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Ezren

Haladir's page

RPG Superstar 2014 Star Voter. Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. 2,152 posts (2,669 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 22 aliases.


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Of course you can fly while paralyzed! If the airline refuses to let you board because you're disabled, you have serious grounds for a lawsuit under the Americans With Disabilities Act. I would recommend calling the ACLU. And then... Um... Oh.

Never mind.


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Gary Teter wrote:

Why are the sides of some double albums arranged 1+2, 3+4, while others are 1+4, 2+3?

And what about this one that's arranged 2+1, 4+3 -- it's like the upside-down airplane stamp, right?

If you're referring to LPs, the 1+4/2+3 arrangement is so you can stack them on a turntable with a record changer. You would stack records atop the spindle, and after one record ended, the tonearm would automatically rise and swing back to the rest position. The spindle would drop the next record onto the platter. The player would wait a second or two for the record to spin, raise the tonearm, swing it into start position, and drop the needle at the start of the next record.

So, when the records were sided 1+4 and 2+3, you could stack the two records, and have the player play Side One, then Side Two. You could then flip both records over, put them back on the record changer, restart, and it would play Side Three and Side Four.


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An oldie but goodie from the Onion...

God Angrily Clarifies 'Don't Kill' Rule


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I played in a GURPS: Espionage game where the PCs were FBI agents. We uncovered a dark conspiracy within the US government that had the tacit approval of the President. The conspiracy involved vampires, the Bavarian Illuminati, aliens from outer space, and Hastur the Unspeakable. We ultimately had to choose between loyalty to the USA and loyalty to the human race. (We chose the latter.)

It never went more than three sessions, but I played in a Champions game set in 1968: "Heroes of the Counterculture". I played Comrade Spartacus-- an American Communist superhero that was otherwise a blatant rip-off of Captain America. In our first big fight, we ended up squaring off against a team of government-backed superheroes who were breaking up a street protest.

I wrote (but never ran) a GURPS game where the PCs would have been members of a radical environmentalist organization, based loosely on the Earth Liberation Front. This game would certainly have cast the police as the PCs' opponents, at least at the start. (The game would have taken a turn toward the supernatural.)


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GreyWolfLord wrote:
However, homosexuality is still against the rules as per the New Testament as well.

Speaking as a Christian myself, this point is very much debatable.

Just to keep in mind: Nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus ever say one word at all about same-sex relationships.

Nowhere.

Not. One. Word.

Discussion of New Testament as literature:
He spends a whole lot of time talking about taking care of the poor, forgiving those who aren't nice to you, respecting God, and hypocracy.

There are exactly three verses in the New Testament that could conceivably be read as condemnation of homosexuality. All are in letters from Paul. All are based on translations of Hellenistic Greek words that are known from no other sources. These words were obviously known to Paul and to his contemporaies, but their meaning today cannot be fully known-- meanning has to be gleaned from socio-historic reconstruction, context, etc.

These passages have been translated into English in the past (notably 400 years ago in the King James Bible) into today's "clobber texts." But these translations are not definitive.

Brief discussion on this topic elsewhere.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In my interpretation of Golarion, the half-orc and half-elf races simply indicate a person of mixed heritage in which some of the racial traits of both races are exhibited. So, a half-elven child could have parents that were both half-elves themselves, or one human and one half-elf, etc.

I don't want to pin down how distant an ancestor has to be, or how much "blood" an individual has to have, because I don't want to constrain storytelling possibilities-- either my own or my players'. (And also to avoid Jim Crow style racial definitions by ancestry.)

I do like the idea that half-elven or half-orc traits can skip a generation or two. So, for example, two humans (both with an orcish ancestor shomewhere in the past) could have a half-orc child. That in itself could cause the typical half-orc difficulties in upbringing, even with two parents who loved each other.


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I've wanted to play a swords & lasers game since... Well... Since I was a kid who loved this show on Saturday morning TV.


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Manimal wrote:

If I used the term "Toon" rather than PC, what would you say? What arguments would you use for or against it?

Thus far, one of the more convincing arguments I've heard is that using lingo from a different type of game (in this case, MMOs) could cause confusion; however, this particular word doesn't seem all that egregious—most people, even having not played an MMO, could pick up from the surrounding context that "Toon"=PC.

Thoughts?

Before I read your comment, if you referred to a "toon" at my table, I honestly would have had no idea whatsoever what on Earth you were talking about.

Really.

My immediate thought was that you were referring to the long-out-of-print Toon Role-Playing Game from Steve Jackson Games.

