And a joke...
Five former US presidents are aboard a sinking ship.
Ford says: "Hey! What's happening?"
The version I heard of that one is:
They say that in heaven, the French are the chefs, the British are the police, the Germans are the engineers, the Swiss are the bankers, and the Italians are the lovers.
They say that in hell, the English are the chefs, the Germans are the police, the French are the engineers, the Italians are the bankers, and the Swiss are the lovers.
An American tourist in New Zealand walks into a pub and orders a Bud.
The bartender says, "You're an American, arent you?"
The American says, "How'd you know? Was is my accent or the beer I ordered?"
The bartender replies, "Neither. You are the fattest bloke I've ever seen!"
[My mom is Canadian, so I'll post this one in her honor...]
How Canada got its name:
The original settlers couldn't decide what to name the place, so they put a bunch of Scrabble tiles in a bag.
Their leader started removing tiles:
"Okay, write this down.. I got a 'C,' eh? I got an 'N,' eh? I got a 'D,' eh?
"What's that spell so far?"
Back in the 1960s, in the early days of the space program, American astronauts complained that the pens they brought aboard the Gemini spacecraft wouldn't write in freefall. So a NASA, working with several military contractors, spent fifty million million dollars developing a "Space Pen" that could write in weightlessness, in high and low atmospheric pressure, in vacuum, underwater, upside-down, and in a pure oxygen environment.
The Soviets, facing the same problem, equipped their cosmonauts with pencils.
In my arrogant opinion, any time a cleric isn't the same alignment as his or her patron deity, that says that the cleric's interpretation of the faith is distinctly heretical in some fashion-- and probably in a major way. In the case of chaotic neutral clerics of demon lords, that would likely mean that the cleric truly believes (mistakenly) that the demon lord is "misunderstood" and "isn't really as bad as those stories would imply."
As for specifics in this situation, if I were the GM in this situation, I'd really be interested in knowing the story of why a non-evil person was worshiping him. Socothbenoth's entry in Book of the Damned II: Lords of Chaos states that he is the "embodiment of the methods by which [seduction and lust] aare satiated... His tastes, and those of his faithful, tend to run to the violent and destructive." (p.26) While the Paizo editors didn't come right out and say it, Socothbenoth is the demon lord of rape. I would say that you would need to come up with a REALLY good backstory as to how somebody could be a cleric of this entity and remain neutral.
Because if you mainly want to be a chaotic neutral cleric of kinky sex, there's always Calistria!
Honestly there's a big difference between setting a limitation on your build, and making a purposefully bad build.
I think we're actually in agreement here. I am not condoning players who go out of their way to make joke builds of deliberately ineffective characters (like a first-level wizard with an 11 Int whose feats are Skill Focus (Profession:goatherd) and Exotic Weapon Proficiency: two-bladed sword). And I don't think you're encouraging one-trick-pony kill-o-matic characters that can dish out 75 hp damage in a round at level 1, and never develop any personality other than "GRRR! KILL!"
As a GM, I try my best to build encounters that let the different PCs shine in different circumstances. As a player, I try to make a character that's fun for me to play, and fun for the other players and GM to interact with.
Oh, and on that fighter: I wanted a character who was a reluctant adventurer-- someone who kind of got dragged into the life due to circumstances and rose to the occasion. He started out as a dilletante with very little combat training or skills (i.e. aristocrat 1), and eventually turned into a very successful warlord. (Oh, and upon reflection, he only had one level of aristocrat.) And, it was 10 years ago, not long after 3.5 came out.
But, ultimately, you need to design a character that fits with your group's play style. If I'm playing with folks who prefer to run games that focus on tactical combat, I'll bring a different character than for a game whose focus is on immersive storytelling. (And, honestly, I would prefer to join the latter group.)
I like to play flawed characters. Pretty much all of my favorite PCs ever have been designed (both in RP elements like back story and personality, AND statistically) around a limitation or flaw. I think it makes them more interesting and more fun to play. And I don't mean a Drawback-- I mean a real limitation.
Some examples: I'm running a cleric of Desna with the Hidden Priest archetype in a PbP right now. She's in Cheliax, where being a priest of a chaotic god is a crime punishable by enslavement, so she pretends to be a bard. She maxed out her Perform (string instrument) skill, and one of her feats is Skill Focus (perform). I used her favored class point as a skill point. She's the moral center of the party, and the healer, so she is effective in her role, even with a "wasted feat" and some "useless skill ranks" from the perspective of power-gamers. And she is an absolute total blast to play.
I've played a fighter whose second-highest ability score was Charisma, had maxed out ranks of Knowledge (history) and Knowledge (nobility), and had two levels of Aristocrat (yes, the NPC class). Again, very fun character, and he was still very effective in combat.
