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Irontruth's page

5,119 posts (5,121 including aliases). No reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 2 aliases.


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Heroism is a Barbarian's best friend.


There were old proposed rule changes. John Oliver complained about them. The FCC did not adopt them.

Instead, they adopted something closer to Net Neutrality.

Oliver's piece is still valid, but it was about the problem as it existed at that time. Things have since changed. The core concepts are still relevant, but details are different.


Situation in a game where I was a player....

It was a long campaign, towards the last portions of it (maybe 8 years). Another player was playing a paladin and had become king of half the former kingdom after a rebellion. My character became the knight in charge of his personal guard. During a combat, the (somewhat new) wizard lobbed a fireball into combat. He killed 2 civilians and injured the king.

Now, OOC, we all knew the king was fine. But it's still assaulting his royal personage (and killing 2 civilians). At that point, the group was a little perturbed and we took a food break. The king's player and I took this opportunity to talk. He felt that something had to be done, but he wasn't sure what.

I put aside my modern concepts of justice and relied on a more medieval concept. I told the king we should do the following:

1. Cut off his hands (no somatic components)
2. Cut out his tongue (no verbal components)
3. Cut out his eyes (can't target people at range)
4. Brand him a rogue wizard (so a good-hearted priest doesn't cast regeneration on him)

He was a little put off at my recommendation, but I pointed out that the only other solutions were building a prison for wizards (difficult, since they can cast spells) or execution. My punishment, while still harsh, would leave him with his life and his freedom. While his life would be exceedingly difficult, people could still take pity on him and offer him food/shelter if they chose.

He tried to run, but in the end the king's justice was served.


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Retire your character, make a monk with a vow of poverty. Then have him constantly follow the rogue giving sermons on the dangers of greed.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
How does this actually affect me?

It means your ISP won't charge you more to download things from the Paizo website.

Or more precisely, they won't charge Paizo, who would then have to make up that money from somewhere...


Mouseguard - this has off-adventure time, but similar to Burning Empire, it's paced by active adventure time.

Pendragon - has manor management. The game overall has some game pacing mechanics, but it's also paced by in-game time as well.

3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars - it's a very simplistic game overall, but has between mission mechanics.


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Muad'Dib wrote:
GM's, if you don't use the perception skill how do you handle the necessary details you expect players to find but for whatever reason they are unable to find?

I don't require rolls to discover things that advance the plot. My time is limited, my players time is limited, I will not allow "pixel b&*&%ing" to stall my game.

The vital clue will be found. Successful rolls (or particularly high ones) will reveal ADDITIONAL clues, or information that makes the primary clue more advantageous.

EX: The players find a clue that says the evil cult stole the artifact. A high perception might indicate when they took it, or what method they used (giving some clue as to their power level and capabilities). The players might request other skill checks then, successes grant additional useful information, while failures might be misinformation OR reveal other complications that the PC's are going to have to deal with (making their situation harder).


LazarX wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

Shipping containers are useful for 2 reasons:

1) they're all the same size (which can't be said of clay pots or barrels)
2) You can change modes of transport just by moving the container

Actually barrels ARE made a consistent size. quite precisely. Which enabled to be stacked quite nicely whether on ship or on wagons pulled by draft animals such as Clyesdales.

If you've seen photos o Phoenician wrecks, youll find that amphorae are made to high degree of consistency, placed in wracks which allowed for uniform storage. And like barrels, could be sealed pretty much air tight if needed.

Keep also in mind when the world's population listed at much less than a billion souls, when great cities are those whose populations are in the tens of thousands, the scale of shipping, was also a good deal smaller. Those bloody steel boxes you have an obsession with, evolved as a response to a need that did not exist earlier.

What type of barrel are you referring to?

Bordeaux? (225 liters)
Burgundy? (228 liters)
Cognac? (300 liters)

The UK had another 7 sizes of barrels, which were also all slightly different sizes than US barrels. So, just looking at 3 countries, I've already found 17 different sizes of barrels, and not just different sizes for different uses, but also slight variations in similar sizes.

I agree, that one type of barrel from a single manufacturer would probably be pretty uniform. The concept of barrels though was far from uniform.

Even today, the standards for beer and wine barrels are different from each other, in both the US and UK, which also have different standards.

I have no specific information about clay pots.


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Having played shadowrun, I assume the PC's will kill any NPC who serves a plot function.


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Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
meatrace wrote:
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

Me and Frank Subotka agree: Down with containerization!

Also, school sucks!

What? A Wire reference from the gobbo?

I'm impressed.
Possible Contender for Politroll Theme Song: The Musical Interlude

You know what the trouble is, Brucey? We used to make s%++ in this country, build s%*@. Now we just put our hand in the next guy's pocket.


LazarX wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
thejeff wrote:
But if one makes the other possible, the growth following the second is still dependent on the first, even if the later spike is larger.
I don't see any reason to believe that "standardized shipping containers" are dependent upon oil or that oil somehow makes it possible to ship different goods in the same size and shaped containers.

Without the level of mechanization we've got, you're going to have to, at the very least use much smaller containers, since you'll have to maneuver them much more manually. Not much point in standard containers, if you're loading everything by hand, or manual windlasses.

So use cranes, which were known to the ancient Egyptians. Using coal-fired steam power, if you like -- which was known in the 18th century.

Will a coal-fired crane and standard shipping containers be better than hand-lifting sacks of coffee beans out of the hold of a ship? Almost certainly.

Nothing about oil "makes possible" standardized shipping containers.

Take a trip back in my time machine.

16th century Caravel... used the standardized shipping container known as the "barrel" for shipping grains, oils, and other liquids such as ale, beer, and rum. land transportable by weapon... stackable. created by professionals known as coopers.

5th century B.C.E. Phoenician sailing vessel. Standardized shipping container .. clay amphorae... used to transport wine, oils, and grain. created by professionals known as .. people who worked in clay.

So can we stop the nonsensical idea that shipping containers depended on the existence of petroleum fueled ships?

