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Imron Gauthfallow

Tequila Sunrise's page

3,187 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.



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Paladin talk has been derailing the once-civil alignment thread, so I'm starting this so that we can debate paladins until we're blue in the face without involving people who don't care.

(If there's anyone on the internet who doesn't care about paladins. There must be one somewhere, but don't ask me where...)
_______________________________________________

Jaelithe wrote:
Like I've said before: Create your warrior for chaotic good. Give him some cool powers, if you like. Just don't duplicate the paladin's powers, and don't call him a paladin, because he's not.
Jaelithe wrote:
If people found that sufficiently satisfying, they wouldn't come here and say, "You're doing it wrong" or "You're not open-minded enough"—which, ironically enough, is yet another way of saying, "You're doing it wrong."

Oh, the irony!

_______________________________________________

Jaelithe wrote:

Once again: "As reward for their righteousness [italics mine], these holy champions are blessed with boons to aid them in their quests: powers to banish evil, heal the innocent, and inspire the faithful."

It's pretty clear one side is not going to convince the other.

Indeed, particularly when one of us insists that the specific image in his head is not only immutable -- within a game of imagination, no less -- but also that nobody is allowed to play with his toys.

FYI, despite using righteousness to argue your own ideal, but you seem to be confused as to the definition of righteousness. (Note that the only mention of law in any definition is in example text.)
_______________________________________________

Jaelithe wrote:
I don't buy your chain of logic, because it's clearly self-serving the goal of chaotic good "paladins" being accepted.

Much like your logic is clearly a self-serving attempt to maintain the sanctity of your One True Way.

_______________________________________________

Jaelithe wrote:
Why do you have to call your chaotic good "warrior for good" a paladin?

Because that accurately describes his role within the game world and his abilities.

_______________________________________________

Aranna wrote:
MrSin, Lesser restriction SHOULD have either lesser versions of the powers OR a different set of powers completely to differentiate it from a real Paladin. Like a CG Holy Warrior might get smite alone and perhaps lose or get a watered down version of the rest of the paladin power set... to balance it they might get a couple unique powers of their own.

You're right; clerics of different alignments have different powers to differentiate them. Other-aligned paladins should have unique powers like appropriately aligned smite X powers, anarchic/axiomatic/holy/unholy divine bonds, positive/negative energy channeling, and protection from X spells.

_______________________________________________

Aranna wrote:
Like Jaelithe says you can't have the two different ideas at the same table they stomp on each others toes.

Not so; we're perfectly happy with you playing your LG paladins. It's you who feel entitled to dictate to others what they can and can't play. Even if it's only at your own table, that's simply selfish.


Fluff-wise, what do you think a spell list is?

1. Spells that your particular PC is familiar with, thanks to his or her particular mentor.

2. The spells that are frequently used by members of your PC's class.

3. A representative selection of spells that members of your PC's class are able to master.

4. A comprehensive list of spells that members of your PC's class are able to master.

5. Something else.

And what does this imply about off-list spells that your character may find or research?

A. Your spell list is not comprehensive or even representative of everything your character may master. Your PC may find or learn pretty much any unique spell, or any spell from any other spell list.

B. Your spell list is not comprehensive, but it is representative of the kind of spells your character can master. Your PC may find or research unique spells, but not spells that radically depart from what your spell list includes, or common spells that are conspicuously absent from your spell list.

C. Your spell list is comprehensive. It represents the full extent of everything your PC can hope to master.

D. Something else.

And finally, would your responses change if I asked you the same of powers, vestiges, utterances, soul-binds, maneuvers, and whatever other class-based lists of quasi-magical widgets we could think of?


Let's have a positive thread.

Whether you want it sooner or later, or never, it's eventually going to happen: Pathfinder, The Second! Unless some cataclysmic tragedy strikes Paizo, in which case we would all be very sad pandas. :(

Sorry, this is supposed to be a positive thread! I'm sure that even the most contented PF fan has a detail here and there that just doesn't sit quite right, so what's yours? I'll start:

I hope that 2e formalizes the very low levels (1-3ish) as the apprentice levels. I don't want to play or GM apprentice PCs, but I do believe that designing the low levels as apprentice levels is the first, and possibly most important lesson to be learned from 3.x's a la carte multiclassing system. And the a la carte system is something that I really like, and would like to see simplified and balanced.

The idea that makes a la carte MCing [theoretically] work is that a level is a level is a level. And thinking of 1st level characters as competent heroes was the first mistake that the 3e team made with MCing. The result is that the first level of any martial class is better than the later levels; the PF has patched the problem with the favored class carrot, but I'd rather see a more elegant rewrite. Besides, 1st level PCs already more-or-less have the grimly comical competence of apprentices! A lucky crit can kill pretty much anyone, rogues can't stab the broadside of a barn because they're trying to muscle their rapiers around, knights can't afford their shining armor, and casters...well, at-will cantrips have done a lot to make 1st level look semi-competent.

If the PF 2e team manages to write an elegant and satisfying MC system, they will have done something that D&D has never done. Early edition MCing is a joke*, 3.x MCing is a good idea with poor execution, I'm not sure that 5e will execute anything well, and as much as I love 4e, its MC rules leave something to be desired. Yes, as a self-professed 4e fanboy, I would probably buy PF 2e on the basis of a good a la carte multiclassing system alone!

Just saying. ;)

*The 2e team obviously hated the idea of humans with multiple classes, so I'm not sure why they even bothered to write the draconian dual-classing system that made it into the rules. Meanwhile, I've heard 2e vets say that "Multiclassing is half the point of playing a demihuman!"


No, I'm not about to request suggestions!

As this is a forum full of role players, I thought we might be able to get creative about the question I'm about to ask without getting all touchy and argumentative, and come up with some interesting discussion. So here goes: If you were ever to find religion, or switch religions, which would it be? Or, if you already have, please share! (Let's focus on what you switched to though, rather than what you were previously. Stay positive, and all!)

One of the big 3 westerns?
One of the big easterns?
A non-mainstream religion?
A personal non-organized religion?
Or would you figure that once was enough, and go atheist/agnostic?
"I can't imagine myself ever changing" is not a valid answer.

I'm agnostic myself, or atheist, depending on how many religiously-motivated horror stories I've heard lately. If I were to find religion, it'd either be Buddhism for the community and the message; or it'd be some personalized faith. The thought of some benevolent dude watching us from above is a comforting one, but I'd have to believe that his power in the living world is slim to nil. After this life, though, who knows...

End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass...and then you see it.

...White shores; and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.


