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thejeff's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 14,334 posts (15,133 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 2 Pathfinder Society characters. 6 aliases.

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Freehold DM wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
I can only say that's a schtick that is kept in x-comics, not something you see much outside of it. Which is the problem, really. Also, it's no longer the 70's, which is a bigger problem- the comics you remember are not the comics that are being read now, and marvel has noticably backslid. What worked as diversity in 1978 doesn't work in 2014.
This is entirely devoid of fact checking. Marvel has most assuredly not "backslid" on their integration of ethnicities and gender orientated characters.

And when was the last time you saw any of the characters you mentioned hanging with Cap, Thor, Iron Man, Spidey and Wolverine in a book that wasn't being put out to make Marvel side cash but was actually paying the bills- mainstream Avengers, X-Men, Spider-Man, Thor?

Not recently beyond a cameo, I'll bet.

Yeah, well. New characters by definition need to establish themselves. In the current Avengers line-up (across all major teams), there are Roberto DaCosta (Sunspot), Nightmask, White Tiger (Ava Ayala), Sunfire (Shiro Yoshina), Shang Chi, Manifold (Eden Fesi), Luke Cage, Blue Marvel (Adam Brashear), Power Man (Victor Alvarez) and, oh, yeah, Sam Wilson, the current Captain America.
Loved some of new avengers stuff, will read more. Note that you stated this is *across* the major teams, still a very good chance these characters are in the background saving civilians while the forerunners get full page splashes as they punch villain du jour in the face.

Of course, that's not really backsliding. That's how it was back in the day too. In fact, those are the same big name characters you want them hanging out with now as they were back then.

You're also moving the goalposts. Those new characters may not be the mainline characters paying the bills, but neither are new male white characters. They definitely are, as you requested, hanging with those headline characters in the mainstream books.

It's a chicken or egg question. Has Marvel spent decades putting up minorities as niche characters and deliberately keeping them in those niches (or at least not pushing to make them breakthrough bills-paying characters), or have they kept trying and failing to make minority characters into those breakthroughs, but found it hard to do. Maybe even harder than turning a new white male hero into a breakthrough.

What are their recent successes at pushing anyone up into those leagues? Of the 5 you listed Wolverine was the most recent and he debuted in 1974.

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Kirth Gersen wrote:

Ideally, I'd think you'd want the game mechanics to inexorably lead to the types of stories you're trying to tell. The old Victory Games "James Bond 007" game did this perfectly -- some of the mechanics were incredibly wonky, but if you actually followed the rules, you pretty much always ended up with an experience that seemed like it came right out of a James Bond movie. In that case, the mechanics meshed seamlessly with the flavor.

In the case of Pathfinder, the mechanics don't really lead to the stories that the APs describe, and so on; you often end up having to work against them to get the story to work. That's not Paizo's fault by a long shot -- I love their adventures, I just feel that starting with 3.5 edition wasn't the best mechanical chassis to tell them with, because it too often leads places where the APs don't go.

In a perfect world, the mechanics would work with the precision and power of a mechanical bull, with no part out of place and no malfunctions and no O&M needed, and the flavor over them would be so seemless that you'd think you were looking at a real animal. Unfortunately, no such high-fantasy RPG has ever been designed that I know of.

Also, the more you do that, the more limited and focused the kinds of games you could play with that system would be. People play APs and even more railroaded campaigns with PF. People also play wide open sandbox campaigns with PF. Along with everything in between and some others off in strange directions.

That's a feature and it's part of the broad appeal. The other approach is also a feature, but it does get you a narrower appeal.

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BigDTBone wrote:
Gark the Goblin wrote:

Yeah, rules-lawyering has always been the GM's label to apply. And it's usually much more extensive than two sentences of back-and-forth.

That said, none of my games have ever had restrictions against rules-lawyering. Even as kids we could sense when debates got tedious and the other players wanted to move on. And we'd just move on.

I think more than anything I hate the idea of someone "banning rules lawyers" because if you are having problems with rules lawyers it's almost certainly because you are having problems with the rules. In my experience, DM's who bend rules for story reasons every once in a while don't even get challenged on the calls (even by people whom other GM's have labeled rules-lawyers) and even if someone says "how did they do that?" The GM need only say "they can do that." If you find yourself having rules arguments that are longer/worse than that then you should take a deep look at (1) your system mastery, (2) the kind of game you are running.

Most of the rules lawyering I've seen or heard about is a player trying to get away with something, not the GM having problems with the rules.

Now, if you keep running into a lot of different rules lawyers arguing with your rulings, it might be your problem, but if it's one guy who always argues, it's probably him.

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phantom1592 wrote:
magnuskn wrote:

Coming back to this thread, I must admit that I am somewhat offended by the title, on behalf of Marvel Comics (although my only association is as a fan with a 25+ year history of reading their comics).

Especially in the last 15 years since I returned to Germany from my seven year stay in Paraguay, it has been quite noticeable that Marvel has taken care to diversify their roster of new characters, both in the aspects gender, race and sexual orientation. In about every new team of young characters (Young Avengers, New X-Men, Runaways, New Warriors, Avengers Academy, Avengers: The Initiative, the guys with Cyclops revolution team currently) the cast is very diverse in all of those aspects. Hell, Marvel has included lots characters of various nationalities and ethnicities since at least the seventies. Just look at the rosters of the New Mutants, Generation X and other X-Teams. Marvel is also rolling out new ethnically diverse solo characters all the time, like the new Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan or in the past Anya Corazón, Araña.