Your post is the first time I have ever encountered the word "toon" as a reference to a PC. And I've been hanging out on the Paizo boards for at least three years.

Of course, I have also never once played an MMO in my life, and am completely unfamiliar with MMO terminology.

Now get off my lawn you damn kids!


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Jerdane wrote:
What really surprises me is how on earth a saint of a Lawful Neutral god became a Chaotic Good god herself! Presumably she must have been a very different person while Aroden was alive. Does the bit about her in The Shackled Hut say anything about this?

That part is a little vague. The book says that Milani was a half-elven ranger living on the borderlands of Kyonin when Treerazer entered the scene. She helped defend the human settlements on the far side of Tanglebriar, after they were abandonded by their erstwhile elven protectors. Her embrace of her human heritage and zeal to defend humans against a nascent demon lord caught Aroden's attention, and he blessed her with a divine spark.

The book doesn't touch on the alignment mismatch, and it emphasizes their common goals over their common philosophies.


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When I GM, I always customize loot for my PCs. I go so far as to ask the players for an item wish list every once in a while, and try to (at least) partially accommodate it.

If there's a Small PC in the group and I'm running a published adventure, I'll be sure to change the races of some bad guys to match. (So, the half-orc assassin becomes a halfling assassin, etc.)

If that's not an option, I'll be sure to specify some of the recovered loot as Small.


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I usually have some broad-stroke, back-of-the-envelope ideas for character advancement, but I like to let the circumstances of the campaign influence character advancement.

For example, there was one game back in the 3.5 days where my ranger PC had an encounter with a god, and switched classes to become a cleric of that god. It was completely unplanned and rather sub-optimal, yet completely appropriate for the character.

Likewise, I've had characters take sub-optimal feats, ranks in non-class skills, and spontaneous casters make odd spell selection choices due to in-game circumstances or events.

Basically, I like my character development to be organic and tied to the plotline of the campaign.

OTOH, the campaigns I play in tend to be heavily plot-focused with a larger emphasis on interpersonal roleplaying than combat. (We can go three or four sessions without any weapons being drawn.) If I were playing in a combat-focused and/or episodic campaign (like, say, in PFS), I probably would take a much more planned approach to character advancement.


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My understanding is that the gods themselves have the ability to ascend mortals to godhood by their own power. Thus, Milani was ascended to godhood through the power of Aroden himself.

Aroden ascended to godhood by raising the Starstone from the bottom of the sea and creating the Isle of Kortos, but he did not take the Test of the Starstone. He was already more than 5,000 years old at the time, so he may very well have already been a demigod.

Other gods had themselves ascended to godhood from mortality through means other than the Starstone. Examples from the Core 20 that I can think of are Irori, Urgathoa, and Nethys.

Other types of beings can also ascend to godhood: Lamashtu was a demon that ascended; Sarenrae, an angel; and Rovagug, a qlippoth. (Whether Asmodeus was a devil that ascended is a matter of debate.)

The means of divine ascenstion are still deliberately mysterious. I'm actually hoping that Paizo never publishes more rules about how to go about it, other than what's already been printed in Mythic Adventures.


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The public school system in my city has a nondiscrimination policy that covers LGBT students, staff, and faculty. I know there is at least one teacher in the high school who kept teaching after transitioning a few years ago (with pretty much zero public outcry). The principal of the high school is an out gay man, and the athletics director is an out lesbian. The Gay-Straight Alliance student organization at the high school has at least 40 members, and there are chapters in the middle schools as well.

I love this town.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, I thought I should share this here...

My daughter is a freshman in high school, and one of her close friends is named Natalie. We're not terribly close with Natalie's family, but we're friendly enough. Anyway, my daughter casually mentioned Natalie's sister Ivy in conversation last night. I knew that Natalie had an older brother Aaron that was a senior in high school, but I didn't remember hearing about a sister. So I asked if Ivy was older (i.e still in or out of college) and had moved back in with the family. My daughter said, "No, she's always been there. Natalie only has one sibling, Ivy, who's a senior." I paused, slowly getting it. "So... Aaron transitioned?" "Yup. She's Ivy now. Could you pass the salad dressing?"

I loved the nonchalance in her explanation, and that, while I'm sure it's a big deal for Ivy, it doesn't seem to be so at school.


