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Lord-Mayor Haldmeer Grobaras

Owen K. C. Stephens's page

Developer. Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Society Member. 4,201 posts (4,205 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Chris Shaeffer wrote:

Hi Owen, I just want to reiterate my question from the other day:

Chris Shaeffer wrote:

I glanced through previous questions, but didn't see this one. Let me know if I am being redundant.

The rules calls for a 24x30 grid and for 72 ppi, and says that translates to 1728 x 2160. What it doesn't say is that that is the strict maximum size allowed for the image itself.

My question is: Are we allowed to leave a little breathing room around the sides to keep the grid from going right up to the edge of the image? Just for visual purposes, really.

Thanks!

I'd stick to the dimensions given in the rules.

Paizo Employee Developer

Pizza Lord wrote:
If we were to design a mobile location, like a map of a ship or galleon, or some other location that could conceivably be oriented in a different direction, would that need a compass rose?

Looking at the Official Rules, I find this:

"Your map must have a compass rose indicating north, and a scale ("one square = 5 feet")."

I'd use that to pick an answer for your question.

Paizo Employee Developer

JPSTOD wrote:
Owen I can't get the link to work, I am getting a Notice that I have requested access to that page to many times to fast.

That's because I pasted the wrong thing into my link. :P

Try it now.

Paizo Employee Developer

Petty Alchemy wrote:
I think you are still not understanding the system. I'll look up the post that explains it, unless someone has a link handy.
Vic Wertz wrote:
we're using a modified version of the Schulze Method. And the most important thing is the number of voters who prefer A to B or A to C or B to C; whether you personally prefer A to B to C isn't a factor.

Paizo Employee Developer

JPSTOD wrote:
Where, When Did they Release 72DPI as the Offical Scale yet for exported File?

In the Official Rules for round 2.

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Nazard wrote:
So do the 50 words have to contain the map's title, like the Round 1 items?

I always recommend checking each round's Official Rules

In this case the statement "NO other material may be presented beyond the map's name, what is on the map itself, and the 50-word descriptive text." should make it clear that the name is separate from the 50-word descriptive text.

Paizo Employee Developer

Papasteve08 wrote:

And that is if they don't do another cull, or announce the top 100 also.

We will present a Top 100 (items 37-100), though not what order item are at within that list.

Paizo Employee Developer

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Regarding Pit Crews:

You need to do all the creative work on an entry yourself. You need to not do anything that identifies which entry is yours.

Beyond that, pit crews are fine.

What we are looking for is someone who does a phenomenal job producing material as a freelancer game/adventure designer. It's extremely common for freelancers to have a small group they have read over their submissions. My wife read everything I submitted as a freelancer for the first 6-7 years of my career. Groups such as the Werecabbages, Freelancer Forge, and Four Horsemen create semiformal guilds of freelancers who can exchange thoughts and give opinions on one-anothers material.

I used to call such folks "alpha readers," by which I meant the people you have read something first, before you sent it to your editor/developer/publisher. The term "pit crew" has popped up for superstar and I rather like it. These people aren't the driver or the engineer. They just kick the tires and see if the oil needs changing.

Without our tight deadlines, and the rules of doing your own work and staying anonymous until judging is over, I am fine with contestants getting the opinion of trusted friends or colleagues to give a first level of feedback.

And having someone on your pit crew is no guarantee they'll vote for your item over others.

Paizo Employee Developer

wabbitking wrote:
hopeing for a black blade/bladebound equivalent for the occultist.

Sorry, not the direction I went with it. :D

Paizo Employee Developer

12 people marked this as a favorite.
Codanous wrote:
Everything about this book sounds perfect! If the next player companion is this good I will probably invest in the subscriber status for them! Owen and the Free lancers did some incredible work it sounds like.

My freelancers have done amazing jobs with the often very challenging material I have asked them to write. I think the next several PCs are going to continue our current trends, so if you like what we've been doing, I think you are going to continue to be happy.

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:


Fascinating!
Who the heck is Owen K. C. Stevens?

