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Silver Dragon

Neil Spicer's page

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor. Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 5,370 posts (9,059 including aliases). 1 review. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 17 aliases.


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RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Monkeygod wrote:
What happens if two monsters end up being tied for inclusion via the voting? Do they both get in, or will there be a sudden death vote?

Most likely, Jason will just ensure they both get included. Aside from the top-4 vote-getters, I believe he's going to be selecting 4 others from those offerings. So, if the backers voted a fifth that highly, it'll probably get a slot in the next 4 he'd select.

But that's just my two cents,
--Neil

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Wes or Rob may have a deeper insight for you, but I seem to recall one of them saying something about the elixir being intended for Count Galdana (as someone who shares the same geneaology as Tar-Baphon). However, Adivion ultimately takes it himself, possibly because he's lacking the Raven's Head...or because he had to substitute something in its place...in the misguided hopes that he could serve as a vessel for the Whispering Tyrant's return.

Either way, it's safe to assume the Raven's Head wasn't vital to the creation of the elixir...or maybe that the elixir is less stable than it otherwise might have been due to the Raven's Head's exclusion. Adivion's recipe for the lichdom powered by the elixir calls primarily for a series of ingredients which all correspond to the drinker's life experiences. Thus, the items he gathered up to that point were primarily drawn from Tar-Baphon's lifetime. And the Raven's Head represents a particular type of life experience. That doesn't mean it has to be the only one of that nature.

Just my two cents,
--Neil

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Itchy wrote:
So, I supported at the $5 level. I may be able to increase to get a PDF towards the end. But I hope that support for this Kickstarter goes through the roof!

Thanks for the testimonial on the quality of the Gothic Campaign Compendium and the support for Mythic Mania, Itchy. Every little bit helps. And though the pledges slowed down a bit from the super-heated first couple of weeks, we've still got 25 days to try and get this thing where all three books can be produced as hardcovers with an even higher page-count.

What we need at this point is for everyone to help out with the marketing of the Kickstarter so it'll reach more people and help us attain those higher goals. Word of mouth among all your gaming friends is helpful. Sharing links to the Kickstarter via all your social networks online definitely helps, too. Even encouraging posts like what you've done here can go a long way toward calling attention to the effort.

At this point, we're just a little over $1200 away from hitting our first hardcover (i.e., the Mythic Spell Compendium). And then we'll just be $15K away from putting the other books into hardcover. That's our ideal goal. We've got a little over 3 weeks to do it. So, if you're following along, help us out in one (or each) of these three ways:

1) Pledge what you can. Every backer helps push us that much closer to our goal.

2) Market the opportunity to everyone you know or can reach (via messageboards, social networking, local gaming groups, etc.).

3) Advertise the quality of what we've already done and what we're all about at Legendary Games. If you already own our products and you like them, help those who don't know about us (much less the Kickstarter) better understand our committment to producing the highest quality stuff we can.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

I'm not as involved or close to the action on the Hero Lab thing, but I know Rachel has helped coordinate that type of support for other Kickstarters in the past, and I also know she's actively pursuing it for this one, as well. That said, when you look at the breadth and depth of crunch-able content in these books, that's going to be a big effort for someone to create the Hero Lab files for it. Legendary doesn't have anyone on staff who would take that on. So, we'd have to solicit outside assistance in making it happen. Therefore, including it as an add-on will most likely be one of the stretch goals.

If you visit the Kickstarter site for our project, you can see the stretch goals Jason has listed so far. None of them currently contain the Hero Lab support. I'm not sure that's so much because it'll be a really high goal, or if it's because Rachel hasn't worked out the details for including it yet. Either way, if there's a large outcry for Hero Lab, we'll need your support (i.e., pledges) to make it happen.

For those sitting on the sidelines waiting to see if Hero Lab support ever materializes before committing to the project, you're actually decreasing the odds of us hitting the stretch goal which would eventually include it. So, your best bet is to do yourself a favor and pledge to the Kickstarter. Then, watch the stretch goals materialize after Rachel has worked out all the behind-the-scenes details surrounding Hero Lab support. If she finds a way to get it included and your pledges help push us high enough to secure the funding for it, it'll be there. If, on the other hand, it doesn't materialize, you can always go back and cancel your pledge.

To me, that's the best win-win scenario if you want to see it happen. Just telling us you (and your gaming group) won't pledge for it without Hero Lab files isn't something that's necessarily going to make it happen. The work effort has to be achievable, and the funding has to be there for it. These are the concerns and realities of trying to run a successful Kickstarter as a small third-party publisher.

