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Goblin Squad Member. Organized Play Member. 2,963 posts (3,054 including aliases). 1 review. No lists. No wishlists. 22 aliases.

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It's nice to be an outsider on all of this will be interesting to see how all this shakes out with the fanbase/existing player turnover vs. new players once the new system rolls out.

Edition changes are a good study in human nature, brand loyalty/fanaticism and the five stages of grief.

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The Crypt Keeper strongly recommends some overlooked (or underrated) flicks...

Night of the Demon (1957)
The Fog (Original 1980)
The Changeling (1980)
Quatermass and the Pit (aka Five Million Years to Earth) (1967)(great movie for horror gamers - CoC, Chill).

On a bizzaro side note - there is a very odd interpretation of the story "Who goes there?" (influence for the Thing From Another World/The Thing (JC) called Horror Express.
A crappy/lovely film staring Peter Cushing & Christopher Lee on the Trans-Siberian Express circa 1906. On the train is a fossil of some ape-like humanoid that actually houses an ancient evil alien mind that awakens and causes havoc on the train. It can take over individuals and transfer body-to-body while reanimating the corpses of prior victims.

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Apparently he passed a few hours ago, 8:40pm PST.... RIP Tom

Rock icon and a key contributor to the soundtrack for my life (and for many others).

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"An ordinary person spends his life avoiding tense situations. A repo man spends his life getting into tense situations."


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I wish they had a "missing adventures for the completest" option - one where I could get the new 9 in print or pdf as a package. Unless the ones that are already in print are expanded or revised this is going to be a tough one to justify.

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Apupunchau wrote:
But if it was random it would be like, "You turn the corner, hold on a second let me roll these dice to see if anything is there. Oh nothing ok you guys are good." Or "Hmm ok let me roll to see, of you guys come across something, let me see what it is. Oh its a servant." These both seem weak.

Because that's a lazy way to implement a random encounter.

If you purchased a mod you have to understand it thoroughly - all the ins and outs, variables, best guesses at player reaction, encounters, treasure/treasure impact & team resources and yes - random encounters.

That is a prepared GMs job - looking at the random encounter table (if included) and having the same understanding of the table as you would the rest of the module. That means the job of the GM is to come up with interesting implementation of potential encounters vs a dry and mechanical presentation.

The random servant does matter as a concept (the random part) - if they are running an espionage op then it is one of those random "oh s&!$" moments that makes things memorable and adds an immersive quality to the game. That random encounter can happen at the most inopportune time - say the rogue is dispatching an evil henchman of the BBEG in the henchman's chamber and the servant walks in (an innocent)...changes everything. Or the players may be dressed like some of the BBEG enforcers as part of their deception and they encounter the servant who avoids them out of fear (since they are treated badly) by the BBEG men. RP encounter? Info? Even just immersions - all are valuable and good adds.

Apupunchau wrote:
If you want the servant there but him/her there. If it doesn't matter if they are there are not - which is what rolling says, you don't care one way or another if its there or not - just pick and run with it.

In many respects - yes, you don't care if the servant encounter happens - its just part of the potential tapestry of the adventure. It isn't supposed to be the adventure, just a feature that chance introduced (and the GM familiarized himself about prior to rolling).

Honestly, random encounters - if crafted with some care or even just read through by the GM are incredible tools to enrich an adventure and to make the world come alive. I'm not talking bulk Roll 2)1-2 trolls attack the party, but instead while wandering through the dungeon they attract the attention of a hideously deformed and scarred troll outcast who hides and murders with stealth anything it can get away with killing.

Random encounters can help various class or character concepts shine:
- Wilderness encounter: With a random dangerous predator - could the druid or ranger reverse the encounter and use it as backup for a group that is injured or can the whole thing go south?
- Espionage encounter: DE's servant example is a great one - all sorts of random things that can throw off an attack on a base - unexpected reinforcements, escaped prisoner, etc. Are the players making too much noise, for stealth characters reducing chances of random encounters is actually a form of reward for their character choice.

Theme of adventure
- Red Herring: Random noises, non-combat encounters, etc -keep the PCs on their toes, makes the world alive and doesn't trigger panic every time you roll the dice
- Mood: For horror games that random sound can be a shriek in the night, a bad turn in the weather, an incomplete grave, a weird cairn (freshly made), strange tracks and drag marks, blood on a tree, etc

That's not even the tip of it, I could write a once a week blog for a year on how to create and develop random encounters for all kinds of games and GM styles - that's how strongly I feel about this poorly implemented and underused GM tool.

IMO of course, I could be wrong about random encounters.

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Ending the politics section in off topic comes too late and the damage has been done.

Jawa, the reason why the hostility dropped down in recent years on the forums is because all the OT section had turned into an echo chamber - everyone with a divergent view already being driven off years ago.

If you weren't some stripe of left wing you were ostracized if not downright attacked. The fact that the staff injected themselves in the politics and social debate didn't help.


Edit to add: My opinion of course as a long time poster and someone who eventually disconnected from this wonderful and welcoming "community".

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I dislike Ashiel's posting style intensely: smarmy, dismissive and arrogant. Any and all of her threads I hide as soon as I read them and I have avoided interactions with her because they were always vitriolic.

That being said this whole situation is absurd and Ashiel (and apparently a few others) should be unbanned.

Barring threats to staff or other posters, outright racism or repeated threadcrapping (aka - the drive-by's, we have a few in this thread) a perma-ban, or ban asking the poster to beg to have it lifted is ridiculous.

IMO the moderation staff needs to buck up a little and remember that they need to remove their emotions from the situation when dropping nukes, wipes, locks and issuing bans. That or just outright state your political/social views and say that any threads, comments or critiques that challenge or offend them will be met with deletes, warnings and eventual bans.
In this exchange - based upon the emails - an emotional response from a poster was met by an emotional response, i.e. dismissal. Why would you tell someone that "maybe this isn't the place for you" then ban them? Shouldn't that phrase be acted upon by the poster - you know, deciding if the place really is for them and if they still want to continue posting?

