rogue were a Bard-style jack of all trades that's good at everything but not excelling in anything, but the problem is it sucks at everything. I could choose almost any other class in this game and make a build that will surpass the Rogue in all of its designated roles, or far exceed it in one designated role and perform comparably in its others. Leaving behind the theorycrafting, I've never been in a game where encounters did not have to be tailored to make the rogue useful. I've seen a 12th level rogue outshined by a 4th level Fighter cohort. When you're of less use to the party than 1/3rd level NPC, the class is demonstrably broken.
Am I the only huge nerd who flashed back to this when reading the thread title?
The only way I could see this going down is if two beings are given charges by different lawful good gods who think there is only one right way to solve a problem. Say, some elder force of destruction (maybe not even evil, just very unpredictable CN?)is locked away under the charge of a LG god, but it is the only being that might know the secret to stopping a world shattering cataclysm. One good god tells his charge to commune with this creature, the angel is told to let absolutely nobody speak with it ever for fear that even a minor breach will let it free. That I would see as something a good character would see as worth killing for - even though they would feel absolutely remorseful about it.
I know I'm late to this party, but I am a sucker for Chaotic Neutral debates. (Now if only I could find several dozen other topics on this, fallen Paladins, and how to handle homosexuality in a campaign. But alas, that's just not the world we live in. Le sigh.)
1) I say 'no'. These were obviously bad guys. Thugs. Good might do the honorable thing, but as long as the people he's dealing with are capital 'E' evil then neutral can justify a lot. ESPECIALLY chaotic neutral. Lawful neutral might hold his word as his bond, true neutral might be more concerned with his immediate safety. But that, to me, is chaotic neutral played correctly. This is a case of messing with the wrong freaking guy.
2) I'd say if you still don't buy that, it would only push slightly toward chaotic evil.
3) Even though mechanically I wouldn't make this shift his alignment, I would still provide some in-game consequences. Someone mentioned earlier that, particularly if this took place in an urban environment, the chances of nobody noticing are slim. For that matter, these are brutal thugs --- who knows with whom they are allied?
I think for sure the Cleric of Asmodeus would get along better with the Paladin of Iomedae. At least between the two, there will be a mutual understanding of the importance of contractual obligations and order. (Also, Lawful Evil doesn't necessarily mean malicious. Just ruthless. A merciless assassin who performs his duties without question, for instance, could still find common ground with a Paladin easily.)
Here's the thing, though: I like Family Guy. I love American Dad. (Honestly a far superior show.) I think even Cleveland Show wasn't really given its fair shake. I found Ted hilarious.
But even loving all of that, Dads is just godawful. The jokes are like 80's sitcom jokes that Family Guy would parody.
Pineapple - my theory is that, if it exists, a human has tried to eat it, shoot it, or have sex with it - or sometimes all three. Just like we figured out pineapples, coconuts, and psychedelic mushrooms, we also figured out from the Darwin Awards that eating nightshade is deadly, live crocodiles don't make good sex toys, and flinging yourself from a trebuchet is a bad idea.
Given, although that does bring up another point I don't think anybody gets.
Religious fundamentalism - contrary to conventional opinion, devout belief and scientific curiosity aren't mutually exclusive - otherwise, we wouldn't have Newtonian physics, genetic theory or certain key theories of electromagnetism (or we'd have had them much later than we did). It takes all kinds, and most importantly people understanding that ignorance and stubbornness is not the exclusive province of any group - idiots abound from Sea to Shining Sea. :)
Yes and no. Newton was a product of his era and was able to push the boundaries of what we knew at the time without running into any glaring religious inconsistencies. But how a person of an intellectual curiosity could believe that the earth is 5,000-years-old or that species do not evolve in the face of overwhelming evidence is mind-boggling.
Belief in the supernatural, I grant, is a philosophical difference that by its definition cannot be debated on an empirical foundation. But it's the obviously, plainly false things that get me.
No, BG2 and NWN yes, but SoA no :)
Not to quibble, but BG2 is Shadows of Amn.
There was also Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, but we'll just pretend that NEVER HAPPENED.
Vod Canockers wrote:
Two things about that:
1. We're talking about role-playing adventurers. If you're going to make a TN character, he still needs to find an excuse to be a part of things.
2. Neutrality is not psychopathy. "Ha, I'll let that dragon kill everybody and take the treasure for myself!" is definitely E-V-I-L. I can see the argument for neutral ignoring conceptual evil, because to some degree we all have to do this. I can see the argument for self-preservation, but see number one for that.
People --- almost always family members of course --- who forward you every idiotic, blatantly false chain e-mail as gospel truth.
I am preparing for the onslaught after Halloween passes and we liberals begin our fictional War on Christmas, but just the reminder that I'm related to people who believe this stuff is depressing. Why can't they keep their insanity to themselves?
I love using Fey as villains. Here's the thing: Most monsters are just evil. If you encounter a Bugbear, you know the solution is to kill it and just keep killing it until it's properly killed.
But dealing with Fey is a different beast altogether. Even quote unquote 'good' Fey are capricious, mercurial creatures that only offer the most cryptic of help or advice. A few, granted, are just plain ol' "Kill on Sight" baddies, but for the most part, you never quite know where you stand.
Sure, maybe you should kill that Satyr. But he may also be the only hope you have of finding a guide through the treacherous forest. But he may screw with you a bit on the way. But he might reward your diligence if you impress him. (Note to self: Idea for next session.)
Ditto with evil Druids. I think they get less attention because it's harder to picture the motivations for an evil Druid. What does an evil Druid want? A Cleric of Urgathoa is going to raise an army of zombies. A Cleric of Zon-Kuthon is going to 'enlighten' (re: torture) an entire city's worth of victims to appease his dark god. A Cleric of Asmodeus is going to instill a tyrannical dictatorship and trek with devils.
Evil Druids, though? Harder to pull off. Typically it's a noble goal (e.g. The protection of a sacred Grove) taken to an ideological extreme (e.g. Preemptively destroying every neighboring civilization as a potential threat.) but it seems like Paizo specifically introduced things like 'Plague Druids' just to make it easier to use them as bad guys.
I think Neutral Outsiders get under utilized. You see a lot of Angels vs Demons, Agathions vs Devils, Demons vs Devils, and so on, but very rarely do you get to see the Aeons or Kalyrauts getting involved.
Edit: OH! And evil gnomes. Where are all the evil gnomes? I think an evil gnome has the potential to be absolutely terrifying.