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Hitdice's page

2,635 posts (2,879 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 6 aliases.


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houstonderek wrote:
Stuff about an aging customer demographic and realistic expectations.

Do you think WotC is looking ahead to the 50th anniversary at this point? I sort of feel like they must be, and sometimes think that they made such a fuss about the release of 5e in tandem with the fortieth anniversary to set D&D up as the slow and steady, reliable elder statesman of RPGs in 10 years time. Their multi-platform approach certainly seems to be slanted towards growing the brand name recognition rather than total RPG market domination.

Or, what do I know, maybe in 2018 they'll say, "Great news, nerds, we're releasing a new edition every 3 years, so open up those wallets!"


Remember Gygax's description of the khopesh in UA? Where he said it was like a sword with a D (no crossbar) on top, and Egyptian, historically speaking, but totally meant for Druids with all that history, so now it's a Druid weapon? And you were like, "I play D&D all the time, and I have no idea what Gary Gygax is even trying to describe," cause you were only 12 years old ?

I do too, but grognards never accepted the optional UA material to begin with.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Okay, so I disagree with people on both sides of the issue; no surprise there.


To hell with everything, let's just nominate Picnic on Paradise as the single best science fiction novel ever.


Well, John, that's the whole issue right there, isn't it? If your book didn't win the Hugo last year, and you think it's a better idea to start a voting campaign than write a new book, that's very indicative of the quality of your writing, wouldn't you say?

Edit: I'm sorry if that came out in an adversarial tone of voice, I'm trying to agree with you. :)


thejeff wrote:
Yeah, I was interested in the "Wereworld poet" too.

Autocorrect, man, just, autocorrect; what are you gonna do about it?


Mikaze wrote:
Hitdice wrote:

I find junk like this very, very disappointing; I can't see a downside of having more diverse writers, or more literary writing win awards within the genre. Speaking as a white dude, I always enjoyed fantasy and science fiction for the diversity of the authors, and the literary quality of the writing. Sure, sometimes that was Philip Jose Farmer's hallucinogenic were world poet, but sometimes it was Kindred by Octavia Butler. Then again, if the field is getting diverse enough that the dudes feel a need to DO SOMETHING, that might actually be a net positive, provided they're not successful.

Yeesh, remember when the biggest controversy about the Hugo Awards was how they invented the category of Best Other Format so the prose novels wouldn't have to compete with Watchmen?

Could have sworn it was the Midsummer Night's Eve issue of Sandman that stirred up that drama, but that may have been another award. I can totally see Watchmen causing the same arguments though. :)

That was the World Fantasy Award, I think. He won Best Short Story for a comic book, and they, like, immediately changed the charter (or whatever) to make comics ineligible. As far as I know, Gaiman's the only writer to win a prose award for a comic book, flat out. Okay, fine, look, I'm pretty sure Spiegelman won the Pulitzer for Maus for political cartooning, not literature, cause they already had a cartooning category, but honestly, I'd love to be wrong on that one. I think the world would be a better place if the Pulitzers had a comic book award.

. . .

Also, that bit of my quote that says "were world poet," that should read "werewolf porn." Look, I'm not saying it wasn't an educational experience, just maybe you don't want to leave an 11 year old alone with a bookshelf, it'll give 'em ideas! :P


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I find junk like this very, very disappointing; I can't see a downside of having more diverse writers, or more literary writing win awards within the genre. Speaking as a white dude, I always enjoyed fantasy and science fiction for the diversity of the authors, and the literary quality of the writing. Sure, sometimes that was Philip Jose Farmer's hallucinogenic were world poet, but sometimes it was Kindred by Octavia Butler. Then again, if the field is getting diverse enough that the dudes feel a need to DO SOMETHING, that might actually be a net positive, provided they're not successful.

Yeesh, remember when the biggest controversy about the Hugo Awards was how they invented the category of Best Other Format so the prose novels wouldn't have to compete with Watchmen?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adjule wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Yeah, as I said - it's obviously not the same as a PDF of the core books (or an online database equivalent). I was a little puzzled at the suggestion it was a different game. I can understand that perspective without sharing it, I was just checking there wasnt some difference in the same way the PF Beginner Box is actually a different, simpler game than the PF Core rules.
Yeah, they are the exact same game, minus quite a few options.