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Sidestepping the question of inclusiveness, repeatedly using "he or she" and "him or her" in a paragraph often results in awkward sentence structure that can confuse the reader.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Be a decent houseguest, and respect the host's boundaries, auch as:

  • Don't open the host's refrigerator/cupboard/pantry without asking first.
  • Stay out of the non-public areas of the house.
  • Don't snoop in the bathroom medicine cabinet.
  • Don't use foul language around children
  • Be respectful of non-gamers in the house
  • Etc. These should be common sense.

On smoking:

  • Ask before lighting up in the house, and don't do it if your host asks you not to.
  • Keep your cigarette breaks short.
  • Don't throw your butts in the flowerbed.

Don't touch other players' dice without asking first.

Don't bogart the snacks/drinks-- especially if you don't bring any to share.

If there's alcohol, don't get sloppy.

Have your stats in order so you don't have to re-calculate everything every time it's your turn.

If the GM is trying to set a mood, please play along. (i.e. If the GM is trying to set up a tragic/scary/disturbing scene, don't crack jokes or quote Monty Python.)


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At least you didn't get eaten by a Grue.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

>LOOK

West of House

You are standing in a yard west of a house. A path leads WEST. There is a mailbox here.

>OPEN MAILBOX

The mailbox is empty

>NORTH

North of House

You are standing in a front yard north of a house. The door to the house is closed. A road leads NORTH.

>SOUTH

The door is locked.

>BASH OPEN DOOR

I don't know the word "BASH".

>SMASH DOOR

I don't know the word "SMASH".

>BREAK DOOR

How do you want to try to break the door? (Example: "WITH FIST")

>WITH HEAD

I don't understand-- I don't see a verb there.

>BREAK DOOR WITH HEAD

You run into the door head first to try to break it down. While the door is made of sturdy oak planks, your head is not. You taste blood and feel a terrible headache just before you lose consciousness.

***YOU HAVE DIED***

Your score is 0/750.
Your rank is Sorry Excuse For An Adventurer.

Do you want to try again?

>N

Good-bye!


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I wouldn't allow that in my Golarion campaign.

If I had a player who wanted to play a religious warrior dedicated to Gorum, I'd suggest a warpriest (playtest version, converting to real one when the Advanced Class Guide comes out), or an inquisitor, or a fighter/cleric.

Actually, fighter/cleric might be the best option, especially if you take the War and Destruction domains. Between the Rage and Destructive Smite abilities, you'd be able to do a fair approximatiom of the paladin's Smite Evil ability.


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There isn't any, and there probably won't be any.

I asked a similar question on James Jacobs' thread about Nocticula's hairstyle. He replied that style of dress of Paizo's characters in artwork is part of their "look," to help readers recognize the character immediately. It's why superheroes always wear costumes: despite differences in style between different artists, you can always tell which character is Batman.


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There have been a few threads recently about play style differences, "camps" of gamers, and even hostility between gamers whose styles differ.

I'd like to open up a discussion about how to run an effective game when you have players who tend to prefer differing styles. I would like to share my own experience with this, and am also looking for advice on how better to handle it in my next game (with almost all new players).

I'd like to start by talking a little about play style.

I've been playing RPGs now for about 35 years, and I've played in a many different game systems. The way I see it, playing tabletop RPGs is both an art and a science.

I think that a good game needs a healthy dose of both. It's been my observation that problems arise when players don't agree on where that balancing point between the two should be.

The Artistic Style of Play:

On the artistic side, playing an RPG is an exercise in group storytelling. Artistic players see their own character as a living, breathing person who has a history, a personality, and goals. The joy of the game is to embody the character, to look at the in-game situation through the eyes of an alter-ego, and to develop the character's story, as a part of the overall story. An artistic player tends to pick charcter design choices based more with an eye to the character's story than to, say, combat effectiveness. Most won't bother with long-term planning of character advancement, letting the character's in-game experiences dictate chosen advancement options. An artistic-leaning GM won't let the letter of the rules get in the way of a good story. Such a GM will usually roll his dice behind a screen, and have no qualms ignoring inconvenient dice rolls if they don't serve a compelling storyline.

Players more attracted to the artistic side of RPGs tend to prefer game systems that are light on rules, and provide the GM plenty of discretion on how to interpret situations. Most artistic players still care enough of the "science" of the game to create reasonably-effective characters. ("Hmmm... why would a disgruntled banker and fan of the opera be heading off with a knight to explore a lost crypt? I'll make him a scholar of ancient lore instead...")


