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Judge Trabe

Hudax's page

757 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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I think the major contributer to the problem is the huge-sweeping-multi-book-single-story-epic just isn't a viable form. And I think a major contributer to that problem is, the writers who are inclined to pursue that form don't know when to stop. (Terry Brooks would call this a failure to outline, meaning if you don't know where you're going when you start, you'll just go on and on.)

Is anyone else hoping Rothfuss's 3rd book is the last one?

I'm not sure if the writers engaged in sweeping epics are megalomaniacs, or if it's a problem perpetuated by publishers wanting to indenture writers, or if stand-alone books don't sell as well, or if writers don't want to do them as much. But I'm really starting to not want to see any more series. At all. It's to the point where I cringe whenever I see something new and see it's "book 1 of who the hell knows." There's a reason Netflix originals are released whole seasons at once. They understand that's how people want to consume entertainment. Serialized entertainment is becoming obsolete.

More stand-alones, please. There's something to be said for being able to tell a *whole* story in just one book. (That something is *thank you!*)

Simon Legrande wrote:
Instead I live in a world designed by lunatics and just have to make due the best I can.

You know what helps deal with that suffering? Art.

You know what helps art exist? When artists are expected to FINISH IT.

Darkrist wrote:
Wow. Having read this entire thread I can actually say I am shocked at the lengths both sides of this argument are going to to defend their "turf". Both sides are like "cargo cult" members building elaborate landing strips for the fruit of their argument to land on... And oh the sadness when the plane never lands. There is only human (and even stranger : Corporate) nature at work here. And any analysis by rabid fan-base or long suffering authors is probably time better spent reading or writing books. There is a rather large world of books (finished and unfinished....) and life experience outside these petty arguments. Enjoy!

Pick a side or hand in your bubblewrap jumpsuit!

Simon Legrande wrote:
Now since I know you're referring to the stupid "social contract" idea, it doesn't exist and the writer is in no way bound by it.

You mean the "stupid" idea that makes up the entirety of the thin veneer we know of as civilization? Yep, pretty stupid.

He can also choose to work at his own pace as he has been. At this point you've broken down to "I WANT IT! I WANT IT! I WANT IT!" My kids are better than that.

You're missing the point because you're hung up on semantics and want to pretend I have an entitlement problem because I have an emotional investment in what I read and have reasonable expectations about publishing schedules and authors finishing stories. If you aren't emotionally invested in books, you must be reading some really lame books. If you don't expect capable (living, thinking) authors to finish what they started, then I simply don't know what to say to you.

The point is, it's not reasonable to expect an audience to pay attention to you for decades while you give them one or two years' worth of material every five years. Sooner or later they're gonna get impatient and either drop you or tell you to get busy and finish already.

If Rowling had dragged Harry Potter out for 20-30 years instead of a reasonable 10 years (GRRM at his current rate will clear 25 years), people would be pretty pissed off at her too. We'd still be waiting for Order of the Phoenix.

I started reading The Wheel of Time when the first book came out. I was always looking forward to the next, but I never felt that RJ OWED me anything. I looked forward to every new book, and read plenty of others in the meantime. Sure I was a little bummed when he died, but I was happy when I heard they brought someone in to finish it up. Even if it had never been finished, I would not have insisted that someone owes me something.

You like to move the goalposts, don't you?

RJ's books came out with reasonable frequency, about once a year or two years, despite being long. He also died before the series was completed. The publisher realized there was a such thing as a responsibility to the story, and found someone to finish it. Responsibility upheld. Social contract satisfied.

The reason you don't feel owed is because you aren't. RJ & Co fulfilled all their obligations and went above and beyond for their fans. GRRM isn't--he's pulling a Dark Tower.

James Sutter wrote:
To speak to the latter: I'm not saying that *all* fan entitlement is valid. If you expect a happy ending, or past tense, or whatever, and an author chooses to do something different, that's totally fine by me. The point is not that everyone gets exactly the book they want or expect, only that if your selling point is "check out this awesome story arc!" rather than "check out this great standalone book!", it's reasonable for fans to expect you to provide what you sold them on, rather than simply a portion of it.

A key part of being a good writer is being able to surprise the reader. Robert Frost said "No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader." Not getting what you expect is par for the course, and a story that doesn't surprise you is probably disappointing. (There are exceptions, as there are with anything.)

I don't equate surprise with betrayal. Surprise is a necessary element. Betrayal is what happens when the writer does not give a good faith effort, or crafts the end of a good story in such a disappointing way that there is no other adequate word to describe it. (Note that it has to be a good story with a bad ending. A story that starts off bad can't betray you, because you already know it's bad, and if you keep reading, that's on you.)

For instance, if we went crazy and decided to stop publishing Iron Gods at the third volume, a lot of people would be justifiably upset. The whole idea of an AP as we've promoted it is that it has a six-volume arc. Could it be continued beyond there? Sure, and we encourage people to do so, but we're always careful to wrap up the main arc in the volumes we publish. Even though each volume is a great adventure on its own, our advertising focuses on the larger story, and thus we have an obligation (in my mind) to provide it.

On the other hand, if you guys decided it would be best for the story to wrap it up sooner, that would be understandable. Key words being "wrap it up" and "best for the story."

The discussion of social contract is really just about recognizing *why* fans might feel a certain way, and admitting that there's validity to it, rather than just waving it all aside and claiming those readers (who are the exact people who supported you as an author) are somehow immature, which is what I feel some authors do.

Part of the contract is the writer has a responsibility not only to the audience but to the story itself. There is a responsibility to deliver on what was promised. But what is good for the story takes precedence. (And in cases as big as GoT, the good of the story takes precedence even over the writer's personal happiness. Hey, if you don't want that kind of responsibility, don't make the baby.)