When discussing the industry, it's fun to think about things that will never happen, like "What if Paizo owned D&D"?

Assuming that Paizo wrote a ruleset that you personally loved (or stuck with PF if you love it)...

...It's an appealing thought. Paizo seems to be a much better company than WotC, in every way I can think of. It doesn't have annual Xmas layoffs, it doesn't suck at PR, and I even heard that they keep boxes of kittens in the office for anyone who's having a bad day. ;) If Paizo was in charge of D&D (or PF, whatever), maybe we'd have another edition that broke the decade mark. Maybe we'd have less unwanted rules bloat, and more adventure and setting support instead. (Let's also assume that Paizo is supporting your favorite setting.)

But then again, who's to say that Paizo wouldn't become the next WotC after increasing its revenue stream and seeing the future generation of management? Like how VH1 became the next MTV, after going from MVs to reality garbage just like MTV did. When I see things like that happen, I have to suspect that there's an insidious underlying cause for the pattern. Who's to say that as a big company, there aren't underlying reasons for WotC's behavior other than bad decision-making and callousness?


To the Mods: If Gamer Talk isn't appropriate for this poll, please move it to the Off-Topic forum. Thank you.

Welcome to my real-life-to-game-life correlation poll! The purpose of this poll is to find out what, if any, correlations exist between opinions of Paizonians on real life issues, and game issues. I ask you to keep a couple things in mind when posting your answers:

1. Please copy/paste the Q/A portion of this post, and answer in the simple numbered or binary format I've specified, and then follow up with your comments. (If you have any.) I'm sure I'll enjoy reading much of your commentary, but I don't want to have to dig thru it when compiling everyone's answers, so I'll simply ignore answers that are buried in text.

2. Don't feel obligated to answer every single question. If you're unsure how you feel about a topic or have mixed feelings, leave it blank. This is a fun informal poll, so I've left out many shades-of-gray answers. If you don't fit neatly into any of the answers I've presented, do your best to interpret my question into an answerable form. Or again, feel free to simply not answer it.

3. If my poll doesn't include an obvious real life or game issue…that's because you didn't tell me about it in my "Let's make a poll" thread! So post it with your commentary, and I'll add it to the poll for next time. (Maybe on a different forum, maybe next year.)

Demographic Questions

Which decade of life are you in? (11-20 counts as 2nd, 21-30 counts as 3rd, etc.)

Are you male or female?

Aside from geekdom, how many minority groups are you a member of? (LGBT, racial/ethnic, physically disabled, emotionally/mentally disabled, religious)

How financially comfortable are you?
1. I'm poor.
2. I'm somewhat poor.
3. I'm more-or-less comfortable.
4. I'm wealthy.
5. I'm rich.

In your experience, how big is the typical game group? (Including the GM.)
1. Less than 4
2. 4 to 6
3. 7 to 9
4. more than 9

Do you play mostly private games, or mostly at public events?

How often do you like to play D&D?
1. more than once a week
2. once a week
3. 2-3 times a month
4. once a month
5. 6-11 times a year
6. 1-5 times a year

How often do you play D&D?
1. more than once a week
2. once a week
3. 2-3 times a month
4. once a month
5. 6-11 times a year
6. 1-5 times a year
7. "I haven't rolled a d20 since…"

Are you mostly a DM or a player?

Which edition was your introduction to D&D?
1. 1971 Chainmail
2. 1974 White Box
3. 1977 Basic Holmes Blue Box
4. 1977 AD&D 1e
5. 1979 Basic Moldvay/Cook Red Box
6. 1983 Basic Mentzer Red Box
7. 1989 AD&D 2e
8. 1991 Rules Cyclopedia
9. 1991 New Easy to Master D&D
10. 1994 Classic D&D
11. 1996 AD&D 2e Revised
12. 1999 D&D Adventure Game
13. 2000 D&D 3.0e
14. 2003 D&D 3.5e
15. 2008 D&D 4e
16. 2010 D&D Basic Set
17. 2010 D&D Essentials

I am most comfortable in…
1. urban environments
2. suburban environments
3. rural environments


This is an embarrassing question for me to ask, because I come from a place where it's common for people to own veritable arsenals of guns, but:

Other than "YES, MOAR CONTROL" and "NO, MOAR GUNS," what are the general stances on gun control? For example, I'm sure there are NRA folks who want everything to be legal, but with detailed law-enforced record keeping.

Basically I'm looking for 3-6 multiple choice answers I can attach to the political poll I'm writing.


PREFACE: Do not answer any of these questions. This thread is about brainstorming interesting poll questions, not answering them. (That'll happen in the Off-Topic forum.)

The purpose of the poll-to-come is to discover whether there are any correlations between our non-game-related circumstances, and our attitudes about D&D. Here are a few demographic questions I've thought up:

How often do you play D&D?

Are you mostly a DM or a player?

Which edition was your introduction to D&D?

Do you consider yourself liberal, moderate, or conservative overall? And what country do you call home? The second question is important because politics are relative. For example, most of the U.S. political spectrum can comfortably fit within Europe's moderate to moderate-conservative range of views.

Are you most comfortable in urban environments? Suburban? Or rural?

Are you strongly religious/spiritual? Casually? Or not at all?

Aside from geekdom, how many minority groups are you a member of? (LGBT, female, racial/ethnic, disabled, religious)

How old are you?

And here are a few hot-button topics I've thought up -- I'm sure there are more:

Do you value game balance? (Yes, no, or somewhat.)

Do you value game realism? (Yes, no, or somewhat.)

Before "DM may I…?", what range of source books do you prefer the DM to allow? (Core only, core + short list, everything official, or EVERYTHING?)

Do you prefer individual XP, so that the DM can reward good behavior/play? Or do you prefer group/no XP so that it's easier to maintain parity/fun?

(If you answer 3 to the next question, don't answer this one.) Ideally, is alignment prescriptive ("Your character is of this alignment, so s/he must do that"), or descriptive ("Judging by your character's past actions, s/he is alignment X")?

Ideally, is alignment 1) carefully handled, 2) not taken too seriously, or 3) best forgotten?

Paladins: Galahad-clones only, or any alignment like clerics?

For both categories of poll questions, what good ones am I forgetting?


Without derailing the Confessions thread, I want to respond to this assertion:

golem101 wrote:

I never understood why suddenly odd modifiers gained a stigma, and every modifier suddenly became a flat +2 or +4...

...Sorry the sarcasm wasn't so obvious in the first place, but I do know why it was changed: because of complaints from people who got the short stick from a freaking dice roll and weren't able to deal with it.
Everyone deserves something, you can't rely on bad/good luck in a game, and then we get races with no negative stat adjustements, because everyone is special. So, suddenly, no-one is. Aaarrgh.

