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Hitdice's page

3,147 posts (3,397 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 6 aliases.


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I hear that about Cherryh a lot, but I think it has more to do with the development of her voice as a writer than a difference between her SF and fantasy. That is, the Morgaine cycle (well, not Exile's Gate) and the Ealdwood book(s) are from very early in her career, when her science fiction (Hunter of Worlds, etc) wasn't all that different. Downbelow Station is much more similar in tone to her early fantasy than Finity's End, and FE is the sequel to DBS.

I think her series can appear uneven because she has a habit of writing a stand alone book years later. Chanur's Legacy, Exile's Gate, Fortress of Ice and Regenisis were all published years after the trilogies they continue, so reading them one after the other can be a bit jarring. I had the same experience with the Fafhrd and Grey Mouser series, which are always collected in chronological order; there are 3 or 4 stories about their early adventures, so when I get to "The Jewels in the Forest," the first story Leiber actually wrote, I always feel like he had stroke or something.

I'm really curious as to Dan's opinion of the fortress books, because Fortress in the Eye of Time was written right around the same time as Foreigner. Of course, that was about 20 years ago, so her voice has developed as she's been writing that series.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Color me interested. I mean, I'm going to have make an effort not call it "SpaceHack," but I'm looking forward to it. :)


Fortress of Eagles isn't the first in that series, Fortress in the Eye of Time is.


Well, look at Alan Moore's thing with Swamp Thing. It's sounded like a gimmick/twist, but it ended up validating the character.

. . .

Actually, I haven't read Swamp Thing in decades. Let me guess, during one of the last few reboots decided that, PSYCH, he was just Alec Holland (with human internal organs who happened to look like a pile of snot covered in vegetation) all along.

EDIT: Plus, Swamp Thing is DC, not Marvel; I fail.


I guess I'd have to say that hiring a slave (from their master, like you hire a taxi, I guess) is much less evil than owning a slave, but not by enough to rise above neutrality on my personal alignment meter. It's not a big deal, plenty of very nice people are neutral.

What would a Paladin do in said situation? I can't tell you until I've watched Django Unchained so often and closely as to figure out whether Django or Schultz is the paladin.


Aberzombie wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
I'm one of those annoying people who would rather read a comic by a writer/artist I like than a comic about any specific character.

Whoa, this was almost enough to make me want to put you on my People to Not Eat list!

I'm partially the same way. Sometimes I go by the writer/artist, sometimes I go by the character. More and more, I do find that I'll drop a character I love if the writing isn't good enough - like the most recent Doctor Strange. Art doesn't bother me as much.

But only almost, huh? Fine, I'll just make an effort to chewed on slightly, but not to such an extent that I can't come back as a zombie myself. Hey, wait, a Marvel Zombie!


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A radio show I listen to, The Takeaway, just did a piece on the fan reaction. One poor fan kept talking as if he was severely unhappy living in a world where Steve Rogers was hydra double agent. Like, severly unhappy. I was all, "You poor kid, I'm sure it will all be fine in six months."

He sounded like an adult, but I'm calling him kid; what can I tell you, I'm one of those annoying people who would rather read a comic by a writer/artist I like than a comic about any specific character.


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Now I gotta find me some gold d20s. :)


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I just with the OP had said "legal authority" instead of "actual authority."


bookrat wrote:
Hitdice wrote:

It's probably only because I've recently read Visitor by C. J. Cherryh, but I totally support elephant folk having a sonic attack otherwise identical to the Dragonfolk breath weapon.

On the other hand, Maelephants are a D&D thing, and I'd probably be more gratified by just home brewing a Kyo race. :)

Give me more info on them, and I'll make the Maelephant and your Kyo both subraces.

Thanks, but they're from a novel (well, a series) and my description would probably just miss half the cool stuff about them. I mean, if you want to read the entire Foreigner series and create both Atevi and Kyo, that would be awesome, but I'm not really in a position to assign homework of that magnitude, you know?


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It's probably only because I've recently read Visitor by C. J. Cherryh, but I totally support elephant folk having a sonic attack otherwise identical to the Dragonfolk breath weapon.

On the other hand, Maelephants are a D&D thing, and I'd probably be more gratified by just home brewing a Kyo race. :)


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archmagi1 wrote:
The problem with Arya is that she's *not* a good FM candidate. Yeah, some of her Sith level hate has been quelled in her training, but this is the same girl who's subconscious mind wargs into her direwolf and leads a hundred head strong wolfpack across the riverlands and the westernlands slaughtering Lannister troops willy nilly (book Arya). Think back to the viscious death she gave Meryn Trant, that isn't an emotionless tool to be used by those with coin, that is blind rage. We saw it on her face, the disgust and contempt, when they portrayed Ned and Sansa as bumbling in the play. She can say a girl is nobody all she wants, but that hate fueled child will end up with all the FM's secrets, and none of their creedo. And Jaqen will let her go, as the Many Faced God will use her as he sees fit.