While it's frustrating waiting 5 years between GRRM's books, I get that he's prioritizing the good of the story over my frustration. But he has a pacing problem. He could publish 400 pages every couple years instead, maintain the quality of work, and increase good will among his fans. But for some reason he chooses not to. And that's annoying, because we've walked down this road before, and I don't want to do it again. There's a point where it just gets to be Way Too Long and drawn out. People complained about this regarding Lost long before it ended, and Wheel of Time and Dark Tower. At some point, he just needs to stop rambling and get to the end. Preferably in his lifetime.

What should we as authors lose if we violate those expectations? Nothing but our good name with readers. But in this business, until you're as big as GRRM, your good name is all you have...

I don't believe anyone is ever too big to have any more than their good name. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. If the ending sucks, he won't be the guy who created one of the best series ever written, he'll be the guy who screwed up one of the best series ever written.

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MMCJawa wrote:

That's why I kind of get confused on concepts such as "betrayal" or "owing"? author taking extra long doesn't even come up on my radar as anything like a betrayal. If the author slept with my that is betrayal...


Someone taking a long time isn't a betrayal. I never said it was. What I said was a betrayal is a writer botching the end of a story, or failing to complete a story people care about, that they are capable of finishing. The better the story, the larger the betrayal if either of these occurs. It's a perfectly apt word. In fact it's the perfect word. People become emotionally invested in stories (that is what they are for) and when those stories let them down, what else would you call it?

Just as books can inspire, comfort, and evoke other positive emotional responses, so can they disappoint, anger, and betray the reader.


If I open a book I expect to be entertained. That is a reasonable expectation. If the book is book 1 of 2, I am owed book 2. If book 2 is never published, that author gets crossed off my list. You know why? Because they are unreliable. You know what a common thread is among unreliable people? They end up owing other people. There are plenty of other reliable authors who will not leave me hanging.

Note that I never mentioned movies, particularly movies that are adapted from books. The Golden Compass movie doesn't matter one bit to me, nor do the Narnia ones, because if I want to I can read the books. Similarly, if HBO ends up finishing GoT instead of GRRM, I will be somewhat satisfied, because the story will exist in its entirety somewhere. It would be preferable if GRRM just finished writing it, but whatever gets it done, as long as it gets done. Until then, however, GRRM and/or HBO most certainly owe fans an ending, and failing to provide one, or worse providing a bad one, would certainly be a betrayal.

James Jacobs wrote:
Been too distracted by Netflix and Wasteland 2.

Whatcha watchin'? :)

I read it. You have a point--magic, for instance, needs to be governed by rules, explicit or not. But largely, any reference to actual rules, spell names and the like are destined to be comic relief (like the guy from GoT who says he wanted to be a wizard when he grew up, and then later the girl he rescues thinks he's a wizard because he can read).

In order for a D&D movie to be taken seriously, I think it would have to be a Drizzt movie, for two reasons.

One, Salvatore already has a large fanbase (as someone mentioned, larger than D&D) and a serious movie needs to attract more attention than us few dice-rollers.

And two, it is much easier to write something that has already been outlined. If they (anyone) has to make up something themselves, unless they're truly amazing, it will not be as good as adapting something that already exists. This is also an opportunity to take something cool (Icewind Dale) and improve it (because honestly it reads like an actual D&D game). That certainly isn't foolproof, but it would increase their chances of success dramatically.

Scythia wrote:

More on topic, with a fantasy novel, the big one that's always thrown around in fantasy rpg circles: LotR. Aragorn is the only character that could remotely be said to be defined by the women in his life. The ostensible main character, Frodo, has very little involvement with women whatsoever. Even Sam, the primary supporting hero, only interacts with a woman (as a victory prize) at the end.


All I want is a female character who can handle things herself...

Read Beren & Luthien from the Silmarillion.

You might need some caffeine, but it will dispel the notion that Tolkien doesn't pass this test.

If a book is published in the woods, and no one reads it, does it exist?

No. It does not.

So what does an author owe their readers? Everything.

Barring an untimely death, I fully expect a conclusion to a story, and a satisfying one at that. Otherwise, I stop reading. I invested years reading and waiting for Stephen King to finish Dark Tower. I got to a point where (the same point I am with GRRM right now) I stopped buying and reading, opting to wait for him to finish. He did. I read the last chapter of the last book (yeah, I cheat sometimes) and dropped the series like a hot potato. (This is just a personal example and doesn't mean you have to join me in my hate for Dark Tower.)

As an audience, I have the right to not be betrayed, whether it's by a lack of an ending, or a poorly contrived ending. I have this right because there are literally thousands of other writers out there, eager to be heard, who will not betray me. And I would rather read something that's just ok that doesn't betray me, than read the greatest story ever told except for the sucky ending.

GRRM may not be my b-word, but competition sure is.

Steve Geddes wrote:
Maybe it's volume of rules which encourages that philosophy

Yeah, that's exactly what I mean.

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Steve Geddes wrote:
...(which does make me tangentially wonder why rules debates about PF go the way they do).

They go that way because the rules are there to fuel them. Without the fuel, the debates die down. PF emphasizes system mastery and rewards the person who spends more time scouring the rules and arguing about what applies. 5e rewards critical thinking and creativity, and only needs one or two rules to support that emphasis (advantage and inspiration).

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Bluenose wrote:

I didn't ask them exactly what the two I bumped into meant by "dumbed down", because I was on my lunch break and didn't really have time to chat. But when I've played with them they've always liked piling on modifiers and checking they're all there, so I suspect the Advantage/Disadvantage system would be a part of that. That they also use Fire Fusion and Steel when we occasionally play Traveller might give you an impression of their rules preferences.

"Dumbed down" is a copout catchphrase, and a major pet peeve of mine. It doesn't actually mean anything--it's an assessment that is incorrect frequently enough that it carries no weight. It says more about the person saying it than it does about what they're referring to.

