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Todd Stewart's page

Contributor. Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Society Member. 2,056 posts (2,203 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 3 Pathfinder Society characters. 6 aliases.


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xavier c wrote:

1)Are there mortal civilizations on all of the outer planes?

2)How do the outsiders of Heaven interact with the mortals that live on the plane of Heaven?

3)How much do you know of the Empyreal Lords?

1) Populations, yes. Civilizations, no. I see long-term habitation on any of the outer planes not necessarily being good for a mortal. Be it horrific of beatific, exposure to those environments before you're ready for them will radically alter your outlook on things afterwards. I suspect that to an extent, the planes themselves may alter their own appearance to better accommodate mortals; altering their perceptions and experiences and modulating the intensity of what they experience compared to an outsider.

You see some very clear signs of this in James Sutter's excellent novel 'The Redemption Engine'.

2) Warily I suspect, with those mortals simply not being capable of accessing much of the plane since they're not considered ready for it. Every interaction won't be by chance, and ideally they'll all function to mold and influence that mortal's moral/ethical/alignment towards Heaven's goals (though ultimately it being a case of free will on the mortal's part).

3) A good amount, but I'm not the expert here. Between when I wrote 'The Great Beyond' and when 'Chronicle of the Righteous' came out, the concept of some of the good outsider races evolved and many new Empyreal lords came onto the scene (the name didn't yet exist when I wrote TGB). Some of the celestial paragons I came up with didn't feature in CotR at all (Melek Taus, most of the agathion specific ones, etc), while others were greatly expanded, and some really awesome new ones were created. That's how shared world writing works :)

I've never been super fascinated by celestials though, unless you're talking about celestials that used to be fiends or fiends that used to be celestials. I like edge cases. Most of my adoration for planar creatures resides with proteans, daemons, and axiomites (and jyoti and sceaduinar). Those are my favorites. Of course I'd never say no to writing on any sort of planar concept. But celestials are a weaker point in my repertoire.

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Lord Gadigan wrote:

* What Obediences would you give Yrsinius, The Speakers in the Depths, and the Godmind?

* Kytons: Are you a good person to ask things about them?

* I noticed you mentioned that you worked on some stuff for Tian Xia. What regions of Tian Xia did you work on?

Any obedience for Yrsinius would really depend on what his current status is. Dead? Alive? Alive but manipulated by the Chorus of Malignant Symmetry?

When Yrsinius was Horseman of Pestilence, I would say that some act of corruption or contamination. Placing a rotting piece of flesh into a water supply or bleeding yourself into a well or spring, or releasing a plague vector into a plague-free place (mosquitoes, rats, etc) including if you yourself carry some disease and simply move from place to place, wandering and sowing disease.

The Speakers of the Depths embody the myriad interpretations of absolute Chaos, both its creative and destructive aspects at once. The fact that the innumerable and potentially infinite keketar choruses each have their own unique manifestation of the Speakers' will as their own ethos (at least until it changes at random), means that there really isn't a single obedience for them. It's best then tailored to the individual and what aspect of Chaos they promote, or for mortal servitors, which protean chorus they revere as intermediaries, with that particular keketar cabal serving as saints to the Speakers' godhead.

The Godmind I would say it would vary in one of three ways, corresponding to the three axiomite factions who collectively merge to become/form the Godmind. Either writing down and solving a mathematical proof (it doesn't need to be one you haven't solved before mind you, just a display of that logic), building or repairing something tangible, or overcoming a thing of chaos (multiple interpretations of what that means of course).

Kytons are cool. Buy I've done virtually nothing with them outside of some very early descriptions of Zon-Kuthon's domain and their residency in the Shadow Plane. Wes Schneider is absolutely the person to ask about them :)

Yeah, I contributed to the Dragon Empires Gazetteer. I wrote the sections on Kwanlai and Zi Ha, and a number of the non-human racial writeups.

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Luthorne wrote:


Oh, really? Lucky you, I can't wait for my own copy. Have you read a copy of Occult Realms too? 'Cause if you haven't, you could still comment on (2)...and you could still say which class you like the most without giving any details.

Just sayin'. ;)

Anyways...

1) Do you often buy third party material? Or are you more likely to write for it? If you do buy it, what are three of your favorite products that you didn't write for, off the cuff, and why do you like them?

2) What kind of supernatural weather do you envision existing in Abaddon? Thunderstorms with black lightning bolts that target living creatures, dealing half electricity and half negative energy damage, with a Fort save or taking a negative level, perhaps? Negative energy rain, Fort save for every round in it, ten failed saves equals a negative level? Or would that be too harsh, go for every minute?

