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Steve Geddes's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Class Deck, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber. 9,657 posts (11,064 including aliases). 15 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 11 aliases.


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I've posted you my witty retort. You should get it in about a week.


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We're meeting some friends on the Tuesday after PaizoCon to start our West Coast driving tour and they're only there for the one night. Is the Space Needle restaurant worth visiting?


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Weirdo wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

I think that implication would be strong if both books were written at once. Personally, I think the alignment system was intended as a model of morality (a poor one) not that the terms were intended to "have moral implications".

It's a subtle distinction, but I think it's meaningful (and would remove a lot of the irritation people seem to experience in alignment debates where complex real-world moral views are poorly modelled by the primitive alignment system).

While I agree that it's worth recognizing the limitations of a game system to model morality, I'm not sure it diminishes my point about the alignment system having moral meaning, which makes people uncomfortable or frustrated when it conflicts with their own moral reasoning.

(It's not just alignment, either. Aside from arguments about how well the game models/should model physics, I've seen people get quite annoyed about liberties the Bestiaries take with mythological creatures eg Efreet and Ifrit being different things.)

That's a fair rejoinder.

I was nitpicking really, in that you seemed to be deducing what the intent behind the alignment system was based on an alternate system in a book released several years later (arguably several decades later) than the original.

I agree with your point, so was probably focussing on the trees not the wood. Sorry.


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It's nonetheless pretty common. In fairness, it's worth noting that moral subjectivism rests on similar a priori beliefs-without-justification, once you drill down deep enough.

FWIW, I'm not really trying to persuade you that moral objectivism is correct, merely that it is consistent. I think it's a reasonable criticism to point out that practically it's moral subjectivism anyway (since we can't directly access this moral measuring stick and are left with our own subjective value judgements). As you say, it's a difficult dragon to slay - "This objective measuring stick.....how do we know anything about it?" is a fair question, leading inevitably to "What would be different if it didn't exist?"

To return to the gaming side of things - the morality modelled by pathfinder's alignment system IS objective. Those who believe morality is inherently subjective will always grapple with it. My preference, if the alignment system is important to you, is to relabel the gaming words of good and evil with something else - like purity and taint or something.

I think questions like "why should the paladin fall by casting a spell with the evil descriptor in order to save an orphanage?" would be less perplexing that way. Then at least, the profound metaphysical differences between that world and our world would be made explicit. It's easily explained then - he was doing a good deed, but he performed a tainted act and taint sticks to people and corrupts them.


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More broadly, a moral objectivist rejects the idea that judgement is implicit in morality. I consider murdering an innocent for fun to be immoral (for example) and although I've made a judgement in forming that view, a moral objectivist will say that the fact that I'm right is a function of the objective, ephemeral moral-measuring stick that they believe exists.

Moral objectivism doesn't have a lot of practical import, in my opinion - since we're all left with our subjective judgements anyhow in determining how to act. Nonetheless, there is nothing inconsistent with the metaphysical views that moral statements are capable of being true or false (another way of expressing moral objectivism). We may be incapable of determining that truth - but that's a different question from whether the truth or falsity of a moral claim exists.

Most of the world believe in an objective morality, FWIW. it's a pretty central tenet of Christianity and Islam.


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There isn't any judgement involved in a PF world (if you take good-evil to represent morality).

If a paladin casts a spell with an evil descriptor nobody makes any judgement - yet he falls. The evilness of the act is just a brute fact about the world - even if everybody in it, including the gods disagree.

That's kind of my underlying point - what the game refers to as "morality" is something a bit like, but also different from what we refer to with that word. Hence my preference for ditching alignment entirely or relabelling the words so that people don't say "that's dumb!" based on analysing the gameworld's morality as if it were ours.


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Nice technicality. I missed that. :)


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Trogdar wrote:

I'm still confused as to how you end up with objective value judgments. Even the gods are subjective within the cosmology as far as I know. They are individuals.

A value judgment is subjective by its very nature, so I think it would help if someone breaks that down for me.

Objective (meaning mind-independant) morality means the morality of an act doesn't depend on anyone's opinion. There is a fact of the matter - we may be right or wrong in our moral views because there is actually an answer.

