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Irontruth's page

5,490 posts (5,492 including aliases). No reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 2 aliases.


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Tell him he can invent his own table for the Rod.

In one of my games we love Wild Magic. When I GM I make my own table and regularly replace entries or move them around. Things like the Rod of Wonder and Wild Magic should be completely unpredictable IMO.

I had a wizard once who cast a spell and had a wild result. He woke up in a forest glade covered in fatty, grey tissue and blood. Next to him was an altar with figure from a race he'd never seen before. The back of it's skull looked as if something had exploded out of it.

Surrounding the altar in the glade were 7 or 8 stone monoliths that if you squinted real hard, kind of looked like owls. I say 7 or 8, because regardless of any attempts to count them, you always got a result of 7. Or 8. Or maybe it was 7.

He left the glade and found himself in a lushly carpeted valley. It took him some time to walk out of it, he maybe traveled 5 miles, and he wasn't at the center. When he got to the lip of the valley he looked back and it only looked to be a mile across. Below him on the other side of the hill was a farmer looking in stunned disbelief. The farmer was pointing at the valley and talking about how that's where his farm was. That the valley hadn't been there this morning when he left for the village. I should point out that the region surrounding this valley was a desert (where the campaign was taking place).

Eventually the wizard made it back to the city where the party was. After a few days rest he mysteriously found one of his highest level spell slots was replaced by a spell called "Owls". When he cast it his body fell over unconscious and he dreamed about being back in the glade with the owl-like statues. Unbidden, a thought entered his mind that it might feel nice to smash his skull against the alter.

A week later, a second spell slot was occupied by "Owls".


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
"Orc 3 is a Scorpio. He recently lost his mother, and has turned to writing poetry to express his feelings..."

I'd buy more of that.

Hopefully the poetry is better than this.


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Aubrey the Malformed wrote:


But I think they've maybe banged the drum a bit much over the years and have made it look a bit tokenistic now, as lots of NPCs over the years seem to be gay or bisexual now with little relevance to the actual adventure.

I think that's kind of the point. They can be LGBT without it being the defining characteristic about them. I'd imagine that there are a lot of LGBT people who wouldn't mind living in a world where this drops out of the top 10 things that people use to describe them. Some people relish it, others don't.

Example:
Oh hey, have you met my gay, nerd friend? He's into Pathfinder too.
vs
Oh hey, have you met my nerd friend? He's into Pathfinder too.

LGBT people don't have to be defined primarily by the sexual orientation, or that their gender identification took longer to form than yours. Including them in stories where this detail is largely irrelevant is part of of the process of making something "normal", by which I mean "not a big deal".


Too bad Kaster's closed, I heard they had nice things.


Jaelithe wrote:
Now saying, "You're a hero(ine). But declaring your love for this person who happens to be the same sex as you in the Dauphin's throne room isn't the brightest idea in the world" is reasonable, historically speaking.

How does this make for a better game?

Realizing that no matter what, your game is altering history to some degree. Why is this specifically something that needs to be preserved?

What would be the cost of not including that aspect of history?

Note, I'm not attacking. Honestly asking.


Going to try and sum up my view (again).

I don't think the game world should necessarily mirror the real world. Just because something is the cause celebre IRL, does not mean it should figure prominently in the game.

Rather, that because WE (the people playing the game) are modern people with greater social awareness, we are capable of crafting our games so that they are inclusive to any player, even if those players are not present. This isn't to say that bigotry cannot or should not exist in the game, but rather that it should exist in a way that excludes targeting anyone who might actually be sitting at the table with you.

Racism against elves? Sure, that can be a thing.
Racism against black-skinned humans who you depict as liking breaded chicken, water melon and stealing? That shouldn't be a thing.

Especially when it comes to issue involving sexuality and gender, you don't know who at your table might identify as something that isn't obvious. People keep these things secret for decades. They still keep them as secrets even now.

If these things never come up in your game. No worries, but it's the potential reliance on historical precedence to exclude them from existing that makes me bristle.

I suspect that several of us are much closer to agreeing on this than our posts suggest so far.


Digitalelf wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
gods do withdraw power from those who don't roughly follow the dictates of their faith.

I can just imagine the player's reaction if a GM EVER said to the player that his cleric PC can't cast spells any more, or was denied any specific spell that the character prayed for... Would go over like the proverbial passing of gas in church...

It's something that as a DM, I would do (provided that the player of a cleric was playing the character rather flippantly towards his deity/religion), but I know that many players on these boards don't think it is the GM's place to take anything away from a player's character, especially standard class abilities.

Depends on how it's done. As in many things, execution is paramount to reception.

Regardless, this is a topic for a different thread.


Lou Diamond wrote:

Iron Truth. The other day when I posted about the Sun going into a cooling cycle. I got the Russian scientist confused with John Casey the author of Dark Winter. My bad. I heard him tonight on the radio he gave a fairly well researched presentation. I am not going to try to quote from it as I really can't recall much from it right now as I am on some good pain killers right now for my torn rotator cuff. Am going to pick up Dark winter soon and read it as I have six weeks of time off from work after Tuesday.

Do you know any good books on global warming? I really liked the link from the team at Berkley IWould like to read thier research it sounded real good.

