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Akata

Odraude's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Society Member. 7,133 posts. No reviews. 1 list. 1 wishlist. 2 Pathfinder Society characters.


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I don't mind rules with a heavy setting. In general, I can always file it off with relative ease or tweak things. I can never understand the concept of one's imagination being shackled by a game's setting. If there's something I don't like, I toss it or tweak it. If I get Starfinder, I'll probably prune it and change it to fit what I like. I can always find use for pages of factions or countries that I can alter, edit, and tweak as I please while also making my own organizations from scratch.


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Richard Redmane wrote:

I have to agree with the Tidal King on this one, there are way too many planets here (13 planets to our solar system's 9.) But here goes:

Starfinders Are Cataloging All Very Interesting Denizens Even The Lowly Billywap At Absalom.

Well there's only 8, but I guess if we are including Pluto then we have to include the other dwarf planets in our system. Like Sedna, Orcus, Ceres, Eris, Makemake, Quaoar, and Haumea. Though I'd hate to be the one that has to make up a mnemonic for that ;)


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graywulfe wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
Distant Scholar wrote:
Fardragon wrote:
The Gap: the universe needs a big mistery, and this one keeps things compatable with the Pathfinder universe.

The Gap isn't a mystery; mysteries can be solved. The Gap is a secret.

Quote:
Both serve to add a bit of darkness and paranoia to the universe.
I prefer less darkness and paranoia in my game universes.

Yeah, a mystery isn't interesting when it's a base assumption that there will never be any answers or anything resembling answers.

See Aroden. Noone cares what happened about him because the "mystery" surrounding him is one of the least interesting parts of Pathfinder as a setting and falls flat.
Says you. From what I have seen there are tons of people who are still interested in what happened to Aroden.

Count me as one, but while true, now that we know it'll never be solved, I don't really care too much about it anymore. Even some of the adventures that are focused around his disappearance don't feel all that fun because in the end, they don't really mean much.

The main fun in mysteries and investigation is finding clues, putting them together, and trying to find the solution. But now it's been released that there is none. In a way, the mystery is solved by saying there is no solution, so there really isn't a point in delving into it for me. I'd rather do other adventures about exploration and discovery, which is more my jam.

I feel the Gap will be the same thing. A background setting event to give it some color, but ultimately, it will be unsolvable in PFS. Nothing wrong with it as that, but as a mystery, it just won't catch my eye.


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Opsylum wrote:
I'm interested to see how elves are portrayed in Temple of the Twelve, as it appears we will be running into Starfinder elves in this chapter. My hopes tend to align more with Mashallah and Benjamin's here in wanting to see some depth or variety beyond the "reclusive xenophobes" to them. It does kind of bother me that elves are prone to having a negative reputation; I've always been rather enchanted by elves myself, and would like to see them remembered by some of their better attributes again. Less Mirkwood, more Rivendell and Lothlorien. I'm hopeful we'll see a lot of this especially in the Forlorn.

Hopefully we won't have another Second Darkness on our hands. That was not a fun part of the adventure path.


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I always do my own setting, good or not. I like world building.

The only thing I don't like about the Starfinder setting is the gap and making elves even more exaggeratedly aloof and xenophobic than before. The gap as a concept bores me because it's a mystery that will never be solved, yet I'm sure we'll have plenty of adventures dealing with it. And making elves even more insufferable, especially given how cool the other races are, is very disappointed. It's like they asked players what were the worst things they hated about elves, then turned it up to eleven.


Aqua Zesty Man wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
There's always a danger when you try to apply too much real-world science to science fiction, let alone fantasy. Still, I'm curious about how people plan to approach the hard science, the physics and cosmology of reality, to their Starfinder setting. Will you be limiting two-way interplanetary communication, because Castrovel and Akiton are 20 light-minutes apart? Will your planetary systems never include blue giant primaries, because those stars are far too young to have developed a solar system? Or is all that too much to worry about, and not any fun besides?

The Rule of Cool should apply here, meaning we should be able to find planets, even a (barely) habitable planet, orbiting just about every conceivable stellar-class body known to science.

O and B class stars could have captured rogue planets, or some godlike being could have put some planets into orbit from somewhere else. A supergiant or hypergiant star could have a 'habitable zone' far enough away. Pulsar planets are a thing too, though you might only see undead, ionovoric life, or radiovoric life thriving there.

A creationist explanation of some sort would be almost essential in such cases, but in the Starfinder universe, no one should be complaining about it. :)

I actually disagree, but only because you can have cool adventures without requiring a habitable planet. I recently had my players explore a hot volcanic planet near their system's sun that was lethal to the players because of radiation and heat. But they went through an old crashed space ship on the planet and found cool stuff.


Honestly, I'm still pretty disappointed that we still have WBL tables and balance stuff around that. But it is what it is. I've been in a wait-and-see though process for Starfinder, and it comes out in another month, so I don't mind waiting. Some stuff I like, but the guns with lots of dice at high levels, WBL still being a thing, and being unable to sell space ships are definite red flags. I've run plenty of Traveller/CE for years and never had an issue with equipment vs space ship balance. That's why I really hate WBL. It's very restrictive and I was really hoping Starfinder would have kicked it to the curb.