In pathfinder there is an objective answer to "is doing X evil" (since you can test it with spells or by asking a paladin to do it and then see if he can still do his paladin-y stuff).

The set of things which are evil in the gameworld is determined subjectively by the DM - but in world it is an objective reality, no matter what anyone in that world (including gods) thinks about an act - it is actually good or actually evil.


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The point of the alignment system or the point of distinguishing between the game terms 'good/evil' and the moral terms 'good/evil'?

I'm not a huge fan of the alignment system but I think it's worth being explicit that 'being evil' in pathfinder is a fundamentally different thing than 'being evil' in the real world. (Since the morality of our actions doesnt stick to us, the way it does to our characters).


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Weirdo wrote:
Alignment in PF is written to reflect morality. It certainly would be interesting to use an alignment system in which we “replace 'good' and 'evil' with stand-ins that lack moral implications, such as 'radiant' and 'shadow',” doing so is presented as a variant rule (Unchained p 101), indicating that the moral implications of “good” and “evil” in the main rules is intentional.

I think that implication would be strong if both books were written at once. Personally, I think the alignment system was intended as a model of morality (a poor one) not that the terms were intended to "have moral implications".

It's a subtle distinction, but I think it's meaningful (and would remove a lot of the irritation people seem to experience in alignment debates where complex real-world moral views are poorly modelled by the primitive alignment system).


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Weirdo wrote:
Having an objective standard for good and evil does not mean that that objective standard has to be deontological in nature.

Yeah. It seems to me there is often confusion on that point - although PF has in game objective morality, it is not necessarily an absolute morality (alignment is, by RAW, a matter of DM preference and there aren't many moral absolutists around these days).


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I think it's a function of poor terminology.

The game uses terms like good and evil to represent concepts which are not our real world moral concepts called good and evil.

If they'd used new terms completely it would be easier to discuss. 'Does killing a goblin baby count as 'black souled' or 'white souled'? Would be a less contentious topic, since it explicitly acknowledges that the game ISNT saying 'murder is evil.....except for murdering evil things'. It's saying 'murder is black souled....except for murdering black souled things' which is not a real world moral concept but is rather some strange metaphysics where one's past actions (of any moral flavor) taint you in some objectively determinable way.

I think it helps to adopt a 'dark side of the force' approach in interpreting the game term 'evil' and remind yourself that it doesnt mean what we mean by the term in real life.


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I wonder if it's because they are pretty interchangeable. I know I'm really un-fussy when it comes to plonking down the correct demon/devil. Any old fiend will do, generally,


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Sara Marie wrote:
Hi folks, I removed some posts (and replies to said posts) that I think? were intended to be all in good fun, but just don't translate well for everyone who might be reading these forum posts. In addition to text not always being able to capture a snarky or sarcastic tone, not all our readers or community members have historical knowledge of paizo.com forum and community interactions and relationships to understand these were likely made in a lighthearted and friendly manner.

Do we still get to blame Cosmo?


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I generally look for more content as stretch goals rather than other add-ons.

To me (assuming I'm backing the production of a book) dice bags, custom dice, cards, miniatures, etcetera are all things which add the potential for delays. I have backed several projects who have delivered the book reasonably quickly but are now getting burnt on a second shipment because the dice/cards/whatever that they included didn't make it on time. (Or the inclusion of knick knacks has meant my book is delayed by several months).

I have a similar view with "backer contributed material" - I'm considerably less likely to back a kickstarter where some of the higher tiers get to submit a character/monster/name/whatever. Suddenly, the project is going to hinge not just on the creator but also on backers getting it together after the fact.


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I don't find the sounds hard. It's the multisyllabicalness which bothers me (dragons being the most egregious culprits).


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sentaiexpress wrote:
This is very cool and everything, but why exactly is a wizards product on paizo?

Because RPG companies recognise the silliness of edition wars.


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Yeah - the analysis above (the 16.5%) is purely the 'natural talent' component. It explicitly assumes that whatever one guy has, so does the other. (They've both proficient or not, both of the same level, both the same class, etcetera). It was more directed towards intelligence the stat, rather than a skill based on intelligence (so expertise wasn't really relevant).