But that's just my two cents,
--Neil

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

4 people marked this as a favorite.

^_^

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Review forthcoming?

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Now we need to reach $20K so we can add the Deep Magic spells to the mythic line-up. Those will be well worth it to everyone. And, after that, we focus in on turning these books into hardcovers with even more content. Keep spreading the word!

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

In addition, even if you ultimately pledge early and the final product doesn't appear to be rounding out to the hardcover size you had hoped for...you also still have the option of going back in at the end and canceling out of your pledge, too. At least, I've always assumed that option remains...i.e., you take your pledge back down to zero, I think.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

That's an interesting idea. The traits for WotR (once they increased in effect) eventually came out more along the power levels of a feat when it was all said and done. Revisiting the generic traits from the Advanced Player's Guide isn't something on the list of stretch goals yet, but I imagine it certainly could be at some of the higher tiers. A lot of those effects were campaign-specific, though. And so it would be more difficult to give a very satisfying power up for the generic traits. It would take a bit of creativity to make them really sing.

However, we're already on the verge of adding all the feats from the APG once we hit our next stretch goal (i.e., we're less than $250 away from it now). So, maybe it's worth considering as a new goal for later on. Just to gauge the interest level in something like that, what kind of importance would others put on seeing mythic traits in the Mythic Hero's Handbook?

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Jason (and the whole team) is a little busy with the current Mythic kickstarter we have going on at the moment, but it's possible he may spare a few thoughts on the subject. Something you can always keep in mind, though, is that a magus (much like a wizard or any other arcane spellcaster) can always devote time to developing "new" spells for themselves. Often, this can mean developing a magus version of a spell from another class's spell list. Of course, that always requires working with your GM anyway. So, you're going down the right path in having a conversation with them about it.

Even so, I'm sure a more "official" ruling handed down by the authors of the product would satisfy even more. Hopefully, Jason can give you his take on it when he has the bandwidth for checking in here. I imagine it's also possible that a stretch goal for the Mythic kickstarter might include some of the spells from the Gothic Compendium and then he could establish at that point which of them also appear on the magus spell list as he updates them with mythic versions, as well. I don't believe such a stretch goal is currently on the list for the kickstarter, though. We're still pretty early into it, however, so maybe he can be convinced to include such a thing for you. Or, perhaps when we've got the kickstarter behind us, he can go back and update the PDF for the Gothic Compendium with a magus spell list. I'm sure he'll give it some thought either way.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Danubus wrote:
I hope you will have a lot of copies of this at GenCon because even if I get screwed on going this year someone is going to pick me up a copy.

I'll be at the Paizo booth hopefully selling the heck out of this thing. Have your friend track me down and I'll sign it for you.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

So, who's rolling the Bluff check?

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

9 people marked this as a favorite.

Lock S-foils in attack position.
We're passing through the magnetic field.
Hold tight. Switch your deflectors on...double front.
Look at the size of that thing!
Cut the chatter, Red 2...
Accelerate to attack speed! This is it, boys!

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

It's the individual stuff plus some new stuff, I believe.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Not exactly. We try to time some releases with a new AP, but we also go back and pay homage to older APs by releasing support material for them, too. Iron Gods is going to be one we'll probably slow play a bit, but we'll see. I'm not suggesting it would be an entire year before we'd release something. But waiting a couple of months wouldn't be out of the question. It really depends primarily on what our schedule looks like as we approach August (which is when Chapter 1 of Iron Gods will hit the streets).

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

No plans for Mummy's Mask currently, but definitely for Iron Gods. One of the pledge levels for our last Kickstarter included an opportunity for a backer to work with me directly on defining one of the pregens for Iron Gods and I've already been in preliminary discussions with the guy who pledged for that. Currently, we don't have the timeline for when those pregens would become available. I'm halfway through pregens which would work well for Skull & Shackles. After that, I'll probably turn my attention to Iron Gods so I can honor that guy's pledge. The actual AP and Player's Guide should be out by that point, as well. Generally, though, we like to give a little bit of distance between the release of the AP and our AP plug-in products, though.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

The softcover print copy of the Mythic Spell Compendium and PDFs for the Mythic Monster Manual and Mythic Hero's Handbook are fully funded in under 24 hours and we're now winging our way towards the first bonus goal. Less than $500 will see us to Heroes Unplugged: a system for mythic heroes to invest more of the standard bonuses, benefits, and rewards in themselves rather than their gear, including a system of mythic skills.

