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Shiyara the High Mediator

Kelsey MacAilbert's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 3,360 posts (6,644 including aliases). 3 reviews. 2 lists. 2 wishlists. 63 aliases.


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This is all the argument I need against allowing businesses to discriminate. I'm perfectly happy letting people's ability to know they can shop as they desire regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, or nationality override the freedom of businesses to decide not to sell to certain groups.


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I feel like a little kid from reading this exchange.


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I'm on a bus. I like this bus. I can totally zone out and not pay attention to the road because I'm busy texting, and who cares? I can also get drunk and Still get places safely. I got disposable income, too, because I don't buy gas or insurance. So I can give Paizo more money. Public transportation for life (No, seriously, that's why I study urban planning).


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mechaPoet wrote:
Krensky wrote:
mechaPoet wrote:

I'm not really trying to do away gendering. I do it all the time, because I've been taught to. But I try to recognize when I do it, and understand what effect it has.

In order to reach the point of getting people to accept gender variance, though, you have to recognize the problems that are associated with the act of gendering. Although "have to" is perhaps a strong choice of words? I think it's important to understand, or at least that I considering my own understanding of it important to me. Obviously, having a widespread acceptance of gender variance is more important than theoretically exploring how the meaning of gender is constructed, but I'm interested in both.

Facts not in evidence.

You want some problems with gendering? Okay.

** spoiler omitted **...

That doesn't prove that gendering isn't a natural human inclination, though. Many human inclinations do not apply to the full species, and our natural inclinations can and do cause harm.

Homosexuality itself should demonstrate that. We are hardwired to find the opposite sex romantically desirable, but there is a segment of humanity that instead finds the same sex romantically desirable, or that finds both sexes romantically desirable. There is no reason to believe that homosexuality is abnormal or undesirable rather than just the act of existing outside the majority inclination towards heterosexuality, but its existence shows that a human inclination towards something is not a universal trait that every human will have.

The evidence I've seen does suggest that gender is similar, in that we do have a natural inclination to fall into an identity as either male or female, and that this does usually match our sex. Just look at how pretty much every single culture has a concept of male and female. It is not, however, a universal rule. We have people who do not identify as male or female, or who identify as both, and we have people who's gender does not match sex. To go back to my statement of every culture having a concept of male and female, many cultures do have concepts of other genders. That does not disprove the overall inclination any more than the existence of homosexuality disproves the preponderance of opposite sex attraction. In cultures with multiple genders, the majority still fall into male or female, and those definitions of male and female exist. It is also known that testosterone and estrogen do cause some behavioral differences, and that these differences have a tendency to factor into gender roles. The issue is that we are talking about extremely broad trends here, and any trend so broad has a massive number of outliers. It is also very easy to misstate exactly how deep these trends go. We don't actually know the answer to that. We do know that there are tangible differences between male, female, and gender variant brains, but we cannot explain how big an effect those differences actually are and where culture steps in. Every human culture genders people in some way or another, but concepts of what is feminine and what is masculine do not fully line up across cultures, which Anthropology tells us means a mix of biology and culture is responsible, and you can't just throw the whole thing at culture. Nor can you discount a human inclination because that inclination is harmful. A lot of human inclinations are harmful.

The problem doesn't lay with the fact that we gender, the problem lies with the fact that society acts bigoted against those who do not fit the majority's gender system. That's what we need to address. Women need to be free to act masculine if it suits their personality, men need to be free to act feminine, and we need to understand that some people will be both or neither, and some others will have a sex and a gender that do not match.


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Take it from somebody who's seen multiple members of her family use alcohol as a coping mechanism - it almost never ends well. I have enough depression issues and stress not to mess with that. I do love my liquor, but I only drink when I'm in a good mood. Like when watching really stupid SyFy movies. Those are pretty much tailor made for drunkenly mocking with a group of friends.


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I do not do always evil or usually evil races, and I feel every culture needs to have both good and bad aspects, including its own set of bigotries. I also like taking classical cliches and twisting them a bit without totally throwing them out. Here's what I did with Elves. Important to know that all playable races are considered human beings, with Magni being the race closest to us here on Earth. So, Elves are a variety of Human, not a separate race.

Elves see themselves as the children of the Sun, open and energetic. They are sociable and full of ideas, and their art is characterized by bold, broad strokes, brand new ideas, and bright colors. If you look at their treetop cities, they show little planning or subtlety. Elves throw up what looks cool and what is nice to live in, and have a thing for bold architecture. Elven social interactions are pretty direct, and elves can be considered somewhat flighty. As a race with magic in their veins, they are more likely have the blood of a sorcerer than any other race except the Drow, and sorcerers make up the majority of Elven arcane spellcasters. With the advent of industrialization, urbanization, explosive population growth, and technology such as trains, factories, and running water, Elven cities have proven quite inadequate to housing a modern population. The rich can keep their cities as they traditionally have been, at the cost of shutting the poor out to slums that aren't even able to provide the poor quality of life one could find in slums in non-forest dwelling races. This has led to a big rift between those who get to live in the beautiful tree cities and those who don't, and massive numbers of Elves are leaving the slums for the cities of the Magni, Dwarves, and Drow. Hence there is a split between Aboreal Elves and City Elves. Elven society preaches environmentalism, though City Elves would say that Aboreal Elves don't know the first damn thing about environmentally friendly city design and that forest cities just aren't sustainable and can't be the basis of Elven society anymore, whereas Aboreal Elves would concede past mistakes and talk about the need for smaller populations and a less technologically reliant lifestyle while deriding the places City Elves live as wasteful, concrete Hells with no connection to nature. Elves value education, but not formal schooling. They like their learning in pieces the size of their attention spans.