Do you know of any studies on the in crease of C02 n the last 50 years? I am always open to learning new things.

Would the more left leaning posters join with me in trying to stop deforestiztion in the 3rd world countries. I think if the 1st world countries set up a fund to pay the developing countries to plant trees it would help the global warming problem as much as trying to limit co2 out put in the1st world countries. Could I get see comments on this?

The Sun is of course a major factor and while it does account for shifts in temperature in moderate increments, like say 5 years apart, it doesn't account for the entirety of the warming observed so far. In addition, the Sun is in a cooler period right now, but temperatures are at best leveling off or still increasing. If temperatures continue to rise for the next 10 years, even if they climb less quickly, it means that the Sun is not the principle cause.

One thing to note is that solar output is so stable that it's considered to be nearly constant. It varies by about 0.00074% over it's 22 year cycle. It's so stable it's called the Solar Constant Sun spots seem to vary more widely, becoming extremely rare during it's "down" side of the cycle.

Another factor is global dimming. From the 1950's to the 1990's a 4% decrease in sunlight reaching the Earth's surface was observed. Global dimming actually cools the Earth. The Clean Air Act came in the 70's and significantly reduced the sulfate pollutants which are most responsible for obscuring the atmosphere and after some lag time, the result is that more sunlight is reaching the Earth's surface.

Fixing one type of pollution may have exacerbated the problem caused by other types.

There were theories about air craft contrails and their effect on temperature, but they were all theories, until 9/11/2001. The three days after 9/11 all planes were grounded, providing a data source. Those three days they estimate that temperatures were about 1.8 degrees F higher during the daytime, offset by a slightly smaller nighttime decrease.

In the area of mitigation, cloud seeding and or intentional release of particulates could be used to cool the Earth, but of course could carry all sorts of side effects that might be bad.


Musical interlude, new school edition.


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captain yesterday wrote:
Musical interlude two

Musical torture interlude #2

Recovering from previous song


Coral isn't the primary CO2 sequestration method of the ocean, it's plankton and algae. They absorb CO2 as they grow, then they die, their bodies sink to the ocean floor and stay there (this process made the white cliffs of Dover BTW). This can be disrupted though, because it relies on thermohaline circulation, which is the primary vertical circulation in the ocean.

Most thermohaline circulation happens around Antarctica where the water cools and then sinks along the continental slope to the ocean floor. If Antarctica were to be surrounded by a layer of fresh, or at least lower salinity, water the process would be disrupted as the surface water wouldn't be dense enough to sink to the ocean floor. The water at the ocean floor is important because it's there that it absorbs things like nitrates and phosphates which are important for plant growth, such as plankton and algae.

The primary aspect that makes this disruptive is speed. If ice melts slowly and joins the ocean it has time to take up salt while remaining a thin layer and allowing for thermohaline circulation to happen directly underneath. The problem is when the layer of this fresher water gets too thick that it disrupts the circulation.


Elagabalus - 24th Emperor of Rome.


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The cool thing about being modern people who are playing a fictitious quasi-historical game, is that we can change what we want to remove bigotry and prejudice, while still having a fun game.

History isn't FORCING you to include bigotry in your game. You're allowing it to exist there. I don't think including bigotry in the game world is necessarily inherently wrong, but we shouldn't couch it in terms to hide what is really going on.

I include bigotry in my games, but I'm cognizant of what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. It has to serve a purpose, otherwise I don't include it. "Historical veracity" is not a purpose by the way, at least not any more of a purpose than when the jerk at the table with the CN character says "but it's what my character would do".


CR = levels -1
Mythic adds 0.5 per tier

20-1+5=24

The party would be APL 20. If there were six, the rule book says to increase that by 1, for this I'd go ahead and give that to them, so it's APL 21.

Solo encounters (one monster/npc/etc) do tend to be easier. If solo, I'd lower his CR by another 1. That makes it 21 vs 23, or APL +2, which is a "hard" encounter.

Remember, in Pathfinder, a "hard" encounter isn't defined by it's likelihood of killing the party, but rather how many resources they have to spend to beat the encounter. If the PC's enter the fight with all available resources, victory is almost guaranteed (baring some strange accidents) it's just a question of how many limited use abilities they have remaining at the end of the fight.

An "epic" fight does start to bring some risk of death, but even then when at full resources, victory is mostly assured. Some party members might get knocked out, or even killed, but they will still win.

Of course, all this varies highly on how exactly the encounter matches up against PC weaknesses and strengths.


LazarX wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Also it seems that your setting is a LOT more modern than the standard assumptions for Golarion, Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, et. al.
Is it? Greyhawk is fair enough (hell, it's a rare sight just seeing women taking major roles in Greyhawk without it having to be a Big Deal) but we don't really know much about the races' traditions. As has been pointed out elsewhere, Golarion doesn't necessarily have the same traditions regarding things like homosexuality and non-binary genders.
It feels that the OP is conveying a good deal more modernity by the ease of communications.. which is what makes modern movements a thing, and why there were no such things as suffrage and temperance movements during the 15-1600's There were no such things as protest movements way back then, because there weren't things ACCESSIBLE TO THE COMMON folk, such as telephones, twitter, newspapers, social media, or easy travel. Communication is what builds people into a movement, and you simply don't have that kind of communication and transit available, not to mention cheap mass printing.