3) Unicorn having its soul eaten by a daemon and instead of dying, gaining the half-fiend template and a soul-sucking aura, fun or lame?

I haven't looked at the various classes yet to say which I'd most enjoy. For various reasons my home game is on hiatus and the game I play in has been paused for two months or so due to the GM's wife having a baby and another player having back surgery. As such I haven't payed much attention to mechanical options for a while.

1)
Truth be told, I don't actually buy a lot of material. This is largely because I get contributor copies of things I contribute on, and I get a lot of free pdfs from more than one publisher. As such at least for Pathfinder, I tend to only buy hard copies of Bestiary books and core books that I might need to immediately reference at the table during combat. I write stuff for my home game and for publication usually with four or five pdfs open for reference, but at the table running a game I don't much care to have a tablet/phone/laptop versus a tangible paper book. Personal quirk there.

I'm much more likely to buy material for games that I haven't written for (and honestly my freelancing is so focused on Pathfinder/D&D/D20 stuff that I don't have the time to learn rules and material well enough to be comfortable writing for another game system. I own the entire print run of Eclipse Phase (I <3 EP), Shadowrun, oWoD, and nWoD. Pathfinder and D&D (2e and 3e) stuff collectively have a book case, SR and Eclipse Phase have half of a book case, and WoD/nWoD have one of their own.

Too many games that are awesome and not enough time to play them all, let alone know them enough to be able to write for them.

2) Thunderstorms with freezing rain/acid rain/hail made of water and frozen bile salts; sandstorms of ash and splintered bone, red and sticky snow made from blood, etc. Not a pleasant place. Though to be honest, the environmental hazards should IMO take a back seat to the native daemons hunting you down, the petitioners falling from the sky like burning and screaming falling stars, etc. I would actually avoid too much mixing of negative energy hazards into Abaddon as a whole, so as to avoid an unnecessary linking of daemons with undeath, or muddying the atmosphere of Abaddon with the Shadow Plane and Negative Energy plane.

That being said, daemons can/do/will muck around with negative and positive energy when it comes to tinkering with souls and soulstuff, especially meladaemons in service to Trelmarixian, and Charon when it comes to spreading undeath (as much of a paradox as that would seem in Charon's case).

Of course, if you gain the ire of a harbinger or God forbid, one of the Four themselves, they can and will manipulate the structure of the plane itself to go after you. Groundwater may swell with the waters of the Styx to poison and swallow you in Charon's domain, lightning storms may seek you out with bolts of black lightning in Apollyon's domain while leukodaemons cavort in the skies above, tornadoes of ash and razor-sharp obsidian may hunt you across Szuriel's domain, etc.

3) I'm down with that.

Bizarre exceptions to the rules are always fun to play with, especially when it comes to daemons experimenting on living creatures. In my home game, I have the daemonic trade-city of Awaiting-Consumption populated with mortal slaves literally awaiting consumpion (hence the city name) as well as an underclass known as The Hollow. These humans were born on Abaddon from this slave population of mortals, and uniformly they lack souls of their own (or they lack anything but the tattered fragments of one). Gaunt and perpetually starving, wracked with hunger pangs, they survive only be being in the proximity of actual daemons and siphoning off a tiny bit of soul energy when daemons devour a mortal soul.

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KaiserBruno wrote:
Just want to thank you for creating the proteans and the daemons. Proteans and psychopomps are hands down my favorite outsider types and daemons are my fiends of choice.

The proteans are possibly my favorite thing that I've ever created, and I'm absolutely thrilled that other people have added their own awesome material on top of my mine. Sutter's expansion on their manner of speech (in the Gamemastery Guide and in 'Death's Heretic') is a beautiful thing, Schneider's voidworm is seriously inspired, and Thursty's new protean rocks.

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1) Fey creatures are described as having a different sort of soul than normal mortals. Would daemons be more or less inclined to feed on fey?

Depends on the particular daemon I suspect. They as a collective race of fiends have different philosophical opinions on themselves, their goals and ultimate destiny should they achieve those goals, and the deeper reasoning behind why they do what they do. Many of them are just hungry, but some of them are connoisseurs, some of them approach it like academics or mystics, etc.

Would they devour fey? Absolutely.

Would they devour other outsiders that have/are souls? Absolutely.

Would they pay particular attention/fanaticism towards mortal souls? Good God yes.

They key thing to ask is are they only inclined to destroy -mortals- from the Material Plane or just anything that qualifies as mortal, or just anything with a soul derived from the same cycle as material plane mortals. The daemons ask themselves the same questions. At no point are they ever not ravenous.

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2) How do most proteans react to other chaotic aligned outsiders such as azata, demons, or the servitors of gods like Callistra, Gorum or Besmara?

