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Owlbear

S'mon's page

283 posts. 3 reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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TritonOne wrote:

A

Conceptually, are the Hellknights similar to the Street Judges in the 2000 AD/Judge Dredd comics in that they combine the roles of police officer, judge, jury, and executioner based on the Measure?

I definitely play non-corrupt Hellknights as Judge Dredd types. Whether they have the power to judge/imprison/execute will depend on local circumstances. Whether they hold an Inquisition or Trial will likely depend on the particular Order. One Order might use Trial by Fire where another uses interrogation & torture to establish guilt. Even Trial by Combat might be possible, though I would probably restrict that to trial of fellow Hellknights.


Shay Vinder wrote:
It's a basic principle of APs that the PCs are the heroes. The only ones who can save whatever city/region/nation/world/organization from certain doom and all.

I don't think it's a good general principle that the PCs are the only competent characters, or that competent NPC allies should be expected accompany the PCs rather than doing their own thing. And most APs are more 'save the city/country' than 'save the world'. The Leadership cohort rules do allow PCs to be accompanied by competent subordinates, but most APs actually have friendly NPCs who are actually more competent than the PCs at least to start with - eg in Curse of the Crimson Throne Marshall Cressida Croft is 10th level when the PCs are 1st, but she can't go adventuring with them, she has a lot of other responsibilities.


Shay Vinder wrote:
Joana wrote:

This is a fantasy game. As long as the "likes girls" crowd is getting Samaritha, Aerys, Sasha, Ameiko, Sandara, and Arueshelae, the "likes guys" crowd should get options just as attractive, not the old, fat, bald guy who pees himself in terror when combat starts.

EDIT: And what's up with the 'S' and 'A' names, now that I list them?

Hey, you missed me!

S'mon wrote:

Edit: Just wanted to mention what female players find attractive - usually they're looking for co-equal* characters, not damsel in distress types. Rescuing a female NPC may make her more attractive to the male NPC rescuer, at least if she's not totally drippy - the Princess Bride does this trope well, as does Star Wars ep IV - but male characters who need rescuing can be a turn off, unless they elicit a mothering response and/or handle captivity with great wit & equanimity - Johhny Depp can pull off the latter kind of character, Leonardo diCaprio the former, but it's a challenge for most GMs. So creating a strong male NPC potential love interest can be challenging. Vencarlo Orisini is done well IMO, eg he's shown in action being highly competent, before needing rescue later.

*IRL a superior competence man may be more attractive ('hypergamy'), but in power-fantasy RPGs the player probably doesn't want her female PC to be overshadowed by her NPC boyfriend/husband. His having a few extra levels on her may be fine, but not in a way to overshadow her - eg a martial or multiclass NPC could be somewhat higher level than his PC Wizard or Druid girlfriend, but won't risk outshining her at least by the time she's 5th level or so.

This is getting into tricky territory. Setting aside the issue of whether this might be a case of overgeneralization...

I didn't mean it as a universal rule. In fact I can think of one big exception from my own experience; when I ran a short OGL Conan campaign, the two female players both played Conanesque female barbarian types (they might have looked like Red Sonja, but their 'tude was way more Conanesque happy warriors). Both of their PCs soon acquired handsome youths to follow them around adoringly and be their sidekicks, pretty much the traditional female NPC role for swords & sorcery male PCs/protagonists; the players absolutely loved this! :D The NPCs youths were handsome, brave, not incompetent, but not nearly as competent as the PCs, and they did often need rescuing etc.

So yeah, there is a space for puppy-dog male NPC love interests, as much as Sean Connery/Vencarlo Orisini type veterans, and mature adult Han Solo types, etc too.


Wrong John Silver wrote:

Reading this over, I've got another question as well: If your PC is not conventionally attractive, are you still interested in romance, and if so, what are you looking for?

I guess - most of my PCs aren't hideous, though. I had a drunken dwarf barbarian battlerager for one game, I guess I'd not expect him to have much of a love life until he'd regained his orc-held clanhold, when he'd likely have looked to marry a well-bearded dwarf lady. I had one PC Larsenio Roguespierre a slightly skeevy human Thief, he was more interested in expanding his harem (one of the benefits of working for the Overlord of Punjar) than in conventional romance, though I suppose that could have changed. Most of my other PCs would certainly have been open to romance though; but they were generally all reasonably good-looking humans anyway.


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Lissa Guillet wrote:
I've personally mostly sworn off romances at the table. Between awkward weirdness and the occasional GM making a pass at me in the guise of an npc problem, I'd rather leave that bit out, personally.

