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sunbeam's page

1,415 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Haven't really followed comics in years.

But I really want a good Legion of Super Heroes title. That might be the only thing that would make me a buyer again. (of course when you go down that road, one thing leads to another...)

But while I have a soft spot for the Archie Legion I kind of wish they would pick it up just past the Great Darkness saga or some point not too far from that.

MMCJawa wrote:

I just started watching Arrow and Flash...I got to say I have a lot of Faith in Supergirl based on those shows, since the same creative talent are involved.

I am worried how well the show will do on CBS. That station hasn't had a whole lot of genre entertainment, and what they have had is kind of bad (looking at you Extant and Under the Dome). And even though CBS owns part of CW...I am kind of skeptical CBS will allow this show to exist within the Arrow/Flash Universe.

Might be a good thing. Flash barely fits in with Arrow.

Kryptonian level power would take it up to ... 11 squared. Just too big a power difference, and what works in a comic wouldn't work too well on a screen.

Rynjin wrote:
daemonprince wrote:
Or the fact that someone in the room needed to ask what it was so that it could be explained to the audience, and of the 5 people in the room she was the least likely to have known it due to the nature of her scientific area of study being biology could be why she was the one to ask.

Did it even need to be explained to the audience? Most people know what a singularity is, and it would have become pretty obvious what was meant once it happened.

And if it did, they should have put one of the dumber members of the crew like Iris or Eddie in the room, not make one of the smart team look woefully under-educated.

Singularity is just a magic word to the writers of this show.

I'm not a physics guy but "Mach 2" doesn't really count for a whole lot when you are talking about particle accelerators.

And the idea of the Flash stopping the accretion of a black hole by running around it is kind of... that makes absolutely no sense even by comic book science standards.

Best just to relax and go with it I guess.

Cthulhudrew, I guess it is pointless, but I wanted to add something.

Barry made the decision not to save his mom, preserving his own timeline (which logically should already be screwed up because Thawne never existed, so who did kill Barry's mom?).

But there was the "original" timeline where Barry's mom wasn't killed and he became the Flash in 2020 or whatever.

Now if I were from the original timeline, might I not have a vested interest in making sure the timeline where my children were born or whatever came to be?

It's not just them, it's an infinite number of people.

And while it goes beyond the scope of anything discussed so far, what about planets beyond earth? I'm not sure it counts if nothing on earth ever influenced an event on those planets, but the wicket gets sticky in a hurry.

I guess there may be two schools of time travel. One where you just don't do it, and another where you do whatever you want at any time.

Don't think too much about it, but bear in mind you will probably get unexpected bad to go along with whatever good you got from your intervention.

Not thinking and television go together like ham and eggs, so I guess that is the best way to handle it.

Cthulhudrew wrote:

(Incidentally- and this is something that this show didn't address either- I've rarely found any story that takes a broader view of time travel shenanigans; one that deals with the fact that dealing with/correcting time travel in the present-day of the story's protagonists often has longer reaching consequences for the futures from which the time traveler(s) came, and all the lives that may be destroyed/altered as a result. Eobard's "you're all dead to me" attitude often seems to be the inadvertent attitude of the heroes of the present who don't realize that they're eliminating potentially millions of lives just because "they don't exist to us yet."

Time travel. Don't do it.)

I guess you could counter argue that your new timeline has plenty of people who are better off, and individuals that were born in the new one, as opposed to their parents never meeting and whatnot in the original.

Basically no matter what evil you do, you do good as well.

Of course a tv show isn't going to really touch the ramifications of time travel, and god are they myriad.

Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
This NPC codex? It is a good help, indeed. I would hope for one including all core books and a couple with more advanced tactics (i.e. use of style feats).

I would also really enjoy a book that has all the NPC stat blocks from all the APs collected.

Get all of the following and stick it in a handy folder on your tablet/laptop - high level play will speed up considerably:

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Rival Guide (10 complete four-member NPC parties; CR7 to CR23 - Golarion-specific)
Pathfinder RPG Gamemastery Guide (Chap 9 - good for minions / mooks)
Pathfinder RPG NPC Codex (Core-only NPCs)
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: NPC Guide (Crunch: Core-only - Lore: Golarion-specific)
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea NPC Codex (Crunch: Golarion-specific PrCs - Lore: Golarion-specific)
Pathfinder RPG: Monster Codex (Awesome Sauce)

There is a hidden problem with using humanoid types with class levels as opponents at higher levels, as opposed to using dragons or some sort of monster that is formidable on its own.

Namely you have to give gear to humanoids to make them any sort of viable foe.

And unless you go into some kind of abstraction like the +5 armor, the +5 cloak of resistance, and +3 keen two handed sword aren't lootable...

Well your players will be swimming in a sea of loot. They'll have to build warehouses for all the items they get. Well unless that podunk town they still call home can inexplicably handle all those items.

Might be interesting, a minor town in the hinterlands that is the epicenter of world magic item trade.

RainyDayNinja wrote:
Last night, my wife speculated that now that Eddie knows he's destined to lose Iris, he'll heroically kill himself to keep Eobard from ever being born. That would be an... interesting way to beat him, for sure.