I won't say that the Elemental Evil Player's companion is rife with options, but I was glad to see that the few it offers are just as compatible with Basic as they are with the PHB. That is, I'm glad the Player's Companion doesn't require the PHB. (Yes, I realize there are spells list for classes that aren't contained in Basic, but you get my point.)


Remember Role Aids {tm}? That junk right there was Grognard all the way dude!
. . .
I have no opinion on who is or is not a Grognard, but do appreciate house rules; take that as you will.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

As I have opined before on this very thread, Haley has obviously maxed her Diplomacy. Like, obviously!!1!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

What's funny is, the first time I picked up one of her comics, her art felt really familiar, but it wasn't till I saw some wolves she'd drawn that I realized, "ZOMG, the Vargr from Challenge Magazine!"


jemstone wrote:
Bluenose wrote:
That was the one with the centaurs and the tarot deck in character creation. Very nice art, too.
That's the one!

Jem, I remember talking about Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld with you about a million years ago, but I suppose this question should be to Blue for mentioning the art: Are you aware that Donna Barr, who illustrated Lace & Steel, has been drawing comics for years and years? Like, in two different millennia at this point. Here's a link to her blog.


James Jacobs wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Do you ever find that the creativity required by a job in the RPG industry detracts from the enjoyment of your daydreams? As in, dreaming about a Snoutbear is entertaining, but there are too many roadblocks to just statting it up on your blog for the fun of it?
I don't feel that it detracts from my daydreams. I just think that a "snoutbear" is a kinda silly creature, even if it WAS kinda scary in the dream. If I'm gonna stat up a monster, I want to respect and the game and NOT do a jokey thing that kinda makes fun of the world. Humor in an RPG is fine if it's in-world humor, but metahumor starts to get too close in my opinion to the game designer making fun of the game he's working on. And by extension, making fun of the customer who enjoys the game.

Not to press the point, but that bit I put in bold reads "respect it and the game"? I'm not quite sure how to read the sentence, I guess.


Well, Quark, that's the thing: I will gladly avail myself of pornography for the sake of entertainment, but would never, ever enter into it as a career. Make of that what you will.


James Jacobs wrote:
Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
Any chance we'll see that nightmare bear with the "stalked snout" in a Bestiary? How about as a unique one-off monster in a module?
Unlikely... but my dream spawned monsters do show up a fair amount in print. The stalked snout bear is pretty boring overall, though. It's just a bear that has a long reaching bite.

Having read some threads on this very site, I think it's pretty obvious that a bear with reach might break the game! :P

Do you ever find that the creativity required by a job in the RPG industry detracts from the enjoyment of your daydreams? As in, dreaming about a Snoutbear is entertaining, but there are too many roadblocks to just statting it up on your blog for the fun of it?


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I found the vampires to be a little bit original, at least.

Spoiler:
I seem to remember some sort of "Xanadu" (the poem, not the movie) crossover; And I liked the bit where one of the humans asked about taking the dark communion or whatever and becoming a vampire, and the sympathetic vamp was all, "Dude, it's just not even a possibility, sorry to disappoint you," while the unsympathetic vamp was like, "Sure, but you'll have eat human flesh first, and maybe you'll want to cook it for sanitary reasons, HAHAHA, OMIGOD THAT'S HILARIOUS!"

Twilight it ain't, and it's a better book for that.

Speaking of early GRRM, anyone here read "The Monkey Treatment"? That's the fun one!


Aberzombie wrote:
Kurt Russell was originally cast to play the cursed heroic knight Navarre in Ladyhawke (1985), while Rutger Hauer, who played the part of Navarre in the film, was the original choice to play the evil captain, even though Hauer had no interest in the part and was actually more interested in the part of the hero Navarre. When Russell dropped out of the project, Hauer took the role.

If only he'd replaced the music editor . . .


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Good heavens, Freehold; I feel like I just heard Gandhi endorse the use of violence!


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Sad news :(


Marc Radle wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I cannot understand how anyone can, with a straight face, say D&D doesnt have a strong brand in the wider non-gamer communtiy. It's pretty much the definition of a strong, persistent brand - it invented an industry and is still going strong thirty/forty years later despite all the evolutions of gaming culture in that time. How well the RPG does is a tiny component of that - no matter how excited we get about where advantage/disadvantage sits on the 'dumbed down to brilliant' scale or what we personally think is an ideal rate of sourcebook production.
Yeah. If D&D is a weak brand, then Pathfinder is a g#*!+!n non-existent brand. To the average non-gamer, if D&D is Coke, Pathfinder is NOT Pepsi, it's Leninade.

