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Lord Snow wrote:

I can see a connection between you not reading ASoIaF and you believing it would have been accepted poorly if written by Vox Day. Frankly, and I say this as a big Martin fan, A Game of Thrones is ten times better than anything else he's written before, and A Storm of Swords is in some ways probably better than any other fantasy novel I've read. If all you know of the books is their pale and increasingly distorted shadow that is the HBO show, I can see why you aren't very excited about it.

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.

thejeff wrote:
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.

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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.

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Lord Snow wrote:
Some ends justify some means

I take it you would be the one to decide that?

thejeff wrote:

After the nomination, when the controversy hit the media, I think a lot of casual fans got more serious about it. I suspect, but can't prove, that vote went mostly anti-Puppy. I know it prompted me to become a supporting member and vote. It will be interesting to see if that carries over to nominations next year. There's more awareness of how important they are.

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.

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thejeff wrote:

So basically, you've got one site where someone openly provides a slate and says "to nominate them precisely as they are" for the purpose of sticking it to the SJWs and boasts about tapping GamerGate for followers.

And then of course the other side could be doing the same thing or worse, but there is no evidence. Some blog discussions about good books. Some authors posting which books of theirs are eligible.
Sure, someone could do the same on the left. But there's no evidence that they are.

Here's the previous years numbers, btw. 5950 voters this year. 3,587 in 2014. 2122 nominators this year, 1923 in 2014.
You could look further back easily enough.

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
2014 - 3587 votes, 1923 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.

Krensky wrote:

You don't think he couldn't find 150 to 200 people at various right wing haunts or troll hang outs willing to spend $40 to stick it to the SJW and such? Really?

Go to the Hugo's site and look at the nominating data for the past few years and then look at the success rate of the Sad vs Rabid Puppy slates.

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.

Torbyne wrote:
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.

thejeff wrote:

If so, then you want to read Vox Day, since it's the Rapid Puppies who were successful in filling the nominations, not the Sad ones.

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.

Zeugma wrote:

On a lighter note: yes, I'd love to live in a culture that valued Anathem more than Twilight; where teen girls would write fanfic about quantum physics and not get sneered at for it. But we don't live in that culture.

Nobody lives in that culture.

thejeff wrote:

And Vox isn't calling people names? Please.

It's not a clash of writing styles. It's a determined attack on what he considers SJWs.

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.

MMCJawa wrote:

Beale/Vox...well lets just say he really really really doesn't help help the Puppy cause. The Sad Puppies have done a very half-hearted job I think of distancing themselves from him, which is problematic because a close examination of the slate shows its Vox's that one, not the Sad Puppies.

As for sales figures, all they say is quantity moved, not quality. Sometimes the two intersect, but a lot of time they really don't (See: Shades of Gray, Twilight, Da Vinci's code, various blockbusters movies, etc). I also don't know if they really reflect a wider readership. A lot of people who read Twilight probably didn't go on to read anything else in fantasy or horror, except for maybe a few similar series like the Vampire Diaries. A lot of people read King or Koontz without ever glancing at another Horror book. and so on and so forth.

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.

MMCJawa wrote:

I thought this was a good write up of the current state of affairs from Wired

Who Won Science Fiction's Hugos, and why it matters.

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.

Zeugma wrote:

We've just weeded a bunch of Pern books from my library's collection. No one checks them out anymore. Changing dynamics in the community + low circulation of sci-fi anyway. I'd LOVE to see higher figures for classic/older sci-fi, but only the current bestsellers circulate, or titles that get assigned in a classroom. Surprisingly, Heinlein's Have Spacesuit, Will Travel was on our local school's summer reading list. Very few kids chose to check it out compared to the better-known & more recent titles. I was quite happy when a patron came in yesterday and checked out Scalzi's Lock In.

With all the emphasis on STEM in America, you'd think sci-fi would be doing better, but it seems like only fantasy holds much mainstream appeal (e.g. Game of Thrones), and even that is more among the cultural elite, not the working-class people I see at my library who want books about how to pass the trades exams, beginning children's books, and DVDs.

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.

Forty Signs of Rain

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.