You're right, they didn't really protest in the modern sense. It was usually more violent and called a revolt. But when you consider that overall as a culture we've gotten less violent, if you strip away the violence, this is basically the Occupy movement of it's day.

You're right in that communication is crucial. Just consider that your fantasy government needs to be able to communicate in order to function. If a government can form, then there is enough communication potential for an anti-government body to also form, or based around whatever issue is important.

The first documented worker's strike happened in ancient Egypt in the year ~1160 BC. The workers were craftsman who built tombs for the pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings. They were striking over their rations (or rather lack thereof).


Scott Betts wrote:
We shouldn't give equal consideration to those who practice and advocate homeopathic medicine

I love pointing out how amazingly bad dynamisation is, particularly at high dilution levels.

It's a personal fault though. I just love the math behind it.


dien wrote:

A useful summation of visibility and distance:

http://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/6610/a-summary-of-visibility

The second response works great as a random visibility chart. I'm thinking 2d10 take the highest and that tells you how clear of a day it is. Though for different climates I'll change the causes, like a desert will be blowing sand/dust instead of fog.


Got my GM'ing schedule, now to see what lectures/seminars/panels look interesting to fill some gaps.


MMCJawa wrote:


I think stuff like you describe is pretty common. The messageboards, especially the sections about rules, are going to attract the hardcore people who have the books basically memorized, and play in a lot of games, games with people who they don't know really well. In my past games, I can honestly say they were all with people that I was already friends with, and only about half of the players spent any time looking through rule books outside of the game. I don't think any of us would have recognized if one player got something way more valuable than someone else, or if we were under WBL or not.

My experience does not match yours. Things have improved over the years but even as a group of friends we had favoritism. Not just in which characters got which items, but which characters were put in favorable positions and which got punished regularly for the choices they made (regardless of whether they were good/bad, or in/out of character).

By group of friends, I mean:
-some have known each other since middle school, all of us since high school (we graduated late last century)
-everyone has been in the wedding party of at least one other person
-everyone who is married, the wives are all friends and regularly hang out together

To compare two characters:
Paladin 15/Cleric 1
+3 sword
+3 armor
Belt of Strength +4
Headband of Charisma +4
Boots of Speed

Cleric 11 (13 with racial adjustment, this was back in 3.0/3.5)
+1 Flaming Greataxe, but it required a standard action (and access to a fire, like a torch or campfire) to make it flaming, so really it was a +1.

We helped fix this issue by sitting down and talking. We insisted on a closer (but not absolute) adherence to the rules to try and balance things out. It took a few years to adjust, but our campaigns have gotten fairer and as a result, been more enjoyable as well.


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In general, I think the topic focuses too much on the extreme outliers. Scientists with doomsday predictions for 2018, or those who claim the entire thing is a hoax. The problem is that by allowing those two sides to define the "debate" we have to keep arguing about whether the science is real or not.

Non-scientific journalists don't get excited by what seems like small numbers though. Telling people the global temperature might rise by 1.5 degrees in 50 to 100 years doesn't sound like it's something to even consider being concerned about. It sounds so far off and so small that there's no way it gets people's attention.

I agree with the sentiment that the doomsday evangelists are probably wrong. Because I think all doomsday evangelists are wrong. It's a pretty common theme in Western society to predict the end of the world. Sure, one of them is going to be right eventually, but it's going to be an accident and they'll probably get the cause wrong anyways.

That doesn't mean this isn't a dangerous issue though.


Galahad0430 wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Galahad0430 wrote:


Again, a completely false statement. There are many peer reviewed, current papers that show the fallacy of the AGW crowd and there is a plurality of climatologists, if not an outright majority, that question the impact of man on the global temperatures. Also, how do you account for the complete failure of the actual climate to even come close to the computer models used by the AGW supporters?

Cursory searches on Google do not support your statements. Do you have an info to back them up? If not, I'm going to stick with the evidence I have seen, which indicates you're wrong.

And before you fire back "well where's your proof?". I've already posted many links in this thread. Feel free to quote and refute any of them.

Well, I just looked back at all your posts on this thread and didn't see a single link regarding this part. I did see this in another thread:

"A majority of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming.

97% agree that the surface of the Earth is warming
84% agree that this warming is caused by humans
50% agree that the temperature will rise another 2 degrees within 50 to 100 years."
Yet you offer no proof nor source of where you got those numbers.

But let's just address the famous 97% fallacy:
97% fallacy

The other thing I forgot to respond to. You'll know in the text that you quoted from me, I didn't say 97% agree in AGW. In fact, if you reread it carefully, you'll see I actually put a different words by the 97% number. By the words "caused by humans" I put a different number.

So I agree with you, I don't think 97% of scientists agree on AGW. The fact that you think I did, means you didn't actually read the words I wrote and rather assumed I was quoting someone else or following some sort of party line. Except I didn't.

Here's a paper dealing with surveys of climate scientists, it's a bit old though from 2008.

