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thejeff's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 17,379 posts (18,178 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 2 Pathfinder Society characters. 6 aliases.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
What's gained though? THACO and AC-as-DC have always seemed identical, to me. It's just that some people struggle with subtracting negative numbers.

Yeah. It's not that hard, I'll freely admit. But it is marginally harder and more confusing (The only numbers in the game you want to be low are AC? +1 armor actually subtracts from the AC?) and there's absolutely no advantage to it.

Everything else works by roll + bonuses greater than or equal to a target number. Why make this different? Other than nostalgia.


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OTOH, home written adventures can be tailored for the tastes of you and your group, which makes up for a lot of the advantage the professionals have. Also makes it far easier to move the rails when the party does something unexpected.

Pretty much all published modules are too combat focused for my tastes, for example. Even the roleplaying heavy ones have the mandatory grinding encounters.

But, there are definitely advantages to both.


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captain yesterday wrote:
Flagged it Adjule, I'm not a lazy failure, and I use published adventures, not cool at all.

He does go on to say "It is a false one, I know, but it is usually rather difficult to shake soemthing you have thought for decades."


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Aelryinth wrote:

A minor problem with portraying Native Americans is that while they are definitely classical barbarians (i.e. don't have a written language for the most part), they do NOT have the Barbarian-style backstory of rage-happy, battle-crazed warriors. The great warriors of the NA's are mostly awesome rangers with the resulting spiritual component from spellcasting and stuff.

Makes for a very different cultural standard when your great heroes are all rangers. Although rangers with FE: Humans are naturally devastating opponents against humans...

Might depend on which group of Native Americans you're talking about.

Nor do "barbarians" have to be Barbarians. Or vice-versa.

(Though they're all technically barbarians since they don't speak classical Greek.)


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Turin the Mad wrote:

Arcadia needs a clean break from "humans, humans, everywhere". Why not a lizardfolk Empire, a theocracy of sentient tyrannosaurs or any number of other possibilities instead of " oh, look, more humans / [insert PC race here] ".

If there's a time to take a step into an alien culture that isn't dead set on turning everyone into slime-covered meat snacks (aboleths) or slave labor meat snacks (serpentfolk) but has their own distinct culture, Arcadia is the place.

I'd really not do that with an area that's already been set up as the Americas analogue.

I believe the little info we do have on it already talks about the native humans, as well as a few non human possibilities.


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Ashiel wrote:
LazarX wrote:
FatR wrote:
Wait, no it wouldn't be. The attitude towards vampires is "kill 'em all, no sorting needed", and vampires don't even strictly speaking have an urge to kill, merely an urge to feed in a way that often results in death.

I'm sure the corpses they leave behind appreciate the distinction.

Vampires generally have an urge to drink their victims dry. And it's an urge that's followed much more often than not, hence their status as monsters that treat mortals as a food source.

Agreed, actually. I've often noted that the villains in my games are villains not because of what they are but who they are.

The evil vampire is not evil because he's a vampire. He's a threat because he's a vampire. He's evil because he's evil. He might be better at being evil because now he has power and a will to use it, but he kills people for his own pleasure even when he knows he doesn't have to.

Even if you were to un-vamp him, he'd still be an evil bastard.

Though it can be fun to play with the other approach as well - Villains who are threats because of what they are, but not necessarily evil. Vampires who have to kill people for food and treat them just as food animals, but don't actually do it for their own pleasure any more than most of us kill cattle for fun. (Of course, vampires are overdone and the rules for them vary, but the concept applies - Mind flayers, maybe?)


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Kthulhu wrote:
One of the problems with Pathfinder (and most 3.x variants) is that they tend to provide a fair number of options that don't actually deliver what they seem to promise. So you can follow the fluff, and get what the option seems to promise or you can follow the strict RAW mechanics, and it becomes a trap option in the great tradition of Monte "Timmy Card" Cook.

Or you can look at the fluff, go - "

"meh, not interested" and miss the powerful mechanics.

It's one of my pet peeves with the whole 3.x/PF way of doing things. I'm quite happy with systems where the mechanics have no fluff attached - build your own powers, adding the fluff you want games like Hero Systems.
I'm happy with more reductive systems where you just pick from abilities with fluff attached.
The weird compromise of 3.x where you kind of build your character, but some of the fluff is built into the mechanics and some is just mutable "fluff" leads to all sorts of issues. I'm just not fond of it.


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Generic Dungeon Master wrote:


3 - Sure, the story went off the rails three sessions ago, but you don't have to tell them that

The story never goes off the rails. This is what I'd planned all along.