That quote was of one sentence out of a string of posts. As I said earlier - there'll still be mammoth gaps between the expert and the novice. It's just that stat differences make significantly less difference than you'd expect if you try to port over "real world intuition" (which was actually the point).


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It's not just simple trivia questions. It's anything modelled with a single attribute check (often quite complex tasks). Relativity-inventing is clearly more than that, but that wasn't my example.

By best in the world I meant stat of 20. By worst in the world I meant stat of 3.


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We spent a week in Miami, but we were mainly lounging around the pool and spent most of our time on foot rather than seeing the sights. When we did touristy stuff we used taxis which I don't remember as being too pricey.

We stayed here. Which I remember as being quite nice, expensive and a little bit too funky for middle-aged people like us. (It even had paparazzi on the beach snapping pictures of people around the pool with telephoto lenses - never seen that before!)

We did a speedboat tour of the miami harbour which we all remember. Lots of pointing out celebrity homes, but also just a fun way to get a feel for the city's geography. We generally do that on day one or two of a new city and use it to decide what we're going to do in subsequent days.

I seem to remember lots of eating options in the art deco district (which is worth visiting). Nothing concrete to recommend though, food isn't a big deal to me.


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Mordo wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
houstonderek wrote:
Garrett Guillotte wrote:
houstonderek wrote:
Garrett Guillotte wrote:
That they'll actually finish the 5E SRD?
If you're hoping for a 3x type SRD, don't hold your breath. They're not making that mistake twice, I'm sure. The SRD is more for 3pp than letting cheapskates have most of the game for free.
No, not even that. There's a list of things they refer to in the SRD, like magic item attunement rules, random property tables, and spells, that make parts of what they released unusable for players and publishers alike.

They expect you to actually own the books. Again, it's by design, it isn't meant to be a comprehensive rules database, it's an indication of what you're allowed to play with as a third party publisher.

They don't care if it's useful for players, that's what the books are for. They sell stuff, they're a business, not a gamer charity.

He's talking about it from a 3PP's perspective, not as a player wanting all the rules for free.

Attunement is referred to in the SRD but it isn't open content. That's a potential trap for 3PP who isn't careful or who skims the SRD and makes pretty reasonable assumptions. That link shows other examples too.

A 3PP that wants to create a magic item that requires attunement, they only need to say so, no needs to have the SRD explaining how it works, it's already in the DMG.

Sure - you're not forced to use it (and no doubt simply referencing it is probably fine, even though it isn't open content).

The point is that since there is a whole bunch of content mentioned in the SRD which is not Open Content, a publisher might mistakenly cite something which is in fact not part of the OGL.

If you're careful it won't be a problem - my only comment was that "You're not getting the books for free, the SRD is for publishers" misses the point Garrett raised. He wasn't asking for the rules for free, he was indicating several instances where a reading of the SRD could reasonably lead one astray about what is open content.


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MMCJawa wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
thejeff wrote:
The trouble with this whole discussion is that arguing in good faith, as the OP defined it, is a really great way to work when everyone's doing it. When one party isn't interested in good faith, it's a losing game. Arguing in good faith is how evolutionists get destroyed in debates with creationists, for example. On the internet we call it "feeding the trolls". The key is recognizing when the other party isn't interested in a real discussion.

I agree with you when the goal is winning a fight (such as in refuting creationists).

I would argue that in an RPG rules discussion there often isn't such a goal - it's more discussing a controversial area of the rules (inevitable, given the looseness and incompleteness of any RPG ruleset and the various different ways in which we utilise those rules). In fact, I think that one reasonable motivation for casting the opposing viewpoint in as charitable light as you can is not to win the argument, but to give yourself the greatest chance of losing.

I think many people, at least as far as common rules/Pathfinder main discussion threads go, do really feel that these arguments are important. That unless some specific rule problem/issue/point of contention is not brought up and fiercely argued, than it will never be fixed in the game.