So, yeah. The title could have been chosen quite better.

I was just thinking the other day that 'Giant Sized X-men' cast of the 70's was pretty culturally diverse. German, Russian, irish, Canadian, African, White, Black, men, women, the whole she-bang. First member added next, Jewish girl...

Arguably the most popular X-team ever, and the well they always run back to.

So yeah, nothing new.

Pretty diverse: 1 woman. 1 black (same as the woman. That's a Two-fer). 1 Asian (who leaves in the next issue.) 1 Native American (Who dies 2 issues later.) 4 white males, admittedly of different European ancestry.

Jean comes back and hangs around off and on, leaving them with 1 or 2 women to 5 or more men most of the time.

Which was actually good for comics at the time and the X-men did get even better over time, but let's not idealize it.

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Create Mr. Pitt wrote:

My major issue with the caster changes from 5e is that much of it seems focused on damage dealing and less on bf control. Why would you ever be a wizard to do damage, that's the barbarian's job. There's zero fun in being a caster unless you do something different and better than other classes, traditionally that's battlefield control. I don't want a class that is essentially sapped of its flexibility and it's most useful features because I can buff and evade.

I'd rather lose fireball than stinking cloud every single time.

"Traditionally" in 3.x.

Blasting was normal in earlier versions. I think 5th may be returning closer to that balance. Drop a major buff or battlefield control concentration spell and then blast away.

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Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

I like to fool around with the names of (traditionally nameless) mooks, instead of, say, 'mook #1'.

Bob & Weave.

Ace, Deuce & Trey.

Cough & Drop.

Meaty, Beefy, Big & Bouncy.

If anyone's got any more ideas...? : )

I use names of old pairs or groups from various media -

Mutt & Jeff
Tom & Jerry
Larry, Moe & Curly


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Kthulhu wrote:
Charlie D. wrote:
Pan wrote:
Charlie D. wrote:
(like, RAW can my character breath--I'm not making it up).
Oh man that's funny. Did someone counter with "RAW doesn't say you have to breath!"?
That response seemed obvious. What is scary is how much debate and how many pages those posts go on for. I honestly can't tell who is serious and who is trolling and who is laughing. It's way too trippy for me.

Bah. I've seen comparable threads here

"Nothing says you can't take actions when you're dead!"

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Caedwyr wrote:

Does technology not work in Golarion/Pathfinder though? Why, with civilizations as old as they have been presented in Pathfinder, has there been so little development? The exclusive/limited list argument works for magic, but not for the setting's development in other areas. In fact, the exculsiveness of magic to a small portion of the population would seem to encourage the non-magical to find alternate paths of development even more.

It also ignores that the demographics/examples as shown in the modules and adventure paths tends to make magic a lot more prevalent than is indicated in many of these discussions.

Because for any problem you have, there's already a better solution and that solution is magic.

That sets the direction of thinking.
Most tech starts out as toys or weapons for the rich and powerful and only slowly filters down to the masses, but the rich already get much cooler stuff with magic, so they don't bother.
Why develop a windmill or a waterwheel or some such, when it's easier to get it done the first time with magic. In the long run they'd be cheaper and easier, but the development is harder.

Most of the smartest thinkers probably take up wizardry instead of engineering anyway.

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LazarX wrote:
Orthos wrote:
thejeff wrote:
I just don't think "serious science" is a hard requirement for science fiction.
Then the real question is how much can an author blatantly ignore, contradict, or otherwise abuse science before you no longer consider the story on a science-fiction basis? Admittedly as I've stated before, the lines between Fantasy and Science Fiction have become all but erased in modern usage.

And yet 90% of the reading population seems to have no problem with this or with assigning the vast majority of books to one or the other (along with a few explicitly cross genre books).

You, on the other hand, want to cram the vast majority of science fiction into fantasy.

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yellowdingo wrote:
Definatly single use thirty day habitats. Nurses and doctors will need to be cycled out through a thirty day quarantine single user/single use hab.

You can use shipping containers for those habitats!

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Yes she did and although they'll be contacted and monitored just to be sure, none of them are going to be infected. That's not how the disease gets transmitted.
Transmission through casual contact with patients in the early stages is incredibly rare.

We definitely need better training and better compliance with the protocols for treating late stage patients. Avoiding any contact while treating/cleaning a patient suffering projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhea is both critical and very difficult.
We might also need stricter protocols and better protective gear, but that's less clear at this point.

Massive quarantines of everyone treating patients is not productive. Not good for staff morale. Not good for finding people willing to do the treatment. And not necessary or even useful to stop the spread of the disease.

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LazarX wrote:
Artemis Moonstar wrote:

@ElterAgo: So.... You're fine with magic, but not scifi then.

Because Sci-Fi isn't magic. It's, vast majority of it (Star Trek, Battlestar from what I heard, etc), simply technology. The reason they "work logically" is because 1) it takes place in the future, and 2) new elements, physics, and so forth are typically introduced to hand-waive the illogic.

When Sci-Fi blatantly ignores physics as Star Trek, and most of the others frequently do, it becomes magic.

If anyone ever tries to argue that Trek is serious science, I will simply reply with the two words "Heisenberg Compensator", and see if they get the joke.

