Thanks to Governor Rick Perry, it is now legal to say Merry Christmas.
I wasn't aware that it was illegal to do so in any state, but Texans must be breathing a sigh of relief at being protected from those Christian-hating Democrats.
From the slashdot story here Flash required to view.
Imagine game designer Steve Jackson and a bunch of friends building Lego trains and tracks and scenery, including buildings and other props. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? The group calls itself the Texas Brick Railroad. A lot of members have children, so their meetings tend to be family affairs. Plus, as they're doing here, they often display their train sets at public events where -- yes -- their trains attract children like crazy. This video shows off both current Lego trains and some of the classic, no-longer-sold Lego trains that members have collected over the years, including the highly-prized monorails. There's a transcript, but face it: This is basically visual material, and worth checking out on a computer or handheld that runs Flash if your normal one does not.
The set pictured has in addition to two conventional trains a Monorail set which you can only get these days by Ebay.
This has been discussed in this thread but I'm not really satisfied with the answer I gave in it.
If a caster with this spell invests in appropriate metamagic feats and keeps his familliar with a cure wand by his body, does he essentially become unkillable with this spell while it lasts? Or more importantly can he remain an effective caster in this state?
A woman accused of sorcery after the death of a 6 year old boy was set upon by a mob, tortured and burned alive in Papua New Guinea . I'd link to the story itself, but almost every article that I find has images that are disturbing enough to most likely break the guidelines of this site, so I'll post a link to another article that warns of the more disturbing undertones of this and other acts of violence that seem to be on the rise against women.
When you play your witch character, as I will mine, remember that for too many women, it's a label that carried a death sentence. And that Misogyny still has a very strong and ugly presence on this planet. And not just in far off places like New Guinea.
This guide(right click and choose save as to download the PDF) to the Inaguration has among other things recipies for everything that's going to be served at the inagural banguet. And fun facts about inaugurations throughout the nation's history.
INAUGURAL FIRSTS: The guide lists dozens of inaugural precedents. Here are some highlights, from past to present:
source: New York Times
Among the gun right wing nuts, there is a special breed. These folks insist that Sandy Hook was an event staged by "them". "Them" being all those advocating gun control legislation.
They've gone as far as to target the man who sheltered six children fleeing the school. And they're doing a good job into making his life a living hell.
Full text here.
It starts like this and only gets better.
This Isn't the Petition Response You're Looking For
By Paul Shawcross
The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn't on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:
The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We're working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.
Full text can be found here
These last points bear mentioning here.
 Grass-roots hatred is a much greater threat to the United States--and to nations in general, and hence to world peace and stability--than it used to be. The reasons are in large part technological, and there are two main manifestations: (1) technology has made it easier for grass-roots hatred to morph into the organized deployment (by non-state actors) of massively lethal force; (2) technology has eroded authoritarian power, rendering governments more responsive to popular will, hence making their policies more reflective of grass roots sentiment in their countries. The upshot of these two factors is that public sentiment toward America abroad matters much more (to America's national security) than it did a few decades ago.
 If the United States doesn't use its inevitably fading dominance to build a world in which the rule of law is respected, and in which global norms are strong, the United States (and the world) will suffer for it. So when, for example, we do things to other nations that we ourselves have defined as acts of war (like cybersabotage), that is not, in the long run, making us or our allies safer. The same goes for when we invade countries, or bomb them, in clear violation of international law. And at some point we have to get serious about building a truly comprehensive nuclear nonproliferation regime--one that we expect our friends, not just our enemies, to be members-in-good-standing of.
You might ask: If I'm so concerned about international affairs, why am I writing a book about Buddhism? Of course, you might not ask that. But just in case:
Part of the answer is that, though writing in this space has led me to emphasize my concerns about policy and politics, they aren't my only concerns. But another part of the answer is this:
If you look at the three challenges I've just identified in italics, you'll see that the second two wouldn't be so challenging if the first challenge was met. It's because Americans don't put themselves in the shoes of non-Americans that they (with the best of intentions) support policies that generate hatred of America and (without even realizing it) act as if rules are things that should be obeyed by everyone except America and its allies. (I don't mean to suggest that Americans are the only people who make these mistakes. It's just that I'm an American writing mainly for Americans, so I focus on American policies.) So if we could address the first challenge in a big way--if we could get much better at seeing the world from the point of view of others--that would go a long way toward saving the world from the grim fate that otherwise may await it. And, without going into a lot of detail, I'd just say that (1) the Buddhist view of the mind helps illuminate this challenge, as does modern psychology, and I'm interested in seeing how the challenge looks from these two vantage points; and (2) Buddhist meditative practice, in which I've dabbled, can be effective in addressing the challenge.
