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Steve Geddes's page

Goblin Squad Member. Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber. 7,335 posts (8,303 including aliases). 13 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 7 aliases.


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My illusions are shattered. I'd always presumed she could do that. :(


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Alex Smith 908 wrote:

It's mostly a reaction to people who claim that somehow enjoying rules makes your enjoyment of the game somehow less "real". These people also tend to be the same people who complain the most vocally about too many books being published.

It also doesn't make sense that they're essentially saying "Paizo please stop making money and fire members of your staff responsible for the material I don't like". Either that or they don't release that removing all the rules releases would result in Paizo losing money and several people losing their jobs.

I don't think that if you like lots of rules your enjoyment isn't "real". Nonetheless, I'd like paizo to make less rule books. FWIW, the second paragraph also doesn't represent my position. I want them to make other things instead, so if my wants were representative of the broader market paizo wouldn't lose any money nor have to fire people. They'd just be working on different things.

Also, telling paizo what I like has got nothing to do with anyone else's fun. I'm just telling paizo what I like. They have a difficult judgement call as to how to meet a whole bunch of conflicting desires - but no matter what they do, someone is missing out - their current rate of rules output means I haven't yet got a Razmiran sourcebook, for example :(.

That's just opportunity cost and shouldn't be taken personally.


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Gambit wrote:
... its not going to change our desire for a pretty hardcover compilation book. Lisa Stevens would need to come on here and say that it will NEVER happen (with all caps), until then I will stay hopeful (and confident) that another one will be made.

I also used to hope for a compilation, until I heard James and the others talk about how much effort it was. That led me to the view that they can only reasonably produce one of these "special projects" every couple of years. THAT led me to the conclusion that I'd be giving up a lot of cool stuff to get the compilations I want.

If second darkness were to be revised and updated, I'd be pretty confident James would be the main staff member involved. However he'd also be the one who wrote the often mooted Sandpoint boxed set. I'd like to see a SD rewrite/compilation however, I don't know that I'd like my Sandpoint boxed set delayed a couple of years just to get it.

It's a tricky thing to manage given there's always appetite for pretty much anything paizo do - they are inevitably not giving someone what they want, no matter what choices they make.


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It's a very subjective thing, obviously. Nonetheless, pathfinder never felt "retro" to me (I don't really like those terms by the way, so it's possible I'm misunderstanding what you mean by them). Nonetheless, I don't think 5E is "retro" because its new or relatively small.

To me what distinguishes "old school" games is the focus on speed/simple gameplay with a view of the DM as subjective user of the rules.

In contrast, more "complex" games strive for simulationism (or at least consistency) with a view of the DM as more an adjudicator of an objectively fixed set of rules (as much as possible, anyhow).

Pathfinder felt to me, on release, to be a reasonably consistent and complete set of rules for adjudicating different scenarios which might come up. 5E feels to me like a set of guidelines to help me quickly make something up on the spot.


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Curse of the Cromaon Throne would be my pick, too.

James Jacobs has previously expressed a desire to see second darkness revised - largely to rework some of the more problematic points in that AP.

He's also been one of the most clear about how difficult it was to work RotRLAE into Paizo's work schedule.


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richard develyn wrote:


I see OSR and Pathfinder as being different, and I never really thought of 4E as D&D, but I can't quite understand how 5E is going to offer anything new. There'll be differences in the details, of course, and it'll *start* simpler though doubtlessly it will follow the same power-creep course that 3rd and Pathfinder have taken.

I probably should make the point in another thread, but where I can understand "retro D&D" and "mainstream D&D" as quite different gaming concepts, I can't see how another "mainstream D&D" is going to bring anything new. All I can see is WotC and Paizo competing for the same gamers.

In my opinion, 5E is much more in your "retro" category than your "mainstream".

I think WotC are targeting people who like OSRIC games, not people who like 3.5 or Pathfinder. There's a broad sense in which they are competing with paizo for customers, but its a long way from a direct substitute - much like apples and oranges "compete" for fruit buying customers.


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Wiggz wrote:

The idea that anyone would say 'I really want that and I can afford it now, but I'm going to wait five years to buy it because something ~might~ happen is patently absurd. I don't necessarily even know where I'll be living, what I'll be driving or who I'll be working for in five years.

I can see some of these arguments against providing the paying customers with what they want, but that one is ridiculous in my opinion.

That's not the argument.

