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James Sutter

James Sutter's page

Executive Editor. 2,553 posts (2,584 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 2 aliases.


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Paizo Employee Executive Editor

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Just dropped in to cackle and twiddle my fingers.

Hermea: Teach the controversy.

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James Sutter wrote:
Alayern wrote:
To All the authors: What was the biggest/coolest thing you bought with the money from your first novel?

Honestly, I probably just invested it. I'm boring like that. :P

(Then again, our honeymoon wasn't that long afterward, so... let's say the wedding and going to New Zealand. :D)

EDIT: The money went *toward* wedding and honeymoon, rather than paying for them outright. I'd have to be doing significantly better than I am if I could make that much money off one novel. :P

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Dragon78 wrote:

Seen any movies lately? If so what did you think?

I'm woefully behind on my movie-watching! The last one I saw was The Force Awakens. My potentially contentious thoughts here:

Spoiler:

I enjoyed it, but I found myself resenting that it was basically a reboot instead of a sequel—so many story beats and scenes were stolen outright from the original trilogy that it just felt like a rehash (albeit a totally fine one). I think I understand why they were doing it—so that new fans who saw only this movie would still share most of the key nostalgia points with old-time fans without having to watch movies released decades before they were born. And I'll totally forgive that if it means that, having laid that necessary groundwork, they can now go make a ton of new Star Wars movies that do interesting new things. But it means that I won't really feel like I've seen a *new* Star Wars movie until the next one comes out. I hope. :P

Also, the bad guy speech before the firing of the planet-killer was a little painful. I don't have a lot of tolerance for unexplained evil anymore, and I felt like 5 minutes from a Game of Thrones writer could have easily given the new bad guys a compelling reason for doing what they're doing. (There are PLENTY of logical reasons to want a new empire, and even to justify what they're doing to achieve it, but the film went instead for unexplained mustache-twirling evil, which just feels sloppy and uninteresting to me.)

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captain yesterday wrote:

What's your favorite f+#*ing t.v. show right now?

What's your favorite f$+%ing instance of f%#+ing swearing in a g~!!#&n movie?
:-)

My favorite TV show right now is a toss-up between Sherlock and Game of Thrones. Both are among the best shows I've ever seen, in terms of writing and acting, though these days I'm a touch afraid that GoT might pull a Rome and just go down the rabbit hole of despair, forgetting that what makes the grim elements of shows work is the dynamic range, the contrast. Once you lose hope, grimdark just becomes painful and unsatisfying.

Favorite swearing: There's a scene in an early season of The Wire where two detectives do an entire crime scene investigation and share their conclusions using only the word "f*!#" and body language. It's a stunt, but one that the actors totally nail, making for one of the most brilliant pieces of screenwriting I've seen. :)

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baron arem heshvaun wrote:

Hi James, I think I found a picture of your extended family, which one is you? Or were you the one taking the pic?

Who is the camera whore of the family?

I can never tell which is me in those pictures, but that's definitely my brother in the back—he's *way* taller than me, and much handsomer.

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mathpro18 wrote:
Do you know when the audible copy of Pirate's Prophesy will be available.

Very soon! The audio versions usually trail the print release by a little bit, and the *actual* on-sale date is tomorrow... subscribers often get the print books early just because they're special. :)

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I would LOVE to do a Distant Worlds adventure path, and it's really nice to hear this kind of enthusiasm for it. Please keep banging the drum, as we all look to the boards when making these sorts of decisions. :D

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The Audible stuff TOTALLY counts for the boons! Just show the books in your audiobook library via your phone, laptop, printed out screenshot—whatever works for you. We want to make it as easy for folks as possible.

You can consider this a totally official ruling, on the grounds that I yelled across the hall to the PFS office saying "I'm saying this is official, cool?" and they agreed. :D

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H2Osw wrote:


So is Salim a character that has seen tabletop time or just a work of fiction for pathfinder tales?

I've never played Salim in an actual game, but I *did* play an atheist character for several years in James Jacobs' Shadows under Sandpoint campaign. Kirin the Heretic was a very different type of atheist from Salim—he actively rejected the gods' existence, claiming that all divine casters were "just sorcerers without the guts to take responsibility for their powers"—a stance that is frankly pretty crazy given the body of evidence, but that's what made him fun to play. :) So while I didn't realize it until years later, Kirin was clearly an influence on what Salim would become. Him and Deckard from Blade Runner. :)

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Glad to see people are excited. I was also thrilled to bring Knaak on board, given his books' extreme influence on me as an impressionable child. :D

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Alayern wrote:

As far as I can gauge, PF (if it were rated by an inappropriate rating system such as the following) would have a PG-13 rating.