It helps to understand what was actually the genius of containerization.

It wasn't the concept of "putting things in a container". That is a well known fact to have a very ancient history. It was the concept of an international standard of container combined with a structure designed to be intermodal.

Shipping containers are useful for 2 reasons:

1) they're all the same size (which can't be said of clay pots or barrels)
2) You can change modes of transport just by moving the container

The ability to unload the container with a crane and either stack it if necessary, or put it directly on a truck/train is huge. Plus, since it is in a sealed metal container, you don't have to put it inside a building to protect the contents, allowing you to store them outdoors, removing the need for massive numbers of warehouses around a port.

Prior to containerization goods were transported as break bulk cargo. A lot of dockworkers lost their jobs when containerization happened because it was so much faster and took fewer people to accomplish.

Containerization is not the sexiest of modern innovations, but it is none the less an innovation. It's more than just putting things in boxes though.


Quark Blast wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

Okay. I don't really have anything else to say. Perhaps we have such wildly different experiences that we're essentially talking past one another (I don't see kickstarters as encouraging PDFs, but the exact opposite, for example - without crowdfunding we'd have far fewer printed RPG supplements, in my opinion).

Ultimately, I disagree with the premise - it seems to me that kickstarter, indiegogo and the like have been great for TTRPGs overall. My concern is more with fraud or (more relevantly) with the health of the publishers biting off more than they can chew or constructing poorly structured kickstarters.

Things aren't going to go back to the 80s, but that's nothing to do with crowdfunding, in my view - I think crowdfunding is a good, modern solution to a shrinking fan base.

Kind of like how Facebook and it's spin-offs keep people connected despite all the moving on that happens after high school?

Yes, your comments and Irontruths help me to understand that not even most TTRPG Kickstarter-type events are PDF-only. It's just the lowest bar for getting into the market, but I can see how most TTRPG backers want something tangible, something collectible.

I also see how it pays (in theory) for FLGSs to be backers. But putting products on the shelf that largely appeal to people who are already backers or can be if they wanted to... well, that doesn't seem like a good business risk. Only Kickstarter products that "go viral" will actually pay a FLGS owner to back.

I guess we would need to know the numbers behind sales for backed products. Does 90% of the product go to backers? 50%? 20%? Seems to me if the number isn't 50% or less then the crowdfunding phenomenon isn't growing the TTRPG pie.

Yeah, the more I talk this over with people who know things I don't, and have preferences that I don't, the more I see your last sentence - in bold above - as being both descriptive and prescriptive.

Thanks for being civil :)

As stated by Steve, Kickstarter has increased the number of books that are printed and the quality at which those books are printed (more books with sturdier bindings, more color books, etc).

Honestly, no small RPG is financially worth the investment for LGS. They've never been worth the investment and carrying them has always been an act of love by store owners. They never sell at a rate that justifies the space they take up, even if they're just on shelves with only the bindings out. A game like Burning Wheel might sell a copy a year, and that's a relatively popular indie game.

Reaper's Bones kickstarter was pretty successful. It got $3.4 million in backer money. They've also been successful in sales after the fact as well and probably worth their rack space for stores that sell miniatures. A popular kickstarter represents a popular product. But the kickstarter is limited in nature, only 30 days, so not all consumers will acquire what they want during that period.

Local stores have had trouble long before kickstarter. Amazon is a bigger problem than kickstarter. For stores to stay relevant, they need to sell other products that make more money (or have higher product flow) and make themselves into a community center focused around games. They can't just be merchants any more, they have to be ambassadors and curators of their hobbies. Also, they have to exist in a market large enough to support them. That means large and medium cities get gaming stores, but probably only a few small cities. It's a specialty thing, and specialty stores can exist in larger cities. They struggle in small communities.


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The Dead Parrot Sketch


thejeff wrote:
meatrace wrote:
thejeff wrote:
meatrace wrote:

Well, having just completed an upper level university course on international trade, I can tell you that the invention and use of the standardized shipping container made a larger difference than the discovery of petrolium for the shipping boom.

But I'm not sure what that has to do with free college?

Would the standardized shipping container be at all useful without all the rest of the oil powered infrastructure? With sailing ships (or even coal powered steamers)? Without cranes and other loading and unloading equipment?
Absolutely. Nonetheless you have to realize this isn't a binary thing where you can in any way separate the two issues, all you can do is statistical regression on shipping data from years before and after the advent of these advances (petroleum and shipping containers respectively) to determine what you're asking.
But if one makes the other possible, the growth following the second is still dependent on the first, even if the later spike is larger.

Oil makes it possible.

Containers make it useful.

Think of it this way, gasoline being cheap means nothing to you if you:

1) don't have a car
2) don't need a car

Modern logistics make the oil useful in shipping. Without those standards, like the shipping container, cranes, railroads, etc, the oil would be a cheap source of energy without a use. The point being that oil is not the sole factor when analyzing why shipping things multiple times around the world is possible. It depends on all the factors involved, not just one.


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I find part of the realization of how small our hobby is, is that I have some responsibility in supporting what I find important within it. Being a consumer is not passive in this hobby IMO, but rather something that should be done actively and with care. I personally don't have a lot of money to spend, so I spend it carefully and on products/creative people that I really want to support.

The other thing is that because it is so small, if you get active it isn't hard to meet the movers and shakers within the industry. I haven't even come close to meeting all the big names, but I've met/played with at least one person from most of the big companies.

Also, for at least scratching that itch of oddball games, conventions are a great place to go. Not every convention has every game, but you can often find something that's interesting. You don't get the sense of the long-term campaign play, but you at least get to have fun with the game and scratch that itch. Plus the time commitment for conventions is much smaller, one weekend of busy activity compared to a weekly game.

Recently I went to just the last day of a local convention. I went as a referee/judge, so I could only run games, but I ran 3 very different ones and had a great time. Plus my badge was free since I was a referee.