Clearly you've been playing the game since before 2000, but for the benefit of those who haven't, I'm going to outline some salient points from 2e:

In 2e, abilities contributed to your success/failure in two ways. Each ability had a different and haphazard table of scores and their associated modifiers, percentile chances, and traits. (Remember spell immunity for high Int and Wis?) If your score was between about 7 and 14, you had no modifiers to basic stuff like attacks, AC, or damage. If your score was exceptionally low or high though, it might matter. (Or it might not; remember percentile Strength?)

So for the purpose of this kind of stuff, your racial +/-1s often didn't make a lick of difference.

On the other hand, the 2e version of skill checks were the roll-under ability checks. (Roll under your ability score, and succeed!) In the case of the roll-under ability checks, those racial +/-1s had exactly the same effect as the +/-2s that d20 races get, because the end result of both is a +/-5% chance of success.

In summation: No, the mods didn't change because due to whiny players. They changed because the rules changed.

PS: Believing that randomness is best saved for ya know, actual game play, doesn't equate to believing that negative stat adjustments are badwrongfun. Despite being a 4e fanboy, for example, the complete lack of racial penalties was not one of the appeals for me.

PPS: Your final comments about being special imply that you want some players to be special while others are mired in mediocrity. Which makes me rather glad we don't game together.


What means, other than or in addition to the mystic theurge, does the PF player have of playing a prep caster with access to all (or at least most) spells?


Does it play on some deep sense of optimism for the future of technology and culture? 'Cause Trek is more than a little silly in both regards.

Aside from faster-than-light travel and unlimited clean energy, the Federation utopia strains credulity at the very least. Apparently humanity has overcome its aggressive and expansionist impulses -- even though the Fed supposedly doesn't allow the genetic engineering that'd be required to remove such a genetically ingrained part of our survival instincts -- and now we just want to hug strange aliens.

(To be fair, some of them are pretty hott...but the others are usually ugly and villainous.)

On a related note, why are the captains such a topic of debate? They all do absolutely idiotic things:

Kirk: Khan, the genetically engineering sociopath, attempts and nearly succeeds at taking the Enterprise by force. Kirk's reaction? "Instead of, I dunno...imprisoning or executing your dangerous and unrepentant ass, I'm going to drop you and your traitor girlfriend on the nearest habitable planet. Good luck!" Really Kirk? I know you're a space cowboy, but that's just moronic. I hope Khan comes back and kills your best friend.

Janeway: Voyager encounters a planet with a humanoid culture in the very early stages of civilization. Two ferengis have already discovered the planet, and are posing as prophets of the local gods in order to take the natives for all they're worth. Janeway, in accordance with the Prime Directive, hatches a scheme to get the ferengis out without freaking out the natives, but of course things get messy. The natives end up deciding to burn both her and the ferengis at the stake, and she figures well, I'll just have Voyager beam us up and the natives will think we're all divine emissaries! Are you f#&#ing kidding me, Janeway? You just created a precedent among these people for burning each other at the stake as a means of moral judgment that might last for EONS. You might very well have just steered this planet's people down the path of blind religious zealotry. I hope you're proud.

Archer: Humanity's first encounter with the klingons occurs when the Enterprise discovers a warbird with a debilitated crew sinking inexorably into a gas giant. After resuscitating the klingon crew, the klingon captain goes into battle mode: Despite being at the Enterprise's debt and mercy (his ship is still largely non-functional), the captain threatens to take the Enterprise by force. Archer's response? Finish rescuing the warbird from the gas giant, and then zoom away before the klingons can repair their weapons! All of this after the klingons have told him how proud they are of having pirated some less-fortunate alien ship before getting caught in the gas giant. I could understand maybe taking the klingon captain prisoner, and then giving the crew the chance to show a little sense before leaving them to their fate. But rescuing a clearly aggressive and dangerous group of aliens for no other reason than, gee, maybe someday we'll all be friends or something...that's morally reprehensible in addition to being incredibly stupid.

Picard and Sisko: Nothing immediately comes to mind, but I'm sure they both did things equally idiotic during their respective multi-season reigns.


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I've now heard a couple gamers, including the irrepressible Freehold DM, say that they don't like the new classes.

I can wrap my head around not liking a particular class for one reason or another -- "the summoner is OP" or "I don't like guns in my fantasy" -- but a generalized dislike for a group of classes whose only shared trait is a lack of antiquity is such a foreign concept to me.

So help me to understand...why don't you?


Occasionally I see comments like "PF doesn't have eleven hundred PrCs/feats/spells/subraces/templates/others -- isn't that great!" Which puzzles me, because I've been under the impression that being able to use 3.0 and 3.5 stuff with minimal fuss is a big selling point of PF.

So I'd like to get a general idea from actual PF fans -- do you play PF as its own completely independent game, or as a game to mix-n-match with its similar predecessors?


Recently it was brought to my attention that PF carried death by massive damage over from 3.5, which surprised me. It was like stepping out of a time machine into the future, and stumbling over a telephone cord. But maybe that's just me.

So do you in PF, and did you in 3.5? Do you have an opinion about this strange rule?


So I'm taking this religion 101 class, and the professor mentioned that phrase we've all heard at one point or another:

"The Mystery of the Holy Trinity." As in, how can God be himself, his son, and the Holy Ghost all at once?

Thing is, I don't see a mystery; God is supposed to be omnipotent, so he wiggled his fingers and BAMF! He's now got three of Himself. It's like a magic-user in a ttrpg who wiggles his fingers to cast some miraculous spell; the explanation is inherent in the character. It's magic/will-of-god; what more explanation is required?

Maybe I just don't understand the question though. Are people looking for some kind of scientific explanation, like "God stepped into a replicator chamber, and pressed the copy button twice"? Seems unlikely, given how science and faith are generally seen as orthogonal (if not competitive) methods of thought.

...And yes, I'm going to ask my professor!


No, I haven't. Really.

I believe I recently surprised a fellow poster by revealing this fact, so I thought I'd start a friendly thread about it. If you're posting here, you probably play PF; but I know I can't be the only one. So, do you play PF?

I rolled up a 1st level PC with Freehold DM once, but never got to play before moving away. Since then, I've met and known gamers who play PF. But either they weren't GMing it or they lived too far away. As for myself, I've never been lucky enough to have a surplus of gaming time so I always GM my one game of choice. But I'm back in NYC, so I'm hoping to meet up with Freehold and Celestial Healer some weekend, and actually try PF!

