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My mistake, I put down channeling, when I meant the Mass Inflict Spells. Your first Oracle level you decide whether you know all the Cure spells, or all the Inflict spells.
Actually I guess you could just make sure you took the Cure spells as ones you know, at least some of them. To use the confusion feature, you have to select the Inflict spells, not the Cure. Though you can select Cure spells like a normal Oracle spell known, like all the Cleric/Oracle spells.
Forget anything I said about the channeling and feats, that was a mistake.
As far as the martial build, you get:
"Prophetic Armor (Ex): You are so in tune with your primal nature that your instincts often act to save you from danger that your civilized mind isn't even aware of. You may use your Charisma modifier (instead of your Dexterity modifier) as part of your Armor Class and all Reflex saving throws. Your armor's maximum Dexterity bonus applies to your Charisma, instead."
Your charisma can give you AC and reflex saves, so you can kind of treat dex as a dump stat. There are even traits that let you substitute other abilities in place of dex for initiative. Whether you can do that for charisma, I don't know. I've seen several builds on these boards with traits like this though.
You also get:
"Gift of Claw and Horn (Su): As a swift action, you gain a natural weapon. The natural weapon lasts for a number of rounds equal to half your oracle level (minimum 1). You must choose a bite, claw, or gore attack. These attacks deal the normal damage for a creature of your size. At 5th level, your natural weapon gains a +1 enhancement bonus. This bonus increases by +1 at 10th, 15th, and 20th level. At 11th level, you gain two natural weapons at a time. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier."
"Form of the Beast (Su): As a standard action, you can assume the form of a Small or Medium animal, as beast shape I. At 9th level, you can assume the form of a Tiny or Large animal, as beast shape II.
There are several builds floating around these boards that make melee monsters with this Mystery. You'll just have to search for Lunar Oracle on the boards.
Personally I think the Animal Companion might be a better way to go, at least emphasizing him. You get plenty of buff spells. But everyone probably takes the Animal Companion revelation, regardless of what they are doing with this kind of Oracle.
As far as Moonlight Bridge goes, the wording says:
"You summon a bridge of moonlight. The 10-foot-wide span touches the ground at a point adjacent to you. It can extend from this point in any direction for 10 feet per oracle level. "
""Should the bridge be attacked, treat it as a wall of force."
So you could conceivably make a bridge going up into the sky directly inf front of you. Wall of Force. Or one starting by you and going 20 feet left, then 20 feet forward, then 20 feet right, ...
Or have it start at the ground in front of a doorway, so the door can't swing open. And even if they cut away the door they still have your Moonlight Bridge in front of them.
I think a lot of DM's would be hesitant to interpret this this way.
I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Do you realize that this is all an entirely contrived scenario, isolated from the entire rest of the game, engineered from the start to prove a foregone conclusion? You're trying to prove there's something wrong with the game by setting up a situation that would never, ever, occur in actual gameplay - therefore, your claim that this "proves" that wizards are too powerful and fighters/monks/rogues aren't powerful enough is completely groundless.
Nah, there are games where people actually do things like this.
Look at ENWorld in their Storyhour section. There is one called "Tales of Wyre," (though I think the characters are in multiple threads now). It was 3.5 when read through it, they may have gone to Pathfinder later.
Long running campaign, very knowledgeable players and DM. Early on a character called "Mostin the Metagnostic" ran away with everything. So it seems like everyone in that campaign plays a caster now.
Tons and tons of posts on the campaign. I got bored with it when it seemed like "Mostin builds a prison in the core of the planet (with an explanation of what spells he used), Mostin imprisons Demon Lord there, etc" rinse and repeat.
I'm not sure the trick the OP put up is one that campaign ever used, but trust me they did all kinds of funky stuff.
I think you are going to have to make a decision as to whether you are going to channel negative energy and use the Touch of the Moon revelation.
"Touch of the Moon (Su): The exact effects of this revelation depend on whether you cast inflict or cure spells. If you cast inflict spells, these spells carry with them the taint of madness. Subjects who take damage from your inflict spells are also subject to confusion, as the spell, except the duration of this effect is a number of rounds equal to the level of the inflict spell. The save DC against this effect is 10 + 1/2 your oracle level + your Charisma modifier. Alternatively, if you cast cure spells, these spells are potentially more effective but entirely in the target's mind. Whenever you cast a cure spell, you can cast it as though it were enhanced with the Empower Spell metamagic feat by expending two spell slots, except these hit points are temporary. This does not increase the level of the spell. Hit points healed this way expire after a number of minutes equal to half your oracle level. You must be at least 7th level to select this revelation."
This is really powerful if you build around it, like with Selective Channeling.
Aside from that you can easily be a melee monster yourself, and have an animal companion that is pretty fierce as well.
You don't have enough feats to go all three directions though.
BTW, this revelation:
"Moonlight Bridge (Su): You summon a bridge of moonlight. The 10-foot-wide span touches the ground at a point adjacent to you. It can extend from this point in any direction for 10 feet per oracle level. The path persists until you have crossed over the bridge or for 24 hours, whichever is shorter. You may summon a moonlight bridge a number of times per day equal to your Charisma bonus. Should the bridge be attacked, treat it as a wall of force."
Is either ungodly powerful, or merely useful, depending on how you and your GM interpret it.
Most of the revelatons are good or really good. Some of them are pretty situational or require the right enemy though.
Well your spoiler didn't come through, but about that...