The moderators here need to remind themselves that they both have infinite power to control the narrative while simultaneously possessing human emotional responses to things that they find offensive.

On that note, I also feel (aka - an opinion) that it is incredibly distastefully to see staff (moderators or otherwise) +1 posts poli/socially charged posts or post that are pro-paizo. I'm not seeing the need for them to get involved in political or socially charged threads or the need to "back each other up" or friendly posters. All this does is foster an even more "Us vs. them" environment based upon who are their open favorites are on the boards.


Apologize to her, bring her back and tell her to keep it civil if she decides to post again. Fix it and move on.

Then I can start hiding her threads again.

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Ironically a year back I commented on a post Terquem made a about some campaign setting work - and I would have loved to have been able to play in both examples he wrote up.

I don't really know or regularly communicate with posters here and when I do it's usually knocking heads due to wildly different play-styles, opinions on gaming philosophy and + RL politics - a trifecta!

That being said I would probably game at most any table that would have me or run a game for anyone who likes to play at least once because I really like gaming.

This is a niche hobby that is fractured by systems/editions and to a degree age/political views and system bias (usually your first system). seems to exaggerate the difference - the cliquish nature, the fighting over the most basic posts/comments seems - nutty.
In the rw when I come across gamers I tend to show a favorable bias towards - even if I don't like their particular game, game philosophy, etc - they are still gamers. Go figure.

I do feel that my particular play style leans more towards the old school + immersive lore so my list of posters on it would be colored by that fact.

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I should have seen this coming.

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Yes, in 2e rangers could wear any armor. If they wore anything heavier than studded leather the lost their nature stealth and concealment abilities and fighting with two weapons, but otherwise a ranger in plate was viable.

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Krensky wrote:

Never had an issue with it back in the day.

And like I said, it was one of many things that kept caster's in check.

Hell, I didn't have a problem with it last week and won't tomorrow night.

Any action that is negated by a faster action can be changed to a new action speed at a penalty, if that penalty takes you out of the timer for the round - the action doesn't happen that round. If the target is gone (dead) then you can change to a new action at a penalty, and same rule applies - if you can't do the changed action within the confines of the round then you don't do it that round. It isn't hard.
It doesn't become rocket tag or some other nonsense, people don't switch to faster weapons or attacks under this system because those usually deal less damage, just as heavier weapons tend to deal more damage.

Just a failed slippery slope argument. It didn't happen in 2nd but it's being framed retroactively like it did to fit the narrative.

Again, compared to Pathfinder, declared initiative rounds with weapon/action speeds and lost actions go x10 faster than my PF games with all the round-to-round ticking off of buff/debuff +1/-1 nonsense. I've tested combats and adventure completion between AD&D and PF, AD&D wins hands down every time. On a PF night we would get through one combat and maybe 3 encounters/rooms, on an AD&D night - around 3-4 combats and 7 encounters or more - they tend to be more cautious in AD&D due to the sheer lethal nature of the game - but even with that we get more actual game time.

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Ranishe wrote:

I don't like tying such behavior to class. It means not only means that to solve certain problems, you need a specific class (which is alright in concept), but also means a lot of character concepts become impossible. I like having more customization beyond class related behavior (feats, skills, etc) to better build a character.

But, this also has a flaw. Basically, 1) what is the differences between classes, 2) how do you represent that in a way that keeps classes 'balanced' but feeling unique? As an example, a barbarian with rage can smash objects apart. Should a fighter with appropriate feats be able to do the same? Should he be able to do so as well / reliably? If so, what's the difference between a fighter and barbarian? If no, what does the fighter have that offsets the barbarian's advantage in this field? Sundering may not be the best example, but I hope it gets the idea across.

Yes, that's why I said that once the separated out 90% of the Rogues abilities from 2nd to 3rd they should have just dumped the class instead of saying - "but, but the Rogue can climb walls so much better because of.... numbers!!!!"

Numbers which other spell casting classes can manipulate better than the Rogue.

This is the thing though - if you want that level of customization - where anyone can pick and choose skills and powers based on what they like or think they will need, then why have a class based system? You can't have it both ways - heavy customization but with poorly delineated borders on which trick or responsibility falls onto which class. Currently casters - for all the reason I listed in the other post - run the game. With little to no restriction on duplicating abilities, or crossover power the spell casting classes are too flexible, too modular (spell load out) and as such to powerful when compared with others who are actually playing a different game.

If there was a different design consideration going into 3e maybe things wouldn't be that bad. Something were fighters and rogues own most of the skill system or gain specific benefits over other classes for some kind of niche protection for their team function then things might be different. They didn't to that, they took away (attacks, class abilities), gave away (class abilities), shifted the save paradigm (self to an external that can be manipulated) and shifted the goal post for baseline success of martial classes (super inflated hp for everything).

So I get your point - each class should have a "thing" and it shouldn't just be +X more than another class who can do that "thing" and 5 other "things". A class power that is unique to each class. Casters already have it for their classes.


The whole of 3e+ is a kludged-together, poorly thought out system. On almost all levels.

The martial classes should have had inherent features that they own and other classes couldn't steal. Singular feat fixes and silly combos don't get to the core of the problem - that there are multiple mini system/problem resolution options in the game (Skills, binary spells, utility spells) that martial classes currently do not exclusively own. Unless this core problem is resolved it will always be a band-aid type solution.

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GM 1990 wrote:

On a serious note:

Just wondering if anyone played through 2E to 3E to 3.5 and then PF and has any insight about class design during those years. I was doing MUDS, not TTRPG so missed that transition. But in 1E when something like UA came out with Cavalier, Barbarian and some rule additions at least Fighter was one of the few who could specialize (thus gaining bonus attacks and + to hit/damage), they were better at fighting because they had class abilities others didn't, and those who got additional things like Barbarian paid for it in slower leveling up.