Zeugma wrote:

As much as publishers like to put "award winner" on their covers, AFIK the only place where it leads to noticeably higher volume of book sales is for the Newbery Award. Sci-fi is such a niche market starting out that I don't think anyone in the early days would do anything more than some light lobbying in the fanzines and trades (by early days I mean 1970s). $20k in 1970 dollars seems way too much to spend for something that won't boost sales - at most, you'd recoup your costs and hope it gets reissued in backlist/book-of-the-month club sales.

If you're in publishing to make money, you're in the wrong business (if your name isn't Rupert Murdoch).

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
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."

"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."

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:

Wait, we watch TV shows for the theme songs?

Catchy theme songs off the top of my head:
Law and Order
CSI (the first series)
Star Trek TOS/TNG/DS9/Voyager
Samurai Jack
Monday Night Football

I think a big difference with regards to TV shows is that the theme song is no longer needed to sell the show and is no longer needed to fill space while the opening credits run. It is also not needed as an auditory queue for when the show starts since people can just record the show and watch it when they want.

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.

Kalshane wrote:

Quickly, off the top of my head:

Phineas and Ferb

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.

Krensky wrote:

Yes, yes...

Everything made after your childhood ended is bad.

You realize old farts have been saying that for as long as we have recorded rants by them, right?

This is country now:

Six Country Song Mashup

These are some oldtimers in their depends, just screwing around:

Ghost Riders

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:

T For Texas

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:

Peter Gunn
Perry Mason
High Chaparral
Hawaii 5-0
Magnum PI
Gilligan's Island

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:

For What It's Worth

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):

Baby It's You

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:"

Ball and Chain

Well I guess you escaped my lawn. The gnomes wanted a piece of you.

Next time.

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):

Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself

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.

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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.

Digitalelf wrote:
sunbeam wrote:
2e didn't have quite the same longevity, and they started getting crunchy towards the end with all those complete books.
I agree with your overall point, but just a couple of minor nitpicks that I'd like to point out - 2e had a run of 11 years (1989-2000), 1e also had a run of 11 years (1978-1989). Also, those "Complete Books" started coming out the very same year that 2e itself came out (i.e. in 1989), so not at all, "towards the end".

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.

Something that has been touched on lightly is the number of splatbooks now.

I think there is an inherent conflict of interest between game designers and the people that play their games.

Namely that game designers are in the business of selling books. The problem with that is that since 3e, they spit out crunch books with new feats, spells, and classes/archetypes/prestige classes (3e) at a rapid rate.

Look 1e (just don't really consider pre-1e and the BECMI stuff for the sake of argument) stayed roughly the same for 10+ years with no additional rules and mechanics except for niche stuff like wilderness survival, mass combat, and things like that.

2e didn't have quite the same longevity, and they started getting crunchy towards the end with all those complete books.

Back then they made income over sales of the core rules, with settings, adventures, and a range of speculative products like dragon dice and whatnot.

Some of that didn't really sell, or didn't sell enough (settings) to create a problem (yeah I know there were management issues too).

Now I think they have concluded that crunch sells better than settings.

But when do you call it wraps on mechanics and adding stuff like classes? I'm all for things like "Fantasy Naval Campaigns," or "Roughing it Wizard Style."

But they just come up with more and more splatbooks. I'm tired of it, and don't want any more of that.

I know there is an obvious solution, and a lot of people do it: Core Rules only.

But I think that getting to a point where there aren't going to be any more spells, feats or the like is actually attractive to some people.

Honestly how many adventures of any sort have a muggle as the villain any more?

It used to be a thing for barbarians to mistrust magic and fear it an and this sort of thing.

But this is the game you have, not a simulation of a 1970's sword and sorcery story. Just not viable anymore.

Your lead guy is going to need magical accomplices. And he needs to be magic himself. His straight barbarians are only good for cannon fodder unless you are strictly at low levels. Or you plan on using hordes and hordes of them.

So make him a bloodrager, give him some key followers like a sorcerer, cleric, shaman, druid, etc. with some barbarian redshirts. Maybe some ranged guys.

And to be honest, barbarians seem to get the short end of the bear skin loincloth in this genre. Historically I think "barbarians" used things like siege equipment quite frequently. But in d&d metal forging is as much as they can do. And some brands of barbarians like orcs might be incapable of even doing that, so they have to use looted weapons.

But the way they come across in d&d, they are some weird kind of hunter gatherer society that manages to have high populations, which is totally unlike real world history.