Certainly I have seen this brought up in Caster-Martial disparity threads, and you can kind of argue it maybe has an impact (recent player companions and to a lesser extent the hardcover line, have introduced options to "boost" the power level of martials up in some way or another).

I have no doubt that for many people, getting more options for martials or clarifying some rule minutia is far far more important to them than keeping creationism in/out of schools

I agree with you, I just don't agree with them.


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houstonderek wrote:
Garrett Guillotte wrote:
houstonderek wrote:
Garrett Guillotte wrote:
That they'll actually finish the 5E SRD?
If you're hoping for a 3x type SRD, don't hold your breath. They're not making that mistake twice, I'm sure. The SRD is more for 3pp than letting cheapskates have most of the game for free.
No, not even that. There's a list of things they refer to in the SRD, like magic item attunement rules, random property tables, and spells, that make parts of what they released unusable for players and publishers alike.

They expect you to actually own the books. Again, it's by design, it isn't meant to be a comprehensive rules database, it's an indication of what you're allowed to play with as a third party publisher.

They don't care if it's useful for players, that's what the books are for. They sell stuff, they're a business, not a gamer charity.

He's talking about it from a 3PP's perspective, not as a player wanting all the rules for free.

Attunement is referred to in the SRD but it isn't open content. That's a potential trap for 3PP who isn't careful or who skims the SRD and makes pretty reasonable assumptions. That link shows other examples too.


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wraithstrike wrote:
You can also break your post down for them, no matter if you think they were being genuine or not, but if you fire back with snark it just turns into an argument.

This is also useful for other posters who aren't participating but are reading along. I do that a fair bit in the rules forum and still get something out of it even when someone is being disingenuous or outright hostile, provided the other person remains calm and clear.

In my experience, it's only when both sides begin arguing against parodies of actual positions (or both start accusing one another of trolling, bringing up past debates and so forth) that it becomes a waste of time to read along.


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As another example (with the boot on the other foot this time):

I came to the rules forum (several years back) with a very firm opinion that people who complained about a Martial-Caster Disparity were playing the game in a way I really had no interest in. I thought they were missing the point - that they were focussing on DPR, that they'd forgotten it was a team game, that the only reason it existed was because they didnt enforce all the rules properly....all the usual preconceptions. It took a number of patient, articulate posters to explain to me exactly what the problem was and to show me that it was actually a real, objective thing.

Having got past my immediate dismissal of the opposing position, I was more fully able to understand my own preferences/approach and to realise that such a disparity is actually what I want in an RPG (which helps me analyse which games I am enjoying and which I don't). I think I would never have come to see that if I had not made the effort to try and understand the strongest formulation of the pro-Disparity crowd and had instead debated the rhetorically weaker proponents of it.


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To provide an example of why I think a confrontational approach is unhelpful:

I often make the comment that I prefer a rule system where the DM makes rulings on the fly and there are only broad guidelines set out in an objective 'how to resolve this' way. People (generally who don't enjoy this kind of game) often leap to the assumption that I'm speaking as a DM - that I'm trying to tell a story with my players as a captive audience (or that I'm a control freak or whatever slant they tend to put on it). Having formed that view, they quickly dismiss it based on my imagined motivations/viewpoint.

In fact, I'm speaking as a player, not a DM (as a DM I believe in running whatever game the players prefer) and a lot of the 'refutations' or 'disagreements' with my view are way off base - they are, in fact, disagreeing with a point of view that I don't hold. This happens precisely because people have leapt to a conclusion without truly understanding what I mean. That means they havent even really considered what I was saying but rather what they think I was saying (and often a parodied, easy-to-refute hyperbolic formulation at that).

Of course, I don't think they are under any compulsion to accept my opinion once they understand it. But it might be useful to them to see that there's a broader perspective than the one they'd immediately imagined and then dismissed.


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thejeff wrote:
The trouble with this whole discussion is that arguing in good faith, as the OP defined it, is a really great way to work when everyone's doing it. When one party isn't interested in good faith, it's a losing game. Arguing in good faith is how evolutionists get destroyed in debates with creationists, for example. On the internet we call it "feeding the trolls". The key is recognizing when the other party isn't interested in a real discussion.

