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The unchained monk would have been a perfect place to unchain the medium saving throw progression (+1 at every odd level) that is currently used by every prestige class in the game but not by any existing base class. The unchained monk could have had all medium saves, making it perfectly balanced without giving it saves as good as those of the d8-HD monk.
Everyone is missing the point of Formless Mastery. Don't think of it as an unchained monk class feature; think of it as an unchained Crane Wing nerf. If you look at it that way, Formless Mastery is a thing of beauty.
You see, the standard Crane Wing nerf turned a feat that automatically blocked one melee attack into a feat that provided a +4 bonus to AC against one melee attack if you happened to burn an immediate action before that attack was rolled in the first place. That's a fairly intensive nerf, but all of the sacred cows were really holding it back.
Now that everything's been unchained, Crane Wing can be properly nerfed. If you're stuck GMing for a bunch of uppity martials who insist on taking Crane Wing, even though its been nerfed down to an occasional +4 AC bonus against one melee attack, you can teach them a lesson by giving Formless Mastery to your NPC monks.
Your monks get a +4 bonus on attack rolls against anyone using Crane Wing, perfectly counteracting the +4 bonus to AC that Crane Wing occasionally provides. Plus, to further punish the PCs for daring to take a non-magical defense nearly as effective as some 1st- or 2nd-level spells, your NPCs also get massive damage bonuses and other perks against them.
Never before has a nerf been so perfectly complete.
Re: 3pp HeroLab support:Re: Unchained.
Honestly... The only thing that stops me from using more 3pp stuff is that they don't usually have HeroLab support. :/
A few months ago, I wanted to write a huge 3pp HeroLab file. Sadly, the HeroLab licensing terms disallowed 90% of the content I wanted to create.
And the winner of Pathfinder Unchained is... the warsighted oracle of battle.
David knott 242 wrote:
I think I see some opportunities for 3rd party publishers here.
I can't properly express how much I agree with this statement. Because reasons.
I won't have time to upload Clan of the Raptor to stores this afternoon, but it is done, so expect it in the near future.
Next month's release, Clan of the Swan, is also well underway.
After that, Clan of the Raven for all the tengu fans out there.
Unchained core race changes sound dumb
Look, I get that halflings are not as popular as fantasy staples like dwarves and elves.
That said, I think Unchained sets a bad precedent by completely replacing the halfling core race with a tiefling core race. It's true that tieflings have better flavor and stronger mechanics than halflings, but using that as an excuse to errata halflings out of existence is a bad move. Unchained should never have done that.
And by, "Unchained," I mean, "an imaginary game supplement I saw in a dream last night," because I've never actually seen a Paizo product suggesting that halflings be replaced with tieflings. But that's beside the point. A future Paizo product might say that, so I'm putting my foot down.
The harshest critique the Animal Races series has yet received still managed to squeak in at four out of five stars. As the reviewer correctly observes, as a race that can fly unaided at 1st level, Bats are not perfectly balanced against the standard core races.
As a matter of fact, Bats are balanced against wyrwoods and wyvarans, a pair of 0-HD races you can read about on the linked pages of the PRD. If exotic races like wyrwoods and wyvarans would work in your campaign, Bats and other flying animal races will, too. If wyrwoods and wyvarans are outside the scope of your campaign, consider instead sticking to animal races based on non-flying animals. Non-flying animal races make up the majority of the Animal Races series and have capabilities similar to members of core races with access to APG feats like Aspect of the Beast and Keen Scent.
A note for customers who haven't checked their email lately:
If you purchased Clan of the Pig, Clan of the Raccoon, or Clan of the Turtle prior to this week, a new version of your PDF with some minor corrections should be available for you to download.
If you purchased Clan of the Bear prior to this week, a new version of your PDF with two full pages of new (and critically acclaimed) content should be available for you to download.
Steve Wieck wrote:
In that case, I have to object to this Card Creator on ethical grounds.
DriveThru earns money on each sale, which is perfectly fair and ethical, since Drive Thru is providing a service by printing and distributing these cards. There's nothing wrong with that part of the process.
The providers of the stock art earn money each time someone licenses their artwork, which is perfectly fair and ethical, since artists have the right to profit from their own intellectual property. There's nothing wrong with that part of the process.
But then we get to the part where Paizo is asking amateur designers to transfer ownership of their intellectual property to Paizo without compensation. And we're not talking about messageboard posts here. We're talking about designers putting time and effort into the creation of published, proprietary, Paizo-owned products without getting paid for their work.