That said, I like the races you've presented and the setting seems genuinely fun. And I love the Drift. So that seems good.


TarkXT wrote:

In science fiction "hard" just means sticking as close to the real, current, science as possible.

However as any real scientist will tell you real science changes based on how much evidence you gain amd what engineering does to your tools. Finer more precise tools, better info.

So add on to that the confirmed existence of gods, the supernatural, and extradimensional p[laces and you have a whole host of things you can get away with.

tl;dr, Leave hard sci-fi to Traveller and Eclipse Phase which are much better at it.

Even in Traveller, things aren't completely hard. Rolling up a sector would leave a lot of M class stars and very little habitable worlds. While you can have adventures in all kinds of barren and hostile worlds, a little hospitable world here and there helps to liven up the area.

And yeah, things changing really makes certain aspects of hard science hard to keep up with. For example, in Book 6 Scouts of Traveller OG, you can't have a gas giant in a close orbit (like Mercury). But since that has been published, we've found out that is actually very common. Same thing in Eclipse Phase, where it had the planet Tyche as a real thing. But since then, we've proven that it does not exist.

That's the problem with hard science. Hard to keep up with it. So it's better to accept a certain level of softness so to speak for ease of the game.


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In general, if I'm looking for hard sci fi, I'd stick to Traveller or M-Space. I think the fantasy of it is a bit more hard wired into this. Not that it's bad, just I think I want to play to the system's strengths. But we won't know until it comes out.


Traveller's been doing it since its inception. It's not really all that difficult either, and provides a good fall back mission when you don't really have anything planned. It's what I've done any who with an old sci fi bounty hunters game inspired by Cowboy Bebop.


Starbuck_II wrote:
Odraude wrote:
IonutRO wrote:
Odraude wrote:
I'm not too worried about losing equipment. Never had the mentality as a player that my gear was somehow sacred. That said, I am worried about the large amount of dice needed to roll. I know there is a similar issue in 13th Age and having done the whole average roll thing for it, it didn't feel all that fun personally.
How's that worse than casters rolling 10+ die?

Never said it was worse, but it is still a worrying issue. And unless I'm misunderstanding, I imagine that you'll be firing your rifle that does 12d10 damage multiple times in combat. And I'd imagine that everyone else at the table also gets to roll similar amounts of dice for their weapons, no? Same with enemies in combat. The time it takes to gather, roll, count, and sum the dice totals will slow down combat considerably when everyone is doing it, not just the casters. It's an issue that stalled my 13th Age game which has a similar scaling of dice.

Die rollers can mitigate that, but not everyone at my table is comfortable with using those. Grognards are a superstitious lot ;) Also, I don't like having smart phones at my tables because the youngings just can't seem to get off them during the game. I'll definitely wait and see when Starfinder comes out, but consider that a valid worry for the system.

But that would be at level 20 or so, how often do you playing level 20.

I think the intent was that this was to clear up things to make high level play more accessible, no? And truthfully, I'd like the game to be as well done as it can be at all levels. Or else, why even have high level play in the first place?


I do a mix of online and face to face. I generally don't allow smart phones at my table (barring people on call) because people have problems staying focused on the game and off their apps. And while I'd love to count on the discipline of my players, sadly it rarely happens


Seisho wrote:
Odraude wrote:
Urlithani wrote:
Odraude wrote:
IonutRO wrote:
Odraude wrote:
I'm not too worried about losing equipment. Never had the mentality as a player that my gear was somehow sacred. That said, I am worried about the large amount of dice needed to roll. I know there is a similar issue in 13th Age and having done the whole average roll thing for it, it didn't feel all that fun personally.
How's that worse than casters rolling 10+ die?

Never said it was worse, but it is still a worrying issue. And unless I'm misunderstanding, I imagine that you'll be firing your rifle that does 12d10 damage multiple times in combat. And I'd imagine that everyone else at the table also gets to roll similar amounts of dice for their weapons, no? Same with enemies in combat. The time it takes to gather, roll, count, and sum the dice totals will slow down combat considerably when everyone is doing it, not just the casters. It's an issue that stalled my 13th Age game which has a similar scaling of dice.

Die rollers can mitigate that, but not everyone at my table is comfortable with using those. Grognards are a superstitious lot ;) Also, I don't like having smart phones at my tables because the youngings just can't seem to get off them during the game. I'll definitely wait and see when Starfinder comes out, but consider that a valid worry for the system.