Any idea why it was decided to create sets of abilities like Ki Pool, Rogue Talent, Rage Abilities, and Companion rules, and then not have something similar for fighter?

This is really the big question. The primary reason why things got broken (my opinion here) the conversion to a standardized d20 system. Its a little convoluted but I will try my best to break it down why it all broke down. I think...I know why the martial and skill based classes from older systems suck in 3e+(3.5, PF, etc).

1st and 2nd ed had many built-in controls. Here are a few for classes:
- Stat requirements
- various xp charts, they were all over the place at later levels but at lower levels some classes advanced pretty fast (using 2nd ed here).

Older XP charts:
Fighter vs. Paladin/Ranger was not very pronounced.
To get to 2nd level F: 2,000xp, P/R: 2,250xp
To get to 4th level F: 8,000xp, P/R: 9,000xp (more pronounced difference)
To get to 7th level F: 64,000xp, P/R: 75,000xp
To get to 9th level F: 250,000xp, P/R: 300,000xp

But then throw the Rogue in the mix:
To get to 2nd level R: 1,250xp
To get to 4th level F: 5,000xp
To get to 7th level F: 40,000xp
To get to 9th level F: 110,000xp

So it was very common to have the Rogue as the highest level character in the group.

To get to 2nd level R: 1,500xp
To get to 4th level F: 6,000xp
To get to 7th level F: 55,000xp
To get to 9th level F: 225,000xp

To get to 2nd level F: 2,500xp
To get to 4th level F: 5,000xp
To get to 7th level F: 60,000xp
To get to 9th level F: 135,000xp

So its a little all over the place, but there several factors. Pallys and Rangers really had to pay for their abilities. To stress on the casters - leveling up a 1st level wizard to 7th or 9th level without cheating was hard. It was a class with incredibly low chance of survival. Priest (clerics) fared well, though restrictive weapon use - as in you cannot use it at all - meant that there was not much in common magic weapons.

Spells and spell casting:
The two big changes here that broke the game.
In older editions saves were internal. If you were low level the saves were hard, as you went up and acquired some magic items they got better. But the critical thing here - the save difficulty was on your character, not controlled by an external source.

Ex: if a high level wizard cast disintegrate on your low level fighter, he made a save vs. disintegrate. A number value generated by his level and his modifiers. In 3e+ the number is generated (and spiked/meta manipulated) by the source. So if you build a very specialized caster you can easily get your save values out of expected challenge level.
That is huge one. Meta value manipulation + binary save system is a recipe for disaster. I'm of the mind that the DC should come from the spell level - and that's it. The higher the spell, the harder the save - no caster stat addition, feats, or any other meta mechanic to inflate the DC out of its fixed value.

Spellcasting Part II:
In older editions there were action speeds and some spells took longer to cast than others. And if you were hit - you lost the spell. No checks, no rolls - just gone. These were huge breaks on casters - removed in 3e+.

The other thing was the increase in total number of spells per casting level based off of prime stat. Just too many more spells per day allowing for combinations and the ability to intrude on other class functions. More is not always better. Especially if we are talking about powers that have no drawbacks.

On top of that, AC for Wizards in older editions were brutal. Without PB, dex was not guaranteed to be high, crafting was incredibly difficult and if you had Bracers of Defense they probably brought you into the range of Studded Leather armor. Again - low hp, and if you are hit - spell is gone.

So now the 2nd string fighters (ranged attackers, rogues) needed to watch the casters back while trying to take out the same on the other side. Aka - job protection.

Protected class abilities and built-in class skills:
Rogues had climb, move silently, find/remove traps, etc - as exclusive abilities. When 3e+ came along someone thought it would be a brilliant idea to take one classes abilities and put them out there for any other class to grab. If they were going to go this route they probably should have just eliminated the Rogue class entirely. But I am confidant that they had no idea of the ramifications of what they were doing when they did it. They were too proud of their "universal d20 mechanic" to see that they had gutted a class.

Something similar happened with BAB. In other editions - with specializations a low level fighter could get 3 attacks every two rounds - with no penalty. 2 on the 1st round and 1 on the second. And it just got better. All this at 1st level with full mobility.

Hit point inflation. This has several parts:
Removing the hit die cap on classes/PCs/NPCs.
Fighters had a HD cap of 9 (d10) hit points. After that the got +3 hp per level - with no Constitution bonus
being applied after 9th. Wizards capped out at 10 (d4) hit points, gaining +1 hp every level thereafter. Priest at 9(d8) hit points, getting +2 per level thereafter and finally Rogues at 10 (d6), getting +2 hp after 10th level.

Monsters did not have a Con score, so as such their hit points were based on their hit die which was a fraction of what is in 3e+ games. 1st ed monster HD was very low with minimal bonuses, but in 2nd ed the HD went up because specialization and increased player melee damage output increased in the latter part of 1st ed and so HD went up as an assumption to maintain the challenging aspect of the game.

In 3e+ games, once monsters start getting to 4hd or more, their hp inflate exponentially due to arbitrary assignment of Con values. Fighters can do more damage with all the right feats, but they get less attacks than their old edition counterparts - and when the do get multiple attacks it is at -5.
So hp increased around 150% in 3e+ games, while damage output did not. Average damage per attack may have gone up in 3e+, but with less attacks our lower level martial classes were doing more damage.
Also, weapons had rates of attack built-in and they improved if you were specialized. Bow - 2 attacks per round - no penalty, darts 3, etc.

Removing HD caps and adding in CON bonuses x HD exponentially increased hit points for players and creatures. Problem is - damage output didn't scale and casters don't trade in hit point currency (besides evokers) to turn off encounters. They use inflated, binary saves to deal with threats.

More HP all around = Bad for characters that deal with HP to overcome challenges.