They are commonly considered promiscuous by other races, which doesn't fully reflect Elven sexual mores. Elves do attach a degree of importance to sex, but they don't restrict themselves to one partner, even though they practice monogamous marriage. Elves feel that love naturally comes in a spectrum, and your spouse should be that person you love above all others. Having sex with someone other than that spouse is both acceptable and perfectly normal (in fact, it'd be seen as unjustly controlling and a sign of an abusive relationship for an Elf to demand their spouse not have sex with other people), but giving another partner more love and attention than your spouse is adultery, which is an extremely serious offense that will ruin not only a marriage, but one's friendships and other romantic relationships. Divorce has a huge social stigma attached to it. Gay sex has no almost no stigma in Elven culture, as Elves don't see any problem with a man having a male lover or a woman having a female lover, but being exclusively homosexual leads to a lot of anger and ridicule from other Elves, and gay marriage is considered downright ridiculous. Many Elves do not accept the fact that some people do love others of the same gender as much as one loves a spouse. Other Elves don't understand why a gay man wouldn't just become a woman. If a child is born to the union of an unmarried partner and a married partner, the married partner gets full custody and their spouse is considered the opposite sex parent of the child. Elven society teaches that spouse should raise the child as their own without stigma, though society's rules aren't necessarily always followed. The unmarried partner has no parental rights and is not considered related to the child in any way. If both lovers are married, one must get full custody and the other will not be considered related to the child at all. Traditionally the family with fewer children will get the child, with the mother's family getting the child if both have the same number of children. If that arrangement is somehow unworkable, the two sides either come to an agreement as to who's child it is (joint custody would be considered unacceptable) or it turns into a court fight. If both lovers are unmarried, they either get married or the child is taken away and given to a suitable family. A gay couple would never be allowed to raise a child.

Male to female or female to male gender transition has little stigma, but Elven culture does not understand the fact that somebody can be born with the body of one gender and the mind of another. To an Elf, a person who transitions is changing their gender (which most Elves don't see as bad, just weird), not bringing their body over the gender of the mind. Elves do have poorly defined gender roles, as feminine acting men and masculine acting women aren't stigmatized, but they have a feeling that everybody needs to identify with one or the other, even if they can't explain exactly what feminine or masculine is.

Elves are a bit shorter than Magni (think Earth people), and only have body hair on their scalp. Their ears are noticeably pointed, and actually droop or perk up slightly based on emotion. They are light skinned, with red, pink, brown, blonde, orange, green, blue, black, or purple hair and blue, green, brown, orange, or purple eyes. Lighter hair and eyes are more common than darker hair and eyes. Faint colored stripes or spots are not uncommon, though not in the majority either, and can come in any color.

The basic idea here is something that feels similar enough to the classic idea of what an Elf is, while having unique aspects, some desirable cultural attitudes, and some really bigoted and harmful social attitudes. This is the level of complexity I want to have for other races in my world.


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I think it would be way funnier than just turning it into a bunch of random symbols. "That's smurfed up" just has much better ring to it than "That's *&$%# up".


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Well I wouldn't bloody well know.


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Orthos wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Orthos wrote:

Good news everyone! I'm apparently Forum Hitler, guilty of "thought and forum tyranny", and the reason a certain special someone no longer plays in our beloved community.

Any artist who can get me a picture of Kefka with a Hitler Stache would be greatly appreciated.

oooh...Kefka with Hitler stache!
This is my current avatar there, and has been for over a year now.

Easy enough to do. Kinda hard to make it really Hitleresque, though.


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Links. I want to read some nice, juicy drama that isn't a political fight for once.


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I swear, I will never try to translate Cantonese place names out of a Mandarin dictionary for an important research paper at 4:30 in the morning all hopped up on a mix of caffeine and total exhaustion again.


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My Indian born professors both speak better English than some of my American born professors.


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Orthos wrote:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
Hey. Our government isn't that bad, and compared to the rest of the developed world we have low taxes.
I honestly can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not.

When I was 18, I moved away from California to Colorado. At 20, I moved to Montana. At 22, I tried to go to college in Montana, and they classified me as nonresident (yes, there was a logical reason why). That means $35,000 a year to attend, and Colorado was charge about the same.