There was a scene with Cisco and that character that kind of makes you wonder if that is really all that there will be with the mentioned character.
Because if it isn't, why did they put that scene in there? Cisco had never seen him before, and suddenly he has one of his "spells?"
I will say I kind of groaned when...
To heck with this spoiler nonesense. When Atom Smasher's hood conveniently rolls back so Joe and Cisco could conveniently ID Atom Smasher as the dead Rothstein... Well wasn't that contrived. Then it rolls back into place?
Clumsy writing to me.
I thought this episode wasn't good at all.
Really clumsy. Didn't like the Atom Smasher effects at all.
And does Barry actually have a secret identity? Everyone seems to know it, and doesn't mind discussing things right in the middle of a police station.
Show had "it" last season. Maybe it was the nature of the script or something, maybe things will mesh going forward.
I also don't like what appears to be the "formula." Latest threat from alternate dimensions or something as opposed to accelerator fallout.
It worked last season, but they had the Wells thing as an ongoing thing. He won't be around like that this season, so what will they replace that with?
You could have a whole pantheon.
Andre, God of Giants
Hmmm you could have mysterious outsiders "Unsanctioned Foreign Objects" in the game.
And Steroids, the food of the gods.
I think you are right. I want to like this show but I can't. Things would have worked a lot better with a 20 something Bruce who is about to become Batman. Then at the end of season one a bat flies through the window.
Only reason I keep watching this show is to see what Bat villain shows up. I do not want to see Nygma descend into madness over the course of several years. I want the Riddler ASAP. Same with Penguin.
Right now it is a police procedural basically.
I guess we don't know if he is going to stay dead (thought someone said the actor who played him was busy with another show), but killing off that kid as a prospective joker? If someone can do it and pull it off, you are nutty to write them out, unless forced. You have no guarantee any other actor could really pull it off.
I'd say 12th level qualifies for the "long run."
I also think that isn't a very good argument. Because if you take that at face value it is the same thing as saying well forget any 7th or higher level spells, or class features, because the game ends at 12th level (or whatever "most" games make it to).
That stuff? That stuff is only in there because some high level encounters could have an opponent of that level, or there is the odd spell effect you will encounter somewhere.
My take is it wasn't a problem with the APG summoner and the powerful eidolon, and definitely not a problem with the spell list.
To be sure the eidolon outshone fighters (though what doesn't?) and it was very strong compared to other classes at low levels. But in the long run the usual suspects (wizards, etc) outclassed the summoner.
I think the problem was "summoning," at least with the master summoner. This class slowed things to a crawl. Not only with the decision of "what" to summon, but what you did with it when you did.
You could literally double or triple the number of opponents in a fight, put them in odd places, that sort of thing. Pathfinder is already super-cumbersome with combats, and this just made it a lot worse.
Other classes can do the summon thing in one action now. Clerics can be poke-priests to some extent. But master summoner did it better than anyone, and that duration on the summons made things... a lot more wonky with prep time.
Maybe master summoners deserved to be the absolute best summoners compared to priests with all they give up in comparison.
But the problem is still there with some classes that weren't nerfed in the Unchained book. Not to as great an extent.
I think the whole "summon" mechanic is broken to some extent. Maybe not with a guy that says in combat "Hey I have Summon Monster VII memorized! I'm going to put an... earth elemental... right there. Let me look up the stats."
But the guy that has all his pokey's on a rolodex with spell like and extraordinary abilities cross-referenced is still going to be a gamebreaker if he is so inclined.
I don't see how this character can stack enough bonuses to really do well at grappling. Maybe with spells somehow (they fix everything).
But stuff gets godzilla sized as you level, so unless you are facing a rival adventure party or something, I don't see how it works.
I always though it would be a cool way to "get a blast from the past."
Reading it things don't seem to have a time limit.
So even your first and second level party can face a comprehensible threat that has been sleeping in the tombs of Osirion for thousands of years.
See that 1st level Osiriani alchemist that built tombs? He took security seriously. And the only way he could be sure is if he did it personally.
Mysterious Stranger wrote:
My take on things is partial casters usually use spells without saves or concentrate on buffing.
I'd say Magus. You have limited spellcasting anyway. If you pump 4 points into int, get a tome somewhere, or a headband you'll be able to cast the highest level spells you'll ever get anyway.
Or Warpriest if you go dwarf, you'll get 13 wis after racial adjustments. Same story with a partial caster class and the casting stat.
You would be one socially inept, homely, character though.
I was talking about using the Sacred Weapon enhanced damage dice feature. If your whole thing is leveraging Vital Strike, you are just plain better off with a two-handed weapon with good damage like Greatsword.
Although if you pick some weapon like a dagger or starknife, you could still get a lot more benefit from Vital Strike than you would otherwise.
And it didn't hit me before, but looking at that Greater Weapon of the Chosen thing, you have to use your deities favored weapon correct? Which means some deities wouldn't be very good using it.
Chess Pwn wrote:
with warpriest use Greater Weapon of the Chosen feat. Vital strike is a bit better for the warpriest as he can gain it before he actually has a second attack. You'll want something that can make your weapon Actually bigger (like enlarge person) and something that makes it Effectively bigger(like lead blades or impact). Use either a greatsword or oversized bastard sword. Maybe look into one of the Titan classes (barb or fighter) as a dip to be able to use even bigger weapons.
Do you gain anything from that later on though? It is problematic to build something that only comes online at 15th level, but at that level the medium Warpriest sacred damage is 2d6, same as a greatsword.