There's good data throughout, but the juicy stuff starts around page 46 IMO. Though the first couple of questions are very informative, because in this survey the majority of respondents have not worked with the IPCC. Yet when you get to page 60, you'll see very high opinions on the quality of work coming out of the IPCC.


Lou Diamond wrote:

I myself am a Climate change Skeptic, not because i fundamentally disagree with the science because I do not trust it at all, scientists on the left and right both rely on grants and most grants are given by governmental organizations who have a left wing bias or by Energy producers who have a right ward bias.

Richard Muller received funding from the Koch brothers.

Video where he explains the process of how he came to his conclusion.


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Galahad0430 wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Galahad0430 wrote:


Again, a completely false statement. There are many peer reviewed, current papers that show the fallacy of the AGW crowd and there is a plurality of climatologists, if not an outright majority, that question the impact of man on the global temperatures. Also, how do you account for the complete failure of the actual climate to even come close to the computer models used by the AGW supporters?

Cursory searches on Google do not support your statements. Do you have an info to back them up? If not, I'm going to stick with the evidence I have seen, which indicates you're wrong.

And before you fire back "well where's your proof?". I've already posted many links in this thread. Feel free to quote and refute any of them.

Well, I just looked back at all your posts on this thread and didn't see a single link regarding this part. I did see this in another thread:

"A majority of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming.

97% agree that the surface of the Earth is warming
84% agree that this warming is caused by humans
50% agree that the temperature will rise another 2 degrees within 50 to 100 years."
Yet you offer no proof nor source of where you got those numbers.

But let's just address the famous 97% fallacy:
97% fallacy

Alex Epstein is the founder and president of the Center for Industrial Progress. An organization that describes itself like this:

Quote:
Center for Industrial Progress (CIP) is a for-profit think-tank seeking to bring about a new industrial revolution.

because

Quote:
For the last 40 years, so-called environmentalists have held back industrial progress around the world. That's why we're helping industry fight for its freedom, with new ideas, arguments, and policies that will improve our economy and our environment.

Your "journalist" has a vested financial interest in helping promote fossil fuels. Literally. He works for an organization that promotes fossil fuels and is built around doing so profitably.

His article relies on cherry picking as well. The study included more than 10,000 papers and nearly as many scientists. Yet he picks out 4 quotes to prove his point instead of providing a number for how many they misrepresented.

Here's an article supporting that number.

In your article, it says that 1.6% of papers actually spell out that they think global warming is man-caused. Interesting fact, if you took a random sampling of theoretical physics papers of the last 20 years, how many do you think would fully spell out "we believe the earth centric model is wrong"? I bet it's less than 1%. Do you think that 99% of theoretical physicists support the theory that the sun revolves around the earth?


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Galahad0430 wrote:


Again, a completely false statement. There are many peer reviewed, current papers that show the fallacy of the AGW crowd and there is a plurality of climatologists, if not an outright majority, that question the impact of man on the global temperatures. Also, how do you account for the complete failure of the actual climate to even come close to the computer models used by the AGW supporters?

Cursory searches on Google do not support your statements. Do you have an info to back them up? If not, I'm going to stick with the evidence I have seen, which indicates you're wrong.

And before you fire back "well where's your proof?". I've already posted many links in this thread. Feel free to quote and refute any of them.


Politics is how we decide things on the societal level. Since it's a global issue, it's going to involve politics.

China produces 50% more CO2 than the US, but per capita they're about 1/3 of our emissions.

Any international solution has to address the fact that poorer countries have just as much right to live the way we do in the US. Cheap energy is one of the fastest ways to grow an economy and telling them to avoid cheap energy is basically telling them that they have to stay poor and work for us.

Hans Rosling gives a good general breakdown of energy needs and what our goals should be.


LazarX wrote:
Jacob Saltband wrote:

OK heres a question....

How long has the disparity been around. Is it more of a recent thing or has it been around all along?

It's more of a problem on the message boards, than it is in actual play.

If the problem didn't exist, I wouldn't run my campaign in E8.


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Usual Suspect wrote:


Can't make it because I'll be trekking across the Indian himalaya range during most of August. Not that bad a tradeoff :)

But yeah, getting to a GenCon is certainly on my to-do list. Plan is to eventually clear an entire summer to do all the big cons and travel around some. I'll get there one day.

Honestly, I'd rather trek the Himalaya range too; even if I wasn't stressed because that sounds way cool.

I'd choose the Himalaya's as well, but partially cause I've already been to GenCon. :D

Made my to-do list of everything I need to finish before next Wednesday. Not much time left, I'm excited!


Life is wasted on the living.


Lord Snow wrote:

Not going to be able to make it :(

Does Paizo have any exciting announcements it is going to be delivering? They won't be telling us about the next AP, right? that's a bit early...

I know it's a very long trip for you, but I'd highly recommend it. Maybe include it as part of a larger trip to the US?

If you're able to deal with large crowds, GenCon should be considered a required pilgrimage to be done at least once in every RPG'ers life. The showroom floor is amazing, the sheer number of events, people walking around in costume and just the general atmosphere. Particularly the atmosphere just outside of the convention center. Downtown Indianapolis isn't particularly huge, so the 50k+ gamers who show up kind of take it over for the weekend. Everywhere you go are fellow gamers. You sit in a restaurant and see other people reading their RPG books, or showing off their latest purchases to friends.