California charged me in state and gave me enough state aid to be set, despite me not having stepped foot in the state in four years. Obamacare mandate comes in? Free state health insurance. Public transit? Actually fairly reliable. It gets me where I want to go every day with a minimum of displeasure. Environmental policies? Well, we're trying. Our government is very far from perfection, and I could rant a long time on several glaring flaws, but damned if I'm not better off back in my home state than anywhere else I could have gone, and damned if I don't love and appreciate my home state.


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Move to California. It's bloody Spring weather already. F##$ing climate change.

Oh, and from what I understand the polar vortex is being intensified by warming sea ice dumping ice melt into the ocean. So getting warmer can make winters colder. I'd exult the amazing and fascinating wonders of science if it wasn't causing damage to infrastructure, making people freeze, and convincing some people that global warming must be fake because it's freakishly cold out.


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Try Saints Row.


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David M Mallon wrote:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
Think GTA driving controls are crazy sober? Try playing drunk. So much fun.

Not as fun as getting drunk and driving the Mako in Mass Effect, though.

...hypothetically, of course...

There's something perversely amusing about doing it in Grand Theft Auto, though.


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Think GTA driving controls are crazy sober? Try playing drunk. So much fun.


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Tin Foil Yamakah wrote:

Yeah, I will pass on kids also, I enjoy my role as "cool uncle" too much.

Hey guys your mom and dad will be here soon, who wants some sugar insert evil chuckle here

Sugar isn't all that effective. Try energy drinks like monster.


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I am seriously considering letting advanced firearms permeate my setting (Simple weapons! DEX to damage for everybody!) and introducing defense bonuses to replace armor (Thank you for doing the math on that, Pure Steam authors!), while keeping the swords around. Somehow there needs to be a way to let players stop bullets with a sword, because fantasy. If you can learn to throw fireballs from your hands or forge a magic sword, you can learn to do this. Sure, everything about that scene is physically impossible or at least implausible in the extreme, but it's not like anything else in Pathfinder combat has any degree of realism, even without the magic.


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Rysky wrote:
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
How about a link? There's no rule against linking to NSFW things on the board.
Really?

In that case, read the latest Oglaf. Just remember to click the next page button to the right, because the story is two pages. Also, VERY NSFW (sexies). Hilarious, though, and I love the casual acceptance of homosexuality in the strip.


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Drejk wrote:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
So, has anybody else read yesterday's Oglaf? It was genius, yes?
It was an outrage!

"I DISTINCTLY SAID GAY WHILE I WAS BETRAYING MY COUNTRY!"


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Freehold DM wrote:
Drejk wrote:
Limeylongears wrote:
Super fun day at the all-North of England HEMA conference. Learnt lots of things and did some sparring, too. I do now have issues with PF/3E's classification of rapiers as 'light' weapons, though. No they bloody well aren't.
They are not light weapon in Pathfinder. They just have a special rule that allows using them with Weapon Finesse. Anyway D&D (and many other RPGs) confuse rapier with later fencing weapons, such as smallsword. Not to mention that picture of "rapier" in one of the D&D books showed curved blade, despite the weapon dealing piercing damage and not slashing...
I really should reskin weapons to match reality.

Why have realism when you can have this? Or this? Or this? Or anything involving Shenhua?


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Limeylongears wrote:
Super fun day at the all-North of England HEMA conference. Learnt lots of things and did some sparring, too. I do now have issues with PF/3E's classification of rapiers as 'light' weapons, though. No they bloody well aren't.

Trust me - the last thing you want is realistic weapon and armor design in Pathfinder. All the fun goes out the window.


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krevon wrote:
Red Leader checking...out?

You can check out...

(•_•)
( •_•)>⌐■-■
(⌐■_■)

...but you can never leave.


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lynora wrote:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
On Monday, Origin had Dragon Age Inquisition 33% off. I bit, but I didn't get any good game time until yesterday. It's fun, but I feel like my destruction mage (my spells are all elemental damage dealing, and I have multiple elements and spare staffs of other elements than my main staff so I don't get blocked off by resistances) is really, really powerful. If I switch to Cassandra, I feel useless. Can't do anything close to the damage my mage can. Varric is worse.
Well, Cassandra is flipping useless, so there's that. Have you leveled them at all? Or is it just because your PC levels faster than they do? It's not because you're playing a mage though. I've tried mage and fighter and it's pretty much the same. Your PC is way more badass and it becomes a problem if you forget to level your party. At least until you start picking up some more badass companions along the way. Not that I'm really all that terribly far into it. I get motion sick when I play so I have to play in very short increments so I don't exactly make progress quickly. And many of those quests are just so gorram frustrating. I hate having to wander around looking for random stuff. That's just the worst. But I want to find out the story so I keep muddling through....sigh. Is gonna take forever....

I am having fun, and I always nevel up my companions and give them new equipment. I just feel like both Cassandra and Varric do really crappy damage. A shame, because Varric was good in Dragon Age 2, and as a companion I enjoy his personality. He likes to pretend to be a greedy criminal, but you can tell he really does care about people. And that snark.