Switching gears to the local gaming stores, I think they have to reinvent themselves. I think the inclusion of RPGs on their shelves is an act of love that I truly appreciate and hope they continue. The successful store here recently moved into a larger space (not on purpose, they got kicked out by their previous landlord and lucked into a larger space). They serve primarily as a comic and M:tG store. RPG's take up probably 5% of the floor space. They also have a significant space of tables, which they let people play whatever. They host PFS and previously D&D Encounters, along with wargaming nights, magic tournaments and other activities. Stores have to be ambassadors for their hobbies, not just a place to get supplies if they want to stay relevant.

As I mentioned, many RPG kickstarters have included a store backer level, where you get 4-10 copies of the book and nothing else. They do it at a reasonable rate so that the stores can get the copies right along with all the other backers and start selling them right away. The LGS hasn't been completely forgotten with the advent of kickstarter.


Quark Blast wrote:

OK. So here's my question for you (and I'm expressly not asking for names to be dropped in the answer):

If Kickstarter is so valuable to the "little guys" (i.e. anyone but Paizo, WotC, and... White Wolf?... and?), how many employees has the place you're most familiar with hired since 2009?

You mention up-thread that "they have maybe 5 full time employees." How many of those were hired, or upgraded, since the Kickstarter phenomenon? How many temps or part-timers have they hired since then?

Several.

One of the co-owners has stopped working full-time. They still do work, but on a per project basis. They hired someone else to do their former work load though.

As for creating new jobs? None.

At the same time though, there have been several RPG releases from them that I know for a fact would not have seen the light of day without Kickstarter.

They make most of their money on board and card games. RPG's take up a lot more time and produce significantly lower profits. They want to make RPG's, but they can't commit the resources to funding product lines prior to securing orders for them. Hence why kickstarter makes it possible.

I have signed an NDA, and I'm not breaking those right now (whether I name them or not). I just prefer to not sit around pointing out who I play games with is all.

Your music industry analogy is false. Artists are making comparable money to what they used to make. The thing is they aren't making that money from the same sources. This site has some interesting statistics if you want to look. Revenue streams in music have become more diversified. Singles sell more than albums. Streaming licenses matter. Getting paid as a session artist, touring member, teacher, etc, all contribute. Musicians have never really led stable lifestyles, but trying to measure it the exact same way you might measure it 20 years ago will give false results. People who weren't giant superstars never had an easy go of it.

I think the overall pie is shrinking, at the moment it might be shrinking slowly though. In the positive side, gamers are getting older. Older people have more disposable income. The negative side is that more people are leaving the hobby than joining. I know a lot of gamers who buy books but don't get to play the games they buy any more. Eventually that market is going to start drying up.

It's always been a tiny niche hobby. I don't think that will change, unless someone can fundamentally change how we roleplay, and then I'm sure most of the existing community will continuously argue "no true scottsman...!"

Kickstarter serves as a stop gap, maintaining an open line of communication between producers and consumers, helping both sides communicate with each other more effectively. It's capitalizing on that positive aspect of an aging market to sustain the industry at a higher level than it could otherwise maintain. If RPG's do take off and become more popular, say doubling in size, the pool of people who have run successful kickstarter campaigns will be a great resource to help provide content for companies that choose to publish works.

Someone to check out would be Fred Hicks (he owns/runs Evil Hat). He's one of a tiny number of RPG publishers that releases financial data, if you want to get some insight into how small some of the larger names (outside of the big 2) are. He also tends to be fairly responsive if you're polite and ask questions in a friendly manner.


Vive le Galt - the musical interlude

I'm growing my hair out so I can do a version of that cowardly lion costume for halloween next year.


Quark Blast wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

This is an internet forum. It is a place for talking.

I do things in the real world. I come here to talk. If you don't want to talk about things, it's very strange that you're here.

Great! And what do you do? And by that I mean, what do you actually do? And by "you do", I mean you and me and whoever; I mean what have we done or should we do.

Talking is a start but now that we've done that, how do I actually make a difference on the lack of equal education opportunity issue?

If our talking doesn't lead to action, what have we done?

Made ourselves feel better?

Talking with Putin is a start but all that blather doesn't seem to be doing much for non-Russians in Crimea or eastern Ukraine. Do we keep talking until eastern Ukraine becomes western Russia like Crimea is now southern Russia?

Don't answer the Russia/Ukraine questions. Just drawing an analogy here. But on the education topic, now that we've talked, answer with actions I can take to help resolve the inequality in education.

Wallowing around in lamentation about unequal education is a sure method to situational stagnation.

Two problems with your point here:

1) Just because someone is not directly involved with action involving something does not automatically discredit their words on the subject. Using your example: Putin. Just because I'm not in the State department, and not a fighting on one side of the Ukraine conflict or the other, does not mean that my words are automatically incorrect. You keep making this assertion, but it's wrong. It is categorically wrong.

2) This is an internet forum about roleplaying games. I don't come here to plan action about things outside of roleplaying games. I like talk about other things here, because these are people who share a similar interest, and even though we disagree about other issues, we still have a common bond of roleplaying (even though we probably disagree about some facet of that too).

I don't come here to organize my politics. I go to other places for that. I'm not here to answer your demands about my personal life. I sometimes choose to share aspects of my life, but that is for me to choose to do. I don't care how many times you demand to know what I'm doing or not doing, that my only response will ever be to remind you that demanding to know is not proof of anything (in fact, it is decidedly lack of proof, because you don't know).

If you feel that the discussion is over, you aren't required to return here. If you want to keep discussing, feel free, but your demands for action are pointless and counterproductive. I could care less if you think that my silence on my actions is proof of something, since you're clearly wrong, because you don't actually know.

Your current point is has all of the following qualities:

1) dismissive of others
2) disrespectful of others
3) not true

You keep trying to reword it and couch it in something to make it sound like you're searching for something noble. And you might indeed be trying to get to something, but this isn't the place for that and you're using it as a cudgel in an attempt to silence others.

Feel free to argue the ideals you want to argue for, but just because you're done talking does not give you the right or authority to tell others that their words are meaningless.


This is an internet forum. It is a place for talking.