That would be tolerable if the designers retained full ownership (or even a copyleft) of the intellectual property they created while doing this volunteer work for Paizo, Inc., but the designers don't even get that. They are donating their time (and potentially paying for licenses) to create intellectual property owned by a for-profit corporation that is not their employer.
That is exploitative, and helps perpetuate a culture where creative workers are conditioned to expect no compensation for work they perform on behalf of others. I realize this was probably not anyone's intention when setting up this project, but it is still the end result. As someone who believes artists should receive fair compensation for any work they perform that generates revenue for any party, I cannot support this Card Creator.
If I purchase a community-created card, does the community member who designed that card earn a percentage of that sale?
Eric Hinkle wrote:
And we get some birds, unless you mean the scaly sort of raptors. Any hints on what sort of 'subclans' we can expect in these releases? I.e., eagles, hawks, swans, ravens, etc.?
Clan of the Raptor will feature Eagle, Hawk, Owl, and Vulture clans. (Ravens have their own book.)Clan of the Swan will feature Peacock and Swan clans, plus lots of fey and samsarans.
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Yep, Clan of the Bat now has two pages of new information about non-vampire Bats.
Also, Clan of the Bear, Clan of the Deer, and Clan of the Rabbit were all updated to add a scent ability that got lost in cut-and-paste limbo.
Clan of the Pig and Clan of the Turtle will receive a few cosmetic tweaks soon.
After that, I will be adding two additional pages to Clan of the Bear, since I have more to say about Cave Bears and Polar Bears, plus a new bloodline option for the bloodrager class.
Following those updates, I'll be moving on to some new releases, namely Clan of the Raptor and Clan of the Swan.
More like:Player 1: I'm playing a catfolk.
GM: Actually, that's not a playable race in this campaign.
Player 1: Why?
And then the conversation branches in one of several directions
Gm: Because I am the GM and I want to shove it in your face by reminding you that I can ban stuff!
Player 1: Waa! You're a tyrant!
It takes 7 days of progress per spell level to finish researching a spell. That means it costs a total of 700*(spell level)^2 gp and requires 14 skill checks per spell level to complete. You cannot take 10 on any of these checks and you risk losing days of progress.
The "shenanigans" being discussed in this thread are an inefficient way to increase the number of different spells your sorcerer can choose to cast. If you have the Craft Wondrous Item feat, you can craft a page of spell knowledge for only 500*(spell level)^2 gp in less downtime than it takes to research a spell of the same level.
Products of alchemical evolution, members of the Frog Clans and their allies represent two new playable races of humanoid amphibians. Hailing from a mysterious land beyond the stars, these races now preside over ancient frog temples in the hearts of swamps everywhere. Led by templars equipped with technological relics and altered through strange alchemical and surgical experiments, these new races showcase dozens of new character options.
Spur your continuing evolution with new alchemist discoveries. Become a test subject for experimental body modification procedures. Wield circuit-threaded weapons, ray guns, and other strange gear. Worship at the altar of high technology with a new Technology cleric domain. All of these options and more are available to the boggards of the Frog Clans and to other characters who cross their path.
Chris Shaeffer wrote:
P.S. - Looks like our team lost at sportsball. :/
Allow me to translate that Sportsball match into Pathfinder terminology for folks with no ranks in Knowledge (Sportsball):
You are at the end of a PFS scenario. In order to win, you must move through a doorway and activate a McGuffin in your possession in the room on the other side. There are a bunch of ogres standing in the doorway, trying to stop you, and time is running out.
Your party consists of a low-level, ranged-weapon fighter with really good stats; a handful of moderately-optimized, mid-level rogues; and a super-optimized, high-level barbarian with Dodge, Mobility, Greater Bull Rush, and a special boon that increases his CMB against ogres.
Instead of handing the McGuffin to the super-optimized barbarian so he can bull rush through the ogres, your party tells the barbarian to stand guard one room over. The fighter throws the McGuffin through the crowded doorway and the rogues attempt to grab it before any of the ogres do.
The rogues predictably fail to get past the ogres to claim the McGuffin. The party attempts a few ineffectual attacks against the ogres that now own their McGuffin, time runs out, and no experience points are awarded to the party. The barbarian is still standing guard one room over.
The things the players hate more than anything is having to constantly swap out items and having bags of 'magic' vendor trash after every fight.