The argument is that some people (not all) buy single APs. If they're casting around for the next one for their group, they may well favour those that have benefitted from a Playtest, revision and second pass than the currently releasing one.

It will result in a decrease in demand, as well as an increase (from people who get brought in via a compilation and then sign up for a subscription they wouldn't otherwise have got).

Whether the benefits outweigh the costs is another matter, but the argument isn't absurd or ridiculous - even if wrong.


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There's not much paizo can do about that. Someone who has heavily invested in another system so doesn't want to buy pathfinder isn't really their target market.

They'd be concerned with people for whom pathfinder IS their main game cutting back on rules purchases (ie technotrooper's position).

Having said that, the product line is broad enough to cater to must-have-everything collectors through to pick-and-choose-the-odd-item casual buyers. I think there's enough fans excited by occult adventures to offset those who may cease purchases when it comes out, which is what really matters.


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Gambit wrote:

Republishing popular APs that will sell seems a far cry from TSR spitting out full lines for 8 different campaign settings.

Heres another thought, what if someone wants to buy a whole AP from Paizo, but cant get one of the installments (usually the first) because it is out of print? This is currently the case with both Carrion Crown and Skull and Shackles. That is 5 units of current product that could be shipped, but wont because its missing one piece.

But my real question, has the company suffered from the RotRL AE, or have they made a tidy profit from it? It has to be one of the highest selling non-core products they have.

I think the important point from vic's post that Joana linked is that the subscriptions are the key to their business model.

Successful business is more than just doing what's profitable - I don't have a link, but I seem to remember them being confident the compilations would sell. They're not avoiding them because they may not be profitable, but because it might affect their central source of reliable, monthly income. Making a large pile of money from one significant investment of resources is a different thing than making the same pile of money from six, smaller enterprises that are broadly the same month by month.

You mention the customer who is steered away from buying an old AP due to a missing issue 1. That has the effect of incentivising the subscription to the current AP - "buy it now and you'll get a free PDF and not have to worry about missing a thing". It's the same as the stupid prices people ask for on eBay being an incentive for the subscription. That drives home the message that the answer to "when's the best time to subscribe?" Is always "now".

They've obviously grown enormously over the last few years, but its hard to understand Paizo's business model without appreciating the central significance of the subscriptions. They keep the lights on, pay the salaries and provide a platform for expansion and side projects. Tinkering with such a core part of their business (or acting in a way which might jeopardise it) is a huge risk - even if the reward on offer is significant, it's probably not worth it for a company with plenty of scope to make profit through other avenues (we've seen them broaden heir product lines via subscription significantly in the last few years - that's much more in line with their business plan than semi regular compilations in the hope AP sales don't drop off).

In regard to the rotrlAE, that was a special event. At the time they went to inordinate lengths to stress it was a one off. It was also a 5/10 year celebration thing. Part of the reason it probably didn't have a significant effect on sales of the current APs was that it was clearly and loudly explained as a one off thing. The more they do, the more it will seem unnecessary to subscribe.


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MMCJawa wrote:
Basically for everyone who argues their are two many books, there are people who argue that their are not enough (or at least not enough GM options, or not enough PC options)

It's also surprisingly difficult to not extrapolate ones own experiences onto the market as a whole. I can't understand the attraction of a game as complicated as pathfinder - yet here it is as one of the best selling RPGs of all time. :)

Watch how often people say "I'm sure that paizo could..." or "it's certainly true that..." or "everyone i know thinks that..." before giving their opinion about what they think will work. Even if you regularly game with a hundred gamers, your sample size is both negligible and nonrepresentative. Nobody should be confident of analysis based on anecdotal observation.


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For me I don't expect you to do nothing but the kickstarter. I do expect you to schedule some time towards it as an ongoing thing though - not put it on the backburner while something else gets done first.

I fully expect you to have some projects beginning, some finishing up and others at various stages of completion throughout whilst fulfilling the kickstarter I helped fund. What I find irritating is when it appears that nothing is happening with the kickstarter project (that has already received money) while the project creator focuses on something else that hasn't yet been paid for. It makes me feel like I'm paying for you to work on someone else's stuff, rather than mine.

I suspect it's often about communication though - that the project hasn't really stalled but just looks like it to us backers. That goes back to the oft-repeated plea for regular, post-funding updates, even if they're a pain in the bum. I think dreamscarred press should be the model here. They're quite late, but I'm totally one with it because I've been kept in the loop all the way along.