:D

Since we're all chiming in, I'll put $5 on "Head of Catering for the Death Star."

I was working on the never-released Bases and Battlestations book for the Star Wars RPG when that routine came out. My friends about had a fit.

Paizo Employee Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Zombieneighbours wrote:

Owen, any technical restrictions such as max/min canvas size, max/min dpi, file types, and so on. Would be most welcome.

There will be specific dpi rules and possible other technical specifications, which are being ironed out.

Paizo Employee Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Zombieneighbours wrote:
I also just realised that the map I had been working on, is almost certainly not appropreate. I had read encounter location as adventure location. As a result Ive done a small dungeon, rather than a location for a single encounter.

If it is a previously unmapped area of Golarion, fits on the grid, is to the correct scale, and would work well for encounters, it is appropriate. A small dungeon is no different from a city corner in this regard.

Paizo Employee Developer

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

Fascinating!

Who the heck is Owen K. C. Stevens?

:D

Taylor Hubler wrote:
This what happens when I don't get my nap.
BartonOliver wrote:

Batman, obviously.

(oh and me much bad at spelling sorry)

No worries folks, the smiley was there for a reason. Heck, I have a pewter flask that a friend who had known me for YEARS had engraved and gave to me for my birthday that says "Owen K. C. Stevens."

So, I'm used to it. :)

Paizo Employee Developer

13 people marked this as a favorite.

Here are part of the official rules, let's see if they clear this up for you. :)

• Entry must be a map of a fantasy-themed location on Golarion appropriate for an encounter. You may create a map for an encounter set in a city, wilderness, dungeon, or any other fantasy Golarion location appropriate for an encounter map. You may present a map designed for a specific encounter, or one useful for a variety of encounters.
• Each entry should have a name for the map which may be generic (such as “Haunted Alchemy Shop”) or specific (such as “The Flooded Cauldron”).
• The entry should include any notes about what various symbols, lines, or shaded areas mean, or what each area on the map represents. The map need not be ready-to-publish, but a cartographer given nothing but the map should be able to create an accurate, useful, interesting publishable final map without any other information.
• The entry may include up to 50 words of explanation not presented on the map itself. This may be used to explain symbols and shading (to increase map clarity by not presenting that information on the map), or may be used to describe background about the location presented, or suggest a specific encounter that may take place at the location. This is not enough wordcount to present a full encounter (including things such as tactics and monster statistics), so don’t attempt to do so. This challenge is about presenting an interesting and clear map, not about designing a specific game encounter.

Paizo Employee Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Taylor Hubler wrote:
I'm not saying that Own K. C. Stevens is Batman. I am just saying that no one has ever seen them in the same room together.
BartonOliver wrote:
The first two items are used to decide how your votes count. If you pick the worse item (as determined by Owen K. C. Stevens) all your votes actually count for the opposite item.

Fascinating!

Who the heck is Owen K. C. Stevens?

:D

Paizo Employee Developer

Thanks, folks!

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
GM_Solspiral wrote:
-The reason we finish by Halloween is so they can run Season 10 after Thanksgiving and season 10 will have completely different rules!

I can confirm that we won't run Season 10 until sometime after Thanksgiving...

Paizo Employee Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Thomas LeBlanc wrote:
Ah, that clarifies things, Neil was listed as a Round 5 Judge only. Did y'all bribe him with letting him publish his precursor adventure to Realm of the Fellnight Queen?

There aren't a *lot* of people who don't work in the Paizo offices I'd ask to be a judge for every round, but Neil is absolutely on that very short list. He's been a huge part of this contest and community every year, and I was thrilled when he agreed to the massive time commitment being a judge for the entire contest.

No bribery needed. :)

Paizo Employee Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Jacob W. Michaels wrote:

Of the people I think most known for using a theme:

Steve Miller got knocked badly for it, but IMO that was as much because many felt he didn't respond to the criticisms of his Round 4 pitch when it formed part of his Round 5 pitch as opposed to the fact that he used a theme.

On the other hand, last year's winner, Monica Marlowe, got a lot of praise for her R2 map and I think that her use of it and her R4 encounter in her adventure pitch was well-received.

