Except that with magic, you have options for getting information from an unwilling target beyond torture. I imagine that a paladin's enhanced interrogation method of choice would be to tie someone to a chair and charm or dominate them to get them to answer questions. Failing that there is always reading someone's mind to find out what they know.
Given actual morality, these magical options would probably be equally as wrong and illegal as torture, but within the Good-Evil dichotomy even a paladin can do them, you just need to think outside the box.
Sadly, I wouldn't recommend it in PFS. Save it for a real campaign if you have the opportunity to play in one.
You can't work with the DM in PFS so you just get shafted by table variation. Basically the worst potential for this is with stealth if you have a DM of the "selective realism" school of interpreting the rules. (cf. the heinously acrimonious clusterf!&! that is the last three threads on the topic).
I think your characters are missing a bit of the flavor in their roles in order to have more well rounded equipment choices, which while nice will tend to put some people off.
I disagree. Especially in PFS, where you cannot negotiate cool stuff with the DM, it is important to realize and accept that you are not going to get your intended playstyle or even possibly flavor at 1st level. I think that in general, being able to actually get started with the meat of your character after a few PP as opposed to stretching and straining to get everything right off the bat is completely reasonable, even more so now that a modicum of system mastery is required to play the newest scenarios effectively.
The choices made for some of these starter characters are a great way to start conversation about good build choices, which is more valuable even than a character base to a new player who intends to continue playing.
On a personal note: if I know I will never have the opportunity to make up wealth by level, I will never play down. As there is typically only a single table running at my location, this means I'll have to choose to sit out. Playing down with a mixed group of level 1-2 characters is now permanently damaging to my characters progression. If this means the group no longer has a legal table, I am sorry.
This illustrates the most important reason that all of the proposed "fixes" to WBL are dangerous. Namely that they disproportionately screw over people who have the least opportunity to play, and more worryingly potentially damage PFS in general in places entirely in the most extreme instances.
More importantly perhaps, it makes it almost prohibitively difficult to organize small gamedays in a way that expands the player-base. Places with multiple events each week each with multiple tables are great and all, but where PFS has a chance to really really shine compared to other OP organizations is in more marginal areas.
The leadership has in the last year done a great job of starting to make PFS relevant to that majority of players outside big cons and major US metropolitan areas, so based on his track record so far, I trust Mike to have the perspective that many of the big names around here are missing and not hold PFS back from where it needs to go in the years to come.
It is however, made mostly of corpses
So they can make a D&D movie in which wizards blast people with magic missiles and Melf's acid arrows, but they certainly CANNOT, under any circumstances, make a movie about Drizzt Do'Urden or Raistlin or set in Faerun or on Krynn. The rights to those worlds, characters and novels remains firmly locked at Hasbro and Wizards, and they are not parting with them without a dump truck of money.
Welp. So much for ever having a good D&D movie if the rights are actually split like that. Hasbro is one of the worst bad guys when it comes to intellectual property claims, so I'd never in a million years trust them to come to any kind of agreement over rights.
I agree that the only successful films are going to come from the side of whoever has the rights to the various settings as once again copyright ensures that people are able to make creative works. Oops.
On another note, I'll have to try to get hold of a copy of this third movie. Sounds like a great movie for a drinking game if nothing else.
They do tend to think about things more through the lens of Cons, I think, which isn't wrong, but could give a different picture than the whole.
I think that this is probably the root of the problem. PFS had done a great job of being relevant beyond big cons, but the campaign really is still intended for cons and thus the scenarios get written for cons with as many characters as possible crammed at each table and the cracks appear so to speak when we look to more community oriented games.
Chris Mortika wrote:
Yea, that came out a little bit critical of organized play in general didn't it?
Organized play makes up for it's deficiencies in depth and customizability by being far less demanding on one's schedule and that is a perfectly reasonable trade. That is the strength that PFS gets to play to, and I am grateful for those strengths and the fact that PFS makes an effort to be relevant beyond cons and stuff since I really live out in the stix when it comes to gaming.
The reason that I characterized it as a failing is that while light casual fare is great, it does lack that depth and ability to make great characters that a real campaign offers.
Nothing in Pathfinder works that way. Nothing lets you determine what I am doing, where I am standing, how I am facing, etc. Nothing, with the very explicitly defined exceptions I noted above.