I'll gladly argue it's science fiction, but I'd certainly agree it's not serious science.

I just don't think "serious science" is a hard requirement for science fiction.

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Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Orthos wrote:

What's always defined "sci-fi" for me or anyone I have discussed the subject with is "fiction with modern or futuristic setting". If it has computers and robots, it's probably sci-fi, unless there's blatantly magic or other supernatural stuff, in which case it's sci-fantasy.

Beyond that is just the sliding scale of hardness. Hard sci-fi is the more realistic, the more complex, and the more rules-intensive; soft sci-fi is the "it's technology, it just works, don't gotta explain jack".

That makes Star Wars science fiction, despite the notable lack of science. These are, to some extent, pseudo-academic distinctions, but I have also read science fiction authors who stated that this was their view. They aren't necessarily agreed by everyone.

You could argue that the Force is basically magic and that's what pushes it into the science fantasy category.

More generally, the basic problem lies in the distinction between Science fiction as setting and science fiction as genre.

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Pillbug Toenibbler wrote: "When the Guy Making Your Sandwich Has a Noncompete Clause"

Way to go, Jimmy Johns. I guess hunting endangered & threatened wildlife is getting boring, so The Most Dangerous Game with ex-employees is next? "Woman looking for work after Subway enforces non-compete contract"
Woman takes off time for needed surgery, Subway fires her for it, then enforces its non-compete clause to sue her when she gets another crappy fast food job.

There's a good chance that wouldn't stand up in court, though that depends on how bad the state laws are, but that doesn't really matter because an unemployed fast-food manager isn't going to have the resources to sue and there aren't likely to be enough damages to attract a team of lawyers.

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LazarX wrote:
jemstone wrote:

Having been involved in the Steampunk genre since it was still called "High Victoriana" and been playing Space 1889 and Castle Falkenstein since their inception, I can say that perhaps people attributing its creation to Gibson are missing out on Verne, Welles, Burroughs and the rest of the Turn-Of-The-Century writers who were coming out of the dim and dreary 19th Century and into the "Promise" of the 20th with stars in their eyes and the Moon in their sights.

We're talking about novels in which Martians were flung to Earth in enormous bullets and ran about the mighty British Empire in tripods, six-legged harvesters and "soundless flying machines". Novels in which angry ship captains created undersea utopias in submarines patterned after sea monsters. Men willing themselves to red, wind-swept Barsoom and fighting for the love of sapient plant-princesses while other men dug deep, deep into the bowels of Earth to fight the savages of Pellucidar.

Steampunk didn't begin with Gibson in the slightest. It just didn't have a name coined to it that people could latch on to.

What you're referring to is pulp adventure fiction. What differentiates Difference Engine is that it shares practically nothing with these other novels other than the setting itself. Cyberpunk in it's purist form is about the manipulation of society with information and information itself as something to steal and manipulate. Cyberpunk in literature does not have the emphasis on guns and flashy hardware prosthetics that Cyberpunk games do. The original expression of SteamPunk in "Difference Engine" is essentially Cybperpunk without transistors. It's a vastly different expression than Victorian pulp fiction which is where I'd classify the works you cite.

In short "Difference Engine" is steam punk. "Wild Wild West" is Victorian pulp adventure fiction. It's quite possible for a story to include elements of both.

While the term was coined for Difference Engine, it doesn't limit the genre quite that much. Modern steampunk is more about the trappings, the retro-tech, than it's about analytical engines and the manipulation of society with information.

If you stuck with that, there would really only be a few works of steampunk and we'd need another name for the rest.:)

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ElterAgo wrote:
Orthos wrote:


Here's a test that I think works well: Google the comic Girl Genius and read it, at least the first couple of chapters ... If the basic idea of the setting - that people with the innate "Spark of Genius/Madness" can make technology do things that should otherwise be impossible - is too far-fetched for you to follow, I'd say about 90% of steampunk will rub you the wrong way as well. ...

Tried it and you're right. I kept thinking that wouldn't work.

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:


1st, you are fine with magic, which really isn't at all how things work, but not with steampunk? I'm being facetious, of course - it is too close to your day-to-day experience that you can see the flaws, whereas no one knows how magic works... Because it doesn't. ...
Yeah guess half of my problem would be the people describing it as not magic, it's just technology applied a different way. But it isn't. Almost nothing of what they describe can possibly work.

Just like most of regular science fiction. Except the relatively small genre of near-future, hard SF.

Cyberpunk is nonsense. Basically anything with aliens and certainly anything with FTL.
It's just that it's easier to suspend disbelief when the author's postulating either unspecified future-tech or physics you haven't studied than when it's more basic engineering.

Just accept that in most steampunk settings, the laws of physics don't work quite like they do in our world. Or that the scientists of that setting are tapping into some magic-equivalent to make their stuff work. Which is pretty clearly the Girl Genius approach - they certainly don't intend you to think you could actually build any of those things and have them work. They even call it "Gas Lamp Fantasy".

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David Neilson wrote:
That is strange behaviour, enough so that most of my characters would suspect a lust aura, or something. Since that sounds like something people would do under the influence of drugs or something similiar. You know "Wow everything is REALLY colorful, and this carpet feels AMAZING!" sort of behavior.

Sounds to me like male players who shouldn't be allowed to play female characters until they grow up - or ever if they're already adults.