I've been thinking that for a while. But doesn't that totally mess up the timeline?

Comic book wise it would be a very interesting way to reboot a series (predestination appears to be a laughable thing in Flash TV time travel; I mean Eddie was always going to come to this point, tied up right?).

But I don't think the bulk the TV viewing audience would accept a Patrick in the shower scene, and redoing everything from scratch.

Do you know anything about getting an excel spreadsheet like this to work in Calc?

I just plain do not use Microsoft, other than things like this I have absolutely no reason to buy Microsoft Office.

Is there any magic bullet to get it to work?

I thought of something else related to the Eddie/Eobard thing.

I'm pretty sure that Eobard is going to be stopped, whether he is killed or put away for a while.

But assuming Eddie lives (a safe assumption? talk about plot protection) and finds out that Eobard is his descendent...

Doesn't that seem a little problematic? I mean you know one of your grand or great-grandchildren is going to become a ruthless killer?

Maybe no one ever tells him, but wouldn't you also feel kind of weird to know a friend of yours is going to have the Reverse Flash as a descendent? And that descendent is going to kill your mother and put your father in jail?

Grodd isn't the problem with this show. I'm starting to think they pulled the time travel genie way too early though. Abra Kadabra would be one thing, but Eobard has too many links with the current set-up.

kestral287 wrote:

Broodmaster seems like it's pretty much in the same boat as the Master.

I swear I don't think I have ever seen a single build that uses the broodmaster archetype. I check these boards every day, and it has been what, 3 or 4 years now? I guess someone has to have made one, but if they posted it here I missed it.

I've never even seen anyone mention having one as an npc or opponent. The only time it ever gets mentioned is in passing or a pitying comment.

The same for the evolutionist one. Pretty much what you see on these boards is straight summoners, Master Summoners, Synthesists, and very occasionally a First World Summoner (for Pugwampi power I guess).

The other archetypes might as well not exist.

Time Travel. How I love thee, how thou vex me.

Okay, it's pretty obvious, but having your great grandpa or whatever he is to Thawne (is he from the 25th century like in the books, or has he been TV retconned to 21st?), as an opponent is pretty dicey.

What happens if Eddie is killed? What happens if Eddie says "First thing tomorrow I'm getting a... Vasectomy!"

Does Eobard fade away?

I doubt they get that much in depth with it, but it is still a non-trivial detail.

Daredevil wasn't my favorite character (though I did buy him during the first Miller run).

But I am totally struck by the casting this show has done. The actor playing Murdoch looks like he was ripped out of the pages of the comic. Same with the ones playing Foggy Nelson and Karen Page.

And the Kingpin, wow he looks perfect.

I have to say that in a way the actress playing Karen Page impresses me most. Sometimes she is drop dead gorgeous, and at other times she looks like the junkie Karen Page was at a certain time. She really has an incredible range in how she can present herself.

Plus Melvin Potter... another guy who looks like he was ripped out of the book.

Well, whether anyone else wants him or not, I'd love to see what these guys could do with Stilt Man. Odds are it wouldn't come across well, but I dunno...

He usually got presented in a comical way past the 70's, but honestly his whole getup isn't bad at all (much like the Porcupine). Just saying that he basically has an exoskeleton with his curious gimmick. Actually Stilt Man could cover a ton of ground when he was trying to.

I figure they will go down the Bullseye/Electra road, but it would be nice to see some classic villains.

And since my "Daredevil Romance" was the Black Widow, I'd love to see her show up. Wonder if Johannsen would have the interest in a guest shot, and whether the legal arrangements could be made.

Be very interesting to see the dynamic between the Murdoch actor and her. Plus I'd imagine she might have much the same opinion Stick has of this version of Daredevil.

Good news, but all I can think of is how many chars are no longer with us.

I am going to say 7 died in the time posting has been suspended.

Anyone else got a number?

Helcack wrote:

Rouge's Touch:
The Rouge may touch anything that is red as a standard action to turn it grey as she absorbs the red into her body, doing this gains the Rouge a Blood Point, Once affected this change is permanent.

You mean a Blush Point.

Oh yeah, I think you need to work the words "Histrionics," and "Drama Queen" in somewhere.

Wow, you finished this thing? Do you have a writeup for any of your runs?

And it probably is the wrong place, but I've always wanted to read a campaign journal of The Night Below. I really wanted to play that, but it was hard for me to find a group who wanted to play a 2nd edition dungeon. I think some people have updated it for 3.x, but it was so cool looking I wanted to play it.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I know it is a minor point, but I was overjoyed to see that Iris' mother was mentioned at the end of the episode.

No idea how they will play this, or even if it is supposed to be a red herring.

But I really would like to see Iris' mother be from the future. In the comics it was past Zoom's future.

This isn't really a spoiler because there was no mention of anything other than she was gone.

But I got fanboy hopes and dreams now...

Guess they would roll with Bart, but as I've said earlier in this thread I'd love to see XS.

Of course that is a lot to come up with from a name drop, but still...