--or, those who prefer developing the storylines of their character and then figuring out what rules to use

The Scientific Style of Play:

On the scientific side, playing an RPG is an exercise of learning and understanding the rules of the system. The joy of a scientific player is coming up with a novel combination of the rules that grant amazing statistical advantages in the widest sets of in-game circumstances. This kind of player will painstakingly craft spreadsheets of the cost/benefit analysis of specific weapon choice, feat chains, spells, ans so forth. Scientific players tend to carefully optimize a character for the assigned role: tank, blaster-caster, skill-monkey, meat shiled, healer, etc. They probably have figured out their feat, spell, and skill selections through 20th level, and probably have a long wish-list of specific magic items. (which they will buy or craft if they don't recover them in treasure hordes). Most scientific players still pay attention to the "art" side of the game, often crafting very creative character stories that explain or justify the "crunch" they have so carefully crafted. Players of this sort usually have a highly-developed sense of fairness, and find the idea of fudging dice rolls to be "cheating," something they would never let themselves do! For to do so would be to cheapen the game experience.

--or, those who prefer to dive deep into the ruleset and finely hone their characters, and then come up with enough of a story to justify their choices.

Conflicting Styles
In gaming groups where the players and GM aren't that far apart on the spectrum, playstyle conflict is seldom an issue. Conflict can arise, though, when there is a strong mismatch.

In a game that's dominated by players who prefer the scientific style, an artistic player is likely to feel undervalued. First-person role-playing might not be the group's strong suit, and that player's character will likely seem underpowered in comparison to the rest of the party.

In a game that's primarily artistic, a lone scientific player may very well dominate combat when it happens, but might feel bored on the third session in a row wwithout a fight.

On the boards, we've seen far too many examples of players of one style accuse the players of the other of having wrongbadfun. That tends to cause a shouting match, where people form sides and talk past each other. The thread often ends in flames and is shut down by a moderator.

How I've handled this
I'll confess that I tend toward the artistic side of things, although I like to think that I'm closer to the middle. In my last campaign, all of my players were very experienced gamers. We had one character that was significantly more effective in combat than the rest-- played by a scientific-style player. At first, I found it a serious problem, as that character could chop through pretty much anything I threw at him in a round. But I didn't want to nerf him, because I knew that making the most effective character that he could was this player's strong suit. I ended up re-tooling most encounters to that the party would need to use different tactics to overcome them; this had the added benefit of letting other PCs have about an equal time in the spotlight. As I was running a published AP, that meant re-writing a lot of the encounters. It was a lot of work, but

So, what do you do when you have a mismatch in player styles?


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As a GM, I won't let an inconvenient die roll get in the way of a good story. I invoke that far more for the PCs than the bad guys. The PCs are supposed to win, but I usually want them to at least work for it. If the PCs slaughter a bunch of mooks or a wandering monster in 1 round, that's fine. But the Big Bad is unlikely to fall to a "save or die" effect in the first round of combat-- especially if I've spent more than three hours designing the encounter.


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The NPC wrote:

Mr. James Jacobs,

Would I be correct in thinking that Sarenrae was created as an angel? Yes, the Book of the Damned menstruation her as a creation of Ihys, but unreliable narrators abound in that regard.

I think your iPhone autocorrected your post into something else entirely...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In Dudemaster's vein, here's how to shorten Rise of the Runelords...

1: Burnt Offerings (caps at Level 4)

Spoiler:
Run Burnt Offerings, straight. Nualia is the Big Bad, and is seeking to burn her hometown to the ground as an offering to Lamashtu, in exchange for demonic apotheosis. You can add some clues in Thistletop to indicate that she was the one who activated the Thassilonian Runewell that caused the Late Unpleasantness five years earlier.

2: Rise of the Skinsaw Cult (caps at Level 8)

Spoiler:
Run Burnt Offerings and The Skinsaw Murders pretty much straight. In this version, Xanesha is the Big Bad, and it was her that originally activated the Runewell five years ago. Include some device in her lair atop the Shadow Clock that draws some level of power from the Runewell via the greedy souls, which is why she took over the Skinsaw Cult to increase the body count. At the conclusion, the mayor throws a huge party for the PCs, and they become heroes of the City of Monuments.

3: Rise of the Stone Lord (caps at level 10)

Spoiler:
Run the first three books straight. The Big Bad becomes Barl Breakbones. He got a taste of power by finding another Lesser Runewell, which activated the one below Sandpoint five years ago. He's trying to raise an army of giants and ogres based in Hook Mountain. Perhaps he has something like a master Sihedron medallion that receives power from the greedy souls collected by his Runewell, which is why he wants to flood the town of Turtleback Ferry.