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Also, do they really have enough players to do this?

It's not really "Civil War" so much as "The Avengers squabble among themselves."

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
I'm pleasantly surprised they're still having demonstrations.

Well, the cops are still killing black teens, so I guess they need to.

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Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

No charges for Georgia officers who maimed toddler during no-knock drug raid

"The boy will likely need similar surgeries every two years until he is 20 years old to repair badly damaged nerve endings in his face and additional plastic surgery throughout his life, the attorney said.

"The county has said it would not pay for the child’s medical bills, arguing that the board of commissioners was not legally permitted to pay for them."

What a scumbag. "Oh, gee, the drug-addled confidential informant who purchased meth didn't say anything about kids..."

Only Workers Revolution Will Avenge Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh!

Ah, Spasibo Comrade.

hmm "not legally permitted" is more along the lines of "we don't have to neener neener" than outright "it's illegal for us to do so". WHICH IS ALL KINDS OF S+*&TY DOUCHEBAGGERY that thankfully has been revoked now that a fire's been lit under their ass.

I wonder how big that fire would be without "malcontents" and their "mindless hate bashing?"

That's my problem with the usual "Wait for the process", "Wait for all the facts to come" arguments: Without protests and media pressure, the facts don't come out.

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Rynjin wrote:
If the accidental injury/killing was due to negligence on the party responsible (or worse, was not "accidental" at all), then he should absolutely be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. His f~#@ up had much bigger consequences than another person's, and he should have been that much more diligent than the average person.

But it's not. Again and again, it's not prosecuted. And the laws and the system are set up that way. To protect the cops and keep all but the most extreme and blatant abuses from being prosecuted. Cops know how to get out of trouble as long as they focus on unsympathetic targets - "I thought I saw a gun", "He was reaching for my weapon". Then the internal investigation clears them and the prosecutor, who usually has a close working relationship with police declines to prosecute - or presents the evidence to a grand jury so it doesn't indict.

In some ways, that's as it should be. "Presumption of innocence" and "Beyond a reasonable doubt" and all that. I'm not saying that should change for cops in terms of prosecution, though I would like more willingness to prosecute and less deference to the cop's version of events.

But I'm not convinced that prosecution, because of the necessary high standards is the appropriate remedy. As I've said before, it's a structural problem, not one of a few bad apples who need to be kicked out. Too much willingness to use force and too much protection for those who do. Administrative actions, whether from internal affairs or from external oversight don't have to meet the same standards and need to be more independent. Cop mounted cameras will help and are already helping, as are ubiquitous civilian smart phone cameras.

In the Levan Jones case, the officer has been indicted and there's no way that would have happened without the dashboard video. His story sort of matched the video, in that he might not have lied, but everything was slanted in his favor - Mr Jones "dove" into the car, for example, but in the video he turned and reached into the car. His actions made sense as he told it, but are outrageous on the video.

Poor and minority communities (not just "criminals") have been complaining about police abuses for years. For decades. The complaints haven't changed much. I doubt the behavior has either. What's changed is that common video is capturing some of that behavior.

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Mike Bramnik wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:

Lumping the tens of thousands of good officers and detectives into the same group as the handful of bad ones is just plain wrong. What most people forget is a police force, no matter how big or small, is a direct reflection of the community they serve because the pool of officers comes from that community. If you really want to fix the problem, it is fairly simple. Better screening during the hiring process and better pay. When communities hire people to become officers and carry weapons that can maim and kill, and they pay the, less than a McDonalds manager makes, something is wrong.

Without attempting to derail the thread - I cannot "like" the above enough.

The media *loves* to focus on atrocity, in all its forms. When it happens because of someone who's supposed to be a "good guy", it's even that much more terrible (or "juicy", if you work for said media). For every "incident" involving a police officer, soldier, judge, or anyone else who wields weapons or law "for the people", there are thousands upon thousands of honest, hard-working people who dedicate their lives to doing things the right way.

thejeff wrote:
But so many others have tainted the well sufficiently you can't trust the cops to be telling the truth. Or even not fabricating evidence.

I'm a scientist. "Tainting the well" is often layman's speak for "not scientifically/statistically significant, but the fact that it exists at all is/will be enough for Jane Q. Public to get up in arms about it".

Considering I'm running around a bit nuts today, I can't recall if this is something referring to the FBI or CIA...but the phrase "our triumphs are secret, our failures painfully public" comes to mind too.

Carry on.

OTOH, "It's just a few bad apples" is the perennial cry of corrupt organizations throughout history.

It's an organizational problem. A structural one. The system is not set up to adequately self-correct. It used to be far worse, before reforms in the 60s and 70s, but the War on Drugs has been eroding those reforms and introducing new problems, like civil forfeiture.

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Michael Brock wrote:
thejeff wrote:

That said, this one may really be good. But so many others have tainted the well sufficiently you can't trust the cops to be telling the truth. Or even not fabricating evidence.

Let me give the opinion of someone who has walked a mile in those shoes. I was a crimes against children and special victims detective for almost 10 years. I didn't care whether I made ten arrests a month or no arrests in a month. My only goal was to arrest scum bags that hurt people who couldn't protect themselves. I didn't need to fabricate evidence. I based my cases solely on the evidence that was presented. Any case worth an arrest generally has five times the evidence you need to make the arrest. You just need to find it with a little work. Every officer amd detective I worked with felt the same way.