<the camera pans back to reveal workers frantically moving rails into the next valley>


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Aranna wrote:

Well rule 4 and 5 are more advanced:

4- Know the Balance: It is one thing to simply run a game it is quite another to keep your players on the edge of their seats. When you know how to balance encounters and challenges to your players you can tailor the pace of the game to provide that nail biting challenge at just the right time. This is a complex skill to learn, it isn't JUST CR ratings it is knowing just how much your team can handle before becoming just another TPK. One thing to remember however is NOT to keep the pressure dialed all the way up or your players may burn out. Pace the game with less challenging encounters and dial it up when you want an epic battle.

It's also knowing how much challenge your players want. Some really are there for the tactical challenge and come alive for the toughest fights and get bored with anything less. Some like a looser hand.

I personally like enough leeway that I don't have to go overboard on optimizing my character and can build for flavor not just for power. More importantly for this, I also like to be able to roleplay the occasional stupid choice in combat, even important combats, without bringing about a TPK. Maybe he's impulsive or overconfident. Maybe he's got a sense of honor that gets him in trouble.
If I have to focus on playing my tactical best to survive or win, I'm not roleplaying the character.


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Liz Courts wrote:
Only if you presume that the Azlanti colonists survived.

Or intermarried and their descendents survived.


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Mattastrophic wrote:
Caineach wrote:
This is the 3rd year they have run a slate. The first year they were mostly irrelevant. The second year they got a few things on the list, which were basically blacklisted. This year they dominated the nominations.
Thanks! So... Where were the cons held in 2013 and 2014?

14 was in London. 13 in Texas.


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

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

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

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

Vox Day is a pseudonym for Theodore Beale. Much like "sunbeam" isn't your real name. Or so I assume. :)

Plenty of writers use initials as the name they write under. From "J.R.R." Tolkien to "J.K." Rowling. She may or may not answer to "K" in real life.


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Arturius Fischer wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:
Then you firmly believe in a kind of behavior that is not common among humans. The old adage "if it ain't broke don't fix it" more usually manifests in reality as "if it doesn't look broken don't fix it."
You're right. Another common behavior amongst humans is complaining loudly, pointing fingers, and accusing someone else of dishonorable conduct when things don't go one's way. That's plain to see here.

Like, for example, the Puppies complaints that since the kind of works they like haven't been winning it's all dishonorable conduct on the part of Scalzi, Tor and/or SJWs?


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sunbeam wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:


1. 'I dont discuss religion or politics in polite company'. - this implies that we should only discuss complicated and important ideas among those who agree with us. Thats stupid. It prevents the transfer of ideas, and create a polarizing effect. If no one ever calls you on your bs, your bs becomes worse and worse over time as everyone agrees with you.
That's the nature of the modern world though. Unless you consciously seek out other viewpoints a self-reinforcing echo chamber out there just waiting for you to pay attention to it.

On the other hand, sometimes it's worth just shutting down the discussion rather than letting it blow up into a big argument, when you've gathered for something else. Whether it's work or game night or a family gathering or something.

I actually find "I don't discuss religion or politics in polite company" often is a polite way of saying "I'm not going to discuss it with you, because I know we won't be able to stay polite."


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sunbeam wrote:


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

You can still register for this year's WorldCon.

As far as I can tell, you should still be able to vote, though it's obviously too late to nominate.

You could do something like what you suggest. It's in fact happened at least once, back in 1987 when a stack of ballots with the same postmark nominated one of L. Ron Hubbard's books. Thing is, fandom was and is a small enough community that everybody pretty much knew and the book lost horribly.

That level of abuse is easy to do and hard to get away with. It's possible it's happened successfully on a small scale without anyone knowing. Nothing like this though.


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Caineach wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Caineach wrote:
thejeff wrote:

If that's really the case, then just pushing other people to vote, without pushing them to vote for a specific slate, should be sufficient. You'd need more, of course, but if there really are hordes of fans upset with the current state, just getting them to nominate should work.

Again, I'll point out that the last couple years when Sad Puppies was successful in getting a couple of nominees on the slate, they still lost.

It takes time to get disenfranchised people active in something.

So just break the system instead. Good plan.

Maybe there wasn't a conspiracy and the stuff these guys like just didn't win.

The system was already broken. They changed no rules. They just exploited the bad ones that were already in place.

From what I can tell, Sad Puppies is never claiming that there was an active conspiracy, just that the active voting pool was shifted towards one end of the ideological spectrum and was disenfranchising people who didn't fit in.

I've lost track. Are we talking "ideological spectrum" as in "Social Justice Warriors" or still pretending it's about smaller presses being driven out by Tor?

Because frankly, if "disenfranchising people who don't fit it" means "not being welcoming to people who defend or express racism, misogyny or homophobia", I'm really fine with that. Doesn't mean every (or even any) book has to be a SJW tract, though it seems that all you need to qualify for that is a positive LBGTQ character, but I'd much rather have the community welcoming to women and LGBTQs and not the likes of Vox and Wright, than vice versa.