Oh yeah, don't feel like you have to have the leader take leadership and whatnot just because the feat is there. This guy is not a PC, he is an NPC. His build is whatever it needs to be to tell a story, and there is absolutely no reason for you to go "Okay leadership says I have a cohort who is this level, and this many level 1 ..."

chbgraphicarts wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:

Considering how often a Rogue can use Major Magic in a day, that means that a Rogue carrying around a little black book of "Roguey McStabbersons' Guide to Every Utility Spell You'll Ever Need" is actually a very, very strong build, honestly.

Minor Magic is three times a day, and Major is twice. Is that really that useful even if you can change the spell?

I've never seen adamantine armor as loot in a module or even randomly generated. I think.

For some reason I think I saw an adamantine heavy shield somewhere though.

Drawing a blank on anyone crafting it somehow either.

Based on games I've played, adamantine is for weapons, mithral is for armor.

Saw a demo of the dm tools and options on youtube today.

It seems like you can do a lot with it. Not sure how this is going to turn out, (They have monetized all the little props and monsters dm's use?) or how open it will be for modders (as opposed to using their tools to do things).

But it just seems to me this is the way Tabletop gaming will go.

Particularly with a mechanics heavy game like Pathfinder.

Anyway I'm looking forward to this. Not sure this is going to be a megahit, though it could be.

But this sort of thing is coming in my opinion.

It's been a long time since I read this book. Decades. But if memory serves it has the classic Dick mind screws in it.

And they are turning it into one of these "adventure" story movies?

That's what the trailer looks like. I think this will wind up having as much to do with Dick's story as The Beastmaster had to do with the Andre Norton book it was based on.

avr wrote:

Without the ability to use a swift action (dazed) or speak (paralyzed), how would you use quicken still surmount affliction? Was that supposed to be quicken silent surmount affliction for the paralysis cure at least?

Sorry about misreading you yesterday, chbgraphicarts. Mentioning FCBs (rather than just race) sooner might have sorted it faster though.

It's also not apparent to me looking at the section on Warpriest spellcasting whether they need a holy symbol.

Which kind of makes you wonder how even clerics do some things. Your spell might well not require a somatic component or even speech if you use the right metamagic feats, but you still have to present your holy symbol right? At least for any spell that lists it as a component, which seems to be most of the cleric list.

I looked at 3 CR 15 monsters. One was an agathion, and one was a a demon. Both had cmd of 41.

Strangely a Jotund Troll is huge, and he is only cmd 33.

But even with the Troll you need a pretty decent base bonus to have much chance at doing a maneuver with him.

Maybe +10 is too much. But I can tell you this stuff gets big fast the higher CR you get to. It takes a dedicated build and tricks to pull it off.

The dragons at CR 15 are like cmd 40, 41 things like that.

If you pull a maneuver on Joe Sorcerer he isn't going to resist any of your maneuvers probably without shapechange magic. So I really don't know what to say.

Wish someone who had played a grappler or something at high levels would give some input as to the bonus you need to get things done.

But all the explicitly high cr stuff has really good cmd unless they are mostly class level based.

Heck a Storm Giant is cr 13, and has cmd 42. It may seem unrealistic to some, but I kind of expect a 15th level monk (or other character) whose whole thing is wrestling to be able to grapple a Storm Giant and have decent chance to win.

And I have no particular reason for picking CR 15 to look at monsters. It's just higher than level 10, which to me is where things start to really wonk out.

Ah, crap was going to close the window I pulled up Storm Giant in, and saw the constant Freedom of Movement. So I guess no one is grappling a Storm Giant unless they are in an antimagic field or something. Forgot all about that FoM thing.

My guess is you may be too stingy. +4 to maneuvers is appreciable at lower levels.

But you just need something more to do anything with huge and and larger creatures. Not only do they get size bonuses, they get str bonuses.

I know there are builds that use maneuvers even at high levels. But without knowing all the tricks, a barbarian can do maneuvers well with just the strength surge power. And if true strike can be used on a maneuver (it doesn't help you on grapples) maneuver like disarm, it is like an autosucceed usually.

+4 is fine at lower levels. But the master trick really needs to be like +8 or +12 or something.

I guess it depends on the patron too. I think some of those get Giant Form. Enlarge person may be on the witch list too.