Spells vs Skills:
In 2nd ed they introduced Non-weapon proficiencies. These were attribute based skills. So if you had Armorer - you check may have been rolling under your Intelligence -2. They didn't have ranks, but they were grounded to a stat and as such - were not subject to meta manipulation.

These NWP were in addition to built-in class "skills". A wizard in older editions of AD&D could cast spells that stepped on other classes skills - but they were so difficult to use that it would have made more sense to cast it on someone else in the party to maximize use.

Except from 2nd ed Spider Climb.
A spider climb spell enables the recipient to climb and travel upon vertical surfaces as well as a giant spider, or even hang upside down from ceilings. Unwilling victims must be touched and are then allowed a saving throw vs. spell to negate the effect. The affected
creature must have bare hands and feet in order to climb in this manner, at a movement rate of 6 (3 if at all encumbered). During the course of the spell, the recipient cannot handle objects that weigh less than a dagger (one pound), for such objects stick to his
hands and feet. Thus, a wizard will find it virtually impossible to cast spells if under a spider climb spell. Sufficient force can pull the recipient free; the DM can assign a saving throw based on circumstances, the strength of the force, and so on. For example, a
creature with a Strength of 12 might pull the subject free if the subject fails a saving throw vs. paralyzation (a moderately difficult saving throw). The caster can end the spell effect with a word.
The material components of this spell are a drop of bitumen and a live spider, both of which must be eaten by the spell recipient.

So there was hard coded class and skill protections. It was very hard for a cleric to "emulate" a fighter via a few spells as compared to 3e+. A wizard could not synthesize the skill and proficiency of a Rogue with spells that gave you +10 to perform a skill.

Fighters didn't need a ki pool or War pool points because a fighter in older editions had a distinct advantage of having: best attacks, best number of attacks, best saves, best AC, best weapon, best chance to find a magic weapon that they could use.
The most important thing though - the they were needed, just like rogues were needed (due to the fact that they owned specific skills).

I am running an AD&D game without a wizard in the party - they are doing well. I couldn't say the same if the did not have the fighter in their group.


All that was longer than what I wanted it to be, but I think the above breakdown illustrates the major changes as to why Fighters and Rogues are not as good.

I wasn't kidding when I posted earlier that the d20 system broke the fighter and any other class that did not have unique class abilities. Everything but casters got broken, just to different degrees as the various changes impacted their core function and role in a party.

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Actually there is a pretty strong connection between Lovecraft and the xenomorphs, namely the story at the Mountains of Madness.
The story having a hook where an intelligent race of beings, called the Elder Things created the ultraviolent race of creatures called Shoggoths, which in turn destroyed their creators.
This is the basic premise behind Alien/Prometheus and why Ridley Scott pushed to get MoM movie delayed since his story was basically a clone (in space) of Mountains.

Or something like that.

Imagine though, while the xenomorphs are mortal what kind of horrific god they would worship?

I can easily see the relationship between HPL and the xenos because in many ways they are derivative from his mythos. A mythos race.


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Coffee Demon wrote:

I see that Barakus and Tsar have two different authors, and I've heard a lot of great things about Bill Webb, so I should check this out.

I'm sorry to say I was really dismayed by Slumbering Tsar and it led me to realize that my tastes are very different than some of the big reviewers on this site. I really can't see how that thing has a 5 star rating.

I'm tempted to start reviewing myself so people can get another perspective.

Based on what you have posted here on what you are looking for it would probably be best to not buy FGG modules. Their modules are designed with an old-school feel, something that emphasizes challenge/difficulty and fun vs. "logical" encounter design.

If you are looking for product with more internal consistency I would recommend checking out Raging Swan modules and environs which are structurally set up differently and have more of a focus on consistency, balance and cohesion. Or Paizo APs/modules, which are based more on story/balanced encounters and less on challenge/difficulty.

I am a big fan of FGG - in fact they are my primary source of material for Pathfinder or AD&D games but their material is not for everyone, especially not for new-school players who don't understand what they are trying to do as a publisher.
Their big influences were old modules like The Keep on the Borderlands, Village of Hommlet and the Tomb of Horrors and that is what they are trying to replicate in their adventures. If that isn't your gaming background or is something you want to emulate in your gaming with newer product then I would recommend you look elsewhere because you are just going to get frustrated.

I know my logical encounter mind needed to switch around and change the way some of the dungeon encounters in Barakas were laid out, bth - they would work well just as written if you are running an old school style dungeon crawl. 100% cohesive encounter/dungeon design - no. Did my players have fun running through it - yes, very much so. But that's because they like that style of play and focus more on the fun and challenge instead of "why was that ghoul over here and how did it get here past the Ogre?"

I didn't subscribe to Tsar sight unseen, I looked into its history and development and I looked at the other products I purchased from Necromancer games (Bill's prior company with Clark Peterson) before I dropped 150 bucks on a product so I knew what I was getting into. Tsar wasn't written by an "amateur" - Greg Vaughn is actually one of the best writers in the industry, but if you don't like sandbox dungeon bashes it won't matter who wrote the adventure - you probably still wouldn't like it.

All that being said, you are going to be very frustrated trying to make their adventures fit what you are looking for when you are looking for something different than what they are selling.

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voodoo chili wrote:

BTW- 'Hob' means iron in Goblin.

OK, made that up, but that's how I've always thought of Hobgoblins:

In Old English Hob can be redundant for Goblin but it also meant infernal spirit or devil.

So - Devil Goblins.

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I haven't put in the work yet but I have always had this as a default consideration for the Lonely Coast/Lost Lands. To me the Lonely Coast has a very early to mid-80's AD&D feel, while the LL going back a little further. I would personally love to see a RS/FGG cross-over product.