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I understand that the market rate is low. I'm just disappointed that we (the fans) don't pay enough for RPG books to justify a higher rate.

In my view, the work required to produce 4000 creative words is worth considerably more than $120.

I'm disappointed in the world, not in any individual inhabitant of it. :)


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People have been complaining about bloat since the APG. Pathfinder is a high-volume rule set and it will continue to appeal to people who want that, IMO (especially if the other RPGs eschew lots of rules expansion).

As far as I understand it, the CRB is selling more copies each quarter than ever before. So it's still growing and that growth has continued as the bloat has increased from its inception until now. There's presumably a point where that will turn, but as I understand it we're not there yet.


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I don't really understand the situation outlined in the OP, so that ignorance might make the following unhelpful, nonetheless.... For my part, it's not a right-wrong thing, it's about what everyone wants and how best to ensure the group continues to enjoy playing together.

I'd be worried that someone in the group is enjoying the intra party conflict - either by deliberately antagonising other players' characters or by deliberately taking a hard line, no compromise position. I don't think intraparty conflict ever works out unless the group goes into it with that expectation (which doesn't sound like the case here).

If it comes to a direct conflict, everyone is going to think they're "in the right" but one of you is going to lose and one is going to win. If you play through and your PC ends up dead, sentenced to life, executed or some other "roll up a new character" option you're probably going to think this other player ruined the game. The player you identify as the problem is likely to feel similarly if he's driven out of the group, killed or framed and locked up.

Given those outcomes, I'd suggest rebooting this facet of the storyline. Unless something gives, it seems to me to be very likely the campaign is going to end unpleasantly for at least one player. My approach would be to compromise, but if you or the rest of the group are unwilling to do that, I'd push for the isolated player to willingly write himself out of the campaign or drastically amend his interpretation of "what would my character do?"

I may be too pessimistic - there are certainly groups who can pull off this kind of competitive approach. My gut feel though is that you're heading for an unpleasant denouement and that cutting your losses now is the most likely way to preserve the group of players (whose feelings are more important than a bunch of fictional characters).


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All brontosauruses are skinny at one end, much much bigger in the middle...


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LMPjr007 wrote:

Here something that most DON'T do and should:

Spend three to six months BEFORE you start your Kickstarter talking about the Kickstarter and getting people excited. While three to six months will be a LONG time, it will people the time to talk about, spread and get other people interested in your Kickstarter. Often overlooked but very important.

I'm a big supporter of kickstarters, but this kind of thing is likely to irritate me and mean ill support something else.

It might be a good strategy overall (who can say?) but it's not universally positive in its effect.


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Fans can write golarion stuff through the community use license. It's only publishers who can't.

I like it the way it is - I'd worry the market would be flooded with golarion-lite products, based on a perceived demand.

Personally, I respect the effort involved in creating a campaign setting and that includes the ability to keep a tight rein on the creative input. Paizo do a good job of keeping golarion consistent, but even now errors creep through. Allowing development of their flavour material by third parties is almost necessarily going to result in more continuity errors (whether "officially sanctioned" or not).


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Hudax wrote:

I bet the reason for it is to prevent every single d20 roll from devolving into an advantage/disadvantage arms race.

They prioritized gameplay over fussing with numbers.

I suspect you're right.


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I suspect our estimates of how popular RPGs are now compared to then says much more about our personal situation than about the industry.


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Erik Keith wrote:

Hawkmoon nailed it with his explanation.

I was doing some testing yesterday to ensure the authorization process ran smoothly and quickly for today. For testing purposes I had to set the start date from the 16th to the 15th which triggered the display error.

- Erik Keith

I really think it would cut down on CS queries significantly if you disabled the "my subscriptions" page during authorisation (with an explanatory "Subscription run in progress - please wait until you receive your authorisation email" and a link to Sara's shipping announcements thread).

Every month there's a bunch of queries about subs getting pushed as the authorisation begins. It's hard to see the benefit of the my subscription page during this time - it doesn't help with estimating costs, time of arrival, contents of upcoming subscription shipments or likely shipping method to be used.


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I think that's more the fact that we tend to forget that tenth level characters aren't representative of real world people.

After all, in their universe, the tenth level hero can take on twenty of the city watch and expect to walk away with barely a scratch - they should act accordingly, shouldn't they? I don't think that's a "mechanics strategy" nor a "real world strategy" - I think it's a "pathfinder world strategy".