Additionally, we're over a third of the way to the bonus goal which will see all three books in print. And we're about an eighth of the way to seeing all three books as hardcovers (along with every bonus goal we've established so far). So, keep spreading the word. We'd like to see this thing climb even higher.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Over 75% funded in the first few hours. That puts us well on our way toward the first hardcover book. And 36 more days to pursue the others. Keep spreading the word. We've got 44 backers so far, and as soon as we unlock the higher bonus levels for the additional print books, I expect a lot of folks to up their pledge even higher. That will allow even more content to be created for each book. So, keep checking in to see how things are progressing.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

This really is going to be pretty ground-breaking. You don't get team-ups of this scale in the 3PP business that often. And, I think we're all pretty confident we'll rise to the $15K bonus goal to unlock the hardcovers for all three books. The content alone is bound to really widen your mythic gaming. I know a lot of folks tend to think mythic gaming is for the really high-level play. But, for me, the beauty of the mythic rules is how it can be applied even at lower-level play. So, the more mythic options available, the better, in my opinion.

And, like all supplementary material, it's completely up to the GM how much or how little gets invested into individual campaigns. It's such a useful toolbox, because the GM can keep all these toys to himself to widen and enhance the possibilities of monsters, spells, and abilities. Or, he can also make some of it available to his players' characters, choosing when and where to layer on a mythic tier or provide access to a mythic spell or feat.

Taken together, these books promise to serve up a broad array of possibilities across every element of the game where mythic can introduce something new to your game...i.e., stuff which even long-term, experienced players won't be able to anticipate. So, personally, I think it's well worth the investment. It should really broaden the possibilities at your gaming table. Hopefully, like-minded folks come out to support us in a big way. And, additionally, by doing so, you can also incent more 3PP team-ups like this in the future.

But that's just my two cents,
--Neil

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

I believe the Kickstarter we ran also included a softcover Far East compendium. Assuming Jason has prints of that coming, as well, I'd assume there'll be one for it available at some point. Certainly, the PDF should be do-able. And, for fans of the Kingdom-Building AP, there's a compendium of those products, as well.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

About the only way they could learn that password would be to trick Radosek into revealing it if they're talking to him via the Irriseni mirror sight spell via one of the mirrors in the tower. Basically, when Nazhena left for Whitethrone, the upper levels of the tower were pretty much locked down (i.e., the password changed) to ensure the winter portal wouldn't be interrupted in her absence. Unfortunately, Radosek's infatuation with Jairess, the sylph caretaker of the tower's raven swarms, led him to provide her with an actual key to the portal (as opposed to the password). That's the easiest way up, whether the PCs obtain it by killing her or convincing her to give it to them. But, there are other ways, too.

For example, if they lure Radosek down to a level they can access, they might read his mind with detect thoughts or overhear him if he flees back to the teleporter. Or, they can simply scale the outside of the tower to reach one of the windows, above. Or, use alter self to venture up. Once there, they could use invisibility to search the upper floor. The current password is bound to be written down somewhere, probably among Radosek's notes or those Nazhena left behind, instructing him to change it after she left to give her report to Elvanna.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

I think Jason is still a few days out from the official kick-off. He was making some last minute tweaks to the presentation, and I know he indicated he'd be recording a new video for it. Should be soon, though.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Already read it. Some interesting insights there. Including that open secret project of yours.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

I'd say continual flames encased in translucent ice. That should dim things down a bit in most areas, but expect more open continual flames in bedrooms where they can be covered before bedtime.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

4 people marked this as a favorite.

As a Paizo contributor, I'm obviously biased. But, in my mind, this type of fiction does serve a useful purpose. I think it helps folks with in-character immersion if they can read a story with characters and dialogue which showcases the location(s) where the AP takes place. Adding in a component that gives you an actual map and/or maybe an extra NPC stat-block (with art or something) also gives it an immediate usefulness as actual adventure support material, too.

So, I think this is a wise crossing of the streams. The novels can be the straight, stand-up fiction with no specific tie to an adventure. The adventures themselves won't really cross into fiction territory, though they obviously tell a story of sorts over the course of an entire AP campaign. And now, the backmatter fiction in the APs will kind of straddle the territory between the two. I think it works.

::thumbs up::

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Liz Courts wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:

OK, but how about a parting gift of telling us what does the "K" in "Sean K Reynolds" mean?

Kombustible?
Konvertible?
Krusty the Klown?
Kissable?
Korny?
Kitkat?
Katyusha?
Kooky?

The K stands for Awesome.