There's a simple house rule you can use to fix both of these problems:
Permanent magic items are user-specific. When the PCs loot an opponent, the opponent's permanent magic items become non-magical, but the PCs gain an amount of mana with a gp-value equal to the sales price of those permanent magic items. The PCs can spend their mana to upgrade their own magic items as if that mana was actual gp.
That gives you upgrading magic items without all the vendor trash.
Steven Helt wrote:
I wanna be in that glacier with time running out, background music spiked very high, and ice walls collapsing as I fight my way out.
Now I'm convinced they need to add a challenge that takes place between Rounds 2 and 3: every finalist has to submit a background music playlist for someone else's map.
In a campaign where the GM plays efreet as creatures with their listed stats, it should be very hard to planar bind an efreeti. An efreeti has enough Spellcraft to know what planar binding is, enough Wisdom to know that people will want to bind it, and enough Intelligence to utilize a few straightforward defenses against planar binding.
The first thing any efreeti worth its stats will do in life is acquire a loyal minion (preferably an intelligent minor magic item, which is both affordable and easy to control). The efreeti can grant its minion three wishes per day and have the minion use those wishes to the efreeti's advantage. First order of business: protect the efreeti from calling spells via contingency and dimensional anchor.
Heck, the entire City of Brass (and every other place inhabited by efreet) should be blanketed with dimensional lock effects so none of its residents can be whisked away by calling spells. None of that makes it impossible to planar bind efreet, but the process should be much harder than just casting planar binding and asking for an efreeti.
Animal Races: Clan of the Frog is just around the corner. I just need to find room in this PDF for all of the content I want to include. Clan of the Frog has not one but two new playable races; new feats, new traits, and a new deity, as usual; a new Improved Familiar option or two; new technological items and artifacts; and new alchemist discoveries, several of which can be taken by non-alchemists who take a feat for subjects of alchemical and surgical experiments. (One of the options you can select gives you adamantine claws.) As soon as I cram all of that crunch into one PDF, Clan of the Frog will be good to go.
Neil Spicer wrote:
But is [studying the Top 100 list] really necessary? It's pretty clear that you can get a sense of what it takes to make the contest by simply reviewing the Top 32.
A visual learner might learn what it takes to succeed in this contest by simply reviewing the Top 32, but an auditory learner might only learn the same lesson when listening to a panel at PaizoCon. Likewise, a participatory learner might only learn the same lesson by walking through the judging process, comparing the Top 32 to their highest-ranked also-ran competition.
An alternative set of learning tools will always have value, because there are as many different ways of teaching a given lesson as their are people willing to learn it.
So the Top 100 list could certainly prove useful to some contestants. That doesn't make the list "necessary," by any means, but the list would have some value.
I can already imagine one potential response Neil Spicer might give: The whole purpose of Superstar is to help Paizo find talented freelancers, and the contest is serving that purpose just fine without catering to contestants who don't make the Top 32. Any desire to divert contest resources away from the Top 32 is ultimately self-serving, and is distracting Paizo from its talent search.
If someone posted the words I'm unfairly putting in Neil's mouth, I would agree with them 100%. Everyone asking to see a Top 100 list is being self-serving and distracting Paizo from its talent search. So is everyone (myself included) asking that the public be given more say in the Top 32 selection process. We are definitely putting our own interests ahead of Paizo's interests...
As it should be. I would not expect Paizo to host Superstar if doing so did not benefit Paizo. That being said, the audience is still the consumer and Paizo is still the producer. If Superstar is run in such a way that its achieves Paizo's goals without also providing its audience with entertainment value and opportunities for self-improvement, Paizo is eventually going to lose its audience.
The Top 32 potential freelancers are the part of this contest most important to Paizo's goals, but that doesn't mean discussions about Top 100 lists or increased voter input should be dismissed simply because they involve different agendas. Paizo is in the entertainment industry. Paizo's audience should get as much out of Paizo as Paizo gets out of its audience, no more, no less. The discussion going on in this thread should be about finding the equilibrium point in that equation.
Garrick Williams wrote:
I'd honestly like to see future years have maps as Round 2.
I'd honestly like to see future years have maps as Round 1.
Sorting 800 maps two at a time would be so much more enjoyable than sorting 800 magic items. After side-by-side voting ends, you could have the Top 64 map designers submit some descriptive text to accompany their maps (or reveal descriptive text they already submitted for their map) and let the public ballot-vote finalists into the Top 32 based upon a combination of mapping skills and writing skills.