I just started playing a good necromancer who hates the undead, and uses their secrets against them. He is also a trained surgeon and has maxed out his Heal skill, and has taken Skill Focus (heal) as a feat to reflect his medical degree.
I have a sorceress who has a personal code against killing people, even bad ones (although few qualms about killing monsters). To that ends, she doesn't know any lethal spells.
And, in general, I try to keep most of my options limited to the Core Rulebook.
I think working around self-imposed limitations is a really fun part of the game!
I'll second Call of Cthulhu, or just about any horror game for that matter. Fighting the monsters is generally a very bad idea.
GURPS can be combat-heavy, or not, depending on the campaign style. Regardless, GURPS combat tends to be very deadly, meaning that nonviolent solutions to problems tend to be preferable.
If you're looking for a mechanics-light, role-playing heavy game, it's hard to top Amber Diceless Role-Playing. Since that game is set in Roger Zelazny's Amber multiverse, you don't have to limit yourself to playing with the main characters of the books: by its nature, you can set your campaign anywhere, in any genre or time. ADRP is long out-of-print, but its successor, Lords of Gossamer and Shadow, retains the mechanics in a new game-world.
Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
Ain't that the truth! I pretty much avoid the Rules forum due to general rudeness of the posters.
Well, I don't know you, your GM, or your group's playing style, but I could see myself making a similar call to your GM, depending on circumstances.
My campaign is first and foremost a collective storytelling and amateur improv acting experience. We can go four or five sessions without a combat. We all play first-person, and try very hard not to break character. For character design, I encourage my players to go for style over mechanics, while still making competent PCs.
In my campaign world, a cleric must worship a specific deity: it's a campaign story element that differentiates clerics from other divine casters. That element is baked into my campaign world, and has been a plot point on more than one occasion. I also make this clear in my campaign player's guide. In my game, if you want to be a divine caster that gets domain abilities without following a single god, you can be an oracle, druid, or inquisitor.
For story reasons, the training necessary to become a cleric takes a while. Now, if the player told me ahead of time that he had planned for the PC to eventually take a level of cleric , or if strong faith in one god had been a major character element, then we could build some of the preparation for the priesthood into that into the character's backstory, and I would have incorporated it into the plotline of the game.
It would also work for me if the PC had a true religious experience, and decided to renounce his former profession to dedicate himself to his new-found faith, multi-classing into cleric as the new primary class. The player would have to back that up with good roleplaying.
But if a player decided, seemingly out of the blue,to "take a one-level dip into cleric" and when I asked why, he replied, "Because I want this way cool domain power," then I would definitely say "no."
Of course, the kind of player who would be inclined to do that probably wouldn't find my game all that enjoyable anyway. I'm not saying that what you want to do is wrongbadfun, just that that kind of play style doesn't really work with the kind of game I run.
I don't have all that much to add to the conversation, other than saying that I loved the characters in question and their backstories. I think their inclusion was entirely appropriate for this AP. I am very happy to see LGBT characters as positive role-models in tabletop gaming.
One of the things I find most valuable about Paizo adventures is the highly detailed backstories of NPCs and events. While they don't always make it into actualy gameplay, I love having that information at my disposal when roleplaying encounters get into NPCs' backstories and motivations.
To the OP: Remember that opt-in polling skews your sample from the get-go. This will never be a scientific sample-- your sample includes only those who regularly read and post onto the Paizo "Gamer Life" board, AND are willing to take a rather long poll.
Which decade of life are you in? 4th.
Are you male or female? Male.
Aside from geekdom, how many minority groups are you a member of? This is a very vague question. In the US, there are some legally-defined minority groups, but "geekdom" is certainly not one of them. For example, is "People over six-foot-six" a minoriy group? For future survey design, I'd suggest making a list of groups with a "Yes/No" option. As for what I think you're getting at, I'll say "none."
How financially comfortable are you?
To your question, I'll say that I'm wealthy; To my own question, I'll say that I'm about the same as my social group.
In your experience, how big is the typical game group? (Including the GM.) 4 to 6.
Do you play mostly private games, or mostly at public events?
How often do you like to play D&D?
How often do you play D&D?
Are you mostly a DM or a player?
Which edition was your introduction to D&D?
I am most comfortable in…
Real Life Issues:
In a past job, I regularly designed survey questions. To be polite, I will say that your questions need a whole lot of work. They are very poorly worded and designed: Some questions are ambiguous, and many questions present answers that don't allow for some commonly-held positions. I will answer as best I can, and provide feedback on the rest.
Are you religious/spiritual?
How do you feel about sex education in primary school?
[several questions about guns...]
Personally, I think that regular private citizens have no need at all for handguns, submachine guns, or high-capacity magazines. Hunting weapons are fine. (Heck, I own two shotguns and a .30-06 rifle.) Citizens who have a need for a handgun can apply for a license to own one, but those should be rare. Gun taxes-- no opinion. Gun education in public schools? That's a novel concept!