I always imagined it stood for "Killer"...kind of like a boxing nickname. It certainly seemed appropriate for some of those rules/FAQ discussion threads.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Fantastic, Itchy. We always strive to make these plug-ins work as seamlessly as possible for the APs they're intended to enhance. Sounds like Greg succeeded big-time for your group. We look forward to seeing your review. The feedback not only serves to give kudos to the hard work everyone puts into them, but it also helps us learn and enhance the way we structure these plug-ins for future APs.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

/salute

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Believe me, we hear all of you guys, and we get everyone's concerns on both sides of the spectrum. Just know that we'll tread the line as closely as we can on providing as much compiled content as possible, while also not undercutting our electronic publishing business model. Many of these particular mythic-based PDFs haven't been out as long as the ones which made it into our Gothic Campaign compendium (where we did consolidate pretty much everything we'd produced up to that point). This go-around, the mythic Kickstarter is on track to include quite a bit of the current stuff (but not all), plenty of new stuff, and (depending on which stretch goals are hit) everything else could be included, as well. But that'll probably be pretty far up the stretch goal chain since the more pages of content which go into a book, the more expensive it becomes to produce.

In short, we have to be conscious of the price-point in relation to the inclusion of content for the Kickstarter books. And, we also have to be sure we're not burning any bridges with our electronic publishing customers, too. I'm sure Jason is going to keep a close eye on both of those things. Otherwise, the Kickstarter becomes unstable from a financial perspective and our electronic sales could diminish, as well. These are the challenges a third-party PDF publisher faces when contemplating Kickstarters and print runs. But Legendary Games doesn't do anything as a half-measure. Everyone will be focused on making sure we do right by as many of you as possible. So, keep the faith and lend us your support, if you can. As always, we greatly appreciate any and all fans and customers of our products.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

3 people marked this as a favorite.

To reinforce what Jason is saying, if we took the approach of putting all of our PDF content from the mythic monsters series into a mythic monster manual, there'd be an equal outcry from those who bought the PDFs who would have rather waited until the hardcover came out instead. And, for future PDF products, many potential consumers would wait to buy them, automatically assuming we'd put them into a future hardcover. But, a small third-party publisher can't usually afford to create a comprehensive hardcover unless there's a huge outpouring of support...typically via a Kickstarter. And they can't afford to produce PDFs and then no one buy them, because they're holding out for when a print product is published consolidating them.

So, if you want everything in the books, support the Kickstarter when it launches on March 24th. And, even beyond that, encourage all of your friends to support it, too. The more we can finance the Kickstarter and its stretch goals, the more content will make it into the final book. Meanwhile, if the Kickstarter doesn't reach the higher stretch goals to incorporate that content, the PDFs still retain their value, as they'll also have unique content in them, as well. Ideally, when employing that kind of publishing strategy, things work out either way. If the Kickstarter is wildly successful and everything gets into the actual books, everyone is happy. Or, if only a subset of that material makes it into the books, the backers of the Kickstarter (who understood what they were getting when they pledged) and those who originally purchased the PDFs should also be happy. Some might still quibble a bit over having bought something electronic that eventually made its way into print. But, at least they had the opportunity to buy those PDFs before they were published in a book...which means they had use of that material for a longer period of time than those who waited for the hardcover.

Personally, I believe we'd all be ecstatic if the Kickstarter rockets through enough stretch goals that everything can be published in the books. For that to happen, however, we'll need everyone's support. So, rather than sitting it out because you're not yet guaranteed the content you'd hope would be there, go ahead and pledge and then keep an eye on the goals that are met. If we don't hit the stretch goal that incorporates all of the PDFs into the final product, you'll still have the option of cancelling your pledge. Meanwhile, if you sit things out and never pledge, the Kickstarter is obviously less likely to hit that stretch goal...in which case, the chances of the book containing everything go down. Or, if it hits the stretch goal without you, you'll miss out on an opportunity to own the book with everything in it.

So, maximize your chances by pledging early. Tell all your friends so they do the same. Keep an eye on the Kickstarter as it meets all the stretch goals. And then make your final decision before it closes.

That's just my two cents,
--Neil

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

3 people marked this as a favorite.

So...still feeling pretty zen about everything, Victoria? ;-)

Congratulations!

Now go celebrate. And then come back and continue being awesome as you start working on The Daughters of Fury.

And, for everyone else, don't wander off just yet. You'll have plenty of opportunities, too. Everyone's a winner as long as you conduct yourself like a professional freelancer and make sure you're ready for the next round.