You know, this is just a thought but you have gone from a full caster, half bab class, to a 3/4 bab 6 level casters.

Really you have a hybrid class now, not an archetype mod.

I guess it doesn't make a difference since Paizo seems like they are never going back to address things like this and the Titan Mauler.

It would suit me just fine if they nixxed the white haired witch archetype and used yours for a new hybrid class though.

Seems to work better than the half bab thing did.

I actually really liked this.

One thing I would do though is remove the rounds/minutes per day per level for the Glide tricks.

Why do you feel that is necessary? Just have it be something they can do all the time. Heck if a normal witch took the right hex, she can featherfall all day long if she wants right? Why does this character have to be limited in that way.

And as for Advance Gliding you really think that one is going to come up all that many times when she can take the advanced tricks? Just totally remove all these per level time things.

You also have to consider that combat maneuvers get really hard to pull off as you increase in level, with all the jumbo size things out there that proliferate as you level.

Int and character/caster level to combat maneuvers isn't going to cut it. Any maneuver build needs a trick of some sort to pull it off. Whether it is something like a barbarian's strength surge, or a true strike spell (which isn't on the witch list unless a patron gives it).

You need some kind of feature like "Big Hair" that increases the size category of the hair for maneuvers, and then "Big, Big, Hair" to do it even more.

I'm not even joking. Look at the cmd of common opponents at like level 15, and tell me how you pull off a maneuver. Unless you are fighting some kind of humanoid with class levels.

I think the market may be splitting even more.

When I say that I am talking about "crunchiness." I think all these rules, archetypes, feats, mechanics really suit some people.

But the longer I go (as a number of people here have stated already), I just get tired of the overall clunkiness and how long it takes to do anything in this system. Heck I think it takes too long to resolve things at lower levels a lot of times, let alone the higher ones.

So I'd say it's not just Pathfinder, it's all the 3.x/Pathfinder mechanics I don't really enjoy anymore.

How many people are at a similar point I do not know, but I don't think it is a trivial number.

I haven't been keeping up (or playing any D&D lately TBH), but I am kind of curious as to how 5e is doing. It isn't always a scientific thing, but I know ENWorld has about twice the activity in the 5e forums as the Pathfinder ones.

But even with people that enjoy crunch, it just seems to me that there is kind of an archetype and variant class fatigue. Just how many are they going to make anyway?

And if you count adventures, I'm pretty sure Golarion is closing in on Forgotten Realms page count, at least through the end of third edition.

But every game company is going to hit a wall like this I think. I mean geez, if I see one more book of feats I think I'd barf. Actually I don't even bother to read them anymore, even when I can borrow someone's copy. It's just way too much now to even be fun.

Michael Johnson 66 wrote:
A fugitive ninja from Nippon named Hisao....

His backstory has to be bigger than your entire adventure.

Linji wrote:
Oh yeah, as far as tiger buffing goes, depending on the circumstances, he can get (in no particular order) Echolocation (UM), Air Walk (CRB), Resinous Skin (UC), Spider Climb (CRB), Longstrider (CRB), Negate Aroma (APG), Barkskin (CRB), Featherstep (CRB), Strong Jaw (APG), Animal Growth (CRB), Life Bubble (APG), Endure Elements (CRB), and Resist Energy (CRB [I'm a fire Druid, so he needs this]).

Using some of those things as I imagine you would is a lot to ask of the Handle Animal skill, even if you get a big bonus.

Trying to imagine training an animal to use Air Bubble to operate underwater, or walk through the air.

Just a Guess wrote:

There are a lot of things that from the flavour are THE thing for one or the other martial but in reality is done much better with magic:

- Mobile fighting
- finding stuff
- stealth
- tracking
- surviving in hostile weather (hot or cold)
- protection from mundane attacks
- lighting fire
- making light
- securing a campsite
- setting and finding traps

Out of all the posts here this one really struck home with me.

I mean you can set up some kind of "skill challenge" thing for a ranger to show off those skills he put points in, and a wizard can almost effortlessly pull it off better if he is willing to mem a few spells.

Take lighting a fire. They recently added some cantrip ("Spark?" think that is the name) that pretty much just lights things (like you have a match or something).

Thing is I've been using Prestidigitation for that for years. Unless Prestidigitation is not on your spell list, why would you ever take this?