In the book and TV series alike she's been lying to them since she the training began:

"You must become no one. Give up everything that was Arya Stark."

". . . Okay, but it's cool if I hide Needle under a pile rocks for later, right?"

I loved the pseudo-medieval stage play, both for it's own sake and the chord it struck watching Arya watch it. I find the TV series frequently sacrifices the subtleties of the books in favor of the gorno/porno bodycount, but that was pure gold.


Are people with empathy and imagination allowed to ask their discussion partners for specifics, or is that a sign of irredeemable sociopathy?


thejeff wrote:

But when do they apply?

For any thing you might perceive, there is going to be a distance at which it's automatic, you can't possibly miss it and a distance at which you can't perceive it at all. There's also going to be some distance in between at which you might or might not perceive it. That distance is where the skill check applies and according to the rules, regardless of what the target is or how far away it is, the gap between those two is 200 feet - You detect it even if you roll a 1, then 200' farther away you can't see it even with a 20.
Or you ignore the rules and spread the distance penalties out somehow.

theJeff, not to put you on the spot, but why is randomly generated encounter starting distance such an issue for you? Have you been continuously screwed by your GM deciding you weren't aware of the encounter before you were at negative hit points or something?


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TOZ wrote:
I'm going to start requiring players to roll Perception checks to hear their comrades speak.

I wish I could favorite posts twice. :)


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I don't think they're insanely bad, I just think they're frequently misapplied.

(He said, having previously attested that he'd switched to 5e.)


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All I can say at this point is, I'm very curious to see what a high budget name brand D&D movie ends up looking like. If we get something on the same level as other Hasbro properties such as Battleship, G.I.Joe and Transformers, I'll be psyched.

If we get yet another camel-is-a-horse-built-by-commitee piece where the writers and director are trying to make a straight faced D&D movie but the producers keep increasing the campiness because that's what their idea of what a D&D nerd wants, I'll be very disappointed but completely unsurprised.

God, I didn't mean to sound so pessimistic when I started this post. #buzzkill


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thejeff wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
thejeff wrote:

None. Which is why it's the reductio ad absurdem example, but the basic problem of linear perception is real.

The encounter distances do help, though I'd say they're equally unrealistic - as you suggest. The longest I saw was plains - max of 1440' (6d6*40). At which point you're never going to be able to see it anyway.
I guess you just roll the encounter distance and say you spot it 6d6*40 = 800 feet away whether it's a colossal titan or a tiny pixie.
Unless it's using stealth, in which case you start from there applying the usual Perception rules.
I think the mistake here is assuming that a Perception check is the only way to sense something in game. This point of view is no doubt influenced by my move to 5e, which is infinity times less granular in its skill rules.

I'm not sure of the mistake. I get that you can handwave it away (And honestly I'm fine with that a lot of the time.)

But if the argument is that the rules work just fine, then you have to make a rules argument.

I'll accept the encounter distance by terrain rules, but those seem to me to produce similarly absurd results, since they're apparently independent of the normal obvious modifiers - such as size.

Are there other ways to sense something in game that would apply? Under the actual rules.

Mind you, I've played plenty of other games, many of which have very different, if not always more complete or logical ways of sensing things. But we're discussing PF rules here.

Making a Survival check to follow tracks is the most obvious example I can think of using another skill than Perception to sense something, but when the GM describes a room (or anything, for that matter) the GM is telling the players what their characters perceive in game without Perception checks. Not to get pedantic, but the rules and skill check mechanics aren't the same thing.

Ooh, ooh, what if you know where the sun is from feeling its heat on the side of your body that isn't shaded? Still a Perception check, but no distance modifiers required! :P


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thejeff wrote:

None. Which is why it's the reductio ad absurdem example, but the basic problem of linear perception is real.

The encounter distances do help, though I'd say they're equally unrealistic - as you suggest. The longest I saw was plains - max of 1440' (6d6*40). At which point you're never going to be able to see it anyway.
I guess you just roll the encounter distance and say you spot it 6d6*40 = 800 feet away whether it's a colossal titan or a tiny pixie.
Unless it's using stealth, in which case you start from there applying the usual Perception rules.

I think the mistake here is assuming that a Perception check is the only way to sense something in game. This point of view is no doubt influenced by my move to 5e, which is infinity times less granular in its skill rules.


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thejeff wrote:
Akkurscid wrote:

If it ever came up I would have to rule the Sun is not a fine detail and neither are the mountains forests or oceans so don't require perception checks to find.

Seeing a man in the middle of the road 10 away from you does not require a perception check.

But how far away does the man in the middle of the road require a Perception check?

Or a giant or a dragon, for that matter.