Scott LaBarge wrote:
So are there minions around to give back-rubs in this guildhall joint or what? (Filigree not required.)
The Guildhall is fully staffed by the Staff of the Top 32 Guildhall, which can tend to all your chiropractic needs. Observe!
*pokes Scott LaBarge with a stick*
That is precisely the problem, though. "You can cast any one arcane spell" is in one sentence. All the meanings we are supposed to infer are locked behind a couple of gates that start with, "If." Of course we are supposed to read the whole thing together. But the whole thing together does not restrict characters who are neither prepared nor spontaneous casters.
On its own, the phrase, "You can cast any one arcane spell," does not grant anyone the ability to cast spells. To resolve an action using the "Casting a Spell" rules in the Core, you must have a defined caster level available in case you are required to make an unexpected concentration check. The phrase in question does not, on its own, define a caster level. To rule that the phrase in question allows non-casters to cast spells, you have to invent an unwritten house rule that provides the information you must have available when resolving any "cast a spell" action. You literally cannot make that ruling without also inventing a house rule.
In the same way, the hypothetical rule, "Your attack deals sneak attack damage even if your opponent is neither flanked nor denied its Dexterity bonus to AC," does not, on its own, grant any character the ability to deal sneak attack damage. Sure, it says, "Your attack deals sneak attack damage," but to resolve a sneak attack using the Core definition of the sneak attack ability, you must have a defined amount of sneak attack damage available in case your attack hits. The phrase from the hypothetical rule does not, on its own, define your amount of sneak attack damage. If you rule that the phrase grants sneak attack damage to characters without sneak attack, your ruling requires you to invent an unwritten house rule defining the amount of that damage. You literally cannot make this ruling without also inventing a house rule.
If your interpretation of a written rule requires you to invent an unwritten house rule in order to resolve whatever it is your ruling allows, you are no longer talking about RAW. You are talking about house rules you are inventing to handle contingencies not covered by anything in the RAW. That is an instance of the RAW not defining something, not an instance of the RAW letting you do something broken.
Arcane surge does not provide a mechanism for casting a spell any more than Eschew Materials does.
A mechanism for casting a spell would have to explain how it interacts with all of the rules contained in the section of the Core Rulebook entitled "Casting a Spell." Those rules, as a group, are the definition of what casting a spell is in Pathfinder.
From a rules perspective, an ability that says "you can cast a spell" is not spellcasting. Spellcasting is what happens when you perform an action allowed by that ability and also go through the process described in the "Casting a Spell" section to resolve that action.
Note that the rules in the "Casting a Spell" section repeatedly reference caster level. An ability that does not define a caster level cannot be used as a mechanism for casting a spell because it does not provide enough information to resolve the action it supposedly allows.
Also, you cannot bypass this mechanical defect by always using your action to cast a spell that is caster level independent, because concentration checks still depend upon caster level and can occur even while you are casting a spell that is caster level independent.
In fact, any time a PC casts a spell, the player has no way of knowing if a concentration check will be required. There could be a hidden opponent ready to cast a spell that creates a weather effect if you cast a spell, necessitating an unexpected concentration check.
The so-called spell casting mechanism you are proposing for arcane surge literally cannot tell you, at the time your character begins casting any spell, if your GM will have sufficient information to resolve your action using the the "Casting a Spell" rules.
Your proposed mechanism cannot ever guarantee that it will allow you to use the "Casting a Spell" rules to resolve your spell, so it is not a complete mechanism for casting a spell. It is also not RAW, because the written rules you cited do not contain enough information to implement your proposed mechanism. If a mechanism invokes things that are not actually defined anywhere in the rules, it isn't really a "rule as written."
Check it out, everyone! The Eschew Materials feat lets fighters cast unlimited 9th-level spells!
Eschew Materials wrote:
Benefit: You can cast any spell with a material component costing 1 gp or less without needing that component. The casting of the spell still provokes attacks of opportunity as normal. If the spell requires a material component that costs more than 1 gp, you must have the material component on hand to cast the spell, as normal.
See that! "You can cast any spell with a material component costing 1 gp or less..." It says it right there in the first sentence. And it doesn't say that spells you cast require you to spend spell slots or mythic power. As long as it's a spell with a material component costing 1 gp or less, you just cast it for free whenever you want.