I do things in the real world. I come here to talk. If you don't want to talk about things, it's very strange that you're here.


For a one-shot scenario I enjoy the gamut. I prefer longer games to be more serious, but I like to think of myself as a witty person, so I also like it when I'm allowed to use said wit. There have been times where I've thought of jokes and kept them to myself because I didn't want to spoil the mood though. A couple months ago, one of my players in an attempt to "get the sillyness out" prior to playing asked everyone to give their favorite Monty Python quote before proceeding with play. What followed was about 40 minutes of Monty Python jokes as it became a contest to see who ran out first (we didn't run out, we just decided to go back to the game).

To illustrate some of the width of my tastes last Sunday I played/ran the following games at a convention:

1) Fiasco - Alpha Complex

The rules are still Fiasco, but it's set in Paranoia's Alpha Complex, which works very well for Fiasco. We did all sorts of humorous, insane things to each other. My UV programmer ended the game fighting for his life in a cage match against a mutant monster made entirely out of 35 hands. He lost.

2) Penny for My Thoughts

This game was very serious. It's a very light game using basic improv theater techniques. You don't make your character, you start with no memories. Then using prompts you create in the game, you start building those memories to find out who you were. I started life as a kid who worked at an amusement park where I met my first girl friend. Later in life I caused an accident while working on the crew of a NASCAR team, ended up redeeming myself by becoming a driver, and finally losing my career when I couldn't handle the pressure. Years after that, I went crazy in my house, joined underground racing and sabotaged my opponents cars intentionally, hitting rock bottom when I caused a similar accident to the one when I was working in the pit crew.

3) Mythender (as GM, or Mythmaster as it's called in that game)

This is kind of a mix. It can be serious, but I tend to run it very over-the-top heavy metal action. I like to do a couple things that hit the players right in the feels, but my primary focus is encouraging them to do ever more awesome things. I consider it my responsibility to have each character do at least one thing that could be considered "jumping the shark". Then later I encourage them to do something more like this. It makes sense in context of the game.


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From a capitalist, efficiency viewpoint, free education is a good thing.

Markets are going to be at their most efficient when they exist as a meritocracy, not as an oligarchy. If you start from the point where everyone is equal, the person with the best idea will be the most successful. This creates an inherent inequality. The problem is when that inequality acts as resistance against the people who don't have resources, preventing them from fully realizing their good ideas.

I don't think we should strive for perfect equality, for multiple reasons and we don't need to debate that point. Rather, I think we should put in place forces that do push us towards perfect equality. The point isn't that they achieve that goal, but rather they counteract the other forces that create inequality. Free education would be one of those forces.

It means that just because you're the son/daughter of a factory worker, you will still be matched to a job/career that suits your talents and level of commitment, not automatically sent to the factory (and left in the cold when it shuts down). Or that just because you're the child of a doctor that you automatically get sent to college. Each has to earn their own way forward and meet the requirements for entering the school they desire.

For all their flaws, NCLB and CC have merits. I don't think they have enough merits to warrant their implementation, but there have been so many problems in the school system for so long, I really do appreciate the fact that SOMETHING has been done. NCLB is exceptionally flawed, but it did introduce the idea that we can monitor and measure our schools for success. The problem is that it was too narrowly focused and done in a way that put all attention entirely on it's measurement system.

There was a similar aspect to this that happened with insurance companies and doctors in the 80's and 90's. When insurance companies changed their models to the PPO and HMO insurance, they started to look at the statistics of health care. In California initially they actually reduced medical care costs because they found inefficiencies in the system, for example showing that outpatient outcomes were better for some procedures than inpatient outcomes. The insurance company looked at the data and determined what was likely to be the optimal choice. The downside of that is that the "likely optimal" choice is not necessarily the correct one for each person, so the doctors input has to be necessary in determining the correct choice for each patient.

We do have inefficiencies in our school system. The problem with the charter school system is that it's a further fracturing of that system, when instead it needs to become more centralized in it's over arching structure. Here in Minneapolis we've had problems charter schools and non-profits trying to help students that have failed horribly. One had it's funding cut off because they couldn't show evidence that they even had students.

For me ideally, it's a centralized structure with rules in place for individuals to make decisions necessary to account for the real differences that happen all the time. In health care, that's the doctor or nurse. In education, that's the teacher. The central structure is there to provide the tools and information necessary for the teacher to do their job and do it well. That does mean that the teacher needs to show good results and is not immune to consequences of bad performance. We need a better system for both evaluating teachers and for providing them with resources to do their job well, right now we fail at both.

I do think that as our world becomes more complicated and specialized more education is going to be required. 150 years ago an 8th grade education was sufficient for most people to conduct their lives. Even specialists were often done with their entire formal education by the age of 18 or 20 (a great-great uncle of mine graduated from university at 18 for example in the 1890's, not because he was gifted, he finished the normal course of education at that time). Now specialists often don't finish university until age 25 or later (the average age of PhD completion is 32.2). I don't know how far that trend can continue, but it is part of our reality today. Graduating high school does not give you the skills necessary for most jobs. It does set you up to enter most training programs though and recognizing that fact about our world today is important.

In 1852 Massachusetts was the first state to institute compulsory education. From ages 8-14, you were required to attend 12 weeks of school per year. Roughly 72 days per year, or 432 days in total. Now most states require 180 days per year, which comes to 2160 for grades 1-12 (2340 if you include kindergarten). Some states let you leave early, but regardless, the term of completion is much higher than it was 150 years ago.

Vive le Galt
Free education for the masses


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Sensei + Qinggong

The Sensei allows you to give anyone any ability you can activate with a Ki point. For example, you can take replace one of your monk abilities with the Qinggong archetype to get Barkskin. Then for 1 ki point, you can give any ally barkskin. Once you hit level 12, you could give ALL your allies barkskin for 1 ki point (you'd have to use it a second time for yourself).

We ran an adventure last year, I ran a character like this for the adventurer and I was the only healer. I was able to do a fair amount of healing using Wholeness of Body as kind of an alternative to channeling.