Prefer Vimto, TYVM. And before you ask, no I'm not one of those johnnies-come-lately who started drinking it when they read A Small Killing by Moore and Zarate. My parents used to by for me at Job Lot when I was a tyke!

. . .

Yes, I have played the Elfquest RPG, why do you ask?

Not only did we play the Elfquest RPG, I still have on my shelf right now :)

I'm not sure what exactly it says about D&D as a strong brand, but Elfquest is the only D100 system I've played aside from CoC, and I was playing D&D before I before I read the comic. Nothing against Runequest, but if the plan was to ensnare the dozens and dozens of Elfquest fans who also played RPGs, it didn't work on me.


Kthulhu wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I cannot understand how anyone can, with a straight face, say D&D doesnt have a strong brand in the wider non-gamer communtiy. It's pretty much the definition of a strong, persistent brand - it invented an industry and is still going strong thirty/forty years later despite all the evolutions of gaming culture in that time. How well the RPG does is a tiny component of that - no matter how excited we get about where advantage/disadvantage sits on the 'dumbed down to brilliant' scale or what we personally think is an ideal rate of sourcebook production.
Yeah. If D&D is a weak brand, then Pathfinder is a g#*!+!n non-existent brand. To the average non-gamer, if D&D is Coke, Pathfinder is NOT Pepsi, it's Leninade.

Prefer Vimto, TYVM. And before you ask, no I'm not one of those johnnies-come-lately who started drinking it when they read A Small Killing by Moore and Zarate. My parents used to by for me at Job Lot when I was a tyke!

. . .

Yes, I have played the Elfquest RPG, why do you ask?


James Jacobs wrote:
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
What's a good way to present the idea that there's room in the world of gaming for everyone and a company taking risks by being inclusive in their content isn't going to damage the industry as a whole? You know, since you guys at Paizo are living proof of it?
Ummm... the way we're doing it already and have been for the past decade is the best way I can think of to present that idea. I don't think Paizo's damaged the industry at all.

Wouldn't you say that the 5e PHB mentioning LBGT characters in the character customization chapter is evidence that Paizo has had beneficial effect on the industry?

. . .

Look, I know it's a leading question, but this is the Ask James Jacobs Anything thread, so I had phrase it as a question instead of just congratulating you on getting there the first. :)


Maybe whether or not a huge shift is coming depends on whether or not we push even harder to get women into the hard sciences, you see?


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Golden Child, in which Tywin Lannister, um, I mean Charles Dance played the villain? To hell with everything, let's just go full Game of Thrones!

Seriously though, Mikaze, have you ever seen the BBC adaption of the Raj Quartet? The DVD miniseries is titled The Jewel in the Crown, and I think you might just enjoy the hell out of it. :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hey Kobold, If you include emoticons, we'll know if you're being ironic about the thread title. :)


BigNorseWolf wrote:
So can high school history texts sue the producers of "The Patriot" for copying their fiction?

That's pretty much why the case was dismissed.


thejeff wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Weird but true (or maybe just truly weird) the authors of a previous book tried to sue Brown for plagiarism, while claiming their book was factual. If they'd won, wouldn't that set the legal precedent that all fiction was plagiarism?

No? Why would it?

If I rip off somebody's plot line and characters that's plagiarism. If I rip off their pet conspiracy theory, that's still plagiarism.
The legal precedents for that have been set long ago. Technically, it's not plagiarism, it's copyright violation.

What legal precedent do you think would be set?

It would allow people who write nonfiction to sue people who publish fiction which refers to real world facts. The authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail weren't claiming that Brown had published any of their work under his name, they were claiming that writing a factual account entitled them to profits from a work of fiction.


Weird but true (or maybe just truly weird) the authors of a previous book tried to sue Brown for plagiarism, while claiming their book was factual. If they'd won, wouldn't that set the legal precedent that all fiction was plagiarism?


"Concentration, up to X rnd/min/hr/whatever" would have cost too much? I think one more word per card is well worth the clarity! :P


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I'll tell you one thing the the Shakespeare derail made me realize: I whole-heartedly support 50 Shades being described as Tragedy. Seriously, if the author had said, "It's about a woman who confuses her enjoyment of BDSM sex with an emotionally abusive relationship," I'd respect the hell out of her.