5e is "dumbed down" in the way multiplication "dumbs down" addition, or in the way a lever "dumbs down" force. In the way something can be made easier by utilizing a more sophisticated system. In other words, it's not.

Instead of piling on modifiers and rules-lawyering/brute-forcing the system, the challenge is to roleplay to gain advantage. One is about system mastery, the other is about critical thinking and creativity. Saying one of those is "dumb" is dumb. Calling a different kind of challenge than you're used to "dumb" is dumb. If they prefer the former playstyle, that's one thing. They should just say that. But I suspect they don't know what they mean when they say "dumbed down," which is why they're saying it.

Bluenose wrote:
As for rules-lite, there's not a single edition of D&D I'd consider to hit that, and certainly they wouldn't. One of them said to me, and I wish I could get the mixed contempt and disdain in their tone across on a message board, "It's got over a hundred pages of spells. You could right a whole system in that, and have space left over for stuff that matters."

I get that. My eyes glaze over when I get to the spell section and realize a full third of the book is not relevant to the character I want to make. That's a lot of wasted rules from one perspective. And when I do get around to making a caster, I'm perpetually struck by how many spells there are that just do something mundane in a fancy, expensive way. Alarm, for instance, is a magical tin can on a string. It can also alert me long distance, but so can message, so why can't message do what that part of alarm does, and I'll just buy a tin can?

There is also a lot of redundancy due to an unwillingness to scale certain spells. For instance, there's really no need to have slow and time stop be different spells. One is a much weaker version of the other--so why not just design them that way?

5e shows us that with the right rules, you can design a system that is both robust and easy to use. It's too bad they didn't take that approach more with spells.

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Steve Geddes wrote:

I clearly didn't explain myself very well. You "don't overthink it" guys are missing the point of this thread. I just grabbed a rule as an example - I don't really care what anyone thinks about that specific feat, it works for thrown weapons at my table and that's that.

I'm curious about how people are approaching reading 5E - as you might read an OSRIC-all-rules-are-guidelines rule book or as you would read a PF/4E-all-terms-are-defined/codified game.

The question is specifically about different play styles, so there can't be a right answer.

In general I think 5e will prove resistant to rules-lawyering. There are fewer rules, and they have taken care to not attempt to codify every conceivable scenario, opting instead for broader rules and more reliance on the DM's ability to adjudicate (and making it fairly easy for them to do so since most of it revolves around advantage). More rules, especially specific corner-case rules, means more arguing about rules. Fewer, broader rules means less arguing about who is "correct" and more negotiating/roleplaying/adjudicating between players and the DM.

When weapons with the "thrown" property are thrown, they are ranged weapons.

John Robey wrote:
Kip84 wrote:
I like that the short rest is an hour long now as apposed to five minutes. I find that party's really feel like they can't waste an hour taking a rest. In 4e my players would rest after each encounter now I find that they keep going as long as they possibly can.

I agree. :) I basically use taking a short rest as a cue to check for wandering monsters (lurking around in a dungeon for an hour is not without its hazards).

-The Gneech

How are you guys compensating players for the regenerative benefits they are expected to get from short rests?

I applaud random encounters and forging ahead (not abusing the 10 minute adventure day), but the game is designed with the assumption that the group will be able to rest frequently, lest they just go back to town and sleep off the effects of the first encounter.

Olondir wrote:
That example about having tons of advantages but darkness negating it, as a GM, If you're in a situation with so many (5+) advantages, you probably don't need to roll in the first place.

I think that's actually the opposite of the intent.

I think the rules intend that there's no such thing as a "perfect storm" of advantage, where you can just stack your way to success without rolling. And that idea works in conjunction with the "bounded accuracy" power curve as well. It doesn't matter how awesome you are, how well prepared, or anything--you can still be taken down.

It's like the movie Office Space. They have the perfect plan (advantage), with the idiot company not paying attention (advantage), with the right team to pull it off (advantage), but because the programmer misplaced a decimal (disadvantage), none of that matters.

Steve Geddes wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Olondir wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

Cheers. I do wonder how it will mess with the play.

I suspect we'll still do it, but well reserve the right to tweak it later.

Try it for sure! I'm just sharing my own experiences with trying out fights at lvl 5, 10, and 15. Players will hit often thanks to near constant advantage.

I appreciate the comment. Theory is not one of my strengths.

I see a rule where you have five sources of advantage but because the light is poor none of them have any effect and it doesn't seem right. I've certainly got no experience as to how often that kind of situation comes up in play though, or what effect it will have on more "usual" situations.

I'm very wary of the "That make no sense. House ruling it away." reaction. If it really bothers me, I'll look for a way to change it, but not on first glance. I want to play with the game as written for awhile to see if I can figure out why the "makes no sense at first glance" rule was left in.

If it's obvious to me, it was probably obvious to the designer too. Which suggests there's a reason it stayed.

I generally think game designers will do a better job of game design than I will.

Nonetheless, I have a peculiar stance in that balance in an RPG is almost totally unimportant to me. It seems to me that quite often the disconnect between what game designers do and what I prefer stems from balance considerations.

Having said that, I do take your point. We have one member of our group who very much takes your position - namely to play a game as written first before tinkering with it, so we may well play the first 5E campaign with the "5:1 = draw" approach.

It appears to make no sense because you're looking at it arithmetically (ie: 5-1=4, not zero). But I bet the reason for it is to prevent every single d20 roll from devolving into an advantage/disadvantage arms race.

They prioritized gameplay over fussing with numbers.

And it sort of makes sense even without that design philosophy. In the example about not gaining advantage because of dim light, you're mistaking what's happening as "you fail to gain advantage" when it's actually "you successfully avoided disadvantage."