I was thinking about averaging some of the die damage to cut it in half. Instead of 12d10, I might do 6d10+33 or whatever. Wouldn't be a problem with my group to change it, but if I need further incentive I would add more weapon mods (mithril/adamantine magnetic rail accelerator barrel adds 1 damage per unrolled die, so now it does 6d10+39), but if you want to roll ALL the dice, sorry no extra mods.
That's not a bad idea.
I think it is an horrible idea, taking the fun out of the randomness

There is still randomness, albeit less so. Personally, I'd rather have less dice. Still random, just less of a pain.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Firewarrior44 wrote:
Given that the assumption is that you are using the games systems (this is implicit by playing the game unless stated otherwise) some people might take offense to the integrity of those systems being ignored, altered or otherwise subverted.
I tend to view systems as useful only insofar as they assist in telling stories (primarily as means of conflict resolution). Insofar as a system gets in the way of a good story, I feel it is my responsibility as the GM to ignore, alter, subvert, or replace the system. I feel like the CRB says as much, even.

It is true that you shouldn't let the rules, nor the dice, get in the way of a good story. However, something that one must look at is to make sure that the GM isn't getting in the way of a good story. That is a very difficult thing to do, and it's something I used to have trouble with in my early years of GMing.


Urlithani wrote:
Odraude wrote:
IonutRO wrote:
Odraude wrote:
I'm not too worried about losing equipment. Never had the mentality as a player that my gear was somehow sacred. That said, I am worried about the large amount of dice needed to roll. I know there is a similar issue in 13th Age and having done the whole average roll thing for it, it didn't feel all that fun personally.
How's that worse than casters rolling 10+ die?

Never said it was worse, but it is still a worrying issue. And unless I'm misunderstanding, I imagine that you'll be firing your rifle that does 12d10 damage multiple times in combat. And I'd imagine that everyone else at the table also gets to roll similar amounts of dice for their weapons, no? Same with enemies in combat. The time it takes to gather, roll, count, and sum the dice totals will slow down combat considerably when everyone is doing it, not just the casters. It's an issue that stalled my 13th Age game which has a similar scaling of dice.

Die rollers can mitigate that, but not everyone at my table is comfortable with using those. Grognards are a superstitious lot ;) Also, I don't like having smart phones at my tables because the youngings just can't seem to get off them during the game. I'll definitely wait and see when Starfinder comes out, but consider that a valid worry for the system.

I was thinking about averaging some of the die damage to cut it in half. Instead of 12d10, I might do 6d10+33 or whatever. Wouldn't be a problem with my group to change it, but if I need further incentive I would add more weapon mods (mithril/adamantine magnetic rail accelerator barrel adds 1 damage per unrolled die, so now it does 6d10+39), but if you want to roll ALL the dice, sorry no extra mods.

That's not a bad idea.


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When I consider fudging, I generally only apply it to dice results. That's generally how it has been defined to me. I don't fudge dice results and generally don't like it as a GM and Player. I roll the majority of my dice in the open. I think most people don't like fudging dice rolls because the dice are seen as a sort of neutral arbiter between the players and the GM. And if you are simply ignoring them, then it can seem like it's done to screw over the players. And sadly, in my experience, I generally see it done to harm the players rather than help them. I find that fudging is a symptom to something, rather than the actual problem.

Generally, when you fudge a dice result, it stems from a desire to maintain control over the situation and the results in favor of a certain outcome. Mind you, this isn't always negative. A good example is dialing back damage a bit to monsters because they are creaming the PCs. That is something done with a good intention and I cannot fault a GM for doing it. However, at least for me, there is a bit of a loss of tension and drama when I know the Gm will simply soft ball us a win. I enjoy feeling that danger when my character is in a bit over his head, or the possibility of failure can happen. It's not that I like an adversarial GM, but I do like legitimate consequences for failure.

So back to fudging and control, there are several methods to set up your encounters and obstacles where there is little need to change your dice rolls. Here are some things I do.

So balance? I generally don't balance encounters. While I may look at the Challenge Rating for a pound-for-pound gauge, I find that CR rarely works. It doesn't take into account players' tactics and crits and stuff. So I generally just eyeball stuff. But I let all my players know before I run a game that combat is more lethal and that sometimes, they might be in over their head. Especially if they just run in like it's a WoW raid and try to mow everyone down.

Secondly, I strongly encourage player ingenuity. One of the strengths of playing a TTRPG is that you can do clever things to circumvent and overcome an obstacle. So at the beginning of every campaign I run, I always let my players know that they can go at any situation how they want, not just running in with swords blazing, taking turns smacking each other. It just ends up making a better game. I once had players take on a red dragon several levels above them by causing a mudslide on the dragon. It was severely weakened and they went in for the kill. It was still a tough battle, but because the players executed a clever strategy that worked out, they were able to take on something much stronger than them and to this day, still talk about that battle. I find that new players are more likely to do this than experienced gamers, so sometimes I'll have an NPC do something clever to give them ideas.