I think Jacob's analysis is spot-on. Which to me means the answer really is "It depends on how you do it. Do the thing allowed by the rules that inspires you most."

Paizo Employee Developer

Taylor Hubler wrote:
Will there be something that narrows the focus of the map's theme, such as "urban" or "related to giants"?

I think "Encounter that fits on a flip-map, in the flip-map style," is plenty of focus this year.

Paizo Employee Developer

dana huber wrote:
37... through 11? Typo? :P

Already fixed!

Paizo Employee Developer

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I had concerns about the Top 100 list last year, when I was host and it was essentially my call.

This year we'll be making a list that shows items numbers 37 (just short of the last alternate slot) through 100, though they won't be presented in ranked order (you'll know if an item was *somewhere* between #37 and #100, but not exactly what number it is).

Combined with the fact that the round 1 voting is all fan votes this year, that handles my concerns from last year, so I can happily provide the info.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Geramies wrote:
The fact that you use your worst CMB and the enemy's best CMD...on top of all the prerequisites to even get this feat as an earlier poster mentioned. I am curious as to who wrote this feat, and whether this was intended or not? I believe it should be the other way around (your best CMB against enemy's worst CMD between the two)

Your worst CMB against foe's best CMD is Absolutely not a mistake.

First, to be clear, it's you worst CMB IF that's different for these two maneuvers. It's not your worst for any possible maneuver. Same is true for the "best" of the foe's CMD.

Both dirty trick and grapple are normally standard actions. They aren't even maneuvers you can swap out for melee attacks. Each is it's own action, so it isn't even normally possible to attempt both in the same round.

The intent of this feat is to allow you to try to do two rounds worth of maneuvers in one round, by combing them. Grab someone's cloak and wrap it around them, holding the ends? Dirty trick (entangle) and grapple (making it harder for the foe to manage either a CMB check or Escape Artist check to get free). Grab their arms with one hand and their head with the other, gouging their eyes? Dirty trick (blind) plus grapple. And so on.

There's no good reason why it should be easier to grapple-and-blind someone than just grapple them. This feat is NOT designed to allow you to bypass the carefully-constructed defenses of someone who is grapple-resistant by boxing their ears while you also try to pin them down.

Instead, it's an option to attempt something harder for greater effect, in the long tradition of such feats dating back to Power Attack. Rather than give you an actual penalty, this feat just says since you are attempting to perform TWO maneuvers simultaneously, the thing you are least expert in determines your offensive capability, and if your foe is particularly good at defending against either kind of attack, that defense doesn't mysteriously evaporate when you try something harder and more complicated.

Paizo Employee Developer

9 people marked this as a favorite.

Season 9 round 2-5 will be:

Round 2: Top 32: Create a Map
Note that this is specifically a flip-map style encounter map, and we'll provide a grid for folks to download if they so desire.
Round 3: Top 16 Create a monster and a Stat Block
Round 4: Top 8: Design an Encounter with a Map
Note that we will provide specific flip-maps for contestants to choose from for this encounter.
Round 5: Top 4: Submit an Adventure Proposal

Paizo Employee Developer

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Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Someone else was talking about the feyborn (I think that was the name) racial rebuild options in Heroes of the Wild. Could that serve as the foundation that you could then build into a racial version of a "variant multiclass" for a half-faerie dragon?

I am certainly always watching reactions to the fey born options, which was my personal brainchild, to see if we should do something similar for other heritage options.

Paizo Employee Developer

djones wrote:
Also throwing in a vote for the The Genius Guide to the Time Thief, someone should give that Owen KC Stephens guy a job.

:D

Paizo Employee Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Feros wrote:
Fame and renown, huh? All I seem to have gotten was shaken heads and whispered murmurs...