Proteans have a hatred for qlippoths and demons that rivals their hatred for Law. They view the Abyss as a perversion of the Maelstrom, and on some level as their own mistake. Depending on who you ask, several protean choruses were responsible for either creating or opening the way between the Maelstrom and the Abyss in the first place. Those same choruses are sometimes described as "mad" or "corrupt", but who really knows at this point what the particulars behind it all were (that of course is a major plot point in my current Pathfinder campaign).

As for azata the proteans might ignore them, might toy with them, might follow them around and make royal asses of themselves, or gleefully work alongside them if it strikes their whimsy to do so. You never can tell really. Case by case basis.

When dealing with particular gods' servitors, it depends on the deity. Nethys for instance is on very good terms with them. Others they might help, ignore, or seek to use for their own causes even as they help them. Case by case basis.

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3) I believe there is a spell in the Horsemen of the Apocalypse that causes all the souls a daemon has ingested to start to haunt and harm the daemon? How does that work exactly? I was under the impression that being devoured completely destroyed the soul.

Destroyed for most purposes, but think of it like conservation of mass and conservation of energy. Things can be changed, even utterly radically changed, but not destroyed. A miracle for instance can still bring someone back (presumably by ripping out and recovering all of the tattered, repurposed soul fragments).

The spell IIRC pulls upon the daemon's own soul that was at one time a mortal soul. It makes them remember their own lives as a mortal. Faced by the abject existential horror of their own mortality versus the abomination they have become... it doesn't do anything good for them.

The spell (presumably derived from magic originally created by daemons themselves in their experiments on souls, including their own kind) might also takes all of those tattered digested soul fragments and pull upon them to haunt the daemon with mortal memories, invoking their own.

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Luthorne wrote:

Man, two years already?

1) What are you most interested in from Occult Adventures? Shedding some light on the esoteric planes, perhaps? The promised occult rituals? Mindscapes? Psychic duels? Or perhaps some of the new classes?

2) What planes do you think are most likely to get some coverage in Occult Realms? And, conversely, which planes would you like to see the most getting covered in Occult Realms?

3) Of the classes from Occult Adventures, from what you know of them, which are you most interested in?

These are very difficult questions for me to answer, given that I've already read the book. :)

Based on what has been mentioned already, teased, or previewed: yeah the esoteric planes, clearly. Any look at or expansion upon the planes is going to make me like a kid on Christmas morning wanting to unwrap presents. That's my thing, be it writing that content or enjoying and appreciating planar material that other folks write.

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captain yesterday wrote:

Well if you really want to shamelessly promote your thread you should link it in the g talking tea thread, those guys will follow any link and help any Saudi Prince:-)

On a serious note, do you have any creatures in the upcoming Bestiary 5?

Are there any other upcoming projects you'd like to shamelessly promote :-)

Love the BotD 3, awesome book :-)

You'll find out when Bestiary 5 comes out, won't you? :)

If I do or don't have anything in there, I can't actually talk about it until it comes out or at the very least author names are announced. That's how it works for every book.

I have work for at least two publishers that have yet to come out. Who they are and what that material is, well, again, you'll find out. *chuckle*

I've had a pretty light year, creatively speaking. I don't freelance full time, and life has thrown me some knuckleballs this year, so I haven't pursued stuff as much as I could.

That said, I'm particular happy with 'Undead Unleashed' from Paizo, 'Protean Lords of Porphyra' by Purple Duck Games, and some fiction pieces I had in 'Emissaries of Evil' 'Lords of Law' and 'Masters of Chaos' by Legendary Games.

And I'm serious happy that you enjoyed BotD3. One of my favorite things to have ever worked on. :)

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So it's been almost two years since my Ask Me thread got any questions, and I suspect that most folks aren't even aware that it exists.

So yeah, time for an absolutely shameless bump of my own thread!

:D

Ask me stuff! Proteans and daemons being my bread and butter it would seem.

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Planar locations would make me very, very happy :)

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Biological markers of asexuality: Handedness, birth order, and finger length ratios in self-identified asexual men and women.

Interesting paper looking at human asexuality as a discrete thing and any possible physical/neurological basis for it. You don't often see much on this particular topic in the hard sciences, so while very preliminary, it's important.

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Albatoonoe wrote:

Okay, so I have a question. I guess it's sorta directed towards other bisexuals, but if anyone else feels this way, feel free to chime in.

Do you ever feel like you're not "queer enough" to be apart of the great LGBTQIA community?

At times, yes. I'm trans, though I didn't admit it to myself for a very long time (despite in hindsight it being glowingly obvious) but because of a variety of reasons it's unlikely that I'll transition.