My intention was to use the Lonely Coast as as fill-in part of more civilized, yet still remote parts of the Lost Lands. Sort of good close up look at specific Borderlands villages and hamlets in somewhat safer territories. Excellent for low-level play, some intrigue, encroaching evil and a less metropolitan base for forays into more dangerous and high level sites.

I think you are on to something and I don't think it would be too hard to pull off. I wish I had more to offer atm, but I haven't run PF/AD&D in awhile. When I do it will be a LC/LL combo as both of them fill different aspects of that old school feel.

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Well, that was painful. Added in another 54.00 of stuff that was missing from the first backer kit.

Still may add in the Players Handbook.

Scarab Sages

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Qu0zl wrote:
That I would definitely buy!

I have the PF hardback and the original Tsar installment files and I too would pick this up! This is great news.

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Purple Dragon Knight wrote:

Look, I get it. There's some kind of positive emotion component to joining a game "at level 1", on the ground floor, at the beginning, etc. But how long has it been since the release of 3E? 16 years? come on, at this point, a lot of us have seen and felt that level 1 feel by now, countless times.

Plus, you have to remember that Paizo has a module line too, and that there are homecampaigns out there.

Honestly, I think the average AP subscriber would be ready for something new in terms of format. But I get it, there's a strong sentiment towards keeping the format the same, etc. Lots of people want that level 1 feel etc.

Personally, as a GM, I find it so freaggin' easy to run a level 1 game and pull a few low level monsters out of the books when I need them. The intro of characters, the hardship event that bonded them all together, etc. Where I'd get the most bang for my bucks would be high level adventure design, as this would take a lot of my personal time to do. Statting high level monsters and NPCs is where it starts feeling like a job for me, so I'd love it if Paizo would do more of that for me.

I'm 100% behind a level 20 hard mode AP, btw. Not a level 1-20 AP. Some of us can't clear our calendars for that long; many groups tend not to see these long ass APs to their end...

They could do both actually.

A large-sized format module that runs from level 1-4/5 that can serve as a stand alone adventure, but also key's into an associated AP that starts at 4th (1st part) and runs to 18th level (6th part).

Purist can run the prologue module as a sort of 7 part AP, while those who want to start higher - or more importantly want it to end higher get what they want (and skip the low level prologue).

It would play a little havoc with the release schedule, but it would allow for some more connectivity from start to finish overall since more time is spent on the source material (and supporting products) for the theme/region of the AP.

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Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
Auxmaulous wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
That said, I also suspect that the PF people can do Cosmic Horror, if only because they're pretty good at that sort of thing in general.
No, they are not. I can't think of a standout horror adventure from Paizo that was actually good.

Hangman's Noose, by Nick Logue.

Hook Mountain Massacre can also be run very well as horror, though it's more on the gross-out/black humor side.

Doug M.

Neither one of those modules were PF (pathfinder) they were for 3.5 and that was a long time ago.

The closest thing that would qualify in recent years would be Carrion Hill and the Carrion Crown AP - which had some great writers but who I feel were constrained by the Paizo module format re: limited (difficulty, offensive content, CR based encounters, overall limiting AP format, etc).

If they produced a list of writers for SA that included Vaughan, Pett and Logue and avoid some of the other house regulars I may consider - with a caveat included that A) This will be more difficult, B) This will be disturbing C) This may not be winnable, at least without some sacrifice, D) The writers will not be constrained by the usual AP nonsense.

Otherwise it will follow the same tired and old PF AP formula (ok opening mods, filler middle and not very good final mod).

Do I think that Paizo wants to write a good horror mod, or cosmic horror - I'm sure they do - can they with the gloves on following the PF/AP standard. No, they cannot.

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What lore are you looking at?

Serpent Folk are derivative of Serpent Men - a creator race of snake humanoids of evil intent, part of which have degenerated over the years since the dawn of time. They were created by Robert E Howard (Conan, et al) going bact to the 1920's and 30's.

Lovecraft adapted them for his mythos (he was Howard's friend and they often shared concepts) where they were masters of illusions, deception & manipulation and ultra-powerful sorcerers. They have plots that transcend human generations and even their own deaths.

They don't get controlled, they control you.

You have to go beyond the very brief lore of the Paizo Bestiaries on this one.

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Upped mine by another $42 bringing it up to $209 - glad I started working again!

Hope we can soon get the The Tome of Blighted Horrors out into the night.

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Skeeter Green wrote:

It needes more....

"send ...more... adventurers...."

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Number 83 -backed as Veteran + the two modules, will probably add in the decks and guides later, oh and the map, and, and....we'll just have to see if this one goes far enough or even too far.

"'re a naughty one Bloody Jack!"

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Currently use vertical because they are fill-in/replaceable screens and I also need it for a d100 chart (easier to format than horizontal panels). I am beta testing a game right now and the rules change frequently and I am not 100% in my memory.

Side note: best part of making your own game is when you read a rule and say "who wrote this crap"?

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Drunk Gaming History?

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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Like those who have posted here outraged at the potential presence of accurately-depicted mental illnesses, the recourse of these victims is to play an RPG with a different focus, or play a Pathfinder campaign that depicts violence more realistically as a temporary solution rather than as The solution.

So your advice to people who suffered from RL violence, or just offended by it is to play and RPG with a different focus ...why again wouldn't this apply to people who have or are sensitive to mental illness issues?

Why is the latter group more exclusive or need to be accommodated with a change or revision?

EDIT: This gem needed attention

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
There are far fewer misconceptions about violence than there are about mental illness—save for the misconception that mentally ill people are inherently violent, naturally. Please cite specific cases if you wish to draw parallels between use of deceptive interpretations of actual mental disorders and the tendency of this game to feature violence against demons and gibbering mouthers as the sole solution.

How naive.

Because PCs never kill humanoids or other humans or in turn have violence visited upon them by the same NPCs? Riiight!

What about actual physical effects of violence vs. deceptive gamist application and handling of violence of RPGS? Violence isn't being falsely framed or depicted? Sanitized for mass consumption?