Shhhhhh. Don't shatter the illusion. :)

Paizo Employee Developer

The contest is to provide a sketch that can be used to create an encounter flip-map. Don't do something that would;t work with the flip-map format. I'm not going to go into everything that can conceivably mean, but obviously if you just drew a picture of adorable baby pandas across the grid that would be DQ'd, even if they were really cute baby pandas.
If, on the other hand, it was two enormous stone statues of baby lands and you were presenting the Shrine of the Baby Panda in the Dragon Empire that might not be a winning map, but it's be a legitimate entry.

Paizo Employee Developer

Season 9 will be it's own tag. We felt everyone who earned Superstar 2015 tags and positions deserved to have their accomplishments be given the same respect and uniqueness as all previous years, where you had one chance to get fame and renown. So the progressions is Superstar 2014 - Superstar 2015 - Superstar Season 9.

Paizo Employee Developer

All items that weren't DQ'd were part of the pool immediately, Keep in mind that a random system means you'll see many things 2, 3, 4, or more times before you see everything once.

We're still weighing the volume of judging before we make a final call on when the first cull will be, but I'll keep folks posted.

Paizo Employee Developer

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Well, I have my pdf!

For Calistria-specific options, there are two feats.

One is the Trick Spell metamagic feat, that allows you to have single-target enchantment spells also cause the target to attempt to dirty trick itself.

The other is Wasp Familiar, which allows a worshiper of Calistria of any class to gain a cat-sized wasp as a familiar. It normally has statistics similar to a flying greensting scorpion, but if you could already normally gain a familiar and are at least 5th level, it instead has statistics similar to an imp (with an unnatural lust spell-like ability replacing the invisibility spell-like ability).

Paizo Employee Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.

*I* find this interesting, even if no-one else does. :)

Paizo Employee Developer

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chaoseffect wrote:
How long is it supposed to be until the first cull anyway, do you know?

That's going to depend in part on how heavy voting is. We don't want to do a cull before every item has been considered multiple times, but we also don't want to make people stare at the same unpopular choices more often than necessary.

I expect the first cull to be within 2 days, but exact timing isn't something we're going to know for a while.

DQs are still happening regularly now, as voters bring possibilities to our attention.

Paizo Employee Developer

Inside the grid. Part of the map itself.

Paizo Employee Developer

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It will be a 1 square = 5' scale "encounter" style map. We'll be putting up a grid folks can download before Round 2 officially starts. You'll get 50 words of prose to go with your map, if you want to give some context. I'll talk about it a bit in tomorrow's blog post, with enough details for people to get started.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Mike Kimmel wrote:
The apparatus of the crab (as it was renamed in Pathfinder) is indeed a wondrous item, so similar items could also be wondrous items.

Correct.

Paizo Employee Developer

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What is and isn't in the PRD can impact freelance writing. For example, we have to reference anything not in the core rulebook (as an internal rule), and at the front of products mention what books we reference by abbreviation within that book. Since it's important that this list not look ominously long, and the PRD is made up of hardback rulebooks we often have to reference for a product, things outside that need to be kept to just a few references per product.

Similar, as mentioned able, 3pp can't (generally) use the name of any Paizo product that has material not in the PRD (since that's the list of products allowed by the Pathfinder compatibility license).

It's a useful thing to be aware of as a freelance writer, and obviously very easy to check.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Thanks to Bob_Loblaw for the review!

Paizo Employee Developer

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Also, we want to keep the field open. If everyone who has hit Top 8 but not otherwise been published enough to prevent entering was still eligible, I suspect a huge percentage of our top 32 each year would be veteran top-8-ers. And while that's great as an opportunity for those to refine their talent, it both makes it harder for new folks to make that first cut, and doesn't encourage people in the top 8 to work to get out there and get published.
The best way to improve writing skills to to actually write projects, and with the number of 3pp out there, anyone in the top 8 should be bale to start getting work (that may not pay well, but pays better than being top 8 in this contest), which is better for their career in the long term.
All that said, this is a legacy rule I inherited, and I have been eying it suspiciously. I want to make sure there's a reason for everything we do with the contest.

Paizo Employee Developer

R D Ramsey wrote:
Is it Item, Map, Monster, Encounter, Proposal?

Details will be forthcoming in advance of each round, but yes.