This Sacred Weapon feature is a little wonky as regards the base damage feature. Unless you are trying to enhance damage from something like shuriken or hand crossbows you are better off for a long time ignoring it and going for the greatsword.
It doesn't hurt you ever, but the synergy just doesn't seem to be there for a vital strike build. Well maybe at level 20 or something, but that isn't that useful.
I was tinkering a little trying to come up with something the Warpriest Sacred Weapon feature would be good for.
Then I started to think about builds I have seen that used the Vital Strike line. I know there is a druid build where you turn into some kind of hippo. And I think I've seen something with some kind of ooze.
It's pretty clear you want a big base damage on your weapon.
But what kinds of things has it been used with, aside from shape change trickery?
And if someone has an angle on using these feats with a Warpriest I'd love to hear it.
Have they ever clarified this spell on the boards here?
The thing is so vague that you have to have the dm adjudicate things. Since they removed the "piece" of the creature requirement, it seems like you can do anything just about.
Including the Tarrasque. Or you BBEG opponent. You can simulacrum him without having met him and ask all kinds of questions.
Of course that is stupid, but it's not like the spell indicates you can't. Most dm's would 86 that for good reason.
What is more interesting to me is you could simulacrum something that could conceivably exist.
Like a gynosphinx Paladin with the half-celestial template or something.
Or a sorcerer named Fred who just happens to have the utility spells you always wanted but couldn't be bothered to learn.
In the beginning I (like 2000 or so) I thought the skill was for people to do things like train a pack of wolves to attack, or to train a Griffin to be a mount.
I'm not sure I have ever seen an example of a Fighter who trained a Griffin or other magical creature to be a mount. Never seen a low level Fighter with his pack of wolves either.
To be honest though I am really sick and tired of all these little checks that you have to do to play exactly as the rules are written. If you do you have to make checks for all kinds of crap.
Unless it is cinematic or something like standing on the back of a running horse I don't bother anymore. Even then I have to pull things out of my butt.
It irks me about the flying mounts though. That is pretty bog standard fantasy, but have you ever seen a module or anything where McGuffin the Fighter has a Griffin mount he raised from an egg and trained to be a mount?
Or his gigantic Python that lurks in his cave? That's the kind of thing I expect to see from someone with say a +15 Handle Animal check. Or calming down a pack of guard dogs in a medieval junkyard.
Is this selling? All that seems like an elseworlds story.
Yeah, I know the first thing I do when my secret identity has been exposed is to become a secret agent. It's not like anyone would recognize you without a mask, with that story being splashed in the tabloids. And my parents having been killed by a sniper on a trapeze, and then becoming the ward of one of the world's wealthiest men? Gosh no one should know me from Adam, I'm as anonymous as a Kardashian.
And Bruce. Poor fella doesn't know he was ever Batman. Hmmmm should I pay him a visit? Kind of awkward, what do we talk about?
Not been following DC since Flashpoint. From what I've seen the art is general is not to my tastes, and the stories sound stupid.
They could have done anything at all in the 52 reboot, and these are the kinds of stories they come up with?
Had enough, these guys are running on narrative fumes. DC needs new blood desperately. However they do it, they have got to find someone who can produce like Alan Moore or Gaiman at this point.
And personally I don't care how well his career is going, and in a sense how he sells. To me Johns has been a disaster for this company. Give him the reins more or less and this is what he makes?
Lord Snow wrote:
Yeah, I haven't read the books. Don't get me wrong I think the series is very good for what it is.
But I also think that if it didn't have "blood and boobs" it wouldn't be anywhere near as popular as it is. It would make a very interesting PBS kind of thing (though without the money for all those actors and sets), but it wouldn't have the mass audience it has without all those hot young things popping up nude in Littlefinger's bordello or whatever from time to time. (You might catch an old guy on the "throne," but not flashing a lot of skin.)
And it is a similar thing with the violence.
My point being I don't think Martin is indulging his political sensibilities or worldview in this work (unlike Goodkind). It's a pretty reasonable stab at telling a realistic story in this kind of world.
But if Vox Day (insert anyone with views you find as reprehensible) had written something like this? The usual people would be all over it. Incest, gratuitous violence, subjugation of women, etc.
And comics? At least the Big Two are far more editor/management driven than any F/SF books. Even the story length is focused these days on fitting into trade paperbacks.
Maybe so, I really hadn't thought about that. Apparently a lot of things I think I know are dated.
But to pull things from the past, you started seeing odd panels here and there about two years or so before Korvac popped up in the Avengers.
The Hobgoblin story came out in bits and pieces over a couple of years, before it got messed up when David killed off Ned Leeds.
Daredevil had roughly 4 or 5 years before he settled up with the Kingpin after the Kingpin ruined him.
I remember Excalibur had like a two year or so run where the team went through alternate realities before they returned to the base Marvel Universe. Okay that was way dragged out, but still.
Lot more Marvel there than I would have thought.
That's another hole with these awards, they don't include self-published titles.
I hope this isn't meandering, but I think that focusing your work into forms that are marketable now, can kind of affect the quality of what you are doing.
To me when you are writing something it is as long as it needs to be to tell a story - and no longer.
I think a lot of fiction, particularly in this genre is bloated, and gets stretched way out. Not only as phone book sized novels, but in series.
If a book I really liked back in the day, Lord of Light by Zelazny, were published today I think they would have forced him to make it longer. And I think it would have been a worse book.