You get to decide what you are doing and where you are facing. You are facing into the woods and watching for anything dangerous. If the rogue gets the drop on you you are obviously just not doing a very good job.
Snark aside, your position is idiotic. When an enemy trips you, that is the DM's die roll telling you what you are doing (falling down). Ditto for drag and reposition. Failing your perception check in this instance is the same (you are not paying attention). Are you going to try to argue that combat maneuvers and any other negative consequences cannot happen to your character because it is someone else's die roll?
Of course your concentration can lapse even if you are actively watching for something, even if you are going to try to hold out that everyone is looking in every direction always by RAW. You still get to describe the specific flavor of that lapse in attention if you so desire. The crunch is just that the rogue gets the drop on you.
Does that clarification really mean that currently by RAW, you can't use stealth to hide from your enemies if your friends can see you?
Yes, this is a textbook example of why it is so necessary for a good DM to be able to see when RAW is illogical or just plain stupid and adjust accordingly.
Home rules, people, they're not a bad word. They are in fact the greatest litmus test of a DM's skill and understanding of the rules. Also generally preferable to RAW.
homegame ruling it's OK by paladin code is one thing, saying it's not poision when it specifically says so (and is supposed to count as such vs. immunities and save bonuses like dwarves or constructs) is ridiculous and doesn't achieve any roleplaying purpose.
Actually I was saying that the problem is that PFS effectively tosses out meaningful player-DM discussion since the DM cannot act on that discussion, thus loosing arguably the most important dimension of the game, working with as opposed to alongside the DM to tell a story.
It is not ridiculous to say that the paladin can use their spit and it does serve a roleplaying purpose, namely letting the player play the character that they want and also RAW for the paladin code is stupid. It is never ridiculous to bend the rules ever so slightly to facilitate a player's concept. Being able to adjust when there is a problem with RAW (and there always will be some little thing given how many fiddly bits the rules have) is called good DMing and its absence in PFS is a cause of the chronic failing of all organized play.
I like games where there is plenty of backstory and details to discover in the world and specific adventure locations. When I write adventures I always try (and hopefully succeed a decent amount of the time) at giving each place a history that the players can notice if they are observant.
Also a good game needs communication between the players and the DM and for the DM to have a willingness to bend the rules at least a little bit to accommodate the both role of cool and to facilitate the concepts and character arcs that the players want to tell.
The best way to do it PFS legal would be to be a Spire Defender, but in PFS I think that it is a hard restriction to elves only, even though it is a pre-APG archetype, so you can keep either the tiefling bit or the whip bit. Otherwise you'd have to save the concept for a real campaign.
Otherwise, you are right that it is too feat intensive.
I was thinking that you could use Heirloom Weapon alternatively to get a whip, but that interacts mechanically weirdly with Bladebound because of the restrictions of PFS, although the flavor and logic are both perfectly spot on. This is another reason that I would save it for a real campaign where you can communicate with the DM about your concept.
Reluctantly I am forced to agree that you probably shouldn't try this in PFS. It is unfortunate, but there is way too much table variation driven by DMs who crack down and play paladins completely circumscribed. There are character concepts that are really only workable in a real campaign where you have the chance to communicate and work things out with the DM.
My opinion is that saying that the nagaji spit is not poison would be an obvious interpretation given what is said above about culture and natural abilities. However, even obvious fixes are the providence of proper campaigns and not organized play.
20. This book is not written on paper or parchment but instead is etched in unidentifiable characters on pages that are made of translucent glass, impossibly finely worked so that the pages are just as flexible as parchment.
21. On the Nature of the So-Called Gods This book is probably fascinating and/or heretical based on the title alone. Unfortunately, you will never find out, since the pages have all been burned away leaving only the covers untouched.
22. Being an Account of the deeds of Valanthe the Wanderer during the Fall and the Coming of the Void This ponderous tome should by all rights be a riveting retelling of the adventurers of a magus named Valanthe as she travels through the end of the world. However, it is borderline incoherent as the chapters seem to be written out of chronological order, including some that take place up to fifteen years in the future.
23. This volume is not a book so much as a massive clay tablet crammed full of uneven lines of angular hieroglyphics.
24. Within a chest lie the complete tanned skins of a dozen humanoids, tattooed from head to toe in a bewildering variety of languages. A DC 25 Knowledge(History) or Knowledge(Nobility) check will reveal that the text is the last words of hundreds of famous people. For each language that a character can speak they can receive a +1 bonus of this check.