DISCLAIMER: Yeah, this thread is probably gonna be a PF love-in. But I don't want no edition warring! No subtle jabs about PF, 3.x, 4e or nobody's momma. Not even a HINT of it!

Offenders will be prosecuted under the full extent of the law.


I love the Hollywood flicks and the modern BBC show, but I've never read Sir ACD. So I'm curious what readers have to say about the original!


Got a new one over the summer on the recommendation of a Staples guy. It worked with only minor glitches until last week, when it demanded that I replace the magenta cartridge...to print black and white. An obvious money grab, but that's just how printer companies design their products as I understand it, so whatever. So I replace the magenta cartridge, and then I get an error message: the printer not only doesn't recognize the new magenta cartridge -- it no longer recognizes the black one either!

I call the company to calmly explain my issues, and why I'm never going to buy anything from them again -- expecting something like "Can we help you solve this issue?" -- but no. Just a "Thanks for your call."

I'm hoping someone can assure me that the world of printers has something better to offer me, somewhere.


I hate that sharp tingly feeling in the back of my throat; that feeling that tells me I'm going to be miserable with a cold tomorrow morning. I was one time able to fall asleep under a mound of blankets, and sweat it out overnight. Every time I've gotten sick since then, I keep hoping to repeat the miracle, but it hasn't worked again.

Anyone have a similar experience? Anyone know what the magic condition is, besides lots of blankets?


English is somewhat unusual in that nowhere is there a language academy regulating it. The closest thing we have to regulation is a couple of broadly recognized dictionary publishers, and a lot of grammar nazis. (Most of whom work in education and publishing.)

I think it's great that we let English evolve as it will, rather than regulating it...but I think it's high time for a few updates. Take 'knight,' for example. Fully half of the letters that make it up haven't been pronounced in centuries, and are completely unnecessary.

Our alphabet has completely redundant letters for some sounds (C, X, Q), while it has no letters for other sounds (the phonetic ZH, and about half a dozen vowel sounds). I'd love to update the written language to more succinctly reflect how English is spoken, and I'm sure I'm not alone. Think of the children!

My two questions are:

1. How do we do it? Do we just start spelling things according to our own individual senses of 'better grammar,' or do we need some kind of guiding academy? The first option has both logistical and social issues; for example to get the extra vowels that I'd like to use requires copy-pasting from InDesign, which is a pain. And professionally, writing in 'improper' English is very risky. But I'm not in love with the second option. As I understand it, even well-meaning language academies are prone to become overly conservative, even in the face of overwhelming calls for change. If anyone has experience with other languages and their academies, I'd love to have your insight.

2. How much is too much? Some updates are easy calls to make, but others not so much. For example according to our first writing lessons, 'knight' should be 'nite.' Simple enough, until we look at a word like 'anemone.' How do we designate which vowels are short and which are long? The standard 'e at the end' rule is downright misleading here.


1. What’s your favorite Trek?
The Original
The Next Generation
Deep Space Nine
Voyager
Enterprise
The Motion Picture
2: The Wrath of Khan
3: The Search for Spock
4: The Voyage Home
5: The Final Frontier
6: The Undiscovered Country
The Future Begins
First Contact
Generations
Insurrection
Nemesis
I can’t pick just one!
I can’t pick any. :/

2. What’s your favorite 'gate?
Stargate
SG-1
Atlantis
SGU
Continuum
The Ark of Truth
Infinity
I can’t pick just one!
I can’t pick any. :/

3. What’s your favorite War?
4: A New Hope
5: The Empire Strikes Back
6: Return of the Jedi
1: The Phantom Menace
2: Attack of the Clones
3: Revenge of the Sith
I can’t pick just one!
I can’t pick any. :/
I have a seething, irrational hatred for episodes 1-3. :(

4. Of the three Star Sagas, which is your overall favorite?
Trek
'gate
Wars
I’m really that much of a geek!
Huh? I’ve been living under a rock for the past forty years.


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I was inspired to write this by some of the replies to Ashiel's Full Body Search thread, and by a scene in the Hero film. This is not entirely serious, and I don't have anything against gamers who like giving or getting XP.

A DM's Three Stages of Enlightenment

In the first stage, a DM becomes one with challenge ratings and experience points. Here, the DM can instantly discern the CR of a monster from its combat stats, and can calculate its XP value without a calculator.

In the second stage, challenge ratings and experience points reside not in the mind but in the heart. Here, the DM understands that challenge ratings are relative and can fine tune XP rewards based on gear, rules mastery, terrain advantages, and other miscellaneous factors.

But the ultimate ideal is when experience points disappear altogether. The DM embraces the characters, and the desire to reward specific actions with XP no longer exists. Only peace remains.


If you've ever seen the fantastic Spirited Away film, you're probably familiar with the beautiful Always With Me. What you may not know of is Kate Covington's cover of the original.

I don't normally go in for fan made covers, but I stumbled upon this gem just this week, and I honestly can't decide which one is more heart rending...in the happiest way possible. I don't know about this girl's other stuff, but she has an incredible voice and I wouldn't be surprised if she makes it big someday.


Has anyone else seen this hilarious adaptation of Terry Pratchett's novel of the same title? If you haven't, you owe it to yourself to go watch this made-for-tv movie. Sean Astin, Christopher Lee, Tim Curry, cult cultural references, and Pratchett's comicalized fantasy tropes abound. You don't even have to rent it, if you have Netflix instant streaming. 'Kay, I'm going to stop raving now so you can go watch it. Shoo!

PS: If you've ever seen Hogfather, don't worry; the Color of Magic is much, much better!


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Some of us D&Ders may be introverted, lacking in confidence, awkward, or whatnot...but we've got nothing on the Magic crowd. On a Magic forum where I mostly lurk, a player posted this question (paraphrased):

"My roommate has a new girlfriend, so we all played a game together. Throughout the game, she taunted us; saying "I could make your decks so much better" and "I don't want to dumb down my deck just to play with you guys." And then she won. So how do I beat her deck?"

If this had been posted on a D&D forum, most of us would realize that this is a player problem rather than a game problem, and that simply beating a problem player probably won't solve anything. Some replies would include game advice too, but most of us would suggest talking to this player about her attitude; some of us would ask for clarification on the situation's personal dynamics.

But not on a Magic forum, where it's all Game all the time! In 30 posts, I made the only non-game related suggestion: don't play with bad attitude players! (Also, the roommate-girlfriend relationship sounds like it's just waiting to explode in everyone's face.) Every single other suggestion is deck-build advice; several posters follow up their deck advice with "That'll shut her up!" comments.