So I guess I am contradicting myself somewhat. I'm not keen on the kind of things literary types look for, but I also think marketing can affect a book from a storytelling viewpoint for the worse as well.
I was kind of struck by all the Martin adulation I've seen online. I was reading him during his Tuf Voyaging/Dying of the Light/Wildcards days. I never bothered to pick up any of his Game of Thrones books because I was totally burned out by all these long series when it started. The same goes for Jordan and Goodkind (though I don't think Goodkind is really that good a writer, his first one was ok, then it dragged on and on - advances be damned, it has to end sometime). I'm still not reading it (Game), HBO is more than enough for me when want some of that.
And as a cynic, I wonder just what the response to Game of Thrones would be if Vox Day wrote it. Let's postulate a world where Martin kicked off about 90 or so from a heart attack; we take all the manuscripts for Game of Thrones to an alternate world and give them to Vox Day to publish through whatever his publishing house is.
Man I bet that would be a feeding frenzy. I can feel the winds of deconstruction across the dimensional boundaries.
To me comics are the best medium for stories taking their natural length. You know the book will be around (well sometimes) long after you are off the book. So you can tell a story in one issue, two, three, have it running in the background for years, whatever the editor will let you get away with.
Well darn it. That is a no win situation. If I get a membership and vote, just to cancel your vote, then I am giving $40 to worldcon for that privilege.
Joking aside, I guess this isn't my fight anymore. I go to the bookstore a lot, and always check out the fantasy and sf sections when I do. Just picking up books and reading the blurb they usually seem like a bunch of dreck. So the idea of reading through this stuff to find things I want to nominate isn't very appealing.
So I guess you win this minor battle in the overall culture war. Because I don't think this is me anymore, and I'm not going to pick a fight just to pick one (that is a metaphor).
Besides the culture war is kind of binary in nature, and I can tell you I do not like a lot of things about both sides.
Lord Snow wrote:
Tell you the truth, I'd rather read about gun crazed monster slayers than about people trying to figure out their gender IN SPAAAACE, at least most of the time.
Thing is, that possibly could work. Most of the time when someone does that they have an issue they want to crank on. But it is possible that it might be something they've put a lot of thought into.
Maybe even both, but it doesn't seem to be common.
When I have a little more time I am going to download those Hugo pdf's and put up the nominating figure and the vote totals going back to 2005 or so. Might be instructive. (Wonder if worldcon attendance is in there too?).
Interestingly some of those drill down pages have the details on how many votes were cast electronically, and how many on paper. For all the years I've looked at evotes dwarf paper ones.
Also as a point of interest the lowest figure I saw for nominating votes was around 1100 one year.
Ah, evidence. If things happened as I speculate, where would be the evidence?
Looking at the web page, Sad Puppies started in 2013. I'm uncertain as to whether they had any effect that year, but they certainly did in 2014.
2015 - 5950 votes, 2122 nominators
Okay it would be informative to pull up these numbers for years previous.
But I have a question. Is the discrepancy between votes cast and nominators a feature of this system somehow? Because honestly I don't understand this. I'd think they would be a lot more in synch. I'm not sure how it would play out, but I'd almost expect that you would have more nominators than voters in any given contest. Of course you would have to pull the numbers for previous years (that site you linked to only had two years for the Hugo, 1939 I think was the other).
So 2015 (and 2014 too) had more votes than nominations.
So what happened, the Silent Majority decide to take a stand?
This whole thing is a quandary for me. I'm all for light hearted fun things like John Carter, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, even Tarzan. I'm all for serious things that make you think.
But I can't imagine wanting to read anything called "Monster Hunter Nation" (okay I guess it is the name for a series of books, but whatever).
And I definitely don't think a story about someone who comes out as gay to their parents because if you lie you get rained on is worth reading in any way. Maybe I'm wrong, but we all have our filters and this sounds just plain dumb. But just to muse, maybe some authors could pull it off. But not it's not likely this was the case for this story.
Heck I turned around one day and found I wasn't really reading science fiction anymore, hadn't done it in years. Last series I saw I was interested in was something about Neanderthals evolving in a parallel world and a crossover, but I didn't pick it up.
Just when a person thinks they have said all they care to on a topic.
Do you really have that much of a blind spot?
I have a point to make, and I think it is fairly obvious. Let's modify your sentence:
"You don't think he couldn't find 150 to 200 people at various left haunts or troll hang outs willing to spend $40 to stick it to the Puppies and such? Really?"
The beauty is you don't have to be organized. Just put it in the right place, and you'll get some small fraction of people to take it upon themselves. And these Hugo numbers are so small it doesn't take much.
I think it would be interesting to compare some numbers from this and previous Hugos. Things like:
1) How many more votes were cast this time than previous Hugos.
2) How many people were actually in attendance. This is a weaker measure of things but still an indicator I think. Of how many people who have never been into this sort of thing, then suddenly decided to get involved.
3) How many of those votes were actually real people. I keep harping on this, but no one seems to be much interested or think it is important.
But as an example one of the things that came out in this recent Ashley Madison thing is that virtually no women were involved in the thing. Most of the female profiles on that site were generated by Ashley Madison to rope in the sheep... I mean paying members, almost all male.
You might say duh, that's obvious. But things look pretty obvious to me with this Hugo mess as well.
If you want I could provide you with a list of left wing websites. I wouldn't call them troll sites, but they are fairly popular and I've seen plenty of extreme rhetoric on them. Interestingly my opinion is most of them aren't really what they come across as when they write.