Thirdly, I tend to remove binary pass-or-fail obstacles, instead preferring a more spectrum of failure. Tell me if this has happened to you. You guys are sneaking around and someone fails a stealth roll. Suddenly, the enemies are all somehow alerted to you and now you have to fight them anyways. And from then on, most people don't try using stealth again. That kind of bites, no? So I tend to make each failure bring about a new complication, rather than complete failure. So with the above example, instead of the enemies automatically firing at the PCs, I have them instead alert but unsure, going towards the sound that the PCs made. This gives the players a chance to recover from their failed stealth check, and it can even open up the chance to use disguises if they take down the enemies. I do the same in combat. Not everyone fights to the death like it's Final Fantasy. I'll have some enemies run away if the going gets tough, or, like in Cabbage's example, there can be ogres that are too dumb to do good tactics. That's not fudging, and while it may be softening the encounter some, I actually don't think that's a bad thing. I believe a variety of difficulties is great for a game. Sometimes I throw easy baddies at my players and other times I make them really difficult. Lately, I've been running an M-Space campaign and many of the xenofauna will spend a round to threaten the players before charging. And most will simply avoid or run away.

That leads to number four. When I make a scenario, I like to use obstacles that bring about complications and force the players to be clever and innovate. Looking at the example above, the players were just spotted and now stealth has a chance to go out of the window. They can't just stay hidden in the same place, so now, because of the danger, they have to improvise. They could fight and take down the soldiers, or cause a distraction, or go to another hiding spot. That simple little obstacle suddenly forced the players to have to think on their toes, sink or swim. Again, we are encouraging players to try different things, but not funneling them into one singular action.

For five, as the GM you are in charge of describing things. You are the players' senses, so I tend to overdescribe things. Things may seem obvious to us GMs because we are the ones thinking and writing the adventure, but the players can't see our minds or notes (and if they can, you have some bigger problems there mate :D ). So I tend to describe five key things in a location. That tends to get the creative juices going for making a plan. So if I say, for example, that there is a chandelier above some orks, then the players may think that hey, we can shoot it and drop it on the orks! So don't be afraid to get a bit detailed.

And six, I generally don't prep things like a story or plot. That's a big problem new GM's have is that they imagine everything coming together like their favorite novel or TV show. The problem with that is that in those mediums you have a single person or group that controls everything that happens in that book. Aragon has no say in his future or destiny. Neither does Luke Skywalker or Bruce Wayne. But in TTRPGs, the players control the characters and will do things that you won't expect. That's the nature of RPGs because it allows for creative freedom and lateral thinking to problems. It would be like having five authors all arguing over what happens to the Fellowship of the Ring. It just doesn't work out. So it's good to player to the advantages of the medium you are in.

What I generally do is that instead of prepping a full plot, I string up a series of goals that the antagonist is looking to meet for their end game. If the players don't act, or fail, then they complete a goal and go on to the next. But if the players do stop one of their goals, then you can improvise what would reasonably happen next as a consequence. Keep it loose and flexible. Also, I feel that if there is something that you simply want to happen and there isn't any way the players can feasibly interfere, then instead of rolling it, just let it happen. Using my example of goals above, if I really want the players to have an epic showdown against a cultist trying to summon Lucifer or Cthulhu or Ron Simmons, then I simply have all of their goals completed except the last one. And for the adventure, I would frame it more as a mystery leading up to the revelation that the world will succumb to Sweating to the 80's unless the PCs stop them. Again, that's not fudging and not really railroady, because the players are still using their wits and actions to solve a puzzle. Maybe they sneak into the ritual dressed as cultists, or maybe they come barging in on an APC.

Which brings me to my last way to minimize fudging dice. You have to get good at improvising. That's one of the skills a GM needs to cultivate to really step up their game, fudging or not. No plot or adventure module survives first contact with the players, ever. One of the most common mistakes GMs make is relying too hard on the adventure modules's structure and becoming inflexible when the players do something that the module doesn't cover. One of the best ways I did that was to force myself into situations in the middle of the game where I had to think on my toes or else the game would plop. Another thing I do is find random prompts and make adventures out of them in a set time limit. Start with half an hour, then shave off five minutes. I'm at the point where you can give me a verb-noun phrase and I can conceive of a basic plot in as little as five minutes. But it takes practice and dedication. And being in the right headspace.

Right now, there is this thought that the players against fudging are somehow entitled snowflakes with pitchforks making unreasonable demands. That's not what I want you to think about, although there are sadly some that do this. Most players against fudging have had adversarial GMs that screwed them over with it and don't like it. No one is saying that you have to cater to unreasonable demands, merely that there are other ways to provide an excellent, sometimes even better playing experience without having to change dice results. Really, this isn't about player agency or GM fiat, but a more mutual respect to make the game fun.

If you fudge, you aren't a bad GM, full stop. Especially Cabbage, who is doing it to make their game better. I cannot fault the intent, and I think it's great that as a GM, you still want to make your game as good as it can be. Most GMs get a bit full of themselves and believe that since they do all of the work, then it's their way or the highway. That's a bad way of thinking, whether you are a GM or a player (or in life in generaly). There are just better ways to get the desired results, and in addition, there are changes in the thought process when running a TTRPG. Whether it's an OSR sandbox, or a more story driven fox hunt (a more positive term for railroad I once read), these things really will help you out.