What do you want from tax reform?
Poorly-designed question. I don't understand what you're getting at. Personally, I don't mind paying taxes-- they are what pays for what holds society together! (roads, police, etc)
How do you feel about government surveillance?
Wars to Spread Democracy and/or Protect Foreign Civilians are…
Poorly defined question. You're leading the answer by the phrasing of the question, and you're foring a false dichotomy in responses. There are other positions. Mine is nuanced, and would probably take a paragraph to explain.
Wow... Just, wow... So far, this is the worst poll question yet. I'm generally pro-Labor.
Voter ID Laws are…
Now, I'm starting to think that you're deliberately trolling with these questions.
Global Warming is…
Again with the terribly designed question and choice of answers. How about two simple, Yes/no questions: "Do you believe that global temperature averages have been generally increasing for the past century?" and "Is human activity to blame for the increase in average global temperatures over the past century?"
Capital punishment is...
How do you feel about immigration?
Again, a very poorly-designed question. You are forcing a snarky response to a very real and very important question that needs a very reasoned and nuanced response.
How do you feel about racism and sexism?
What's your stance on abortion?
Do you believe that your government should provide certain necessities of modern life to all of its citizens? (Police, fire departments, schooling, roads, medical care, etc.)
Stem Cell Research is…
Again with the badly-designed question and responses. Whether or not this is science is a statement of fact. (And the answer is an unambiguous "Yes.") Whether or not it's wrong is a value judgement. It's certainly possible to hold that it is science AND that it's wrong.
How do you feel about the separation of church and state?
From how you have phrased the responses, I get the feeling that you don't actually understand what is meant by "separation of church and state."
Okay, I've changed my mind: This question is even worse than the one about unions.
You're presenting another false dichotomy. It's possible to be both, but I would blame society rather than the nation itself.
If I had the power to change my country's drug and alcohol laws, I would…
4. Legalize the stuff that most people can smoke/drink recreationally without getting addicted, and tax the crap out of it.
I would use a differnet phrase than "tax the crap out of it."
Game Life Issues:
Do you value game balance?
Random Game Stats (Abilities, HPs) are…
Do you value game realism?
You might want to define what you mean by "realism."
Do you enjoy core-only games? (With possible exceptions being occasional.)
Do you enjoy kitchen sink games? (Few to no character options banned.)
Do you prefer individual XP, or group/no XP?
This is very specific to the D&D family of games. If you intend this to be more applicable to players of other game systems, you might want to rephrase.
Ideally, alignment is…
I don't know what you mean by this question. I think alignment is both a very important role-playing tool in the D&D family of games, and is so baked into the system that it cannot be ignored without a fair amoutn of system redesign.
Ideally, alignment is…
Do you like alignment overall?
Paladins should be…
Additional character options are best as…
E... all of the above, depending on the concept!
PC death is…
1 & 2. They are not mutually exclusive!
What is your favorite level range?
Honestly, I'd say 5-8 is my favorite level range.
Low Levels (1-4)
High levels (13+)
Depends on the character concept, the GM, and the particular group of players!
Hit points are…
1 and 3. Again, not mutually exclusive!
Evil PCs are…
All three are true in my book!
Do you enjoy guns/steampunk in D&D?
Depends on the campaign and flavor of the game-world.
Do you enjoy asian/non-european stuff in D&D?
...4. a game mechanic that's central to the game that I can live with.
Combat is best as…
Do you turn down opportunities to play rpgs other than your favorite edition of your favorite game?
My participation in a given game depends more on the GM and the other players than the system. I can usually have fun with any system. It's all about the role-playing for me: If I'm playing in a system that I don't know very well, I'll just describe what I'm doing and ask what dice to roll. I prefer to play with a GM who knows the rules, but I'd take a GM that can role-play well, knows how to pace a game, and can tell a compelling story over one who is a rules master but poor storyteller.
No, I predicted this back in 2002, and vehemently opposed it then. The general public, though, was a different story. As a people, we were still reeling from the 9/11 attacks-- it's hard to describe how devastating a blow those were to the national psyche. President Bush falsely presented the USA-PATRIOT Act as our best means of protecting the country from more attacks, and most of the country believed him. (I wrote an op-ed against the USA-PATRIOT Act for my local newspaper in 2002, and was cut to ribbons in the letters column over the next week. I had one defender for every five opponents.)
What I meant was that the media is FINALLY taking notice that the USA-PATRIOT Act set up a de facto surveillance state, and this has placed significant limitations on the civil liberties of American citizens.
It doesn't have full traction yet, but as more horror stories come to light, the zeitgeist is changing. I have a strong feeling that the surveillance state will be a matter of discussion in the mid-term elections next year, and will be a major issue in the 2016 elections. (Assuming of course that entrenched forces don't manage to obfuscate the discussion with relatively unimportant wedge issues. Which is a tactic that has, unfortunately, worked well in the past.)
