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Irontruth's page

5,153 posts (5,155 including aliases). No reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 2 aliases.


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Musical interlude: NOFX - Lori Meyers


Chemlak wrote:
Is speaking to God on the Great White Telephone a free action?

Not if the Great White Telephone is a material component, or focus, for a Contact Other Plane spell.


Krensky wrote:

While I suspect you're right, it's also worth remembering that a LOT of your (generic you) neurology can't tell the difference between reality and non-real visual stimulus. I don't mean your brain thinks there's little people in the box, but think about all optical illusions (including video itself) that you encounter all the time and how they work. See the Checker Shadow Illusion for an example.

This is, of course, different than thinking that Gilligan's Island is a documentary, but still interesting.

Visual illusions rely on aspects of the brain that are entirely separate from what we use for our social understanding. We don't rely on the visual center of the brain that is tricked by illusions to make decisions in social situations. We might use the information the visual center has given us, but a different portion is where that decision is made.


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Sissyl wrote:

And yet... The japanese are still HUMANS, so for some odd reason they like sex and like pictures of sex. Who knew, right?

Indeed, porn does not cause rape. Nor does violent movies cause violent crime. The "monkey see, monkey do" crowd has very little going for it these days. The expansion of the internet into various areas of the US has correlated with falling sexual crime statistics in said areas. Interestingly enough, there is a study that says that teenagers and young adults are quite a lot safer during their sexual debuts since the internet came. It is not so odd either. Before the internet, people were put in the situation that rl interaction was needed to begin experimenting. After, they have had many more options. It also seems to be the case that watching a violent movie, one about violent sex, or the like, actually dampens the person's impulse to do such things themselves.

I think there is some truth to the "monkey see, monkey do" theory, but it doesn't apply to movies/books/etc. Rather it applies to actual human interactions.

When people think about movies/books/etc intellectually, they seem to have a harder time separating them from real world experiences than our brain has in separating them in our own lives (sounds like an odd distinction but stay with me).

This has been shown to a degree with infants. If you put an infant in the care of someone who speaks a language, the infant starts to learn it. If you put the infant in front of a TV with someone speaking a different language, they learn very little, if any, of that language. Video education can work with older children, but it requires a bit of brain development first.

Our brain is better at recognizing these false images and sorting between real and fantasy better than we give it credit. At the same time, we are heavily influenced by those around us, so if you aren't prepared to give the brain its due credit it's very easy to come to the conclusion that movies/books/etc should influence the same as interactions with people in our daily lives.

I don't disagree with you, just pointing out my theory on how that theory develops.


DualJay wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

You want to strip out protections for people who are discriminated against.

For example, in the 50's and 60's, you would be siding with the businesses that refused to allow blacks to eat there.

Is that really where you want to stand on this issue?

This is a straw man. You do not know where I would stand on the issue of discrimination against African-Americans in the 50s and 60s, as the issues are not directly equivalent, no matter how much one may treat like they are.

You are trying to evoke an emotional reaction, which is not suitable for a conversation that should be thoroughly rational.

And here's a key point: People can be wrong. I support their right to be wrong. I do not support being wrong. They are free to be wrong, but that does not make wrongness right. Do I make myself sufficiently clear?

No, they are equivalent. You are supporting a legalized form of discrimination, saying that businesses can choose to refuse anyone they want based on religious reasons. If you don't remember, there were lunch counter sit-ins at private businesses that refused to serve African-Americans.

Why are Muslim-Americans different? (or Jewish/Christian/Mormon/Atheist/etc) Why do these people deserve to be discriminated against?

You want to allow discrimination. You say you don't SUPPORT it, but you want to ALLOW it.

I fail to see any benefit to our society by allowing discrimination, all it does is create divides within out society, increasing rifts and distrust. These are not beneficial things for our society.

Second, I find it fundamentally violates the concept of freedom of religion (the first amendment concerns the government, I'm speaking more broadly), because it gives tools to people who want to force their religion on others. If the people of one religion have more money than another religion, they can effectively buy out that religions businesses and create a religious monopoly in a region creating pressure to bow to their religion. I find that prospect to be just as disgusting as the first portion.