Under that assumption (and feel free to correct me if you feel that's an erroneous one) would you allow one of your authors to use the F-word in a novel?

Would you be willing to suggest (perhaps spoilered) any alternatives if you don't allow the F-word?

I grew up in a very Irish household, so the F-word is common parlance here.

In general, you're right that PG-13 is roughly the mark we strive to hit with the Pathfinder Tales novels. While I'm personally a big fan of letting kids read pretty much whatever they want—I sure learned some interesting things from Tom Robbins and Stephen King as a child—I can appreciate that a lot of parents feel differently, and so we try to walk a line that's edgy enough to keep everyone interested but not so far that the average parent (or teacher, or librarian) is going to have to worry about graphic sex scenes or explicit language. (There IS a lot of violence, though, and some books like Nightglass get pretty darn dark. Somehow that doesn't raise as many eyebrows, though. I have no idea why the USA is still so permissive of severed limbs but freaked out by nipples, but so it goes.)

For that reason, I don't allow authors to drop F-bombs in the books. Instead, I often encourage them to introduce profanity that feels more rooted in the world and its religions—for instance, in the comic scripts I write for Dynamite, I have Valeros say things like "Cayden's balls!" It still gets the point across, and feels in keeping with the setting, but isn't going to trigger some folks' profanity filters in the same way.

Outside of the books, of course, I, too, use the F-word more than I probably should. :P

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Schnappy das kleine Kobold wrote:

I really enjoyed Death's Heretic and just finished Redemption Engine, both in paperback. I'd love to see a third in this series, preferably in paperback or DRM-free audio (for those of us who like to live unchained).

;)

I can guarantee that if (and hopefully more like "when") the third book comes out, it'll be available in paperback. We here at Paizo must continue our killing of trees until our blood feud is satisfied!

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Valantrix1 wrote:


Downloaded it last night when I saw your post on facebook. I loved the print version, even reading it with my horrible blind accessible software, so I'm excited to get an actual person reading it for me. Congrats!

Thank you! It's always been my hope that the audiobooks would help make the books accessible to a wider audience. Thanks for soldiering through the print versions, and here's to never having to do so again. :D

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Really excited to be able to give this one out to folks! I'm listening to it for the first time myself right now, and Ray Porter's voice for

Spoiler:

the protean

makes me *extremely* happy. :D

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Yes, absolutely! The PFS team is working hard on other stuff right now, but it's definitely on their list!

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Fact: Pretty much any time I give a straight answer in a setting book, I immediately follow it up with "...but SOME rumors suggest that the truth is far stranger, such as..." I know several of the other devs here also follow that general philosophy.

Truth is fine, but conspiracy theories are more fun. :D

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Steve Geddes wrote:

Just finished this. Awesome book, Wes. I really liked:

** spoiler omitted **

The rest was great too. You managed to make me like both the main characters, whilst also finding them both annoying at times. They really seemed like real people.

** spoiler omitted **

I'll get out the ol' bullwhip and see what I can do.

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Will Huston wrote:

Based on a tweet you sent yesterday, did Wes tell you you're pretty? (based on your twitter profile pic, the objective answer is yes.)

Also, what did you mean by "review season"? Is it performance review week at Paizo?

Wes always tells me I'm pretty. (He knows the consequences if he doesn't.) And thank you. :)

And yeah, like any other company, Paizo has annual performance reviews so we can help each other improve and do the best work we can. I joke about it, but I actually feel like it's really important—I ask all my employees to send feedback to my bosses so that the reviews work both ways, not just top-down.

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Andros Morino wrote:
James Sutter wrote:
Andros Morino wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

I imagine they have plenty of normal laws as well, involving fines, imprisonment, community service, etc. But for what you're talking about, I think we're looking at a lot of knuckles. :)
Thanks for the input James. They managed to avoid the trial by asking a favor to Dakar. (I had run before the City of Strangers PFS scenarios and they thought that he could use his influence with the Ardocs). Boy I am going to have fun planning what they have to do to repay that favor. He warned them that it would be a big one. :)

Ah, Dakar! He was the first naga we ever introduced, way back in Pathfinder #3, and I'm still rather fond of him. :)

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Dragon78 wrote:
How was your Christmas? Did you get anything good?

It was great! On the gift side, I got a kindle (my first!) and a rad peacoat that makes me look even more like Wes than I already did. :P

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Liane Merciel wrote:
Haldelar Baxter wrote:
have any of you done write-ups for those items ?

Not in the formal sense.