Last time I went, one dinner we sat down and there was a couple at the next table. They had a book we were familiar with sitting on the table, so we asked them if they liked it. They hadn't actually played it yet, so we told them were to go to find a group so they could try it out.

That kind of conversation will never happen randomly at home, but the possibility of it and what it represents for the general atmosphere, it's probably my favorite part of the convention.


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Lou Diamond wrote:

Has anyone heard the latest news from the Solar science community? They predict that the sun is going to experience a cooling cycle in the next 15 to 20 years that will mean the ave temp in the northern hemisphere will drop 5 to 10 degrees during the cooling cycle. Somewhat like the little ice age that happened in the middle ages.

Iron Truth would you be in favor of building more pipelines from the Bakken oil fields to Texas? Would you support building the XL pipeline
to ship oil sands oil from Canada to Texas?

No.

I'd rather see improved infrastructure in our rail system. Oil pipelines are only good for oil or other similar goods. Rail systems are good for any type of product. Our rail system is old and needs to be updated. Improving it could reduce reliance on the trucking industry, which would lower costs for highway maintenance.

Also, oil production in North America does not automatically mean lower prices.

There have been some major incidents with railway crashes that have killed nearby people. These need to be solved. As with most incidents involving large machines, the cause of most of these can be traced back to human error. The Lac-Megantic disaster from two years ago had relied on multiple errors over the course of several months.

1. The engine had been given a temporary fix 8 months prior to the explosion. They used an epoxy to make a repair, but due to heat and stress, the epoxy failed. The engine had numerous reports of excessive white and black smoke for weeks prior to the explosion.
2. The engineer tested the handbrakes but forgot to disengage the air brake at the time.
3. Not enough handbrakes were set. The rail company had been fined numerous times for this, but no fines were given.
4. When a fire broke out on the engine, local fire and police arrived. To put out the fire they had to shut off the engine (which supplies pressure to the air brakes). When the rail company was called they didn't send the engineer, they sent two maintenance workers who were not trained in air brake operation.
5. The track was not equipped with sensors to detect a runaway train.

The explosion and fire killed 42 people in the town and destroyed the town center. For many of the errors there were no rules in place to even try to prevent them.

Train derailment causes:
Human error 29%
broken rails/welds 15%
Track geometry 7%
Bearing failure 6%

Improving practices and procedures would reduce the largest cause of train derailments. Improving the basic quality of our rails would reduce the next two largest causes. It would also improve the speed and efficiency of the system.


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You guys are discussing Christianity. And not in a context to compare or contrast with Islam, or Muslim people. Seriously, there are at least a half dozen threads you can necro (or just start a new one). Some of them have thousands of posts.


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Usual Suspect wrote:
I'm more kinda terrified. I talked myself into being a tier 1 GM this year and there is a metric s!!&-ton of prep work. Especially if you don't own all the maps.

I'm sure you'll do great. I love GM-ing at conventions, it has a whole different vibe than a home game. Not better or worse, just different. Of course for me it's a bit different, I get to run my own show in a way. I'm prepping two games to play, both of which you can count on one hand how many people will be running (probably in the neighborhood of 2).

I've heard it's something like 400 GM's for Pathfinder. Which is amazing and awesome that it's so huge. I'd love to hear how it goes afterwards, I'm guessing it's very different experience from Games-on-Demand.


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Side note:

Can we not debate Christianity in this thread? There are lots of threads you can necro, or start a new one for that. If you're making a comparison with Islam, sure that might be relevant, but at this point a couple of you have wandered to debating just Christianity by itself.


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GreyWolfLord wrote:
In this instance (in the article) you have someone who IS Muslim (and a female at that) who is telling you directly what they believe.

There's several parts to this.

1. I'm willing to be tolerant of religious beliefs. They're deeply held beliefs and it isn't my intention to seek out venues to say hurtful things to them.

2. A person is welcome to whatever beliefs they want, but when they put them forward in a public way, they are open to public responses. This is part of being in a free speech society. They can say whatever they want, but at the same time, everyone else is free to respond however they want. Freedom of speech is not freedom from criticism.

There are many Muslim women who deeply believe in their religion and so gladly wear the clothing. That isn't proof of equality of the sexes or gender though. That is proof that they believe in their religion. When they speak out and defend their religion and say it is equal and that women have as much respect in their religion as men, I have the right to consider that statement and think for myself. We are talking about Western culture after all.

Note, I'm actually in favor of Muslim women being allowed to wear their clothing, because I see it as part of freedom of speech (leaving aside the religious aspect). I think the recent supreme court case about the Abercrombie employee was a good decision. I think statements that the practice in general isn't sexist are hogwash, but I will continue to defend their right to say it.


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:

I think the author was pretty clear in drawing a difference between "religion" and "culture".

The Author wrote:
It's important to realize the difference between cultural influences and religious policy. Many countries across the world, including Muslim countries, have patriarchal cultures (cultures in which men are automatically assumed to lead), which are often socially constructed and influenced by the traditions, gender roles, and practices of that culture. Islam as a religion, however, preaches equality of the sexes.

I think the equality of the sexes in Islam is debatable.