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Politics. Destroyer of friendships.


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Freehold DM wrote:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
So many packages incoming. Late Christmas presents (UPS done borked up), plus bicycle components galore so I can turn my hardtail mountain bike into a townie.

impressive.

I have many changes in store for the hayaikaze-Kai myself. Expensive, theoretical changes.

The only references to hayaikaze-kai Google can find are from this thread. What type of bike is it?

I have a Specialized Hard Rock mountain bike. I believe it is a 1987 model, with a chromoly steel frame. My earlier use of the phrase hardtail was wrong. It doesn't have any suspension. I keep it fit with front and rear lights. Soon, it shall be a commuter/cargo Frankenbike for college use, with the addition of 5 1/4" raised handlebars, front basket, seat mounted rear rack, panniers, water bottle cage, rear view mirrors, 1.5" road tires with kevlar bands and reflective walls, and a cup holder.


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So many packages incoming. Late Christmas presents (UPS done borked up), plus bicycle components galore so I can turn my hardtail mountain bike into a townie.


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Payday can't come soon enough.


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Sissyl wrote:

Honestly, this is not just a forum to bring up house rules you aren't sure about. It is a forum where you can discuss what changes to the ruleset would mean. The OP never said that "I just bought up Paizo and made a deal with the UN peacekeeping forces, so this is how you have to play from now on", did he? No. He brought it up as a suggestion. The amount of flak he got from it is really quite astounding. It was even suggested he find another forum to hang out since he started this thread.

Ability score minimums are certainly not for everyone. They do push the game into a certain direction, which has its points if you are trying to do certain things. I don't really enjoy that style, but that doesn't mean he is a traitor for bringing them up.

Agreed.

Quote:
It is also a neat observation that there ARE ability score minimums in the game already, only now they go for feats instead... And should reasonably block cocepts just as well. So, should I whine about how unfair it is that I can't make my character who has learned not to get hit through combat expertise without 13 Int?

Some of us have complained mightily on that note, and there are GMs like me who took the feat away altogether and just made it how fighting defensively works.


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DominusMegadeus wrote:
bookrat wrote:

One thing that I guess is kind of a house rule but really shouldn't be:

I actively encourage my players to change the flavor of classes in order to make the mechanics work for the type of character they want to role play. For example, one of my players once converted the ninja class into a gypsy. The ninja's ki pool was flavored as gypsy magic, shurikens became small throwing knives. All the mechanics were identical, just the flavor was different.

STOP RUINING MY CAMPAIGN WITH YOUR ANIME CLASS

I don't think those kinds of GMs would like me. I don't just like Asian flavors, I watch anime and wuxia and let some of it creep into my setting and house ruling style. I feel like one of the few who actually wants anime in my Pathfinder.


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Okay, some of you guys are being way too heated towards the OP. Seriously, this sort of thing isn't necessary. You can disagree without being aggressive about it.

Onto the idea itself, I strongly disagree with the idea of ability score minimums. It doesn't really add anything to the game except a high level of complexity. Power gamers are going to power game, and people not skilled with mechanics aren't going to be taught much. Meanwhile, multiclassing or using unusual ideas for what a class could represent suffer. I don't like that. Reflavoring a class to fit a totally different fluff is cool. A while back, somebody reflavored a Ninja into something not Japanese at all. It sounds amazing. I want players to do stuff like that, and don't quite feel like trying to enforce the default flavor of the class with entry requirements will help with that.


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Freehold DM wrote:
GreyWolfLord wrote:
Gaberlunzie wrote:
this is so frakkin horrible. if you can, please consider donating to his defense fund (TW: Descriptions of rape, transphobia and extrajudicial imprisonment)

Whoa...I don't know what to say. That something like that blows my mind. That is perhaps the most horrible thing I've read in a while. You have the victim of a terribly violent crime being the one put in prison...that is absolutely horrible.

I would hope that the people of the community would rise up and shout down such injustice, but apparently no one did. That is absolutely horrible to have happen.

Indeed, this sounds like b%###$+@. Noone should have to wait that long for their case to be heard, and the "offer" of the public defender is insulting.

A lot of it is that, in some areas, the public defender is working between 300 and 1200 cases per year. Average turnover time is within 12 months, and public defenders tend to be working their first job as a lawyer, so the average public defender is very inexperienced. Throw on that massive caseload, and you have a situation where the lawyer isn't just new, but way overworked. Also, maybe 10%-5% of people charged are actually going to see trial, and even then it takes over a year to get a lot of people into a courtroom because the system is so massively backlogged. If 90%-95% of defendants didn't plead out, the system would literally collapse under the pressure. It can't handle trying even 20% of cases. All of this means that the public defender is probably green and scared and doesn't know what to do and is juggling a completely overwhelming load of clients at the moment, the prosecution is pressing hard to plead the case out, and the court can't get him in for trial for over a year. Plus, the defendant is black. That right there means a jury is more likely to convict and a judge is likely to give a harsher sentence. Read for more. Just be aware that Cracked is an entertainment network first and foremost.