As GM I generally prefer the PC to make the first move. At most I'll say

"(NPC) seems interested in you" - I definitely tend to avoid any stalkerish behaviour by the NPC, unless they're actually a villain and it's part of the plot. A sympathetic NPC won't court a PC unless the player/PC has signalled interest first. Probably most players never do, I think my 4e Loudwater game is unusual for my tabletop campaigns with most of the PCs having had romantic entanglements, marriage etc, and it helps a lot that the campaign has been running for over three years and we all trust one another. Even there, of the six PCs (one just left), only five have romantic partners - the last is worshipped as a goddess by the Azers though, so she has some compensation. :)


I've made good use of Shalelu Andosana in Rise of the Runelords. It helps a lot that I'm using 1e AD&D and she's already at her Elf Fighter level cap (Fighter 5!) :) - she's powerful now (PCs are 2 Ftr 2, 1 Pal 2, 1 Ftr 3) but eventually she'll be overshadowed by them.


As a primarily defensive rather than disruptive organisation, the Hellknights definitely fit SHIELD best in my book. The Steel Falcons are too Neoconservative 'global democratic revolution', whereas SHIELD are about defending vs threats & incursions, right?

I don't really have a great handle on what HYDRA's goals actually are - world domination through science, I guess? Do they even have an ideology? Warmed-over Nazism maybe? There's the Technic League, but they're much more local. HYDRA's methods often resemble the Red Mantis, and the colour fits :) - but Mantis don't seem much into control/domination? Aspis seem the most global and ambitious, the nearest thing to a HYDRA analogue.


Googleshng wrote:
There is a basic respect for personal freedom involved in being chaotic

Wow, is this some kind of Chaoticist propaganda? >:D "We'll rape you to death, but at least we have a basic respect for your personal freedom!"

CE IMO is Crowleyan "Do What Thou Wilt" - there isn't really any 'respect' involved; if 'wilt' includes mind-controlling unwilling victims, sucks to be them.


1e AD&D has 2 1 in 20 chances/day in coastal water, prob a bit low, and 1 in 20 chance/day in open waters. I would tend to suggest that *something* happen at least once a week, unless you're doing a deliberate time jump.


(Necro) I reckon my PCs may be getting help for the end of Part II - from the Hellknights! :) The Hellknight they met when they defeated the Otyugh in pt I likes and respects them, and don't they all want Order and Justice for Korvosa? >:)


I guess I have to accept that the best option for 2017 would be Pathfinder: Curse of the Crimson Throne. It's great, but it would REALLY benefit from cleaning up and updating like RoTRL. I think that would sell like hot cakes.

I'll have finished GMing it by then, but I'd STILL likely buy the hardback. :D


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Unfortunately RoTRL seems by far the easiest. I've not read all of Shattered Star, but it seems the best choice.

BTW Pathfinder/3e is a particularly hard system on the GM. I find running an AP in a pre-3e D&D ruleset (1e AD&D via the OSRIC retroclone is my current favourite) is VASTLY VASTLY easier than running it in the system it's written for. >:)


I think it really needs to be confined to conventionally attractive human & near human - half-orc or dwarf might count, **if presented as attractive**, but gnoll, no. Villains need to be excluded, unless explicitly presented as redeemable. Eg: Curse of the Crimson Throne - Seven Days to the Grave - no way am I including either

Spoiler:
Dr Davaulus
or Lady Andaisin, though both are presented with good-looking pics. Whereas Ishani Dhatri could have been an option, if not for his unattractive mugshot and rather pathetic demeanour & ineffectiveness. Zellara is definitely not an option that should be counted, being
Spoiler:
dead
and all. Conversely Trinia Sabor is a very obvious 'Paizo Hot Chick'; Marshall Cressida Croft I would count as a lesser possibility, and Vencarlo Orisini too, despite his age - a reasonable proportion of female players will still find him attractive. In fact the existence of Vencarlo as a very obvious potential love interest for straight female PCs seems almost unique in the APs, and he's a ca fifty year old partial amputee! :D I don't think there's a single Orlando Bloom, Johny Depp, Colin Firth or even Iain Glenn (Ser Jorah Mormont) in any AP.

Edit: Just wanted to mention what female players find attractive - usually they're looking for co-equal* characters, not damsel in distress types. Rescuing a female NPC may make her more attractive to the male NPC rescuer, at least if she's not totally drippy - the Princess Bride does this trope well, as does Star Wars ep IV - but male characters who need rescuing can be a turn off, unless they elicit a mothering response and/or handle captivity with great wit & equanimity - Johhny Depp can pull off the latter kind of character, Leonardo diCaprio the former, but it's a challenge for most GMs. So creating a strong male NPC potential love interest can be challenging. Vencarlo Orisini is done well IMO, eg he's shown in action being highly competent, before needing rescue later.