I agree with you when the goal is winning a fight (such as in refuting creationists).

I would argue that in an RPG rules discussion there often isn't such a goal - it's more discussing a controversial area of the rules (inevitable, given the looseness and incompleteness of any RPG ruleset and the various different ways in which we utilise those rules). In fact, I think that one reasonable motivation for casting the opposing viewpoint in as charitable light as you can is not to win the argument, but to give yourself the greatest chance of losing.

It's easy, once you've been playing for a long time with a certain viewpoint, to ignore weaknesses in one's own approach and to dismiss strength's in an alternate position. I think that if you put effort into truly understanding the most favorable, strongest formulation of the other guy's point of view you are much more likely to see the positives and to expose the weaknesses of your own position. That helps you to amend or evolve your understanding of the game more than reflexively dismissing something as "that's not how I like to play" (or similar).

I think the distinguishing factor between refuting creationists and refuting people who play the game differently from you (or who interpret the rules differently from you) is that the former actually matters in the big picture. There are concrete, adverse consequences to conceding the argument.

If your goal is not to win but rather to ultimately critique and refine your own position, I think you're far better off 'losing' the rhetorical arguments as I think you'll be better placed to revise how you understand things.

Having given a lot of ground when first encountering a dispute, I'm still happy to later on reject an opposing point of view - I think the principle of charity is useful when first confronted by a new or different idea - treat them as 'points of view I don't understand yet' rather than 'stances I disagree with'.


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Yeah, speculating about other people's motives is rarely helpful (even if you're right it doesn't actually add anything).


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Hama wrote:
Sorry, If I disagree with someone's position, I have no intention of presenting it in a light better than it actually is.

No, that doesn't necessarily help either. The point is to avoid things like:

"I like to run the game with less structured rules and more scope for GM fiat" presented as "If you want to play fantasy-story-time, I'm glad I'm not stuck at your table."

or

"I enjoy creating a character and sifting through lots of options to ensure the mechanical representation of my character represents the flavor I'm trying to convey" represented as "You just care about having MOAR POWER!!!!!"

Hyperbole is one of the biggest problems on the rules forum, in my opinion. When people encounter an opposing view, it's extremely common to extrapolate that view to the most absurd interpretation possible and then criticise the extremist position - regardless of where the original poster actually sits on the spectrum. They then come in to defend themselves and often retaliate by resorting to hyperbole themselves.

Ultimately, the result is two people loudly ridiculing two positions nobody in the discussion actually holds.


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Marc Radle wrote:

I have to say, some folks are being pretty dismisive of Gygax. Let's never forget that he, more than any one person *period* is the reason we have the game(s) we all play and love today. Although there certainly were other people that helped Gary shape D&D, he was the main, driving creative force that made the game, not to mention the company he founded to publish the game, the success it was and continues to be through its' many successors.

I just think Gygax deserves a bit more respect that he's getting in this thread

It's also harsh to judge someone who created a whole bunch of the concepts we've now refined over forty years as if he were writing today.

He'd have different opinions if they'd been formed along with ours and if they were based on what we have collectively learnt over the years.


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Dustin Ashe wrote:

From yesterday's WotC post:

Mike Mearls wrote:
At this stage, we’ve begun considering what the first, major mechanical expansion to the game might look like.
What does everyone hope this means?

I hope it means:

Extra archetypes. No new classes. Extra feats. Extra downtime activities. Additional tactical options for martial characters.


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I'd give the +2 since that's what my players would prefer.

Personally, I'm indifferent (I've always felt that PC progression is something of an illusion anyway, given the DM sets the challenges the party faces. Ideally it will feel like a world with an objective existence, but it is generally written with the PC abilities in mind).

+2 has the benefit of definitely granting the recipient an advantage. Often a +1 is effectively meaningless.


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I think you've identified the problem: there's no right way to play, but people often think there is. Optimisation should be the goal if it's fun. It shouldn't be the goal if it isn't fun. There's no objective measure of fun.

The only issue is when a group of people sit down at the table with differing ideas of fun and one or more of them aren't very good at compromising.