Like I said, we D&Ders have got nothing on these Magic folks when it comes to interpersonal blindness. So the next time you roll your eyes at a forum discussion or suggestion regarding social relationships, remember...at least we talk about this stuff!


Which tv network/show is least biased?

Which tv network/show best relates to your favored party or affiliation?

Which tv network/show best typifies "the other side"?

And for citizens of non-U.S. nations, are news sources divisive in your nation too? Do news and 'infotainment' personalities become like famous pro-ball players, inspiring supporters to almost-religious fervor and inciting detractors to rage?


I've heard tales of people who live off of government programs, but like some kind of flea-ridden unicorn, I've never actually met one. I've asked people who insist that they know a 'career mooch' how these individuals manage to bypass government aid limits, but all I get is an "I don't know."

So enlighten me. If you know one of these ill-favored unicorns, how exactly does one make a life-long career of 'mooching' from one's government? Presumably lying or exaggeration is involved, or maybe there's a loophole in the law? In any case, what exactly does one have to do or say or be?

If your knowledge is of a unicorn living outside of the U.S., please mention so in your post. I'm curious whether government aid is as big a to-do in other nations as it is here.


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For me, anime is the most frustrating genre on the screen because I want to like it. But with the exception of a few gems, everything I've seen is garbage. It's agonizingly slow-paced due to internal monologue and/or repetitive flashbacks, or the characters are annoying, or the plot and characters are juvenile, or chibi mini-scenes pee all over otherwise good animation, or all of the above. In short, it's no better than the Saturday morning cartoons I stopped watching when I turned eleven.

Alright, enough negativity. Let's talk about the few gems. The ones I've seen are:

Miyazaki: Some of his films, at least. Howl's Moving Castle, Castle in the Sky and Spirited Away are anime favorites of mine.

Death Note: The one anime where I don't mind the internal monologues, because they're appropriate and mostly not too long. A great show all around.

Darker than Black: 'Soulless' mutant assassins and scifi mystery...what's not to like? Wish netflix would add more seasons to the instant queue.

Those are mine; how about yours?


"...It's a Republic."

How meaningful is this statement, really? When someone says "We live in a democracy," does anyone ever mistake that to mean "We live under a form of government where every citizen gets to vote on every decision, individually"? When a president talks about bringing democracy to some poor third-world nation, does anyone ever mistake that to mean that he wants every citizen of that nation to vote on every issue that they face?

And while we're on the subject, has there ever been a real honest-to-goodness democracy? Even the Athenians didn't have a true democracy, because they didn't let women or slaves vote. If I got really technical and nitpicky I could argue that we don't have a real republic, because we don't let everybody vote for our politicians. (Children and criminals aren't allowed for understandable reasons, but still...)

I understand everyone has their pet peeves, but this seems to be right up there with a grammar nazi who replies "I don't know, can you?" after someone asks "Can I have another, please?"


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Here, here, I call to order the first meeting of GFASWL: Gamers For the Advancement of Stats With Level!

(Pronounced with a silent G, and a nordic W, so it sounds like 'Fasvul.')

What's GFASWL, you ask? We're a consortium of players and DMs who advocate loot-independence and the downfall of the Christmas tree effect. We're tired of PCs being weighed down by necessary 'number booster' items -- aka 'The Big Six' -- instead of more interesting ones. (Both combat items with fun enchantments, and wondrous non-combat items.)

But we recognize that the game's encounter and CR guidelines assume that PCs have those number boosters. So GFASWL advocates using some sort of innate bonus system.

So why join the club?

As a player, you get a character who's competent even when not wearing a fortune in magical items. You get a character sheet that doesn't take ten minutes to recalculate every time a dispel magic goes off in the middle of combat.

As a DM, you get competent NPCs who can actually challenge the PCs, without overloading the PCs with loot after the NPCs are defeated. You get PCs who can be deprived of magical items without turning combat into a game of Russian roulette.

With our introductions over with, it's on to our first order of business:

Just how many number boosters does the game assume that PCs have? In other words, how many max-bonus items are they assumed to have by 20th level, if any? WBL can be used as a rough guideline, but it's pretty sketchy. At low levels PCs can hardly afford a couple +1s, while at very high levels they can buy all kinds of weird bonuses if the DM allows. (Sacred, profane, luck, insight, etc.) I myself would prefer a more solid guideline.


An ENworld poster asked this question, and I thought asking it here might be more informative:

Clearly the ECL/CR system assumes some sort of mathematical standard, but nobody in the know ever talks about it. (That I know of, at least. Maybe some designer has a related discussion in a blog I've never had the pleasure of reading.) Probably this is because stats per level are so tied up with wealth -- specifically the Big 6 -- and no game designer wants to potentially tick off DMs by even vaguely implying that "you're not giving enough treasure!" or "you're giving too much!" Mostly the first one; stingy DMs tend to be touchy about anything that might make their players feel entitled to treasure. ;)

This ambiguity always irritated me about 3.x, but maybe someone on the PF team can at least attest to their own attack/AC/DCs/save standards in PF. I'm hoping those standards are more than "Whatever numbers the PCs can buy using WBL" or "it depends on the campaign" or "There are no standards!" Because, as I said, monsters have a mathematical standard. (Sketchy as CR can be, it is a standard.) Which implies that PCs have one too.

Anyway, I'm hoping for hard numbers here!


Some feats are so mundane, or so essential that everyone should get them just for sitting down at the table.

Heighten Spell: If we imagine each wizard spell as a very specific effect with a very specific forcefulness, I guess I can see why wizards might not be able to just boost their DCs by using higher spell slots. But I could argue it both ways. For wizards. For other casters? If I want to blow a high level slot on a lower level spell, why shouldn’t the DC be that much higher? Frankly, I don’t see the point in keeping this feat a feat just for the wizard.

Power Attack: [And sundry feats that effectively trade AB for damage.] This becomes a necessary feat at higher levels, due to HP inflation, and the way that AB outpaces AC. If you need an in-game reason to wrap your head around, well, anyone can take a reckless swing right? Right.

Trapfinding: Okay, not a feat, but still very much in the “shouldn’t be” category. Blowing two skill points per level to keep two skills maxed out isn’t enough to even attempt defeating any bizarre trap my DM might throw at me? I need a special class gimmick too? This is like if every monster of 5 HD or higher had “Damage Reduction: Must be a 1st level fighter to bypass.” It’s niche protection taken too far.