*IRL a superior competence man may be more attractive ('hypergamy'), but in power-fantasy RPGs the player probably doesn't want her female PC to be overshadowed by her NPC boyfriend/husband. His having a few extra levels on her may be fine, but not in a way to overshadow her - eg a martial or multiclass NPC could be somewhat higher level than his PC Wizard or Druid girlfriend, but won't risk outshining her at least by the time she's 5th level or so.


Jaelithe wrote:


I'd say that's so for many if not most posting here, S'mon. ;)

Well it certainly beats the WotC boards. :D

But I'm British, so prone to understatement. And modest, too. :P


Jaelithe wrote:
S'mon wrote:
Yeah; eg 3.5 D&D addressed my concerns with 3.0, and 4e D&D addressed my concerns with 3.5. I fairly often see my house rules subsequently reflected in games, but I post a lot on message boards (well over 10,000 posts on ENW, for instance) so the designers may have read my thoughts - and I'm pretty smart so my thoughts are often good. :D

I'd say that's so for many if not most posting here, S'mon. ;)

Do you have a few specific examples for us of your innovations? I'd enjoy reading about them.

Stuff that got copied? Hm, reducing the duration on 3.0's stat buff spells and making them fixed-bonus was one. I think I had it 10 minutes/level not 3.5's 1 minute/level, though. My 3.5 game went over to a monster building system loosely based on AD&D via C&C that was very similar to that in 4e (4e more complex though).

Ideas that have not yet been wildly copied are probably more interesting, though? Eg for my Pathfinder campaign:

1. No critical hit confirmation roll.
2. Crits do fixed damage, x2 = max, x3 = 1.5 max, x4 = x2 max.
3. Stats are rolled best 3 of 4d6 in order, but swap any pair (got that from another GM). My AD&D game is the same, but there you can raise your highest two rolls to '15'.
4. Character Base Save Bonus = Level, for all stats.

Those simple modifications make the game play a lot better, faster, less swingy, and more balanced IME. Hopefully Pathfinder 2.0 will follow them. :)


DM Under The Bridge wrote:

I like where you are going. Avatar and dances with wolves meets golarion?

Hmm, well I could see playing as the Shoanti vs Chels; but Dances with Wolves and Avatar are still American movies within an Americanist paradigm, Red Indians and Blue Aliens only get to be the 'goodies' because they're indigenous non-whites who pose no conceivable threat to US hegemony. I'd probably be more interested right now in playing the Slav/Orthodox analogues vs the Anglo-US analogues. Not particularly easy on Golarion where Cheliax and Brevoy are at opposite ends of the map. :) But an easier alternative would be a 'US in Latin America' theme, which could work with both Varisia (feels like temperate south America) and Garund (feels like tropical Caribbean, as well as Africa).

But my normal default is to see the Chels as 'us' and the Varisians/Shoanti/Garundi as 'other', even when the Chels are clearly the bad guys, so it'd take a bit of head work.

(I also just had a cool idea for a Syrian Civil War analogue set in Rahadoum with Rahadoumi PCs, involving the Cheliax Intelligence Agency and corrupt Garundi terrorist kingpins backing revolutionary religious fanatics against Rahadoum's enlightened secular rule... but the board ate it.)


I don't think they have a Hohfeldian Claim Right to 'Fun' that imposes a duty on the GM to cater to them to his own detriment. But if the GM can do so and have fun himself, then everybody wins, right? So eg if the GM is happy running a simple linear game for 'limited' players, fine - doesn't make him a bad GM. If not he should get better players.


Yeah; eg 3.5 D&D addressed my concerns with 3.0, and 4e D&D addressed my concerns with 3.5. I fairly often see my house rules subsequently reflected in games, but I post a lot on message boards (well over 10,000 posts on ENW, for instance) so the designers may have read my thoughts - and I'm pretty smart so my thoughts are often good. :D


minoritarian wrote:
S'mon wrote:
Oh, my current #1 vote for the 2017 hardback is Skull & Shackles - Book 1 is effectively unavailable in the UK, so I'm guessing it's pretty good... :D Then I think #2 either Serpent's Skull, Shattered Star, or Reign of Winter. Not Kingmaker, please - I bought the first three issues and it's not really thrilling me, though I think it might work better in eg 1e AD&D.

If you're in London I saw #1 of Skull and Shackles in Orc's Nest two weeks ago if you're still looking.

And I have to disagree on Kingmaker. I would kill a man for a hardcopy version. It isnt available in print for love nor money. A version with all the kingdom building and exploration rules stripped out (all compiled in UCamp now) and that space taken up with extra content would be wonderful.

I eventually bought S&S 1 direct from Paizo, 2-6 were cheap so I have the set.