I like weird builds which evolve level-by-level without much thought - who generally aren't terribly effective. My brother likes mapping out a character from level one to wherever-the-campaign-is-going-to-end and making him as powerful as possible. Neither of us is correct because we manage to play together without the other's PC really impacting on us and the DM manages to deal with it from a challenge perspective (I generally play the support character or the sidekick and my brother plays the hero).


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Cleanthes wrote:
Last note: Erik's new sign-off is making me nervous. People out there who know him, any recent signs of burgeoning worship of the Elder Gods in Paizo's high command? o.O

I think "worship of the Elder Gods" is listed as an essential characteristic on Paizo Job and Person Specifications.


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Thanks again for the transparency, Vic. (And full marks for consistency - I doubt I'd agree with very much that I was saying in 2009).

I've run this twice and have no expectation of ever running it again. It's my favorite AP though, so I'll have to grab a copy "just cos".

Really looking forward to the Scarwall enhancements - my players loved the creepy feel but the empty-room phenomenon did detract slightly from the mood from time to time. Haunts, clues and other such encounters would have been an excellent addition.


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James Jacobs wrote:
Thus, no need to update Guide to Korvosa exists. It works fine as-is.

And it's awesome. If anyone hasn't got it, I'd thoroughly recommend it. One of the best city guide books for any system ever, imo.


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Arazyr wrote:
Jam412 wrote:
Arazyr wrote:

Wow. Yeah. Gotta have this. My wife and I tore through the original CotCT AP in about a month, back when it was fairly new.

I *WAS* planning to cancel my AP sub after Hell's Vengeance, but if I want this in print and PDF, I'm better off extending my sub a couple more months! (Between the AP sub discount and the free PDF!)

Good play, Paizo. 8^)

You went through an entire AP in a month?! :-O

It took us at least two years to complete CotCT!

We spent pretty much every waking moment (outside of work, etc.) playing that. Those two characters just "clicked" so well we couldn't stay away. 8^) (Okay, it might have been closer to two months, but still...)

That's still pretty impressive. I'd think that's a record.


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Sounds like you're sorted, but there's a section in the DMG (which I believe you haven't got so probably don't know about) on customising classes.

It encourages DMs to tweak classes to allow PCs to build the character they're looking for (making a poisoner who is a rogue with poison kit expertise instead of thieves' tools - stuff like that).

The kind of thing I'd imagine here would be a rogue with a complicated signalling system in lieu of thieves' cant. Hand signals, markings on trees, that kind of thing - familiar to others in your army/organisation.

In my opinion, that section is excellent 'food for thought' on this kind of issue.

FWIW, the dwarf rogue would have been my suggestion barring any racial preferences.


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I generally just pledge for FGG kickstarters and read up about them later. :)

I must admit I was hoping this was the mooted (upcoming?) Alchemy book.


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I don't think the focus for incentives should be things people want multiples of. I think that will lead to high prices and misguided charges of 'money grabbing '.

I think huge incentives should be things that come in ones. Another solution is needed for things like elementals, imo.


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GreyWolfLord wrote:

A 5e model would have you think 10.8 seconds is the fastest man can run the 100 meter (rolling a perfect 20 for someone maxed out with perfect stats in 5e).

1891 world records.

Usain Bolt would never have been able to beat that with a 9.58 seconds...because there is no room to improve over that.

4.5 minutes would be the fastest one could run the mile from the 1800s, instead of the 3 minutes and 43 seconds today.

We'd have thought 66 meters was the furthest a javelin could be thrown as that was the max in 1912.

Instead of the 104 meters held by Uwe Hohn.

Who knows what the limits of mankind is...placing artificial limits...just because...seems just like that...artificial.

I appreciate you're not really putting a lot of effort into using the system since you don't like it (so why should you?) However, 5E really doesn't imply that world records would never be beaten unless you also remain wedded to the simulationist mindset useful when playing games like PF.

Personally, in a game focussed on footraces, I'd rule that rolling a 20 with maximum stat and double proficiency translates to "beat the world record" rather than some definitive time. So "Beat the world record" would have a DC of 37.