In melee combat, your primary job is assistance. I focused heavily on defense and provided flanking for allies. I used a temple sword with the guided property. I dumped Strength and focused on Wisdom and Dex and some Con.


1) varies on group and characters a lot (i play in multiple groups)

2) see 1

3) see 1

3a) When I DM I try not to hold my personal beliefs, but rather use the world as my judge for the reaction. In a medieval society incarceration is rare and typically short. They don't have prisons, they have jails. Long term incarceration is only for valuable prisoners and likely has little to do with "justice". Medieval society tends to dish out swift punishments. 90% of those punishments are financial though, so it only the worst of the worst (or the poor) that get physical punishments.

4) someone who doesn't have a home and commits murder (not all killing is murder)

5) See 3A. If I don't have the means to imprison the villain, that means that they have to die. Rarely do I have the means of imprisonment.

6) If I want a pure combat game, I'll go play miniatures or a video game.


I'm excited. I might hold off on the KS, to see how the game works itself out, but even if it just becomes a trip down memory lane it will be a good project.

Ultima Underworld is probably the most important RPG video game in the history of said games. It's design and technical specs were breakthroughs, though someone probably would have made them all eventually anyway (it had technical capabilities better than Doom, which came out a year later), but to put them in an RPG first and design a really good RPG around those technical specs changed what was possible. The Elder Scrolls series, for example, owes a LOT to the UU series.

November 2016 is a long ways away though.


LazarX wrote:
Post WW2 you had two decades of a boom in building superhighways, auto usage goes up like a banshee and the public rail system dies an agonizing death.

I think part of the analysis is that cheap energy and abundance of resources have played a part in the progressive nature of society in the US.

I doubt we'll find a lot of cause and effect in the car buying boom of the 1950's and say... women's suffrage in 1920, or improvement in the protection of worker's rights during the 1910's.

Quark's point being that only because America has had great abundance have we also sometimes been nice to those less fortunate.

Of course, this theory also rests inside his theory that nothing has ever changed, except for the parts where he adds his theory that explains change.


You should try talking to people who actually publish games for a living about this. You're going to get a different answer than the one you assume you'll get. I know this, because I do talk to people who publish for a living. I understand, it's second-hand and I'm choosing to not name drop.

Publishing books is expensive, really expensive. Investing money into a product that you don't get a return on for 4-8 months is difficult. Particularly if you don't know a game will sell well.

Kickstarter has no impact on games like Pathfinder and D&D. Paizo employees have regularly stated that core book sales have increased year over year, every year. D&D is selling like gangbusters the past 6 months.

Everyone else though, a service like kickstarter is extremely valuable to their business model. Without it, every new product is a major risk. With it, they can gauge customer interest and secure funding for their projects without risking their entire company.

Kickstarter is not the cause of FLGS woes. Maybe the internet as a whole, but not kickstarter specifically. Not sure if you're aware, but there are often game store backer levels for new RPGs. A game store can back the game and get copies at the kickstarter price, with no extras, but often at a discount so that they can offer the book as soon as it's out and at the correct price. Publishers actually use kickstarter to find gaming stores and essentially get their game out to them more efficiently.


Quark Blast wrote:
Again (3rd time now) I'll point out that people are quick to talk on the OP topic, and the many asides, but exceedingly slow to mention what they are actually doing about these problems.

So, you're point here is what exactly?

If I'm not doing something to solve the problem...

1) the problem doesn't exist
2) the problem is unsolvable
3) anything I say about the problem HAS to be wrong

Does that logic apply to you and anything you have to say?


LazarX wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Would you consider people who speak different languages as different ethnic groups?
Yes, because frequently they are. You will also have different ethnic groups even within a mostly common language. In 17th century New Amsterdam, (now New York City) as many as 35 different languages could be heard speaking each day. Spain itself has about 5 or six variants of Spanish spoken with in, despite the frequently brutal efforts of Francisco Franco to homogenize the country.

In Switzerland you have 4 national languages, all moderately different (German, French, Italian and Romansh). Within German you have it split into Standard German and Swiss German (as a non-native standard German speaker, I can only understand about 50-60% of Swiss German).

So yes, it is a small country, but it is a country that is heavily influenced by it's neighbors, and that influence is felt more acutely in each quadrant of the country that borders somewhere else. There are cultural aspects shared across the country, but there are significant differences (language being one of the strongest).

This is probably why democracy took root so early in the region, as aspects of modern Switzerland did start to coalesce in the 13th century, but having to moderate between those various cultural differences (despite the similarities) the most effective method was a democratic one. Having input and influence on the greater whole gave each smaller group greater confidence in belonging to the whole, providing stability to the region.

I definitely buy the argument that their size does more easily allow them to have aspects of a direct democracy. In Switzerland citizens have been allowed to introduce laws for over 150 years. Something like 230 such laws have been introduced over that span, with only 10% being approved. They can also introduce constitutional amendments.

Side track: One of my favorite memories as a kid was going to Fasnacht. Imagine Carnival (Brazil), but run by Northern European protestants. It's still a party, though a bit less gaudy and more sedate. It's a bid deal in Basel, which sits right on the with France, Germany and Switzerland. It starts right after lent (my theory being to piss off the Catholics who had to fast at that point). It starts with a big parade, floats, marching bands, etc. The bands proceed to continue marching through the streets for the next 3 days (it lasts exactly 72 hours and the bands play continuously during that period). The bands often play off-key intentionally too. It's amazing, I highly recommend attending if you can.

It also has a highly political bent to it. The majority of floats are made with meaning and leaflets are constantly distributed during these days, pushing one political agenda or another. It doesn't lean one way or the other, floats/leaflets represent all sorts of political ideas. One constant is that this is often represented sarcastically, it's more to make fun of the opposition than push your own position.

Like many American parades, there are participants that throw candy to the crowd. Unlike American parades, they also throw blood oranges (why that type of orange specifically I don't know). If they see you taking pictures, they often try to bean you with the orange.