Weapon Finesse: I need special training just to aim with my...aim, rather than with brute force? With light weapons only? Get real. Get game! This isn’t a powerful feat; this is a necessary feat for many characters. At least PF doesn’t screw rogues out of WF for two levels, but it’s still a feat slot lost for no good reason.

Comments? Criticism? Disbelief? :)


I don't know about y'all, but I have mixed feelings about TT parades. On the one hand, surviving soldiers deserve recognition. But on the other hand, TT parades send young folks the unspoken message that "War is patriotic and noble, and if you survive you get to make out with a hottie during a big parade in your honor!" I think that wars are all too often fought for no good reason, so I'm not crazy about the idea of encouraging the next generation of potential recruits.

Your thoughts?


Just for fun, I'm compiling an album of duets. Suggest me your favorites!


This little home brew project has made a few gamers very happy, so I'm sharing it here.

I'm a man of simple tastes; I like damage dice and lots of 'em. Often when making a PC or a companion, I want a simpler list of options -- but not Essentials simple, mind. I like encounter and daily attacks, but I don't want to track in-game effects or search through a zillion powers to find the few that basically amount to "deal a lot of damage."

Hack and Slash is a compilation of high-damage no-maintenance generic build powers, and two simple utility powers. Each of the 36 powers lack a level; you give them levels by simply adding damage dice according to a table. It's that simple!

Feel free to comment or critique: Hack and Slash!


With a lot of names in it that I can replace with names of people I know. Girl names, boy names, both kinds, whatever. Preferably a goofy and/or romantic song.

Badoink.


I’m curious how other DMs go about designing monsters, particularly in regards to CR.

So which comes first for you, the concept or the CR? Do you start with “I want a giant of this size, with this many hit dice...” and then tack a CR onto it after everything else is written? Or do you start with “I want a giant of this CR...” and then work out the other stats from there?

Do you follow all the rules for monster types; all undead have d12 hit dice, poor BAB, etc? How do you decide on the number of hit dice? How do you decide values for stats that aren’t tied to hit dice, such as natural AC?


I brought this topic up elsewhere, but I think enough people have shown interest in it that it deserves its own thread. So, to quote myself:

”Tequila Sunrise” wrote:


“Druids are prohibited from wearing metal armor, but the class rules don’t specifically prohibit druid pets from wearing it. Can a druid dress his/her animal companion in metal armor?”

Now the druid code isn’t particularly well thought-out, but it does clearly imply a RAI answer to this question. Druids swear an oath not to wear metal armor, which clearly implies that they have an ethical objection to it. Whatever that ethical objection may be, it’s sure to hold up in regards to an animal which a druid is responsible for. Ergo, druid pets wearing metal armor is utterly silly.

I’ll be honest: If this wasn’t a public forum, I’d use a more colorful word than “silly,” and my opinion probably won’t change. I’m honestly dumbfounded that any noticeable number of people wouldn’t come to the same conclusion. But they have, and I’m trying to keep an open mind and a civil tongue.

”pres man” wrote:

Man, since I read that druid-armored companion thing, it has been bumping around in my head.

Those against it, what is your position?
A. If the animal companion wears metal armor/barding, then the druid can’t cast spells or use spell-like abilities for 24 hours.
B. If the animal companion wears metal armor/barding, then the druid can’t cast spells or use spell-like abilities on the animal companion for 24 hours.
C. If the animal companion wears metal armor/barding, it immediately explodes.
D. Other result.

Definitely A.

”pres man” wrote:

Also, I have been thinking, how would such an interpretation effect arcane casters with familiars? A wizard casting (spells with somatic) in armor has a percent chance of failure. Let’s say the wizard isn’t wearing armor, but his familiar is wearing armor/barding. What would happen in that case?

A. If the familiar wears metal armor/barding, then the wizard has to roll a spell failure chance whenever he casts a spell (with a somatic component).
B. If the familiar wears metal armor/barding, then the wizard has to roll a spell failure chance whenever casting a spell on or sharing a spell with the familiar.
C. Other result.

I know, you may feel that the expansion of the interpretation to the wizard might not be as immediately obvious, but I would point out that wizards are even more tied to their familiars than druids are to their companions (a familiar at a location counts as the wizard observing the location for things like teleport).

Definitely C: Arcane Spell Failure is the result of armors making a wizard too clumsy to cast his spells reliably; wizardry requires very exact movements and a delicate sense of touch. So his familiar can wear all the armor it wants to without hindering its master.

Now, to elaborate on Scott’s analogy:

”Scott Betts” wrote:


Priests in the Catholic church take vows of celibacy. Does this mean that they have an ethical objection to sex? No. It means that they have a personal reason to abstain from relationships that might interfere with their position as priest. A personal oath is not necessarily a blanket condemnation.

I believe Scott mentioned that this is a devil’s advocate’s argument, but I’ve heard similar ones.

So first, I’d like to point out that although Catholic priests don’t universally condemn sex, there are ethics involved. By Biblical values, sex is acceptable under certain conditions (two married adults). But sex is also wrapped up with Original Sin: see the Fall from Grace for details. So while Catholic priests don’t condemn all sex, there is a certain degree of “Sex is a base instinct to be overcome in order to attain a better purity.”

Second, I’d like to expand on Scott’s analogy. To create a dilemma similar to the “Can Fluffy wear full plate?” question, we would have to ask “Can a Catholic priest, who receives magical powers from his God for following His tenets, force-train a child to perform sexual acts without losing his magical powers?” Now that sounds gratuitously heinous, so let me explain:

Just as the druid has some [albeit ambiguous] ethical objection to metal, the priest has a certain ethical objection to sex. And much like a child knows nothing about sex, an animal knows nothing about metal or armor. Just as a child wouldn’t engage in sex on his/her own, an animal would never wear metal [or anything] on its own. In order for an animal to wear metal, or a child to perform sexual acts, some parental force has to train them to do that unnatural thing.

And if that parental force (the druid, the priest) has an ethical objection to those unnatural acts, I don’t see how they can be justified in forcing that act upon an innocent creature.

And finally, because I think someone questioned the druid’s ethical objection to metal armor:

”Player’s Handbook” wrote:
The armor of a druid is restricted by traditional oaths to the items noted below. All other armor is prohibited. Though a druid could learn to wear full plate, puttng it on would violate her oath and suppress her druidic powers.

Now, normally oaths are sworn for one of three reasons:

1. You’re under duress by the law, or by an angry man with a sword.

2. You’re joining a fraternity or sorority.

3. Your higher power wants you to.

Barring Rich Burlew shenanigans, the third option is by far the likeliest. So with that said...

Let the insanity begin!