Historically, it usually takes five to fifteen years for US government overreach to be rectified at the ballot box. Look at examples like the Espionage Act of 1917 (repealed in 1921); the Second Red Scare and the the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s (mostly ended with Sen. McCarthy's censure in 1954); the FBI harassment of political dissidents in the 1960s and 70s (ended after Nixon resigned in disgrace post-Watergate); etc.
The inherent tension between the government and the governed is baked into the Constitution-- the government was designed to be inefficient from the start, in order to protect the people from tyrrany. A central role of any government is to protect its populace from threats, and the government can be a great force for good. But both sides need to remember that rights come with responsibilities. Both US government officials and the citizens of the United States often forget that the government is accountable to the people, not the other way around. And when officials get too big for their britches, they need to be removed from power, peacefully, at the ballot box.
Right now, I think that a LOT of people in power, on both sides of the aisle, need to be voted out.
"Those that would give up Essential Liberty to obtain a little Temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." --Benjamin Franklin, speaking to the Pennsylvania Assembly, 1775.
No, they can't. As you yourself have repeatedly stated, Scott, the only votes that matter are those that say (r) or (d). If the public doesn't like being spied on, the only recourse a democrat has to "punish" his party is to vote republican... and they also think spying is the s%#&. And vice versa. Meanwhile, both political parties together have more than enough influence to make sure no serious challenge to unchecked spying gets anywhere.
Not true. Members of a party can influence the candidates a party nominates for general elections by primary challenges. These are usually challenges from the fringes of the party against perceived "centrists" or vice-versa. E.g. Far-right "Tea Party" Republicans challenging more centrist Republican incumbents.
The Tea Party has been successful in pushing the GOP as a whole father to the right by painting moderates as "RINOs" (Republicans In Name Only). Most of the centrists in the GOP have been successfully removed by primary challengers-- or have realized they would lose a primary and decline to run for reelection. (This is, IMAO, a major reason of the total paralysis in DC for the past six years )
There has not been a successful similar movement from the Left in recent years. Probably the most recent was in the late '80s / early '90s from the more centrist Clintonian "New Democrats" who successfully moved the party closer to the center. Remember that it was Clinton who stated, "The era of Big Government is over" back in the mid-'90s. Perhaps the Occupy movement will challenge incumbent New Democrats (now 25 years entrenched) to move the party back left. Or not.
I've never actually dated another gamer.
When I was in college back in the late '80s, I was pretty active in the campus RPG club. There were a few female gamers in the group (outnumbered by men about eight-to-one), and there were three that I was actually interested in romatically. Of course, none of them were into me, which was a bit disappointing, but that's life.
I was also in the outdoors club, and that's where I tended to meet women that I dated. I had a couple of flings and two longer-term relationships with women I met at the outdoors club. The second of those stuck. We've been together for 25 years (and married for 19).
My wife isn't a gamer, but she does understand it, and she encourages my hobby. When I go out gaming (or have people over for a game) she affectionally calls it "Nerd Night."
She has her own hobbies that I'm not terribly interested in, so it all balances out. It actually worked out very well when our kid was little. When I went gaming, my wife was the parent on duty; when she went out, I was.
My party traveled overland, mainly because they wanted to take their horses. I had them have a combat encounter with some ankhegs, and a few role playing encounters. I ended up ad-libbing a female gnome ranger named Flijit Frothelthimble that they hired as a guide to lead them through the Sanos Forest.
The travel took two weeks of game time, and one play session.
Gin: Bombay Sapphire is my go-to for martinis. (Paired with Noilly Prat dry vermouth, 4-to-1, with a dash of orange bitters, stirred with ice, served with a lemon twist. Perfection!) Tanquerray is a very close second. For a variation, I also quite like Hendrick's, although I omit the bitters and substitute a fresh cucumber spear for the garnish. I've also discovered a locally-made gin called Seneca Drums that is on the way to toppling Bombay Sapphire as my go-to gin.
Bourbon: I'm rather partial to Knob Creek as my sipping whiskey of choice. It's got an almost maple undertone that appeals to my New England roots. Makers Mark is also pretty decent, as is Booker's. That local distillery I mentioned also makes a fine bourbon too. I keep a bottle of Jack Daniels in my liquor cabinet, too, mainly for guests who request a "Jack and Coke," or for testing out bourbon cocktails that I've never tried before.
Scotch whisky: After an incident at my brother-in-law's wedding during which I failed to treat Scotch with the proper respect that it's due, I've mostly lost my taste for the stuff. For single-malts, I tended to prefer Dalmore 18-year for Highland whisky; and the very peaty Lagavulin for Islay. I also have a bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label for those times a guest requests a Rob Roy.