4: Rise of the Stone Lords (caps at level 13)

Spoiler:
Pretty much as 3, adding Fortress of the Stone Giants to the mix, and the Big Bad is Mokmourian. Remove the Thassilonian library from below Jorgenfist: it's just a treaure vault with Thassilonian trappings, but include a more powerful lesser runewell. Mokmourian has become obsessed with the power of giants under the Thassilonians, and he plans to turn Varisia into a powerful giant nation. The AP ends with his defeat, and the scattering of his army of giants.


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Way back in 2008, James Jacobs wrote that slavery is illegal in Varisia...for the most part.

Slavery is illegal in Magnimar, and there isn't much of an underground slave trade.

Slavery isn't practiced in Riddleport, although there are situations that more-or-less constitute slavery (like press-ganged crews of ships, etc).

Open slavery and the buying and selling of people as chattel is illegal in Korvosa. But... there is tolerance of some forms of indentured servitude or other contracted labor that people can't get out of easily. It might not be called slavery, but it effectively is.

Actual slavery, with public auctions and an active slave trade, happens in Kaer Maga.


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I try to avoid GMPCs. At most, I'll include an allied NPC for an adventure or two. A better option is to let a PC take the Leadership feat for free, and work with the player to make a cohort that rounds out the party.

OTOH, in the Skull & Shackles game I'm playing in, the GM is using the NPC cleric as a GMPC. it's actually working out well.


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Why am I wasting time on the Paizo messageboards?

The project status report that I'm not writing is due tomorrow at close of business!


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Wanton soup is souper sexy.


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xavier c wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
xavier c wrote:

1)James Sutter said arcane magic (in regards to wizards) is science. So are there any religious wizards?

2)Does Erastil have any worshipers on Garund?

1) There are absolutely religious wizards, just as there are religious scientists.

2) Yes.

There are religious scientists?

Of course there are! I attend church with several... including two evolutionary biologists, a theoretical physicist, a geologist, a biochemist, two psychologists, and a physician. (Why, yes, I do live in a college town.)

The notion that scientist = atheist is bunk.

(Sorry for jumping in on JJ's thread... this is a pet peeve.)


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A few weeks ago, I was cleaning out the lowest shelf of my gaming bookcase, and found myself reading my battered copy of the 1983 classic module I6: Ravenloft by Tracy and Laura Hickman, for AD&D 1st Edition.

I was struck at how thoroughly modern this 31-year-old gem is, yet it still retains a certian Old School Gaming charm.

I played through it once as a player in a 12-hour-long Halloween marathon session when I was in college in 1988.

I ran it once the following year. That ended in a TPK halfway through, mainly due to players making some incredibly bad decisions.

I was thinking that I would love to run it again, but converting it to Pathfinder was beyond the effort I would be willing to put into it. I thought about trying to run it in AD&D 1e rules, but I couldn't count on people still having their old books lying around.

And then it struck me: OSRIC!

Would anyone be interested in playing this in a PbP using AD&D 1e / OSRIC rules?

If there's enough interest on this thread, I'll post a for-real recruitment thread with character gen guidelines, etc.

So... Who's up for some old-school vampire-hunting goodness?


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Reminds me of a tournament module I outlined but never completed back in the late '80s...

A female paladin had fallen through a dimensional rift into the World of Greyhawk. She told a tale of oppression and corruption of her church back in her home world, and thanked her god for sending her to "fairyland," as she called it. Over a few years, she raised a huge army, complete with many good-aligned magical creatures, and readied to march her army back through the rift to bring righteousness to her home world.

The PCs learn that if she does go, she'll succed on the short term, but that act will unleash terrible ramification on her world-- a world without magic. The paladin, however, is convinced of the justice of her cause, and will not be dissuaded.

So the PCs have to stop Joan of Arc from leading a fantasy army into medieval France.


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For new players, I strongly recommend restricting their choices to the Core Rulebook. You can make a perfectly functional and fun PC from the Core Rulebook alone.

I usually recommend new players shy away from spellcasters at start, as the options can get overwhelming, but I certainly let them if that's the concept they want to play.

Often, I'll ask the players for the general concept of the character he or she wants to play, and I'll help design a simple but competent build. This is not the time to pull out the system mastery stops.


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Male Human (last I checked) Techie 2 / Bureaucrat 5

On a completely unrelated note...