They get involved in the "two minute hate" and get carried away with emotion. Happens on all these boards, whatever political angle, whether they are political or not.
You know thinking about this whole thing, the smart thing to do is just to forget about Worldcon and the Hugo. Come to think of it, leave the World Science Fiction Society too.
No matter what you do, you are essentially forking over money to the organizers of the event, no matter the point you are trying to make.
Just totally abandon the thing. Keep your money and do whatever with it. Form an alternate convention, an alternate award. Just leave it behind.
I guess that's all I have to say about this.
But in closing something is very odd about this whole Beale thing. He's an obscure figure, yet somehow manages to corral more votes than the founders of the thing he co-opted? And while neither was famous, they were surely a lot better known than him.
Something doesn't add up about this.
I am quite fond of the Horizon Walker for the three level dip giving you at will dimension door. With some finagling and maybe a spot of retraining you can grab the Dimensional Agility line and be Nightcrawler. Its not the most OP thing ever by far but.... BAMF!
They really nerfed Horizon Walker from my viewpoint in the translation. In 3.5 the dimension door was every 1d4 rounds. Here is it 3 + con or wis bonus or something.
I had all kinds of cool things to do with the Horizon Walker in 3.5. For example a feather fall ring. Dimension Door up, then bamf across the sky. Go up when you lose altitude.
I will say somewhere along the line I got into an argument about this in a group. Someone claimed that you could not dimension door to a spot where you could not stand or something. There was some kind of text somewhere he showed us too, though it might have been that summoning creatures thing they did to stop people from using the mount spell to drop horses on people. But we decided to allow you to dimension door into the sky if you wanted.
But in Pathfinder you can only be Nightcrawler for like 7 or 8 rounds a day or something effectively.
I think they ought to have one that starts with characters of about 10th level and goes to 20th.
Actually I think they really need to get about four or five groups of playtesters together and do a couple of months of testing of high level play in Seattle. I know they can come up with that many in that town.
Have the devs dm it, and the players pulling no punches with combos and tricks.
Because I think high level play in this system is fundamentally broken in a lot of ways.
To the original poster, I think the problem is that magic is too easy in the 3.x system.
It probably has been in all the iterations of d&d. I've seen the kind of things the Tippyverse covers going back to 1e. But 3.x is the most magic biased of any d&d system so far.
Look for one of their recent reboots, DC hired Michael Moorcock to give them advice on ... I guess how they should handle magic in their universe. He told them "Magic has a price." They promptly never bothered to do anything with the advice they paid for but whatever.
The Tippyverse stuff doesn't come up in myths and legends because the storytellers didn't want to tell that kind of story (usually I guess). The same for writers of fantasy, though almost every fantasy story I've ever read somehow uses the "Magic has a price" concept in some way. But in the end the writer almost always doesn't want to go there. For flavor purposes.
When you codify what magic can do you open yourself up to the Tippyverse. The old myths and legends are really vague about what magic can do. But good old 3.x isn't.
So if you are playing 3.x type systems, you just have to make a gentleman's agreement not to go there.
Or you are going to be doing so much tinkering with the system that you have a whole new one.
I wonder if there is any way to set up an alternate fandom. What's the point of having everyone in the same house at this point?
Personally I want nothing to do with Scalzi. And if you are a fan, what would we have to talk about really?
Time to split things up. Then everyone can be happy.
Yeah, but are the Rabid Puppies real? Look I had never heard of Vox Day or Theodore Beale before any of this.
But reading that one link on the previous page, the one with the Beale interview...
He happened to be at his villa in Italy, when the interview was conducted by phone. Now I'll take it at face value, who knows though maybe it was some kind of gag or something.
But if he has that kind of scratch (note that doesn't mean he is swimming in Bill Gates money), and he didn't make the money from writing (and not many people ever do, you'd have to be in Rowling or Meyer's territory I guess to do that).
Have you ever thought that Rabid Puppies might not be any more than Theodore Beal?
I don't know if it was on this thread or another but someone was speculating that Beale had neonazis or something that registered to vote. Seems like a stretch to me, but whatever.
But we live in a world where you could order a $1000 dollar cocktail in Manhattan (circa right before the '08 crash). The simple fact is I think the Rabid Puppies voting effort could have been duplicated with as little as $20,000. But face it, that is chump change to some people. If you have 10 million or so, why not spend $50,000 on a lark?
Something doesn't add up about that guy. But I guess it doesn't really matter.
Although I will add that it is a practice now to employ people to spin things on message boards. Hard to imagine the kinds of organizations and people that do that being interested in the Hugos.
Nobody lives in that culture.
That Vox guy is screwed up I'll give you that. But I've been skimming through a lot of author blogs about this whole thing. (Jim Hines is a pompous ass, BTW)
Seems to me that the name calling isn't confined to the side you seem to think it is.
I think this is one of those unbridgeable gaps. Look if I thought your personal viewpoint is correct (and I'm doing a bit of assuming about what that is) I'd already see things the way you do. But I don't; and while it's beyond the scope of this thread I strongly doubt you could present any argument that would change my mind about any position of substance.
And I'm pretty sure you feel the same way. Though I doubt you could pigeonhole my politics too well. I do not care if anyone smokes weed, or has gay sex in every bathhouse (they still got those?) from here to San Francisco. And no, I am not keen on Libertarianism and Ayn Rand.
That said I dunno about modern SF. Just looking at the stories these guys are putting out I have to wonder how often anyone in the field has a new idea anymore.