And this is coming from years of experience in many many game systems. I've been GMing for over half of my life and much of this I've learned the hard way. But currently, I've got a great group of players and we are having fun. I remain very transparent with my GMing and we are all pretty respectful of each other and what we want from the game.


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IonutRO wrote:
Odraude wrote:
I'm not too worried about losing equipment. Never had the mentality as a player that my gear was somehow sacred. That said, I am worried about the large amount of dice needed to roll. I know there is a similar issue in 13th Age and having done the whole average roll thing for it, it didn't feel all that fun personally.
How's that worse than casters rolling 10+ die?

Never said it was worse, but it is still a worrying issue. And unless I'm misunderstanding, I imagine that you'll be firing your rifle that does 12d10 damage multiple times in combat. And I'd imagine that everyone else at the table also gets to roll similar amounts of dice for their weapons, no? Same with enemies in combat. The time it takes to gather, roll, count, and sum the dice totals will slow down combat considerably when everyone is doing it, not just the casters. It's an issue that stalled my 13th Age game which has a similar scaling of dice.

Die rollers can mitigate that, but not everyone at my table is comfortable with using those. Grognards are a superstitious lot ;) Also, I don't like having smart phones at my tables because the youngings just can't seem to get off them during the game. I'll definitely wait and see when Starfinder comes out, but consider that a valid worry for the system.


I'm not too worried about losing equipment. Never had the mentality as a player that my gear was somehow sacred. That said, I am worried about the large amount of dice needed to roll. I know there is a similar issue in 13th Age and having done the whole average roll thing for it, it didn't feel all that fun personally.


Jhaeman wrote:
Odraude wrote:
I'm happy to see that rolling to confirm crits is gone. Always thought it was a bad rule that always deflated the awesomeness of rolling a crit.
Just remember that it goes both ways--it's great as a player not to have to confirm when you're attacking, but it's not so much fun when defending and the GM doesn't have to confirm a crit :)

I am a okay with that. Good to have the threat of death looming over every so often :D


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I'm happy to see that rolling to confirm crits is gone. Always thought it was a bad rule that always deflated the awesomeness of rolling a crit.


Yeah they mentioned a bunch of archetypes would be universal. I forget where though.


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I don't like jargon. I prefer they. It's established, though maybe not grammatically correct. But eh, it works for me.


If you ever get the chance, look up Mindjammer RPG. They have a really cool stellar system creator that I use along side Traveller Book 6: Scouts and this update to TB6:S about gas giants to get some fairly close to realistic systems (if that matters). It includes distances from stars and probable year length in there that I've used in my M-Space game. I have the standalone Mindjammer RPG for FATE, but I believe they recently updated it to Traveller.


Benjamin Medrano wrote:
Fardragon wrote:


The thing about the gap is it would seperate populations culturally in the same way as physical seperation seperates populations genetically.

So imagine a distant world in another system colonised by elves before/during the Gap period. They might react in a competely different way. So if the GM wants imperialistic crusading elves they can have them (whilst still using th official universe).

Yes, the GM could. But as far as I'm concerned, it'll be just as easy, if not easier, to make up my own universe since the core setting material will have no support for what I'm doing.

Anyway, no one is going to convince me. These are my personal feelings, and I'm trying to let Paizo know that what they did in this particular case and recently disappoints at least one person.

I have mixed feelings on the setting of Starfinder. I love the aliens and the Drift, but I hate the Gap and the current treatment of elves. I'll probably do what I usually do and cannibalize parts of it I like to use with the stuff I've made up.


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Yeah, further research into ants have revealed less of an authoritarian style of rule and something more akin to anarcho-mutualism. But they have such simple nervous systems that no one it really in charge, not even the queen and drones. So you can't attach a human government to an animal species that are essentially automatons. Most of their actions are run by a complex array of pheromones, not independent thought.

Also some colonies have multiple queens and ants don't each their males. That's more of a spider/mantis thing. Also the drones (breeding males and females) represent an important part of keeping the hive alive and making a new one. Fun fact, ants and bees reproduce haplodiploidly, which means that unfertilized eggs are always female while fertilized eggs are always male. This makes an unusual generation precedence where male drones have no fathers or sons, but they have grandfathers and grandsons.

I think it's a good idea to read about ants before using them as an example. They are fairly surprising. I know all this because I made an entire race of ant-like people for a game I am running.


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Aunders wrote:
JakBlitz wrote:
Crystal Frasier wrote:
JakBlitz wrote:
But it's still a...

Depends on whether or not you consider modern America a "patriarchy" vs a society with patriarchal values.

In all but the most conservative lashunta nations, there are no longer laws saying men can't hold higher office or be CEOs. But culturally, most of them—men and women—just sort of know that a man is too emotional and hormonal to handle that kind of pressure. Plus men have to take care of the kids, so why give that promotion to a man when you know he's just going to step out of the workforce eventually to be a dad? Ect ect.

Lots of cultural holdovers from very old traditions, but slow growth towards actual equality, rather than just equality on paper.