I have decided to start my own PbP.

The game will be kickin' it Old School with a blast from the past...

Dust off your 1e AD&D Player's Handbook and prepare to be scared...

[OSRIC] I6: Ravenloft

I'll be putting up a recruitment thread later this week.

I'm planning to give preference to people I've played with in the past (whether on the boards or in real life.)


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Mr. Crash: Kudos to you for turning around the tenor of this thread. Chalk up your original locked thread as a learning experience.

As for the gonzo elements in some APs-- I really like them, when used judiciously.

And they're not a terribly new thing, either. AD&D 1st Edition had a bunch of totally gonzo modules-- Expedition to the Barrier Peaks (1980), where the PCs investigate a crashed starship; The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror (1983), where the PCs are transported to a very deadly version of Alice in Wonderland; White Plume Mountain (1979) had sci-fi elements; etc.

I happen to really like sci-fi elements in fantasy. I haven't run "Reign of Winter" yet, but I think that Rasputin Must Die! is one of the best-written adventures I've ever come across in 30+ years of gaming.

And I am very much looking forward to "Iron Gods."

If you are looking for traditional fantasy adventures, the vast majority of Paizo products are just that. I applaud Paizo for pushing the envelope and doing something new and different!


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In 30+ years of playing and GMing, the only trouble I've ever had with paladins as-written was when the GM and/or player was being a jerk. (e.g. Being disruptive to other players, deliberately setting up no-win situations, withholding crucial information, taking something the player said out of context as being "in character" and not letting the player take it back, etc.)

I no longer play with jerks. Problem solved.


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Carrion crawler.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Or, suspend the ongoing campaign, and start a new, short-term game with the new players for the summer.


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VM mercenario wrote:
The problem you seem to have is that you think alignment is based on actions. It's not, it's about motives. It's not what you do, but why you do it.

I disagree. The alignment of a given action depends on both the motive and the act itself.

Your examples are also about legal systems. As Ross stated in the title of this thread, "Law is not Legal." It is entirely possible for legal practice of a given land to be fundamentally Chaotic! (e.g. An overlord who rules by edict: what he says is the law.)

Law promotes order, stability, and predictability.

Chaos promotes individuality, flexibility, and change.

Like I said on the Good is Hard thread, you need to look at both motive and act to determine whether a given action is Good, Neutral, or Evil. In the case of the Good/Evil axis, it's clear that both act and motive must be Good for the act to be Good. If either act or motive are Evil, the action is Evil. The other combinations indicate a Neutral action.

The Law/Chaos axis is a little tougher to think through: good/evil seems a bit more clear-cut, and is certainly the more important axis in both game terms and general philosophy.

I'm going out on a limb, and will likewise say that Law is Hard as well. It's just easier to be chaotic: you don't need a set of rules and principles to follow. If both act and motive are Lawful, then the action is Lawful. If either act or motive are Chaotic, then the action is Chaotic. Other combinations are neutral.


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Draco Bahamut wrote:
Democratus wrote:

Doesn't matter what each culture calls good/evil. It's still a gut reaction for anyone within that culture. And there are some fairly universal goods/evils that are ubiquitous.

Good/Evil is visceral.
Law/Chaos is an intellectual distinction.

Yeah, but say that to a christian paladin trying to smite evil a wiccan witch when both of them consider themselves good.

Please-- let's shy away from using real-world religions in this discussion!

That way lies flame wars and moderator intervention!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mikaze wrote:

Holy #%*+ guys, that's no laughing matter. :(

** spoiler omitted **

The question is more about minotaurs than clowns, but...

Does using a minotaur to interrogate detainees constitute torture?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A deck of many things

It was an appropriate item for the campaign: The PCs were servants of the church of Tymora, in the Forgotten Realms. (The one and only campaign I ran in Faerun.)

I actually had a physical "Deck of Many Things" deck that I'd won in a contest at my FLGS.

Unfortunately, using the deck actually ended the campaign then and there:

- The priestess of Tymora chose to draw twice. First she drew "The Gem," gaining a huge gem worth a lot of money. She then got "The Balance," becoming Lawful Evil, and losing her clerical abilities.
- The fighter drew "The Donjon," and was immediately subject to the effect of an imprisonment spell.
- The rogue drew "The Skull," and had to fight a dread wraith. Being a rogue, she lost a one-on-one fight against an incoporeal opponent and died.
- The wizard drew "The Void," and immediately fell unconscious as his soul was spirited away somewhere on another plane.
- The bard had chosen to draw twice. He drew "Ruin," losing all nonmagical treasure and wealth, and then drew "Talons," losing all magic items.