As a result, despite feeling dysphoric on a daily basis (waxing and waning in the severity), I sometimes feel like I'm not "trans enough" since to anyone on the street, they just see a random male-bodied person. I'm also not out except to my partner, close friends, and very specific places online and off that don't have any crossover with things in my professional life. So I'm not facing any discrimination that transitioning would almost certainly bring, except for the feelings my brain oftentimes does its best to grind into me like salted lemons on a fresh cut.

It's probably entirely self-afflicted feelings though, because I've never had anyone actually tell me to be quiet, or that I wasn't welcome. Everyone here has, virtually without exception, been amazingly welcoming, accepting, and supporting of my specific route of membership so to speak, and to others in their own particular facet of the LGBTQ* community.

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All of the C.A. Smith references and obscure Lovecraft references that someone who looks like me sprinkled in various places.

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Awesome!

I can't wait to see this! :D

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QuidEst wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
Generic Villain wrote:

{. . .}

Even gods will one day be judged by Pharasma should they be slain. {. . .}

So, who judges Pharasma if she is slain?

Presumably, it's the first job of whoever takes over.

Not necessarily, though. Fun bit of trivia: Pharasma isn't the sole judge of souls. There's a Protean Lord, Ssila'meshnik that will every now and then just pop over to the Boneyard in to decide somebody's fate. So however good or bad you've been, there's a non-zero chance of a being of elemental chaos getting the final call on where you end up. He might show up for Pharasma's case. Presumably elemental Law would have an interest in ensuring the case got settled properly. And thus we have the setup for the greatest courtroom drama campaign of all time. (If it doesn't draw heavily from Phoenix Wright, I will be disappointed.)

When souls are claimed by more than one plane or deity, representatives of those planes of gods argue their case before Pharasma. Ssila'meshnik is just prone to randomly showing up and personally arguing before Pharasma for certain souls (and not necessarily even souls that the Maelstrom lays claim to). Presumably he/she/it has an agreement with Pharasma to be able to just waltz in and out of her innermost courts at whimsy (though doing so is perfectly in line with their whole shtick).

Is there some bizarre rhyme and reason to which souls Ssila'meshnik chooses to argue for on the Maelstrom's behalf (or even someone else's behalf, entirely unasked for)? Who knows. We'd need an update on them in print to know more, since for the moment they don't have defined domains and spheres of influence.

In my own campaign I use Ssila'meshnik the Colorless Lord as the Protean Lord of Fate, Freedom, and Paradox.

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;)

Congrats!

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You can't moderate me, I'm behind seven proxies!

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lemeres wrote:

Proteans-

"Mortals are so (boring/same/limited). They need to learn how to (change/live/grow). Going with two arms and two legs all their lives....bleh. Trying being a tree sometime. Or a racoon. My cousin Oliver always sings the praises of being a rock for vacation, but I say being a sunset is better. Let me (help/make/force) you to see things a little differently, boring man. You can go back to being human after a couple decades."

Sorry...I saw the multi-speak thing used for proteans once (doubt it is anything official), and I fell in love with it.

It's pretty official. I started out doing an unofficial version of that in forum posts and some turnovers, but James Sutter did his own take on the same in print first in the Chapter 6 opener for the Gamemastery Guide, and also for an imentesh protean in his novel 'Death's Heretic'. My original version was inspired by the Weaver's speech patterns from China Mieville's 'Perdido Street Station' and was a bit more free flowing and severely lacking in punctuation.

James's take evolved it along further and I really, really like that version that made it to print. It's delightfully weird and makes sense for them in not always making sense. :)

I did a large block of protean speak text in the opening fiction for the 3PP 'Protean Lords of Porphyra' for purple duck games, as well as the opening fiction piece for 'Lords of Law' by Legendary Games (wherein a keketar discusses his/her/its interaction with a variety of lawful outsiders).

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Normally I require some candles, a circle of salt, and a few goetic sigils written in blood, or coffee, or diet code red mountain dew. Any of that will do. But this time I'll make an exception I suppose. :D

I should point out that of the information on Aesdurath, that which doesn't appear in BotD3 isn't strictly canon. Obviously feel free to use it in your own games (and I'm humbled if you do), but Paizo has complete authority on the canon issue, and if it didn't appear in a printed source, it doesn't count.

A very large number of the Harbingers simply have no additional information written on them, because they began and ended with just a name, title, and the brief information that appears in the appendix in BotD3. Some of them have some brief write ups, while others appear in the next elsewhere in passing, but without dedicated information.

Zelishkar was mentioned in the 3.5 Osirion book, the PF followup IIRC, in BotD3, and had a very nice writeup in Inner Sea Monsters.