Lumping the tens of thousands of good officers and detectives into the same group as the handful of bad ones is just plain wrong. What most people forget is a police force, no matter how big or small, is a direct reflection of the community they serve because the pool of officers comes from that community. If you really want to fix the problem, it is fairly simple. Better screening during the hiring process and better pay. When communities hire people to become officers and carry weapons that can maim and kill, and they pay the, less than a McDonalds manager makes, something is wrong.

Except in cases like Ferguson and many others where the force doesn't reflect the community at all.

And unless it's really blatant and on video, with pretty much any shooting in the line of duty, no matter how poorly justified, the department rallies round and supports the officer, as often does the rest of the legal system. I'd really like to believe it's 10s of thousands of good officers and a handful of bad ones. It would be much easier if the good ones brought the bad ones down more often.

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OTOH, it's kind of bad archetype design. Archetypes shouldn't trade out useful abilities to gain things they aren't expected to be able to use when they get them.

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Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Devilkiller wrote:
If it was intentionally limited to one-handed weapons maybe the devs felt that while Dex to damage is OK combining it with TWF would be a bit much.
I agree - it is a bit much. Unfortunately, you can sneak it in by dipping a level into swashbuckler and using sawtoothed sabres.

And that's my problem with it. If you want it to be a swashbuckler only thing, make it a class feature - preferably not a first level one.

As it is now Dex to Damage is something anyone can get if they want to jump through the right hoops. Anyone who wants to abuse the possibilities will do so, while there are still plenty of flavorful concepts that don't work because they don't fit with the hoops. Those who care about such things are still limited. Power gamers aren't.

Grod's Law wins again.

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Quark Blast wrote:

So, my 2 cp here:

Aren't XPs core to the system? PF and 3.x anyway.

If you bail on using XPs formally then you'll need to proxy them anyhow.

As far as the OP topic in particular:

The reward for RP should be in the success of the adventure itself.

Trample adventure clues-n-helps in the dust via Murderhoboing and that washes out with less XP.
Follow through with PC actions matching the in-character situations and personality and that should (over all) result in more XP.


They look like they're core (and they're obviously in the CRB), but they're remarkably easy to take out.

Paizo pretty much does so in their products. All PFS is done with an xp substitute, based just on how many sessions you succeed at. The APs and modules have guidelines for leveling if you're ignoring xp.

Personally, by the default RAW handling of XP, I don't find that more XP comes with better in-character actions. XP comes from fighting stuff and overcoming challenges. It's optional, but common (and often made explicit in APs and modules), to award the same XP for overcoming challenges through stealth, diplomacy or some other non-combat method. It's rarer to award xp for challenges that were simply missed on the way to the BBEG, so more xp will come from thoroughly searching everything for any possible threat to face, even once you've accomplished whatever you were trying to do.
Not what I'm looking for.

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Kthulhu wrote:

We are.looking at thing with full 20/20 after-sight. Its easy to armchair quarterback with all of that info.

The SWAT team knew what they had been told, and what was right in front of them. They also didn't have the luxury of time to mull over their decisions. In their chosen profession, a moment of hesitation can cost lives...their lives, their colleges' lives, and/or the lives of innocents/victims.

If you are going to judge their actions, these considerations MUST be taken into account.

They don't seem to give an awful lot of consideration to the lives of those they attack.

But in this case, as I've said before, the real error was sending them in there on a no-knock warrant at all.

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Pan wrote:
That's a pretty big problem to have with this type of game. Would you prefer the PCs arrive asking for the nearest lumber mill or plow field. Wait until something adventurous happens and then volunteer to help with that?

It's only a problem if your game requires the PCs to wander around and run into random different problems.

If the PCs have goals and plans, whether their own character driven ones or AP style plots to thwart, then it isn't an issue at all. They go to do what they need to do and there are obstacles in their way.

The "We're adventurers, looking for adventuring jobs" is only necessary for a certain very limited style of game.

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I generally don't use "adventurers". Not as a job description in the world that lots of people take up. I see as really just a crutch for published adventure design. It's easier (or more correctly, possible) to assume the party is available for hire than to come up with motivations for characters you don't know to get involved with the module.

In a home campaign, as I run and usually play them, the characters are just people, probably with exceptional skills and something of an adventurous bent, who get caught up in some plot or other. They may well wind up dealing with side adventures along the way, but they're not just wandering around looking for trouble. They're on some sort of quest. Possibly a poorly defined one, especially at the start.

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Rynjin wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:
Rynjin wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:
Rynjin wrote:
I like how everyone is blaming the police instead of the scumbag methheads using their child's playpen to barricade the door.
To my understanding the people in the house had nothing to do with drugs and the person they were actually looking for was found in a different house later on.
If the house had nothing to do with drugs, no "drug residue" would have been found.
It was the right house, but the people inside of it were relatives (as Durngrun mentions) and had nothing to do with the drugs.

And now their kid has been grievously injured because of their choice to associate with people like that.

You know, their relatives. Who are obviously open and honest to their parents and siblings about their drug-dealing. Because drug dealers are well-known for being up front with their relatives.

You do know that the people you're accusing of being scumbag methheads sacrificing their child to block the door haven't been accused or charged with anything, right. There's no claim, other than by you that they were deliberating barricading the door or that these people were drug addicts.