Nihimon wrote:
Hudax wrote:
The ability to duel or skirmish could be critical in training new players or just for practice. A safe zone or a safe pvp mode is not at all unreasonable. Rather, it should be an expected feature.
You might want to read Ryan's answer to the question Why no "non-lethal" duels?

I did. A year and eight months ago.

I agree that getting duel requests can be annoying. That's easily solved by only allowing them in predetermined locations (ie: arenas).

I agree that a gladiatorial style arena system can and should be implemented, possibly in every settlement that chooses to build one. Arenas could offer one-on-one duels or group skirmishes.

No one here can honestly say they wouldn't appreciate the opportunity to practice. I can't tell you how much I hate duels, but I also can't say how many times over the years they have been useful when I need to try something out. What breaks immersion more--being able to test a new technique immediately with a trusted friend (or say, a target dummy?), or having to travel halfway across the River Kingdoms to the single in-game arena just to try something out?

I disagree with everything else in that post.

1: There is nothing immersion breaking about pulling your punches. Duels don't have to end in death.

2: Agree. Solution is arenas.

3: The reward for dueling is obvious--you get better at playing your character. That is a reward worth investing resources toward.

4: Real combat is not devalued. Duels carry no risk/reward, no loot, no territory. Real combat does.

5: People are constantly dueling in other games despite lack of reward for the sake of socializing and improving their game. Ie: meaningful interaction.

6: Saying that people who enjoy dueling are generally annoying is kind of a silly thing to say. One could say the exact same thing about people who enjoy PvP.

Nihimon wrote:
There's no reason you can't fight a duel and simply stop when the loser is near death.

There are several.

Define "near death."
How do you get someone near death if you can kill them in just a few hits? At some point, you're either fine or dead.
What if your opponent doesn't notice or acknowledge they are near death and kills you while you're standing down?
How do you attack someone without bringing the guards down on you? How silly is it to have to leave town to duel? Or travel halfway across the map?
How many people on a team have to die before the team is near death?
How do you get everyone on two skirmish teams on the same page of an arbitrary honor system of victory?

The ability to duel or skirmish could be critical in training new players or just for practice. A safe zone or a safe pvp mode is not at all unreasonable. Rather, it should be an expected feature.

Continuing this discussion here where it's more appropriate.

Ryan Dancey wrote:

MTX pay to win: An MTX item is meaningfully better than the best item that can be created via player action in-game. No meaningful human interaction.

Selling Characters: A human had to play them to make them good, thus creating meaningful interaction with other humans in the process. The purchased character has no intrinsic superior benefit to a character you played from inception yourself.

Thanks for the clarifications.

I would like to counter with the typical definition of what pay-to-win means: paying cash to gain an in-game advantage or to skip content.

It's clear to everyone that cosmetics don't do this. Neither do toys that don't affect gameplay, like mounts and pets. Training likewise is fine because no matter how much money you spend, you can only train at the same rate as everyone else.

However, it is generally accepted among gamers that selling gear of any functional kind is automatically pay-to-win. The fact that you can craft something just as good is irrelevant. The cash shop item allows you to skip content--either the crafting process or the in-game transaction. Skipping either of these removes human interaction that would otherwise have to occur, and also upsets the playing field between someone wanting to play the game in a typical way (using in-game resources) vs. someone wanting to spend their way past that requirement. Not to mention if people feel the desire to skip content, how interesting is that content to begin with?

Regarding toons, I think it's fine if one player wants to sell their toon to another (as long as the toon was actually played by a human). MMOs have too long held the irrational stance that our toons are their property, and I respect this change of attitude.

However, if toons ever show up in the cash shop, that would be unacceptable for obvious reasons.

This game is going to be about advancement, loss and recovery. You should not want to allow people to spend their way past these stages. It will backfire in one way or another. If someone doesn't like the advancement stage, they're not going to like the recovery stage. If they bought gear to advance and lost it, they're not going to think "Oh well, I'll just throw more of my bar tab money at GW." They're going to think "Well that money just went down the drain, screw this, I'm going to the bar."

That's someone getting alienated from your game on an individual level.

On a group level, you may very well have lots of people willing to throw money at you over and over. But what sort of players will they be? What sort of players have they been in other games (ie: EVE)? These are the sort of people who pay their friends to hang out with them, and will join PFO because they'll see it's a game they can treat like it's their own private server. Get a significant number of them, fully equipped with everything money can buy from the cash shop, and suddenly there's a major problem in the balance of power. Actually, just get a bunch of them equipped with tons of healing potions. Still a big problem. Great for GW's bank account, but bad for the game.

If that doesn't scream pay-to-win, I don't know what to say.

You have lots of good ideas going for this game. Don't ruin it by underthinking the cash shop (or worse, by trying to redefine what is pay-to-win). I sincerely hope you take a look at every single proposed cash shop item and reevaluate it with this in mind.

Ryan Dancey wrote:
You want to build & sell accounts. Eventually we'll have to have a system for this because not doing it will cause us more grief than directly supporting it. There are people who make a living making and selling MMO characters. You might be one of those people.

Temporarily lifting my "lurker" status.

I get that people will buy and sell accounts whether it's against the EULA or not. I get that MTXs are fine so long as they're cosmetic. But I don't get this.

A skilled/geared character is not cosmetic. How is supporting these third party transactions not supporting third party pay-to-win?

Once this support is in place, the obvious small step for GW to take is offer similar characters in the cash shop as MTXs. In that eventuality, could you explain how this would not be pay-to-win?

I recently quit WoW because they're sticking their big orc toes over the line with their latest cash shop ideas and I see the writing on the wall (one reason among many). People are on the forums in droves asking "Why can't I just buy a max level toon?" not getting why it isn't an appropriate question. It's like all of a sudden the colloquial meaning of pay-to-win changed from giving someone the slightest edge to giving someone a raid-ready toon.