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Irontruth wrote:
Also, if you don't know who I am, why are you making assumptions about me? It's insulting.

You should take your own advice. You are making assumptions about me and who I am or what challenges I face in relation to this issue. Don't do it.

Just because I hold the opinion that it's a non-issue in RPGs that doesn't mean that I am not close to the issue or that it doesn't play a role in my daily life.

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Just got my call I was waiting for, backer #567 Complete GM book set.

Hey, better late then never.

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Irontruth wrote:
Auxmaulous wrote:
No, this is just a SJW looking to make inroads in gaming to gain a foothold and influence. Same old same old. Telling people to feel bad, what they are doing wrong, etc.

So, it's your opinion that if it's culturally acceptable to be mean to people, others aren't allowed to point it out?

For example, I see someone yelling at a small child (not their own), saying rude comments and generally being mean... I'd be a SJW for telling them to stop? Cause that's what you're saying. I understand you don't think you're saying that, but you are.

No, false equivalancy and poor comparison.

RPGs for purchase with potentially disagreeable content =/= yelling at a child on the street.

Get your priorities straight.

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Irontruth wrote:
Krensky wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

Sounds great, but if more subsistence farmers and small peasants are driven off of their lands because of increased concentration of industrial agribusiness...

I don't know. Sounds more and more like a situation comparable to the original Luddites.

But, whatever. God knows I ingest enough toxic shiznit on a daily basis, what do I care?

Bring on the Frankenfoods!

Yup. And the solution isn't banning GMOs, it's a workers revolution that includes farmers.

Oh come on IT, that's Anklebiter's solution to EVERYTHING.

Income equality? International Socialist Worker's Revolution.

Inflation? International Socialist Worker's Revolution.

Political corruption? International Socialist Worker's Revolution.

Pizza late? International Socialist Worker's Revolution.

He ran out of doobie? International Socialist Worker's Revolution.

Pet stains on the carpet? International Socialist Worker's Revolution.

Writing stealing your soul? International Socialist Worker's Revolution.

No, sometimes his solution is to have sex with it.

In the street!

Ok, going back to fake ignore.

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Kobold Cleaver wrote:

Tabletop RPGs aren't just a game.

They're also a media form. And, therefore, an art form. People who design mechanics are practicing a form of media and making deliberate choices. The same is true for video games, of course. That's why, say, racist first-person shooter video games have the potential to be problematic—yes, these games are "just for fun", but they're also media, and media carries influence—and tells people who is and isn't welcome within that mediasphere.

No, games are just that - games. I am currently designing a game, I am not an artist - I am an amateur (until I publish) game designer. That's it.

Is gaming a form of communication, yes - so it qualifies as media. The thing I vehemently disagree with you on is that media = art. A McDonald's commercial advertising the new and improved McRibb is just that, it's a form of media - specifically a commercial advertising food. Let me graph it for you: McRibb Commercial = media =/= art.

Racist first person shooters are not made by large game companies but by extremest to spread the word of hate and to find kindered spirits. Something like Ethnic Cleansing put out by the National Alliance - also a form of media because it's propaganda, but that crap is not art.
Ethnic Cleansing = propaganda = media =/= art.

RPG Games = Media =/= Art

Not saying that rpgs cannot be perceived as art (by an individual) or be artistic in nature and style - but an rpg, a functional rpg - is first and foremost a game or it isn't an rpg and is something else.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
stuff about mental illness in movies and TV

I think you are being bit oversensitive and looking for bogymen/windmills/crusade like the tumblr writer of that terrible article that you cited.

Mental illness in movies/tv - aka "he was crazy" is just lazy writing. On top of all of that most mental illnesses portrayed by villains are either criminal sociopath-personality disorders or someone who has become obsessed/fixated on a specific goal/person that they commit a crime. That's it.

They don't say it because of: ignorance, lazy, too much detail for a show that runs 48 minutes. Most all mental illnesses depicted in modern crime/investigation shows sociopathic behavior. Not anxiety disorders, not depression (psychotic or otherwise) or OCD or anything else most people struggle with on a day-to-day basis.

Some of the more serious shows do bring up more varied mental illnesses in a more accurate or at least debatable accurate way (L&O:SVU) so they steer away from the "he was insane" simple explanation because the show's function to depict more realistic examples of mental illness.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Either do it right or don't do it. It's not "just a game", "just a book", or "just a movie". It's all still media. And all media, including, believe it or not, tabletop RPGs, does carry influence.

No, they are just games - if they hold greater value to you then that's your responsibility/problem/POV.

If rpg content offends you you need to either: not buy it/support it or "buck up".
If a piece of trash video game like Ethnic Cleansing gets you to start a one-man race war you were probably going to go on that rampage no matter what (say if you were shorted one McRibb in the drive through). These things are only that influential to the incredible stupid.

And where is your outrage at the media format of RPGs in general and how they promote so much violence?

Violence and more violence - products that help you play a character with more and more tools to kill your foes? When your run your games KC, how many creatures die?

Hypocrisy - you're worried how rpgs handle a corner case (but rw subject) like mental illness when the premise of most games is kill your opponents and take their stuff while gaining more power.
What happens when PCs sometime accidentally kill things or kill things due to miscommunication or circumstance (neutral guards doing their job)? This is something that is ingrained in gaming, desensitizing players and GMs to violence because violence is done while "role-playing" a character.

Utter crap.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
This is not something we should brush off as "a non-issue", or "looking for windmills". This is something that needs to be carefully discussed.

No, this is just a SJW looking to make inroads in gaming to gain a foothold and influence. Same old same old. Telling people to feel bad, what they are doing wrong, etc.

If rpgs (as you state) are a form of art - shouldn't they be above social influence/pressure/conventions?

I think that accurately written mental illness in a game works if it works for the game. That's it. I don't think that a rush to make changes to current games should be made or that older systems should be shamed because they don't fall in line with the SJW outrage du jur.