25. The Maxims of Caius the Uncrowned A slim volume, ostensibly addressed from the epinomius Caius to his children. It consists mostly of life lessons to make them worthy to inherit the kingdom that he is in the process of conquering as he wrote the text.
I've been having a little bit of writer's block lately, so nothing finished yet. As soon as I can I'll get to the fatespinner and allomancer.
I have not read the Mistborn books but I am vaguely familiar with how it works. Would the Wikipedia entry be enough information to make a convincing rendition?
Fortunatley writer's block does not keep me from making things in other media. While you are waiting, check out the battlemaps that I make over at the Cartographer's Guild.
I really like d20pfsrd.com -- it's nice to have everything in one place indexed, searchable, and with the table of contents, also including the Paizo sources. However, when they deviated from the community license and had to go pure-SRD (meaning that some names were changed) the site did become somewhat less useful. It's still quite useful, but not as useful as before.
Still more useful than the PRD, even after Paizo interfered and made them change some of the names. I think that the confusion could be avoided by making it more obvious that the name is just a placeholder on things where they had to change the name. I also heard something about them spinning off another site which complies with whatever licence it needs to so that they can link to it, but I don't know what ever came of that.
Scott Betts wrote:
And I was on such an uncharacteristic streak of agreeing with you in the recent marriage equality threads. I have to strenuously disagree here though on the same grounds as meatrace. Who gets to decide what speech is censored. I don't want to do it, don't trust you to do it, I sure as hell don't trust the authorities to make the right choice.
Our system of rights only works when even people we don't like get the full spectrum of rights as well.
Yea that is one of those vaguely embarrassing things about our country. I'd like to say that we, as a nation, were working on fixing that, but we have quite a bit of development left before we can really get cracking. Sorry.
The balck raven wrote:
I am really really not a fan of the overwhelming force of law coming down to force people to do things. That said, I like this attitude. Since I have come round to the more cynical worldview that people often cannot be trusted to to the right thing where you might expect them to, I am fine with absolute firmness in the law when there is an issue where it is so obvious what is right and what is wrong.
The Fox wrote:
Either way, I would be interested if you know of such a case pending.
I highly doubt that Cobalt's assertion is true, since the only even remotely comparable case that I can think of was a county clerk in Maine who refused to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples. He was obviously fired and then sued to get his job back, citing "religious concience" or some such thing. He obviously lost.
This kind of thing might be were Cobalt is getting his scare scenario from, but it is not at all comparable to suing churches.
As stated in another thread, 163,000 Christians die annually for their faith, one of love and tolerance (I will say, in your defense, most Western Christians seem to forget this often). Total tally is 70 million since Christianity’s inception. Compare to the 11 million Hindus, 9 million Jews, 4 million Buddhists, among others. Of Christians, the worst offender is the Soviet government of Soviet Russia, with the blood of 15 million Christ-followers on their hands.
I call BS on these numbers too. Especially the 70 million throughout history compared with conveniently lower numbers for other major religions. First off, any number trying to count ocver the course of 2000 years is pulled out of your ass. Second, I wonder what percentage of those 70 million were other christians branded as "heretics" by the sect which had overall power in a particular time or place. I bet that an uncomfortable number of those persecutions came from internecine sectarian violence so it is compeltely disingenuous to stack that up against religions like hinduism and buddhism that don't have, you know, inquisitions, with the implication that an equal percent of the persecution of each reiligion was from outsiders and not ones' co-coreligionists.
So yea, you lose any sympathy that I might have had for your position when you went off on islam and the russians as well. This post also has far too much of a martyr complex about it to be completely in good faith in any case.
And so it begins...I've been waiting.
If this thread is just for items, are there going to be separate Blazing 9 threads for monsters and so on and so forth, because I have a whole set of monsters, two archetypes and two adventures that I'd like some critiquing on if there are going to be appropriate threads.
I'll be in with an item shortly in any case.
I'm still here. I gave my students a vocab test this last week, so I have not really had time to work on this thread in the last few days, it has all been correcting grammatical mistakes in context sentences, but I am just about done with that and I'll be getting to work on the Fatespeinner and those manifestations in the next day or so.
+5 Toaster, you can think of some if you want. The drift qualities from the 3.5 class are all over the map in terms of balance, so I have been looking at the animal shaman druid archetype transformation abilities for the regular manifestations.