As is, I feel the same way I did when everyone was yammering on about how The Da Vinci Code was a once in a life time book, and, flipping through it in a bookstore, I found it to be a completely typical pot-boiler.


I haven't yet stumbled across Teacher Man. Good read?


I haven't read Angela's Ashes in a good many years, but i think there's a joke about that in there somewhere. Full disclosure, I might be thinking of 'Tis.


Get used to it, Doodles, and welcome to the pleasure-dome. :P


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Mikaze wrote:

I'm not sure, but there seems to be a pattern in the development of how minorities have been portrayed by Hollywood/Western pop culture:

First you're portrayed as jokes at best and simple villains(whose villainy is rooted in your identity) at worst.

Then you join in on the joke, because it's safer to be seen as a powerless, harmless joke.

Then come the subversions and the challenges to prejudiced expectations. And then your "exotic"ness gets banked on.

Then you become saints. And you're only allowed to be portrayed as saints, be they inspirational or tragic.

And finally you get to be portrayed with nuance and displaying the full range of humanity.

It's not a solid theory, and even folks that should have reached the end of that stupid, prolonged, ethnicity/religion/orientation/identification-wide hazing ritual still don't get to enjoy a 100% completion bonus, but the pattern seems to actually be a thing. I'm looking at that from the inside of one marginalized perspective and from the outside of another primarily, so this could be way off base.

(I think it was Terry Pratchett's bit on the "camp" vampire photographer that crystallized the "harmless joke as safety" thing for me.)

I don't disagree with anything you've said, but finally being portrayed with nuance and displaying the full range of humanity depends on the ability of the artist(s) doing the portrayal as much as the audience's acceptance of whoever's being portrayed.

Hell, don't ask me, I'm still waiting for a rom-com where a girl meets a guy who who acts the way guys always do in rom-coms, and by the end of the movie she realizes that she's not living through a series of Hollywood meet cutes, she's just dating a f**king a**hole. That is, the relationship dysfunction described in 50 Shades sounds about par for the course.


I agree Teal; I was particularly happy to see that backgrounds make customization possible in a no feat game.


thejeff wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Mudfoot wrote:

GMs fudge the game when they write the adventure. Giving the BBEG 200 hp instead of 150 or 250 has exactly the same effect as adding or subtracting 50hp during combat, and compensates for both the imperfect CR system and random die rolls. It shouldn't be necessary, but this is not chess and it's not going to be perfectly balanced.

In an ideal sandbox game, no 'cheating' is necessary, but it might make for a short-lived and frankly random campaign. But derailing an AP or other long-term campaign where people have invested time and energy, fudging a roll to provide a clue, kill/save an [N]PC or whatever is just sensible.

Even in the ideal sandbox game, plot builds up around characters. Contacts and relationships and things they have planned or care about. At least that's what people tell me. I've never really understood sandbox games.

And even there GMs build encounters and leak information about them so the players know whether they should pursue this adventure or not.

In sandbox games, world building is based on PC action rather than static plot development. You end up laying the train tracks 10 feet in front of the engine at full speed, but the plot's reactive, which I like, whichever side of the GM screen I'm sitting on.

Yeah, I get that. I think there's a broad range though. A lot of space in between sandbox and railroad. People draw the line in very different places in that space.

I certainly won't argue with you there! :)


thejeff wrote:
Mudfoot wrote:

GMs fudge the game when they write the adventure. Giving the BBEG 200 hp instead of 150 or 250 has exactly the same effect as adding or subtracting 50hp during combat, and compensates for both the imperfect CR system and random die rolls. It shouldn't be necessary, but this is not chess and it's not going to be perfectly balanced.

In an ideal sandbox game, no 'cheating' is necessary, but it might make for a short-lived and frankly random campaign. But derailing an AP or other long-term campaign where people have invested time and energy, fudging a roll to provide a clue, kill/save an [N]PC or whatever is just sensible.

Even in the ideal sandbox game, plot builds up around characters. Contacts and relationships and things they have planned or care about. At least that's what people tell me. I've never really understood sandbox games.

And even there GMs build encounters and leak information about them so the players know whether they should pursue this adventure or not.

The people who don't care about character death and always have a backup ready to go are playing a very different game than I am.