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DualJay wrote:

While I can see where the Gen Con admins are coming from, and fully support their right to move in response to the signage of the bill, I have to say I support the bill itself. After all, private businesses are or at least should be free to practice any non-directly-harmful policy they desire.

If the policy hurts them economically enough that they can't continue it and stay in business, then that'll weed it out one way or another.

You want to strip out protections for people who are discriminated against.

For example, in the 50's and 60's, you would be siding with the businesses that refused to allow blacks to eat there.

Is that really where you want to stand on this issue?


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75. Cookies


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If a rules interpretation creates inane possibilities that don't make any sort of sense, then that rules interpretation is incorrect. I don't care how you justify it.

If I can stand up (move action) then it's ridiculous to assume I can't go prone (free action). If your interpretation doesn't account for this, it really has to be assumed that it's wrong.

Also, I spent 8 years in the US Navy. I've had plenty of conversations while vomiting and/or with other people who were vomiting. The conversation was slower, but it still occurred. I'd very much allow Nauseated characters to say 1-2 words per round. Examples:

"oh gods"
"why?"
"here it..."
"help me"
"oh no"
"not again"


The Departed (remake of Infernal Affairs)

If you haven't seen Infernal Affairs, I still recommend it. If you watch the two soon enough to remember specific scenes, you will see shot for re-shot of certain scenes. The Departed just has better actors (for an American audience at least). The ending to Infernal Affairs is better though.


I was in San Diego a couple weeks ago very briefly. It had snowed in the mountains that day and people were selling bags of snow collected from the mountains for like $100.

I used to visit SD a lot, but since I was young and in the Navy, my knowledge mostly concerned bars centered around the gas lamp district, and is 10+ years old anyways.


Ranger

When I play an archer, I like the hunter/commando style of character which is easy to accomplish with the Ranger due to their combination of skills and spells.


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Garmarna - Herr Mannelig

Recently got turned on to them. I particularly enjoy the darker sounding songs, they have a nice ominous vibe to them and might actually employ them as mood music for some games.

This song is about a mountain troll proposing marriage to a young knight, promising wealth, land and weapons to conquer his enemies. The knight turns her down, at which the troll laments that her curse will never be lifted.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Killer_GM wrote:


Anti-depressants aren't addictive. Some of the anti-depressants have 'withdrawal' effects when you go 'cold turkey' and stop taking them without tapering off. SSRI's (Prozac/Paxil/Zoloft) are examples of this. Having unpleasant physical effects when you cease a medication doesn't meet the definition of 'addiction.'
That seems kind of a fine distinction to make. Whats the difference between an alcoholic who will get the shakes if they go off of alcohol and that?

Food has an unpleasant side effect when you stop taking it, as does oxygen and water.

I think unpleasant side effects when you stop taking something might be too liberal of a sole criteria to consider for "addiction" to have a useful meaning.


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Your analysis of the economy fails because you are reliant on one cause to explain something that is exceptionally complex with many influences.

Your analysis completely ignores multiple facets of economics and history.

You're right, the Fed has pumped massive amounts of money into the stock market. But that is NOT the only factor, or probably even the largest factor, on why wages are stagnant. In fact, if trickle-down does work, it actually disproves your theory that that is why wages are stagnant.

Your theory is actually mutually exclusive to itself.


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Killer_GM, there's a video in the OP. About the 17 minutes mark he starts explaining his theory for why schizophrenia is something that's purely made up, and caused by, psychiatry.


Something else to consider, what is the character's motivation for ascending? That should inform the how quite a bit.

Power mad sorcerer? kills for it/steals it
Servant of higher power? through great deeds, or to replace said power if it falls
Destined? By achieving said destiny


There's the simple concept of stealing it. Killing a lesser deity or demi-god and using that death as part of a ritual to ascend seems pretty straight forward as a concept. You'd want to build what that ritual looks like and means with your DM (what kind of components for example).