That's the problem. Regardless of the thing you're looking at and regardless of the skill of the observer, there's only a 200' distance between impossible to miss and impossible to see.

I mentioned this towards the end of the last thread, but I certainly won't blame you if you had nonsense fatigue at that point. The rules for maximum encounter distance are listed by terrain type in the wilderness rules, not the perception skill description. I'm not arguing that those maximum distances are any more realistic than the perception modifiers, but rolling perception with a +528 to the DC to spot something a mile away isn't an issue. It's just that if an object can be seen from a mile away, the GM shouldn't ask for a perception check.

I mean, I think colossal dragons have a stupid-high stealth bonus, but realizing that the little tiny silhouette up in the sky is a red dragon and not an eagle strikes me as a Knowledge (Nature) check.

EDIT: I've done some reposting and deletion to respond to a more concise point. I don't think a guy standing in the middle of the road ever requires a perception check. That's like using a perception check to see if a PC knows where his chair is or falls on his butt, you know?


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Just because R'hlor can grant/teach magic doesn't mean its a god ray.

Indeed; according to both Jon Snow and Beric Dondarrion there's no next world, just oblivion. From what I remember of season 3 Melisandre had specific question for Dondarrion about meeting the Lord of Light, and he's all, "There is no Lord of light, only blackness."

In both the books and the TV show, I find it very interesting to parse the difference between the function of magic in the world and the character's beliefs and folklore about magic.


Hodor. :(


Sterculius (wikipedia gives a different primary spelling) was the roman god of feces and fertiliser. Do with that what you will. :)


SmiloDan wrote:

Finished Visitor by CJ Cherryh.

** spoiler omitted **

Now I need to finish Zero World by Jason Hough.

And then 2 more library books before I order Tracker by CJ Cherryh.

I just finished Visitor and, dude, you ain't kidding! I was all, "A spoiler who doesn't recognize spoiler or spoiler? Oh spoiler."


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You can type in caps all you want, but everything you've said aside from pointing that some spells have alignment descriptors is your opinion of how spells with alignment descriptors should be handled in play. I don't think your stance is objective, I just think it looks that way to you because you're standing at the center of it.


Y'know Walsh, if you'd offered this example before 18 pages of ranting about anyone who's less absolute in their opinion of alignment than you is doing it wrong, I would have felt much less need to digress into nonsense about Star Wars.


Of course a campaign where all the goblins are good is just as simplistic as one where all the humans are good. One where the alignments are varied enough that they players have to come to grips with that fact that no single descriptor equals "evil and therefore safe to kill" is more sophisticated than either. (I mean sophisticated the way Mozart compositions are more sophisticated than Hot Cross Buns, not sophisticated as in a guy in a tuxedo drinking a martini.)


Well, we've included all the other hyperbole situations, so I don't see why we should avoid goblin babies. What about knowing asking someone to cast infernal healing on you so you ping as evil in order infiltrate an evil cult and learn their plans? :P

On the one hand, it's useful to point out the lack of relevance of corner cases; on the other, if you're running a campaign even one level of sophistication beyond "kill the humanoids so the villagers are safe," you going to start running into corner cases pretty often, so you might as well excise that part of your brain with hypotheticals.


Well, sure, but what was The Mystery of Chopper Base, giant spiders? Giant f**king spiders?! I was killing those things at 1st level! :P


Isn't most of the ends vs means disagreement about whether a spell with the (evil) descriptor can be used to Good effect? Infernal (and Celestial) healing are particularly interesting cases because the description of both state that there is no long term effect on the target's alignment.

I guess I'm saying that if a Paladin had Infernal healing cast on her, I'd expect the player to role play it as an icky, icky experience, but I wouldn't consider having the paladin fall, or require her to seek atonement.

Yes, even in Golarion.


I was happy to see Gem Dragonborn on Kobold Press today. :)

I mean, I'm not going to buy the supplement until WotC finalizes the psionics rules, but that's just because I'm a cheapskate. God, I suck. :(


I haven't read the AP or the player's guide; what happens if you drink mint tea at night?


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Forty years doesn't seem like enough time to establish much of a tradition. Especially when you've got stuff like Empire of the Petal Throne so early in RPGs.


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If we're talking solely about RPG settings, rather than the fantasy genre in the various entertainment media, then this whole conversation is a bit pointless. I mean, not to be a jerk about it, but the answer to any problem you have with more popular/bastardized/gonzo settings is to find 4 or 5 people who share your tastes and run games set in your idea of a classic fantasy setting. You'll be enjoying yourselves just as much as the people playing Starships & Spacemen.


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Don't antiquated, outdated old farts only recognize lawful, neutral and chaotic as alignments?


I forget, are we discussing real world morality, or D&D alignments at this point?


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Hitdice wrote:

C.S. Lewis christianized fantasy contemporaneously with Tolkien, so there's that, in terms of "serious reading" too.