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Spook205 wrote:
Aranna wrote:
GURPS has complicated math? I didn't notice any but then I only used the basic rules. I can't imagine any RPG with complicated math rules really. What possible reason would there be to introduce things like integrals to a role playing game?
Its more that character generation felt like I was filling in an accounting balance sheet.

Not so much complicated math as lots of math. Lots of places to screw up simple math.


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Arturius Fischer wrote:


TheJeff wrote:
Just for the record: Castalia House is a lesser publisher. Barely known even in Finland, as far as I can tell. Maybe just an e-publisher, I'm not sure. So on that front it qualifies.

That's good to know, thanks.

TheJeff wrote:
OTOH, it's Vox Day's project. He's lead editor. So his Rabid Puppies slate doesn't look so much like a principled struggle for either smaller publishers or against leftist bias, but just using backlash against SJWs to push his own business. Without, by the way, making that connection clear on the post where he recommended the slate.

And I suppose Scalzi gets a pass for posting his own slate that included his own works? I mean, pushing one's own business seems to be something both sides are using here. I don't see what's not 'clear' about that, especially when they openly admit it.

Fortunately, at least Sad Puppies seems to have some principle.

For about the 10th time, Scalzi didn't "post his own slate". He makes a blog post where he lists those of his works that are eligible.

That's all. He lists them all. Doesn't try to drive votes towards one so he'll have a better chance. Doesn't list all the works that he thinks should win. Just says "This is what I've got that's eligible."
I'll admit, even that is considered a bit much by historical Hugo standards. But it's a far cry from what we're seeing now. And of course, you know it's him doing it. It wasn't clear to me until I dug deeper into it that Vox was publishing most of the stuff on his list and no one else on this thread mentioned it, so I assume they didn't realize it either. It certainly wasn't explicit in the posting of the list itself. Disclosure makes a big difference.

"Here's what I've written this year. Vote for them if you liked them." vs

Quote:
They are my recommendations for the 2015 nominations, and I encourage those who value my opinion on matters related to science fiction and fantasy to nominate them precisely as they are. I think it is abundantly evident that these various and meritorious works put not only last year's nominations, but last year's winners, to shame.

Without a mention that he profits off most of them.


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Lord Snow wrote:
,1) While there IS a spectrum of voices in the slate (which leads to believe that the claims of the leaders of the Sad Puppies move are at least partially honest when they say they want what they consider to be the good kind of SF to win), its existence also lead to some convoluted singularities. One author had 6 of his works nominated, which is an all time record. Generally speaking, the slate does lean significantly to a political view, and the motive behind it is quite clearly political in nature. That's a level of meddling that is not strictly prohibited or even clearly "wrong", but it should be unsettling for anyone who cares for the integrity of the reward. Hence, the "Hugo awards controversy".

In fairness, only 2 of those (1 novella and 1 related work) were on the Sad Puppies list. The really scummy Rabid Puppies list had all 6.

Possibly interestingly the more moderate Sad Puppies list seems to have had less impact than the Rabid one. While there was much overlap between the two, there were some differences. According to this analysis: only 3 that were actually nominated were only on the SP list, while 10 were only on RP.


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That does kind of explain the pricing then. It should be compared more with Herolab, though with even more features, than with just pdfs.

Of course, if what you want is pdfs, that doesn't really help.


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MMCJawa wrote:
LazarX wrote:
thejeff wrote:
That's the accusation. I'm not sure it's even all that true. SF has long had a trend towards liberal positions, at least culturally. It may be that fans just lean that way as well.
I used to believe that until I actually went to conventions and met more of "my own kind". It's probably more accurate to say that SF has a trend towards libertarian positions, although many of them aren't Randian in orientation. Most of the old line SF authors, tend towards a mix of conservative viewpoints with some having more liberal ones only in the areas of social privacy. Many tended towards a technocratic viewpoint, and tended downplay both artistic and social science disciplines.
From what I have observed...science fiction tends to attract the extremes of different positions. So on the right you have a lot of libertarians, while on the left you get a lot of socialists and other strains of progressives. It's never been that difficult to find libertarian sci-fi authors, and some of the classic authors of the genre like Niven, Pournelle, etc all lean that way.

That's sort of a different tack though. Despite all the "leftist"/"rightist" rhetoric thrown around, the brouhaha isn't really about economic systems or even the role of government. It's about "Social Justice Warriors", race and gender inclusion and the other usual culture war suspects.


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Arturius Fischer wrote:
TheJeff wrote:
Not make vague accusations and send me looking for it.

Good thing I wasn't making accusations then. I was simply asking if you had seen it or not.

TheJeff wrote:
I don't want a side to be in control. Or, more accurately, I only see two sides here - the Puppies and the rest of fandom. I want the fans to be in control.