All of that said, I would like to point out that the kid is going to serve out the full term for this. Far as I can dig up, under Georgia state law the requirements necessary to file an appeal are not met in this case (The DA's office would have to have acted illegally, which it did not [immoral behavior doesn't count, and even if their behavior should be unconstitutional it is not recognized as such at the moment, and this just isn't a case that would sway SCOTUS to rule otherwise], the police would have to have acted illegally [if they did, you aren't going to be able to get a court to actually acknowledge it, so this option is dead in the water], or evidence not submitted to the court would have to exist that casts serious doubt as to the verdict [there is no reason to believe such evidence exists]. The fact that there is a guilty plea also makes an appeal astronomically harder to get if one of those three conditions is met.). An appeal just isn't going to happen. It is important to note that there is nothing in the Constitution of the US or any state Constitution I know of that entitles anyone to an appeal, except in the case of capital crimes. From a legal point of view, getting an appeal is a privilege, not a right. All of that aside, the sentence of 15 to 20 years is higher than the minimum sentence for Involuntary Manslaughter in Georgia. Under Georgia state law, that means the defendant is ineligible for early release, such as parole, and has to serve out every single day of the 15 years. A pardon is necessary, but there is no way that is happening, because the political backlash is something the Governor does not want. Since this is a state offense, Obama cannot legally issue a pardon.

To sum, this battle is already lost. Kid is not getting an appeal, is not getting the conviction overturned, is not getting pardoned, and this is going to continue happening to other people. We've fought this exact battle thousands of times, and win barely a fraction of a percent of the time. This one just doesn't look like a winner, even though the victim was most likely justified under Georgia self defense laws.


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Since this is the house rule thread, I will say that, while I do prefer perma-death (sorry, but I like death to be ultimate and inviolate), I do love resuscitation. I even got the idea from real life: if someone's heart stops, but you get it restarted within a few minutes, you might be able to preserve their life. I went with the exact same logic, just with healing magic. If you can get the dead character's HP above their death threshold within a few minutes of death, you can bring that character back. After a few minutes, it's just too late. It nicely reconciles perma-death and being able to keep characters, since a few minutes gives you at least 30 rounds.

The visual of a Paladin or Cleric defibrillating somebody with healing magic is also just plain awesome.


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I'm always writing awesome character concepts, such as above. Then I GM instead.


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thegreenteagamer wrote:
I like this one, as long as the player can't cherry pick the given up stuff, but its GM chosen, otherwise you end up with build-a-class.

Well, I use Talented Classes, so build-a-class is something of a possibility already. In my eyes, it's on the balance of things a positive.


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Cyrad wrote:

Reworked firearms so they're no longer touch attacks, only misfire if broken, and apply Dexterity mod to damage as an innate feature. Gunslinger was changed to compensate. Fast muskets is gone, but now the Musket Master gets Vital Strike feats for free to emphasize two-handed firearms as single-shot burst weapons.

Being "denied your Dexterity bonus to AC" is renamed to the flat-footed condition. I think even SKR is doing this in his new Five Moons game, except he's calling it "distracted."

You can grapple a target bigger than you. It doesn't immobilize the target, but this allows you to climb up on them Shadow of Colossus style.

I'm borrowing these, and Flanked should be a condition, too.


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Firearms and bows in the same setting. At first, I was strongly in the camp of having guns either be the primary weapon of the setting or not having guns at all, with no in between. Mixing guns with longbows and crossbows made me unhappy. Now mixing guns with bows and crossbows is exactly what I do in my campaign setting. Not really sure what changed my mind.

Summoners. Used to ban them completely. Then I watched Fairy Tail, and now I don't ban them, even if I'm unlikely to play one myself.

Anything that doesn't have a full BAB. Back when I played 3.5, I wouldn't play anything that was missing even one point of BAB. That changed when I switched over to Pathfinder and saw how cool the Witch and Sorcerer were.

The biggest one, however, is Psionics/Rune Mages. Originally wasn't too interested in psionics, despite having the Dreamscarred Press books. Thought about refluffing psionics, saw the rune mage suggestion, and rejected it as not particularly good and went looking for other fluff. See, to me runes are Germanic writing, like so. I do think that picture looks pretty cool, but using Germanic writing as the basis for an entire magic system? That just doesn't work for me. Then I had the thought that since, to me, runes come from a language, they are a means for a spellcaster to communicate intent. Which in turn means that a spellcaster who's language does not use runes should use their own alphabet and language. So, the first picture remains a completely valid choice for how a rune mage might use runes, but this is just as valid. If you speak a Latin based language, it even makes more sense. Likewise, you can do this, this, this, this, or this. There isn't a set alphabet. Even those who use the same alphabet may use very different art styles. Of course, runes drawn in the air during combat are not so fancy as the runes one would use when enchanting an item. No time for that kind of detail. Rune mages should be the best when it comes to magic items, in fact, because flavor.