The greater manifestations are going to be things like perma-flight, or blindsense or poison or things like that. Maybe some fey themed SLA's
The profound drift is going to change the type to fey or maybe native outider. I have the Seelie and Unseelie manifestations right now but I could use a few more ideas.
Preventing or mitigating this kind of thing needs to be a primary concern of whatever revised rules we wind up with. Both the podcast rule and the hold and apply rule are inadequate in this regard.
Keeping the flexibility to balance playing up or down without a permanent hit to your character is necessary to help PFS grow into places where it is hard to get even one table running, especially at high tiers. The leadership has done a magnificent job making sure that PFS has relevance beyond big cons and places where there are already plenty of players, so don't screw it up now with unnecessary restrictions.
First off I question how big a problem people playing up is that it requires such a drastic solution, but aside from that, the only solution that will avoid negative conscienceless bigger than any problems it averts is the x2 or x1/2 XP proposal which unfortunately might not be getting the consideration it deserves from the PTB.
I don't think that we should be so cavalier about throwing people in marginal gaming situations under the bus in the name of fairness or preventing gaming the system or any of the other rationals being given in this thread to make organizing and play more inflexible.
In the last year especially PFS has made great strides in trying to expand and serve people in places who previously had little or no chance for gaming. This demographic is important to PFS since as an organized play campaign one of the strengths it has is being modular and easy to play if your opportunities are only sporadic. The people who are saying "just man up" or "organize better" are really working directly against where I think PFS needs to go, being more flexible, more available. Without new rules made to "solve" things that are not as much of a problem as everyone thinks.
I am seeing what can only be a distinct lack of perspective from people who seem to be in circumstances where there is little to no opportunity cost for walking or choosing to DM for a week or otherwise loosing a chance to play at a given event. PFS needs to serve the people who will be more likely to have to choose permanently damaging their character's advancement, wasting a looked forward to scenario on a pre-gen, or wasting the hours spent to make time and travel to an event. Not everyone has multiple FLGS's around, multiple gamedays per month, or groups organized enough to use warhorn. PFS is moving to help people in places without the opportunity for gaming, and the podcast wealth rules as well as some of the other things said in this thread directly damage that mission.
I don't deny that as written the scenarios have adequate chance for RP and when the chance comes up the chance to inject great RP is there, as run on the ground so to speak, I have more often seen rushed slots where the non-combat bits are elided so that the party can make sure to get to the BBEG and that sort of thing.
Also the fact that the linked scenarios are probably going to be played out of order by players who don't know any better and the fact that the metaplots are functionally only relevant for those who circulate between the big cons adds up to a massive loss of potential and not all that much RP.
what you say is true 1st-level pre-gens specifically. I would argue that brand new players have no business in high tier tables. That is what having First Steps or something tier 1-5 on tap is for, to help introduce new walk-ins to PF at 1st-level, as intended. Now that there are retraining rules, organizers who are really on the ball can make their own pre-gens better than the paizo ones.
The higher level ones have the unmistakable whiff of being afterthoughts which is a completely different problem. If pre-gens are going to be pushed harder over playing up/down they need at thorough, complete rethink and overhaul since they are pretty inadequate ATM.
Netopalis has hit the nail right on the head here. While I disagree that PFS is anything more than marginally RP focused, the problem with pre-gens is the opportunity loss of actually getting to play your character.
Now, I have seen people just RP the pre-gen stat block as though it were their character that they wanted to play, and while that is a solution I'm not sure I want to encourage things that stretch suspension of disbelief quite that far. No matter how you revamp pre-gens mechanically (please do this though if pre-gens are going to be pushed mroe heavily than they are now) there is still the fundamental problem that they are just not fun.
In the spirit of cooperation, players need to be willing to play a pregen once in a while. If you are unwilling to do so, then you are disregarding one of the core tenants of the Society. Veteran players really should have lower level characters they can pull out when needed. If they don’t, that is largely a choice they have made and they need to be willing to whip out a pregen and apply the credit to a new character.
Lets please not complicate things even farther by vilifying players who don't want to play pre-gens. I'm sure there are a reasonably segment of players who don't want to waste their chance to play a given scenario with a sub-optimal pre-gen who no one cares about, and it is a perfectly valid choice to not be of the opinion that not-fun gaming is better than no gaming.