ElMustacho wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

For the antimagic field, and whatever it can wish for, I buy and use a scroll of Aroden's Spellbane (DC 37, UMD of +32 and a roll of 10 per beastmass rules makes this a success). I have enough gold left.
It should be noted that the Pit Fiend has foreknowledge of Stalker at 19th level, because if it wanted to gain information then he had to use the wish just to know what happened to him, since once Stalker gets to lv 20 his mindblank activates.
+69 is the actual check to beat in order to notice our invisible Stalker.

You know obviously a Rogue doesn't have all your tricks (not to mention weird arms and tentacles), but potentially he could do a good chunk of your sneak attack damage.

Only thing is he has no where near the features and buffs to make sure he hits, protect himself, and some other things.

Still since you grossly overkilled each opponent, there should be some room for a Rogue. Maybe, with lots of gear and scrolls.

That Mind Blank effect makes a big difference.

Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Actually, the Legion build might have a fatal flaw. If we assume a large but finite number of cohorts die before killing the monster... doesn't that mean the monster should get exp for them? It doesn't come up for the other builds because they don't use sacks of free exp as their method of attack. If the monster took levels in a spontaneous caster with healing we would have to plot rate of level gain vs damage done to see if the horde outdamages the healing the monster gains by killing so many of them...

I think there is a hole in this, or at least a different way of thinking about things.

Do monsters get xp? I think these rules, xp, advancement etc are designed for player characters, not NPC's.

I'd have no qualm in the world about having a BBEG as a 15 wizard say, and have him be a guy who barely ever took a step outside the capitol city of the empire. He got his levels through study and experimentation. I'd feel no need whatsoever to rationalize that he ever went around thumping ogres or was in the Northern Campaigns or whatever to level up.

We use class levels and things to customize opponents. But to me it is not like they follow the same rules exactly.

The level of the NPC is up to the DM. The party fights him once, he runs, and the party doesn't see him again for 4 levels. The BBEG is whatever level I want him to be at this point, and he didn't have to do a single dungeon crawl to get there.

Geez all this hullabaloo over the wording of fluff text describing a type of revelation common to a number of oracles.

Look, all these different types of similar armor, fill the same purpose. They all have the same stats, have the same number of hours per day they can be used, etc. The only difference is that each set has an additional bonus like 5 DR/Slashing, a bonus to stealth (think one does that), or a blur effect against ranged attacks, that sort of thing.

To me some of the arguments used in this thread are ludicrous. Just because the flavor text for the Wind Oracle's ability is worded differently from the Wood Oracle's, one should work and one shouldn't?

Heck it you are rolling that way, a Wind Oracle's armor wouldn't work underwater I'd wager, but I've never heard of anyone playing it that way.

Long story short, there is abolutely no evidence that the dev staff ever considered that anyone would cast Magic Vestment on these things. I am utterly positive they never thought "Hmmmm, okay you can cast Magic Vestment on the Oracle of Bones' Armor, but you can't on the Oracle of Shadow's... yeah that's it, that is the way to balance it."

You are parsing something that was never considered by the devs.

The only question is whether you think any of them should be capable of being affected by Magic Vestment. I say yes.

Tell me something. If I used one of the creation spells to make a wooden shield, can you cast Magic Vestment on that? Yes or no. It is a perfectly normal wooden shield, except it is going to disappear in a number of hours.

So what is the difference with the Oracle features? Other than someone parsing flavor text that was written without the slightest inkling anyone would try something like this?

Cap. Darling wrote:
sunbeam wrote:
Cap. Darling wrote:

Since the cohorts cohort is following the cohort and not the PC, the second one of them bites the dust the endless Line is all of a sudden not endless any more.

Now see you are making a mistake here.

After all, "The Last shall be First," otherwise it's all for one, and one on all, all of the time.

How is that making any sense?

Simple, whether the chain is infinitely long or not, you just send in the last one first. If he dies he was the cohort of someone else anyway. Then you send in the new last guy.

While everyone else is doing whatever they do.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
LazarX wrote:

The problem is the one YOU"RE brushing aside, the reason for the change in the Summoner, is that your conceptual/mechanically interesting eidolon is also the overpowered eidolon, when it's teamed with the Summoner's equally over powered spell list.


Yes or no, a summoner could deal with any given situation better than a wizard or cleric.

Yes or no.

I'd also like to point you to the Beastmass threads. The only summoner I saw in those was a Synthesist.

So, let me get this straight. Even though there were a number of classes that were considered to be more effective than the Summoner (Wizard, Cleric, Sorcerer, Witch for sure with hexes, Oracle probably, Druids even just casting), and classes that did the fighting sidekick thing just as well or better (Druid, some Inquisitors, now Hunters)...

It was necessary to nerf the Summoner. Come on Druids can overmatch melee with wildshape, or overmatch melee with animal companions (minimal spell augmentation), not to mention they are full casters.

Come on. With this system any full caster rocks the world. Heck a Bard with leadership and a cohort can buff up the cohort seriously.

And Summoners were the problem. Right.