Ever click on a thread, read about a DMing problem, but decide not to post a suggestion because the DM would probably take it badly? For example:

"My players are tired of D&D's zillion feats, skills and powers. A couple of them just want to pick a weapon and roll a d20 all the way to 20th level. I'm tired of new school design; I want lots of arbitrary rules, grittier combat, less balance and more black-and-white artwork."

"BUT I HATE TSR D&D AND RETRO-CLONES!"

Or:

"The paladin in my game is causing problems. His strict code puts him in the limelight more often than the other characters, who want attention too, and at the same time makes it hard for them to help the party using their best talents. What should I do?"

"PS: A PALADIN WITHOUT A STICK UP HIS ARSE ISN'T A PALADIN, AND I WANT THIS PALADIN IN MY GAME!!

Well, this is the thread to place all of the helpful suggestions you wanted to make, but knew they would fall on deaf ears. With one proviso: No judgments. Feel free to ask "That seems odd, why would you suggest that solution?", but no "Well that's a bad suggestion if I ever heard one!" And for the love of Jackson's upcoming Hobbit film, don't bash someone else's edition!


Rumor has it that Willie will be offered a deal to get out of jail time for pot possession, in return for pleading guilty and singing the court a song.

Thoughts on preferential treatment for celebrities, or on pot legality in general?


It’s not because Magic Marts polish the authentic patina of medieval rust off of our lovingly crafted campaigns. Think about it; we accept all kinds of other anti-medieval trappings in our campagins: anyone of any relavance seems to know how to read and write -- even druids and simpletons. D&D women are only expected to fill medieval gender roles if they’re unwilling to wear or unattractive in a chainmail bikini. And let’s not forget that just about everyone -- even moronic orcs -- are bilingual. Even pegasi understand the common tongue, for Io’s sake!

So don’t kid yourself that Magic Marts ruin the medieval theme. No, the real reason we DMs don’t like Magic Marts is that they create a point buy subsystem. And all patriotic and red-blooded DMs instinctively know that point buy systems are Evil. Search your heart; you know this to be true.

If you still don’t see the light, I’ll explain. What happens in a Magic Mart campaign? Your players go into a dungeon, steal or loot as much junk as they can stuff into their bags of holding, and then they head back to ye olde towne Magic Mart. They sell all the treasure you gave them in the dungeon, in exchange for points [coins], and then they buy better bonuses and powers [items] with those points [coins].

And like all point buy systems, Magic Marts increase the potential for both under- and over-powered PCs in your game. One player might decide to dump all of his points into offense [a magic weapon] while ignoring defense [AC items]. And because AC is 90% dependent on items, that PC becomes a glass cannon. Which in turn results in very short encounters, frequent resurrections, and probably massive annoyance.

See what I mean? Magic Marts are just a front for point buying, and point buying is the enemy of D&D. It’s everything that mustache-twirling villains stand for, and they’re using Magic Marts to subvert innocent D&Ders into point buyers. So be vigilant, and don’t let the other-skins win!

This message is brought to you by your friendly neighborhood fun police.


I've decided to use Sigil for the first time in more than five years (yay!), and it's gotten me thinking about the factions.

See, I always felt that a couple of them are rather redundant. For example, Mercykillers just seem like sadistic hardheads; do they really deserve their own faction? On the other hand, there are a couple philosophies that seem like they'd make for great faction politics. Like communists. Maybe they'd be too much of a nod toward the real world, but they're a perfect counterpoint for the Fated.

I know there's no rhyme or reason to faction philosophies, and that I can wield my DM hammer however I want, but I'm curious. Does anyone else see any faction as redundant? Or have you added a faction to your own Sigil?


Not looking for advice here; just to get this off my chest.

A couple years ago, my fledgling group included myself and two other players. We live in upstate NY, and finding players is a huge pain in the tuckus. So when player M mentioned that her brother loved games, I suggested that he give D&D a try. I knew that the brother, K, was autistic but I also knew he was very smart. Just socially challenged in the extreme; he has a condition called prognosia which means that he can't recognize faces at all. But whatever, he likes games and his older sister M would be chaperoning him. What could go wrong?

For a while, things worked out just fine. Our group expanded by two players. K sometimes got upset when he missed with a daily power, but M reigned him in. And he learned the rules in no time flat. He got his own books and dived right into the game. But then he started optimizing. He never tried to pull any hundreds-of-damage shenanigans, but he did get upset when I wouldn't let him make his paladin invisible to his own marked enemy. WotC errataed that combo so it didn't work shortly afterward. In fact, WotC has published a couple materials that are strikingly similar to my own homebrew stuff after I let my players use it. (It's hard not brag, 'cause as K himself said, some of the similarities are frighteningly close.)

Then he started complaining about my house rules, of which I have quite a few. (The other players like my rules overall, because they tend to benefit the PCs.) He started a blog, the first two posts of which were devoted to whining about my rules. He posted passive aggressive comments in my own blog. In an effort to be affable, I humored him and even got advice from the charop forum on how to make one of my rules better. But no matter what I say, he takes it as a challenge or arrogance or a threat. In fact, the last thing he emailed to me was an actual threat. Turns out autism often comes with paranoia, as M told me afterward.

So I've disinvited him to my campaign. Unfortunately, the damage has already been done. His parents are giving M hel because I won't have K anymore. She was so angry at the situation that she didn't show up last session, despite assuring me that she wouldn't let her parents guilt trip her about the issue. If I were the group's only DM, I'd cut the group's losses and look for new players. But we pass the DM scepter around every month or two, and the other DMs aren't as involved as I've been in this insanity. They aren't fans of K either, but they feel that putting up with him is an acceptable price of gaming with M. Unless he does something outrageous, at least. Since I recently passed the scepter on to another DM, M and K will both be coming back for next session. I'm hoping that K does do something outrageous so that the group boots him permanently.

The sad thing is, the reason that this is all a problem is that I invited K to try D&D in the first place, and now I regret doing that. If I had been a bit more small-minded about autism, it would have ultimately saved us all a lot of grief. Even sadder, it might not matter in the end because M's parents are apparently shipping her off to the military. It'll be good for her to get out of her parent's house and hopefully get some nurse training so she can eventually come back and get a decent job. But I'm a kobold if I don't feel like giving her father a good kick to the gut and her mother a few choice words about treating her daughter with respect and drawing a line somewhere with her son.

So there's nothing to be done at the moment. K will probably be gaming with us for a month or two until M goes off to take orders from angry drill sergeants, at which point we'll be down two players. Or M won't make it in the army, and she'll come back to her cr@ppy job and her bitter parents, and I'll have to put up with K while other DMs hold the scepter.