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If you really want to take two archetypes, but they both replace the same ability, I'll allow you to have one replace a different ability if I feel it will be balanced.


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GentleGiant wrote:


Does that mean that everyone here has a degree? Not at all. We still have a lot of unskilled labourers. We still have people who go the tradesman route.

In America we have very poor provisions for trade educations. We have a (quite disgusting, honestly) tendency to look down on people who work in the trades, and, while we certainly have trade schools, they don't really get much in the way of support. Most of the big ones you see advertised like ITT Tech or Devry are showing off their computer technology and medical programs and maybe automotive or welding, with construction and maintenance and the like not really getting attention. Plus, ITT Tech and Devry are both extremely shady institutions, with ITT Tech having been sued by the Feds last year and both having an absolute laundry list of complaints against them. America's trade school scene is pretty bad, and we need to stop looking down on trades workers and laborers.

In fact, you know who seems to do a lot of trade schooling? The community colleges. That might we an angle worth looking into. Free community college plus buffing up the resources for the trade programs and making an effort to teach HS students that trade careers are worthwhile. Boom. Now young people have an accessible alternative path to academia.


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Quark Blast wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
stuff... While I see where you are coming from, personally speaking, I'm going to need to see some evidence of this- after all, we have both Pell and TAP- neither are forcing professors to pass students. Why would that happen here? ...stuff...

Ever hear of grade inflation? Is that coming solely from Pell/TAP? Don't know but it can't be helping.

Public institutions that are chronically being underfunded (State U e.g.) are loathe to say no to easy money. A kid walks in with funding, no matter what the source, and as long as their activities aren't criminal, there is financial pressure to let them stay regardless of performance.

Give them a "C-" and keep the money coming in or give them a "F+" and lose the student and her money? Hmmm? Let's see. The college has a potential budget shortfall so.... sure, give'm a "C-" and let'm stay.

Not to mention all the hassle an "underpaid" college professor has to go through if she actually dares to flunk a deserving student. The horror!

I see students get failed in every single class I take. In fact, it is in every instructor's contract that they get to grade as they wish, and it is grounds for a lawsuit if the college tries to interfere outside of equal opportunity violations. Since we are a CC, we have a lot of transfer students. If transfer students start failing university courses, the universities take a look at our standards of education (yes, the universities actually do keep track of the academic performance of CC students by both CC of origin and major). That leads to articulation getting pulled or students from our college being less likely to be accepted for transfer by those universities, and that would hurt us worse than failing students getting thrown out and not bringing in money would. So, we have more interest in not bumping an F to a C.


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Usual Suspect wrote:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:

I don't like it when GMs use elements of my backstories as adventure hooks. I'd like my characters to actually be able to have family without worrying about them being used as hostages or killed.

Usual Suspect wrote:
But any post start use of your back story should be up to your GM. If you put relatives, loved ones, and friends into your background story you have to expect, and even want the GM to make them part of the story. Otherwise, your entire life is just cheep window dressing.

I wouldn't want it any other way. I put a LOT of effort into backstories. I don't want the GM to come and start messing with that effort. I would also like to focus on actually doing the job my character was hired to do, not gallivanting about paying more attention to her personal affairs than her job.

I think the reason I dislike it so heavily is that I tend to play characters in positions of authority, and one of my biggest crime drama pet peeves is the storyline where a cop's family is kidnapped or killed and the cop goes after the perpetrator. That's a situation where the cop should not be allowed to have any involvement in investigating the case or pursing the perpetrator under threat of suspension or termination from the force, not a situation where the cop should go after the guys who did it. It's a massive conflict of interest likely to result in the cop losing control or a court case having serious vulnerabilities. In my mind, my character would be obligated to stand down and let somebody else rescue her family or kill the murderers, not go on a quest to resolve the issue herself.

I get that, Kelsey. And a GM shouldn't do things like that all the time; or even regularly. It should be a rare event that challenges the player to be a better role player and makes for an epic and awesome story.

Just killing off family, that's not epic. Having your family pop up now and then in the story, and possibly becoming important to the story; that can be epic....

I guess I can see family being involved, but actually investigating something involving them would be a bit much.

I do like being part of the world, but more in the manner of having a position in the local area than in my backstory being used as adventure fuel. If I am the sheriff of a region, that makes my character important to the greater area. If the entire group works for the King, we have a vital role to play within the nation. That is better than being a wandering adventurer, in fact. I like having actual duties.


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On that subject, players who join a themed game when they don't want to play under its themes. If I start up a game about the King's special agents, and one player is the type who does not take orders from others and doesn't give a damn what some King thinks or says, it raises the question of why that player chose this game. It is a game all about carrying out dangerous but essential missions for the King. If that does not interest the player, why play the game at all? By a similar token, players who intentionally derail things are also frustrating. I'm talking about finding ways not to pursue the King's missions or screw those missions up on a consistent basis, not taking approaches to the mission that the GM didn't expect. Again, if the player doesn't want to go around doing missions for the King, why is that player playing a game that was advertised as exactly that?