The choice to either walk or waste a scenario on a pre-gen happens, and it will probably happen more if the podcast changes go through unchanged. As pointed out copiously in this thread, this will negatively impact those who already have the least opportunity to play and who I think should be a demographic that PFS embraces.
I have mixed feelings about the proposal for a fixed reward scale based on level adn completely divorced from the actual scenario the reward is for. It is better than the podcast proposal, and I know that PFS is a non-persistent, essentially instanced campaign since it is an OP campaign. I still dislike the homogenized, gameist nature of the fixed rewards. I admit that that is just a personal dislike though so I would not be heartbroken to see that kind of thing ruled into PFS.
I can't be the only person who has to deal with this kind of issue.
Just about any of the proposed changes to out-of-tier play is going to screw people with especially marginal chances to play.
This should be avoided at all costs because I was under the assumption that people without the chance for a real game were one of the core gaming communities that PFS is intended to serve (the other being people at cons). I urge the VO's to please take inter consideration the effects that any change that makes it more frustrating to muster a table will have on those players who rely on rather marginal PFS in order to have any chance to game at all.
Brent Holtsberry wrote:
I want to point out how uncomfortable I feel about a representative of the campaign leadership even implying that it is wrong or the player's "fault" that they would rather walk from a table than damage their character's advancement under any new rules. Ditto for the implication that organizers should start reporting players for being picky about what scenarios they play in what tiers with what characters.
I might have read this statement very differently than it was intended, and I kind of hope that that is the case.
Joex The Pale wrote:
A chain of feats that makes the crossbow a viable ranged weapon compared to the bow. Right now the crossbow is out DPRed by the bow by a large margin and the crossbow has nothing to offer to compete against that. I am a fan of the flavor and image of the crossbow and would like to see something to glamour it up a bit, make people want to take it for other then flavor reasons.
I started out with just a basic adaptation of Furious Focus for crossbows, and then tried to boost DPR by allowing shots to ignore a portion of AC or DR. It probably doesn't bring DPR up quite comparable with archery, but it should certainly be an improvement. I tried to make sure to keep a destinct flavor and feel for crossbow attacks, and the intention was that these should pair with the vital strike chain.
The final feat might be too powerful when combined with the vital strike chain (I haven't run any numbers on it), but to have both chains you are going to have to basically be a high-level fighter, martials need all the help that they can get at those levels anyway and it should not be incredibly egregious in any case in comparison with what archers and gunslingers are doing at those levels.
I've been looking for something like the old Fatespinner 5-lvl prestige class for a while. Think you could design something similar?
Do you specifically want a PrC? Because I was thinking something more along the lines of an archetype.
Next Up: Finishing the Geomancer base class for +5 Toaster
It is just a draft, I'll go back and edit a little for clarity, especially the geas/quest ability and the stealthy casting. I'm not sure how close I got to an actual diplomancer, but I certainly added more significant charm abilities.
Next Up: Crossbow Feats for Joex The Pale
Mark Hoover wrote:
A one-shot adventure revolving around dark folk (dark creepers, stalkers and slayers). Can also involve fetchlings and whatever else you think is appropriate. APL is 5. Also the homebrew I'll be adapting it to has a "Dark Fairy Tale" theme to it if that helps.
It took a while but here is an adventure for you. It expanded a little bit out of hand, since I tried to cram dark folk, evil fey, a trap and a haunt into it.
I am working on the other adventure, but I don;t really have any ideas beyond storming the court at a chariot race, so it maight take a little while.
How would your proposed archetypes not be redundant given the elemental school specializations which already exist? The Wizard is really modular enough that archetypes are rarely necessary to differentiate things like elemental schools in my opinion.
Loyal Battle Monkey wrote:
Here ya go. Two possible ones to throw your skills into the forge: First, the chronomancer character class. Second, the electus (dig into the forums for it's thread). I'd love to see your take on it.
I have my plate a little full with this thread to do a whole base class, but here is a time based wizard archetype that I made a while ago. Hopefully that is close enough for now.
The electus thread gives me an error when I try to view the linked pdf, so I can't comment on that.
David Bowles wrote:
Seriously? The player is power tripping? The only thing they are doing is availing themselves of character options which you don't happen to like.
DMs power trip in PFS just as badly as in real campaigns. Disregarding tactics, giving players crap for their fluff, threatening to mark characters evil at the drop of a hat and being a jerk when they don't like a player's playstyle. It is all powertripping and none of it is cool.