*sigh* Life's a b!tch, ain't it?


Our game table has a curse. Or rather, one of our chairs is cursed. Or possibly that spot at the table is cursed. My group's been able to ignore it until now, but we just recruited a new member so we really need to break the curse. (Yay, the our table's getting crowded!)

Help me, Obi Wan Paizonians, you're my only hope!

(Just not in a creepy May-December kinda way, 'kay?)


I can't speak for all of us, but these are some of the things that many dirty-commie-pinko...I mean, many liberals believe. ;)

We believe that America is the greatest country in the world, and can be even greater.

We believe that important luxuries can and should be freely available to everyone. For example, we believe in the socialized police force and fire fighters who protect all of us. We also believe in our socialized schools that teach everyone who can’t afford private schooling, and we believe that university education has become important enough to socialize too. We also believe that medical care is advanced and prevalent enough to be socialized.

We believe in taxes to pay for these programs. We consider paying taxes to be a patriotic duty as much as some citizens consider military service to be a patriotic duty.

We believe in government by the people, for the people. We don’t trust politicians any more than anyone else, but we also know that a growing nation needs a growing government. A small limited government is like a small house with antique appliances--it worked for small families way back when, but it leaves modern citizens out in the cold who it should be sheltering. Oil lamps and tiny rooms might look cozy in old photos, but living with them in the modern world is impractical.

We believe that some heinous acts, such as rape and murder, are universally wrong and as such are rightfully punishable by law. But we believe that other acts are matters of personal opinion, and should be left up to each citizen’s judgment. Some citizens, for example, believe alcohol, pot, prostitution and certain marriages to be wrong, but that doesn’t make it so. The law therefore has no business punishing the responsible use of things like alcohol, mild drugs, prostitution, or denying the marriage of any adults. In fact, legalized trades can create tax revenue which is to everyone’s benefit.

We believe that every citizen should be treated equally regardless of race, creed, religion, sex, gender or sexual preference. We also believe that as a world leader, the United States should strive to treat foreigners as its own citizens.

We believe that everyone has the right to think for themselves, but if one’s actions cause harm to others, the law is responsible for preventing further harm. When a murderer kills, the law is responsible for imprisoning the criminal; when an employer abuses his minimum wagers, the law is responsible for imprisoning the abuser; when second-hand smoke is found to cause cancer, the law is responsible for making public places smoke-free for everyone.

We believe that the United States is the greatest nation in the world, but not the greatest possible nation. We popularized secular government, but politicians must regularly invoke God to stay in office. We’re the first democracy in modern history, but we don’t nurture it elsewhere unless there’s something to gain--and even then we sometimes arm dictators and madmen to get the resources we want. We have unprecedented personal freedoms, but those freedoms mean less and less as the wealthy get wealthier and the poor get poorer. We like to think of ourselves as the leader of the world because we have the most money and the best technology, but we’re socially backward in surprising ways.

We’ve got a long way to go, and we believe we can get there!

(About a year ago, David Fryer posted What Conservatives Believe. In the spirit of sharing and friendly discussion, I decided to post this as something of a response.)

Please be CIVIL!


Today an ENworld post inspired me to finally blog about my single not-so-horrible run-in with alignment.

I've wanted to put some of my thoughts on the topic into writing for a while now, so I thought I'd share. Also, I want to shamelessly advertise my blog!


...or do drow make the perfect denizens for the Shadowfell? Officially, the SF already has shadar-kai, but it's a big plane right? Besides, drow have everything that shadar-kai have: angst, dark vision and black leather.

In my world, the drow killed the shadar-kai and took their stuff. (Figuratively, not literally.) Maybe it's just my attraction to symmetry, but it feels right this way: eladrin live in the Feywild, elves live in the mortal plane, and drow live in the Shadowfell.

But what about the Raven Queen's devoted followers?! I hear some of you asking. Well, PC races aren't monolithic. Not all drow are evil Lolth-loving SOBs; in fact there are whole cities at least of decent Raven Queen worshipping drow. And as for the underdark, there are still plenty of races to populate it--both PC and monster.


Say you want to play a ranger without a pet. Maybe you don't want the extra bookkeeping, maybe you don't want the added liability; or maybe the pet just doesn't fit your character concept. Well, you're up the creek without a paddle, because there are no published pet-less ranger variants [that I know of]. Here's an expanded Combat Style variant I wrote up to replace the ranger's pet. Its benefits begin before a ranger would get a pet, but that's okay with me because I like to discourage pets. Tell me what you think:

Level 2: Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot (Archery) or Two-Weapon Fighting (Two-Weapon)

Level 4: Rapid Shot (Archery) or Two-Weapon Defense (Two-Weapon)

Level 6: Many Shot (Archery) or Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (Two-Weapon)

Level 8: Sharp Shooting (Archery) or Improved Two-Weapon Defense (Two-Weapon)

Level 11: Improved Precise Shot (Archery) or Greater Two-Weapon Fighting (Two-Weapon)

Level 12: Far Shot (Archery) or Greater Two-Weapon Defense (Two-Weapon)

Level 16: Improved Rapid Shot (Archery) or Superior Two-Weapon Fighting (Two-Weapon)

Level 18: Shot on the Run (Archery) or Superior Two-Weapon Defense (Two-Weapon)


I'm halfway through the best of Lovecraft, and I'm a bit disappointed. I think the two biggest reasons are:

He's a good writer, but things that he thought were scary just aren't to an educated mind. For example, "more heinous than the blackest voodoo ritual" doesn't mean much to anyone who knows that voodoo is just another religion, no more sinister than the next.

Also, most of his stories seem to be based on the premise of some supernaturally sinister phenomenon that's somehow escaped the notice of the wider world. For example, Whisperer in the Dark is about a sinister group of extraterrestrials who have existed in the Vermont mountains before Cthulhu came. They leave physical evidence of their existence, and an old lone redneck proves their existence with nothing more than a tape recorder. And yet the wider world knows nothing of these aliens, or scoffs at the idea of their existence, which is absurd. Sure, scientists tend to be a skeptical bunch, but if there's something to be discovered, one of them will document it sooner or later. And if it's as obvious as aliens running around Vermont, it'll be documented sooner rather than later.

(That second issue isn't unique to Lovecraft; in fact I realized it while watching Stardust.)

In other news, George RR Martin is freakin' awesome. Dark and gritty, but I just couldn't stop turning pages! The Song of Ice and Fire is on my top ten list along with LotR, Harry Potter and Wheel of Time.

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