--Neil

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Hmmm...seems like a collection of mythic monsters from the briny depths would be a great addition to a certain Skull & Crossbones Adventure Path. ;-)

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Their futures should be assured regardless. No matter who wins the final prize (and the contract to write the 64-page adventure), they'll all have opportunities with Paizo to pen PFS scenarios, and from there who knows? This is why I always say it's not simply what you do during RPG Superstar. What matters the most is what you do after RPG Superstar.

All of the Top 4 (and in previous years, Top 8) have had opportunities following the contest. It's how you take advantage of them which will define any kind of sustained freelance work that comes your way from that day forward. And, what you do within those freelance work assignments will define what kind of freelancer you are far more than the actual title of RPG Superstar.

In other words, there have been plenty of RPG Superstar competitors who didn't win the competition who went on to far outshine those who did. And, that's why I never put that much stock in winning the title in 2009. For me, the pressure (and my committment in meeting that pressure) rose that much higher after the competition. And that would have happened whether I won or came in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th. A door would have opened regardless. And what I did in exercising that door would define what kind of freelancer I could be for a publisher like Paizo in the future.

So, here's my advice to this year's nervous RPG Superstar-wannabes. Relax. An opportunity is coming your way regardless of the outcome in the voting. Seize that opportunity. Use all the lessons you accumulated from the contest (and any other freelancing experiences you might have had before). And then, muster all of that in absolutely owning that opportunity in every way possible when it comes.

In essence, you need to impress your next round of judges. And that would be your developers on whatever freelance opportunity comes your way. Be ready for it. You were agile enough to roll with the punches during the competition. Now get ready for the real thing.

My two cents,
--Neil

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I can probably field that question, Anthony, as it's come up in the past, and the answer is likely the same as it was then. You'll need to meet either a 750- or 1500-word limit...not something in between (unless it has the potential for being paired with other short articles to reach something more in line with a 750- or 1500-word article...e.g., a group of magic items, feats, or even monsters which can be written by multiple authors contributing to the final word count).

But, for fiction, you probably should go back to the drawing board. Add a scene which further enhances the story. Or, trim it back to 750 words. Your choice. And, ultimately, it's something you need to get used to as it's an integral part of writing to spec for a publisher.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

3 people marked this as a favorite.

That's a good thing. :-)

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'll add my own voice to that of Tim and Paris.

Wayfinder has to walk that fine line between selecting themes which inspire people (to draw inspiration from the stuff Paizo has already published) and encouraging folks to spin all-new material (for stuff Paizo has never elaborated on). The best of way of targeting that design-space is to wait until Paizo has at least given a Player's Companion and Pathfinder Campaign Setting book for a specific location (not just the Inner Sea World Guide entry). That way, enough canon gets established right up front for people to use it in their designs, while simultaneously establishing a broad enough sense for where the "edges" are, so folks don't go overboard and contradict the vision Paizo has for an area.

For instance, trying to write Wayfinder articles for Thuvia and Rahadoum right now would be a risky, more difficult exercise, because there's still not enough material yet to provide a sufficient baseline of Paizo's vision and intent for those areas of Golarion. You could certainly extrapolate ideas from the campaign setting entires, the Death's Heretic novel, and other secondary sources. But, none of those are truly sufficient enough to lay out a number of a canon-approved "hooks" for both GMs and Wayfinder authors to draw upon.

However, once Mummy's Mask runs its course with all of the accompanying side articles in the backmatter of each AP chapter...as well as the People of the Sands Player's Companion and standalone Osirion sourcebook (updated from the original)...there'll be plenty of canon established to create a larger Paizo-approved "sandbox" in which people can reliably play with their own fan-made creations.

And, for comparison, you can look back at Wayfinder #10 and see that enough Qadira and Katapesh material existed in the form of the Legacy of Fire AP and existing location-specific sourcebooks for both nations that it worked well for this purpose, too. That's what spurs the highest level of creativity for most designers. Give'em a springboard of multiple things already established in canon which they can weave together in interesting ways. That's how you build upon canon rather than fly in the face of it. And, quite honestly, it's one of the things the Paizo folks enjoy seeing the most...i.e., cool, fan-made material which fits as seamlessly into Golarion as if they'd designed it themselves.

Ultimately, that should be everyone's goal who writes for Wayfinder. And, more people will be set up for success in hitting that goal if Tim and Paris select themes which are already propped up by the maximum amount of officially produced Paizo content. Essentially, they want people coloring inside the lines instead of going beyond them in ways the original picture was never meant to support or portray.