So, the only two PCs left standing were the priestess, who was now a mortal enemy of Tymora, and the bard, who no longer had any wealth or magic, or any way to try to rescue the other PCs.

We ended the campaign, and I vowed never to allow a deck of many things in my games again!


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(Continued)

Ultimately, I try to side with compassion.

Yes, bad decisions can lead to bad outcomes. But in the heat of the moment, bad decisions can seem like good decisions, and only reveal themselves to be bad after the fact.

If someone is struggling and wants help, I will lend a hand.


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There is a certain amount of hubris involved with addiction. "I'm special/strong/smart enough that I can quit any time I want!"

And for some people, that's true. For others... not so much. Hubris is part of it, but there's also a genetic component.

Some people can play with fire, so to speak, and not get burned. I know a few people who dabbled with heroin and/or cocaine when they were younger, enjoyed it well enough, but stopped using on their own without ever getting addicted.

I know others who tried smack once, and they were all in. One acquaintence has been in-and-out of rehab for decades.

The problem is that a given individual often doesn't know which camp they're in until it's too late.

It's the same with drinking alcohol. Most Americans drink. (I certainly do.) The question is where is the line between moderate/social drinking and addiction? That line can vary wildly between individuals, and it can be very difficult to notice when it's been crossed.

I have a beer or glass of wine with dinner just about every night; Additionally, I fix myself a cocktail after work two or three times a week. If I'm out with friends, I might have two or three beers. Does that make me an alcoholic? I don't think so. I honestly don't enjoy the feeling of drunkenness, and I can stop whenever I want. (I put that to the test periodically, to make sure it's true.)

But someone else with my pattern of drinking could very well be addicted.


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I don't normally like to codify alignment, but here's how I see the main reason why Good is Hard:

The morality of any act depends on both the motivation and the nature of the act itself. In my book, both have to be Good for the act to be Good.

If either Act or Motive are Evil, then the action is Evil.

The remaining kinds of actions are neutral.

Here's a matrix.

Good motive, good act: Good action.
Good motive, neutral act: Neutral action
Good motive, evil act: Evil action.
Neutral motive, good act: Neutral action
Neutral motive, neutral act: Neutral action
Neutral motive, evil act: Evil action.
Evil motive, good act: Evil action
Evil motive, neutral act: Evil action
Evil motive, evil act: Evil action

So, nine combinations. One is Good, three are Neutral, five are Evil.

Good is Hard.

Star Voter 2014

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The archetype round has always been my least favorite of RPGSS. Honestly, I'm not a fan of archetypes in general, and usually prefer prestige classes to make a character more niche.

I liked the old organization round better. I think that did a better job of showing off the kind of writing chops that a freelancer nerds to write good adventures.

I think that a round of designing an interesting NPC, probably a villain, would be a more suitable round than either: NPCs are needed in just about any adventure, and there's an art to good NPC design that's subtly different than the other rounds.

Wayfinder does a good job of showcasing that design ability with its "Weal and Woe" series.


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James Jacobs wrote:
FormerFiend wrote:

In your opinion, why do you think Orcus, out of all the dozens of demon lords that have been created for D&D over the years, was so prolific in his use in official products?

And while you guys at Paizo may have no interest in using him in a story capacity, would you ever consider statting him up in a Bestiary or Campaign Setting Book just so he could be used by a DM who might want to include him? If so, what CR do you imagine you'd give him?

I think that for much of TSR's time, PARTICULARLY during 2nd edition, they were too afraid of backlash to do much at all with demons.

Furthermore, in 1st and 2nd edition, they didn't actually have a lot of demon lords to play with. Maybe a dozen. There were a lot more names, but only about a dozen or so that actually had stats and storylines.

I remember being kind of confused when I picked up the 2nd Edition Monstrous Compendium in '89 to find that demons had been renamed "tenar'ri" and devils had been renamed "baatzu." But then I realized why.

D&D got caught up in the satanic ritual abuse moral panic of the mid '80s to early '90s. I think it caught TSR by surprise. The novel and movie Mazes and Monsters (the latter starring a very young Tom Hanks) about kids losing themselves into a fantasy world and committing suicide didn't help. (It also didn't help that, while the book claimed to be based on the true and tragic story of James Egbert, the connection to D&D that the book presents are simply not true.)