Hopefully we'll see more of many of them in the future, but such is Paizo's decision. If you want that sort of material, urge them politely and let them know your interest. I'd of course be gleefully open to writing about more daemons and other planar critters in the future (and especially daemons, proteans, and perhaps sceaduinars and jyoti too).

FWIW, I'm working on submitting a (non-canonical) story involving Vorasha for Wayfinder.

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mogwen wrote:

hi everybody,

Well, first news I'm back, back with a vengeance, mwahahah!
(Sorry, I'm watching too much horror movies these times)
Here aremy news from France:
Since the laws for same-sex marriage, what we call "mariage pour tous", things are getting pretty preocupating.
Let me explain: The "front national", an extremist party is on the rise, as its leader, Marine Lepen, this party is homphobic, racist, agains abortion, weel, you know the profile!
This party is especially on the rise because of the economic crisis we've been through those last few years, and the medias that in a wicked way relay their speech because it sells!
Not a very good moment in France, and when I hear people talking at the supermarket, I feel quite worried.

I don't follow French politics that much, but is the FN actually homophobic in its current incarnation? I know that the group's founder was to an extreme, but as for his daughter who now runs the party, not so much and she's been (at least in the news I've seen in English language media) aggressively moving the party away from its earlier extremes (at least in regards to homosexuality and anti-semitism). One of its deputy presidents (Florian Philippot) is gay AFAIK.

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Chiming in alongside what others have already suggested, as the Horseman of War, consider exactly what Szuriel is and isn't concerned with. Unlike various gods of War, she isn't a profane patron of strategy, tactics, glory, victory, etc. She's concerned with War only insomuch as it leads to greater and greater death, and specifically -mortal- death.

She's unlikely to just send in assassination squads. That's not really her style and it's frankly going to be just flat out lethal to your PCs if you used her resources in that direct of a capacity.

I would suggest (as others have already) using clerics of Szuriel and some select daemons in her thrall to bolster the PCs enemies, pushing them to battle and into situations where the collective slaughter is going to be increased. Collateral damage is best damage, civilians and soldiers have zero demarcation between them, and there are no rules of fair play, no battlefield mercy, etc.

Have mercenary groups hired by Szuriel's followers wreck havoc along a path that the PCs have already followed, suggesting that it's specifically about hurting them. If Sandpoint for instance is swallowed up by these events, there won't be survivors, and very likely any injured mercenaries would be killed rather than healed. The place would be burned to cinders and the earth salted, with summary executions of the population and a flock of cacodaemons hovering about, making sure that each fallen mortal's soul was taken as payment.

The whole thing could go very very grimdark, very very quickly. If that doesn't fit your playstyle, or might go in directions that your players won't be comfortable with, keep that in mind and tone it down as needed. Even in that worst case scenario above, allow the players the option to eventually turn the tables and kill the person or persons tasked by Szuriel to handle this as her proxies on Golarion (and letting the PCs gain any captured souls to allow for the victims of the carnage to either be raised or pass on their proper afterlife rather than a daemon's larder).

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Congrats Amanda! :)

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Posting just to take note of this at the moment. I'll read and reply later tonight. :)

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Religious institutions are generally quite slow to accept concepts that weren't around, understood, or part of their society at the times of their founding. Many of them have elements fighting modernization and reform (thankfully most of the time it's only yelling or stern looks rather than barbaric violence in much of the world), but a lot of them also have pushes from within to retain modern relevance, adapt to modern society, or simply to admit they carry cultural baggage developed over hundreds or thousands of years that's at odds with their own founder.

Those of us with religious beliefs are trying as much as we can to push for greater tolerance/acceptance and reform against older social mores that continue to haunt us. It will be a longer struggle for some of us in some religions or sects within said religions than others, but we're working on it [I'm Russian Orthodox, so allow me to sigh and lament that it's going to be slow going at the moment].

Pope Francis meeting with gay and transgender inmates

The above made me smile.

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mechaPoet wrote:
Todd Stewart wrote:
Let's also not shame the act of gendering when its hard coded into our brains to do just that (studies have looked at infants differentiating male and female faces well before social influence has any role at all).

I'm gonna nitpick here, so apologies in advance. :P

I believe I've heard of a similar study, if not that one. I know there are techniques to determine whether infants make a distinction between different stimuli, but as I understand it, human infants have pretty bad eyesight. So the main thing they were looking for was "does the infant think this face is more mom-like or dad-like?," which pretty much came down to hair length (because despite humans' incredible talent for facial recognition, babies have bad, blurry vision). Which, again, comes back to gender norms for hair length. It could be a different study entirely, or that all could have been accounted for.