Also, the Quick Draw feat lets you draw a weapon even if you have no free hands or other prehensile limbs! It says, "You can draw a weapon as a free action..." It's granting you the ability to draw weapons even if you would otherwise be physically incapable of drawing weapons! After all, the ability to physically draw weapons is not a prerequisite for this feat, and the feat explicitly grants you that ability! If you have no available hands, you can just telekinetically draw your weapons!
Well, either that or an ability that says, "You can do X without doing Y," is granting you the ability to ignore Y whenever you do X, not also granting you the ability to do X. But that's crazy talk. That argument assumes that the English language grants readers the latitude to consider context and common sense when determining which of two clauses within a sentence is dependent upon the other. And, as we all know, the English language is an infinitely precise computer language, any sentence of which can have only one meaning when parsed, regardless of context.
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
Why not rule that Alchemical Allocation only works once per potion or elixir?
I like this compromise, Mr. Stonebreaker.
Half-red dragon space moss troll giant space hamsters.
Norgorber's Lens - The reality warping effect was a really roundabout and confusing way of granting concealment and a few numerical bonuses. Also, there are no rules for facing in Pathfinder, so how do we know which way the area of effect is directed at any given time?
Phantom Guardian's Ring - A large chunk of this item seemed to be just repeating text from the spiritual ally spell, so it felt to me like the item could be summarized as "spiritual ally three time per day, with a few adjustments." I suspect I would appreciate the adjustments better if I were more than passingly familiar with spiritual ally, but it's not a spell I see used often, so I wouldn't recognize clever variations upon its theme if I saw them.
Raven Leather - One of my personal Top 48. While I agree with some of the judges critiques about this armor not being very protective for the price and feeling a bit like a wondrous item, I think both of those problems could have easily been fixed with some minor tweaks. I think the mojo of the item more than warranted a minute or two of effort tweaking it to seem more armor-like.
Rod of Gravimetric Attraction - I didn't keep the full text of this item, but it is one of my personal Top 48. I disagreed strongly with the objection some posters raised that the pull special attack would work better than a drag maneuver. Characters can take feats to get better with the drag maneuver, but no parallel exists for pull. By using drag, this item can serve as a reward for characters who choose to devote feats to combat maneuvers.
Rod of Illusory Casting - One of my personal Top 48. I figured this rod would be popular with voters because I keep seeing people requesting some way to do the things this item does. I don't necessarily agree with just packing all of those abilities into a single, convenient package for spellcasters, but I appreciated your attempt to address a popular-but-underserved design space.
Rod of Resonance - One of my personal top 16. Probably underpriced, and more utilitarian than flashy, but I liked how it was sort of the opposite of a silence spell: silence negates all sonic effects in a radius, this item enhances all sonic effects in a radius. And, lest it be argued that this item's benefits are too good, silence still trumps it completely.
Serpentine Stave - "Stave" is not the singular of "staves," nor is it a synonym for "staff."
Skywalker's Cloth - "Skywalker" will always make me think of Luke Skywalker and family. Always.
Staff of the Auraboros - I suspect that you intentionally mispelled "ouroboros," but I can't know that for sure. Also, I am not sure what an "aura effect" is.
Tempest Bow - One of my personal top 48. I thought this was a nice, clean implementation of a flavorful idea.
Windpath Razor - One of my personal Top 48. I thought the wording was elegant and the effect was interesting.
Wing Smasher's Hammer - Any weapon meant to ground flying creatures should really be a ranged weapon; otherwise, how are non-flying creatures supposed to use it against flying creatures.
For a lot of the items in this thread, my critique would be something along the lines of, "It's an okay item. Not bad, not superstar, but okay." Since that's not particuarly useful on my part, I'm just going to focus on items which provoked more of a response from me.
Betrayer's Blade - One of my personal Top 48. I thought this item made really clever use of the speed property.
Blowgun of the Accursed Serpent - One of my personal Top 48. The curse ability should probably say that it functions the first time (or two times) the target makes a save against the dart's poison, not anytime the target makes a save. That would make the curse's effect closer in power to an ill omen spell instead of strictly better than an ill omen spell.
Catapult Ring - This item really needed a save or some other defense for unwilling targets.
Chrysalis Carapace - I'm not sure how the spell-absorbing power of this item ties into its theme.
Cryohydra's Coil - One of my personal Top 48. The blanket +4 bonus to disarm and trip attempts was a bit too much, but I liked the imagery enough to overlook that.