Cap. Darling wrote:

Since the cohorts cohort is following the cohort and not the PC, the second one of them bites the dust the endless Line is all of a sudden not endless any more.

Now see you are making a mistake here.

After all, "The Last shall be First," otherwise it's all for one, and one on all, all of the time.

Imagine what they would be like with a Bard added to the crew.

Milo v3 wrote:

I'd rather play one over a wizard since I'd want an eidolon and wizards don't get eidolons?

Apparently Summoners don't get eidolons anymore either, with the nerfs. They get a handicapped version, to go along with a really nerfed spell list.

But I'll repeat my point: Why?

They weren't Tier One for the most part. Sure they made melees look bad, but what caster doesn't?

I think the more valid complaints about Summers were the Synthesist's ability to ignore physical scores mostly, the bookkeeping associated with the eidolon, and above all the impact on the game of having so many summoned creatures in play so often.

But in general they were not playing in the same league as wizards and clerics.

I don't have this book (is it out yet?), but after reading this thread...

Why would anyone bother to play a summoner using this book?

I mean you can just play a regular wizard and be ... well what wizards always have been.

It was an excellent class, but it wasn't a tier one class (well Master Summoner may have been worthy).

Why handicap a class that really wasn't all that anyway?

Is there any redeeming value to this new version at all? If confronted with this nerfed version, I'd imagine most people would just play another class.

RainyDayNinja wrote:

9: Heighten Spell (to hand out deeper darkness-busting, damage boosting continual flames to allies.)

Uh how does that work exactly? Not sure what you are driving at.

I thought you were talking in general.

I guess you already have your question answered but in general the iconics have wonky builds. You don't have to be an optimizer's dream of a build, but the way the iconics are built just isn't the way anyone, even roleplay first people build them.

Valeros is really bad. Two weapon fighting is just not as good as two handed weapon fighting. The really bright spot is if you go sword and board with two weapon fighting, then it is comparable. But since it takes so many feats you don't see it that often. Fighters are pretty much the main class that can make it work.

But big sword in mainhand, and small sword in off? Nobody does that really. If they go that route as opposed to sword and board, most people use a short sword or similar weapon in both hands, to benefit from the weapon training/specialization feats with both weapons.

They also don't emphasize saving throws and initiative as much as pc's do, or basic utility like having a way to fly.

RainyDayNinja wrote:
I'm sure that some of the worst racial agitators (such as K. Tempest Bradford, who helped institute literal racial segregation at a SF con) will try to counter Vox Day's "anti-SJW" slate with a slate aiming to exclude white men, but hopefully more independently-minded voters will outnumber them enough that at least some apolitical/moderate works find traction on both sides and make it on the ballot on the strength of the actual writing.

Do you realize how convoluted and insane that sounds? I've never heard of K. Tempest Bradford. I had never heard of Vox Day before this thread.

Vox Day. That's got to be a nom de plume. Who names their kid that? And what kind of tool runs around calling themselves "K." Tempest Bradford?

From what you have written I am not sure who is on which side of what.

Kolokotroni wrote:

1. 'I dont discuss religion or politics in polite company'. - this implies that we should only discuss complicated and important ideas among those who agree with us. Thats stupid. It prevents the transfer of ideas, and create a polarizing effect. If no one ever calls you on your bs, your bs becomes worse and worse over time as everyone agrees with you.

That's the nature of the modern world though. Unless you consciously seek out other viewpoints a self-reinforcing echo chamber out there just waiting for you to pay attention to it.

Kolokotroni wrote:

2. 'Its just business'. The implication here, societal norms around human descency, morality, or anything else dont apply in the 'business' world. Aside from the obvious negative effects of cut throat business practices, it does something far worse. It glorifies the sociopath. The person who doesn't feel, and just does what it takes to make the most, be the most, or 'win' becomes the most 'successful'. Much like voting blocks, once you let that particular plague out of pandoras box, its not easy to put it back in.

There are now people (on both sides of the isle) in politics and other areas of the public world (media for instnace) that are successful because they categorically dont allow challenges to their position, and they protect that position with a kind of visciousness...

This is pretty profound. In another time and place, things like "honor," religion, or simply "right and wrong" were actually held up to be things that were above profit.

Now it's like the end of that Ayn Rand book where everyone leaves Galt's Gulch and makes the dollar sign instead of the cross.

Almost as though you are some kind of chump for saying there are certain lines you will not cross, or compromise even if it is more profitable to do so.

Spook205 wrote:

An assumption possessed by Left and Right is when a work that they find lacking is held up and lauded, that the reasons for those lauds might be for reasons other than the quality of the work.

Then you can only evaluate a work you like and agree with?

I don't believe this.

Seems to me that this particular blade cuts both ways. That a particular side lauds it for reasons other than the quality of the work.

From this link

"I Want to Vote

Voting for the 2015 Hugo Awards final ballot is not yet open. We will announce when the 2015 Worldcon opens voting on the final ballot.

Each year’s Hugo Awards is run by the individual World Science Fiction Convention hosting that year’s Hugo Awards. For information on voting on any given year’s Hugo Awards, go to the Worldcon web site and follow the link to the current year’s Worldcon. There are also links to upcoming Worldcons in the sidebar on the right side of this site.