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Eldrata is a magitech Old West/Victoriana setting that focuses on monster hunting and exploring the unknown in a world characterized by epic scale, fantastic terrain, and wondrous devices. It is not Steampunk, but it shares a lot of tropes and imagery with the genre. The game takes place during a magic-fueled industrial revolution, as the secrets to using arcane magic have recently been unlocked. The world of Eldrata is one that, despite its diversity, is actually rather closely integrated. In the past divine churches spanned the globe, and now mass communication, large global trade networks, and railroads and self propelled ships have tied people ever closely together.

This is a continuation of Thyressa - American Magitech. Some things have changed, and the world has expended beyond just being an America based fantasy, but what themes were originally in Thyressa are still here.

Here is the main setting document.

Currently, I am focusing on fleshing out Castara and then an important region of a different country, and moving out from there. The sample name sections are not finished yet, but I don't have time to finish them now. I've procrastinated too much on my homework already. Eventually, each ethnic group should have at least ten sample names per gender, plus names for dwarves and drow. Magni, elves, and seraphim name children based on ethnicity, not race. Races don't generally have their own languages do to how interreliant they are.

Armor and Weapons

Here is where it starts getting a little weird. Eldrata doesn't really have much in the way of heavy armor, and even breastplates aren't that common. To avoid throwing off game balance, armor was shifted between categories, so a breastplate in Eldrata is equivalent stat wise to full plate in Golarion. Likewise, large swords like the greatsword are also not really a thing, but wielding a longsword two handed will produce equivalent damage. The shortbow is gone, replaced by the recurve bow, which is on par with the longbow. I don't play below level 4, so small monetary amounts aren't something I worry about and I don't have cost values for basic weapons. Some weapons got buffed, Eastern and Western weapons go on the same table, those names in italic are alternate weapons that mimic the listed stats, and there are no small sized player races in Eldrata.

So, how is it so far? Questions? Questions are incredibly useful, because they make me think about things I would not have considered if I weren't asked, and in general greatly speed up my worldbuilding.


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(ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

Not until August, though. Still. San Francisco! O(≧▽≦)O I've been studying at community college in my native Silicon Valley since I left Montana two summers ago, and in June I finish my lower division courses. In August, I get to enter San Francisco State University's Urban Studies and Planning program as a Junior. ヾ(●⌒∇⌒●)ノ It took me until the age of 24, but I'm finally packing off to university! My acceptance letter is so shiny. Metaphorically, of course. Because that would be weird otherwise.

Obligatory flowers in my hair: (✿◠‿◠)


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Still experimenting to find the right thing for my world. Explaining the divine casters is the hardest thing, because I dislike classic Forgotten Realms/Golarion style cosmology. Historically, I would typically kill the gods off, but I've been taking a Philosophy class and it gave me the idea of leaving things more open ended and nebulous. How does this work (Humanity refers to any character race. An elf is a race of human, not a separate species.):

Divines

These are powerful beings that exist on a separate level from humanity (what this level is isn't clear, because nobody has ever seen the realm of the divines). Precisely what they are is also a matter of debate. They have powerful magics and wished worship from followers, but whether or not they created the world and why they wanted worship is a mystery. They were commonly called gods, though nowadays many scholars dispute the accuracy of such a term. There were once hundreds of them, who organized themselves into pantheons that looked over specific ethnic groups and organized religions among them. They had some sort of council among themselves to keep each other in some degree of check, but it didn't seem to work very well considering the wealth of conquerors this world has had. The council ended up completely fracturing during the Colonial Era, breaking out into some sort of cosmological war. The sky darkened around the world and the most horrendous storms in history raged amid the deafening cacophony of battle from the skies above, and when the clouds finally dispersed the divines were gone. That was over a century ago, and nobody knows what happened in the war, where the divines went, or how many are still alive (assuming they can die).

Divine Magic

A form of magic taught to humanity by the divines. It taps in to the power of Gaia or spirit realms, and requires a great deal of spiritual self discipline to use. For some reason, all the hundreds of divines worldwide had strict rules that only priests, shamans, holy warriors, druids, or other servants of the divines should ever be allowed to learn divine magic. As a result, the use of this magic has a strong relationship with religion, even though the magic itself does not come from the divines. The churches that await the return of the divines have tried to maintain control over who can learn divine magic, but they have lost their hold over Druidism and their support base is shrinking.

Witchcraft

Witchcraft is divine magic, since it taps into the power of Gaia or spirit realms, but most people distinguish if from divine magic in practice because the divines almost universally opposed witchcraft, seemingly because it existed outside the religious structures they had control over. Knowledge was passed via coven from master to apprentice, rather than through the clergy. It has historically been something of an underground movement as a result, with witches being hunted and killed, though modern day sensibilities generally oppose that now. Witchcraft is often still controversial, but now that you can openly practice it without being executed the number of practitioners is increasing. A lot of the old guard actually find this vexing, and don't like the way their traditions are changing and new witches don't always seem to fully appreciate those traditions.