There's nowhere in the rules that ties IQ 80 to Int 3, nor anywhere that ties DC37 to running 100m in 10.8 seconds - you've imported a mindset which isn't useful for running 5E games and are then deriving unhelpful results. (Same for thinking there'd be no Einstein in 5E-land. He'd just rely on class features, feats and backgrounds rather than statistics alone).

The difference in running a 5E game compared to a PF game is much more nuanced than just "like PF with smaller numbers".


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GreyWolfLord wrote:
I think I noted that PF itself is rather unrealistic, 5e is just MORE unrelialistic.

How would you even evaluate that? What sort of metric measures "realism"?

However, even if you could somehow measure "realisticness", I think you'd just be weighing up which system was an abominable representation of reality and which was merely atrocious - if realism is an important feature of RPGs to someone, I think they're both poor choices.


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GreyWolfLord wrote:
#3 seems to probably cover the largest number, but perhaps the hardest to retain. They get swayed by whatever is the newest and shiniest on the street. WotC seems to be doing well in timing their releases to get this crowd to continue buying, but I think it's can be difficult.

Based on the most recent ICv2 report, it seems that WotC's continuing success with 5E is not about continually selling to the same people but rather about keeping the number of books low and keeping on bringing in new people.

The way they "clump" their releases so they're all about the storyline, rather than drifting into splatbooks is part of this strategy, it seems to me.


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bookrat wrote:
Steve, I think that's a fair assessment. Sorry if I came across as aggressive or attacking you; that was not my intent at all. My intent was to explore your ideas further. And I don't disagree with you at all.

Nah, you weren't aggressive at all. I'm just being overly explicit about approving of bounded accuracy. I'm also keen to be clear that I like the fact the game is unrealistic. In my experience, comments like mine tend to be interpreted as "I don't like it".

Maybe other people's groups aren't like mine, but often when it comes time to assign a difficulty, players will start to discuss real world scenarios and try and use intuition to judge how hard something should be. I think it's worth being aware that 5E is a long way from reality in this specific regard - by design, since they wanted low level creatures to remain threats to high level characters amongst other things. That led to a necessary limit on how broad the scale from terrible to awesome can be - which in turn places a cap on how much natural variance there is.

If you're trying to model some competition between an untrained natural athlete and an equally untrained unhealthy lump the skills rules are likely to frustrate any "realism" measure. Best to just declare the fit guy the winner, imo.


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Grey Lensman wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

Yeah the +5 guy can do stuff the -4 guy can't. I was examining solely the times when both have a chance at success. (I didn't do it your way, but I'm glad a different method showed the same figure). I neglected advantage - my gut feel is that the +5 guy has a more significant edge over the -4 guy where advantage is involved.

However, my sole point was that the fact that 16.5% of the time, the worst in the world would beat the best in the world in a head-to-head contest is not what anyone would guess based on real-world intuitions ported over into the game.

I've certainly seen people argue interpretations and rulings based on "realism" and using their intuitions. If you're going to rely on that kind of thinking in setting numbers you should remember that the world you're modelling is one in which being the world's most naturally gifted still means you'll lose in a head-to-head with the world's least talented 1 time in 6. (All else being equal).

When it comes to something like combat, I don't consider that a bug. It's a feature that allows players to not want to give up and go to the store when forced into a 'best vs worst' situation in combat. A small chance will be enough to keep them trying. Being told that there is no die roll they can make that allows success will be interpreted by some as a train whistle.

With skills it's a different story, as the best at a skill is not only proficient, but possibly backed up by a class feature to double that bonus. -4 vs +9-17 is a very different story than -4 vs +5.

I prefer bounded accuracy too - definitely a feature not a bug, in my view.

However, note that I was talking purely about the "natural talent" element. In the numbers I was quoting both have proficiency or both don't. Both have the class feature or both don't. Both have masterwork tools or both don't.

I was merely pointing out that the bell curve is very squished, given that the 'chance element' is 1 to 20 and the 'natural talent' element is -4 to +5. That's not how things are when we consider using what we might term skills in the real world - especially in head-to-head contests (I can't just get lucky and outrun a natural athlete 1 in 6 times if we have identical training, equipment and experience the way I would in 5E. In fact, I'd beat him more often than that, since I'm nowhere near the -4 level).