How to Vote

Each year, members of the World Science Fiction Society are invited to nominate and vote on the Hugo Awards. You can become a member by joining the current year’s World Science Fiction Convention.

You do not need to attend the convention in order to nominate or vote. A “supporting membership” will be sufficient to make you a member of the World Science Fiction Society and grant you voting rights for both the current year’s nomination stage, the final ballot, and the right to nominate for the next year’s awards.

Hugo Voting Process

The Hugo Awards voting process has two stages: a nomination period and a final voting period. During the nomination period ballots may be cast by members of the current and following years’ Worldcons (as of January 31) and members from the previous year’s Worldcon.

After the nomination period closes, only members of the current Worldcon are eligible to vote on the final ballot.

Hugo Award Ceremony

The Hugo Award winners are announced at the World Science Fiction Convention during the Hugo Awards Ceremony. You need to have an attending membership to the convention in order to attend the ceremony."

Now apparently that is dated. I clicked on the worldcon link for 2015 and as near as I can gather you can no longer register as a voting member.

But do not despair, 2016 is open for your manipulation

"Supporting – A Supporting membership includes all publications and voting rights at MidAmeriCon II but does not include the right to attend the convention. (Supporting memberships are mainly for fans who want to support Worldcon but expect to be unable to attend in 2016.) Cost is $50."

Now I didn't click all the way through the links. Just guessing I could make up say 40 fictitious addresses and people, or get 40 people I know to help me out. Let alone that I may well know people who attend and are eligible to vote.



43 Best Fan Writer John Scalzi
41 Best Novel The Last Colony 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.

And by no means am I accusing John Scalzi or anyone else of doing this. But the point is that anyone who actually did could have had a good chance of getting a Hugo nomination.

Add in the fact you have friends and acquaintances, perhaps a publishing house with a vested interest in a nomination (and employees), add in ideology which now seems to be an issue... Honestly it seems like most years you wouldn't have had to bother much.

This is one borked nominating process. And the fact that even with this recent controversy about block voting 2014 had the leading nomination with 184 votes? That's only an investment of $9200.

This is a total joke.

Kolokotroni wrote:

It conceals what is actually worrying about his slate - the fact that it is a slate, the likes of which have either never been made before or never been so publicly announced before. It forces everyone invloved in the rewards to reconsider if this was their original intention and if the results of the voting this year are legitimate.

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.

Are you sure about this? My Rules Fu is weak (because that kind of thing bores me to death parsing text to come up with a conclusion about something I'm reasonably sure the developers never thought of).

But wasn't there something about taking these archetypes with Improved Familiars? Meaning that these archetypes only applied to vanilla familars, rats and the like?

I'd think Tumor Familiar would be in the same category, but like I said I don't like parsing.

Plus can you take Improved Familiar if you have a tumor familiar? What do you have then? Your tumor is a flying helmet with wings, or a flying cat?

Or what if a Tattooed Sorcerer with the aberrant bloodline takes the Aberrant Tumor feat. Is it a tattoo or a tumor? And can he take improved familiar or give his tattoo or tumor an archetype, regardless of that?

Personally I don't think they thought of all this when they wrote all these feats and rules.

But as near as I can tell a Tattooed Sorcerer can do the same thing, regardless of bloodline, assuming a tattoo familiar can take an archetype.

From that Vox Day link:

"43 Best Fan Writer John Scalzi
41 Best Novel The Last Colony John Scalzi
40 Best Novel Halting State Charles Stross

That's quite the coincidence, considering that Larry, Brad, and I were accused of bloc voting in 2014 with the following outcome.

184 Best Novel Warbound Larry Correia
111 Best Novella The Chaplain's Legacy Brad Torgersen
092 Best Novelette The Exchange Officers Brad Torgersen
069 Best Novelette Opera Vita Aeterna Vox Day

What looks more like a bloc vote to you? Oh, and speaking of 2014, let's not forget this:

120 Best Novel Neptune's Brood Charles Stross
127 Best Novella Equoid Charles Stross
118 Best Novelette Lady Astronaut of Mars Mary Kowal"

The number are votes right? Don't the numbers seem laughably small, even if whoever you want to hate are rigging things?

I mean 184 votes for the biggest votegetter of the items listed? That doesn't seem kind of ridiculous?

Honestly I would have expected thousands.

How popular are any of these books? What do modern sales look like in a market with so much competition? How many copies is Neptune's Brood going to sell?

thejeff wrote:

Again, a book you thought should have won not winning is not evidence of it being "wrong".

Personally, that's the only book on the list I've never heard of. I've read all the others, with varying degrees of enjoyment. Sword of the Lictor is rightly considered a classic. Pride of Chanur was the start of one of favorite series.

Well you probably won't enjoy Courtship Rite if you ever read it. But I'll stand by my point, it was the most outstanding book on that list.

So tell me, as a reader I can't tell what the best book was on that list by reading all of them?

But somehow the Hugo picks correctly by this voting process?