Although its a peculiar claim, I think if a pathfinder character were to act as if they were bound by our real world human limitations, it would be quite unrealistic. :o


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Cort Odekirk wrote:
leave out one little verb.....

...and you have the makings of a great "overheard" post.


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ParagonDireRacoon is pointing out that some people optimise with little regard for roleplaying (which is true) and that when those people do that, it breaks immersion for him (her? Damn English...)

A further observation is that, since pathfinder rewards system mastery, it is possible to play the game as a character building exercise, rather than as a deep roleplaying experience.

He isn't saying that optimisers can't roleplay, nor that if you focus on optimisation you must put less effort into roleplaying.


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Hit points and xp/levels bug me. I can't think of anything better though. :(


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Drogon wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

Why do you think it's important for paizo to be the worlds leading game company?

I wish them all the success they want, but its irrelevant to me whether they sell more or less books than WotC. I consider them great because of who they are and how they do things, not because ICv2 declared them the winner for a few quarters in a row.

I have no idea how to reply to this, beyond saying that I can't imagine not trying to be the best at what I do. No way did Paizo set out wanting to be "okay" at making their game. If they had, it would have been exactly that.

I suspect some equivocation on "best" there. To hopefully clarify:

I think it's a good idea to do the best you can. That doesn't have anything to do with how well other people do it though.

I agree paizo should strive to be the best they can. Why do you think they should strive to be better than WotC. That was my question. Maybe I just misunderstood your first post.


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By the way, that wasn't "pouncing" on you. I'm genuinely curious. The focus on "winning" the ICv2 surveys is something I find odd.

I have no experience in publishing, but do in business. Defining your success by market share or otherwise by reference to your competitors is a poor strategy, in my view.


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Drogon wrote:

D&D will likely re-take the #1 position for RPGs. Likely. <--Important word, right there: it does not mean "absolutely." And if they do, it won't be because they "crush" PFRPG's sales. They'll just beat them.

I think Paizo could have maintained their 1st place position by growing because they should. Not because they had to, not because growing "at all costs" is what business is all about. They just should have grown. Added more staff. Taken a look at their processes to see where they were always falling behind and shore those processes up. Tell their vendors what their expectations are and make them hold to it.

I'm sure they did those things. But if the attitude they project is "Well, you know, we're a small game company, so hey! Thanks for any support," then they're going to get shuffled to the side every now and then in favor of a more insistent client. Edit: And even though they did some of these things, they only did what was absolutely necessary rather than looking toward the future and thinking, "What more do we need to really hit this stuff out of the park?" /Edit<--Forgot to tie up my opening line...

I don't think that Paizo should be a publicly traded company. I don't think they should be a BIG company, either. I certainly don't want them to look for some giant corporation to buy them out (though I'll bet they take the offer if one comes along - I'd imagine that when someone offers you the chance to be a bazillionaire you can't come up with a lot of reasons to say, "Nah."). And I don't want them to lose sight of what made them as good a company as they are.

I think they should be the World's Leading Game Company. They can be that, accomplish all these things I'm mentioning, and still retain their identity as Paizo (that company that is so good at listening to its customers and keeping in touch with its fan base).

Why do you think it's important for paizo to be the worlds leading game company?

I wish them all the success they want, but its irrelevant to me whether they sell more or less books than WotC. I consider them great because of who they are and how they do things, not because ICv2 declared them the winner for a few quarters in a row.

Quality control is obviously an issue (and I'm glad they've just moved erik into his new position, hopefully that bears fruit in the same way that hiring Jessica seems to have improved their deadline hitting). That's not related to "being the best" though and I don't think would be necessarily improved by growing.


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Nathanael Love wrote:

Is faster character creation really something that's needed?

I mean, low level characters can be made in 10 minutes or less with PF as it is?

Unless you are filling out a 15th level Wizard or something its relatively easy, choose a handful of feats, follow a few charts, ect. . . are people really that lazy that the concept of having to make a few choices is too "complicated"?

Maybe you won't pick the perfect set of feats, but as long as you find one feat for your character that you find cool/interesting and grab the obvious ones outside alongside it.

I could power out six characters I'd be interested in playing in less than an hour, and can pump out DM NPCs in literal seconds in the middle of game play. . . I just don't understand the assertion that PF is too complicated I guess.

It's not an objective claim, it's just preference.

I don't think pathfinder is too complicated, since some people like complicated systems. I prefer a simpler game though, so in my case faster character creation is desired.