Deadeye's Shepherd - Using a bow to summon something just seemed strange to me. Also, I don't know where the animal appears when summoned. Maybe if you said you had to fire an arrow and the animal appeared where the arrow landed, or the animal has to appear adjacent to the wielder because the horns used to make the bow become the summoned animal's horns, I could have gotten behind this item, but without a visual of the summoning in action, I had a hard time bridging the gap between "bow" and "summoned animal."
Dynamic Staff - One of my personal top 48. Its ability to regain charges so quickly would need to be scaled back or cut, though. As is, high-level spellcasters could use these things as bargain-basement, 9th-level pseudo pearls of power.
Enlightened Jian - This would have gotten more upvotes from me if monks were proficient with longswords (or even just magically proficient with this longsword in particular).
Eremite Rod - This one was thematically sound, but would have benefited from having fewer fiddly bits. When using this item against your opponents, someone has to track bleed damage and pain penalties that modify multiple stats and possibly modifiers due to ability damage. Also, the wielder's spell DCs may change based upon their subtype. Lots of moving parts that modify things on the fly in the middle of combat, with the potential to slow things down at the table.
Housebreaker Bow - I really dislike how the third power of this item is referred to by a wordless sound instead of having an actual, speakable name.
Mail of Ash-Woven Ramparts - One of my personal Top 16. A bit overpowered/underpriced, but I suspect it would make tactical combat very interesting. Also, to me, the visuals inherent in this item suggested a designer who would be able to make a very awesome map.
Monastic Staff - This item was almost exactly the same as the first draft of my own item, right down to the name. I would explain at length why I changed my item from doing exactly what your item does to doing something slightly different, but the judges seem to like your approach better, so my commentary would be largely irrelevant.
At least one person expressed an interest in seeing my personal Top 32 list in another thread. This year, I picked my Top 16 favorites (including my own item) but didn't bother ranking the next 32 items on my favorites list, so here are my own personal Top 48:
Epic Meepo's Top 16:
arbalest of aurochs
armor of hidden horrors
black dragon wing
blade of the malik's messenger
mail of ash woven ramparts
occult hunter's net
rod of resonance
sacred boar hide
staff of the hidden blade
Epic Meepo's Next 32:
blowgun of the accursed serpent
bow of the bard
breastplate of light's salvation
grasping shield (218 words)
ring of the choking coil
rod of exorcism*
rod of gravimetric attraction
rod of illusory casting
rod of the iron rose**
scales of the scarab
scepter of the mist king
scimitar of dancing lightning
shield of the doubled ruse
shield of the paragon
staff of protean whim
*Also an official Paizo Top 32 pick
It appears that I have five of the Paizo Top 32 and one Paizo alternate in my personal Top 48 and none in my personal Top 16. If I had expanded my list to include my own personal Top 64, I believe I would have doubled those numbers, but my records this year were not precise enough to know for sure.
If anyone else has a list of favorites they want to share with the public, feel free to post it here in this thread.
Greetings and salutations from the Staff of the Top 32 Guildhall. As the wielder of this staff, I would like to expend all 10 of its charges congratulating everyone who decided to compete in this year's contest. In addition, I would like to welcome this year's class of Top 32 finalists and alternates to the newly-renovated, rune-encrusted Unofficial Top 32 Guildhall and Armory. (Mind your step around the pile of earth breakers just inside the door.)
As in previous years, the Guildhall is a place for all past and present Top 32 finalists, alternates, judges, and Paizo staffers to hang out and chat during the course of RPG Superstar. If you belong to one or more of these listed groups, feel free to post in the Guildhall any time after the names of the 2015 Top 32 have been revealed. Just keep in mind that posts in this thread are visible to the everyone on the boards, not just the Top 32. Don't say anything here that might result in a disqualification!
Again, this thread is intended for past and present Top 32 finalists, alternates, judges, and Paizo staffers. I ask that community members not belonging to these listed groups please create new threads when posting commentary, congratulations, or other messages to the Top 32. Posts from the voting public are important to the finalists. Such posts deserve their own dedicated threads so they don't get buried in Guildhall banter and potentially overlooked or forgotten.
Thank you. Good luck. Let the games begin.
The verdict is in: Aspergillman's Armory is definitely worth two bucks.
In fact, it's my top-selling product in the Paizo store so far this week. :D
I see culled people.
Add this post as a favorite if both options are equally bad/good.