A number of studies have been done in the past several years, both in human infants and in non-human primates. Depending on their exposure to either a primary caregiver being female or male, they show a decidedly preferential focus on new female or new male faces. They identify an ability to differentiate as early as 3-4 months (there may be studies that look at earlier ages, but 3-4 months is the earliest age pool that I found with a cursory look).

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1878929313000571 Is one of those studies, with more referenced within the text.

They appear to have controlled for hair length to not be a factor (much older studies may have not, but I'm not familiar with them, and that doesn't appear to play a roll at all in the data in the above paper).

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Gendering people we meet isn't a social thing, or a Western thing, or an oppression thing, it's a mammalian thing, or really more just any species with a gender binary*. We add social gloss on top of biology, but biology is there regardless of what words we use or customs we develop. Evolution biases us to see a strict binary, but thankfully as a species we can adjust to seeing beyond just two options even if those two options are a vast majority. Let's also not shame the act of gendering when its hard coded into our brains to do just that (studies have looked at infants differentiating male and female faces well before social influence has any role at all).

*(and even some species with only one gender, because those parthenogenesis reproducing all female lizards frequently mate with males of other species to introduce genetic diversity)

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The planes and a guide to planar adventuring. I would love love love something like this. I'd double love getting to contribute on it. ;)

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Yay! Welcome back! :)

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Todd Stewart wrote:
I've worked in preclinical drug development and metabolic testing for a decade, so I have a good idea of industry standards for testing new drugs. I'll have more to say tonight about the nuance here for testing parameters, race, gender, etc to give an overview of where the science is right now.

During the preclinical period you can do extensive metabolic profiling of target compounds in order to identify the specific enzymes in the liver responsible for their metabolism (grouped into Phase I and Phase II enzymes). Many enzymes are rather evolutionarily conserved so the species doesn't matter as much for some at this point, so using rats or mice can be considerably cheaper to use in order to rule out certain drugs before spending millions to start human trials.

You're just looking for broad results at this point, so often the standard historically speaking has been one of a number of highly inbred Norwegian Brown rats (specifically Sprague-Dawley, Wistar, or Long Evans, among others). Male rats have typically been exclusively used at this stage given that you're just looking for very broad results. If you're looking for more specific things, you can use different lines or female animals for a particular study for a specific compound.

For instance if you find that a drug is specifically metabolized by the Cytochrome P4503A4 enzyme in the liver, you can already plan for it complicating the intake of other drugs with similar profiles (such as the statin class of drugs).

Also, I'm referring to only in-vitro testing here, not in-vivo. You typically isolate and plate hepatocytes within a collagen matrix for drug compound investigation (or freeze for later use).

Monkey and dog are also commonly used at this stage because they're relatively cheap by comparison to human cells. You can get human cells from liver tissue discarded after surgery or whole livers donated for research due to factors that rule them out for live transplantation. Human hepatocytes are the gold standard here, both cultured in suspension or plated. Since they come from individual people with their own metabolic profile, this is all mapped out prior to being used in research so we know of any non-standard polymorphisms showing up in their liver enzymes that would impact metabolism, transport, etc.

In my experience, we sold roughly equal numbers of male and female hepatocytes to drug companies doing their own in-house testing. They aren't under any constraints for risking teratogenic activity in unknowingly pregnant female test subjects at this point, so they can get lots of data for a broad population, and they do, and they pay through the nose for it because it prevents more expense and safety issues later.

Race is also a genuine factor in drug dosage. The idea of race of course is on somewhat arbitrary lines admittedly, but you do find specific CYP polymorphisms that map along ethnic origins. As an example, CYP2D6 is an enzyme involved in the metabolism of around a quarter of all drugs on the market today, and a number of polymorphisms in 2D6 cause very low metabolism of those drugs. About 8% or so of patients of European heritage have low 2D6 activity, the African-American population shows a much higher prevalence of this, while patients of Asian heritage don't commonly show this. There are lots of situations like this that really impact how drugs are prescribed and dosed for people on a population scale.

Of course the ideal situation is to do personalized dosage of a drug for every individual by determining the genes and expression levels of each person's phase I and II enzymes. We aren't quite there yet, but that's the goal and it's within reach.

This is current practice in the industry. We're no longer in the dark ages of assuming that male and female biology is absolutely exactly the same. We now increasingly see fewer drug companies thinking that they can save money and not test on one gender or the other. There's a lot going on and we need to gather as much data as we can to insure patient health as a primary objective, tailoring studies to the drug and population (or individual) in question.

That was long winded, but hopefully gives an idea of how we go about drug testing at the earliest stages now.