And it's been pure and pristine the whole time it's been in existence until now... and ... and evil people are fixing the process.

Come on, if it is this vulnerable you're telling me this is the first time ever this kind of thing has been done with this award? Not buying it.

And curiously no publishing house would hav8e ever thought to put their finger on the scale? Ever? I mean "DAW books, publisher of this year's Hugo winner..." That's got to be worth something for sales or ad copy.

None of the voters were fan boys and picked a name like Asimov or Heinlein just because?

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 [37]
C. J. Cherryh The Pride of Chanur DAW Books [37]
Arthur C. Clarke 2010: Odyssey Two Del Rey Books [37]
Robert A. Heinlein Friday Holt, Rinehart and Winston [37]
Donald Kingsbury Courtship Rite Timescape [37]
Gene Wolfe The Sword of the Lictor Timescape [37]

Isaac Asimov won that year.

This is one of the last years I read everything on the list (or any of them for the most part), but there is no way any of those books were as good as Courtship Rite. I remember when reading it thinking he had to have biology wrong, but other than that it was clearly the best book on this list (including the Gene Wolfe one).

Heck I didn't even like it honestly, but it was outstanding. I kind of think that the... conditions the protagonists lived in kind of kept it from winning. But then again you see the names Asimov and Heinlein a lot on these lists, winning frequently when perhaps they shouldn't have.

So maybe the whole thing is "I think she doth protest too much" in retrospect.

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Hmmm decided to do a little googling to find all time best selling authors in this genre. I'll choose to accept their categorization and numbers because it was a little more difficult to find than i would have thought.

From: .html

1) J.K Rowling (c. 450 million)
2) Stephen King (c. 350 million)
3) JRR Tolkien (c. 300 million)
4) Stephanie Meyer (250 million)
Dean Koontz (c. 200 million)
Michael Crichton (c. 200 million)
5) Anne Rice (136 million)
6) CS Lewis (120 million+)
7) Edgar Rice Burroughs (100 million+)
8) Sir Arthur C. Clarke (100 million+)
9) Suzanne Collins (100 million+)
10) Andre Norton (90 million+)

I have no idea why they have 3 people listed at 4. I'd have thought Stephanie Meyer would be number 4, and everyone else moved down, but whatever.

A couple things. Most of the people who have mega sales are of what I would call the modern era. Also it appears that for the most part to really sell a lot of books you need to be sellable to a mass market, not a genre one. Also the internationalization of bookselling to the extent it is done with popular products now was much rarer back when.

Even if SF/Fantasy fans read a lot of those books, Tolkien is the only one I'd call a genre author (even if he might have laughed at being lumped in with them, probably Lewis too). Both of the brits really sold mainstream more than genre somehow, especially Lewis.

Tarzan kind of escapes the genre ghetto, pushing Burroughs up (John Carter too, though he is less well known but always in print).

Not sure Clarke would be up here if he hadn't had the good fortune of having Stanley Kubrick make a very successful movie in the late 60's.

So from what I can gather (again assuming the numbers are correct), if you just include pure "genre" authors (and excluding anything with shiny vampires, sexy vampires, horror crossover guys, Hogwarts, Kubrick films, or Oxbridge)...

Edgar Rice Burroughs is number one, with Andre Norton on his heels. Which not surprisingly to me indicates she outsold Heinlein, EE Doc Smith, Asimov, any other Golden Ager, Larry Niven, Frank Herbert, and almost surprisingly Terry Pratchett.

I was actually shocked that Marion Zimmer Bradley was 32 (25 million) and Anne McCaffrey (18 million). It's always seemed like their books sold like hotcakes (or A Princess of Mars though that has been in print and selling since the 1910's).

cartmanbeck wrote:
Corrosive consumption is a pretty excellent spell for damage boosting a high-level magus. With Intensified cast, you're looking at 20 damage the first round, 20d4 the second round, and 20d6 the third round. Add that to the spells you're also casting and delivering those second and third rounds, and it's pretty strong.

That is an odd spell for conjuration, since it is affected by spell resistance.

With a range of touch, odds are only a magus or something similar would ever use it, as opposed to wizards and sorcerers.

thejeff wrote:

I'd also point back a few decades when the same things were said about women in SF/Fantasy. They're still a minority, but there are some damn fantastic female writers out there. And they don't have to use initials so readers won't realize they're women any more.

There have been women writers in this genre a long time. Personally I think writing is something that women in general enjoy, as opposed to sitting in front of a computer for 12 hours at a time fiddling with the C programming language and assembly language with nothing for company but a bag of cheetos and some mountain dew. (Basically another field that's come under attack for a lack of diversity.)

And getting fatter and grosser all the time.

I can think of women writers in this field going back a long way. Andre Norton may not have been Shakespeare, but she was prolific and influential. Heck Marie Shelley may have been one of the progenitors with Frankenstein. There are some more, C.L. Moore who wrote the Jirel of Joiry stories, Leigh Brackett, a few others who were more obscure.

But I'd guess that women were a higher fraction of the writers, than the fanbase.