Last interesting thing about it, no other large city in Switzerland does this. Nothing even close. A few small towns have traditions of smaller events that are similar in concept, but the execution is orders of magnitude less elaborate.

Don't Stop Me Now


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Kickstarter has strengthened the industry and is an valuable tool. Because the market is smaller than it used to be, being able to secure the money needed for the print run BEFORE you order it means you don't have to take out loans, or hold off paying your people in order to pay for printing/shipping (which eat up over 50% of a companies budget).

I play a weekly game at a company that produces multiple RPG-lines and has recently re-released a 20 year anniversary of one of their games. They have maybe 5 full time employees, despite producing board games, card games and RPGs, some of which have been featured on Tabletop (Wil Wheaton's show). For them, they still WANT to use kickstarter for the exact reason listed above. Securing funding/sales for new products prior to putting money down on the printing/shipping of that product gives them the ability to actually work on those projects and put more effort into writing/testing them.


Would you consider people who speak different languages as different ethnic groups?


Haladir wrote:
I don't buy into the rogue hate on the boards either. I'd go with a rogue. If you want to do a lot of damage, take Improved Feint and max out Bluff so you can sneak attack in a toe-to-toe fight.

Well, Rogue is underpowered. But at the same time, if you understand those weaknesses and can do your best to either shore them up or work around them, you can make the class useful.

For me personally, the Rogue takes too much effort to get it to work well. I always feel like I have to work hard with it and there are just easier classes to play where the results are just as rewarding.

It's not a useless class though. People are just hyperbolic in attempts to prove their point.


Switzerland has had citizen legislation in various forms since the 13th century, and continues to this day. Each canton has their own laws regarding the process of voting (some are more direct, some indirect), but as a whole the citizens have had veto authority over their government for about the equivalent of the entire history of the US.

Iceland, Isle of Mann and Faroe Island have had parliamentary systems that have been in continuous use since the 9th to 10th centuries, though they have been ruled by outside powers at times.

And you have to be careful about how you define democracy. Remember, in the US we've had significant periods of time where massive portions of our population (african-americans, women) have not had the right to vote. Similarly, feudal England could be considered a democracy, with only the landed aristocracy being able to vote, since their slaves (or serfs) weren't allowed representation in government.

The problem with the debate you guys were having on things changing/not changing, is that just because one thing changes (or doesn't) does not mean something else didn't change (or did).

Silly example: just because I change my clothes one day, does not mean that I change my clothes every day. Nor does wearing the same clothes 2 days in a row mean I never change my clothes.

Arguing from all or nothing positions is stupid and idiotic.


Quark Blast wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Quark Blast wrote:
The apparent total lack of effort by those who would correct my thinking [who don't apparently actually do anything that matters about modern slavery e.g.], makes my point about the pointlessness of long term effective political change among humans. Especially long term change brought about through voting and/or education. Is America not the oldest going democracy on the planet, with the first instituted public education system, and we sit here and do nothing but argue how relevant our opinions are to solving these problems. Problems like education for all or modern sex slavery.

Quick question... how old do you think America is? By that I mean it's current governmental form, being organized through our constitution.

You're claiming nothing has changed in 5000 years. Are you operating under the assumption that America as we know it is 5000 years old?

Trying real hard not to be sarcastic here since I know you know what I've already said on the other thread.

Reiterating what I said here:
America is as good as it gets in human history and yet look at all the legit whining and flailing about inequality invoked by posters to these threads.

Breezing over the roughly five millenia of recorded human history we see that it flat out doesn't matter what culture or time period you look at. Each generation has to learn wisdom the hard way and every invention of statecraft that has advanced the general populace has eventually been turned into chains.

The last 60-70 years has been somewhat of an anomaly in human history and I think that is mostly do to all the "free" energy we've gotten from oil. If we can make controlled and scaled nuclear fusion, then maybe we can continue on this anomalous course for several more generations and institute some of the Utopian thinking others have been promulgating re education.

I won't be holding my breath though

So, nothing changes, but things have been different.

Interesting theory. Something seems inconsistent about it though.


If Mr. Grey were black, would we be having a conversation about how this portrays all black people?


Quark Blast wrote:
The apparent total lack of effort by those who would correct my thinking [who don't apparently actually do anything that matters about modern slavery e.g.], makes my point about the pointlessness of long term effective political change among humans. Especially long term change brought about through voting and/or education. Is America not the oldest going democracy on the planet, with the first instituted public education system, and we sit here and do nothing but argue how relevant our opinions are to solving these problems. Problems like education for all or modern sex slavery.

Quick question... how old do you think America is? By that I mean it's current governmental form, being organized through our constitution.

You're claiming nothing has changed in 5000 years. Are you operating under the assumption that America as we know it is 5000 years old?


It's got 27% on rotten tomatoes. I'm guessing it's a crappy movie.

Paddington on the other hand has 98%. We should all go see that.


Darrell Impey UK wrote:
Hang on, under 4th Edition D&D rules you do add your dex mod to the damage of range weapons; the OP (or their GM) may have been getting their rules sets in a twist...

5E too. Whatever ability score you use to modify your attack roll gets added to damage.


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I'd suggest Slayer. If your group uses traits, take:

Vagabond Child - gives you Disable Device (or Sleight of Hand)
Criminal - gives you Sleight of Hand (or Disable Device)

They fit perfect, since both of those basically describe your character's origins to a "t".


It's too many kids. There are 26 million 18-20 y/o's right now. That's more than 6 times the current number of federal employees and active duty military combined (2.7 and 1.4 million respectively).

Plus, the return on investment isn't going to be that good. The government gets high school grads, but has to turn out college grads. Better to send them to school, THEN have them work for you.

For example, there are already programs where you can get your college loans paid for if you're a teacher and you let them pick what school you teach at for the first few years. That lets the government help meet the urgent needs of many urban and rural area communities that need more teachers.


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Yeah, he lost me when he tried to claim that schizophrenia isn't real.