Rye Whiskey: I prefer a traditional Manhattan made with rye whiskey. (It's actually my cocktail of choice.) My favorits is currently MacKenzie Rye from Finger Lakes Distilling. (Same folks who make Seneca Drums gin). Sazerac and Jim Beam Rye are both decent. I have a very nice bottle of small-batch rye in my liquor cabinet right now, but I don't recall the name off the top of my head.
Tequila: Sauza Hornitos Anejo is my tequila of choice for a margarita. Herradura Reposado is as sublime as a fine brandy for sipping from a snifter.
Rum: I haven't explored rum all that far. For mixing, I tend to go with Mount Gay Eclipse. A friend brought a bottle of Kraken Dark Spiced Rum to our "Skull and Shackles" game last week, and I liked it so much, I bought my own bottle on the way home. I am not a fan of Captain Morgan at all.
Brandy: For French brandies, I am partial to Armagnac over cognac- it's a bit less refined and with sharper edges. I have a bottle in my cabinet that I rather like, but I don't recall the name off the top of my head. I also very much like calvados (apple brandy), but haven't tried very many different brands as yet.
Vodka: I'm not particularly fond of vodka, of of vodka-based cocktails. I have a bottle of Stolichnaya in my liqor cabinet, which I pretty much only break out for cooking or on those rare occasions I make borscht. (Nothing pairs better with hot borscht than ice-cold vodka!)
My changes have been relatively minor...
1) The Lands of the Linnorm Kings is called "Ulfenland." It's otherwise unchanged. (I just hate the official name.)
2) The Pathfinder Society is more like the 19th-century Explorers Club or National Geographic Society. I don't use any of the PFS-centric faction nonsense.
3) Magic is a bit rarer than standard. While it is possible to buy magic items, there really aren't any "Mr. Wizard's Magic Shops" where you can just buy any standard items you want, other than potions or low-cost single-use items. Generally, if a PC wants to buy a particular magic item, he has to find a crafter and custom-order it.
4) It hasn't impacted my Varisia-centric campaign, but Cheliax and Andoran are actively engaged in a cold war, and have many spies everywhere. The two have occasional naval engagements, but it so far hasn't escalated to real fighting. Both countries meddle in the affairs of less-organized neighboring states, trying to tilt their allegiance. (Cheliax sends Hellknights as political/military advisors... Andoran does the same with Eagle Knights.) For example, both have a presence in Magnimar, each trying to tilt the allegiance of the City of Monuments in their direction. Similarly, in Nirmathas, a contingent of Hellknights from the Order of the Nail are advising the Molthune generals, and Steel Falcon Eagle Knights are openly assisting/advising the Nirmathi government and militias.
Okay, I'll bite...
1) I do not think that there is any "caster/martial disparity."
2) I miss carrion crawlers and umber hulks far more than I miss beholders and mind flayers.
3) I like the alignment system just fine as-is.
4) I like Vancian spellcasting.
5) There is nothing wrong with balancing mechanical advantages with role-playing limitations (e.g. Paladins).
6) I like paladins just fine as they are.
7) As a GM, I have never tried to make a paladin fall. On the contrary, I give in-game warnings to the character if I think a paladin is starting to stray from her vows, to allow the character to take corrective action before she falls out of favor.
8) I really hate drow as PCs.
9) I really hate the summoner class.
10) I don't think that monks are imbalanced vis-a-vis other classes.
11) Telling a good story is more important than letting the dice decide everything. I always roll behind a screen.
12) While I like the scenarios, I am not a fan of PFS organized play. I find it stifling to creativity as a GM, and it encourages bith rules-lawyering and power-gaming by players.
13) I REALLY hate power-gaming.
I had the party go back to Sandpoint and enlist the aid of Father Zantus (who's 7th level in my game). He's still not high enough level to cast these spells, so I invoked my rules for ritual magic. Zantus, his acolytes, Hannah the Healer, Madamme Mvashti, Brodert Quink, and the PCs all returned to Misgivings and performed a 24-hour-long ritual to rid the house of its curse. I ran a couple of spooky combat encounters that took place in the participants' collective imaginations (or was it?) and the spirit of Vorel Foxglove was successfully dispelled.
By the way, here are my rules for Ritual Magic: "Ritual Magic is a GM tool by which several lower-level characters together can cast magical stuff that's importatnt to the plot in a ritual that takes days to perform. Required material components generally include the McGuffin of plot advancement and/or one or more specific NPCs that have to be convinced to participate."
I find it very odd that the OP and myself are the only ones who've consistently ran into the problem of the X:Y ratio not being 1:1. I've spent hours before trying to perfect the scale on a map to be able to pull into Maptool at a 100px grid, and eventually gave up when the best I can get is a 90% accurate re-sample...
Here's what I do in MapTool...
1) Select the map from the Paizo PDF, right-click, and select "Save As..." and then save the file in the appropriate sub-folder in my MapTool images folder.