I don't think 5E and PF are true competitors, except in the superficial sense.

Fwiw, I wouldn't plan on having a PF character done in less than half an hour (if I rushed) and more likely an hour. There's just too many options to consider.

It's not "making a few choices" that makes pathfinder complicated, it's the wealth of options you're choosing from.


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Our IT people will happily tell you that whenever there's a computer glitch, jumping immediately to "blame Steve" is generally a time saver.


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Thanks for confirming, vic. The gloom of middle age recedes for just a little while. :)


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I wonder whether part of it is a matter of perception - the Core Book has had multiple revisions and each has had some corrections. Presumably that means the first printing contained a high number of errors (?)

Perhaps back then Paizo were the plucky underdog duking it out against a big corporation, now they're the tall poppy. In other words, maybe it's the expectations that have changed rather than the rate of error.


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It's hard to know without actually seeing it.

My gut feel though is that if Vic and Lisa werent so clear about remaining small* that I wouldnt be so supportive as a customer. I'm retaining my subscriptions to all the Iron Gods stuff despite a total lack of interest in the subject - that's largely due to supporting the company's efforts to branch out, broaden and to experiment (even when the direction chosen is of no value to me).

I doubt I'd feel the same sense of loyalty to a self-declared large company. I'm a rabid paizo fanboy due in large part to how they run their business. That includes moderating their expansion during a time when they were the dominant publisher.

*:
Granted, I havent actually seen that position stated for several years. Early on though they were clear that they never wanted Paizo to grow beyond a certain number of employees. They gave various reasons for that, all of which resonated with me.


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Cosmo wrote:
Also, I'm not "new".

Maybe it was "gnu".


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I like the fact I get smiley faces and impromptu drawings of dragons on my packing invoices occasionally.


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Maybe the Wayne Reynolds art book? That had mixed reviews.


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I think it's relevant that the rule books are the ones which have the largest number of complaints. I think if your theory were right there'd be much wider perceived problems (far from a decline in quality, I think they're getting better at making APs, campaign setting books, flip mats, novels, cards, modules, minis, card games...).

Personally, I prefer the theory that as a ruleset grows in complexity there are necessarily increased errors and fans get grumpier about those errors.


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I have no expectation of system mastery - if the group wants to spend ages combing through the rules to see how it's 'supposed' to work that's fine by me. Same if they want to just wing it and look it up later. I dont see anything inherently wrong with some people being super-competent at building characters next to others (like me) who pick feats, classes and abilities based on how cool they sound.

However, I think everyone at either end of any spectrum should be mindful of how the group works. If you're very skilled at building characters but the other players arent - it's bad form to criticise their characters if you're not asked for feedback. Similarly rolling one's eyes when the skilled player solos a significant monster and muttering something derogatory about rollplaying-not-roleplaying makes me cross.

I have high expectations around fitting in and making the game fun for the other players. That's more important to me than how well you do or dont know the system.


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I think this is an issue for people adding a subscription, not for ongoing subscribers. People looking to sign up have been reporting an inability to complete the checkout process.


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It's interesting that there aren't any of the early issues of Mummy's Mask on the list yet. Presumably paizo print more of the early instalments of each AP than they do of the later ones - I wonder whether something has changed to make the later issues more popular in this case (either the specific theme or some other issue like the existence of mythic rules increasing the demand for high power modules).


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My fault. I wasn't particularly careful.


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Congratulations (again) Erik. Enjoy the shift from algorithm to axiomite. :)


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I never saw any Mystara stuff. It's getting lots of votes so perhaps I should go looking.


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FWIW, The question of which settings I'd rather have converted to pathfinder (which I answered) has a different answer than the question of which settings I'd like to visit in an AP.


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I guess it's not going to be settled by popular vote. Nonetheless, fwiw, I'd much prefer the minis to be completely assembled at the factory wherever possible.


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The best place to discuss moderation decisions is in the website feedback subforum.

Back-and-forth with a moderator about what 'edition war' means (and whether "pointing out dualities" and then commenting on the motivations/proclivities of one of those identified groups counts as such) is rarely fruitful or on-topic.


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blahpers wrote:
FINE I'LL JUST HOUSE RULE IT BACK

We didnt need to houserule stuff like this back in the early edition messageboards.


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Who's going to tell them?


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Paizo is carrying being inclusive to the extreme. Even jerks are welcome now. :)

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