Rynjin wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Despite the amusing sidebar about what dragons and demons exist at low levels, I suspect the actual point wasn't so much "orcs and goblins" specifically and "dragons and demons" specifically", but more that was more a poetic way of saying you have to start out fighting weak things and work your way up to fighting powerful things. The existence of high level orcs and wyrmling dragons doesn't really change the basic point.

And despite my earlier quibble about not actually having to do that, since you don't really have to start at 1st level and play to high levels, I do agree that's at least a basic conceit of the game. Of all the versions of D&D and similar games, but not of RPGs in general. The "zero to hero to demigod" thing is not nearly so prevalent outside D&D.

However, he said it's "ridiculous" for taht reason, which I don't really buy.

Level characters are inexperienced. They LITERALLY lack experience. They're just starting their career.

The ridicuous part isn't that they go from "zero to hero" at all (everyone starts somewhere, right?) it's that they can amass the experience to go from zero, then to hero, then "That guy who punched Cthulhu in the face and made him cry. TWICE." in a matter of months.

That's a pacing thing that's on the GM.


It's not a passive skill. The player declares they're trying to identify the monster. If they don't, they don't get to roll.

IMO, it's not the DM's role to attempt to conceal mechanical information necessary to play the game. Having an NPC lie or tell half-truths is one thing. That's not the DM's job though as a participant in the game at the table. Be honest, upfront and open about what is happening mechanically.

If players are meta-gaming jackasses, they're going to be meta-gaming jackasses regardless. Instead of trying to outsmart them, either talk to them and deal with it, or excuse them from the table if it's that disruptive. Concealing game mechanics is not the way to do it.


thejeff wrote:

There is an argument for not telling the player which skill to use, since that reveals information that the PC wouldn't actually know if he fails the roll.

That doesn't mean he should guess or have to roll all the knowledge skills, whether that takes actions or not. If it's that important, give the GM a list of your bonuses, make your roll and let him figure out which applies.

Or just tell the player which skill to use, and trust him to not metagame based on that.

If that's not why the GM is doing this and he's really just trying to make it harder to identify, then yes he's not doing it right.

There really isn't an argument for not telling a player which skill they're using. For one, to identify the monster it isn't difficult to rule as the GM that the players need to be able to see it and something of note that would help identify it as what it is.

Knowledge (Planes) is not a replacement for Perception to notice that it isn't just a pile of rocks and is actually an Earth Elemental. Until it moves, it's just a pile of rocks. The handsome man with no mirrors in his house is just a guy with no mirrors, until he does something strange like try to bite your friends neck.

Speaking of vampires (or similarly disguised beings), it wouldn't be bad to either set the DC to identify their true selves the same as their disguise check, or add disguise modifiers to the overall DC to identify their true nature.

Local nobleman is 10+CR Knowledge (Local). If he's using disguise self, it becomes 20+CR to notice something truly strange, suggesting a Knowledge (religion) check is in order. I might continue adding the +10 until he does something obvious, like use a vampire-based natural attack or special ability. Or if he's a master of disguise, set them at his Disguise Self result.

I get the argument for making checks in secret when they're passive things the character might react to, like perception and sense motive checks that the DM wants to initiate, but the players haven't. In this case though, the player is actively doing something and IMO the DM is required to tell them what they are purposely trying to use to engage with the rules.

Passive (initiated by DM) in secret is fine, though I personally rarely if ever do that.
Active (initiated by player) they should know what they're doing.

There are ways to present it as hidden information, and it might require some creativity and paying attention to the rules, but you don't need to keep what skill a player is actively trying to use a secret from them.


Quark Blast wrote:
LazarX wrote:

When the Internet first came to be as something you accessed through a TTY, I had great confidence that it would expand awareness. What I failed to realize was it's power to amplify ignorance.

People like Quark think it fashionable to wear a jacket of cynicism mistaking it for critical thinking.

And people like LX have enough free time on his adult hands that he can bandy words with a witless teen instead of doing something that matters.

Overhead question:

How much of your excess income do you give to charity?

I mean, we're all here on this forum because we have so much free time that, after all the time we spend playing TTRPGs, we still have time for chat in the Paizo forum.

So, given all the apparent self-indulgence utilizing fantasy escapism to brighten our leisurely lives, clearly we are also making more than an occasional token effort to actually put our hard earned cash to work solving these many obtuse problems.

I mean, there's nothing whatsoever that we can do for American slaves circa 1850 but there is a darn sight more we can do for present-day sex slaves than put down nascent opinions of youthful others while flagrantly demonstrating our own self-described "mastery" of world history.

Am I right?

Pfft! ...and people wonder why I'm cynical.

The age-old: If you aren't solving all the problems right now, you can't talk about any problems ever.


Each Knowledge skill is separate and distinct.

I roll Knowledge (Religion) and fail. I cannot roll Knowledge (Religion) again on that topic.

I can roll Knowledge (History) though, because it isn't a retry. It cannot possibly be a retry, because I didn't roll Knowledge (History) yet, which is a completely separate skill from Knowledge (Religion).

Just like failing any other skill check does not prevent you from rolling a different skill to try and achieve your goal. Since the skills are different, the retry clause does not come into effect, because it would be the FIRST try of that skill.

We know that Knowledge skills are distinct and separate skills for two major reasons:

1) Each must have it's own skill ranks spent on it, they do not share skill ranks.
2) If you take the feat Skill Focus, you'd need to take it separate times for each Knowledge skill you want it to apply to.

Therefore rolling Knowledge (History) would not be a retry of Knowledge (Religion), because they are separate and distinct and have no bearing on one another. Each check has no interaction.


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As a GM I consider these really good guiding principles (take from Dungeon world, another game I very much enjoy).

Always Say
When you are the GM you say these things:
•What the rules demand
•What the adventure demands
•What honesty demands*
•What the principles demand

*When the rules say I am to give out information (like a Knowledge check), I give out that information. It is not my job to hold back, present half-truths or conceal information when a player makes a successful roll. NPC's might certainly lie or conceal, but that's different.