2) In MapTool, I select the Objects tool, switch to the Background layer, then drag in the map as a full-size image.
3) I turn on Show Grid to overlay the build-in grid on top of the image file.
4) I use the Adjust Grid setting to lower the grid size to be roughly the same as that of the map's grid. I just eyeball it.
5) Once I've found a grid setting that's in the right ballpark, I line up the map so that the topmost and leftmost visible grid marker in the image is in line with a MapTool gridline.
6) I grab the right side of the image file and drag it left or right so that the squares in the image match the distance in the MapTool vertical gridlines. Then, reposition the image so that the MapTool gridlines overlay the vertical lines in the image.
7) Do the same thing with the bottom of the image so that the squares match the horizontal gridlines.
That's it! Takes about five minutes per map. And no math required.
A year and a half to finish an AP? I wish my group advanced that quickly! We started playing "Rise of the Runelords" in June 2011, and we're only a little more than halfway through it!
RAW doesn't cover this situation. If I were the GM in this situation, I would rule that an invisible sword would give you a +5 bonus on attempts to feint in combat-- assuming that you can see the blade. (If not, I'd still give you the +5 bonus on feinting, but also a -4 penalty on your attack roll.) Note that a sword with a permanent invisibility effect that the possessor of the sword could see is certainly more expensive to craft than just casting invisibility on the item!
After a successful feint, your opponent is denied its Dex bonus, and you can Sneak Attack.
(This is similar to a one of the abilities of the sword Baraket, the Sword of Pride, one of the Seven Swords of Sin, from Artifacts and Legends).
I'm in my early 40s, been with my wife for 23 years (married for 19), and we have a 13-year-old. My wife does not game, and isn't even all that much of a SciFi/Fantasy fan. But that's OK for us: we both think its important for each of is to maintain our own interests independently of each other-- in addition to our mutual interests, of course. She gives me some good natured flack about "nerd night", and the amount of time and $$ I spend on it, but is honestly very accepting of my hobby. She knew what she was getting into when we exchanged vows all those years ago.
Of course, when our kid was a baby until she was about 3, I cut down on gaming very drastically: I stopped GMing, and I cut down to one weekly game that only met for 4-5 hours per session. And I made sure that I gave my wife a chance to get out of the house for a like amount of time every week.
This is probably not am issue specifically about gaming, but likely about responsibility and/or equitable distribution of household tasks and child rearing. But you'll need to hammer that out with the wife.
I just got back from a week in Canada, and the TV weather reports generally confused me. I couldn't tell by the numbers if I should wear shorts or jeans. (I fired up my smartphone and grabbed the weather report there-- my weather app uses Imperial units...)
I think we're all in agreement that metric units make more sense from a mathematical standpoint. But unless you grew up with them and have an intuitive feel for the units, they just don't feel right.
I've lived in the US my whole life, and Imperial units are completely internalized. I mean, I know how far it is to walk three miles; I can look at a tree and estimate that a branch is 20 feet up; if I hear that a particular guy is six feet tall and weighs 180 pounds, I have an immediate sense of his build; if the temperature is 35F, I know to wear a coat and gloves; if it's 85F, I know to wear shorts and sandals.
And on a tangentially-related note... Did you know that miles per gallon is actually a measurement of area?
I like that it's huge, it's modular, and it's easy to ignore the parts that aren't relevant to your plot. Any one of the countries in Golarion is enough to run an entire campaign. There's no need to hop around the world unless you want to.
My PCs are just about to hit level 12, and we haven't yet left Varisia. And there are no plans to do so. They've been to Sandpoint, Magnimar, the Hook Mountain region, and Kaer Maga. They are all sufficeintly different, and sufficiently far apart, that they really feel like they are well-traveled, even though they have never left Varisia. (And they've never been to Korvosa, Riddleport, Janderhoff, Celwynvian, Hollow Moutain, the Mobhad Leigh....)
The idea is to throw tons and tons of plot hooks as GMs so that they can pick and choose where to send PCs and what to write. Use the stuff you like, ignore the rest.
It's a kitchen sink approach so that there's an area you can run just about any type of fantasy RPG you want.
You want to play "Game of Thrones?" Set your campaign in Brevoy.
You want play under an oppressive evil empire? Set the campaign in Cheliax.
You want to play "Thundarr the Barbarian?" Numeria.
You want to play a gunslinger in a fantasy Old West? Mana Wastes.
You want to play pirates on the high seas? The Shackles.
You want to play Indiana Jones exploring lost temples in the jungle? Mwangi Expanse.
You want to run in a high fantasy urban setting? Absalom.
You want to run an Arabian Nights game? Katapesh or Jalemray or Qadira)
Vikings? Land of Linnorm Kings.
Stone Age? Realm of Mammoth Lords.
Narnia under the White Witch? Irrisen.