Fair enough about Kingmaker, I have 1-3 and might complete the set sometime. #5 with war & politics seems to be basically what I thought the whole thing should have been about. I find the River Kingdoms the blandest, least interesting place in all Golarion though. A Varisia Kingmaker would have been awesome - same goes for the Goblinworks sandbox MMORPG.


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Did they save Aldern during the goblin raid? That's all it needs for him to become obsessed with one of them. I think the boar hunt isn't necessary.


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It definitely sounds like these guys are in line for a Darwin Award. Of all the PCs to abandon for a laugh(?!) abandoning your *Cleric* is the most collossally stupid idea I've ever heard of.
I wouldn't make any major changes to the adventure such as free-roaming shadows; just letting nature take its course, have the monsters be reasonably proactive/aggressive, and without Clerical healing they'll likely all soon be dead. Just make sure they know OOC that leaving the Cleric behind is a really stupid thing to do, then if they insist go on and run it fairly to their likely demise.


Lloyd Jackson wrote:

Glad I could be helpful. ^_^

Sandpoint is wonderful place to play in.

5 3-hour chatroom sessions so far, and I've barely scratched the surface. :) I'm running Rise of the Runelords, been doing maybe 1-2 pages of the actual AP each session (last time was the Boar Hunt, + Lonjiku confronts Ameiko), and having a *great* time with the town and its quirky residents. :) Two of my PCs have allied with the Scarnettis, another is a Deverin and plotting to destroy them!


Lloyd Jackson wrote:
I'd imagine it's a bit of a sliding scale. Sczarni being what you call those varisians the person feels go to far. The chelish smith thinks the cunning merchant family are sczarni. The merchants view the con-game pick-pockets as sczarni, who laugh at the idea because they've had to pay protection money to the real sczarni, which offends the gang who stole from the bank of Abadar because a true sczarni would never threaten another varisian.

Brilliant, thanks! :D

The Sandpoint Sczarni are likely to be appearing soon IMC, this gives me lots to work with.


romance spoilers:

...I'm currently running Crimson Throne and Rise of the Runelords, and looking to run Skull & Shackles. Crimson Throne is definitely the best for potential male love interests - Vencarlo & Krojun are the obvious ones. Weirdly though, the one that's close to happening in play IMC is the anonymous Hellknight who intervenes in the Otyugh battle in chapter one! IMC he's Sir Jereth Roldare, and a very odd female Paladin of Abadar PC has been hitting on him pretty hard. :)

Runelords is great for female love interests, very short of male ones - even Sheriff Belor is already in a relationship. I guess the Fort Rannick guys are handsome, but rescuing men rarely sets them up well for romance.

Shackles is pretty rough in general, and the "sexy girls & vile guys" trope is really strong here. It's so bad I actually kinda think the editors should have caught it, changed sexy gal #15 to a Johnny Depp type maybe.


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GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:

I don't what books you pick, but if every teacher I know pick readable books that weren't organized in the most confusing way, with horrible lack of clarity, I'd read the textbooks more often. Right now I use them only as reference and rely more on google to gain understanding. I read lots of books cause I love reading, and textbooks are usually (thankfully not always) the most horribly written pieces of junk. Well to be fair, some are written more like reference books then textbooks, which helps only after I know what is going on.

I'm a law lecturer/professor - I do choose books for clarity, but law text books are always going to be pretty heavy going. The good students read them, the bad ones don't. Hopefully they at least Google. ;)

I actually think Googling first, textbook second is a very good approach, one I recommend to my classes: "Sure, look at Wikipedia. Just don't *stop* with Wikipedia!"


DM Under The Bridge wrote:


Hello everybody!

With the new Captain America movie coming out and part of it involving presenting the US and its warmongering in a negative light I wanted to hear what any of you had to say about the US in your games and have they been villains/the grand enemy.

Hmm, no. I once played a WW2 German soldier game, we fought the Poles, British and Russians, never fought the Yanks though.

Even though I'm British, I think the tendency is to take Hollywood tropes and play them, so we eg play as the US Army in Vietnam, not the Vietcong or NVA. We don't regard our US Spec Forces trooper PCs as the moral 'good guys' anymore than those WW2 German soldiers, they're just 'our guys'.