And then there was the Ur Woman's View writer in SF, Joanna Russ. Seems like she was the divider between the old guard female SF/Fantasy writers and the plethora that came later. Bradley, McCaffrey, LeGuin, some of the big sellers (even though Joanna Russ never really sold very well).

And now we have the young adult genre. I'm not too sure whether this is even fantasy honestly (the Vampire books) or science fiction (Hunger Games). I'd honestly view it more like the same kind of thing as Flowers in the Attic, though I might be wrong. One thing is for sure though, this stuff sells. And I'm pretty sure it sells a lot better than "hard" SF.

But to continue my wager, I'd bet that the ratio of female to male writers in the genre is higher than it has ever been, and the female segment hasn't increased that much.

Lord Snow wrote:

Some also go farther than that and say that if you go to a panel and see an all white, all male participants, that's an example of racism (to me that seems like more of an example of demographic distribution - for example, about 15% of Americans are black, I would expect that blacks are underrepresented in SF fandom because of social and economic issues that are bigger than the genre, so if about one out of 10 panelists is black, that just means equal treatment).

Here is a belief of mine. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Comics, geekdom in general is just a niche element of a certain culture, european in this case.

You are assuming that if you build the ballpark they will come, without considering that they might not be much interested in it. I will say that blacks like comics, I've seen blacks camping out in the comic book section at the bookstore, and hanging out at comic book stores. Not so much in the Science Fiction/Fantasy section of the bookstore. Much like the popularity of Nirvana, Sara McClachlan, and Manilow with this demographic.

I'm also curious. We have west coasters here. Surely some have been to science fiction conventions on the west coast.

Now the west coast has the highest asian population in America. This demographic has higher earnings and higher educational attainment than white americans in general.

So do you a lot of asians at cons? Are they under, over, or par for their fraction of the population in the locale? Do you see the same kind of numbers for the sections of the bookstore you are drawn to when you go?

Here is why I say this. I don't think asians in general are that much interested in "geek culture." If you have evidence to the contrary, even anecdotal, I'd love to hear it.

What I'm saying is that you think this sort of thing has universal appeal, and all you have to do is build the ballfield and they will come. That everyone thinks exactly as you do, and is exactly the same on the inside, with the same interests.

As opposed to saying that this sort of thing has been around since the 20's (well earlier if you want to go Verne/Wells), and the people that go to the cons and buy the books are the ones interested in this genre.

And in closing, I did a quick google because I got curious as to how many science fiction writers there were in China (1.2 billion people at least, and at least the population of the US 300 million or so with discretionary income and US levels of education, as well as being a very literate book reading culture).

I found some of course, but even with the translation barrier I would have expected to see a long list, akin to what you might find for Russia with a fraction of the population.

Instead I found this from the wiki page:

"Meanwhile in the area of film and television, works such as the science fiction comedy Magic Cellphone (魔幻手机) explored themes of time travel and advanced technology. On March 31, 2011, however the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) issued guidelines that strongly discouraged television storylines including "fantasy, time-travel, random compilations of mythical stories, bizarre plots, absurd techniques, even propagating feudal superstitions, fatalism and reincarnation, ambiguous moral lessons, and a lack of positive thinking"[12] indicating that in the near future science fiction shows will likely not be allowed to be aired on mainland Chinese television."

And just musing here, what happens if it isn't the Age of Aquarius? What if it is the Age of Pragmatism?

So why do people beat themselves up over a lack of diversity in a genre that has a lack of diversity in it's fanbase?

blackbloodtroll wrote:

Spontaneous lacks versatility of prepared.

This may be true, but there are so many ways now to get either more spells known per level (racial favored class bonus) or the plethora of things that let you know spells if they are on your list (items).

Additionally staves are rechargeable. Heck a wand with 50 charges will see you through a career on some things usually (water breathing).

The human bonus alone adds so many spells that your statement isn't valid anymore. Actually since they can spontaneously cast any spell they know, they probably have more versatility now (for the stuff that comes up regularly).

There are a number of things better about clerics as opposed to oracles, but I don't think this is one of them anymore.

Here you go:

This was done as if D&D were based on classical myths, as opposed to.. pseudo Northern European stuff.

If memory serves it was done with a kind of BECMI ruleset.

These sourcebooks are really, really good, and you can't beat the price (free).

"As most of you probably remember, the year 1972 saw the release of MAZES & MINOTAURS, the first ever-published fantasy roleplaying game, opening a new era of heroic adventure and mythic odysseys…

Fifteen years later, in 1987, Legendary Games Studio published a fully revised, streamlined and expanded version of M&M (which became known as Revised Mazes & Minotaurs or RM&M for short) in the form of three core books (the Players Manual, the Maze Masters Guide and the massive Creature Compendium) and a fourth optional book (the M&M Companion), all with full-color covers and quality B&W interior art.

In 2007, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this mythic event, the resurrected Legendary Games Studio is happy to bring you Revised Mazes & Minotaurs in PDF format (yes, the whole four books !)… FOR FREE.

All you have to do is to right-click and select "save as" on the images or on the download links below. "

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Geez they try to give things the patina of history, just like in some fantasy story.