That's fine. About not wanting a side to be in control, anyway.

And it's interesting that your view of "sides" is "the one you don't like" and "everyone else, who is the 'real' fandom". Pretty sure their view is similar, in that there's "the side they don't like" and "everyone else, who is the real fandom they support".

TheJeff wrote:
If that means more fans tend to like the more inclusive works, that's not one "side" winning, that's how it's supposed to work.

Actually, that is one "side" winning. It just so happens to be the one you agree with, since you've categorized those who disagree as the Other and everyone else as the Us. What about the fans who don't care whether the stories are 'inclusive works', but just want good Sci-Fi?

Furthermore, if the 'other side' manages to pull the support of more fans, does that not mean that more fans tend to like that work?

Absolutely. I didn't mean the sides were the "rightists" vs "everyone else who I agree with", but "the people pushing these slates of ideologically acceptable works" vs "fans voting for works they've liked as they've done for decades".

Arturius Fischer wrote:
TheJeff wrote:
If there is some cabal of leftist Secret Masters of Fandom, then I want them outed and booted out, even if that means that we'll see less inclusive works winning awards.

That's what the Sad Puppies claim they are doing. At least everyone is in agreement on that point!

TheJeff wrote:
Nominate stuff you like. And avoid slates anyone is pushing.
See my previous post in the thread. At least one on the other side is pushing a 'slate', all of his own works, and has been for years. He's not the only one. Slates are everywhere, and this entire event is likely to push that into being the standard in the future. That, or the entire thing will be annihilated. While you favor the latter in that scenario, I'd...

I see a huge difference between "Here's everything I've written that's eligible this year. Nominate if you like." and "We need to organize and nominate this list of works in every category so we can keep the SJWs from stealing it again." I just don't think Scalzi's "slate" is even in the same category. And that's not because I agree with him. I've never even read any of his books. I wouldn't have any problem with anyone, even the Puppy people, doing the same thing.

If they'd provide some evidence for those claims of a leftist cabal, rather than just trying a coup using it as an excuse and using much more questionable tactics than anything we know about from what they consider the other side.


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Arturius Fischer wrote:
TheJeff wrote:
Scalzi did post which of his works were eligible on his blog and opened up a thread for discussion of other nominees, but I don't believe there was a consensus of what to nominate. I've never seen any evidence or even specific accusations about Tor, other that they must have been doing something since they won a lot.
That's cool. Has the opposition attempted to provide any evidence against it, and has anyone else looked?

"opposition"? What opposition? And evidence against what? Can we at least have specific accusations before some undefined group has to prove their innocence?

Arturius Fischer wrote:
TheJeff wrote:
The other thing is that even last year when the Puppies got some on the final slate, they lost, suggesting that either the voting process is also rigged or that maybe they really aren't that popular.

So did people get this upset then, too? Or only when it works?

Because if the former, they should have done something to fix that, or at the least expected a more coordinated effort. That's on them.
If the latter, well, they better do something if they want to keep their control over it.

On who?

Again, you're assuming there's some opposing group that has control over the nominations. They're supposed to be independent fan nominations and a fan vote. Organizing a "leftist" group to make a slate to oppose the "rightist" Puppies defeat the whole point. Better to just kill the awards entirely.

Edit: That's not better to kill the awards than let right wing books win them. That's better to kill the awards than have them become a political competition where someone picks a list of right wing ones and some one else picks left wing ones and whichever side has the most fans wins.
That would be perfectly within the rules of the current system. And a total violation of the intent and of the gentleman's agreement under which it's worked for decades.


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Rynjin wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Arturius Fischer wrote:
those who are under-represented due to not having backing by a major publisher would otherwise get little or no visibility
Is this the new version of "It's about ethics in gaming journalism."
Brianna Wu has already made the "Hurr durr this is just an extension of Gamergate" comment on Twitter, no need for you to lower yourself to that level Jeff.

Why not? It's the same damn thing.

The same reaction against diversity. The same bashing of "Social Justice Warriors". And apparently the same kind of mealy mouthed: "No, it's not about what we say it's about to drum up support, it's about professional ethics."

In fairness, it's not about threats and doxxing and the other real nastiness.

But at the heart, it's the same backlash.


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Arturius Fischer wrote:
those who are under-represented due to not having backing by a major publisher would otherwise get little or no visibility

Is this the new version of "It's about ethics in gaming journalism."

Arturius Fischer wrote:
Is it? Or just the first openly visible one? If those who support it are to be believed, this process was already going on behind the scenes, with specific choices picked out ahead of time by those who previously influenced it.

Even on this small scale, it's pretty hard to push these nomination slates secretly. People have to know about them to nominate them. Which is why the Puppies did it openly and got called on it. Because that works.