Agenda
The GM’s agenda is what they sit down at the table to do:
•Make the world fantastic
•Fill the characters’ lives with adventure
•Play to find out what happens

That last one is important. I don't plan a story. I plan events that will push the characters to action. The results of those actions will tell a story, that I am there to discover just as much as my players. I don't know the future, but I might have some good guesses.

Principles
•Draw maps, leave blanks*
•Address the characters, not the players
•Embrace the fantastic
•Give every monster life
•Name every person
•Ask questions and use the answers
•Be a fan of the characters**
•Think Dangerous
•Begin and end with the fiction
•Think offscreen, too

*I take this literally and figuratively. I leave open space on the map for things that occur to me at the time. Or I ask questions about what they find and put it there. Sometimes it's more figurative, where I don't have every aspect of the plot decided, so I use their ideas that they discuss at the table. When something makes sense to them, I put it in the game, because it makes it seem more real to them. It also means that I get to share in that sense of discovery, which keeps things fresh and interesting for me as the GM.

**This is one of my favorites. I think of it like a well written character in a TV show/movie/book. I cry when they cry. I laugh when they laugh. I shout for joy when they overcome obstacles. It doesn't mean I'm there to coddle the characters. To achieve greatness, you must overcome great adversity. I'm there to challenge them, but I am not there to be their adversary. I want their danger to feel real, which means sometimes they die, but it just means that when they don't die, it's that much sweeter too.


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Link to the relevant rules

Basically there are three DC's possible:

1) 5 + CR (common)
2) 10 + CR (uncommon/standard)
3) 15 + CR (particularly rare/unique)

For me, the general rule of thumb in this is that most monsters will be (2). If a monster is particularly well known, or encountered by civilized people a lot, it becomes a (1). If something is rare, or there is a lot of misinformation about it, it might be (3).

Some GM's adhere to the concept that hiding information makes the game more exciting. If it works for them, more power to them, for my tastes I prefer to just put things on the table.

As for "making a knowledge check", it is literally no action.

Quote:

Action

Usually none. In most cases, a Knowledge check doesn't take an action (but see “Untrained,” below).

Retry? No. The check represents what you know, and thinking about a topic a second time doesn’t let you know something that you never learned in the first place.

So, rolling your Knowledge (Arcana) and your Knowledge (Planes) during the same time is entirely legit within the rules. It also does NOT violate the Retry portion, because they are separate skills and not the same skill.

When I GM, I tell people which skill to roll. I generally assume that discerning the difference between types of monsters is a DC 0 check (it'd be a DC 0 to tell the difference between a Dragon and an Ooze, and thus know which skill to roll).

Heck, if someone maxes out ranks in Knowledge skill, I will often set aside things to tell them about various things (not just monsters, but monsters included) without them having to roll. If they want to know more, or figure out something useful with that information, they then have to roll.


A suggestion you'll probably dismiss out of hand...

Switch up your gaming style. I know you want the long campaigns, but I'd save the effort on those until you know you have a stable group. Play games that lend themselves to short, chaotic bursts. Dungeon World, for example, is great as a low prep game that embraces the chaos of player behavior. Once you get to know people and find them reliable enough to plan a campaign around, sit down and play PF.

I have a gaming group that is stable, but they're flighty on what we play. When it's my turn to run stuff, I pick games that are easy to run off the cuff, because it's super random if they'll stick with a game or move onto the next, we also cancel a lot of sessions often 2 per month.

A different group I play in, we're very consistent and we just finished what amounts to Season 2 of our campaign (we end up playing the long game from June through January, switching to board games and one-shots for a couple months, then back to our long campaign). For that group I don't mind putting in the effort of building a long game, because I know we'll use it and enjoy it.

This won't necessarily "solve" the problem. But it might make it feel less stressful and irritating, which is still a good thing.


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Freehold DM wrote:
I don't wholly agree, Irontruth, but you are quite entitled to your opinion. I do think IQ is not a direct indicator of one's success in life.

Here's some non-scientific things to consider.

Your brain is pretty complex. You know how to do many, many things. These categories are highly varied and operate very differently.

Motor functions
Language
Short term memory
Long term memory
Reasoning

These are each very complex processes, and the neural pathways in the brain differ significantly for each.

But somehow, a single number, that's basically on a scale from 0-200, can encapsulate all of that? Seems highly dubious.

To date, studies that examine education's result on IQ show that more schooling does indeed raise IQ. It averages out to ~3.5 points per year according to some samples, though data sets are limited

Something that's interesting, is that the IQ standard has to be revised ever few years. They had to account for ever increasing IQ scores, because each generation scores higher and higher on average, so what qualifies as a 100 IQ keeps being raised. I know many of us have watched Idiocracy, but it's based on falsehoods that come from bad statistics.

Now, some studies show that there are falling IQ scores. Typically this comes from looking at the scores of men who apply to join the military in various countries, because those are the people who typically take various versions of the IQ test the most. The problem with these studies is that it doesn't account for a self-selection bias that often happens in developed Western countries, most of the enlisted military applicants come from poor communities and those who didn't make it into college programs. IE: people who didn't do well at school and/or are less capable of performing well in such circumstances.

I think the IQ test is a potentially useful measure of ONE type of intelligence, but at the moment, we don't even have the neuroscience to truly define what that is. At best though, it's essentially one statistic among many that could give us a true measure of our brains.

Imagine comparing different cars, but you only got to see their torques at a specific speed, but you weren't told what speed that was, or even if that measurement of torque was the car's most efficient.

IQ is a measurement, but one that we don't truly understand, and at best, should be included with dozens of other measurements, many of which we haven't found a way to actually measure.


Most of the examples used to show Bush as being dumb are public speaking flubs. That's really not that hard of a thing to mess up and happens to a lot of people.

Also, arguing about IQ scores is meaningless. Studies have routinely shown that they're fundamentally flawed and cannot account for the numerous functions of our brain. IQ tests are too simplistic to account for all the actions that are happening and can happen in our brains.

IQ is about as useful as phrenology.

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