Where orcs are in charge? Belkzen.
A war-torn land? Nirmathas.
Communist dictatorship? Molthune.
French Revolution? Galt.
Post-colonial America? Andorran.
Ancient Egypt? Osirion
Baseline standard fantasy? Varisia.
You don't want to run any of the above? Don't go there!
James Jacobs wrote:
I know I would be very interested in this!
I absolutely love Varisia and the town of Sandpoint. I was a tad disappointed that it never even made a cameo in Shattered Star. (Although a GM so inclined could have a stopover there on the road to Windsong Abbey between The Asylum Stone and Beyond the Doomsday Door).
If there isn't enough to run a whole AP, maybe one of the new 64-page modules would be able to cover most of it?
I'll preface by saying that I've been playing D&D for 30+ years, and there's a certain distinctiveness in the D&D family of games that I wouldn't want to change. Some of that is...
1) Vancian magic. It's a cornerstone of the resource management aspect of the D&D family of games, and is a very big part of what makes a game feel like it's part of the D&D legacy. I'll never replace Vancian magic in my D&D games. (If I want a non-Vancian magic system, I'll play a different game, like Ars Magica.)
2) The Nine Alignments. Another major and important aspect of the game is the alignment system. Alignment is descriptive, not prescriptive, and is to be used as a roleplaying aid rather than a straightjacket. I like that the rules are deliberately loose, but at the same time have real in-game consequences. Alignment is another aspect I'll never drop from my D&D games. (And, again, if I want to play a game without alignment, I'll use a different system, e.g. Hero System.)
3) Distinctiveness of the Character Classes: This is yet another fundamental game design choice that the rest of the game is built around. In a class-based game, your character's class defines his or her abilities. Class abilities are innate to the class, and cannot be acquired by characters that are in a different class. This makes the D&D family of games distinct from other skill-based systems where, concievably, any character could acquire any ability. Again, if I want to play a skill-based game with that level of flexibility, I'll play another system (e.g. GURPS).
4) Paladins are Lawful Good. I don't want to start YAPT (Yet Another Paladin Thread), but I like that paladins are restricted to Lawful Good alignment. They're kind of like Superman: their greatest weakness is also their greatest strength: their innate goodness and humanity that forces a self-imposition of restrictions on action. That said, I work with each individual player of a paladin to put together a personal code for that chacater and religion. This is so that both the player and I are on the same page about it.
Some sacred cows about D&D that I can happily live without:
1) Rolling for stats. In my games, we always use point-buy for stats and average hit points, and average starting gold. Removal of the randomness for character design makes, in my opinion, a more-balanced game.
2) Stat-dumping. The counter-argument to the above. Why does everyone have to drop their Charisma to 8?
3) Standard-Issue Must-Have Magic Items. ring of protection, amulet of natural armor, belt of physical stat-bump, headband of mental stat-bump, cloak of resistance, boots of striding and springing. BOOORRR--IIING!
4) Iterative attacks. (New for the 3.x family of D&D!) They slow down the game and encourage stupid tactics (i.e. "stand there and HULK SMASH!!!"). I'd prefer a system where you only get one attack, but how hard you hit goes up with level.
5) General reliance on magic items at mid-to-high level. If, as a GM, you want your characters to rely less on magic, you need to change the whole Challenge Rating system. This ties in with Wealth By Level, which I'm also not a big fan of.
As the giant rats leap from the shadows, Valeria shrieks in surprise and fear.
"Calistra's c--t!" she swears as she defensively raises her starkife against the rat nearest her, but Elion's faster reflexes dropped it before Val could react. "Thanks, Elion!
Noticing that Teral is also being attacked, Val circles around back to attack the rat with her starknife, being careful not to get too close to the vile creature before slashing at it. But the rat manages to dodge her blow.
Move action: Val moves 30 feet to circle around to M5 without provoking an AOO. (Starting at J3-K3-L3-M3-N2-M5).
Standard action: Attack with starknife.
Attack roll: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (7) + 0 = 7
EDIT: That sucked.
Just downloaded the PDF, which I have so far only skimmed, but...
Pathfinder #71: Rasputin Must Die! is an AwesomeSandwich dripping with Awesomesauce with a side of Awesomechips!
It's also one of the darkest adventures I've ever encountered... which makes sense since it's set during freakin' World War I!!!
To the writers and development team: Seriously, this is really impressive stuff. You guys have outdone yourselves with this one.
I can hardly wait for my print copy to arrive so that I can curl up and really read this thing!
Six stars out of five!
in the Gameplay thread, Anton wrote:
"She," Anton corrects. "Proper nomenclature is important. You would not wish to be properly mislabeled as a female ...or as a true knight."
Ouch! Will Bellicus shove Anton over the cliff for that zinger?
This is one of the reasons I like to host my games at a local game store instead of at a house. Being in a public area people seem to behave better in general.