Add this post as a favorite if death by chocolate is better.
Add this post as a favorite if chocolate is better.
Just to be contrary, I'm dropping in to make a plea for insanity.
Sanity is overrated. I want to see something completely crazy.
Eric Morton. I am envious, as well as completely amazed that you managed to get that published and on the Piazo Store so soon!
Well, it helps that I have some experience publishing serious products in the Paizo store. If I couldn't also crank out a short, silly PDF on a week's notice, I wouldn't be much of a publisher.
Now, if I actually sell a copy of Aspergillman's Armory, I may have to admit I actually accomplished something... (Seriously, though, I've played characters who'd want to use some of the magic weapons in that PDF, and I'd let players in games I run use them, too. I tried to design some solid, useful material in that PDF, even if the title was somewhat silly.)
Last year, I was given the go-ahead by Paizo staff to post a public Round 1 exit poll in the week before the Top 32 reveal.
Here is what the host of last's years contest said about Round 1 exit polling (link):
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
That being said, last year's exit poll did a poor job predicting the 2014 Round 1 results, despite having over forty contributors.
Based on that lack of predictive power, I'm going to sit out this year's exit polling and list swapping.
Nickolas Floyd wrote:
That is what I am suggesting, and I agree that the issues involved would have to be carefully considered.
However, I don't think it's impossible to guess what open commentary (without breaking anonymity) would look like. I suspect it would play out almost exactly like one of Paizo's open playtests: hundreds of posters would show up, many of them championing their own pet suggestions, but there would be so many things to talk about, no one poster or topic would dominate the discussion. A few folks would try to oversell something and get tuned out by most other posters. A few folks would get too negative and would have to be reminded to restrict themselves to constructive criticism. A few particularly popular ideas would gain traction. But for the most part, we would just see lots of respectful, interesting discussion of various ideas' merits.
That, at least, is what I've observed happening during Paizo's open playtests, and I suspect it is exactly what we would see if we were allowed to talk about specific items during Superstar voting. Like the playtests, it would require moderater oversight, but I think it could be done in a constructive, positive manner.
Some day, I would like to see an organized play campaign require all participating PCs to purchase their magic items from an auction site with limited supply. Then we'd actually know what each magic item was worth.
Some thoughts about the ranting thread (spoilered for being off-topic):
I seem to be alone in this, but I'm not fond of the rule against discussing specific items, nor do I feel the need to tune out other voters opinions on specific items.
Firstly, the rule against mentioning specific items is responsible for much of the toxic atmosphere in the ranting thread. It's really easy to write non-item-specific complaints but it's relatively hard to write non-item-specific compliments. Voters aren't allowed to praise unique, never-been-done-before items in real time but they can complain about trends in real time, so of course the thread gets a bit negative.
Second, I don't understand the benefit of making all voting decisions in a vacuum. I want to be an informed voter. If a bunch of people really like an item I keep down-voting, I want to know. That information allows me to double check the item in question and make sure I'm actually disagreeing with everyone instead of just misreading something that everyone else understood properly.
Third, the prohibition against commentary on specific items doesn't happen during any other public voting round. The Top 32 aren't anonymous, so they aren't allowed to comment on their own items, but everyone else can, including the voters. If exposure to outside opinions was somehow detrimental to the voting process, why are outside opinions allowed starting in Round 2?
I could understand a rule against making comments that would qualify as non-constructive criticism, but I don't see much value in a rule that prevents us from consulting the boards about items we aren't clear about or mentioning items we think are awesome.
107. Notice that the numbers 11, 57, 58, 59, and 60 have each been used twice in this list of things you can do, making this entry thing #107 you can do.
My concern with that would be how many folks would stop participating once they got some feedback on their item.
I would not take people who want to leave the contest after getting feedback on their own items into consideration when scheduling things. The contestants who are only in it to get feedback on their own items aren't going to care very much about the Top 32 reveal, no matter when you schedule it. I'm more concerned about the subset of contestants who want to get/give feedback on non-finalist items and want to follow the progress of the Top 32. The current schedule forces these contestants who are interested in every facet of RPG Superstar to divide their attention between the non-finalist critique thread and the finalists' threads during the week of the Top 32 reveal, which can only serve to reduce traffic visiting the Top 32 threads.