Arcane Magic

Arcane magic is the manipulation of the magic of Aether, that which rests above Gaia. This is something humanity has understood how to do for less than a century (before this discovery, Sorcerers were a massive danger to themselves and others that nobody understood, and they couldn't much control their powers), but it was such a groundbreaking discovery that the world has changed massively. Industrialization, urbanization, mass communication, railroads, and the beginnings of global economic structures are revolutionizing how people live, all because humans now understand something of how Aether works. By far the most common arcane magic user is the alchemist (who are the single most common magic user in the world), as it is the easiest and safest way to use Aether, but Wizardry and the like are up and coming traditions and Sorcerers can learn to control their powers now.

Common Religions

People are fairly torn on whether the divines were or are actually gods or not. Some common religions believe:

They are gods, and left the world because humans deeply angered them by starting a gigantic cosmic war over colonialism and genocide. Humans have to be good and follow strict rules if they are to calm down and come back. These churches are the remnants of the original divine churches, and remain quite powerful, though they are slipping.

Whether they are gods is irrelevant. The divines started the cosmic war and inflamed colonial attitudes, were kind of jerks, they ruled over humans unfairly, and we are glad they are gone.

There is a supreme god who ruled over the divines, and the cosmic war the divines started over colonialism angered this god so much that it smote them. We should all pay homage to this god and avoid angering it.

The divines are now irrelevant. God is the energy that resides in all things.

The divines are now irrelevant. The spirits of the world and Gaia are much better allies, and we should honor them instead.

The divines were not gods, and they were killed by God. God is Aether, and to use arcane magic is to touch God.

There is no god, and the divines were oppressors. Humanity now controls its own destiny and must do so with benevolence towards all.

Atheism and Agnosticism are fairly common.


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51) The PCs are all part of the national government's monster hunting and mage control force. Their superior officer formed them into a squad, and sent them forth to destroy high powered magical threats to the people of the realm.

This is basically how my campaign setting works. As a worldbuilder I naturally lean towards strong governments that have the best intentions, and relatively high levels of infrastructure and technology. This does not lend itself to traditional adventuring. So I don't use traditional adventuring.


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I post at least one or two character builds a month over in the Advice subforum, but I never get to be a player. I really like theorycrafting, though. I do my sheets by hand. Hero Lab is above this college student's budget.


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Andrew Turner wrote:

My experience with police forces in the US follows.

My opinion:

When you're polite to an officer, they're polite to you. 1% of the time this isn't true.

When you're belligerent with an officer, they're belligerent with you. 99% of the time this is true.

That is highly dependent on race, geography, and how clean cut one looks. A lot of the time they will come at you belligerently from the start if you live in a s#@&ty area and dress baggy.

Quote:
What some Americans (and internationals) are calling fear of the police, I call respect for authority (which I have).

I respect authority when I can trust them.

Quote:

Simple rules, from my point of view:

If an officer engages you, be polite and respectful.

Sure. I'll politely ask if I am being detained, and if so for what reason. If I am not being detained, I will politely ask the officer to stop taking to me.

Quote:
If an officer issues a directive, follow it.

That depends highly on the directive.

Quote:
When an officer says, "Hands up!" don't start walking toward them! Put you hands up and be quiet.

Fine.

Quote:
When an officer asks for ID, don't invoke the Constitution or Patrick Henry, just show them your ID.

Absolutely not. In my state, I am not required to display ID to a police officer upon request. In fact, I have no legal obligation to identify myself to a police officer at all. As such, I will not be providing so much as my name to the police, much less ID.

Quote:
When you've broken the law, no matter how trivial or what circumstances you believe mitigate your offense, be contrite and respectful--that doesn't mean you have to admit you did or didn't do anything, but don't be deliberately stupid.

Should go without saying.

Quote:
When an officer tells you to calm down, or stop cursing at them, calm down and shut up: the officer's demand was explicit and black-and-white; there is absolutely zero chance that they actually meant for you to teach them all the profanities you know, and in as loud a voice as possible.

I prefer quiet noncompliance within the limits of state and local law, anyway.


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Tectorman wrote:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
That's actually an indirect reason I got rid of alignment. I am into Pathfinder for the escapism, and I like my escapism more optimistic.

You mean, you treat Pathfinder like a Saturday afternoon diversion, and you think the absolute last thing such an activity needs is the impetus for a knock-down, drag-out, philosophical war?

Say it isn't so... ;)

I get into rough themes sometimes, and I do take the game seriously. I just that I really like designing cities that are cool (I'm an urban planning student. I tend to use PF to do all the stuff in my dreams.). If the city is kind of a hellhole, it doesn't appeal to me. At the same time, I like gothic horror elements, and dark, gruesome stories. I just like the heroes to have something nice to go home to afterwards (Incidentally, this is why I couldn't get into Midnight or Lovecraft. I like the dark elements, but they lack hope.). I find the best way to reconcile that is to have a world that is a really nice place to live largely because people like the PCs go into the grimdark parts of the world and keep them in check.

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