TBH, my first exposure to various mental illnesses was when I was a little kid reading the 1st ed DMG. This subject was not taught in school, and it helped my interest on the matter - even if the content and implementation was not accurate and very gamist. I'm glad that list existed, even if it was flawed.

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HeHateMe wrote:
Threads like this are why I would never play a paladin.

For me it's just a lesson/reminder to minimize my posting here.

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Sarcasm Dragon wrote:
Auxmaulous wrote:
I'm actually devils advocating here - devil’s advocate for...

Well, without someone at least attempting a devils advocate this thread just becomes another liberal circle jerk...and we can't have that.

You guys really like reading each clones posts that much?

Wait, don't answer that.

I did this with a drive-by alias.

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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Auxmaulous wrote:
Poorly Researched Tumblr Rant wrote:

Sometime in the ‘80s, if not the ‘70s, someone was working on a rulebook for an RPG, and decided that if there’s rules for everything else, there should really be rules for going insane. So this person sat down, and either looked up, or more likely just went off the cuff, describing every mental illness they could think of, with the accuracy of someone who clearly has no formal education in the field. This person then added a list of die ranges to the side, and stuck it in their book.

Odds are better than average that this book was some D&D supplement, but whatever the source, it was popular enough to quickly spread to more or less every RPG out there, largely unchanged, and usually stuck in the core rulebook under a heading simply reading “Insanity,” or possibly “Sanity.”

Historically incorrect and looking for windmills to tilt.

Painful read.
Could you clarify? The practice of "insanity tables" is a common one in RPGs. Do you know the actual source?

Odds are better than average that this book was some D&D supplement. The 70's-80's book refers she refers to is the 1st ed DMG.

...quickly spread to more or less every RPG out there, largely unchanged
The only other major contemporary game (circa 81) that had a large list of a variety of insanity for characters was Call of Cthulhu - which had rules for indefinite insanity and phobias related to or derived from the source that caused the insanity. It wasn't a random list, the phobias were researched and for an early era in gaming, were executed well in implementation (as compared to the 1st ed DMG).

My big gripes with this poorly written and researched tumblr entry (not worthy of being called an article):
1st ed DMG Insanity list - not ported over to CoC (fact)...
If the two big games of the times were "not really the games I was talking about" in the article, then list the actual games/editions you are referencing so they can be fact checked..
If you don't really know what you are talking about, don't make falsehoods in an effort to start up something to get attention from others on the internet.

I stand by my initial assessment - poorly written and researched.

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Kirth Gersen wrote:
Auxmalous wrote:
Don't know if any of it is true (should be easy to check) and this article could just be part of the RW conspiracy/Conservative Bizarro world that has taken over these gaming forums.
Considering the article is from a pro-fracking blog that lists Hare as a sinister "lead author" of sections of reports he's 6th on a list of 8 authors for... I'd say there's more than a small amount of spin going on there.

No, I don't care about the content or even the source - it took me 5 seconds to find an article with names.

Checked the names - they are connected to both Greenpeace and IPCC (Rajendra Pachauri, Richard Klein).

I don't care about this fight...but before someone makes a politically dismissive statement at least make an effort to verify.

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Poorly Researched Tumblr Rant wrote:

Sometime in the ‘80s, if not the ‘70s, someone was working on a rulebook for an RPG, and decided that if there’s rules for everything else, there should really be rules for going insane. So this person sat down, and either looked up, or more likely just went off the cuff, describing every mental illness they could think of, with the accuracy of someone who clearly has no formal education in the field. This person then added a list of die ranges to the side, and stuck it in their book.

Odds are better than average that this book was some D&D supplement, but whatever the source, it was popular enough to quickly spread to more or less every RPG out there, largely unchanged, and usually stuck in the core rulebook under a heading simply reading “Insanity,” or possibly “Sanity.”

Historically incorrect and looking for windmills to tilt.

Painful read.

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Question for GMs who are having disappointing sessions:

How much prep work are you putting into your sessions?

To clarify: Prior to your actual sessions how much time do you go through walk-throughs, self questions about "this is how I am going to run this part" or "this is how I am going to describe this monster"?

The reason why I ask is this. I sort of ran an experiment recently with my own created Post Holocaust game. Prior to running any of the sessions I already had a module around half-way written. 16 typed pages of encounters, new creatures, npcs....pretty good PA exploration material.

While I have been running the game I am simultaneously writing out the rest of the module (I am following my own outline) but I am also running into the issue of writing and re-writing the core game system we are using and testing. The current page count in small font is 26 pages. At close it should be around 36 or 42 pages long.

The game writing has taken up so much time that I am barely ahead of my players in detailed module write-up and I hardly spend any time going through the nights potential encounters and staging them in my GM mind's eye like a director setting the stage.

And its suffered. The players are having a blast - but IDK, something is off. There are not as many detailed encounters with interesting descriptions because I am spending more time on rules writing and system testing than I am on the test scenario. My players know that the core game is more important than the scenario since I want to eventually publish the system, so they are being good sports when I eat up an hour pre-game spending going over the rules ideas, changes to skills, mutations, etc. I still want a good adventure though, and for the most part I have delivered - I have just noticed a correlation between me putting less attention on the adventure in the more recent sessions.


In the past when would I read and then re-read a module (published) or went over one of my modules in a sort of pre-session prep - the outcome in quality of GMing, play and increase in player enjoyment was noticeable.

I don't know how many other GMs do the exercise a day or two before actual game day.

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Nice preview - I will have to pick this up...somehow.

To me when I think of the Blight (using the beautiful Styes as a point of mood reference) I think of Lustmord, Godflesh (Pure II - the last track), and Samhain's "The Hungry End" in particular. Just to name a few.

I would implore that Mr. Pett go too far vs. not far enough. This is going to one for the rpg history books.