But hey, it's their fault. The kid's fault too. Should have chosen better relatives. Well, the burn scar's will teach you.

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Auxmaulous wrote:
thejeff wrote:
But no. It's really much simpler than that. As long as the dice are in the open and run as written, then it's completely the player's problem. The TPK is fair.

This may sound cold, but yes - it's fair. I've done this before and while the group got upset, they didn't feel cheated or blamed me. They can usually see it coming as it unfolds and they have no one to blame but themselves.

And when it happens they still have a good time. It just adds more to value for when they do succeed.

We're still talking past each other. The entire point of that snarky bit at the end, in the context of the rest of my post was to say from a certain point of view, no matter how badly the GM screwed up the encounter design, it's always the players fault and it's always fair. Even if they get slaughtered without warning and without a chance to even run.

I'm assuming you haven't actually done that or at least that's not what you're talking about.

Sure, in an ideal world, the GM will be perfect and never screw up, but you switch from talking about the tightrope of encounter design and of laying the clues to what's actually playable and then switch back (with laughably bad examples) of how it's all the player's fault when things go wrong (as long as the dice aren't fudged and the encounter is as written), without realizing that's exactly what I'm talking about.

The GM setting up the encounters is the GM fiat that makes the game playable. When things go wrong it's just as possible for it to be the GM screwing up the design as it is for it to be the players fault.

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Dafydd wrote:
If someone asks you to pass them the blue ball, but the only balls you see are a red ball and a ball that is blue with polka dots, do you call back that there is no blue ball? I can not stand with such reasoning as it eliminates common sense.

Even with that analogy wouldn't it be closer to an orange ball, a red and blue ball and a blue ball.

Then he asks you to pass him the blue ball and you give him the red and blue one because it's got blue on it.

There is a two-handed weapon, a one-handed weapon and a light weapon. He said one-handed and you gave him a light one.

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Aranna wrote:

You know I have been searching for an analogy for the no XP style and I think I have it. It is like putting training wheels on a bicycle. It KEEPS you perfectly balanced regardless of the skill of the rider.

While I prefer to run without the training wheels it makes perfect sense that some prefer to leave them on. They can focus on learning other elements of the game without unbalancing the levels in the party. In my opinion I like the increased sense of achievement and danger of riding without them, but I can see the allure of leaving them on.

I don't see how XP/No XP has anything to do with training wheels or increased achievement or danger.

There's nothing inherent to playing without XP that keeps you from walking into an encounter that you should have avoided or weren't ready to seek out yet.
There's nothing inherent to playing with XP that keeps GMs from designing encounters for the level you currently are.

It's just a tracking mechanism.

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Thread drift.

I think it was actually through "roleplaying XP" -> "ditch XP, just level as needed" -> "Bah, railroading, GM fiat" -> "It's all GM fiat"

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Matthew Downie wrote:

Let's consider some possible different approaches - all valid, though not necessarily suitable for all groups:

1: The GM wants a playful game where the player's job is to express the personality of the character they've created, and to participate in shared storytelling. The GM goes out of his/her way to make sure that no-one dies unless they want to die heroically for the sake of a good story. This allows players to have fun in a non-competitive environment without worrying that if they play non-optimally it will get everyone killed. The odds of success are pretty much 100%.

2: The GM is running an adventure path as written. Having made this decision, the odds of the group surviving depend on (a) whether the adventure path is well balanced, (b) the groups' system mastery and focus on their own survival, and (c) the luck of the dice. Occasionally the GM will be forced to make a decision that will impact the survival of the PCs (should the monster coup de grace the helpless character or try to escape?) but where possible decides such things randomly or by following pre-written tactics, to ensure that the success of the group is down to chance and to their own efforts, and not to GM whim.

3: The GM waits to see what kind of PCs the players have come up with, and then creates challenges for them based around what those characters ought to be able to handle. Survival chance is high if the characters use good tactics, low if they get careless.

4: The GM creates a sandbox world with safe and dangerous areas, lets the PCs know which the dangerous areas are, and creates random encounters within these areas. The players get to set their own difficulty level.

Where was I going with this? I forget. Possible conclusions:
(a) Any of these games could be run with or without experience points.
(b) To describe all these games as 'GM decides whether the players win or lose' is a bit of a stretch (though true to the extent that he can always say 'Rocks fall, everybody dies').

(a) is certainly true.

(b) is not, as I see it. What you're doing is describing the decision the GM makes and then saying after that it's a stretch to say the GM decides if they win or lose. Designing the adventure and the encounters is also part of "the GM decides if they win or lose".

Case 2 seems a bit off, but it's really just splitting the GM responsibility between the GM who runs it and the module author. And even in Case 4, the GM is responsible for making sure the players know what the difficulty level they're choosing is.
You also forgot:
5. The GM designs a meatgrinder adventure designed to push the players to their limits and kill all but the best built and most cleverly played.

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RMcD wrote:
Alex Smith 908 wrote:

Yeah halflings are much better for use as small sized ghoul scouts.

Another piece of food for thought, you character is pretty much objectively more evil than the necromancer that just creates mindless undead.

"Objectively evil", like there is such a thing.

Whatever the philosophical debate on the nature of evil in the real world, in Pathfinder there is very definitely such a thing.