And as nearly as I can tell, you can use Prestidigitation to try tinder, or even wood if you you were willing to spam it enough (and why not?), along with lighting a fire.

I tend to use spells like Locate Object and Creature more than most people. You can do some incredible things with either spell if you have a fast movement rate. Things like finding a sword or amulet that was dropped in a swamp and is underwater or covered by mud.

For 100 years.

And don't get me started on things like Climbing or Swimming. If you have to use them for some reason before 5th level or whatever, fine take your chances.

But later on you use spells to do whatever you needed better than 20 ranks in climb would let you do anyway. Heck that is as early as 3rd level actually.

Then there is stuff in the rules about survival checks and outdoor conditions. Not only do very few people want to go through all that bookkeeping, Endure Elements does it better.

And unless you are contriving things, I personally have almost never seen a situation where someone had to "gather" food. (Even though that would be an important thing in real life. In this system you just aren't away from civilization long enough for your backpack of iron rations to run out. And divine casters can summon unlimited water now.)

"It isn’t that their strategy isn’t sound. It’s simply that, at this point, rolling a 1 or rolling low initiative can be the death of a character when they fight something that can actually challenge them. In this case, it just happened to be a kraken."

Yeah, the old rocket tag problem. This is one of the many reasons I prefer older versions of d&d now (BECMI in my case). Guess I really need to try 5e.

The WLD largest dungeon really takes away some of my preferred tactics too. I always take dimension door as a spell if I can.

Dunno, I guess we all have an optimizer inside us, but given the rule constraints I'm not sure what your guys could do. A Master Summoner would have been an ideal party member from the beginning of this dungeon, but that is out.

You've pretty much had all the core classes represented at some point. Not sure some generations of your party were optimized (or had class combos that made a lot of sense), but this dungeon has chewed up and spit out all of them.

I have a dream though. One day I want to see the TexAssian Ranger come through a gate in all his assless chapped glory, riding some kind of domesticated demon. He's either gonna chew bubblegum or kick ass, and he is all out of bubble gum.

Okay, it's a joke. But after the years of reading this thread, he and the halfling who can survive anything linger in my mind the most. God, what was his name? Riswan? The fighter with all the save feats and toughness (I do that with all my fighters too)?

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Oooh tough one.

I guess maybe the Sodden Lands cultures that are pretty much destroyed?

Other than that Rahadoum sorta.

Not sure you could map a clear analogue.

Funny how we all have different takes on things. I view Andorran as being something like colonial America (think this one is pretty popular).

I think Cheliax is something like the Spain of the conquistadors.

Nirmathas and Lastwall have some similarities to England and Scotland to my eye.

Always kind of thought as Taldor as French, but you could go Italian with it easily.

Guess it is an eye of the beholder thing.

Well if you are doing it for PFS, maybe the devs will be so kind as to clarify what they meant.

However I'm reasonably sure they never considered this particular combo.

As for a home game, if I were running it, you could use the combo with my full blessing.

Let me get this straight: you have a feat that allows you to quicken a class feature when it requires a standard action.

But because the class feature requires only requires a move action in this case you can't use it. Even though in the pecking order a move action is generally held to be less "time" than a standard action. And you can use a standard action to do anything that you can as a move action.

Does not compute. No idea what you will get if you faq this, but I imagine most people would think this kind of parsing is silly. I sure do.

Except that you can use a standard action to perform a move action.

Not really sure I understand the parsing here.

Although even with the paladin what chance did these guys have? Sounds like an instakill.

What possible strategy could these guys have used? Looks like they would have died no matter what they did or who was in the party.

I don't really see any obvious mistakes. They were investigating something, and a monstrosity with a zillion attacks per round just suddenly surfaces and attacks. There's really not much you can do about that, and I can't imagine what the dc for spotting it in the first place would have been.

So as far as I can tell, the adventurers were always scheduled to be jumped by something that could pretty much kill all of them so quickly they wouldn't even get a chance to react.

Have I got this right?


And the body count continues.

How in Iomedae's name did a paladin fail a will save?

I don't see any way this works.

CMD bonuses just get too high.

You literally need to start talking about +10 bonuses to give them a chance to work. Maybe spells that can force a save or the like every round would benefit, but if it is a one shot kind of spell you need some serious amplification to how it works.

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