Adam Daigle wrote:
Also, when Eric's idea was first presented, it was couched in the idea of something that would help focus on the Top 32, but as it's being discussed more and more, I'm seeing less of that focus. It looks more like a way to keep the voting public engaged and a way to help focus on everyone but the Top 32. What am I missing?
Many contestants want to participate in the critique thread and follow the Top 32 threads. By revealing the Top 32 and opening the critique thread in the same week, you are forcing lots of voters to divide their limited forum viewing time between those two different parts of the Superstar contest. "Do I spend my limited forum time soliciting and reading feedback on my own item, or do I pass up the opportunity to get valuable feedback and instead pay close attention to the Top 32 threads?"
Think about it this way: How much attention would the Top 32 get if the Top 32 reveal was on Tuesday and a Pathfinder Unchained open playtest started on Wednesday? Sure, lots of people who are going to participate in the playtest also want to pay attention to the Top 32, but will they have the time? The annual Critique My Item thread is like that hypothetical open playest in that it attracts lots of attention.
I suggest that an event that attracts lots of attention should not be scheduled to run concurrently with the Top 32 reveal because that lessens the impact of the Top 32 reveal, and that moving the Critique My Item thread up a week will annoy fewer people than delaying it a week. Also, I doubt that moving the Critique My Item thread up a week will do anything to increase the anticipation contestants have for that thread; based on posts I'm seeing in this forum, anticipation for that thread is already running rather high.
Rich Malena wrote:
I think what happens in the CMI thread should be celebrated, and I would be sad if that experience were somehow diminished in the name of refocusing on the competition.
I agree that the CMI thread should be celebrated. That's why I think it should happen before the Top 32 are revealed. Open up the CMI thread up to people who aren't being considered by the judges a week before the Top 32 are revealed so the CMI thread can be the main event for that week, then the Top 32 reveal can be the main event the following week.
In the past two years, here's what has happened: Public voting starts. At some point during voting, a cull occurs. Crowdsourcing informs several hundred people that they are probably not in the running. Voting then ends. For one week, nothing happens outside of the judges' chamber and no one is allowed to discuss specific items, even those we know with 99.99% certainty are not being reviewed by the judges. Then, on a Tuesday, the Top 32 are revealed. People spend twenty-four hours naming all of the items they would rather have seen in the Top 32. Then the Critique My Item thread opens and draws significantly more traffic than all of the Top 32 threads combined. A few days later, the judges compile and post a list of the Top 100 so voters who are wondering why their favorites didn't make the Top 32 can see that many of their favorites came close.
I propose that the process go more like this: Just like before, public voting starts, followed by a cull and some crowdsoourcing. Voting ends. Immediately after public voting ends, the judges post a list of the Top 100 items that will be considered by the judges. Everyone whose item is not on that official list is allowed to publicly post their item and ask for critiques. As the judges make their selections over the next seven days, the public participates in public critques and conversations about items everyone wanted to see in the Top 100/wants to see in the Top 32. A week later, once all of those activities have started to slow down a bit, the Top 32 are revealed.
Notice how the proposed order of events in the previous paragraph gives the voting public something meaningful to do every week of the contest. Instead of having a dead week after voting ends followed by two highly anticipated events occurring back-to-back, the proposed order of events has voting followed immediately by a Top 100 reveal and public critiques, followed a week later by the Top 32 reveal. That gives every step of the Superstar process time in the spotlight without having to extend the duration of the contest in any way. Just turn the dead week following the end of voting into a week where everyone not on the Top 100 list can ask for public critiques.
The way the contest is set up right now, for hundreds of people, the Top 32 reveal is just a speed-bump on the way to the Critique My Item thread. Everywhere I look in this forum right now, I am seeing posts that essentially say, "Looks like my item got culled. I can't wait to post it in the Critique My Item thread."
Before Paizo added public voting in Round 1, all of that anticipation would have been directed towards the Top 32 reveal. "I can't wait to see if my item was chosen." These past three years, for hundreds of participants, that sentiment has become, "I already know my item didn't make the Top 32, so let's get that over with so I can participate in the Critique My Item thread, already."
I would rather get as many also-ran item critiques as possible over and done with before the Top 32 are revealed. That way, the Top 32 reveal is the most anticipated Superstar event of the week, not an opening event for another thread the majority of the voting public finds more interesting.
That's not me advocating that more attention be paid to contestants who did not make the Top 32. That's me saying something needs to change to keep the focus on the Top 32, because the current system seems to create more hype for the Critique My Item thread than it does for the Top 32 reveal.