Then attach nuts and bolts to it.

Look, don't have your guy take secondhand titles.

Instead have him say, "History begins now, with me. What came before is unimportant."

Then call himself Powerlord or Magelord or something.

In ten thousand years they won't remember any Runelords. They'll be dungeon delving in the history he made.

Cap. Darling wrote:

It is still new. If you look at the actual number of full builds for this i think we have a surprising high number of folks that use other than save or die tricks. I think pummeling style will allow a normal(qinggong)monk to do this one since his defenses will be at least as good as One's. Pehaps i will try my luck when i finish what i am writing now:)

Was the Zen Archer your build? One of the big advantages he had, was the fact he wasn't in melee. Even if he had good defenses, his whole style let him avoid being in melee with the challenges. (And a lot of those challenges were very poor at ranged combat other than spells, though many of them had ways of getting into melee range quickly.)

If you are going to build a character that actually involves getting into melee with these things, I'm not sure it is a viable, or at least smart way to do it.

Even if whatever you make has great defenses and saving throws, you will fail on a one, if you have to make a number of them.

Additionally you will generally be hit if the opponent rolls a 20.

The Zen Archer avoids having to make any saving throws or evade attacks a lot of times.

Cap. Darling wrote:
I ditent look too closely but freedom of movement May let the lindorm ignore repulsion? But i think it is great to see a new addition to the gang of super characters.

What new addition? All of them are the same, "The Caster with a Thousand Faces."

It's been a while since I read this thread all the way through, but it seemed like all of them pumped the DC of some spell or other, and won that way.

Magic over all.

The Zen Archer was a lot more interesting. So far we have seen Dazing Spell, Suffocation, this guy uses Banishment and Destruction.

But it's all the same. Full caster, pump DC.

I can't remember have we seen a Bard? Think there was one Magus, but not sure he succeeded. No Fighters, Rogues, heck even Paladins in this thing.

I guess it's not very helpful, but reading your character build, I can't help but think he needs an "Oath Against Hygiene."

I don't think your revised build really screams "knack for magic."

I'd expect things like Eldritch Heritage and whatnot honestly.

Also personally I do not use combat maneuvers in general, and particularly not with a halfling. Unless you have some angle on carrying them out (like true strike for disarm, or barbarian strength surge for anything), they just get super hard to carry out as you level.

No idea what maneuver master does for this, but the +6 lore warden bonus isn't enough to make this one attractive. Although if you are going to do it, you picked the easiest one to make work. You can always grab staffs or something off of casters.

Dirty Trick is something else of course.

In your shoes I'd ... I'm not sure. Human and the extra feat (and being able to sub 3 skill focuses for the bonus feat) make an Eldritch Heritage character a lot easier to pull off. Elf has something where you can get some spell like abilities by trading some racial features.

Halfling doesn't seem like a terribly good choice.

Probably what I would do is not take Maneuver Master. I'd instead take a level or two of wizard (or a couple levels of sorcerer). Seems like Enlarge Person and True Strike would do more for your maneuver capability than the feats would do. I'd have to think about it, but might emphasize bloodline powers with sorcerer, and with Eldritch Heritage in conjunction.

Also why bastard sword? You spend a feat on that, for what 1 extra point of damage compared to a longsword? Not sure if there is a sweet spot with the dice using lead blades, but it doesn't seem worth it. I'd probably take quick draw (if I didn't use it for Magical Adept or an Eldritch Heritage prerequisite) and do something with thrown weapons. Or take an exotic weapon like the net.

Aberzombie wrote:

Yeah, Booster always seemed to be one of those guys whose character and heroism (or lack thereof) varied greatly depending on who was writing him. Sometimes he was clever and heroic. Sometimes he was stupid and greedy. Sometimes he was just plain idiotic.

I actually like the character, don't get me wrong. But his whole premise was idiotic.

Sometimes he had to keep things to himself so he wouldn't interfere with history. But he walks around the 20th/early 21st century with technology and knowledge from the future. I mean, if one villain stole his gear and reverse engineered it, or telepathically probed his mind...

And assuming he doesn't interfere with the timeline, it's not like Skeets doesn't know things like exactly what the recorded history of Booster Gold is.

Heck one inquiry the first time that he met Ted Kord would clue him in that Ted was going to die relatively soon.

That light hearted JLI friendship is creepy in that light.

Of course the Ur example is the Legion having Superboy on the team. They can't have him changing history so he gets a "hypnotic" command, or whatever so he doesn't remember things from the future. Except you know his friends, their adventures, the fact that he knows for sure there is a happy, successful 30th century.

And Superman is their inspiration, and a key part of their and everyone's history.

So naturally they bring him forward in time repeatedly to engage in adventures where he actually could be killed by some opponents.

Doesn't make sense any way you spin it, if you think about it.

So best not to think about it, I guess.

Mark Hoover wrote:
What spin off show?

I think I've read somewhere something like Suicide Squad.

Not a big Ferrell fan, but Talladega Nights is funny. The scene where he stabs himself in the leg just cracks me up.

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