It seems pay-to-win doesn't really mean anything anymore, and I would like to know what it will mean in PFO.

Nihimon wrote:
Valkenr wrote:
"You [expletive] [expletive], I can't believe how [expletive] [expletive] you must [expletive] with [expletive] [expletive] [expletive] [expletive] [expletive] pancakes."
Anyone else feeling a weird curiosity about the uncensored version?

Not really. I've seen enough after-school WoW trade chat to pretty much know exactly what he's talking about.

And I'm fine with people getting banned for talking about doing that to pancakes.


Shooting for the moon only works if you can pull it off by yourself.

Germany is doing a lot of smart things. Spain did well with moving toward solar power. I wish we would do that here.

Austerity is Gollum trying to keep the ring out of the lava. The solution is the same as it is here in America--tax the hell out of the rich, and also cut spending. Suffer in the short term and be ok later. Sadly, I don't think anyone will do this, here or anywhere. Because the rich own government.

Regarding Catalonia, my guess is most Americans don't know it's a separate country.

Is your friend's mom Martha Stewart?

A Man In Black wrote:
What do political rallies have to do with Burning Man again?

Because of the slippery slope of right wing logic:

Burning Man = heathens = weed = boobquake = commies = democrats.


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Respectfully, I think the FAQ on ranged touch attacks may be in error. I didn't participate in the thread on the subject so I don't know what was discussed, but it seems off to me. Here is what the PRD says from the combat "cast a spell" section:

Ranged Touch Spells in Combat: Some spells allow you to make a ranged touch attack as part of the casting of the spell. These attacks are made as part of the spell and do not require a separate action. Ranged touch attacks provoke an attack of opportunity...

Making a ranged touch attack is a single action (whatever action the spell requires to cast). The attack is made as a part of casting the spell. The last line "Ranged touch attacks provoke an attack of opportunity" is, in my opinion, only there to clarify that they do provoke, but only once. Obviously casting a spell in melee provokes. Obviously making a ranged attack in melee provokes. However, if as a ranged touch attack doing these two things together "do not require a separate action" then they should not provoke as if they were two actions.

Blaeringr wrote:

According to recent genetic evidence all humans, except those of pure African descent, are at least part neanderthal: 3-6%. That percentage may grow some more as we continue to map the neanderthal's DNA.

In fantasy terms that means black people are the only pure humans, and the rest of us are some mix of half orc with a little more human than orc in the mix.

/neanderthal grunt of approval

Gruffling wrote:
I think its important to remember that any alternate race is almost certainly going to think of its race as the "true race"

Yup. I think the name of every native american tribe translates into "the people." As in, THE people.

I would drop his CHA down by one and boost his WIS up to 14. Better survival, perception, will saves for virtually no cost.

Antagonize is just about the worst feat there is. It's a standard action, so instead of chopping something in half, he makes something attack him, wasting resources (his HP) in exchange for not progressing the fight towards conclusion. If he wants to be intimidating, suggest Intimidating Prowess or Skill Focus.

Other than that it looks pretty good. Out of curiosity, what is his wife making?

It wouldn't be racism or segregation, it would be homogenization. Race-only groups exist in every game I've ever played, and probably every game I haven't. There's nothing wrong with it in game or out of game. It's roleplaying a homogenized group, nothing more.

I'm trying to build a Sensei. I have a lot of questions.

WIS>>>>DEX>>CON dumping CHA.

1) I gather Qinggong is a good match with Sensei, although I'm leaning toward Ki Mystic for the skill utility and reroll buff.

-Is it possible to take all 3 archetypes? Qinggong says you replace monk ability X with a ki power. Can you replace the conflicting monk ability (mystic visions) with a ki power to resolve the conflict? (And generally, can you ignore everything past level 12 for PFS in terms of conflicting archetypes?)

-For Ki Mystic, does the +2 to all knowledge skills allow you to use them untrained, or would I have to spend ranks to use them?

-Any suggestions on what item to choose for Vow of Poverty, or would that make life too difficult?

2) Aside from buffing, what is my secondary role? Grappler, stunner? Stay out of combat? The latter seems like it would be a waste since I could get pretty good AC/HP.

3) Any trait/feat suggestions?


James Jacobs wrote:

Now... on to what I think is the core of this problem... and it has little to do with Dervish Dance at all.

The nature of massively multiplayer RPG games, be they online like Warcraft or offline like Pathfinder Society, is that each "build" for a character is going to have one perceived "best" choice. This is REGARDLESS of what rules we provide. The only way this perceived "best" choice changes is if we add or subtract rules from the game, but then something else comes along.

If you want to build a character in a game who looks unique and has an unusual style, and your game of choice is a Massively Multiplayer game... you more or less have to come to peace with the fact that if your choice isn't in sync with the perceived best choice, your character will be perceived as being inferior.

It is, in fact, one of my biggest complaints about World of Warcraft—all the high level characters of any one class end up looking identical. Blizzard actually addressed this relatively recently (alas, about a month AFTER I lost interest in the game) and allows you to transmogrify (within some limits) your gear to look like any other piece of gear you own. It's a totally cosmetic change that doesn't alter the fundamental game stats of your gear, be it armor or weapon or whatever.

Pathfinder, alas, doesn't have that luxury, since the physical appearance of your character isn't something that exists as a fundamental aspect of the game play experience—this is one way video games have an advantage over tabletop games—the visuals. You can certainly call your scimitar a longsword and describe it as a straight-bladed weapon, but unlike a video game where the other players "see" your character's appearance and not so much his stats, in a tabletop game other players "see" your character's stats and not so much his appearance.