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I've worked in preclinical drug development and metabolic testing for a decade, so I have a good idea of industry standards for testing new drugs. I'll have more to say tonight about the nuance here for testing parameters, race, gender, etc to give an overview of where the science is right now.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
mechaPoet wrote:
But some people will say I'm "biologically" not nonbinary.

*headscratch*

This would make no sense if someone holds to the view that gender identity has its roots in biology. In that view you are non binary. Therefore you are biologically nonbinary.

This.

While the male/female dichotomy is a useful generalization that works for the general population somewhere in the high 90s percentages, those of us that fall outside of that strict binary do so absolutely with biological reasons.

Whatever your brain's internal sense of gender identity influences you to self-identify as (be it male, female, or otherwise) it's important that your decision there is respected.

Most people don't understand biology past the simple XX versus XY dichotomy they learn in highschool, when it's massively more subtle than that (be it by chimeric mosaicism, non-binary masculnization or feminization of the brain, androgen insensitivity, a myriad of other factors). Education here is key, because a lot of people simply aren't aware of the amazing complexity at play.

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Samnell wrote:
The thing I've never liked about the argument around the science of human sexuality is that it presumes human sexuality requires some kind of special justification.

Speaking as a scientist myself, I don't feel that I or anyone else needs any sort of special justification for our gender/sexuality.

The science of the biological underpinnings of human behavior, gender, and sexuality are just absolutely fascinating, complex, and just really really really cool. *insert happy stars in my eyes*

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Welcome! Also nosoi are so cool :)

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Krensky wrote:
Todd Stewart wrote:
The same clique of thought of social influence is everything that allowed for Lysenko to flourish. It must gall them to find that empirical data shows for biological influence or outright determination in higher behavior across the animal kingdom. When an ideology runs up against falsifying evidence it dies, but in the meantime it draws out the most stubborn, ignorant defenders be it this, anti-vaxers, segregationists, misogynists, etc.

True, but some good can come out of even the most bugshit anti-scince like Lysenko.

Look the cute siberian fox kits!

Belyaev and Trut did some fantastic genetics work on domestication and neotony. Belyaev was also seriously opposed to lysenkoism, which was a genuine risk to his career and life in the Stalinist era.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Todd Stewart wrote:
mechaPoet wrote:

Actually, speaking of gender and sexuality choice, I read another interesting article recently on the matter:

No One Is Born Gay (Or Straight)

That article's grasp of the current scientific consensus is laughable. Study after study supports it being innate and fixed at or prior to birth.
"But science is wrong!" is a common cry from some sectors.

The same clique of thought of social influence is everything that allowed for Lysenko to flourish. It must gall them to find that empirical data shows for biological influence or outright determination in higher behavior across the animal kingdom. When an ideology runs up against falsifying evidence it dies, but in the meantime it draws out the most stubborn, ignorant defenders be it this, anti-vaxers, segregationists, misogynists, etc.

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mechaPoet wrote:

Actually, speaking of gender and sexuality choice, I read another interesting article recently on the matter:

No One Is Born Gay (Or Straight)

That article's grasp of the current scientific consensus is laughable. Study after study supports it being innate and fixed at or prior to birth.

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Allow me to smile as I see Pathfinder being played in my original hometown. Why couldn't RPGs have been a thing when I was growing up there? XD

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Evidence Supporting the Biological Nature of Gender Identity Very good review paper covering a wide range of examples supporting the current theory that internal gender identity is a fixed, biological trait, not subject to social factors.

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There's a map of Finder's Gulch, a town in western Isger, in 'Undead Unleashed'

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KSF wrote:
Todd Stewart wrote:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25392513

Very interesting paper, building on some other recent studies. This particular one included both FtM and MtF subjects as well as cis-gendered controls, though I'd be most keen to see the data segregated out into those on HRT and those not on HRT.

Todd, would it be possible for you to clarify what the abstract is saying? (For those of us who don't do this kind of thing for a living.)

The methods used here are outside my field, but here's my best shot. The math used to calculate the images for the DMRI (diffusion MRI) is beyond me.

The paper's authors used a very specific type of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging - basically a giant electromagnet) that allows for imaging/measuring of neuronal fine-structural as a result of the diffusion of water molecules. Previous studies have found differences in brain white matter in trans individuals versus cisgender, and this study observed a clear pattern in the mean diffusivity (the physical correlation here would be higher white matter density leading to lower diffusivity). They observed cis females with the highest diffusion rate, cis males with the lowest, and trans individuals in between in virtually all white matter regions mapped.

The diffusivity numbers also matched up with the plasma testosterone levels in their bloodstream (I don't have access to the full paper at home, so I don't know if the trans individuals were on HRT or not, which could make a difference here). The study suggests that the observed brain differences are the result of testosterone exposure levels during prenatal development of the fetal brain and possibly the earliest post-natal stage.