Now I haven't read the Chinese story. But another alien invasion story? I've read literally hundreds of these, and I'm not exaggerating. What was there about this that was new or noteworthy? Did they give it the award because it was a Chinese book?
And Ancillary Sword. Just reading the premise makes me wonder what the author was thinking. I mean the kind of technology postulated and she has people running around with physical bodies. At least Dune had a reason, stupid as it was, for people to use swords. Maybe she covers it in book, but the blurb wouldn't interest me at all. With the technology that allows her to have her story, physical existence let along gender is irrelevant. And colonialism and empire with that kind of tech level? Face it by that point you are looking at infinity in a grain of sand as it were. Notions like "colonies" and empires are pretty much gone when you have real AI's, with all they imply.
It was a good friend for a long time, but maybe I've moved past this genre or something. What bugs me is they think so very small.
Yeah but I don't want to sound quasi-mystical here, but some works stand the test of time, and some don't.
Once upon a time in the 1920's a guy called James Branch Cabell was a big deal, and wrote a bunch of stories that probably would be considered fantasy.
But 90 something years later the Warlord of Mars, Tarzan, and Conan are all still in print, as indeed they always have been. My best guess 50 years from now they will still be read in whatever medium is used, but Cabell will be in the same spot he is now, which is basically a footnote or known only to a few people.
My take is these guys are archetypes of a sort. It's not just them, some older works like HG Wells, and Verne still get read, even if they are dated now.
So what's good and what isn't? To go back to Cabell one of his Leshy Circuit books was so complicated you had to have a graduate degree in Medieval French literature to understand what he was driving at. Was that a good book? I'm sure it won awards, while whatever Tarzan book Burroughs was publishing at the time didn't.
Look I read science fiction and fantasy for big ideas and escapism. Nothing else. You could have a social issue as a big idea (and this is common).
But a kid coming out as gay? Because for some reason if you lie it starts to rain on you? Just can't see that as being a big idea. My tastes run more to "The Crime and Glory of Commander Suzdal" and the Klopts by Cordwainer Smith, or something like Glory Season by Brin if I'm into some sort of story involving sexuality for some reason.
I don't know what genre that kind of story fits into. Some kind of fantasy I guess, but it won an award? Seems so very small compared to the Cordwainer Smith story.
I guess I'm a stranger to this genre now. I've been doing some reading on the personalities and careers of some of the people involved.
In that article Beale/Vox Day comes across as an idiot. Might not be an unfair evaluation.
But I've done some reading about Scalzi. Eh, doesn't seem to be all that to me. I've never read him and probably never will. None of the descriptions of his works seem terribly interesting. He seems to be best known for his Old Man's War series. But reading the description... I read Starship Troopers and The Forever War back in the day. The idea of reading another one doesn't seem terribly interesting. And he's won three Hugos? He seems remarkably dull to me. Where's the big idea? Do he write like Jack Vance or Gene Wolfe? Plot out stories like Alan Moore?
I guess I could read him and make an honest evaluation, but it doesn't seem to be worth it. Of course the same applies to Beale.
I'd love to see sales figures for the books mentioned in this piece. I'm not sure it would happen, but I could imagine an alt fandom arising from this. Leave the pre-existing one to Martin and the others, and roll your own.
So you won't have a regular group? Just whoever shows up that day?
Interesting approach. These things take a long time to complete. Maybe it will work better than trying to keep the same set of guys focused on one thing for the year or so it takes to complete one of these mega adventures.
I am really interested in what you have to say. I've been following your posts in the Hugo Thread. Do you have any thoughts on the current situation as far as sales, and demographic trends go? I'd be really interested in reading a thread you made about this topic, if you have more to say than that what you have posted in these threads.
Like most people here I have a lot to say and can be wordy. But to address a point here you made in the other thread about the Sad Puppies point that modern SF not using some of the themes of classic SF. Here are a couple of works by acclaimed current authors in the field:
"Anathem is a speculative fiction novel by Neal Stephenson, published in 2008. Major themes include the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics and the philosophical debate between Platonic realism and nominalism."
I tried to read it. If you aren't really into things like this it is even duller than it sounds.
This is the "Science in the Capital" trilogy.
"The focus of the novel is the effects of global warming in the early decades of the 21st century. Its characters are mostly scientists, either involved in biotech research, assisting government members, or doing paperwork at the National Science Foundation (NSF). There are also several Buddhist monks working for the embassy of the fictional island nation of Khembalung."
Come on. SF already has a small audience. And it's hard to see how these two books don't have an even smaller one.
Not every book has to be a rollicking adventure. But there is no way books like this are ever going to be a cultural presence or have big sales.
Yeah, but looking at the historic vote numbers, if I had gone to the expense of publishing a vanity book, for a little bit more I could have had my vanity project be nominated for and actually win the Hugo.
I think your Newberry award mention is interesting. I've seen all kinds of kids reading those books over the years, some for school, and a lot for fun. And the genders are more or less equal is my impression.
So why don't they grow up into readers of SF? A lot of the Newberry winners could have been considered SF, though the usually youthful protagonists aren't that common in the genre.
And there is another thing. The Twilight books probably outsold all the Hugo winners in any given year ten times over.
I really think the genre itself just isn't that interesting to most people. But the Newberry books typically do well so...
Because I actually spent a little time to look up some numbers, I want to post some things I said in the previous thread that was closed:
"I don't think this is correct either. Just reflecting on the whole thing, 184 votes is enough to get a book nominated? And this is presumably heavy voting because of the whole bloc voting and slate thing?