Very simply the requirements that women cover their bodies is not equality. The requirement is based on the concept that men find women's bodies tempting and can't control themselves if they see the women's uncovered bodies. It then puts the onus on women to cover their bodies so that they don't tempt men into doing something unlawful.

Claiming that a religion that blames women for their own rape is about equality seems disingenuous.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think Islam is somehow special in this regard. None of the Abrahamic religions are even remotely good in regards to equality in concerns to sex or gender.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Its also incredibly silly to give a far out date for under water: a city would suffer frequent floods to the point of becomming unlivable well before turning into Atlantis.

Pfft, you can just wade through the water. They'll be fine.


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Novels in Three Lines by Félix Fénéon

First, it's a very amusing little book. It's essentially a police blotter from France in 1906. It's not full-fledged articles, just a sentence or two about a story. So-and-so did this to another person. That kind of thing. If you want strange and random events, but for them to be realistic and plausible, this is an excellent source. I use it for random rumors, or things for villagers to be talking about so that their world feels more real. You could use it for plot hooks as well.

Google maps redone in pencil-style

I think it's taken directly from Google, but they put it through a filter and it looks pretty amazing. That's a random city on Tasmania I think? but you could easily look at other cities. It changes quite a bit depending no how far you zoom in or out. Venice and London have some particularly nice views.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
manwolf wrote:
The only things that make the news are sensationalism stories to make you watch the news. It would be cool to see more stories of how the majority of Muslims denounce the extremists that give them a bad name.

Its hard for people not to notice that less than 1% of the population is committing half of the terrorist attacks (once you exclude things like tree spiking or spray painting SUVS where no one gets hurt as terrorist). All of the good press in the world isn't going to counter that.

It bites that the vast majority of are going to be painted by the actions of a small minority but its the events themselves and the way dramatic events stick in peoples minds thats going to leave the impression, not the media.

On the flip side, US civilians are more likely to be killed by a television or piece of furniture than they are a terrorist (regardless of background of that terrorist).

In 2011 a worldwide total of 17 US civilians (non-government employees) were killed by terrorism. That includes civilian deaths in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, I'm not sure what the total would be inside the US, but I think it's a bit lower. In 2010 that number was 15. Excluding 9/11, the yearly average since 2001 is 29 deaths per year, with a total of 238 people.

349 people were killed by falling tv's, appliances or other furniture from 2000-2011, with the per year number peaking in 2011 at 41.

7,330 people were killed by firearm accidents from 2001-2011. There are no statistics on the age of the shooter (you can get age of the deceased), but you can find news articles for at least 6 and sometimes as many as 20 incidents where the shooter was a toddler (age 2-4). The estimate is that roughly 10-15 people each year are killed by a toddler with a gun.


andreww wrote:
Seranov wrote:
Yeah, rolling climb checks isn't fun, because you can make two rolls in a row easily, and then bam, you're tumbling down the mountain to possible dismemberment or death. I'd rather something that I can guarantee will work. Which is the problem. The spellcaster has access to things that mean he doesn't need to worry about failure, while the non-spellcaster always has a chance to fail until he's spent a decent amount of his character resources (skill points, feats and/or gold) into counteracting the problem.
This is in fact exactly what happened in Test of Tar Kuata. Several level 6-7 martial characters completely failed to scale a relatively simple stone pillar because they had to make 3 checks to succeed. Meanwhile I walked up it using a level 1 spell. It was the perfect example of skill obsolescence in action.

It's not RAW, but you can solve part of this issue by changing a fundamental practice in how you game:

Only roll once.

You roll once and it either succeeds at the task or fails. You only roll again if something significantly changes. You also don't get to re-roll to try again, unless something significantly changes. I find this particularly useful for things like climbing and stealth.

One major benefit to this method is that it prevents two negative behaviors.

1) GM's can be jerks. The GM doesn't want you to climb the wall, so me makes the DC as high as he reasonably can. You beat the DC. Then he asks you for 10 more checks, cause he knows you'll fail at least one. I'm not saying that ALL GM's do this, or that all repetitive checks fit this category, but it does happen some times.

2. Players can be persistently annoying. A player who has minimal chance to succeed but knows they can if they try enough times just keeps rolling. Now everyone is sitting around the table watching them until they manage to roll high.

There's more to the concept to actually incorporating it, but I won't get into all of it right now. Suffice to say I've found it very useful overall and helps significantly in streamlining play and keeping the action moving forward. I also sometimes combine it with the "fail forward" concept. You fail the roll and don't achieve what you want, but things change and now you have to deal with a new obstacle instead.


It's only 2 weeks away. I'm excited after not making it the past 2 years. Share what you're looking forward to, for example:

What's on your event list?
What's on your shopping list?

I'm going to be at Games-on-Demand a lot. I'd probably be there a lot anyways, but by volunteering 16+ hours of my time I got a free badge. I'll probably find some panels to sit in on to round out day time activities. I haven't really thought about what's on my shopping list yet, probably not much, but there's always something.


"Common sense" is a loaded term and should be avoided at all cost when attempting to discuss actual ideas, whether it deals with games, real life or some third category I can't think of right now.