Scalzi did post which of his works were eligible on his blog and opened up a thread for discussion of other nominees, but I don't believe there was a consensus of what to nominate. I've never seen any evidence or even specific accusations about Tor, other that they must have been doing something since they won a lot.

The other thing is that even last year when the Puppies got some on the final slate, they lost, suggesting that either the voting process is also rigged or that maybe they really aren't that popular.

*Also, could you please not group all your responses. It makes it much more difficult to reply to as specific point.


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Yeah, I was interested in the "Wereworld poet" to.

As for the Hugo Award thing, the takeaway for me is that far too few people submit nominations, leaving the whole thing vulnerable to a small organized group. It looks like it only took a couple hundred people voting for the puppy slates to make them nominees.

So for those interested in these things, get yourself a supporting Worldcon membership - it's only something like $50 and you wind up getting a packet of the final nominees, so you'll hopefully get some good reading out of it. And then nominate some things. Not somebody's slate, but eligible things you've read and liked. Doesn't have to be a full set of 5 in every category, just however many you think are worthy.

I haven't actually done it yet, but next time I get the chance to doublecheck my finances :)


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sunbeam wrote:

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

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

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

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

Ummm. Anime? Manga? Video games?

Asians may not be as interested in specifically western geek culture, but they've got their own and there's been a lot of cross-pollination.

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

Because it's most likely that feedback loop works in both directions. The lack of diversity in the fanbase reinforces lack of diversity in the creators, which reinforces the lack of diversity in the fanbase. Some of us would like to break out of that cycle.

Some, like the Puppies, would like to reinforce it.

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


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Arturius Fischer wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
Vox Day in particular is a bigot and misogynist of horrific proportions. That is not hyperbole.
Well, given as the bullying was, and also given that I know very little about this guy (I'm assuming it's a guy, correct me if I'm wrong), I'm giving this one the benefit of the doubt until something particularly 'horrific' is shown.

Ask and ye shall receive


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Rhedyn wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
I'm not sure how long this has been up, but for all those who kept complaining that 5e lacked an SRD, they have an online version of the Player's Basic Rules HERE.

Oh wow no. That does not even begin to count.

The basic rules are a taste. By themselves they are a crappy game.

They're a taste. And a nice way to try the game out before committing to it. They're definitely a good thing.

But no substitute for either a SRD or pdf/digital versions.


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It's the mechanical aspect that bothers me. Saves actually got easier to make in AD&D. More so for some saves and less for others, but better overall.

In PF, your save numbers go up, but so does the DC. For casters, it's usually easier to stack the DC higher than for the target to boost their saves, especially the bad ones. The difference between good and bad saves grows as you level making you generally more vulnerable to something than you were at low level. That just didn't happen in AD&D.


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Weirdo wrote:

These represent knowledge checks of increasing DC, with the middle questions representing facts that aren't obviously common knowledge but which ordinary people might pick up from current events, fiction, or as pieces of trivia, while the last questions represent things that only those that have specifically sought out knowledge on the topic should be able to answer.

Of course I could see certain areas having a sharper distinction between common and specialist knowledge - for example in Medieval Europe Christianity and its basic teachings were everywhere but since the priests were the gatekeepers of theology much of the specific religious philosophy would only be available to priests.

However in most cases I'd expect to see some variation in what people know, which suggests either that people generally aren't assumed to take 10 on Knowledge checks (whether or not it's allowed) or else there should be an adjustment to how we handle untrained knowledge checks.

Or that, like many things in the game and especially the skill system, it's an abstraction to simplify play rather than intended as a strict model of how the world really works.


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memorax wrote:

To be honest I never have seen anyone on the Wotc accuse Paizo of being in it for the money. If anything it's someone accusing Wotc of doing the same.

To me criticizing a company for doing what a company should be doing. Which is make a profit and offer most fans what they want. Is dumb imo. i know it's human nature but it does not make it any less dumb. It's like accusing Mcdonalds of making junk food. Unless it's a non-profit which many companies are not. Employees/bills need to be paid. The new books we get in print form are payed by profits that Paizo make. Fans fault them, Wotc or some other rpg company for being greedy or too profit oriented. I sometimes wonder if people are either too naive or have no clue on who business works.

To give a good example at one point the Canadian dollar was strong. Consumers assumed that the price of certain products would change overnight. Working in a bookstore people coming in thinking that suddenly books were the american price. Economics simply does not work that way. Say I buy 100 core PF books at 60$ I'm not going to sell them for 40-45$ no matter how strong the Canadian dollar was. Sorry but the company I worked for was not going to take a major loss in profit no matter how strong the currency was.

And we're back to ignoring the distinction between being in it for the money and just being in it for the money. Yes, they have to make enough money to pay the bills and make a living. Reasonable profits and reasonable practices to make them aren't a problem.