Look at the previous years. 41 got a book nominated for best novel? Those are ridiculously low numbers. A gregarious, popular guy might well have more friends that would vote for him without any prompting. It's not even much of a stretch to think a lot of his friends are involved with fandom and cons, and will pay $50 or whatever to be eligible to vote.
And with such small numbers needed to be nominated at least, nothing like this has happened before?
I don't have a chronoscope and can peer back through history to see what people actually did.
But common sense tells you that something so easy to compromise or game had to have been done so in the past.
Geez, aside from any organized or nefarious scheme, exactly how many people from Tor Books (or DAW or anyone else) are eligible voters?
Come on, 41 votes? It wouldn't surprise me if Tor had an appreciable fraction of that number as direct employees eligible to vote, let along authors associated with them.
Long story short, I don't think the Hugo impresses me at all anymore.
Someone above posted that people will manipulate the NY Times bestseller list for a fee. This appears to be infinitely easier to game.
So while I don't have some kind of pithy phrase that means "If it can be manipulated, it will be manipulated," I'm pretty sure it has been repeatedly over the years.
But if 41 votes was normal for years before this controversy, maybe no one cared enough to bother."
43 Best Fan Writer John Scalzi
Assuming I can vote for myself, in 2008 for the paltry sum of $2050 dollars, I could have filled out enough ballots to give myself a nomination for best novel.
Now you couldn't know beforehand how many it would take, but either that was a bad year for voting numbers or pretty normal pre this controversy.
Come on. This is utterly stupid."
"I haven't looked at a list of Hugo winners in a long time. So I googled and found the wiki page.
Whether vote rigging (or perhaps campaigning is a better word) has been around all along, it's pretty clear based on the list they picked the wrong book as winner quite often.
Take what looks to me the most extreme example, 1983.
Isaac Asimov* Foundation's Edge Doubleday 
Isaac Asimov won that year."
The point I want to make is that prior to this, there just weren't that many votes cast. Heck even with the controversy and the block voting not many votes were cast.
Science Fiction is just as nichey as it ever was. Maybe moreso. Running out of time, but I imagine fantasy sales dwarf "Sci Fi" sales.
I also don't think these diversity efforts are going to work. There just aren't that many people into it period, regardless of whatever sexual orientation or gender of the protagonists. My take is ten years from now you will see the same set of neckbeards at cons, whether every effort from now on meets the Scalzi seal of approval.
There was another thread on this topic here that got closed. (like all the threads do where people actually argue and debate)
But that nomination process is ridiculous. My take is it has been gamed for years and years, maybe by ideology on occasion, but mostly by people with a vested interest in one of the nominees (or in being nominated).
In that thread that got closed I made the point that according to historic vote totals you could have apparently won a Hugo by spending 10 to 20 thousand dollars by making up fake people and voting for yourself. Or having a lot of friends or employees who could be persuaded to vote. I think you could have done it for about 5 thousand in a number of years for certain awards as well.
Seems to me that a lot of publishers along the way would have had some kind of interest in putting "Hugo Winner for 19XX" on the dustjacket.
No way this thing wasn't gamed along the way, and fairly frequently at that.
But that is a big picture thing.
Aaron Whitley wrote:
I never thought about that, it makes sense though.
I've watched all the Star Trek series. I'd still say the 60's one has the best theme.
I never was a fan of procedural police things, so I never really watched those.
Did MNF ever change their theme? I thought it was the same since 71 or whatever.
But even when they tried, I don't think they did a good job of it. I have no idea what the hopes were for Gilligan's Island were when they started the show, but that theme is known to most people after 50+ years.
Hmmmm I watched X-Files except for the last season or two. I really didn't think it was much to write home about, at least compared to what Outer Limits or the Twilight Zone had for themes.
Never seen the the other shoes.
This is country now:
These are some oldtimers in their depends, just screwing around:
Heck let's go way back, this one had a lot of blues in it, and was covered by a number of bands out of genre:
To me country music is a genre that doesn't exist anymore, at least in what you hear on country stations that play Nashville stuff. Modern country is pop from 20 years ago, with an increasing amount of rap inserted into it. All sung with some incomprehensible accent (too keep it real I guess) that actual coal miners and cotton pickers never had.
Alt country is alive and well I guess. Bluegrass is still around, and never got "corrupted" because there wasn't any money in it.
Kind of sad that my favorite "country" singer now is Corb Lund, from Alberta. Not that I have anything against Alberta, but well you know.
Okay, my argument is that music has declined. I don't think that in general they can play instruments as well, they don't have stage presence or perform as well. There are three bigger problems though.
One is that modern performers and the music business don't seem to be able to write a song. Let's play a little game. Name an iconic TV show theme.
Here's a few to get you started:
Now name me one, or just hum it to yourself from the past 25 years. Other than the Friends theme I got nothin. And if I thought about it, I could add a lot more from pre-1980 like the Andy Griffith theme.
Obviously these are TV theme songs, not standalone works. But if you want I could compare things like "Eve of Destruction" or anything by Bob Dylan to Lady GaGa. You might also say I am cherry picking from roughly 65 years of music (since 1950 or so), and I'd be guilty for obvious reasons.
But I just can't pick out many, if any songs, from about 1990 to now I think will stand the test of time. Meaning that if I turn on the radio I'll hear it played.
I expect to hear this in 2035:
I don't anyone will know what a Miley Cyrus or Alan Thicke's kid ever were.