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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25392513

Very interesting paper, building on some other recent studies. This particular one included both FtM and MtF subjects as well as cis-gendered controls, though I'd be most keen to see the data segregated out into those on HRT and those not on HRT.

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Congrats to the Top 32 and alternates. It's awesome to see new folks and some familiar names as well. :)

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Congratulations to everyone this year! I notice some familiar names and I also see some new folks as well. I can't wait to see what you all come up with for round 2! :D

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Best of luck with the surgery and the recovery afterwards Lissa. :)

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Rysky wrote:
Todd Stewart wrote:
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:

There are hints that the upcoming Rat Queens issue, Rat Queens Special: Braga #1, will deal with a topic of much interest to this group. Must. not. spoil. it. further.

(And really, if you're hanging out on an RPG messageboard, you should already be reading Rat Queens anyway.)

I'm so looking forward to that one-shot special, and then after that I'm just about dancing because of Stjepan Sejic coming on as their new artist.

Where have I heard that name before...

*googles*

SUNSTONE!

Precisely.

He's also done work for Image before, with Witchblade being where I first came across his work. He's also doing his own comic 'Death Vigil', and apparently he's working on a 'teen witchblade' spinoff comic. I have no idea how he manages to sleep with that workload. :D

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Ambrosia Slaad wrote:

There are hints that the upcoming Rat Queens issue, Rat Queens Special: Braga #1, will deal with a topic of much interest to this group. Must. not. spoil. it. further.

(And really, if you're hanging out on an RPG messageboard, you should already be reading Rat Queens anyway.)

I'm so looking forward to that one-shot special, and then after that I'm just about dancing because of Stjepan Sejic coming on as their new artist.

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Thanael wrote:

My favorite possible heresy: Grazzt as the son of Pale Night and unknown to even him Asmodeus.

Not sure where I have this from though.. ..though it is even on this FR wiki

I suspect it's an amalgamation of lore from 2e/3e and 4e. In 2e and 3.x, Grazzt was explicitly the child of Pale Night. However 4e used an entirely different cosmology and in-game history, and placed Grazzt as the child of Asmodeus IIRC.

The subtext to suggest the pairing is easy to pick up on, and in some nebulous form it has probably been dancing around for a long time.

To be honest it's a fun idea to suggest that Grazzt was born of a chance meeting on the battlefield of the earliest years of the Blood War, when Pale Night encountered Asmodeus prior to his fall from LN to LE, and that his encounter with her may have been the original trigger of his corruption by Evil. And even if that never happened, even if the story was 100% false, I'm sure that the 'loths would happily whisper it just to put seeds of doubt and confusion into Grazzt and Asmodeus's minds.

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And I'm already 700 words into a story to submit. :D

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Lemartes wrote:

Despair.

Granted in the current state of the Oinodaemon madness seems appropriate.

Prophecy might also make some sense as the Oinodaemon has uttered prophecies...ones that I think even scared the other horsemen. So Despair again.

Also, I guess prophecy about the end of times etc. is kind of fitting.

I'm also wondering if rebirth makes a slight bit of sense. As the horsemen destroy which gives way for something new. However, that makes no sense for a Daemon. Unless that is why they turned on him in the first place. I doubt it.

I'm thinking more Terror, Loss, Forgotten, Forsaken, Finality, the end...Despair.

I guess if I say every word in the English language maybe I'll get the right one.

If there was a tangent point for Obsession/Despair/Hunger/Agony you'd have the Oinodaemon, at least in my headcanon. :D

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thejeff wrote:
But by singling out Islam as inherently political, you're doing just that. Or at least defining fanaticism and political aspirations as outliers in Christianity, but the norm in Islam. Which is very hard to justify historically. Even if it might be the case at this point in time. That doesn't mean it's inherent in the nature of either religion.

I'm curious what exactly you mean by this? Christianity began among the politically marginalized and faced Imperial sanction and suppression up until 311CE and was legalized in 313CE. It took centuries before it had political power and became the Roman state religion in 380CE.

Islam on the other hand (assuming here for the moment the historicity of largely 9th century sources discussing 7th century events) began with the spread of faith by violence and then empire building in the vacuum of collapsing Byzantine and Sassanian power in late antiquity. Among the earliest titles for the Caliph was 'commander of the faithful' with no real difference there between religious authority and secular/military power.

That's a very distinct difference between the two religions.

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Hama wrote:


I wonder what you think about Hitchens.

Difficult to say, because I'm utterly unfamiliar with him and his positions (outside of skimming over his wiki page just now).

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Cool! :D

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