Some companies go beyond that. Is there no level of greed or approaches to making profit that go too far? Especially when it comes to creative works, like RPGs?
Often one thing that's meant is seeking short-term profit over long-term stability. An example might be a company with a really good reputation for quality products lowering its standards to cut costs while producing even more material, boosting revenue with lower costs and thus higher profits - for awhile. Until the quality of the new product damages the reputation enough that sales drop. Often, by this point the new management has earned their bonus, made a reputation for boosting profits and moved on to another company. :)

Note: "new books we get in print form" are not paid for by profits. They're paid for by revenue and hopefully will generate profits. Any revenue invested back into paying for new products isn't profit.


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memorax wrote:
Their favored rpg is the best. No flaws whatsoever usually. With the company who publishes it above reproach. Rpgs they don't like they see flaws where their usually are none. The companies that publish them the spawn of the devil. A good example is some on this forum accusing Wotc of being greedy and wanting to make money. Last time I checked Paizo is not a non-profit. Who starts a business not wanting to make money.

That's a slight distortion of the usual accusation. Usually it's "just wanting to make money".

Obviously all businesses want to make money. At least enough to keep going. Some, particularly some smaller privately-owned businesses, are in the field they're in because the owners actually like it. In Paizo's case, the owners are not only actively involved in running the company, but, IIRC, also play the flagship game. While they certainly want to make money, they're also invested in the game as a game and a hobby.

That's a very different approach than WotC, which is owned by another company and responsible to them. Even within WotC, D&D isn't their main product line. I'm sure the main team working on D&D does play and care about the game, but they work for people who don't.


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DM Under The Bridge wrote:
Better than the modifier sandwich I say. You get better, it is easier and easier to hit Ac 0, which was pretty damn good.

But those are two unrelated things. You could switch PF to use THAC0, but keep all the modifiers, or you could reverse the scale in AD&D, but not bring in all of 3.x's modifiers.

Which is something like what 5E is trying.

Thac0 wasn't that bad. Better than just the table. Reversing it is simpler and more intuitive.


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Farastu wrote:

We actually do plan to play Fate.

A few people have actually mentioned Mutants and Masterminds to me... my group isn't presently big on super hero RPGs really though, so, I suspect Hero system is the last one I'll play for a while, unless I try to find someone else to run it with a different group.

We have at least one fan of the Amber series in the group so I could see that one happening. I haven't heard much on the RPG at all really, so, perhaps I'll have to look it up.

I actually have the main Traveller book too, but have never gotten around to playing or running it (yet, so maybe I'll have to bring that one up as an option).

Paranoia I'd actually like to run (or play), seems like could be a great one-shot type game.

I've played CoC (and ran it) using a hybrid of Pathfinder and CoC D20 rules actually.

Amber's pretty niche, even by RPG standards.

CoC d20 isn't the same thing. At all. :)


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GM Tribute wrote:

Well, having had Gary Gygax as a DM and run many of his modules, he was considered a killer DM. Hardly anyone survived a Gygax run Queen of the Demonweb Pits. He told me I gave my players too many 'breaks', and I was considered a tough DM.

Having participated in the AD&D tourneys of old at Gen Con, they were extremely tough. I remember going through Dwellers of the Forbidden City, and tons of people were mashed in the first encounter.

Old school players figured characters could die or go insane if you are playing Call of Cthulhu. Living through the adventure was its own reward. Now character deaths are frowned upon even more than handing out less than WBL in treasure.

But, I believe the Pathfinder Core Rules are truly incredibly well done. The Core Rulebook is quite amazing, and reminds me of the power of the old Black DMG.

Tournament games were specifically designed to be challenging and weed out characters. They didn't necessarily reflect normal home games.

I never played with Gygax. Didn't go to conventions at all until much later and not often then. But I've heard plenty of stories, much like yours, reinforcing the Gygax=Killer GM theme, and about as many saying pretty much the opposite.

Similarly, my old school experience doesn't reflect the lethality so many talk about and there are still plenty of posters here, not all of them grognards who are plenty proud of how challenging their games are. Quite willing to kill PCs, even if it's not quite as often as legends of the old days.

Of course, my favorite CoC keeper was far happier coming up with new and interesting ways for us to go mad than killing us outright. "There's no fun in death", she'd say. "It's more entertaining to keep you alive and watch you suffer."

Which is roughly my attitude towards death in any RPG. It can happen occasionally, but there are more interesting ways to fail.


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Black Dougal wrote:

All I know is I saw the 4 hr version on TV and it made very little sense at all.

I eventually read the book a few years ago, I actually found it somewhat dissapointing.I had assumed the movie had made a complete mashup of things, but no, the book was meh.

I have to remember the standard of writting in sci fi has gotten better since Dune came out.

Someone like Lois Bujolds Vorkosian saga, which has won several Hugos, would make a better set of movies than the Dune series ever could.