I have a general idea of what most of my unique magical items do (e.g., "this thing expands your carrying capacity when casting Teleport by x amount"), but a full rules writeup with cost, creation requirements, all that stuff -- no, I don't do that. It wouldn't serve any purpose in the story and I'd be worried about getting the details wrong. Balancing those specs is the province of game designers, not novelists.

That said, *we* have definitely statted up stuff from the novels—I've personally done or overseen the creation of several items and creatures that Liane dreamed up in her books. :D

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Justin Sluder wrote:
Did I see you on the news this morning?

If it was on TV, probably not (as far as I know!). But if you mean the newspaper, I was actually on the front page of the Seattle Times for an article about group housing.

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Dragon78 wrote:

1)Any chance we will find out what the name of Castrovel's moon and/or fourth continent in the next few years?

2)What was your favorite book/book series when you were a kid? currently?

3)What were your favorite shows growing up? Do have any favorites currently?

1) I'd love to do more with Castrovel, but there's nothing currently on the docket. (For now.)

2) I had a ton of favorites! Some of the top ones were the Guardians of the Flame series by Joel Rosenberg, the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede, and The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay. In terms of current favorites... while all my childhood favs hold a special spot in my heart, some new series that have really grabbed me are Sanderson's Stormlight Archive, Justin Cronin's Passage books, and Robert J Bennet's City of Stairs (the sequel to which comes out this month!).

3) My favorite shows as a child were probably Voltron and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. At the moment, my favorites are Sherlock and Game of Thrones.

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My response:

https://imgflip.com/i/vy15c

Spoiler:

Seriously, though, I don't hate the alignment system*—I love it for the quandaries and differences of opinion it creates! I think the larger difference between me and Jacobs is that he would like to see harmony in the community by having everyone on the same page, while I'm happy to let the debates rage because I think making people analyze their concept of morality is good for society... which admittedly means cackling maniacally as alignment threads grow ever longer. :D

In the words of Alfred: Some men just want to watch the messageboards burn.

(*=Okay, maybe I hate alignment as a hard-coded *rules* element with game effects, but as a way of describing characters, it's fun and classic!)

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Aurelio 90 wrote:

soon you will understand the connection between Hermea and MLP.

This phrase delights me immensely. :)

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What Lilith said. Every one of us (and our characters) is going to come to the table with our own ideas of what makes a healthy, happy, loving relationship, as well as what we personally find fulfilling. That's going to look wildly different across different cultures, species, planets, etc.

Shelyn is a goddess. She likely doesn't value one mortal culture over another. So while folks are welcome to post their personal thoughts on polyamory, nonmonogamy, and other forms relationships can take (preferably in an off-topic forum), those aren't really questions of canon so much as personal philosophical discussions. (And ones that are quite likely to result in hurt feelings as opinions clash, so let's all be real careful and respectful, mkay?)

And again, as always: your home game is your own business. If you want to use your particular interpretation of a god's tenets, go for it—and let others do the same.

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John Woodford wrote:
As I think I read somewhere on the boards, there's a "YOU MUST BE THIS TALL TO ENTER" sign outside the Starstone Cathedral, and Norgorber was four clever halflings in a trench coat.

I don't care what anyone else says, this is now canon.

Spoiler:

"IT JUST MAKES SO MUCH SENSE!" I scream, as the rest of the staff drags me across the parking lot to an unmarked van.

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I love the idea of the Starstone having an expiration date. "YOUR GODHOOD HAS EXPIRED. PLEASE DEPOSIT ADDITIONAL FUNDS TO CONTINUE."

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I adore this thread.

And yeah, Erik gets most of the credit for the conversation between the runelords in pages 1-3 of HOLLOW MOUNTAIN #1. The three of us have been working really closely together on this series, which means sometimes inserting bits into each other's scripts or swiping each other's ideas. :)

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Just wanted to say I'm really glad you're covering this one. I loved FIRESOUL, and thought Gary really nailed the flavor of the Mwangi Expanse, as well as giving me one of my favorite Pathfinder adventuring parties to date. :)

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Tamec wrote:

Heya all

I really don't have time to read books. When I do I'm usually reading the latest shipment from Paizo (or other non-paizo gaming books.) What I do have time for is hours of listening to audiobooks while I drive. So with the release of a bunch of pathfinder tales into audiobook form will we be able to get the book boons by listening to them? How would we do this? I'm guessing show a gm my phone with the finished banner like I would show a gm a book I own.

Tamec

PS....almost my entire first page on my audible wishlist is now pathfinder tales.