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I hope we get a Jack the Ripper like character wandering the Blight...and if not that, then at least a whole cult comprised of them.

I do need to work on my understanding of the phrase "and if not that..."

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1st Gamma World 3rd ed (1985)
2nd Chill 2nd ed.

I have a very strong affinity for Chill, but tbh - the research I put into writing the material (cults, RL murders, conspiracies, etc) is just too much, I can only do it a little at a time or it starts to get to me.

My go to fantasy game is AD&D 2nd ed. PF is currently not a consideration for me to run.

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Trogdar wrote:
I don't really think niche protection is the way to go.

There isn't a singular problem - hence my comment about it being "too much work". Niche protection (or that lack thereof) is part of the problem. When you can sub out core class abilities with secondary magic items and spells - its a big system problem.

It isn't one problem, it's several. Currently the DC system (as a tool vs. threats) is primarily a Caster tool. That's a major problem.

Trogdar wrote:
If anything, I would like to add a social level track to all classes that was interchangeable, further blending classes into modular combat and social pools.

And adding something like that isn't exclusive to adding in class related system tracks (for martials, revised invested skill system, etc). So having other system changes doesn't mean you can't add in a social level track with some other function - they are not mutually exclusive.

Another very unpopular change I would advocate - and this goes to the problem of Martials/Skill based classes not being able to do enough - is that the caster classes can do too much.

Scaling back spell function and power is very unpopular around here when presented as a fix, unfortunately that is probably the biggest change (and the mutable DC system) that need to be changed. Once you touch that or try to - out come the torches.

Again, nice for people to try an make the changes to fix the problem. For me the amount of work needed to be put in it isn't worth it. I just wanted to chime back in because I feel that the micro approach (+X to this, or +Y skill points) is a band aid on a system that doesn't work well for anyone but casters.
IMO system overhaul or don't waste your time.

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Trogdar wrote:
Balancing fundamental qualities of the dnd math is important, no doubt, but the class features still have to have relative parity at the end of the day. Otherwise your just choosing one kind of disparity over another.

You're not (and most everyone posting in this thread) getting the bigger picture. Not trying to disparage you or any other posters, just an observation on this thread and the solutions presented.

It isn't simple a math change that's required but a total design change. No matter how many bonuses you give to Rogues to do their tricks, their tricks (skill system) become invalidated as the game assumes mid and higher levels. This has nothing to do with adding in +X to skills or saves.

D20 is a binary system (success/fail) with the ability for some classes to affect change to that system far easier than others or inversely raise the difficulty (DCs of spells) and affect character success. These flaws (yes, they are flaws) go beyond adding in a few extra points on saves for a fix - it doesn't make a difference when the premise of some classes usefulness lies on a system that gets jettisoned once you reach mid levels in the game.

Just as an example.


A path to consider - if one were to really pursue this - a new Class Skill feature system (which rewards class skills and skill points vs. +X in skill derived from item A, spell B, circumstance C). Class feature protectionism. So a move away from d20/+X and a move towards you need Y number of ranks in this class skill to try this or this.

Second - combat needs to be reworked in a fashion that benefits those with high BAB and attack rolls. A change to attacks that have a high BAB with hits that have detrimental/specialized (and free for the attacker - no Feat Tax or Feat Law) effect.
A non-spellcasting critical high attack system. Need to be a full BAB character to participate and have enough BAB/Class levels in specific second tier fighters (rogue) BAB +3 = X menu effect on an 18 or higher, BAB +6, Y menu effect on 17 or higher.


These two things I mention above are examples of exclusive systems (casters - Stay Out) that run parallel to existing salvageable systems. The above are just placeholder ideas as an example to illustrate that a possible fix should not focus on math but extra, supplemental or replacement systems attached to character tropes (sneaky guy, fighting guy, etc).

Currently, multiple systems in 3/X need an overhaul/rewrite and maybe a few added in so each role type has its own (protected) system of game interaction and operation.

Personally I don't think it's salvageable/worth the time or effort and should just be torn down and rebuilt from scratch - my opinion of course. On top of adding in parallel systems, the DC manipulation and "all items are spells" (lazy/boring) systems need to be addressed.

Too much work for this GM.

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mechaPoet wrote:
I love when we get to the part where people get mad at me for insinuating that biology as a humanly constructed field of science has human social influences, and then also argue what words mean with dictionary definitions.

Who is getting mad at you? At what point did you think that I or anyone else who has been responding to you is angry or may at you?

Also this might help: When you listed your 1st bullet point you should have made a distinction between Physical Biology and the study or science of Biology.

Because if a given society could by their own action (will, rituals, chants or even....sacrifices) change physical biology - point them out to me so I can....investigate them.

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mechaPoet wrote:

1 Biology is socially influenced.
2 If you go any further than the most basic biology, it quickly becomes clear that the gender binary is not supported by the physical facts of biology, just the way that it's presented by and to humans.
3 Prevalent isn't the same as "normal"
4 I am not abnormal.

1 No, physical biology is not socially influenced. Though the scientific method can and has been influenced by beliefs or society.

2 This is a numbers game, not a conspiracy. People shift towards "normal" descriptors to have an idea about a common, or a control - to contrast variances vs. that common or control.

3 Prevalent - widespread in a particular area at a particular time. Synonymous with Common. Normal is more loaded than common, but these again are based on demographics and frequency and less on a conspiracy or social construct designed to marginalize. Marginalization occurs as a bi-product of a Majority/Minority paradigm and happens in almost any power struggle or Us vs. Them scenarios. Welcome to the world.

4 This a social construct that you are dealing with.
If telling yourself that your specific gender identification is not abnormal due to the negative connotations associated with that term, by my all means do so. If you are saying that you identify with a gender or sexuality that is not found in any kind of high numbers out of a given population number and then are trying to convince me of the math otherwise, then yeah - there is a major disconnect.

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