There are even devices to detect it. We call them "paladins".

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Pillbug Toenibbler wrote:
Could we take the slippery slope discussion elsewhere, maybe? Please?

Yeah, there's no place for a slippery slope discussion in a catfolk thread.

<Goes to look for the otterfolk discussion>

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Auxmaulous wrote:
Mark Hoover wrote:

So I've surfed through here and skimmed some posts, mostly TOZ's 'cuz, well, he's him. Anyway, I have to say I agree w/one of his basic premises: the whole game is basically the GM saying "you win" or not. No matter how fair, clever or dice-ruled your GM is, at the end of the day they can tell you whatever they want is the result of every roll. They can lie, cheat, add extra HP, spontaneously change rules or whatever to fit their view. The fact that some DON'T do these things doesn't put any more control in the players' hands; it just means that the GM's decision or whim swung that way.

That's the reality. Players can cheat too, but they're bound to the character they have in front of them, so their control is limited. The GM on the other hand has control over the entire game. They decide what you're facing, why, and what the result of your actions are.

I think you and a few other GM's here are projecting a bit Mark.

I run games that are very fast a loose with the rules (for several reasons: time, rules not heavily defined, style, etc)

I run games where I maintained my GM discretion/neutrality; the bad guy stats were their stats, rolls were made out in the open and players died - when I didn't want them to. Their deaths were not desired in-game, out of game, subconsciously, due to poor encounter design or pro/con player sentiment while running said encounter. I ran it as I listed (stats made ahead of time) and whatever happened, happened.

I will periodically show my players the bad guy/creature stats and explain their abilities/mechanics after the encounter.


What seems to be going on here is that people running games their own way are assuming that everyone does it the same as they do. That isn't the case. Some DMs/GMs remain impartial, even if they are sympathetic to the players.

Let me clarify the last part also: being that this is still a game, and all the data is filtered to the players primarily through that games GM there is going to be plenty of...
There is a range though, it exists. The Impartial GM also exists, though - it is a concept that is dying out as play styles and game expectations change.

I doubt it's dying. There's a range, there's always been a range. If anything with the old school revival there's something of a comeback.

But the point still stands. Whether you change things on the fly or not, it's still the GM controlling the world. Whether you setup the challenges ahead of time or work them out on the fly doesn't change the fundamental equation. It's still your whim that controls. You're just using that power responsibly, to set the kind of challenge your players want.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Mechapoet wrote:
So, like, that's a couple of things we could probably be working on instead.
Nothing else on your list really deals with legislative action (or the legislation is already there its just being ignored). I don't know what you can do about it exactly after that point.

Well, there's ENDA. Non-discrimination legislation doesn't exist on the national level. Some has been proposed, but not passed. And the current version is flawed, by among other things, not covering trans people.

That's what I'd consider the biggest legislative step. In parallel with passing similar laws in states that don't already have them.

None of that means I don't cheer with each new marriage advance, mind you.

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Yuugasa wrote:

@ TheJeff (from your response to me) Yeah I used to just dismiss out of hand any false equivalency argument along the lines of "but if you support gay rights why don't you support the rights of -something our society almost universally despises-?"

But then I realized that most of the time I didn't know jack about those -something our society almost universally despises- issues and dismissing them out of hand might just be a case of me pulling the whole "that's not the social issue on the table right now, people with that issue can wait in the wings till we've fixed this current mess."

I dunno, maybe directly answering those comparisons is a bad way to have a conversation but just because people with -something our society almost universally despises- circumstances are invisible to us surely doesn't mean they don't exist as they prolly just won't talk about it because, after all, they are a part of -something our society almost universally despises-

I'm going to want to see some evidence that there are hundreds of thousands (still at least an order of magnitude less than LGBTQ people) of hidden, completely consensual incestuous relationships being persecuted before I spend much time worrying about them.

It's a diversion. Especially when thrown out by anyone arguing against gay rights. It's the old "If you let these perverts alone, it'll be pedophiles and bestiality next!"

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Charlie D. wrote:

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I put Him before everything.

The reality put forth in the Bible is that God and Jesus love gay people. Straight people too as well as people with no interest in sex/marriage etc. God and Jesus also tell their followers (of which I am one) to also have brotherly love toward gay people (and straight people and people who opt out of relationships).

Jesus teaches me what I should and should not do. He does not teach me to force my understanding of what He is asking me to do on others.

However, God is also justice and He has rules for his followers. The Bible tells followers of God not to be in homosexual relationships along with a whole host of other sexual restrictions. However, homosexuality is not a big topic in the Bible.

Staying faithful in marriage and not divorcing (except for a breaking of marital vows such as abuse, adultery etc.) is a much bigger topic as is the Sabbath (taking a day off once a week and is one of the Ten Commandants). Yet Christians divorce nearly as often as non-Christians and many Christians don’t observe a Sabbath. So Christians should not be too quick to point out perceived flaws in others when we ourselves have bigger issues of our own to deal with.

If you want to try to understand one Christian viewpoint, however, here it is illustrated by looking at other marriage restrictions in our society.

I am not a Christian, so I don't particularly care what the Bible say. I do know that other Christians interpret the various passages on this topic differently than you seem to.

That said, I also don't think that religion, in any flavor, should dictate our laws. Do you think that non-Christian gays (or those whose sects allow same-sex marriage) should be legally prevented from marrying?
That's the question at hand. You don't have to take part yourself. You don't even have to approve. All you have to do is not try to stand in the way.