What you think of as common sense might not be common sense to me. If I apply the term in a way that is not true for you, all it does is drive a wedge further between us in the discussion.

Furthermore, the term relies on assumptions without explaining or referencing what those assumptions are, which can render the usage meaningless. The term is often applied when the speaker/writer assumes that background information which supports their case is broadly known, but if their assumption is wrong, or the listener/reader is just in the minority of people who happen not to know, the point is lost.

Saying something is true because it's "common sense" does not make it true. "Common sense" is not proof of something. The background information that makes something "common sense" is actually the proof that it's a good idea.

Specifically when it comes to games, the primary goal for me is to have fun. I could care less whether something is realistic or not (though realism is sometimes fun), my primary driver is whether something is fun. Therefore, to me "common sense" is to focus on how the game can be made more fun. The process of playing needs to be enjoyable, which typically means that the game flows and both players and GM can maintain a certain level of action and mood. If the game pushes you out of that flow, it's violating my "common sense". Reality be damned.

So when you say "it's common sense, the rule should be this way" most of the examples so far actually make very little sense to me.


Aranna wrote:


Also just in the US there are VAST reserves of easily accessible oil that are off limits due to federal regulation. Not a limitless supply, but I remember people saying something like over 100 years worth or some large number. Now many of these areas are off limits for a reason (like southern California not wanting oil spills on it's beaches), but when oil actually does start to become scarce then popular pressure will probably remove many of those regulations. In the mean time rising oil prices will make alternatively fueled cars far far more...

Oil numbers are goofy.

The Bakken oil fields contains roughly 900 billion barrels of oil. With today's technology, roughly 30 billion of that is recoverable. As of a year ago they were producing about 1.1 million barrels per day, or about 450 million barrels per year.

In contrast, the US consumes about 19 million barrels per day on average (6.95 billion barrels per year). If oil production at Bakken were stable, it would produce 5% of what we used for the next 60-70 years, plus more and more of it's oil would become recoverable as time went on. It isn't stable though, it's gone up from 550,000 in 2012 to 1,100,000 in 2014. Right now the largest inhibitor of growth is actually transportation, right now it's primarily done by rail and is straining the rail system at capacity. A pipeline would increase the potential volume and increase profits significantly.

Something else that's interesting is that Bakken wells dry up very fast. The classic Texas wells produced at about 6-10% capacity per year, and so maintained production for quite a few years. Bakken wells produce at 70% in the first year. As lateral drilling has increased that % has declined, but right now we don't know how long these wells will last. We also don't know how good the wells are going to be in the secondary portions of the formation. Right now they're focusing on the best producing areas, but significant quantities of oil are in the areas where it won't be as easy or free flowing as right now. And of course the technology is going to continue to change.


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kyrt-ryder wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
I've often found D&D a very limiting game in that it only does the zero-to-hero style of story. Starting at a higher level is the only way to really modify that.

This partly depends on the setting and how literally one chooses to read EXP [or better yet don't use it at all :P]

In a setting where almost nobody passes level 4 in their lifetime, you can start a level 1 campaign with a professional.

Not likely a full scale veteran, but someone who's been through several engagements [perhaps a small war, the kind that lasts no more than a few years] and knows their way around the battlefield.

The issue is that the system doesn't really support you making a veteran and me making a newbie. Let's say I make a young noble who's trained to become a knight and just starting out on his adventures. You make the grizzled veteran that my father sent along to watch my back. Let's also assume that we're the same class (or similar ones). If we make characters of the same level, there isn't really much to differentiate you being experienced and me being fresh out of sword school. We can describe our characters differently, but that's about all we can do. The rules don't actually support the concept and relationship dynamic.

My suggestion didn't exactly incorporate a Grizzled Veteran. I said it could support a Professional.

There is a difference.

Fundamentally the level 1 Professional and the guy right out of Knight School are of equal skill and strength level, one just has more practical experience than the other.

That's fine. My post is a clarification of what I intended earlier and why I think a D&D-based game does not accurately reflect that style of story. It's a limitation of the mechanics.

I've played many games where this issue doesn't come up, or by picking different classes you can skirt around the issue. Like a "grizzled vet" as the Fighter, with his young, untrained charge being a Sorcerer. They can be the same level and it comes through in roleplaying and you can kind of ignore the lack of mechanical differences because they interact with the world slightly differently.

In ASOIAF RPG, the younger you are the more Destiny you have. The older you are, the more skills you have, but less Destiny. Destiny can be spent in several ways:

1) You can get a bonus to a roll
2) You can create a narrative advantage
3) You can cheat death

By making a younger character, even if you are traveling down the same skill set as an older character, your ability to influence specific rolls or influence the narrative is greater. Basically if you can't beat a situation, you can spend a point to get around it and create a new opportunity. An older character is more likely to beat the situation, but if they fail, can't avoid the consequences.

This is just one example, there are other games that address this issue in different ways, or define the difference differently (not by age, but specific experience vs general, mundane/naive vs magical/cynical, etc). Two other games I know pit it as power vs free will. You can get more and more power, basically at will, but the cost is that your character loses more and more of themselves as you do, eventually risking becoming completely lost/destroyed. The mechanic doesn't just exist in that game, but is central to the theme.