I did recently have the idea that maybe Golarion's Cheliax is sort of a US analogue ca 2005-7, with Death of Aroden = 9/11 and the House of Thrune as the Bush clan (since Paizo seems pretty Lefty) >:) - I might do something with that, especially when I run 'Skull & Shackles' where Cheliax is an enemy. Would take a bit of tweaking though, since *everybody* on Golarion is pretty American. :)

I don't have any visceral need to do an anti-American game, but I can imagine doing a fantasy analogue where a tiny band of brave traditionalists fight to defend their ancient way of life against the vast Globalist empire... in many countries "300" was seen as an *anti* American movie. >:D


Tell them you will be GMing "real Pathfinder", not that thing that was happening before - so start at 1st level, either 15 point or best 3 of 4d6 (I like in order, then swap any pair). Either Core Rulebook only,or whatever sources you are completely comfortable with (CRG + APG is good for some spice). Maybe run a solid Adventure Path, Runelords hardback is great if they've not played it.

This group is highly dysfunctional and needs to detox. The best way to do this is to (a) establish your authority, firm but fair - so stick close to RAW and (b) not to engage with their former bad habits, but start afresh, keeping everything as clean as possible. You can always go wahoo again later.


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I agree with Wrong John Silver (good post!) As GM, I want my female players' PCs to have potential romantic interests, same as the men. As a player, I'm a straight man but my PCs are often straight women, and some romantic opportunities for them would be great, too.

Given the huge number of 'cute girl' potential romantic interest NPCs there are in most of the APs, I definitely think the occasional 'cute guy' NPC wouldn't hurt.

BTW I do sympathise with the writers on this; I've been GMing for many years and it was only recently that I consciously created a potential romantic interest male NPC. I was very gratified when he was then pursued by 2 female and 1 male PC (and the third female probably would have too if she wasn't shy). :D He married one of the female PCs two sessions ago; I'd say it was a big success. But I found it quite hard to create the character - I couldn't just go with "what I'd like", or "what I'd want to be like"; I had to place myself in others' shoes, think of female-oriented romance movies and what sort of characteristics the male romance interest tends to have. I ended up with "Iain Glen's Sir Jorah Mormont as played by Colin Firth", which worked excellently. :D


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Coriat wrote:
S'mon wrote:


It wasn't Said who was engaging in sleight of hand. It's the US academics who use it to teach US students.

If so it seems to me that it would be so incompetent an attempt as to be basically irrelevant.

Anyone who
a) has actually read even just the first two paragraphs of Said's book, and
b) is taken in by any such sleight of hand

is wildly terrible at reading comprehension.

Orientalism wrote:
Americans will not feel quite the same about the Orient, which for them is much more likely to be associated very differently with the Far East (China and Japan, mainly).
Under thirty seconds into the book.

I don't know; I've read a bunch of US gamers posting on (eg) EN World who seem to have been taken in (and I think rpgnet is worse, but I try hard to avoid the political areas there and only go to the d20 forum). Are they all morons? I guess they probably weren't paying a lot of attention; maybe they never read the book* and just heard what they expected to hear.

*If every student I told to read a book actually read it, I'd be a happy lecturer. :)


Latrecis wrote:
Varisian culture isn't criminal but rather opportunist - as civilization has encroached they've adapted by explointing the advantages of their mobile and socially freer lifestyles and are snake oil salesmen, circus sideshows, performers of all kinds (dancers, mucisians, actors) and so forth. Sczarni are just another adaption only more directly fixed in civilized towns and cities. They still are based on a small circle of known families and have progressed to con games, burglary, drug dealing and the like.

That's a different take on the topic that's interesting, thanks. So on this view the Sczarni are just one aspect of normal Varisian society.


Latrecis wrote:
Varisian traveling bands are not likely just one family however extended but more likely 2-4 families with a historical bond - otherwise inbreeding would be a problem.

Inbreeding problems tail off rapidly with distance of relatedness, hence clans and hunter-gatherer bands are viable. Globally, inbreeding within an extended family network remains very common IRL.


I just take it that Golarion reflects the fantasies of Paizo staffers (& possibly freelancers) just as Hyborea reflected RE Howard's own fantasies, or Game of Thrones reflects GRR Martin's & the other HBO writers. Personally I like playing with (or reading/viewing) other peoples' fantasies, and I can always change them if I prefer. I don't mind that it's not realistic or plausible IRL - it's a fantasy, not real life. Fantasies can occasionally become harmful when they're believed to be real, but no one can force me to believe Paizo's fantasies.


Coriat wrote:
S'mon wrote:
then he was taken up by US Universities as a tool for 'educating' their students to feel ashamed of themselves (involving a bit of a sleight of hand, since 'Oriental' in American-English refers to the Far East, not Said's Middle East).

I've read Said in college (and was never asked to accept anything he said without criticism, by the way). In fact I had to read criticisms of his book along with the book itself.

Alleging sleight of hand in the use of the term "Orient" is not up to par.