In 5E, the chance element is hugely significant compared to the natural ability element. Much more so than in the real world, in my opinion.


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bookrat wrote:

Let me take an expanded attempt at the exploration: With everything else equal, a -4 guy has a maximum roll of 16, whereas the +5 guy has a maximum roll of 25. Sure, there are times when the -4 guy will outperform the +5 guy, but there are things the +5 guy can do that the -4 guy simply cannot (anything with a difficulty greater than "moderate"), and the -4 guy even has a solid chance of failing even easy tasks (DC 5, any roll of 8 or less, so a flat 40% chance to fail an easy task), whereas the +5 guy can never fail an easy task without taking some sort of penalty or hindrance somewhere.

I think what you did was just look at how many times you would have a difference if 9 or more on 2d20 (in order) and determined the percent chance of getting that. Which works great for contests, but doesn't explain much else. (I'm going to see if I can replicate your math... Yup, 16.5%)

Let's look at it from the point of view of strength in a grapple contest (with no other modifiers). The -4 guy is going to beat the +5 guy in a grapple contest 16.5% of the time, meaning approximately 3 times in 20 the weaker guy will win on a grapple check. But even with that, there are things the +5 can attempt which are just flat out beyond the ability of the-4 guy, and there are things that the -4 guy will fail the nearly half of the time where the +5 guy will never fail.

So while I agree with you that it isn't a perfect model, I don't think it's all that bad of one. Sure, there are definitely issues, but there always will be when you try to constrain the whole world into 20 numbers. :)

I don't really know how to respond. Yeah the +5 guy can do stuff the -4 guy can't. I was examining solely the times when both have a chance at success. (I didn't do it your way, but I'm glad a different method showed the same figure). I neglected advantage - my gut feel is that the +5 guy has a more significant edge over the -4 guy where advantage is involved.

However, my sole point was that the fact that 16.5% of the time, the worst in the world would beat the best in the world in a head-to-head contest is not what anyone would guess based on real-world intuitions ported over into the game.

I've certainly seen people argue interpretations and rulings based on "realism" and using their intuitions. If you're going to rely on that kind of thinking in setting numbers you should remember that the world you're modelling is one in which being the world's most naturally gifted still means you'll lose in a head-to-head with the world's least talented 1 time in 6. (All else being equal).


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bookrat wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

I haven't checked it too closely, but my back-of-the-envelope calculation is that the guy with -4 will equal or exceed the guy with +5 16.5% of the time (presuming all other modifiers are the same for each).

That's not really indicative of "moron vs genius".

For what DC? Once you get in to negative modifiers, without some sort of asistence (proficiency, magic, etc) it's impossible to do a Hard difficulty task without GM adjudication.

The DC is irrelevant - I calculated the chance the -4 stat guy would do as well or better than the +5 guy (presuming they have equal training, tools and other situational modifiers). It doesn't matter whether that's ultimately a success or a fail at any specific task.

I wasn't criticising it, just making a comment - I think it's a poor model of reality, but that doesn't bother me. I like bounded accuracy.

I just think it's worth noting that one's intuitions about 'how the world works' may be misleading in this regard, since in 5E world, the bell curve is over quite a narrow range compared to our world.


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Quote:
I know many say they are old time players and loved old D&D/AD&D...but if that were so, why play 5e instead of the actual AD&D or D&D of the past (and they are easily, and even more cheaply available these days then 5e)? It's because those who loved AD&D and D&D will play AD&D and D&D instead...and those who didn't...play anything but (IMO).

For me, it's because our group is democratic in the choice of system. I prefer an OD&D/AD&D hodge-podge, but the other guys prefer the very customisable characters you get in more modern systems.

5E is a good compromise system for us - they get to do the character building they enjoy, but I'm not punished for trying quirky things.


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I haven't checked it too closely, but my back-of-the-envelope calculation is that the guy with -4 will equal or exceed the guy with +5 16.5% of the time (presuming all other modifiers are the same for each).

That's not really indicative of "moron vs genius".

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