I read this and really can't say anything about other than now feels like this was thought through to push someones agenda. As stated before the Lashunta were already a very interesting race that occupied a unique place in the races of the RPG. I would rather not be fed real world politics in my fantasy role-playing games.
I don't know about anyone pushing an agenda. Science Fiction has always addressed subjects like this or even more drastic ideas. I like it, and even if I don't end up using it in any of my Campaigns it never hurts to have the fluff there for you to use. Real world politics have always fueled fiction, so I can only imagine Paizo intends to keep up with realworld problems.

A good example of this are Heinlein s characters, who he purposefully made minorities as a counter to heroes at the time. That said, rpgs are much more interactive and more done for fun, so not every one wants to deal with social issues at the table. This is especially true if you've dealt with them in real life.


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Archmage Variel wrote:
Torbyne wrote:
CKent83 wrote:
Archmage Variel wrote:
CKent83 wrote:

As far as elves being "snooty" and "xenophobic" goes, that's probably an attempt to keep them as familiar to traditional elves as possible, which is probably because this setting is going to have lots of races to play as. Keeping "vanilla" fantasy races as close to their default settings as possible is a way to give new players something familiar to grab onto.

Besides, who cares about elves with their, "I'm so much better than you," attitudes? Pffft!!!

;)

It's not an attitude if we are better than you.

Of course elves are xenophobic. It's much easier to lie to yourself about being superior without having to face reality whenever you look out your window.

I mean look at the starting ages, a human could graduate from wizard school at 17 years old. An elf, however, at the earliest graduates from the same school at 120 years. This is a severe deficit. Heck, a human could master the arcane arts before leaving their twenties, while an elf would still be learning the alphabet!

Ah, this one again... How long are baby elves in diapers again? :P

They are not diapers! They're ergonomic waste containment devices! And how long!?! I never take mine off!

All jokes aside. I'd think that the xenophobic sentiments of non-forlorn elves may be an interesting approach to roleplay off of. How does a elf react when he sees an alien for the first time. Elves aren't always the most adept species at diplomacy. What is their response? I like you, you're one of the good kasatha. Not all heroes are nice, and not all adventurers are heroes. Some are just xenophobic. So long as you can play the role without offending the people you're with, it's an interesting perspective. That said, I think the perspective of the forlorn elves is meant to be the more conventional approach to introducing elven characters into a campaign. Xenophobic Castrovelian elves seem like more of a plot device to me than...

Unfortunately, in my experience, whenever a player plays a bigoted character, it never really pans out as great as it sounds on paper. When a story is told about a bigoted character as a protagonist, it's usually following the story on how they meet a person of the race they hate and learn from each other, overcoming their bigotry. Remember the Titans is probably a good example of this, as is American History X (although a bit more violent). While most of the players I've played with that do it end up playing their character as more a joke character that makes snide remarks about drow or half orcs, with little character growth. Of course, seeing a PC get worse over the adventure is a type of character growth and is interesting, it also has the capability of rubbing players the wrong way. Especially people that have dealt with bigotry in the real world.

Maybe I've just been unlucky *shrug*


Jason Mosher wrote:

I feel like this was overlooked in the Elf conversation...

I wrote:


Archmage Variel wrote:


If the problem is that there has been a change to elves being more isolationist, I would argue that this is not the case. The elves in Pathfinder have largely been described as traditionally adopting an "isolationist" policy. However, in Pathfinder this policy is described as having had negitive impacts on the Elven communities, leading some Elven enclaves to break from their long held isolationist traditions. This reasoning helped to establish reasoning for elves existing as a prominent and core race, while retaining the flavor of elves as holding slight biases and high opinions of Elven tradition and superiority. The only break from this was the forlorn. The forlorn allowed Elven players to break from the Elven archetype of the haughty and naive mage/archer trope to that of a more solem and worldly adventurer. One who understands death and the consequences of time as they apply to the shorter lived races. Forlorn have known true loss. They have formed attachments as most elves would loathe to do, and they have payed the price for their experiences. In this way, Pathfinder was able to both maintain the trope, while allowing for a diverse range of character options. The elves of Starfinder need reason to no longer apply as such a core race to the Starfinder setting, but need to have been made so in such a way that a player can still feel that an elf in the wider setting of Starfinder can feel attached to the setting. I believe the forlorn of Starfinder fill that niche perfectly. They give the opportunity to represent a facet of Elven role play that plays off of their own personal perceptions of the wider universe, as well as the perceptions that their own race holds for them. How does a native Castrovelian elf see a forlorn adventurer. If such an adventurer can beat the solem knowledge that they will inevitably see their party die, would that be a success, or a willful acceptance ones of fate? I
...

That is true. Unfortunately, I still just do not like how the elves have become xenophobic and unilateralist. It's been done before.