Transmog was certainly a welcome and long belated addition to WoW, and I'm in a similar boat--too little time to enjoy it before the game wore my interest away. I agree it's not so simple to reskin things in tabletop games. For one thing, many of the weapons that have increased critical range have slashing curved blades, and this makes sense--curved blades have a better chance of connecting perpendicularly at the point of impact. It's not trivial to justify giving a slashing straight blade the same crit range as a weapon that was designed (in real life) to be better at it. Definitely not impossible, but not trivial.

On "best" choices. WoW is attempting to buck this trend. I'll assume you're too busy/uninterested to avidly read the Pandaria beta forums. The short of it is classes are getting really beefy specs that contain every ability they really need, while getting a small number of talents that can greatly customize certain things they might want. In theory, this will eliminate or at least reduce cookie cutter builds. It's moderately successful, since they have been largely resistant to cookie cutter builds for months of beta, while in previous expansions the "best" builds were mathed out within hours of releasing talent info.

I'm interested in how that type of idea could be translated to the tabletop. I suspect it would involve the sacrificing of certain sacred cows, most notably (or maybe only?) the idea that some classes should be better damage dealers than others in combat for flavor reasons. If all classes were of approximately equal combat effectiveness more or less out of the box (within 5% is hard to achieve with dice, but I think around 10% is attainable), I think a lot of customization options might open up that do not currently exist. For instance, rogues wouldn't have to bend over backwards to be subpar melee; they could take their "spec" and then focus their feats on whatever they wanted (instead of being taxed 4-10 feats for being a TWF DEX build).

I would caution against a whip bard for a few reasons. One, it is an optimised bard build. The bard isn't a suboptimal enough class to warrant an optimal build for what you want. Also, if I were a new player, I would personally just want to jump into things. I wouldn't be at all optimization minded, particularly in terms of strategy. If I were a melee, I wouldn't know I got a bonus for attacking a prone enemy, nor would I be inclined to do so, figuring you were taking care of it, and I would want a more "live" opponent anyway. If I were ranged or a caster, the bonus would be mostly irrelevant.

A new player is probably going to want to get into the grit of the game, rather than be handed a lot of things that make the game easier. What's more fun and memorable, the fights where you almost die, or getting a +4 to hit everything?

I would echo Lazurin's suggestion, for a different reason. Don't just be a suboptimal build. Be a suboptimal party choice. Your experience will make the character/party viable without making the newbies feel like you're bringing the training wheels for them.

In short, be a rogue. ;) Optimize slightly with UMD. If the new guy rolls a caster, you're the suboptimal tank. If they roll a melee, you're the suboptimal support. If he rolls another rogue, then you have the ultimate suboptimal party.

Ryan Dancey wrote:
The question is "how do we make the presence of unique opponents that produce exceptional loot maximize human interaction"?

I don't think the original suggestion is for unique opponents. Unique strongly implies named which would obviously break persistence. I think the suggestion is merely for rare elites. That's how I interpreted it anyway.

On the subject of interpretation, would it be possible to define exactly what you guys mean by "maximize meaningful interaction" (or a link if I somehow missed it)? Maximize could mean as large a group as possible or as frequently as possible. Meaningful could mean necessary to complete a task (purely mechanical), or serves to inspire roleplay (purely social). A clear sense of what you want could go a long way toward helpful suggestions.

@Decius: If rares are only in "dungeons" (per PFO definition), you always know where you will find them. Therefore all your exploration can be focused on finding dungeons. I would rather there be things like this out in the world as well. After all, they will be rare either way.

If rares are only in dungeons, they could potentially never be soloed. Requiring a group is one way of maximizing interaction, but not the only way. Having valuable loot drop that you will likely have no use for is another way, requiring a different kind of interaction. The loot doesn't have to be a windfall, just valuable enough to make the attempt to find someone who can use it a priority before you get killed and it disappears.

If rares are also out in the world, finding one and setting up a solo hideout to ambush solo adventurers could be an effective and interesting playstyle. You could wait for an adventurer to engage the rare and then try to kill them both, or just snipe the cache and disappear. Yet another type of interaction.

Say you're an explorer. You're passable in combat against mobs of typical difficulty for the area. You run across a rare you don't have the skills to handle. Now you have a reason to call for help that you might not otherwise have had.

I think having rares outside as well as inside dungeons is very important, and would go farther toward maximizing interaction than restricting them to dungeons. I think this is true of any difficulty level of rare creature, from the soloable wasp queen to the raid worthy dragon.

As for how rare, obviously making the times and places somewhat random would be key. Rarity should also be proportional to difficulty. At the low end of rare, a wasp could spawn every hour-ish, to give newbie adventurers a fair chance at finding one with some regularity. Going out and hunting rares with a friend as noobs is fun, meaningful interaction. On the high end, I imagine dragons might have timers measuring about a week, or even longer.

Asphere wrote:
Hudax wrote:

Yes there is a difference. But I see "I am without belief" to be identical to "I cannot know," for a similar reason to how one cannot know the state of the hidden coin. One can try to assert unbelief in one state of the coin or the other, but ultimately that assertion boils down to unbelief in either state, which is the same as "I don't know." Simply because there is no purpose in stating unbelief in one state without either asserting belief in the other or asserting ignorance. The only difference being whether one is willing to admit they don't know, or only willing to admit unbelief.

So the difference I see is 1 is agnostic and 2 is atheist.

The coin analogy isn't a good one. You either postulate that heads will be the outcome, tails will be the outcome, or you claim that you cannot know. Both would require proving a positive. Proving that god exists is proving a positive. Proving god does not exist is proving a negative.

In the analogy, one side of the coin is "god exists" while the other is "god doesn't exist." With respect to your criteria, the latter side is proving a negative.

However, I think the analogy presumes the coin is never revealed, which in my opinion makes it especially apt.