Hooray! We're excited for the same reason—I do most of my pleasure reading via headphones these days, too. :)

As for the boons—yeah, show the GM the book on your phone, or a screenshot of your Audible library, or print out a screenshot... whatever works best for you. We trust you. :)

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On the subject of whether elves are from Golarion or Castrovel: I find it's really fun to have it be ambiguous. There's some pretty strong circumstantial evidence that they're from Castrovel, but on page 10 of Distant Worlds, we deliberately say that nobody *really* knows which planet they evolved on, and that there's a certain amount of planetary pride at play. I love the idea of Golarion's elves—who many races see as snooty—rankling at being viewed as "provincials" by the elves of Sovyrian. :)

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I'm with you, Chris—I've been relaxing at the end of the day by listening to The Redemption Engine. While it can be weird to hear voices or pronunciations different than what you imagined when writing, that's nothing compared to the deep, deep satisfaction of hearing somebody actually speak Gav's patter. :D

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To summarize Wes:

*The trait was not intended to allow paladins of Asmodeus.

*We have no plans to publish actual paladins of Asmodeus (though it might be fun to have some Asmodean scammers calling themselves paladins, just to mess with people...).

*PFS will not be allowing paladins of Asmodeus.

*You can do whatever you want in your home game. This was true before we published the feat, and remains true today. :)

That's not just Wes talking—last I checked in with all the various stakeholders, that was Paizo's official stance. So if you're a person who cares about official stances, that's ours. :D

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I deeply appreciate this miniature. :)

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Y'all seriously need to click that link to see the Salim mini. So awesome!

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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
I'm really excited that the female protagonist books are getting Female narrators.

Yeah, that was something we felt pretty strongly about!

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Autoduelist wrote:

Fortunately, this is all make believe and not actual history, so the errors don't matter in the grand scheme of things.

But take this passage from page 144 of the King of Chaos and put oneself in the role of a reader who is encountering Radovan and Count Jeggare for the first time:

"The boss kept bugging me about my little chat with Viridio in the cathedral. The big demon put on a good front, but was scared enough to let go of me right away."

Earlier in the novel, Count Jeggare made the observation that Radovan was both a portal to Hell and the Abyss, so I had to check what I read previously to make sure I wasn't mistaken that Fell Viridio was a devil. Both characters had demonstrated they were familiar with the distinctions by this point in the story, and based on context, it didn't seem like Radovan was being intentionally flippant.

On page 316, Viridio is described as "nine feet of demon, claws carapace, and fangs" except he's actually nine feet of devil!

Radovan's being imprecise in his language—Viridio is indeed a devil. (Jeggare, of course, would be horribly shamed not to distinguish properly between the two...)

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James Jacobs wrote:
I like to think we're getting better at it, because each time I see it pop up in something that I don't have direct control over (such as novels or card games) I get all crusady.

This is purely theoretical, of course. The novels don't have problems. The novels have *never* had problems. The novels will walk your dog when you're out of town. When you text the novels late at night because you're feeling lonely, they don't mind, because they were thinking about you, too. The novels would fight a shark for you. The novels remind you to call your mom but understand when you forget. I heard that one time a guy with blisters held a novel over his feet for an hour, and they healed.

/novel facts

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Duncan7291 wrote:
I drive three hours per day to get to and from work. I have had Audible since 2005 and have hundreds of titles. I love the inclusion of these books to their service.

Yeah, Audible totally changed how I look at commuting. It also made working out and cleaning the house waaaay more appealing. ;)

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I thought this crew might be excited to know that Audible is releasing ALL of the Pathfinder Tales backlist as audiobooks, with a ton of different high-profile narrators behind the mic. The first 15 just went live today, and while the audiobook samples are currently glitching, I've been informed that they'll be fixed by this time tomorrow, so you can sample all the different narrators to find your favorites!

The link is http://www.audible.com/Pathfinder.

As you might guess, I'm EXTREMELY excited about this, and can't wait to hear what people think. :)

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archmagi1 wrote:
So for anybody with the book, how does Ular Kel read? Is it hunnic, sarmatian/scythian, or mongol, or a kickass combo of all three?

It reads like pure, unadulterated joy. Like falling into bed when you're exhausted. Like an angel descending from on high with a lime slurpee when you're dying of thirst in the desert.