Edit: If there's one person who ghettoized fantasy and science fiction, it's probably Hugo Gernsback. Nothing against the guy, but he's the one person who first decided that fantasy and science fiction were two different things, and fantasy was for lesser sort of mind. I mean, look, none of the science fiction from that age uses modern principles, but the fantasy is still totally fantastic.

Indeed, Drahliana, I've read the Prelandia series. Have you read Empire Star by Samuel R. Delany? :)

I have the large paperback with illustrations. One of my favorite stories is the one about Jack.

Distant Stars, with the Michael Whelan cover? And the one about Jack is "Prismatica"? My mother read that story to me when I was sick in bed at a young age.

Later, I read Empire Star until I got to the illustrations, figured I'd finished the piece, and walked away. Much, much later, I read the entire story and, reaching the conclusion, realized that the illustrations had probably been at the center binding, and there was still a good 50 or pages that I'd missed. I'd never finished the story as a child, but having done so as an adult, I'm not willing to say I would have understood it at that age. Hell, I'm not entirely sure I understood it as an adult!

Simplex, complex, multiplex. :)


C.S. Lewis christianized fantasy contemporaneously with Tolkien, so there's that, in terms of "serious reading" too.

Edit: If there's one person who ghettoized fantasy and science fiction, it's probably Hugo Gernsback. Nothing against the guy, but he's the one person who first decided that fantasy and science fiction were two different things, and fantasy was for lesser sort of mind. I mean, look, none of the science fiction from that age uses modern principles, but the fantasy is still totally fantastic.

Indeed, Drahliana, I've read the Prelandia series. Have you read Empire Star by Samuel R. Delany? :)


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What weird is, The Hobbit was published with a year of the first Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser story, which features what I can only describe (granted, in modern vocabulary) as an artificially intelligent smart house as the monster.

I know exactly what people mean when they say classic fantasy, I just think the genre's always been wider than that. Literally always. Like, literally literally always, from the time when we started differentiating between science fiction and fantasy.

Edit: Oops, make that 2 years.


Small "r" redemption, not the divine kind. Like the kind that gets you double money for your empties in Michigan.


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I don't know, I found Theon much more sympathetic in the book.

Book stuff spoiled, even though we're past it at this point:
Reek is introduced as a POV character, and when you realize who he is and what he's been through since the fall of Winterfell, you're all, "Day-um, Theon, all is forgiven!" Watching it episode by episode in the TV version got a bit desensitizing.

The calculation he does about not revealing Jeyne Poole's identity to Mance feels more redemptive too. When he rescued Sansa, it felt contrived, maybe because she's such a central character, maybe because his actions were so directly related to his past sins. Doing everything he could to get Jeyne away from Ramsey, when Ramsey's abuse is the only thing they have in common, felt less self-serving on his part.


HWalsh wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
When you sacrifice your values YOU are no longer good.
What if Evil sacrifices its values. Is that good?

Not always.

A Lawful Evil character who loses an honorable duel and then tries to backstabbing the hero under the guise of congratulating him is still evil.

However a father who had walked a path of evil, following a code designed to only gain himmore and more power who sacrifices his life and power to save his son is quite good.

This from the guy who didn't want talk about Star Wars?


To be fair, they didn't actually show the dogs ripping her apart. Not that that the sound effects weren't more than enough.


It's not that I'm going to favorite every single post from now on, it's just that the last few have made good points.


"Promise me, Ned . . ."


I haven't played the AP, but I assume "customized to match any clerics in the party" means "worships the same god as any clerics in the party." Ergo, the level loss seems like a bit of a dick move.


Lemmy wrote:
Was anyone honestly surprised by the final scene of the episode?

I watched season 1 before reading the books, which I then read before season 2 began. Nothing past Ned's beheading has honestly surprised me. Let me say, I was very, very surprised by that one; up until the moment Joffrey asked for his head, I fully expected Ned to take the black, team up with Jon to rescue uncle Benjen, north of the Wall, and finally lead the Watch south to rescue Arya and Sansa from the Lannisters.

But in the space of 5 seconds I reevaluated my expectations for the series, and nothing has honestly surprised me since. Thrones is much more a "I wonder if they'll," rather than a "I couldn't believe they," proposition at this point.

Wait, I tell a lie. in book 5, when Roose shows up and tells Ramsey to just chill the f**k out, I was all, "Roose Bolton is the voice of reason? That's surprising!"


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Ooh, that's some nice rules lawyering, BNW! :)


Well, so there's that then!


Werthead wrote:
Christopher Priest's novels don't really have unreliable narrators, more like unreliable universes (although THE PRESTIGE is probably the most straightforward book he's ever written) :)

I'm not saying you're wrong, but given Alfred Borden's journal, you know? (No, I don't dare even spoiler it.)

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