I am just about done with the geomancer. It is an interesting challenge to make an arcane/divine combined base class, but I think I solved that problem fairly cleverly.
I am sharing my unfinished draft so that everyone can see my progress while I think of specific mutations for the manifestation ability.
Osric Stonebrook wrote:
Create a bard-specific magical cloak loosely based on Thom Merrilin's multi-patched one from the Wheel of Time.
Cape of Patchwork Knowledge So it has been a really really long time since I read any Wheel of Time, so I just went off the bard and patchwork bits.
DM Bacon wrote:
Once you are at level 11 it is pretty hard to challenge the party with traps alone. I would suggest in your example, building tension by having the captives about to be sacrificed to Lamashtu or something along those lines. Then by using some low CR traps to complicate encounters you can build a lot of tension and challenge to get to the middle of the camp before the captives are killed.
I have an idea for a haunt, since it is easier to scale haunts up to high levels. I'll get working on that.
To all the people who have requested adventures and classes. I already have requests for two short adventures, the geomancer base class, and some archetypes, so if you could hold off big requests until I get those done it would be great.
This isn't even about what is RAW anymore. It is really about some people wanting more DM fiat room correct perceived "imbalances" at the table in PFS.
Just because you don't like AC's or think that a player getting to control what is basically part of their character is an unavoidable call to metagame, the problem is one of DMing.
A DM needs to trust the players to know their characters (including AC's) and to be able to separate IC and OOC. As this thread has illustreated there are a surprising number of DMs who refuse to have such basic trust and respect for their players and that is the root of the problem. They have just latched onto AC's since somehow a controversy basically got manufactured around the topic a few threads ago.
I, for one, am putting most of the "AC's are categorically NPCs" DMs on my list of people to avoid playing with not because I disagree with them about the animal rules but because it is just a symptom of a larger problem and I am not going to encourage bad DMs who power trip and distrust/disrespect players.
Tier 1 martial class that can break a game just as much as a full caster can but purely on his/her own physical strength and mental ability. No leadership type stuff and limited reliance on diplomancy.
The best you're going to get for martial classes is the Tome of Battle classes. They are Tier 3 IIRC and no martial class is going to be higher because the Tier 1 type things that break the game are magical in nature and there is no way that you can reasonably flavor that kind of thing to be mundane.
Nice try though.
I need a creative name for my magic item...
links of the archmagespellboost bracelet
Here are three, take your pick
A one-shot adventure that revolves around the fantasy world equivalent of a world sporting championship post-victory street riot.
I'll get started. What level range were you thinking of?
+5 Toaster wrote:
Ok, let me think... geomancer 3.5 prestige class turned into a base form.
I'll take a look, what 3.5 book is the geomancer from?
Redesing the Weapon bearer squire into something useful and fun.
What would you consider useful, since the archetype is intended for NPCs more than PCs anyway?
I don't know if there needs to be a whole archetype for that, since a duelist can already have an offhand weapon and only use it to parry, since duelist abilities only turn off when you attack with an off-hand weapon. So a duelist could, for example, attack with their main hand and rserve all their offhand attacks for parry attempts while still precise striking and getting INT to AC. If you are talking about something besides just parrying with the off-hand tell me though since I am not that familiar with actual dueling styles.
The trident dagger is probably just a reskinned jitte, since they are both offhand weapons with prongs that catch the enemy's weapon
I am trying to get practice designing just about anything. Monsters, items, spells, races, classes*, encounters* etc. You name it, I'll try to design it.
So if you have an idea for something you want to see, just make a request. Give me whatever details you want and I'll try to come up with something.
*Disclaimer: I'd be happy to field requests for things like classes, encounters and short adventures but be aware that they might take quite a while and I can't promise that I'll finish something that extensive.
The comment field from voters would be the best addition to the contest. It would solve the problem of the critique thread where the items posted on the first page get more than 20 comments and the items posted after the third page get maybe 5 if they are lucky.
I think the optimal arrangement would be if after R1 the items and comments could be shown in a critique sub-forum if the contestant opts in, similar to how there used to be a special judges forum. That would take a significant amount of work to set up though, with the opt-in button and saving the comments. It would also solve the problem of the item critique thread being a colossal clusterf@*@ like it was this year.