Personally I really liked how Dragon Age did elves. I thought it was a more fresh take for them while still keeping them different enough from humans to matter. Same with The Witcher 3. For a long time, I kinda hated elves and preferred half orcs. But it turns out, I just dislike aloof protagonists with a superiority complex :)

But I don't want to take up the entire topic and make it about elves. So far, Castrovel seems to be an interesting planet. I really like the potential dangers there with the wildlife that the players can interact with while planetside. I'm actually running an M-Space campaign where the players are exploring a planet similar, so I can mine some good ideas off of this.


When you make an entire culture hateful and isolationist with a superiority complex, it's hard to root for them in a story. Especially if you're dealing with elven NPCs or worse, an elven PC.

And the thing is... this isn't new stuff. Nothing was changed, but merely amplified to an almost caricaturish level. The elves of Kyonin are depicted about the same way in Second Darkness, only not as bad. There isn't anything creative or new or interesting about their culture that hasn't been done in other mediums (Eldar for example). And yes while they are not a core race anymore, people are going to want to play elves in Starfinder because it's elves.

It just feels like a poor treatment on a race that had the potential for an interesting and engaging culture in a new setting. Why have a new setting when we'll just have the same old cultures? It is a missed opportunity. I hope that dwarves and half-orcs get something better than this.


Taking a break from the elves, I like the ksarik. I have a soft spot in my heard for tentacled dog creatures so this one is right up my alley. I love it's genetic ability like the Kroot. Definitely something that will be interesting.


Fardragon wrote:
Odraude wrote:
Fardragon wrote:
Ashanderai wrote:
Fardragon wrote:
Elves where already portrayed as xenophobic and isolationist in The Hobbit (1937). I'm not sure where the idea that this is a new thing has come from.
I don't think I have read anyone in this thread making that statement. Those who are critical of the elves in the article are saying that they don't like the xenophobic elves because it is a doubling down on the traditional stereotype instead of taking the opportunity to do cool 'Space Elvez'.

Dialling it up to 11 has always been a key component of space opera.

And what's the alternative? A race of jolly toymakers who live on an ice planet and work for a demiurge? A race of friendly but shy folk who love food, beer, and tobacco? A race that has purged all emotion and lives by a code of logic? People who live in trees, are permanantly high on drugs, and talk constantly about peace and love (until being exterminated by the first non-peace-and-love race they encounter)?

I'll take my elves arrogant and xenophobic, thanks.

Alternatively, they could be a race not defined by an oversimplified monoculture and instead could have complexity and depth beyond "we hate everyone."

Anything would be better than taking the most disliked traits of elves and making it worse. I'll pass.

You mean "they could be humans with pointy ears".

Not necessarily. It's definitely possible to keep to their own flavor while not making them oversimplified and stereotypical. Complexity and depth in a culture doesn't somehow equal bland. That's the issue I'm having is that the other aliens in Starfinder are fairly interesting and cool, with great ideas that are twists on standard space opera tropes. While the elves are just xenophobic isolationists, just like they've always been since Tolkien's time. Only turned up. It feels like a missed opportunity to do something unique and fun with the elves, and instead makes them even more unlikable and a caricature of elves. It's like no one learned from their mistakes with Second Darkness.

Besides, let's not forget that humans can be xenophobic and aloof isolationists. Arguably better at it than fake elves.


Fardragon wrote:
Ashanderai wrote:
Fardragon wrote:
Elves where already portrayed as xenophobic and isolationist in The Hobbit (1937). I'm not sure where the idea that this is a new thing has come from.
I don't think I have read anyone in this thread making that statement. Those who are critical of the elves in the article are saying that they don't like the xenophobic elves because it is a doubling down on the traditional stereotype instead of taking the opportunity to do cool 'Space Elvez'.

Dialling it up to 11 has always been a key component of space opera.

And what's the alternative? A race of jolly toymakers who live on an ice planet and work for a demiurge? A race of friendly but shy folk who love food, beer, and tobacco? A race that has purged all emotion and lives by a code of logic? People who live in trees, are permanantly high on drugs, and talk constantly about peace and love (until being exterminated by the first non-peace-and-love race they encounter)?

I'll take my elves arrogant and xenophobic, thanks.

Alternatively, they could be a race not defined by an oversimplified monoculture and instead could have complexity and depth beyond "we hate everyone."

Anything would be better than taking the most disliked traits of elves and making it worse. I'll pass.


I'm disappointed in the treatment of elves. It's an unusual step backwards I feel, making them even more aloof and xenophobic and unlikable. I feel like given all of the ways they made many of the other alien races fresh and fun, this was a weird choice to take a stereotype that arguably many are tired of and bringing it more to the front. Definitely a missed opportunity imo.

As for the change in the Lashunta, I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I disagree that their depiction was problematic. On the other hand, I actually prefer this change to the lashunta. I find aliens that have different biological functions and capabilities to be cool, especially to see how a culture is built around it. And their ability to have different results of their puberty interests me moreso than the previous sexual dimorphism. So I think the retcon made the lashunta more interesting to me than the more cliche original pulp trope. Also I like their decentralized, more libertarian government style of a confederacy of city-states. Too often you just see either a space democracy or space empire, so it's cool to see something different and fresh in sci fi.