It wasn't Said who was engaging in sleight of hand. It's the US academics who use it to teach US students. Maybe 'sleight of hand' gives them too much credit, many of them may be 'lumpen intelligentsia' themselves I suppose and not really appreciate the difference. But certainly Said's concern was to stop Englishmen thinking about the Middle East, whereas the US (lumpen) academic concern seems to be to stop Americans thinking about the whole non-Western world, by tying such curiosity to 19th & early 20th century US discrimination vs east-Asians. Both have the idea of the Western culture as uniquely powerful and demonic, the mirror-imagge of the right-liberal/neoliberal/neocon view of the West as uniquely powerful and benevolent.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Japan's unprecedented rapid industrialization that spat in the face of the Europeans and Americans who wished to pick the island nation's resources apart as they did China...

Just on a factual point, Japan is very resource poor and was never much sought after for its resources by Western powers, though they did want it as an export market for their own goods. From what I can see, Japan came into conflict with Western powers because it wanted to be a peer, with its own 'place in the sun', and while Russia after 1905 was forced to cede Japan a sphere of influence, the US in particular would not accept a challenge to US hegemony in the western Pacific.

Japan is a very interesting case. I don't think it's generally appreciated in the West how critical Japan's example was in ending Western global supremacy through its example - a resource poor non-Western nation that repeatedly proved itself at least the equal of the great Western empires, ending what had been an influential myth of white-Western invincibility. American victory over Japan obscured this from the American POV, but that was after Japan had previously defeated Russia in 1905 and the British, French and Dutch Pacific empires in 1941, as well as driving the American empire back to her own side of the Pacific. Events such as the Fall of Singapore contributed to a perception that Western global imperial domination was no longer tenable.


Arachnofiend wrote:


You can't usually assume that though outside of an academic perspective. The man of the masses is still going to have that image of a suicide bomber be his one idea of a Muslim and then proceed to throw rocks in a Sikh temple because everyone in a turban is the same.

I don't think that 'True Lies' (Hollywood movie with Muslim villains) inspired any 'man of the masses' to attack a Sikh temple - or a mosque for that matter. 9/11 did, but reality is a lot more influential than fiction which is known to be fiction.

Lies presented as truth can be influential - eg I was reading about anti-Jewish and anti-Czarist black propaganda in 19th century Russia, which is still influential today in stirring up both anti-Semitic and anti-Russian feelings, as we see re Ukraine right now. But that's very different from fiction presented as fiction.


GreyWolfLord wrote:


Is there a reason why people don't use this a LOT.

People who are willing to see casters brought down to earth like that don't tend to play 3e/PF...

For older editions where magic-resistant and magic-immune monsters were common, yes it's a reasonable notion. It would not be common though, except perhaps as a Monk item, since an (eg) high level 1e Fighter would likely have a lot of other magic gear he wouldn't want to see made useless. I think a moving Globe of Invulnerability effect might be more common.


Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
S'mon wrote:
How do other Varisians see the Sczarni? Are they the social rejects, the unwanted outcasts? Or are they looked up to as the defenders of Varisian culture against the Chels, the way many Sicilian immigrants to the US once saw the Mafia?

Given what I've read, it's a little of both.

The Sczarni see themselves as defenders of Varisian culture, or more accurately, they think that it's okay to deceive and rob non-Varisians as payback for the many years of cultural abuse at the hands of Taldans and Chelaxians. They're not as interested in preserving Varisian core values as much as taking what they want because they feel the world owes them.

Most average Varisians, both nomadic and settled, view the Sczarni as a cultural black eye. Because the Sczarni stir up trouble by the very nature of their enterprises, they're essentially the source of most modern prejudice against Varisians, the reason people think all Varisians are thieves and liars. Most Varisians that DO hold to their traditions and stuff hate the Sczarni as a result, and refuse to associate with them.

It's sort of a vicious cycle. People are racist against Varisians because they think they're criminals by nature, and as a result, some Varisians become embittered and join Sczarni families to get vengeance and survive, which feeds into the negative stereotype of the Varisian criminal, etc.

So that would imply the Sczarni are low-status rejects among the Varisians, even if they tend to avoid preying on other Varisians? That would seem to tally with the non-clan-based gang structures described for the Sczarni, and put them pretty firmly in the Bruderbond model. So comparing them to criminals in London, where I live, they'd bear more resemblance to eg the Afro-Caribbean street gangs (with no status in respectable Afro-Caribbean society) than to the more common family based or hybrid criminal organisations of the old east-end English Cockneys, or the more recent Turks & Kurds, Romany Gypsies, Irish Travellers etc, which are more of a Sicilian Mafia model, though usually on a smaller scale.

I can work with that, I just need to think of them as more individualist and less family-oriented than the original model would tend to indicate. The Sczarni then are actually more individualist - more Chelish! - than mainstream Varisian society.