There are actually quite a few story types that D&D/Pathfinder don't do well IMO. That doesn't make them bad games, or mean that you can't touch on similar themes, but it requires a lot more effort to pull it off and sometimes the system actively works against you.

TL:DR - The mechanics of the game influence the fiction within the game more than outside sources of fiction IMO.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
I've often found D&D a very limiting game in that it only does the zero-to-hero style of story. Starting at a higher level is the only way to really modify that.

This partly depends on the setting and how literally one chooses to read EXP [or better yet don't use it at all :P]

In a setting where almost nobody passes level 4 in their lifetime, you can start a level 1 campaign with a professional.

Not likely a full scale veteran, but someone who's been through several engagements [perhaps a small war, the kind that lasts no more than a few years] and knows their way around the battlefield.

The issue is that the system doesn't really support you making a veteran and me making a newbie. Let's say I make a young noble who's trained to become a knight and just starting out on his adventures. You make the grizzled veteran that my father sent along to watch my back. Let's also assume that we're the same class (or similar ones). If we make characters of the same level, there isn't really much to differentiate you being experienced and me being fresh out of sword school. We can describe our characters differently, but that's about all we can do. The rules don't actually support the concept and relationship dynamic.

There are many things wrong with Green Ronin's A Song of Ice and Fire RPG, but one of the things they handled well was age and ability differences. You could make a youngster (even a child) and actually be relevant to the game as someone who made a veteran knight. In a game I ran two characters were uncle and nephew. They were very similar characters (politically focused, lots of social skills) but their age differences equated to mechanical differences in the characters and each were useful in the same situation in different ways.

D&D does not do all story types, nor is it particularly good at mixing in certain tropes which are common in stories. It does well with certain tropes, or if you consider some tropes mutually exclusive, even though they would not be mutually exclusive outside of D&D.

I liken RPG's to tool boxes. An RPG can only fit so many tools inside it and often only certain kinds of tools. While carpentry tools are great at carpentry, they aren't as good for automotive repair. While some tools will cross over and be useful, not all of them will and many tools will require extra effort in order to be useful to certain tasks.

D&D doesn't do well with a starting party of...

1st level fighter
5th level fighter
1st level wizard
8th level cleric
2nd level rogue

Balancing encounters for that party would be a nightmare. While the 1st level characters would jump a few levels very quickly, for encounters to be survivable, they'd be steamrolled by the 5th and 8th level character. Even if you did start a campaign that way, you'd probably do so with the idea in mind of everyone reaching a certain level together (like making it to 10th level roughly the same time).


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Tormsskull wrote:

I've noticed a more recent trend in where a lot of groups don't want to start at 1st level. I wonder if this could be traced back to some of the different standards people have for role playing games?

It seems like the farm boy turned hero was a well-known trope, not sure if it is as common today. If more recently the standard has the main characters start off as already quite skilled/competent, then it could explain this to some degree.

That's a story telling trope that is independent of genre. You can do do zero-to-hero in sci-fi, modern military, sports, etc. Examples include:

Karate Kid
Batman Begins
Highlander
Ender's Game
Dr. Who (not the Doctor, but Rose Tyler and a couple other companions)

And there are plenty of fantasy stories that don't rely on this trope for characters:

The Princess Bride (Westley enters the story fully capable)
Lord of the Rings (Aragon and Gandalf don't need training montages)
Thieve's World (an old favorite of mine, but it's format was always dealing with characters in their current state)
Drizzt Do'Urden, it isn't until the second trilogy that his origin story is dealt with.

I've often found D&D a very limiting game in that it only does the zero-to-hero style of story. Starting at a higher level is the only way to really modify that.


Soilent wrote:
pH unbalanced wrote:
Bob_Loblaw wrote:
pH unbalanced wrote:
Wow. The pentagon announced today that they are starting a six-month review to decide if transfolk can openly serve in the military. This is the first step in lifting that ban.
Did you see the Boy Scouts' announcement?
I hadn't, but I just looked it up. They just ended the ban on gay scout leaders. Double wow.

One should remember that the BSA is run by the Mormon church.

The only reason they started accepting black people into the church was because they basically had to, in 1967 (68?).

I see this as a similar case.

They're not growing to be more accepting, they just don't want the bad press.

Just to note, while the BSA quite often does have a religious angle to it, it isn't run by the Mormon church. Mormon churches are the single biggest organizers of BSA troops and account for about 17% of membership. Methodists are close behind though, counting for 13%.

The BSA is the only officially recognized youth organization for boys in the Mormon church though, and it's the only large religious organization that's done this.

The BSA was racially segregated until 1974.

In Mormon troops, to become a senior patrol leader you have to be a deacon in the church, the lowest level of the priesthood. Since Mormon's didn't allow people of African descent to join the priesthood (until 1978), it meant that even in Mormon integrated troops, African-American children weren't allowed to advance ranks.


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If I never saw another "video games did it" thread on these forums, I'd be okay with that.


Picked it up yesterday, enjoyed it so far. The only issue I'm having is all the crashes. I get a mission to go some place and I can supercruise right next to it, but as soon as I drop out of supercruise AT the location, game crashes.


Dance of a Hundred Cuts

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