Another is tapping into some sort of arcane source of power, or the source of your bloodline as a sorcerer.


The fact that you have to debate me on it's definition implies that the definition is not as set in stone as you would like it to be. My point stands, video games that defied your definition immediately jumped to mind, making your definition counter-productive to your point.

I honestly think we'd be better off leaving video games out of the discussion entirely. I'm sure you'll disagree and pull us further into this tangent though.


Yeah, it's really the rules of Craft that don't apply. The short paragraph for "Practice a Trade" can work, but that equally applies to Profession and Perform and is basically the same rules. The longer portion of Craft, involving materials equal to 1/3 the cost of the base item is what doesn't apply.

Profession for writing the play.
Perform for acting/directing the play.

Unlike some other professions, it might be that you don't get paid as regularly, so that you make several weekly checks to write a play, but get paid at the end when it's finally done (negotiated between you and the DM).


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Please don't bring "video gamey" into this, because I will just give you a list of video games where you don't get to heal up between fights, or games where healing to full is a luxury.

It's not "video gamey" it's "resource management". Going into a fight at low HP is basically suicidal if the fight is remotely party level appropriate, because the CR system assumes that people will be roughly at max HP. The CR system assumes that you are using resources during and after the fight to recover. Removing resources available to the party effectively reduces the parties abilities to handle CR appropriate challenges (or at least multiple challenges in a day).

One of the things I really like about 5E and 13th Age, when you rest you get everything back at max. You don't have to do math and manage resources, the rest is a reset on your resources. The management of resources is in deciding what to use during a fight and knowing how many fights you might have to deal with.

My question for the OP: what specifically is it you don't like about the wands? Is it the healing? or the wands themselves?

If it's just the wands, and not the healing, give them an alternate way to heal that's efficient and tell your players you're removing CLW wands. For example, if channeling out of combat provides max value (say it takes 2 rounds to do a channel like that and can be interrupted), that puts the focus back on healing classes and not the wands without reducing available resources.


You're using a d20 to assign the value your character sees in other characters?


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Cliches and tropes work for a reason. They aren't bad in and of themselves, but rather in their execution.

I run some games that are very high on their creativity strain. I often tell people as I'm teaching them to go for the obvious. Don't kill yourself trying to be uber creative, keep the flow going and do the obvious thing. What happens is that once you start the cliche creative endeavor, you spend your energy changing it and making it non-cliche, giving it individual detail.

A recent movie example would be John Wick. A very cliche and trope filled movie. I thought they did just enough twisting of those cliches and tropes though to keep the movie moderately interesting.


Players rarely ask to look at an economic analysis of a region/city. They might ask obvious questions, such as "where do they get food from?", so have answers for that, as well as any other natural resources they appear to be using.

To give the sense of isolation, you want to consider some aspects of the city that are backwards, or have evolved strangely. Think about a real world isolated location: Cuba. They spent decades without the ability to import cars, so they fixed up their old cars repeatedly, making spare parts out of whatever they could manage.

Pick a couple of basic resources that they lack and imagine how the city would be different for not having them (like wood for instance, which is an incredibly efficient crafting material). Also, consider some technological innovations, or even magical innovations of the outside world and how these guys don't have them. For every 4 things they lack, create a strange thing they made themselves, it could solve a problem in a different way, or be unrelated.


I currently co-DM a game with 8 players. We just finished our second year and currently on break (picking the campaign up again in a couple months). It's been very enjoyable.

The biggest thing is not bearing the creative burden alone. Having another person who is supposed to know all the things you know to bounce ideas off of and share things with is very nice.

We tend to not really split the party, but the few times we have it's been handy. Also when in cities and the party goes a dozen different directions we get things done twice as fast, which is nice.


What do you want to accomplish by writing the play?

I get what your concept is, but when you roll to write a play, what is the goal? Define your objective and the skill necessary should become clearer.