Paizo Employee Developer

While you can be inspired by anything, no don't use any game mechanics that aren't in the PRD.

To be clear, Golarion lore is fine. It's only rules we're restricting to the PRD.

Paizo Employee Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Here's something for warpriests beginning at 4th that a paladin and ranger can never do, and a cleric can't do until 13th:
quicken still surmount affliction
Blinded? Dazed? Hell, have you been *paralyzed*? No problem the warpriest will spent a single fervor for a quicken still surmount affliction and keep going.
At 7th quicken still dispel magic can help overcome any spell on you that hasn't totally neutralized you. You know how people say the save-or-suck spells are the most powerful part of the game? When you have options like quicken still remove curse, quicken still remove paralysis, and even just quicken still remove sickness
Hell I proved quicken still lesser restoration was such an amazing option, I suggested the design team remove it from the game (and the errata did, which is a *good*thing, so we don't get quicken still ceremony and other odd options.
Don't worry, you don't need your spells for combat buffs. Your blessings and sacred weapon and sacred armor can handle that. And if you decide one of these spells isn't needed in a day? Spontaneously turn it into a cure spell.
So then the question becomes, what concept do you want you ultimate self-fixer warpriest to play with when not making it really, really hard for other spellcasters to take him out?

Paizo Employee Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I'd do Void and Wood.

And I'd have Mark Seifter write them.

Paizo Employee Developer

Kobold Cleaver wrote:

Well, two weeks' warning before the deadline, one week's warning before the contest starts. :P

I'm not broken by it or anything. I just don't think it's good. Which I got the sense Paizo was in agreement on—like you yourself said, it would have been better had they been able to manage longer notice.

I DO agree longer would be better.

I just don't want people thinking we *expect* anyone to take time off for this contest. You CAN- you are all free to make your own choices and I trust you to live your lives in ways that make sense to you - but we certainly expect that (for Round one, especially) this can be done in off hours.

(And if your life doesn't give you any of those, you probably don't have time to write the module if you win, sadly.)

Paizo Employee Developer

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The blog post went up July 31, and we already have the full Round 1 rules in place, so everyone has more than two weeks warning including at least two weekends.

The entry requirement is a no-more-than 300-word magic item, using the standard Pathfinder rules.

The contest does not assume you need to take time off to accomplish this task in 16 days. If you do need time off to do that, you are very unlikely to succeed in writing a 64-page adventure if you win, unless you can quit your job for months.

A single 2-page spread with art is about 1400-1500 words. If your writing rate is 300 words in 16 days, it would take 80 days to write 2 pages, and 1,280 days to write a 32 page book.

Even if a contestant takes several days (to ensure they are of high quality), all entrants should be able to accomplish this task in no more than 3-4 1-2 hour sessions, and that's assuming you double-check everything, and always sleep on major decisions.

Paizo Employee Developer

Scott LaBarge wrote:
So going forward, is RPGSS going to be every 6 months, or irregularly scheduled, or what? I'm curious how it will be timed after this.

It absolutely won't be every 6 months.

Everything else is dependent on enough factors that I can't give you a firm answer. It has technically been "irregularly scheduled" each year all along, but that schedule always hit roughly during the holiday season. We don't know yet if this is a move we are sticking with for a long time, or not.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Feros wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Okay, stupid question time, does magic armor refer to only armor or to both armor and shields? Since they're usually grouped together like armor/shields.
Last time around it included all shields, so no reason to assume otherwise.

To be clear and official: shields are considered armor for purposes of this round of this contest.

So, yes. :)

Paizo Employee Developer

Jester David wrote:

A week's notice. This still feels short...

It is. I wish we could have managed longer notice. Due to dozens of other constraints, it simply wasn't possible.

Paizo Employee Developer

Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
Question for Official Rules Clarification: I have 4 author credits but 0 design credits with Paizo. The rules say those with 3 or more design credits are ineligible. Do author credits count as design credits for ineligibility?

Assuming those author credits were for game products, they do count as design credits and thus you are too successful to enter this contest.

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