Well, I'm in my early 40s, and my gaming friends are more-or-less in the same age bracket. Grown ups should know how to behave in other peoples' homes-- and if they don't, they don't get invited back.
Whenever I've played at my FLGS, I've found that most of the other gamers have been the same age as, or younger than, my own kid. And, I tend to get the hairy eyeball from the parents of said kids. (I can almost hear them think, "Why would a man my age want to play games with children?") And the games have always devolved into long irrelevant discussions about some anime show I've never seen. Not fun. I'll play with other grown-ups in the privacy of our own homes!
That said, little kids (age 2-7) can be very disruptive to a game... particularly if they're the kind that won't sit still or can't be trusted around a TV set. And there's also the factor of the content rating of the game. When I took over GM duties of my group, we had to change the venue to my house from the home of a couple who had been in the game. They had a then-5-year-old who they let wander around in the room we played in. Unfortunately, I wanted to run a game with strong horror elements, and did not feel comfortable giving rather graphic description of kind of strong stuff with a young kid running around.
In my house, my wife usually took care of our kid in a different area of the house... until she got old enough to know better than to be disruptive. Then, she started watching our game with interest and respect (and asking the occasional insightful question), which garnered her interest in the hobby.
TL;DR: Not all kids are disruptive, and a well-behaved parent knows when to remove a disruptive child from a situation.
A no-win scenario specifically designed to torture a paladin.
Are YOU evil for designing this scenario?
No, but you'd be a total jerkwad if you ran it.
If I were playing the paladin, I'd walk over to the mirror and shatter it. If that meant a trip to Hell, so be it.
Of course, if I was a player in your group (regardless of whether or not I was playing the paladin), I might very well quit your group then and there. Because deliberately setting up one of your PCs to fall is very much a jerk move.
I wish I had something less harsh to say, but I don't.
I plan on having a scenario where the Paladin is forced to commit an evil act, or have himself, and the rest of the PCs cast into a swirling red abyss (portal) that leads to Hell.
Don't do this.
Seriously... Don't do this.
Making a paladin violate his code is a totally cliche "bad GM" move that will NOT endear you to your players.
Forcing a paladin into a no-win situation is, IMAO, a terrible thing for a GM to do. People who choose to play paladins generally want to be white-hat good guys. Presenting a paladin's player with a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" dilemma is sloppy encounter design at best and simply being a jerk at worst. And if you do go down that path, you're only going to sow ill will between you and your players.
I just don't get why so many GMs seem to want to screw with paladins like this. (Other than simply being a jerk, of course.)
A well-played lawful good character of any class will look at the situation you present as a false dilemma and will come up with something creative that does not break their code-- including self-sacrifice if it comes to that.
World War: Golarion
This would be a military AP whose focus is a war between two neighboring kingdoms whose founding principles are diametrically opposed: Cheliax and Andoran.
It could start out as a "cold war," where PCs are spies/operatives/field agents in the other country doing undercover missions for their homeland. As they increased in level, they could later become diplomats enlisting support from neighboring countries. They could search for a missing "superweapon" artifact... or prevent their opponent from doing the same. And it would culmunate in an actual war between the countries, where PCs would be commanders of military units, and later whole armies, where the balance of power in the Inner Sea rests in the PCs' hands!
Plus, you'd get to put the new mass land combat rules from Ultimate Campaign to good use!
It would be tough to pull off, but would be even more awesome if the AP could be written such that the PCs could choose the side they fought for... or could even be double-agents! (We saw a bit of that in Pathfinder #70: The Frozen Stars.)
I happen to like the distinctiveness of the LG paladin. The LG alignment is the hardest to properly role-play, and the role-playing aspect is the main drawback for an otherwise very powerful class.
We have all had experience with (or at least heard of) horror stories regarding paladins. From the player side: role-playing paladin PCs as pompous self-righteous jerks and/or "lawful stupid" types who never back down from any perceived injustice. Or from the GM side: where the GM gleefully entraps a paladin PC into "falling" by trickery, "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenarios, or fiat.
Those aren't problems of the paladin class per se: they're problems with the interpretation and/or incompatible play styles.
So, in my game, paladins are LG, but I generally give the player the benefit of the doubt when it comes to moral questions. I NEVER set them up to fail. When I play a paladin, I always remember that "lawful" means "team player" and "group > individual".
In my game, if you want to play a non-LG holy warrior that's dedicated to a deity, then there's already a published option: Play an inquisitor!
You will need to set yourself up with a (free!) Spotify account, if you haven't done so already.
Some of these songs might run the risk of the singer getting hanged in Cheliax. (Notably the set closer, "Chimes of Freedom"-- I envision this as having been an Andoren song that was popular during the Revolution against Cheliax.)
On a slightly related note... I can't believe that I stayed up to 1AM doing this!