In sandbox games, world building is based on PC action rather than static plot development. You end up laying the train tracks 10 feet in front of the engine at full speed, but the plot's reactive, which I like, whichever side of the GM screen I'm sitting on.


TarkXT wrote:
Hitdice wrote:

On the subject of fudging (not cheating, it's a different thing) is there anyone in this thread who thinks that players should be allowed to fudge rolls? I've always seen it as solely a GM choice, and it's pretty important to my enjoyment as a player that I don't know what happens behind the screen.

There are systems that expressly give fudging as a reward or game mechanic.

Eberron is a whole campaign setting that gives fudging to characters.

What's weird about D&D 5E (Yes, I play it, feel free to throw rotten tomatoes at me, but you'll have to join the line at the back, and it's pretty long) is that the advantage/disadvantage mechanic has changed the entire fudging vs cheating dynamic at my table.

Yes, Aubrey, that was as much to you as TarkXT. /wink


TarkXT wrote:
I just want a characters death to match the player's investment. Not the whims of poorly manufactured plastic bit bought at 4$ a dozen.

Well, of course they're poorly manufactured at that price! :P

(Seriously, you know where to get dice that cheap? I won't tell.)


On the subject of fudging (not cheating, it's a different thing) is there anyone in this thread who thinks that players should be allowed to fudge rolls? I've always seen it as solely a GM choice, and it's pretty important to my enjoyment as a player that I don't know what happens behind the screen.

As for essential conceits of RPGs, how about the idea that all the world's problems can be solved by defeating a BBEG in his evil lair? Omigod, how I wish it was that simple! :P


The Cortex? I've never heard of that RPG :P


Vic, I'm not asking for any moral judgements or anything, but seeing as there's no public licensing document, stuff like Fifth Edition Foes (Tome of Horrors 5E conversion, sort of) must be working outside the licensing agreement, right?

'Cause I still think you could produce a 5E compatible stat-block under the OGL, I just don't want to be the guy who has to prove it in court, y'know?


SmiloDan wrote:

I'd like to see 5th Edition Modern.

And dare I dream? Firefly 5th Edition.

Smilo, have you seen this? I can't say the Star Frontiers/5E conversion is exactly Firefly, but it gives you a few more scifi skill checks to integrate into your game. :)


Taking warning from RPG Superstar mishaps in the past, I wouldn't publish your submission anywhere before submitting to the contest, Lora. That comes close to putting your signature in the monster stat block, and it could give the appearance of favoritism if the wrong person saw it.

Not that the appearance would be true, but that's the sort of thing Kobold Press has to avoid in this interconnected media platform day and age.

I mean, if you ask me if a monster more like a hippopotamus than a polar bear appeals to me, I'll answer, but I don't see how such general advice could be very helpful, y'know?


I'm enjoying the The Balkan Trilogy (The Great Fortune, The Spoilt City and Friends and Heroes) by Olivia Manning. British civilian young marrieds living in Rumania on the eve of war? I'm there! I'm only 2/3 of the way through the first book, but the writing's entertaining enough that I plan on checking out the follow up wherein they flee to Egypt, The Levant Trilogy.

I'm not saying I don't like books where people skin each other, those just aren't the only kind of book I read.


It doesn't, the submission guidelines talk about email attachments.


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There's been a ton of discussion about psionics and their necessity to Dark Sun, too, on WotC's boards, not that we've seen Dark Sun yet. Given that the Artificer was a wizard subclass (oops, that should be tradition at this point) I won't be at all surprised if Psion is too, and half the customer base's heads explode.

Then again, this very UA says "once such rules become available" about psionics, so who the hell knows, right?


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What interests me most is the v1 at the end of the pdf download.

As for the whole UA monthly column, I LOVE of WotC produced free/open access content for the rest of us to tinker with as we see fit. Here's hoping we get Spelljammer! And, y'know, everyone else's favorites too, but after Spelljammer. :P


Mecha, I'm honestly curious about my questions to follow, not being snarky, and I don't want to derail the thread, so feel free to reply by PM. If you're more comfortable answering here in front of everyone, that's cool too.

In an earlier post you talk about the basic structure of gender categories consisting of biological sex, gendered social roles and masculine/feminine presentation. Did you intentionally list those in order of precedence, or is that something I'm inferring? That is, biological sex is a physical fact, and pretty easily defined, whereas feminine/masculine presentation depends pretty directly on gendered social roles, and seems to me to be entirely a cultural construct.

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