DeciusBrutus wrote:
Ryan Dancey wrote:
How would you implement this idea in a way that maximized human interaction?
Put unique (no respawn) creatures in dungeons requiring a combination of numbers and varied skills to find and overcome, and have the rewards be partly coin, partly equipment, partly materials needed to craft better equipment, partly a material or catalyst needed for building construction, and partly something which is used primarily by PvP players.

Agreed. To maximize interaction, the rewards need to be varied enough that stuff will almost certainly drop that your group can't use. Compelling them to find someone who can. Ideally that stuff would be rare and valuable enough (as it should be, being from a rare encounter) that whoever can use it would be excited to get it. The trick being, not making it so rare that people wait in line to kill it, or having the reward be a bottleneck in someone's quest/craft that they might be stuck on for weeks.

I would not limit such encounters to dungeons though. The idea seems to me to be a rare mini-boss type encounter one could find anywhere. I also wouldn't limit it to just being a creature. A trap, puzzle or simply a loot cache (requiring multiple skills to find/disarm/unlock/smash) could supplement the encounter. Split the loot between the mob and the cache. Then if you are exploring solo and are powerful or skillful, you could conceivably defeat one but not the other for a modest reward. But a group would have a greater chance of besting the whole encounter.

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StreamOfTheSky wrote:

I can't believe how religiously indoctrinated this board is!

Of course it's not evil! In many cases, it's probably a good act! It may or may not be lawful, as in local laws...but if it's a paladin (as this thread seems to be about), he follows the laws of a "higher power" and still does not give a single ****.

DM: You see before you the altar to Anthrax, god of child murder and Celine Dion music.

Paladin: I take my adamantine greatsword and smash it to pieces for great justice!

DM: Yeah...sorry, by being "religious" it's automatically sacred, so doing that's gonna be evil.

I'm just...speechless right now. very month I think, "that's it, these guys couldn't possibly convince me any more to never, EVER play a paladin in one of their games!" And surpass yourselves...

Exactly this.

I can't believe this is even an honest question. "Is doing good an evil act?" Seriously. "Defacing" or destroying an evil temple is called "consecrating." In other words, it is literally impossible to "deface" an evil temple. It can only be worshipped, making it more evil, or consecrated, purging the evil. There is no grey area here.

The only relevent part of destroying worshippers/temples of evil gods is the fact that they are EVIL. By RAW, this makes thwarting/killing/destroying them GOOD. Period. And for paladins, Good always takes precedence over Law.

Good and Evil are black and white in the game world. The sooner you guys figure that one out, the sooner these stupid evil threads can stop.

TOZ wrote:
Deism. *waves*

Oh, you. :)

Asphere wrote:

Question: Do you think there is a difference between the following statements?

1. I am without belief in a god or gods.
2. There is no god or gods.

Yes there is a difference. But I see "I am without belief" to be identical to "I cannot know," for a similar reason to how one cannot know the state of the hidden coin. One can try to assert unbelief in one state of the coin or the other, but ultimately that assertion boils down to unbelief in either state, which is the same as "I don't know." Simply because there is no purpose in stating unbelief in one state without either asserting belief in the other or asserting ignorance. The only difference being whether one is willing to admit they don't know, or only willing to admit unbelief.

So the difference I see is 1 is agnostic and 2 is atheist.

If the possibilities are binary, the process of elimination is short. If there were more than two possible states of the coin, this whole conversation would be very different. The coin could be a trick coin with only tails. Or the coin could be both heads and tails until revealed. Now it's not either/or. Now you could say you don't believe the coin is heads, and you could mean something other than a passive belief in tails.

So it is you that is qualifying clearly defined and understood terms above and it really limits the continuum.

I can see why you would think so. But my thought is the simpler continuum is more liberating. You acknowledge that beliefs change over time, usually with knowledge. Do you constantly alter your status? How useful is that to anyone other than yourself when the terms are poorly understood? In a continuum of three, no alteration or explanation is required unless you experience a major shift in belief.

The usefulness of the more complex terms in my mind is limited to people wanting in depth discussion of intricacies of philosophy. Which is what we're doing here. But you have to start with the general and move to the specific. Going the other way promotes misunderstanding.

I'll fully grant any terminology you want. I just think their usefulness is so limited.

Vic Wertz wrote:
Goblinworks animator, in art approval meeting: We're going to need bigger underwear.

Kevin's mom from the Wonder Years, buying him pants: Plenty of room in the crotch!

A Man In Black wrote:
Just to make things confusing, "I am indifferent to the relevance or state of the coin" is also called atheism.

I'm not sure that level of uninvolvement would qualify as an ism. :)

But out of morbid curiosity, what would "I believe there is a god but I don't care" be?

Asphere wrote:

1. Atheist (I know there is no god)

2. Agnostic Atheist (I am without belief in god)
3. Agnostic Theist (I am with belief in god but I will not define it)
4. Theist (I know there is a god)

Let's flip this around:

1. I believe there is no god -- atheist
2. I can't know if there is a god -- agnostic
3. I believe in a god I can't define -- agnostic
4. I believe in god -- theist

I don't see the point in trying to qualify clearly defined and understood terms. Isn't that what the point of your "vegan" story was? She was a vegan who didn't want to be called a vegan? Well, it seems there are a few agnostics in the thread who would rather be called atheists. (No offense meant to anyone.)

meatrace wrote:

*flips coin*

Ok. Under the palm of my hand is a coin. Neither of us know the result. I do not believe it is heads. That does not mean, suggest, or infer that I believe it to be tails.

That is exactly what it means.

At first, if you remain in the state where you know the coin is unknowable, you can only acknowledge that you do not know. Agnostic.

As soon as you assert any kind of belief regarding the state of the coin, you have chosen one side or the other, regardless of whether you attempt to distinguish between positive and negative qualifiers. "I don't believe the coin is heads" is therefore identical in all but semantics to "I believe the coin is tails." Theist/atheist.