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Summation of article: Obama's a nerd, nerds suck.

He even provides that same summation near the end:

Quote:
a sizable portion of Trek fans, and of nerds in general, that identifies with Spock’s neuroses, his hang-ups, his self-loathing, that are attracted to the cold soulless abstractions through which he views life

To top it off, it's poorly written. This editor needs an editor.


Orthos wrote:
Muad'Dib wrote:
What grinds my gears is the avalanche of search checks once one player rolls a check.
I'm assuming by this that you mean "once one guy rolls a check, if he rolls low or finds nothing the rest of the party suddenly wants to roll". I usually don't allow that unless they've previously stated they're assisting with the search. Granted I usually don't have players who try to force the issue either.

Another way to rule that is they can examine what has already been found, in an attempt to find more detail about it, but they can't discover separate things.

Ex: A player rolls perception and fails to find a secret door under a statue, because they rolled low. Someone else rolls, they could examine the statue in further detail, but would not reveal the secret door.


Haladir wrote:
You will EAT that dish of Cherry Garcia and you will LIKE IT, you philistine!

I'll eat it when I pry it from your cold, cold hands.

They'll be cold because you've been holding ice cream with your bare hands.


Ravingdork wrote:
I just thought I'd add some of these beauties.

Epic Loot Furniture

Board Game Tables

I've seen at least one more source of manufacturer, but can't find it at the moment.


If you hate/love ice cream, the terrorists win.


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More on topic, "being relevant to the story" is a huge, vague space. Not everything has to be strictly central to the story. Some things are included in descriptions to help build mood/theme/context for other things. Just because a detail has been revealed doesn't mean everything about it has been revealed.

One thing I do as DM is ask players what details they remember from session to session. When players remember details, I include them as relevant, which achieves several purposes:

1) it ties the story together well
2) the player feels clever for remembering
3) I keep the game interesting because I'm focusing on the things they're paying attention to

I'm not afraid to rewrite my plot mid-session to incorporate cool ideas my players have, and I don't just mean cool ideas for actions they take, but cool ideas they have for the villains to be doing. If a player says "Oh man, it'd really suck if the bad guy was planning to do....." I often incorporate some element of that into the plan now.


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Arturus Caeldhon wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
You really should describe WHAT Chekhov's Gun actually IS in the opening post, for those not in the know. It would allow for more people to participate in the discussion.
I was hoping for opinions from those well versed in the concept, not gut reactions from those just learning about it. I wanted experienced, tested opinions, not nascent ones. I am struggling with the idea, because I am a novelist and also a DM. In my books, I adhere very strictly to Chekhov's gun. In my games, however, I want to describe every room in great detail, but not everything is important. I want to add details that are interesting and give the world life, without them necessarily becoming plot points. But oftentimes the players will latch on to something and then drive the plot in that direction, and I would have to stumble to keep up. So if I adhere to Chekhov's gun in the first place, I won't have that issue, but I feel my game will suffer from a lack of detail. I think there is a line somewhere and I was hoping it was more well defined. However, it seems there is a number of different approaches, which have given me cause for thought. So, thank you! And continue, please :)

Internet forum discussions will always be better when you give everyone participating the chance to be informed. People are going to comment whether you inform them or not, so by not providing basic information, you get more comments that are uninformed. I don't want to get in a long debate about this, just pointing out something useful for future discussions.


We recently went back to XP. We have an old system we use, I won't get into details, but we've adopted two new rules which I like.

1) Anytime someone earns XP, everyone earns XP. If player A gets a bonus for roleplaying and entertaining the table, everyone earns the reward.

2) Whoever has the highest experience total earns XP normally. Anyone below that total earns double XP until they catch up. This has made it easier for our friends who show up less often, or can't make whole sessions, stay relevant to the party.

I'm not huge on XP, but these changes have made it better for us IMO.


I like Ellison a lot. He's got a nice bill he introduced recently HR 1098 that gives back a lot of consumer protection. I doubt it'll go far though.


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.


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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.


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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.

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