But that's just my two cents,
--Neil

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Lisa Stevens asked for some of the same piratey goodness for her home campaign, as well. So, Skull & Shackles has been on our radar since last PaizoCon. It's just taken us a bit of time to tie off various things that were already in the pipeline before turning our full attention to that particular AP.

Aside from Matt's Islands of Plunder, I'm hoping to finish off the work I started on the Swashbuckling Heroes pregen PCs somewhere in the early-August 2014 timeframe. I'm hoping to coincide it with the addition of the Advanced Class Guide to the PRD so I can include a finalized swashbuckler in the set. But, we'll have to see how calm those seas are once I sail through this current storm of activity I'm facing.

Bottom line: Yo-ho-ho, me hearties! I see black sails on the horizon...

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Depends on what you mean by "soon"...but yes. There'll be more.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

83 people marked this as a favorite.

I held off from joining this conversation for quite awile. Namely, because I'm up to my eyeballs in real-life stuff on the homefront and day-job, as well as an actual freelance assignment I'm diligently working on for none other than Sean himself, because I always feel immensely obligated to give him the best possible turnover on whatever work he gives me...and now, none moreso than something which will likely be one of the last things he ever develops for Paizo. However, some of the posts here...and some of the comments about the posting here...stirred me up enough in an emotional sense, that I felt compelled to share my thoughts on what Sean has personally meant to me and my freelance career, as well as my perceptions of the Paizo fanbase which has grown up around these messageboards during his time working on Pathfinder and interacting with the community.

First of all, this thread is bittersweet for me. I'm happy for Sean (and his wife Jodi) for having the boldness to start a new chapter in their lives. You can't fault them at all for pursuing that. And, in fact, you have to admire them for it. We should all be so lucky and willing to take on new adventures in our lives. We're gamers, after all. Adventures are supposed to be our bread and butter, right? Well, Sean is living it. And, in fact, he's always lived it, having navigated his way from TSR to Wizards of the Coast to Upper Deck to Interplay to Paizo. He's been around (or interacted with those who were present) for just about every major milestone involving D&D, Pathfinder, and any number of gaming products and companies which have made tremendous impacts on the hobby we all love. And Sean made his mark among them, as well, by starting his own third-party publishing company before it was the vogue thing to do.

So, that's why it's heartening to see the many positive comments left here for Sean (and Paizo)...some from colleagues I recognize and others from fans who appreciated his contributions to the Pathfinder RPG, the various messageboard discussions (on the rules and RPG Superstar), as well as his impact on the game industry as a whole. And, in fact, I want to make something abundantly clear for anyone taking the time to read this entire thread and this specific post. That kind of reflection about Sean and the well-wishes offered here are what a thread like this is for. It's an opportunity to recognize the positive influences and things someone like Sean has done for you and the game in order to send him off with the best possible hopes for his continued and future success.

So, in that light, let me embarrass Sean a little by telling you what he has personally meant to me. I don't know if very many people know this, but I had chances to interact with Sean a fair number of times (both in person and on various messageboards) long before I ever won RPG Superstar or started writing for Paizo. In my earliest days of even thinking I might sometime like to write for a game company, I didn't really know how to go about "learning the ropes." How does one get their foot in the door to convince a publisher to give you a chance? And, once that opportunity comes, how do you make sure you don't blow it? What does that publisher need and expect from you? How do you need to conduct yourself in a professional sense to show them you're capable, you're serious, and you're dependable enough that you can be trusted with the keys to their kingdom (be that the rules of their game, new content for their campaign setting, or any other endeavor where you'll be representing their interests)?

Sean helped me learn those things.

He did it on his own time. He did it in the spirit of wanting others to succeed. And he did it with no expectation of reward other than what passing on that kind of information would do for building up the hobby. Some of his greatest contributions which I found incredibly useful were the things he'd post or share on his personal website to explain how the game industry works, what he as small, third-party publisher was looking for and expected out of a freelancer, and by sharing his personal experiences across the breadth of the gaming industry. I read everything he posted. I attended every panel he sat on at our local conventions. And I pretty much absorbed anything and everything he was willing to share. All of that opened my eyes, trained me up, and better prepared me for the course I've charted as a freelancer. Basically, when my biggest opportunity came (in the form of winning RPG Superstar), I was ready. And Sean was one of the biggest reasons for that. So, I owe him a lot.