One thing I've wondered, as I've watched America's national security policies fail to address the challenges I describe above--and as I've watched the policies of nations in general fail to solve the world's biggest problems--is whether these failures will continue until we make what you might call "spiritual" progress at the grass roots level. In other words, maybe meeting that first challenge, and becoming better at seeing things from the point of view of "the other," isn't just conducive to progress at the policy level but a pre-requisite for it. In principle all religious and spiritual traditions can play a constructive role here. (That was part of the point of my most recent book, The Evolution of God--see the chapter titled "Moral Imagination.") But Buddhism is distinctively relevant, because there are now some very secular, westernized versions of it that may appeal to the growing number of westerners who reject religion per se.
This came up from another thread, but as much as I might enjoy rebutting Raving Dork, this deserves another approach at the topic.
Roy Greenhilt, potentially smart enough to have become a Wizard eschewed that path, as some say in rebellion to a neglectful father, the wizard Greenhilt. While not of mean arm himself, he embodies the approach of the fighter who doesn't neglect his brain over his brawn, even if he prizes his development of the latter highly.
So this is the thread to build your own Roy Greenhilts and further explore the concept of the intelligent fighter. I'm starting with this one based on the thread namer based loosely on what I see as his current incarnation. Play with the concept as you would, the ground rules are only that the character be a single classed fighter with a race from the Core Rulebook.
Other than that... go wild.
So here is my first entry.
Roy Greenhilt version 1.0
Roy Greenhilt LazarX V 1.0
While worn, these bracers can be used as a swift action to grant the throwing and returning magic weapon qualities to any held melee weapon; these qualities persist for 1 round.
This ability can be used three times a day.
In addition, the bracers may be removed and tossed into the air as a standard action, where they transform into a pair of identical black metallic ravens similar to silver raven figurines of wondrous power. Like those items, these ravens obey the wearer, and may each bear a message as if affected by the animal messenger spell. The ravens can only take this shape once per week, retaining the form continuously for up to 24 hours.
Once both of these ravens have delivered their messages (or once the 24-hour limit is reached), they both vanish in a cloud of smoke and return unerringly to the owner's hands via teleportation. If the item's owner is no longer on the same plane as the bracers when this event occurs, they merely revert to bracer form and fall to the ground, awaiting a new owner to find and claim them for their own use.
Hero Lab® and the Hero Lab logo are Registered Trademarks of LWD Technology, Inc. Free download at http://www.wolflair.com
Theo Kojak was created as a composite of the detectives involved in this case.
I can not possibly reccommend Ars Magica any higher. It was the harbinger of troupe style play and the forerunner to the Storyteller system. It's a great way to break out of a D20 rules lawyering rut, as it throws most of the conventions of D20 play to the side.
But the best thing about it... it's magic with flavor. Not just the Hermetic magic but all forms of magic from Infernal, Faerie, to Divine Miracles are addressed in a flavor that fits the semi-historical setting.
Instead of being vagabond adventurers, you're someone with a place, with an ongoing history. And it's a setting with the right balance of heavy drama with an occasional dash of light comedy.
It's one of those great RPGs to have just for the read alone.
This article from the Huffington Post describes an interesting set of patents that Apple has just put through. In a nutshell, Apple has decided that batteries have hit an impassible tech wall and has submitted patents for a consumer level Hydrogen Fuel cell system, one that could be incorporated in a future Ipad, presumably.
... not to obsolete the First Edition rules but to clear up all of the ambiguities, contradictions, and course changes that are made in the maturation of First Edition. In other words 2E books would mainly serve as a cleanup of First Ediiton.
This digest-sized book contains a seemingly random collection of words, phrases, and strange mnemonic aids. Three times each day, a bard can consult it while using the lore master class feature in order to gain a +5 competence bonus when taking 10 or taking 20 on a Knowledge check.
Loremasters have a class feature that is effectively the same as bardic knowledge and are rather booky folk. But the text seems to exclude anyone but bards from using this book.
Last year, Kodak stopped making chemistry for processing Kodachrome film, and the last full processor of Kodachrome film, Dwayne's Photo is processing it's last roll today.
The machine is scheduled to be sold for scrap.
Que Paul Simon!
This is a quote from Gary Gygax on the style of his Gord the Rogue series and the female characters portayed within.
Gygax: As I have often said, I am a biological determinist, and there is no question that male and female brains are different. It is apparent to me that by and large females do not derive the same inner satisfaction from playing games as a hobby that males do. It isn't that females can't play games well, it is just that it isn't a compelling activity to them as is the case for males.
So how about it female and male players? How many of you women were dragged into this hobby by your significant others? Does the game tend to descend to a locker-room atmosphere? The modules?
I've had it. People are making new threads because of sniping at other thread posts for reasons that have nothing to do with nor futher any real discussion about psionics.
We've had several months of psionics discussion before the APG came out, nothing in these threads is particurlarly new and I have no interest in participating nor enabling the sniping between certain persons which I shall not name.
I will not make any further posts in those threads or any other psionic threads until the end of September.