Snoring Rock wrote:
It has been a long time! I have been playing C&C but have become dissatisfied. Too many inconsistencies in the rules. I want rules light but I want the rules to be coherent too.

Oh, if you haven't tried the Pathfinder Beginner Box yet, give it a go as its own game - it's one of the few ways to get rules light + pretty comprehensive. It covers levels 1-5, hard to extrapolate beyond that but it can either be used for low level adventuring, or to stat out an E5 type setting where 5th is the cap - I used it that way for my tabletop Yggsburgh game; it would also work well for Wilderlands, maybe with XP awards reduced also, or use slow track from the core rules. You could easily run a year of fortnightly sessions with the PBB.


It's not terrible. It's easily worth the 99p I paid for it. :)
As say a $3 mini, it's fine. Typical Wizkids style. Don't pay $10 or similar 'premium mini' price though.


I had some pages fall out of a near mint copy of Curse of the Crimson Throne #2 during the play session a couple weeks ago. :(


I think I'm going with elven irises filling the visible area of the eye, like many non-human animals (humans seem to have evolved visible whites to help with hunt coordination - I'm looking *that* way!), while elven pupils are small and not very visible, so an elf like Merisiel with dark irises seems to have single-colour eyes. IMC I'm describing Shalelu's eyes as 'bright' 'cold' 'eerie', but not monochrome orbs like 4e Eladrin.


Good stuff, thanks - 5th level Devargo & Trinia are both potential cohorts in my game (PCs are currently 5th level), so saved for future reference. :)


In the movie she's the last Tarakian (sp?) Defender, which is probably a Paladin-based prestige class. :)
I'd maker her a Paladin, though her lack of armour is a poor fit. She'd make a cool Avenger in 4e. Alterntive might be multiclass Paladin/Ranger.


My favoured approach is: roll best 3 of 4d6 in order, reroll if crap (or raise 2 highest rolls to '15's); then swap any pair.

This creates organic feeling characters with their highest stat where the player wants it. It does not have the problem of massive variation in effectiveness you get with 'arrange as desired', which turns the rolls into a build resource.

My second favourite approach is simply to use an array; this guarantees equality, prevents really wonky point buy spreads, and de-emphasises the importance of stats in character creation. For PF, using 16 14 13 12 10 9 works well.


So, the Varisians seem to be a clan/family based society, the design influenced by real world Romany Gypsies.

The Sczarni are Varisian criminal gangs.

Now, in the real world a 'crime family' is usually just that - a literal family, at least at its core. Crime syndicates without blood relationship, the fantasy 'Thieves' Guild', is much more the exception than the rule. Organised and semi-organised crime requires bonds of trust; these can sometimes arise from non-familial relations, eg a group of military veterans or a religious cult, but family bonds are by far the most common. The partial exception would be street gangs that often operate more on a 'Bruderbond' or 'warrior society' ethos, with induction/hazing helping to create a kind of virtual family. And there can be hybrids, eg the US Mafia seems to have developed with a partial Bruderbond type system as the close kinship ties of the original Sicilian immigrants loosened.

So, what are the Sczarni? They're not simply particularly criminal Varisian blood families, as far as I can tell. The indications from eg Sczarni gang descriptions in Guide to Korvosa seem to fit the Bruderbond model, eg a gang of all-female second-storey burglars. Historically IRL you'd tend to see this kind of gang more in societies where extended family relationships are relatively weak, Victorian London and other European cities, say (real world Romany Gypsy criminal organisation seems to be entirely clan/family-based, as far as I can tell).

So, if the Sczarni are Bruderbonds, what causes the members of tight-knit Varisian families to join these gangs? Are they outcasts from 'respectable' Varisian society? Youths who rejected arranged marriages or committed other infractions, perhaps?
Or are they actually more of a hybrid model, perhaps typically dominated by Varisian blood families of criminal bent, but inducting new unrelated members on an oath/haze basis? Does that mean they might be open to non-pureblood-Varisian membership, eg the typical mixed Chelish/Varisian citizen of Magnimar or Korvosa?

How do other Varisians see the Sczarni? Are they the social rejects, the unwanted outcasts? Or are they looked up to as the defenders of Varisian culture against the Chels, the way many Sicilian immigrants to the US once saw the Mafia?


Threeshades wrote:


As a German I would not be happy if someone wrote a for instance a dieselpunk universe and took German culture as a whole purely to include some kind of irredeemable one-track-minded nazi villain-faction in their setting.

In Anglo-Saxon culture, 'Germanist' (:P) fiction that presents Germans as inherently horrible villains has a long history, dating back to before the Nazis. It seems to have emerged within a few decades of German unification and to have been firmly in place by WW1. It worked to support WW1 Allied propaganda about non-existent German war atrocities. Indeed this seems to have been a factor in a widespread refusal to believe in the depth of actual Nazi atrocities, until the truth became irrefutable towards the end of WW2.