What's more, I also know he's helped countless others during his years at Paizo. If you need any measure of evidence for that, just look at the patience, effort, and volunteerism he's put forth for an event like RPG Superstar. The man has gone out of his way to give advice, encouragement, and support for future freelancers, thereby setting in place the building blocks for an entirely new generation of game designers. That's a huge piece of what keeps this industry running and our hobby alive.

On top of that, Sean takes the time to answer questions. He did it while running the web presence of TSR back in the early days of AOL. And he's done it right up through his time here on the boards at Paizo. I know not everyone likes his answers. And, depending on how heated a given topic became, not everyone liked the way he gave his answers or backed them up. Sometimes, without the context of knowing where Sean is coming from in his opinion and why he gives it a certain way, it can lead people to take affront at how he engages them. But, frankly, from what I've read in many of those discussions, a lot of the people who locked horns with him over something usually weren't putting their best foot forward either. They were choosing to be abrasive, whether they realized it or not. And, that can lead anyone to come back with a similar amount of friction, depending on how long it gets drawn out. As we all know, trolls (and pile-on's from additional posters) can take a simple topic and really draw it out way worse than it ever needed to be. But, in Sean's case...given his experience in the industry with overall game design, as well as where I know his heart to be in those discussions...he's far more "right" than he's ever "wrong" in how he answers or engages people here.

So, that brings me to the bitter aspects of this thread. For one, I'll obviously be sad to lose the opportunity to work with Sean again as my developer on Paizo projects. For those of us who have had that experience, we know what he means to us in that regard. Secondly, I'm guessing I might not see him as often at PaizoCon or GenCon as I was able to do in the past. But, I'm hoping he'll continue to impact the hobby with his own freelance writing. And, in that regard, maybe there are ways to continue to collaborate and work with him down the road.

But, the most bitter element I wanted to mention about this thread is the needless amount of negative posts the moderators had to remove. Or, even the backhanded "compliments" given to Sean as he parts ways with Paizo. First and foremost, I was always raised with the belief that if you have nothing good to say, don't say anything. You add no value by being a Negative Nancy, a Debbie Downer, or someone who just likes to rile things up and rain on other peoples' parades because you're still feeling burned or butt-hurt from an internet argument, grudge, or disagreement you had a long time ago. In my opinion, the only value someone is trying to add by bringing up stuff like that in a farewell thread meant to celebrate Sean's contributions to Paizo is a deluded sense of selfish self-worth for the poster. You feel the need to get in the last word, to take the parting shot, and so on. All because inside, you're the one who really has the problem. You're the one being small enough to make those kinds of comments. And, again, in my opinion, if you're not mature enough to know when to keep silent...or to seek the good over any perceived "bad" you may feel with regards to Sean's time at Paizo or his contributions to gaming...you're really the one people should be saying goodbye to here. Because, quite frankly, your opinion on the matter and your behavior in acting out that opinion through the cowardly facade of the internet speaks so much more harshly of you than anything you could ever sling at Sean.

And, it's not like Sean needs anyone to defend him in that regard. The guy's got thicker skin than those of us he's trained up. And, knowing him like I do, he's not fazed by it whatsoever, because he has better things to do with his time than to keep engaging in a stupid war of words his detractors lost a long time ago...even if they're too obtuse to realize it yet.

But, for me, I feel compelled to speak about Sean here, because I'm tired of seeing folks take shots at him in blind ignorance or denial of all the good he's done for Paizo and this hobby. And, like many others in this thread, I wanted to offer my own thoughts on what he's personally meant to me, while wishing him all the best. So that's how I'll end things.

Thanks for your time at Paizo, Sean. Thanks for your friendship and support. And good luck on whatever you do next. I'm sure it'll be great.

But that's just my two cents,
--Neil

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm in.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

137ben wrote:
Does Drivethrurpg take a similar cut?

Yes. DriveThru takes the largest cut of all the online RPG marketplaces.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

16 will enter Round 3.

Only 4 will leave.

So, seriously...bring your awesome, folks. And congratulations.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Some of the articles which caught my eye in this issue of Wayfinder include the stuff which helps round out what Katapesh and Qadira might be like, thereby empowering the GM with more material they can use to enhance those parts of the campaign setting. So, everything from Shaun Hocking's gazetteer article on the Golden Cage and Scott Abercrombie's Qadiran stronghold of Samar-Kash to Eric Hindley's shops and stalls in the Katapesh markets and Christina and Mike's write-up for the oasis town of Twelve Tents lends new material you can use right away. Location-based stuff like that is immediately useful if you need something on the fly when your players "zig" when you expected them to "zag."