When you say you "don't believe it's heads," that isn't really what you mean at all. You mean "I don't believe it's heads OR tails, because I can't possibly know." By leaving out the latter part, you are deceiving yourself and being disengenuous to your argument. (Again, no offense meant to anyone.)

So a caster could go down that whole feat tree?

Wow. How did this elude me?

Am I missing a FAQ or errata or something?

PRD wrote:

Point-Blank Shot (Combat)

You are especially accurate when making ranged attacks against close targets.

Benefit: You get a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons at ranges of up to 30 feet.

I'm out of the loop. What is the FoB clarification, can someone link it?

Nihimon wrote:
Hudax wrote:
If the wizard blurb advertises the archetype as a controller first and a blaster second, that's probably fine.

That doesn't make any sense to me. If the Sorcerer is a better Blaster because he has more spells per day, then why can't he also be a better Controller for the same reason?

If we're going to be suggesting significant departures from the RPG, why not just shoot straight for the problem area and ignore the precedent that Sorcerers have more spells per day than Wizards? Then we can simply focus on the fact that Sorcerers have a very limited Spell Book from which they can cast any spell, while Wizards have a much larger Spell Book but must prepare a specific set of spells.

Good point. Forget what I said about that.

DeciusBrutus wrote:
So, if every archetype should be able to fill every role equally well

When I say this:

Hudax wrote:
I don't want a chracter's potential to be limited by chosing to follow a certain archetype. I want the limitation to be on the build instead.

the only role I'm referring to is damage.

AvenaOats wrote:
I think "equitable" is a good idea in theory for balance, but I'm not so sure balance is possible in sandbox

There are certainly a lot of variables, but those are all in the player's control. I'd be surprised if the potential maximum damage output of each archetype couldn't be balanced within a few percent of each other. (Maybe that's not something they're worrying about, but if not I'm requesting that they do.) Obviously there will be unanticipated combinations, but those can be tuned as they arise.

Nihimon wrote:

I just read over the Sorcerer and Wizard classes again. The quote that sticks out for me is "A sorcerer's selection of spells is extremely limited". At first, it doesn't look too bad because they can add 1 known spell per level while Wizards only add 2. However, at level 20, a Sorcerer is limited (forever!) to 43 spells known (9 of which are 0 level).

Why isn't the proper course of action to replicate this? To simply limit the number of different spells a Sorcerer can know?

Ultimately, I would think it would be pretty simple for me to pick out 43 spells that made a Sorcerer a very effective Debuffer, while I chose to prepare spells on my Wizard that made him an extremely effective damage dealer...

Sure, except by choosing wizard you are automatically reducing your potential damage. Certainly you can still be effective without being optimal, but it is still an unremediable handicap. That's the only thing I take issue with.

Alternatively, so long as it's made very clear when you choose archetypes exactly what their strengths and weaknesses are, it's not as big an issue. If the wizard blurb advertises the archetype as a controller first and a blaster second, that's probably fine. It's the feeling of rolling a class thinking you can do something with it that turns out later to not be the best choice that I want to avoid. Like rolling a druid in vanilla WoW thinking you would do anything other than heal, or rolling an illusionist in EQ thinking you would have a place in a raid.

Nihimon wrote:
Hycoo wrote:
... AND that you are limited to a certain number of skills on your hotbar (8 is a good number).
Please, no.

It works for Diablo and Guild Wars. GW2 for example gives you 5 abilities (4 really since one is autoattack) that are predetermined by your weapon, 1 heal ability, and 4 open abilities chosen from a long list of options you have to earn. IMO it's an improvement on the WoW model where you have to hotkey 25-50+ different abilities. 25 is doable for me (F1-F12, ~-=) but more than that and I start cutting things and making macros. Less is more.

The WoW devs have recently argued (and GW2 seems to agree based on their design) that 4-5 rotational abilities are ideal (with the rest being utility or situational). Fewer than that feels remedial, and more starts to feel cumbersome. If you add 4-5 utility or situational abilities, 8-10 total abilities feels reasonable. Of course these would be selected from the catalogue of skills you have earned. I'm not saying it should be that way, but in an open ended skill system, you could quickly run out of keybinds. Some hard cap just makes sense. Somewhere between 10-25 I think.

There's nothing really wrong with a rogue, although they may not play the way you would hope in PFS. Stealth and pickpocketing are pretty useless, and trapfinding and disable device are not required. Basically you get a highly skilled, moderately combat capable character.

If she is leaning toward an archer character, there are lots of options. Including an archer rogue. More challenging to get sneak attacks, but not impossible. You could do like another poster suggested and roll a g/f support character--something that would allow her more sneak attacks for instance. Illusionist wizard, fighter with imp. feint, that sort of thing.

Or if she likes rangers as a class choice, she is not required to have an animal companion, and I think there is an archetype that swaps out spells for something else.

Most importantly, you get to redo your character before level 2 if you don't like it.

I guess I should clarify a little.

Yes, sorcerers are better blasters than wizards in PnP because they get more spells per day. Thus, making an optimal blaster in PnP means rolling a sorcerer.

I don't want a chracter's potential to be limited by chosing to follow a certain archetype. I want the limitation to be on the build instead.

Part of the spirit of the PnP game I want left out of the MMO is the idea that one class should be better at something than another because that is the flavor of the class. Fighters are superior melee damage dealers to rogues, whose flavor is more skill-based. Sorcerers are superior blasters to wizards, whose flavor is more control-based. I think the MMO should have a different standard. Those superiorities should be build-dependent, not archetype dependent. Rolling a wizard shouldn't automatically de-optimize your DPS potential like it does in PnP.

To come back to the thread question, how I think magic should be done is, first and foremost, equitably, and flavor considerations should be secondary.

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