Heck I'll still hear this once in a blue moon somewhere or other in 2035:
Okay this post is getting way long, but you are not all the way off my lawn yet.
Once upon a time you couldn't swing a stick without hitting a vocalist.
Here's one who fell off a turnip truck almost literally and was in a one hit wonder band (with the most hippie song ever it seemed to me):
Part of this paucity of vocalists is the change in society I think. If you look at the bios of all these 60's and 70's pop stars they ALL sang in church choirs. Plus I don't think kids now try to sing as much. Once upon a time when the radio came on you might hear people start to sing the song (this was so common at one time). They sang in the shower.
Now they twitch on their phones or watch TV or look around on the internet. There's more to do now. But they just aren't actually singing like they once did.
I have to add something to this. I once saw Christina Aguilera on Jimmy Fallon. They gave her some skit to do where she emulated different singers like Cher singing the Folger's Coffee Jingle.
It was incredible. She had range, she could hit notes. But uh, it really wasn't much like anything else in her musical career. A point I want to address in my third "beef."
As an aside I saw a youtube video where Stevie Nicks was doing a duet with Taylor Swift. There is a kind of WTF look and real irritation with Stevie Nicks, because Taylor Swift was off-key and came in at the wrong times. Divas don't put up with much I guess. But Aretha Franklin wouldn't have had that problem, she would have nailed it the first time, probably after one rehearsal.
Another thing to me is that real talent can't make it anymore, if they have the wrong look. Cass Elliot literally could not have had a career in modern commercial music. It used to be black women could get away with being overweight, but that is a vanishing sub-genre as well as least as far as mass market music goes. But again my third beef.
My biggest beef with music now is commercialization. They have always wanted to sell records and make money, even the "artists." But now... it is market research, focus groups, algorithms.
To me the worst genre for this is country. I literally think they shop for people with the right look, then prop them up as performers. It is like a marketing campaign.
Then there are the interchangeable girl singers that are marketed to teenage girls. Kesha, Katy Perry, ... Lady GaGa (she is outside that genre though she appeals to the same demo, she is just so mediocre she pushes my buttons). They are almost all identical, one day they vanish, and someone just like them appears.
I know you've heard them, but compare them to a "hammer:"
Well I guess you escaped my lawn. The gnomes wanted a piece of you.
But here is a performance on Soul Train from the early 70's (used to be a heck of a show, they started to suck before the end):
This is another one I expect to hear in 2035, when most of what we have heard the past 25 years or so is forgotten. I put this up because it wasn't the biggest hit of all time, but listening to this, then flipping through channels while I drive...
My god, what's wrong with you kids? Can't you do anything?
Okay, this post is all about music. But the SAME arguments can be made about movies. You are probably bored with this by now though.
And god, I could write so much about animation and artwork. But another time perhaps. Well probably not.
If this were a computer game, even one based on Pathfinder or D&D things would play out differently as far as balancing goes.
I've played a lot of these games and these are some of the things you will see:
1) Vampires got you down? Well if you equip this weapon you have permanent protection from level drain.
2) Vampires still got you down? Well this helmet gives you total immunity to charm and compulsion spells.
3) This armor gives you 50% fire resistance (well you could see it in a PF derived game, but it would probably be fire dr). That one gives you cold resistance.
4) Those boots of haste work all the time, not 10 rounds a day or whatever. So you can run really fast and "pull" the mobs.
I could go on an on. Some of it is the fact that most of the games we think of in this genre predate 3e, and the items are drawn and inspired by previous editions.
But it is also that the designers of these games made sure that non-casters got the tools needed to accomplish things.
Heck there were some slippers in Neverwinter Nights that made you immune to knockdown.
Now these games obviously have a more limited range than pen and paper. They actually don't allow you to use spells like dimension door and teleport. And a whole lot of things that are doable in pen and paper just aren't implementable in these games (like detect thoughts, charm person interrogation, etc).
But the thing is the kinds of items that can make a difference come on line when needed.
You get things like short swords that have permanent free action, ones that cast haste once a day or mirror image once a day.
If for some reason fly is incorporated into the game, those winged boots will work all the time.
I know most people here have played most of these games. But a Fighter in BGII with all those items at the end is a lot different animal than a fighter of the same level in Neverwinter Nights.
Compare items you see now to items you see in the computer games. The ones in the games are explicitly designed to help the PC overcome challenges.
Plus artifacts are in the books. But when have you ever seen one? I played the Demonweb pits way back and one of the PC's in my game had the Hammer of Thunderbolts/Girdle of Giant Strength/Gauntlets of Ogre power combo.
And he had these things because he had actually played in a module by TSR where it was found.
I've never even seen an artifact in any published adventure since 2000. Obviously there are a ton I haven't.
But the thing is, they used to be found by players. The Hammer I mentioned is totally gimp compared to what it used to be, for a number of reasons.
But even in a written fantasy story it isn't unknown for "Main Character" to find Death's Bane which protects him from level drain, charm, and domination, and go to town on Podunk's vampire infestation.
You just don't see that anymore. It's more like +2 flaming longsword now.
I guess that is when I started getting "older." 1e seemed like it was around forever. Then when I got out of college I didn't play much, and d&d not at all in the 90's. So I turned around one day about 2000 and said "A new edition? Already?"
I did thumb through some of the Complete Books playing other games at a friends house a few times. The 2e rules were enough like 1e that I knew the Complete Book of Elves was crazy.