*ahem* Sorry, not sure where that came from. *cough*

In terms of real-world analogues, the most direct inspirations were the Kazakh and Mongol peoples, plus cities like Samarkand and Jerusalem. I generally try not to do straight-up reinterpretations of real-world cultures, though. While I love real-world history and anthropology, I believe in intentionally diverging from it (in part because it makes the writing process a lot more fun for me!). So a lot of the parts of the city that I'm most excited about—the Trade Palace, the Water Lords, the Spire of Azi, the Iridian Fold—have no direct historical precedent I'm aware of. (If they do, though, please tell me—it blew my mind a few years ago when someone compared Kaer Maga to Kowloon Walled City, because it was such a great analogue!)

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Berselius wrote:
Speaking of Pathfinder novels, will we be seeing a novel featuring Keren and Zae anytime next year? :D

There's a bit of a queue, so it's not in 2016, but soon. :)

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Looking forward to people starting to get the book. I'm really proud of our whole operation on this one—I think everybody involved threw in some extra love. :) And the opening art pieces are some of my favorite art of the year!

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For the record: I'm the person advising Macmillan Audio on the cultural analogues, and they definitely have the information about who's supposed to sound like what.

That said, as folks have pointed out, it's hard to find a narrator who can do all the different accents one might want, especially if (as in the case with the newer Pathfinder Tales novels) the production folks want to use the same narrator on every book. While it can be a little weird to have all the characters have the same general accent, someone doing *bad* accents is even worse, and in the worst cases can be downright offensive. So my default guideline for narrators is "If you can do the accents right—great! But if not, just read it like you're reading a story."

Regarding specific narrators: I'd love to hear more and detailed feedback about Steve West (the reader for Lord of Runes and Liar's Island). Suggestions of specific readers aren't useful—there are all sorts of financial/availability/contractual concerns that keep us from picking and choosing—but if the majority of folks have a problem with the reader, we can absolutely pass that information on to Macmillan Audio (the people producing the Tor-era audiobooks).

That said, please stay tuned, as there's an announcement I'm really excited about coming next month that will have some bearing on this particular issue... :)

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As Kalindlara mentioned, I think Nightglass does a wonderful job of illustrating what life is like in Nidal. But even then, that's for someone raised to the priesthood—a "normal" person's life in Nidal probably isn't all that different from a normal person's life in Cheliax. Just because your state-sponsored religion is based on pain and evil doesn't mean you don't still have a family, friends, a job, hobbies...

Honestly, North Korea's a little bit *less* believable to me than Nidal. But that's just my opinion. :P

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As of this moment, all of the Pathfinder Tales novels we've ever published are officially available on Kindle!

Thanks to everyone who's been waiting patiently—it's been a long time coming, and we're really excited. :)

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Rysky wrote:
James Sutter wrote:

I'd say that my current favorite character is Artemis Kraugh, self-proclaimed [/b]tengu[/b] folk hero,

What you did...

HA!

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Jacob Saltband wrote:

Mr. Sutter, question on roleplaying. As a player and/or GM, when you roleplay your character/NPC, how do you roleplay a high(16+) mental ability score? What are some of the ways you've seen it potrayed?

Also how do you roleplay mental ability scores below 10? Say only a couple points like a score of 9 or 8. What about lower?
What was one of your favorite characters that you played?
I'm looking for more ideas for roleplaying various ability scores.
Thank you. I appreciate being able to talk to you.

I find it much easier to roleplay characters of low intelligence—it's often more fun, too, because it allows you to stop making the strategic choices all the time and just do whatever comes to mind or seems funny. I often get bored if the group is sitting around carefully plotting how to circumvent every challenge in the dungeon, and having a character who can keep the action moving by yelling "BORING!" and kicking in the door is a valuable addition to any game. (This is presumably why Seoni and the others keep Valeros around.)

Roleplaying characters of high intelligence can be harder, especially if (like me) you're quickly bored by certain types of puzzles. My go-to strategy is just to regularly ask the GM to make knowledge checks, so that I can be a know-it-all—or, depending on the game master, make up whatever esoteric trivia I want and trust the GM to back me up. ;) Also, remember that intelligence isn't the same as wisdom—you can be the learned wizard and still yell "BORING!" and kick open that door!

I'd say that my current favorite character is Artemis Kraugh, self-proclaimed tengu folk hero, from Erik Mona's Kings of Absalom game. He's a wizard who carries a sword as his bonded object, just because he thinks it looks cool, and is fond of making stirring speeches and screeching battle cries in my best death-metal scream. :)

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Jacob Saltband wrote:

Question..

As a GM and/or Player do you feel that, besides a few Archtypes, the Fighter and Rogue classes have become obsolete?

Not at all! Rogues are still my go-to class. People can argue numbers and compare builds all they want, but for me, Pathfinder is a storytelling game, and rogues and fighters are at the center of a lot of my favorite fantasy stories.

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