The Vorkosigan Saga would make a much better set of movies than Dune. Light, fluffy action movies, with a ton of cleverness and wit. They'd be great. The books are great fun. Fluff, but very entertaining.

Dune, at least the first book, is a much better book. Deservedly a classic. But very hard to make into a good movie or set of movies.

Which of course, doesn't mean you have to like it. Everyone's tastes are different. But the idea that the "standard of writing in sci fi" has risen from Dune to Vorkosigan is ludicrous.


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In theory, the level limits weren't punishment or because the devs were pro-human, they were partly to explain why the longer lived races didn't dominate everything (500 yr old 100th level elven wizard) and partly as a balance for the demi-humans being otherwise generally better than humans. All the special abilities and the like. Also, I suppose to enforce the intended flavor, which wouldn't fly today.

Not a good balance, imo, since it only came into play fairly late in a campaign and then was a killer. If you expected the game to last past X level, you didn't play a race limited below X level. They seemed kind of pointless, but didn't bother me much.

The limits did generally rise in 2E from what they were in 1st.


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Jericho Graves wrote:

I have been reading this thread for a while now and I must say something that has come to my own mind.

Why does it matter?

Why does your sexuality matter as long as you have found true love with someone, or even some people you care about?

Why does your gender role matter as long as you have inner peace and a tranquil life?

Why are you confused when you can simply know yourself free of labels and free of conformity?

I look at threads like these and wonder why people must search for exterior gratification for something that permeates the mind and spirit, not the body.

I would also like every child to have a role model for every situation, but finding these role models will not come from mass media, corporations, or the exchange of money. These role models, as all role models, should come from real life. Real people. I feel that yes, the english language suffers in calling anyone a gender neutral term. But this is a failing of many languages. Would I like to see more varied Iconics? Of course. But whether or not those Iconics are ever written should have no bearing on one's own personal enlightenment and spiritual journey that all humanity takes. I cannot wait for a world in which a person is just a person and gender identifiers are no longer required because humanity is a collective family that should get along.

The day we just use the word "friend" for every person we meet, is the day I live and breath for. Alas, there ARE many bigots out there that wish to put others down just for being "different" and that is a true shame and crime against decency. There is no normal. There is only the Individual Self. Each Self is unique and there should be no label for any one person.

Ideally role models in the real world would be better, particularly ones in close family or other close relationships - particularly for kids exploring their identity. However, in world with as much bigotry as we still have more distant and even fictional role models may have to substitute since it's likely you won't know anyone to be a role model in any given category. Even without bigotry, some identities are rare enough that most people aren't likely to just happen to know one, when they begin to question their own nature. Fictional representation is shallower, certainly, but broader. Even if you don't know any trans adults, for example, you can come across one in fiction and realize that's what you're dealing with.

Even for more common groups, fictional and media representation can reinforce or break stereotypes: "Boys have adventures, girls get rescued or wait at home for the boy to come back"

Beyond that, arguments that representation isn't necessary tend to ignore that someone's always getting representation - even if it's just the default straight white man.

Edit: agreed that it would be nice if the bigotry just went away. The question is how to move towards that.
Representation of less common groups is also a step towards normalizing them in other people's minds.


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TGMaxMaxer wrote:

I have never understood it either.

If you kill Gnolls, or Hobgoblins, and collect the bounty, you can be a Paladin.

If you kill elves, or halflings, and collect the bounty, then you are evil.

It's a blatantly biased situation. The NAAGP (National Association of Greenskinned Peoples) should register a complaint and get themselves a mind-flayer lawyer to address this issue.

Depends entirely on who's offering the bounty and why.

Frankly, I'd have a lot of trouble with a Paladin killing just for a bounty. Especially if it's just "Gnoll scalps, 10gp each".
A reward for stopping the Gnoll slavers taking kids from the village is another thing. But a reward for the elven slavers would be the same.


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Jessica Price wrote:
The idea that "if I put a gay person in my game, gay people might get offended and yell at me, so I'm not going to do it," sort of misses the point, to me. Hearing what you didn't do right is how you learn.

I suspect you'll get a lot more flak from bigots than from overly critical LGBTQ people. It'll be a lot less helpful too.

At least from a random sample of a general audience. Or even just random people reading here on these boards, where many of the worst bigots get weeded out.

If we've reached the point where the biggest problem with using LGBTQ characters is criticism from "Big Gay", then we've made far more progress than I think we have.


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Sammy T wrote:

Jtaylor, if you take this much umbrage at your pretend character dying in a make-believe game, you should re-evaluate why you feel "anger, hurt, and confusion" since character death can happen at any level. Also, if you are making assumptions about the other GM's motives (that you are unwanted at the group), then you may be reading too much into things.