Other pieces that provide really usable content included the Heroes' Hoard magic items from Frank Gori and Yanick Moreau. There's some innovative ideas there, and all very thematically appropriate to these regions of Golarion. You can never have enough magic items to reach for as a GM, whether you're rewarding your players for a random encounter or giving the NPCs something to challenge them just a little more.

I also liked the new character options introduced by Margherita Tramontano (with the hakima prestige class), Sarah Counts (with the spiderhawk archetype for magi) and John Leising (with the censer archetype for desert-themed alchemists). Even the new animal companions of Katapesh article by Ian Turner can put some new flair into the rangers and druids of the desert. And then he followed that up with some all new desert-themed rogue talents you can easily envision a bunch of sand bandits having. And again, with some very flavorful all-new witch hexes. Really great job on some of these.

The same holds true for the Weal or Woe NPCs and the bestiary monsters. Lots of creativity on display here, too. I really liked the salt golem, sun hag, and especially the concept of the devouring oasis.

Lastly, the variety of this issue is really what makes it shine. Not only do you get all that material mentioned above, but then there's a couple of side trek adventures, some plot seeds, a Beginner's Box scenario, a handful of new Jabba the Hutt-style sand ships by Dain Nielsen, and a new board game you could easily see desert merchants playing in Qadira and all across Garund. And, finally, there's several pieces of fiction to help get folks more immersed in the setting. I especially liked how Todd Stewart's story about Farideh and Inusalia led him into a Weal or Woe article and then a side trek adventure by Larry Wilhelm using those characters. Nice job, guys.

If this kind of content can be duplicated for Wayfinder #11, that would be awesome. Dain has carved out a nice niche for himself by creating cool games of chance for various regions of Golarion. New towns, shops and taverns or inns are always fun when someone gets inspired to write them into the campaign setting. The Weal or Woe characters feeding into side trek adventures that actually use them is something I know Larry and I enjoy doing a lot. Ian (aka Set) and many others just keep stepping up with cool new character option stuff. And there's always solid fiction contributions, new monsters for the bestiary, and new wondrous magic items. All in all, this is the perfect formula for useful content in Wayfinder. And it's all backed up with some serious artistic talent, from the layout to the images to the maps.

But that's just my two cents,
--Neil

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I can personally second Tim's point about artists getting recognized via their work in Wayfinder. We've used a number of folks who contributed to the e-zine's look for products published at Legendary Games.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Excellent. Our plan for dominating future generations of the game industry is coming together nicely. :-)

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Maurice de Mare wrote:
Anyway, one last question: what is a hardcover? I think it is something similiar to the core rulebook, would something like an adventure path be considered a hardover? Because if it is, I am in trouble....

The AP books are what's called a softcover. Hardcovers are literally the hardback books like the core rulebook line of products.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Not just a brotherhood of NC competitors. It's a brotherhood of NC winners. We're all about winning here. Right, Mike? ;-D

But all joking aside, NC competitors have had an amazing track record in RPG Superstar. One year, three of the Top 4 were from NC, and there have been other NC folks in prior competitions, as well. Meanwhile, I've got a growing brood of younglings I'll be putting through their paces for someday taking their shot at the competition, too. My two oldest girls are already familiar with the Pathfinder Beginner's Box and Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. So, they're coming along just fine.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Joseph Kellogg wrote:
I'm about an hour from the border, and my regular PFS game is in Asheville. Does that count?

We might be willing to adopt you...

Spoiler:

...for this year! ;-)

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Andrew Black wrote:
Some one needs to alert Paizo the servers may have been hacked, someone is impersonating Neil Spicer! His recent posts are way to short! :)

Nah. Life's just a bit too busy right now to throw myself full-bore into RPG Superstar again. My day-job at the office has been grueling of late, I've had a lot of family demands on my time, and perhaps most importantly right now, I still have one last freelance assignment to complete which I owe Sean. Even so, I at least wanted to offer some encouragement, advice, and feedback where I could. I just kept it short and sweet so I could get back to my other commitments.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

These are some awesome stories, folks. Keep'em coming. And, if you haven't yet updated your Paizo profile with this kind of information, you should consider doing so. A lot of people (i.e., voters) will be reading the stuff you create throughout the contest now, and some of them may click on your name just to learn more about you. Having this type of information in your profile helps them get to know you better, as well as the various things you may have written or which you aspire to write. Of course, your main focus right now should be on your monster design. But, when you find a spare moment, update your profiles to start creating a more defined online persona for yourselves.

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