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Aranna wrote:

All this fatalism... wow.

Yes nothing really matters, your GM spoon feeds you the adventure and you succeed or fail on his whim. This isn't the kind of game I want to play. I want a clever GM who will set up challenges with varying degrees of difficulty that I win or lose on my own merits and those of my friends. I want my efforts to matter. I don't like TOZ's multi-track railroad all leading to the one outcome he as GM decrees will happen. I hate it when a GM spoon feeds us our successes and failures. I want to EARN them. I can think of nothing worse than the no XP GM of the type TOZ is describing who just tells you a story and you advance whether you spent all session striving for victory or playing games on your iphone. He just adjusts to let you win. And this IS the trap of no XP systems.

Your description is a strawman. It's nothing like the games I prefer or I suspect TOZ is talking about.

I assure that the player's efforts matter, even if they eventually find another way to the bandit's camp despite failing the Survival roll. Even the fights matter, though they're less of a focus for me than for some.

Story-based leveling actually rewards you for accomplishments, not just fighting. In an xp-based system you could waste your time over multiple sessions running around chasing your tail, fighting random monsters and distraction and still go up a level, despite not accomplishing anything useful. Or you could go straight to the target, cleverly bypass most of the defenses and get the job done and not go up because you didn't fight enough stuff along the way.

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xavier c wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Wiggz wrote:
I'm trying to learn what, if anything, that I'm not considering.

On the one hand, I think you're underestimating what "legal convenience" actually amounts to. It has been estimate that there are something like 2000 individual legal rights that accompany a legal (heterosexual) marriage by default, many of them traditions (like spousal testimonial privilege) that date back to common law and that may not have been formalized into statute, depending upon where you live. If you assume that each right requires one document to formalize, and each document, in turn, requires an hour to prepare, that's a full-time job for a lawyer for a year to draw up an equivalent of marriage..... and then you have the risk that there were actually 2001 rights, and he through ignorance, mischance, or error missed one.

There is also an issue is that many of the privileges attendant upon marriage are in fact policy decisions that depend upon a third party. Insurance companies, for example, don't generally have a choice about whether or not to cover a legal spouse, but they can and do play games about unmarried partners (see pH unbalanced's comments above). The middle of a medical crisis is not a time to have to worry about legal and financial ones as well.

On the other side,.... religion. Nothing brings out the crazy obstructionism like religion.

You know there are progressive christians and gay christians or are some gay christian websites

And there are LGBT affirming denominations like

Ecumenical Catholic Church

Metropolitan Community Church

Old Catholic Church


The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

And plenty of others. But it's pretty much only religion that's opposed. I'm sure there are some non-religious bigots as well, but religion gives them cover.

It's also important to remember that for all the current talk about marriage and how it's just about preserving the sanctity of the religious rite (which is a joke in itself in the age of the quickie wedding/divorce package) overwhelmingly the groups opposed to same sex marriage are opposed to pretty much every LGTBQ right there is. Marriage is just the latest battlefield, because they've lost so many others.

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Fundamentally, marriage is the word we use for taking an unrelated couple and turning them into a family. There are a whole bunch of legal things that come along with that, but they're really all part of "These two unrelated people are now each other's closest relatives."

Gay people what to make families too. Let them.

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Muad'Dib wrote:
Liranys wrote:

I don't know how that player could avoid putting his PC in much danger, but I don't know what kind of campaign you have going. Ours is, well, kind of in an area where we have few allies and the evil people are all over the place, so just walking down the street could be dangerous.
Why are you worried about danger, I thought your characters could not die? You know, fun and shenanigans.

"could not die" is how the detractors phrase it.

I've never played in a game where characters could not die. (Ok there were a couple of games of Toon and some other experimental things where the characters actually couldn't die for in-game reasons, but that's not what we're talking about)

The understanding in any game with script immunity I've seen is that it's limited and conditional and one of the big conditions is don't abuse it. Your character doesn't know about it and you have to play him as if you don't either. Do blatantly stupid or suicidal things and the script immunity goes away.

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Muad'Dib wrote:

Liranys, I had a player in my game who after over a year playing a weekly campaign rolled his first critical success. It would have been a moment of celebration had it no been so damn sad.

He just has the worst luck rolling dice, fumbling all the time.

That being said his characters never died as a result of his bad rolling since he seldom put himself into situations were he had to rely on his dice.

What does that even mean? Did he stay safe at home? Hide in the back row out of sight? It's a game where success or failure is determined by the dice. How do you avoid relying on the dice?

I can see avoid situations where you have to get really lucky with the dice, like relying on a lucky criticals or something.

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Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
And I like cats. And CJ Cherryh is one of my all time favorite authors, just never read any of the Chanur stuff. Sue me.

Go read the Chanur books. Really.

I do often get the feel with catfolk that the designers are trying to cater to so many disparate variants that they come out feeling generic. For a gaming race, I need more than a picture and a set of stats. There needs to be some background, history, culture.

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Dungeon Master Zack wrote:
I should mention that I use xp for treasure. You could call that a sort of roleplaying xp for a certain value of "roleplaying". It encourages a certain kind of behavior- accumulating treasure.

Oh yeah, definitely a different sort of game.

Not my style at all.

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