I know everyone here on the PFS boards wants folks to have a good time every time they play (I know I do), but ups and downs are part of the game and you need to be prepared for that. Was this an ideal first experience? No. But you seem to be taking this way too hard for a game.

First game. New experience.

It's easy to assume that first experience is typical. It is after all typical of your experiences with the game.

His character died in the only scenario he's played. Half the characters in the session died, IIRC. If that level of lethality was the norm, I'd walk away in a second. I've got no interest in waiting those odds out to get a character to last.

Of course, those aren't the odds, but that's not clear when your only experience looks that way. That's why that first impression is important. It may actually be even more frustrating when a higher level character dies, but at least by then you know death is actually pretty rare - you've survived a bunch of sessions and you've seen most of your fellows survive too.

I think you're being a little too harsh on him and reading too much into his posts as well.


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houstonderek wrote:
I started playing in '79, both Moldvay basic and AD&D, and the only guys I consider "grognards" are the dudes with the painted minis, tape measures, and a sand box. Seriously, only the old school war gamers that were around before the three brown books probably actually merit the honor. Everyone else is a n00b, frankly. ;-)

Ah. So "grognard" is "Someone who started playing before me."

Possibly, for some including "Me".
That actually seems to fit the usage pretty well. :)


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thegreenteagamer wrote:
Spook205 wrote:

We really need to come up with a commensurate term for the other end of this particular spectrum.

The anti-grognard, the guy who's on a perpetual quest for novelty and harbors a Hegelian belief that game systems are slowly marching towards a state of undefinable perfection.

Optimists.

It is pure pessimism to assume that we are not novel enough to improve upon the existing, ever.

I'm not saying there won't be mistakes as time goes on...The edition of which we shall not speak that comes before fifth and after third did happen of course...but you don't look at everything new and automatically write it off because there's no way to improve upon the glory of yon old days.

Not so much that as the belief that newer is always better. Your approach is more realism. We're talking about the opposite fallacy to the stereotype of the Grognard.

While games in general may improve over time, there will also be new bad ideas and flawed implementations. This hypothetical extreme anti-grognard would deny that. New ideas and new games are always better.
Much as the extreme grognard would deny that anything in the modern gaming scene is better than it was in his day.


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Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
thejeff wrote:
houstonderek wrote:
I doubt he knows. It's pretty obvious to me he doesn't have any idea what "sandbox" means to a bunch of people who grew up in the sandbox era.
There was a sandbox era? When was this?

Well the term does come from somewhere. I mean I kind of get your point in that I rather doubt there ever was a time when Sandbox style games where anything but a minority. On the other hand it is kind of reasonable to postulate that there was once a time where Sandboxes where more prevalent then they are today. The modern system with its wealth by level rules etc. are in some sense almost anti-sandbox. On the other hand 1st and 2nd edition, lacking such rules, better supported a Sandbox style of play.

In essence I kind of suspect that the 'Sandbox Era' if it can be called that would have been somewhere around the point when 1st was switching over to 2nd. Maybe a little before 2nd to some point after 2nd came out.

That said even if this is the height of Sandbox style play as an 'era' I don't think it holds a candle to the rise of Hickman D&D roughly during the same period with a clear emphasis away from anything that might resemble sandbox style play and a move toward heavy story based play. Dungeon Magazine was not full of adventures meant to support sand box gaming but it was chalk full of adventures hinging on interesting story lines during this period.

That was kind of my thought.

To some extent the stories I've heard of very early Gygax style play seem to fit the sandbox paradigm. OTOH, none of the earliest published adventures do. It certainly wasn't part of my early experiences. Once past the middle-school Monty Haul stage, we moved pretty much straight into the "Hickman story" version, though predating that, IIRC. Nor nearly so constrained. But other than through Dragon and those who went to conventions, there wasn't as much contact between groups as there is now, so it's quite possible everyone else was deep in sandbox mode.

I don't think I came across the concept until some discussions on Usenet back in the late 90s. And didn't know the term, at least in that contect until much later.


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knightnday wrote:

Grindgrrind. "I'm leaving forever and ever" posts followed by a wall of text of why everyone will be sorry and was wrong.

Especially when the same person posts them more than once. :)


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Kthulhu wrote:
I've decided that every time I see the nostalgia/rose-colored glasses thing, I'll just call that post out as being angry that the poster lacks the imagination, creativity, and intelligence to play in a more fluid system.

We know.

Can you at least only do when someone actually commits the fallacy, not at every mention of nostalgia.


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pres man wrote:
Should Mom-And-Pops That Forgo Gay Weddings Be Destroyed?

Small businesses go under all the time, for lesser reasons than that.

And Memories Pizza has closed its doors for the moment, but has raised $50K from supporters. (Other, more recent sources put that up to $500K.)

I bet that's a lot more than they make in a couple of days selling pizza.

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