I remember TSR getting raked over the coals on mainstream TV (I think it was ABC's "20/20") for producing books that "mention the word 'demon' or 'devil' hundreds of times" and having "lurid" pictures of unholy creatures. (The examples they showed were from the first-edition Monster Manual.) This was shown as "proof" that the game was immoral and shouldn't be allowed near children. I also recall a piece of artwork from the Dieties and Demigods article on Lolth that shows a drow priestess sacrificing an elf on an altar. That clip was shown on TV as "instructions for human sacrifice in a game for kids." This underscored and confirmed the fears of many, and the Right ran with it.

There were public burnings of D&D books. Parents would refuse to buy the game for their kids, and in some cases, would confiscate and destroy their own kids' D&D book collections.

I think it's hard to overestimate, with 30 years of hindsight, how much the "Satanic panic" scare really pervaded American culture and caused real and lasting damage. In light of the social stigma, I think TSR made a very sound business decision to drop the words "demon" and "devil" from their Second Edition products. Of course, by the time the Monstous Compendium was published, the moral panic was starting to ebb. The words "devil" and "demon" crept back into TSR products in the mid-90s, before TSR was acquired by Wizards of the Coast.

Okay... some related questions...

1) Does Paizo still have to deal with any echos of the anti-D&D backlash?

2) Many Paizo products have content that push the "mature content" limits. (e.g. the descripton of the Skinsaw Man's victims, or the Graul Farm encounter area in Rise of the Runelords; Pretty much all of City of Locusts-- which I totally loved BTW.) How often do you come up with a cool idea that you realize can't be published because it's too dark or otherwise inappropriate?

3) Does Paizo have any contingency plans to deal with negative press in the mainstream media over the content of its products?

4) Flipping that, how do you see Paizo's role as a publisher to push the boundaries of acceptability as a means to benefit society? (e.g. increasing the diversity of characters in yout products.)


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Several of the concepts from BOVD were re-used for 3.5 in later product releases. Examples are corrupt spells and vile feats, which were included in a revamped form in Heroes of Horror.

The 3.5 versions of a few spells also got slightly-less-dark names. The one that comes to mind is the BOVD spell mindrape, which was republished essentially unchanged in the 3.5 Spell Compendium as programmed amnesia. I recall that there were a few others, but the specifics escape me at the moment.


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Freehold DM wrote:
ShinHakkaider wrote:
Vigil wrote:
Meanwhile in southern California, today will be in the low 80's with sunny, clear skies. We may cool down into the mid 70's over the weekend though...
HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE.
agreed. All should experience the joys of winter and only experience the horror of summer during its alloted 3.5 months.

I'm with you, Freehold!


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I've been playing RPGs for long enough that I still don't think "video game" when someone refers to an "RPG"...

I usually explain that playing an RPG is somewhere between improv acting and the dramatic play of young children. All but one of the players each assume the role of one character in the story. These "player characters" are like the main cast of a movie. The remaining player is the "Game Master," who sets the outline of the plot, acts as a referee to settle disputes, and plays all of the other minor characters (including any villains in the story).

If their eyes haven't glazed over, and they still seem interested, I'll go on to say that most RPGs have formal rules that guide and inform the story being told. The rules usually define what characters can and cannot do. They also provide a means to resolve conflict between characters-- like who wins a fight, or whether a character gets lost in the woods. Most RPGs use dice of some sort to help determine outcomes of conflict.

But ultimately, it's a game, and the point is to have fun... not unlike a game of bridge, checkers, or Trivial Pursuit.


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My most recent group was pretty good about roleplaying first-person in obvious RP encounters, but usually broke character in combat. Which is fine by me.

Because when they got on an RP roll, they just kept going.

For example, when the party first got to the city of Magnimar, it was the first time in the city for all of the PCs save one (who grew up there.) So the native Magnimarian gave the rest of the PCs a tour. They went to the Aquaretium and met Nireed Wadincoast, they went to several public parks, including Seerspring Garden, but ended up spending most of the day at the Lord-Mayor's Menagerie. And the players spent most of the session there. We actually had a blast, role-playing a bunch of adventurers playing tourists at the zoo. I ran a single round of combat when one of the PCs got pick-pocketed, but the rest of the time was straigh-up pure roleplaying. We had a blast, and it was one of the highlights of the campaign.

For months afterward, whenever the PCs encountered something disturbing or dangerous, the wizard would say, "I guess we could go in there... Or we go back to Magnimar and hang out at the zoo! Who's with me?"

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