What that means is that when drawing on late 19th/early 20th century Anglo pulp fiction, the 'Prussian militarist' with a spike on his helmet is as much a stock villain trope as the voodoo witchdoctor or the Fu Manchu mastermind. It's much like the stock white Southern racist in countless more recent Hollywood movies. My own maternal ethny (Ulsterman) also provides a common source of villains in British English fiction.

I guess my feeling is that such tropes are not particularly harmful given that one is aware they are actually fictional tropes, and relation to reality is tangential at best. In their original context they usually reflect current prejudices, which are typically a mix of some reality with a lot of projection (the French regard the English as obsessed with sex, and vice versa). I don't think older tropes generally do anything to foster hostility today. But playing with and sometimes subverting them usually doesn't hurt, either. :)


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DM Under The Bridge wrote:
if someone decries Orientalism that will be met with this was a historical reality, or a depiction of what happened. Doesn't matter if it is slavery, despotism, Islamic or Arab war bands, or the loss of...

Most Western 'Orientalist' fiction is heavily romanticised and sanitised compared to the reality - but most Western 'Medievalist' fiction is equally sanitised and romanticised, of course.

I used to know a renegade Arab princess from the Gulf, who told me absolutely hair-raising stories of what goes on there even today, absolutely horrible, horrible stuff. Far worse than you'll see in 'Sheikh's Harem' Orientalist potboiler fiction, never mind 'Lawrence of Arabia' type romanticised tales.


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DM Under The Bridge wrote:


If you are interested in a thorough discrediting of Said, there is this: Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said's Orientalism. In it he goes through how Said was very fast and loose with his theories, he made a range of what would later turn out to be false accusations which he used to attack many different people and mar the reputation of an entire scholarly discipline. This group have contributed much to our historical knowing of the history of the world, through Assyrianology, Indian, Arab and Mesopotamian studies. They were only interested in studying and learning more about the non-Western world and grasping histories not the West's own; but Said publicly and intellectually shamed them greatly by attacking even their intent to analyse other cultures, and calling that whole endeavour into question.

Yes, it seems to be primarily a Shaming exercise. Said wanted Europeans to feel bad about their interest in other cultures. Then he was taken up by US Universities as a tool for 'educating' their students to feel ashamed of themselves (involving a bit of a sleight of hand, since 'Oriental' in American-English refers to the Far East, not Said's Middle East).

Operating within a Marxist-influenced postcolonialist framework, he doesn't seem to have been interested in encouraging genuine objective inquiry, or in encouraging Westerners to see their culture as just one among many world civilisations. The paradigm is one in which power hierarchies are hardwired in; in particular the West is inherently 'on top' and definitional. In Western Liberalism/Neoliberalism the West is uniquely Good, the universal culture to replace all others. In the New Left-Marxist frame the West is uniquely bad, the demonic civilisation that holds the world in thrall. Neither allow for what IMO would be the healthier attitude of seeing the West as just one among many cultures, with some unique features, and very influential globally over the past 500 years, but in many other ways not so different from other civilisations, and with no divine or diabolic mandate to be the universal culture.


Grimmy wrote:

Actually I would have gone with an even more direct approach. Skip the offer to help and just matter of factly say what you didn't like.

"Hey can we maybe split up the spotlight time better, intead of scouting I'm sitting here for 3 hours while they talk to the guards. And what's up with you narrating what my character does, I should get to decide what I want to do."

No one can say you are a douche for saying what you find fun or not.

Yes - if you've not done this already, do it. He needs to be clear what he's doing wrong. He may well not be interested in changing, though, especially if in his own mind he's a good GM.


Hama wrote:
Moral duty? Please? I owe nothing to no one. If I want to run a game, I will. If not, I don't really care if they want me to. I've had enough of GMing for a while.

Oh, if you don't want to GM, then don't. But if this guy is really bad and won't listen, and the others agree, then if you're ok with GMing for a bit I recommend doing so, and as you do so look to swap out with one of the other players as soon as you can.

You sound like a group leader type (snap). I advise a fair lot of GMs/leaders like you as an Organiser at my D&D Meetup. One thing I always advise is a willingness to step up, get things organised, GM the group until they're running smoothly, and *then* hand over GMing to a suitable prospect. A common source of problems is handing over too early, perhaps organising a group, but letting someone you don't know GM, and trusting it'll work out. That untried person is often a doofus, which sounds like the case here.

If you can take over for say a 4-session mini-campaign while you look at getting someone else to GM, I'd recommend that.

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