And for me, I really wanted to hear more about the formians. But I like ant people, so that's admittedly a bias for me.


I think in the future, it would be a better idea to simply make a Google Document that has a link in the first post. That way you can simply edit it and it'll be in the first post.

A bit too late admittedly, but next time! :D


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Faelyn wrote:
Odraude wrote:
I like her hair. I wish I could dye my hair and not look dumb.
Amen... back in my younger days I tried dying my hair black with red tips (like blood red). Within two days the red had faded to copper and I quickly earned the nickname Duracel from my buddies...

Yeah, I feel you on that. I'll just stick with my black hair.


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I like her hair. I wish I could dye my hair and not look dumb.


With tidally locked, since it's so close, it could have what's called a lobster ocean at where the sun is hitting it directly. Any closer and it would probably look more like Venus.


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I could see the drone stabbing you with a cocktail of antibiotics and nanomachines for healing.


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Good to see my favorite alien puppers back in action.


Jason Mosher wrote:

I agree with the obsolescence of knowledge skills in any setting in or post-information age. What should be abstracted for stealth should also be abstracted for knowledge, but the use of tech should be more rationalized.

As I posted elsewhere, technology-based skills should replace knowledge skills IMHO. Each character in any space opera or sci-fi story had their areas of technical expertise, and that should be translated into SF. Instead of the generic "computers" checks we saw in the playtest video, there should be "Computers: Security; Engineering; Science; Communications; Databases; AI; etc."

Again, IMO, this should be the impact of technology on game mechanics. Hell, if this isn't the case I may house rule it. It just makes sense.

I disagree to a point. As we've seen in today's world, there is a great deal of misinformation on the internet. And that having the information to do something doesn't actually mean you can use it effectively. If I ready a WikiHow on doing brain surgery, that doesn't mean I can suddenly do it. Or that the WikiHow was even correct.

I think knowledge skills still have a place in sci fi games, both as a way to do specialized things and as a way to spot misinformation.


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Depends on the ship I imagine. Star Wars and Traveller low balled how good computers would be in the future. Eclipse Phase gives some good ideas on how to do Stealth. Thing to remember is that not every ship will have those capabilities. Especially low end military and most civilian ships.

There's also hacking. It's doubtful that ships will have super advanced sapient virtual intelligence, so you can hack the ship's computer to leave you undetected from such measures.

As for knowledge checks, the way I've seen it done and I do them is to have basic knowledge freely available, but specific stuff that requires a degree take a bit longer to find, and with a higher chance of finding misinformation. Just because it's on the internet doesn't mean it's true :)

Also it's better to focus on using information in an age where information can be found fairly easily.


I second dropfleet commander on that one. Their models are gorgeous. Firestorm Armada has some good, cheap ships that you can't go wrong with. Now if only they could get their s%+@ together for the game...


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Legos. That is all you need.


Fardragon wrote:

Yeah, the original Traveller (which I played a lot) did have some rules for improving skills, but it wasn't as a reward for adventuring. Basically, you had what you got at character creation (which tended to lead to PCs being quite old at the start of the game). But players aren't expected to be motivated by xp gain.

Star Trek is a more extreme example, since not only is skill progression minimal, there is no gold or loot either. Players are expected to be motivated simply by a desire to resolve the story. That worked fine for our group, but I'm sure there are some players who won't move unless there is the prospect of fat loot on the table. Indeed, I suspect that is the reason for D&D being more successful than other PnP rpgs.

Honestly, I always found that mindset silly, especially in a game where everything including the loot is imaginary. That's why I play the game to have fun, face challenges, and chill with friends. Because gp isn't real.


Reading Cepheus Engine, which is a retroclone of T1, there were rules for increasing skills. You could also get some stat boosts, but the importance of progression was based more on getting more money and doing the adventure, rather than getting experience for better stats. Which for me, I've honestly preferred adventuring and gaming for fun and the excitement rather than getting loot and XP.


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I was right. Where's my cookie? ;)


I figure it'd be yeh-SO-key


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Honestly, I'm glad they went technomancer for lashunta. Mystic would have felt like much more of the obvious choice and this seems a lot more interesting to me.


Stellagama has a PWYW pdf that has a great deal of the stars around the sun. It's come in handy in my sci fi games, so I think you guys might enjoy it. It's more of the standard Traveller hexagon star map, but that is a bit simpler on the table than going full on 3d Cartesian map.

The link is here


There is also the level of automation that a ship can have. Earlier science fiction like Star Wars and Trek don't have a significant level of automation since that didn't fit the thoughts of science at the time. Especially Star Wars has a level of analogue tech (which I personally dig) that requires a person to run it. So ships like that would require a larger crew.

I like having the option to pay for automation for certain functions. Gunnery, Life Support, Engineering... things that you don't need a lot of people for. Maybe it costs less than hiring out a person, but you get a more limited use out of it. Or conversely, it costs more than hiring a person but there isn't a monthly salary/wage to pay the computer.

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