Session 1: Writings are not part of the standard whole of the book, the spell book is restored to working condition, but the damaged pages are blank.
Session 2: As per guidelines from Sesson 1
Actually here's it in a nutshell
Make Whole is not an information retreival spell. It restores the working condition of one object. In all these cases the object is a book of some type. Writings are foreign markings applied to the object not an intrinsic part of it. Using Erase, spilling ink is not damage to be healed but an exterior alteration to be dealt with.
Make Whole is much like raise dead, if a significcant amount of material is missing it won't restore it any more than Raise Dead will supply missing limbs. In the case of Scenario 3 the missing pages would have to be in the immediate area to be restored.
I may be doing some volounteer work as a 4e DM at the Hudson Pride center. My DMing experience has been all D20/Pathfinder so I'd like to get in on a fourth edition play time before I try to DM it. My preferred days would be Saturday/Sunday Nights, Weds,Thurs evenings.
I'm assuming that at this point, the APG is pretty much set in it's final form so I'm putting this as a suggestion for the logical product next in line which would presumably be called the Advanced GameMaster's Guide.
One of the most controversial aspects of the game ever since the old staple bound days is the alignment system. For a long time it's been a formative straitjacket on the game, it was cribbed amusingly for the old supers rpg, Villains and Vigilantes, given a Moorcockian feel in Warhammer, and pretty much abandoned altogether for the later generation games that came afterward, particularly White Wolf and the cyperpunk genre games put out by other companies.
While role playing games have advance from the traditional dungeon crawl and have incorporated more complex styles of storytelling, this system hangs like an old canard. It's become more of a mechanic to be gamed then an actual framework for good roleplay.
I feel that one of the missions of an advanced guide is to give options for an advanced level of play. And one route to advanced roleplay is to start throwing away the crutches.
The biggest crutch to roleplay remains the old alignment system. I'd like Paizo to consider in a future publication a guide towards an optional set of rules changes that can ease in getting rid of the alignment crutch.
Or as Monte Cook put it in Arcana Evolved... Let's change this from a game of nine alignments to a game of nine million.... one for every person in the world.
The Summoner's description mentions use of the Transmorgify spell, but I can't find it's description anywhere in the playtest material.
Edit, since archive threads aren't things one is supposed to be posting to, I've put in a thought on a proposed working of the spell later in this thread.
After thinking about it, I've decided that I heareby retract any and all requests I've made for psionics to be included in the Pathfinder system. Psionics has never been a good fit for a standard D+D campaign. Gygax himself called the original system "The worst mistake I ever made."
Psionics has always been an oddball element within the game, the most oddball of anything that's been grafted on the system in a general use fashion.
Also, I also feel there are companies such as Paradigm who've had a lot of experience in including Psionics in thier world setting. Part of it perhaps because the world was built straight up to include psionics in the way that it was done. They've recently replaced the Expanded Psionics Handbook with a new publication Psionics Unbound, which is more likely to be the text of choice if I decide to include psionics in a new campaign world. With all the classes that are gaining at-will abilities in a Pathfinder system, the distinct positive niche of psionics has been eroded even further.
I hereby recant my request and suggest that Psionics if to be included at all should be put to a backburner well after 1.0 has seasoned out.
I've been seeing this term invoked a lot lately, although it's usually used to defend rants against changes the poster happened to dislike. It's been tossed about so loosely I think the following needs to be brought up.
Backwards compatibility is not the be all and end all of Pathfinder. If it was, they should be doing nothing more than what Mongoose Publishing did in thier pocket books, printing the SRD with some minor edits and formatting and forget all innovation whatsoever. Instead it is an aspect of Pathfinder to be balanced with others. Including making some creative changes to advance what used to be 3.5 in some new directions. If Pathfinder was nothing more than a rewrapped SRD, I extremely doubt there would be much interest in it.
Caught Off-Guard (Combat)
I can accept the idea that the first time you whip out the barstool and clock your foe on the head you might catch them by surprise, but after they've seen you pull this trick, I don't think that your opponents are going to be slack-jawed the entire fight. It should be revised to indicate that your opponents will be flat-footed for one round. They will be immune to this effect for the rest of this encounter. The lack of attack penalty continues to apply.
The option for Wizards includes a bonded item. which can be a slotless item like a wand or a ring which would normally take an item slot. Perhaps make this ring a slotless item which would leave the hand free for another ring? Or else give the wizard an option to rebond to another object without destroying the orginal.
Weapon Finesse: Not a single weapon that a sorcerer can use is going to be boosted by this feat... save for daggers and rapiers if the sorcerer is an elf.
Mounted Combat, Ride by Attack, (why the emphasis on melee combat for what is still a clothie? A celestial clothie, but a crunchy clothy none the less)
Mobility +4 to a sucky armor class is still only a sucky armor class +4.
It looks like the path to good that such sorcerers are "being pushed towards" is early martyrdom via unwise melee.