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Jurassic Pratt wrote:

At the risk of saying what has been pointed out repeatedly in this thread, no one seems to be making a big deal about "torture gives you magic powers" or "killing gives you magic powers" which could be equally "triggering" to someone. I'm not sure exactly why this has been chosen as the thing that must be singled out.

I haven't been murdered

I have been abused
But whataboutism was called out as not being acceptable by the mods already in this thread, and, pertinently, your point was already answered in the official statement:

Erik Mona wrote:

Many of you are probably thinking, "what's the problem? I can handle this in my game." Or maybe even "bad guys are supposed to be evil," and to you folks this statement probably seems like some kind of betrayal or act of cowardice. The fact of the matter is that this issue specifically crosses a line with a HUGE number of gamers, and we knew better than to cross it this time. After the recent furor, we know even better not to cross it in the future.

You're cool to do whatever you want in your games, but the public is right to hold us to a higher standard. Just because you think you can be responsible with this type of content does not mean that every GM can. Much more importantly, the primary concern here is less the GM and more the player who randomly encounters these themes unwittingly, and finds him or herself reliving terrible memories of trauma during what is supposed to be a game people play for fun.

Every so often, in an effort to fill in every blank, or provide rules for every eventuality, we can cross into a line of making a rule for something that probably shouldn't be in the game in the first place.

Folca is an example of just such an element, and he (and his kind) will not be welcome in Pathfinder products in the future.

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knightnday wrote:

I've seen a large number of the posts, CPEvilref. A good many seem to be the same people in a large number of places saying the same thing, which doesn't exactly convince me that it is as wide spread a problem as it is being made out to be.

If you don't think Paizo publishing mechanical benefits for child abuse is a problem, then I really don't know what to say.

As you say, hopefully this will see a turning point for paizo on this and other issues, as indicated by Mr Mona's posts.

Jurassic Pratt wrote:

This is an entirely unfair characterization of how things went down. Erik himself said he's been busy with PAX Unplugged as of late. With that plus the absolute fiasco going down over Ultimate Wilderness its pretty to safe to say Paizo has been extremely busy as of late.

Complaints started 2 months ago, multiple people at Paizo were contacted via email 2 months ago, threads about the issue started 2 months ago and discussions of 'wtf' began. I know, for certain, that Paizo staff knew about those complaints.

It then went viral, again, 4 weeks ago, in association with other issues that had come to light.

While I'm absolutely appreciative of the response that has been given, it's not as if it hasn't been extensively discussed here, and elsewhere, before it finally took me making it a singular topic here to get an official response.

Again, I think the response was excellent, well done and exactly what a mea culpa should be.

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knightnday wrote:

I'd like to say that disagreeing about if something is a problem is not "noise" and that those people -- hey, I am one! -- should also be allowed a say rather than sitting quietly.

The 'noise' as you seem to have missed the point, was many people, both here and elsewhere, calling Paizo to account on publishing 'child abuse gives you magic powers' rules and the whole expansion of Folca. Which, thankfully, they've admitted was a mistake and commited to never doing again.

Caleb Garofalo wrote:

'Furor' here being a single thread with a few people complaining and just as many saying the complaining is unjustified.

And the multiple people talking about it on Twitter

And the long enwworld thread
And the rpg.net threads
And the google+ threads
And the facebook threads

There are far, far, far more comments elsewhere on the internet absolutely decrying paizo for it, than defending it here. People saying they're not buying anything again, people saying they were going to buy X but now arent't.

These forums are a drop in the ocean of the number of places and number of people who talk about gaming, and about Paizo.

(Though yes, I do think that 'magic sexual abuse' should never have been published and am still entirely baffled that anyone at Paizo ever thought it was a good idea, albeit in this context adding it to the benefits of worshipping a child abuse daemon was what made it especially egregious).

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Thank you for that response, and especially for the reasoning given. Genuinely appreciate it.

Shaudius wrote:

I'm not sure that I can can continue to respond to someone who accuses me of whataboutism while at the same time equating creating an evil thing with mechanic benefit for evil people with being the "child abuse company" and does so with a straight face. This thread needs to be nuked from orbit.

I didn't accuse you, you'd questioned my reply to Malefactor, I was explaining.

Shaudius wrote:

You're accusing Paizo of committing a wrong, I'm sorry you don't think you need to justify why you think they've committed a wrong, but to some people in this thread you seem to have to. I realize you likely didn't start this thread to engage other forum posters and instead started it to demand action from Paizo, but this being a public forum others are within their rights (as long as the mods say so) to question you about it. You can feel free to ignore it but that doesn't make it an invalid question.

Except that wasn't what my response was. My response was, quite literally, taking the previous post asking for a detailed explanation on a difficult, emotive subject, and then before any chance for that happened, then engaging in a classic 'whataboutism'


Or, in otherwords, I wasn't going to engage with that line of rhetoric and was making it clear. Moreover, this was previously stated by one of the mods on this issue:

Diego Valdez wrote:
Lets back off with the suggestions that because someone has brought attention to something they have an issue with, they think other things they haven't mentioned are acceptable.

Shaudius wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

However, those that disagree believe that direct action, and responsibility should be taken by the company to fix this.

Sure but, Paizo is at the end of the day, a company. There are those that think this isn't a problem, those that think its a problem but doesn't need a solution beyond an unofficial apology, those that think its a problem but needs an official apology and nothing further, and those that think that Paizo needs to officially apologize and eat the costs of all the books they have in the warehouse that they haven't sold and print a new version.

There's not a right answer here, just because you want Paizo to take a specific action to appease your opinion on the wrong doesn't mean you are right. So at the end of the day, Paizo has to decide if potentially alienating you by not taking the action you desire is worth alienating other customers or if they think that your action is right for them as a company.

You're absolutely right, hence my original post was aimed at the company, specifically, deliberately.

Right now they're getting criticised in assorted places, and it's their decision on how they want to handle it, whether they want to own up to their mistakes or not. Whether they want to take the risk of it making it to mainstream media or not, whether they want to take the risk of more people getting disillusioned with them, or not.

The handful of people here dismissing it, are substantially less than the people condemning their decisions elsewhere. These forums are, afterall, tiny in comparison to rpg.net and enworld, both of which had extensive condemnation for the decision, let alone other social media sites.

So, as per a previous point, does Paizo want to be known as the child abuse gives you magic powers company, or not?

Malefactor wrote:
Honestly, seeing how worked up people in this thread are getting about the possibility of player playing a neutral character who worships the daemonic harbinger of child abuse (if the DM isn't paying attention and the player's a dick) imagine their reaction when they find out you can be the Neutral Good worshipper of a goddess who requires (for lack of a better word) "Human" Sacrifice. I mean, at least Ragathiel requires them to be evildoers guilty of crime, what's her excuse for staying neutral?

First you say you're genuinely trying to understand viewpoints, then you engage in whataboutism. I don't think you're actually interested in genuinely engaging on the subject at all.

Malefactor wrote:

Okay, this is not a rhetorical question. This is not me be snarky or sarcastic or trying to make a point. This is me legitimately trying to understand your viewpoint: What do you think Paizo has done that is morally wrong, and why hasn't anything that has been in the game beforehand not been morally wrong if this is?


https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/effects-child-abuse-and-neglect-adult -survivors

https://www.frcmo.org/resources/resources-for-professionals/effects-of-chil d-abuse/

Paizo took a serious issue, which people deal with on a daily basis, and turned it into '+2 charisma bonus' and 'magic spells that make the abuser better at abuse' - quite literally the more you abuse kids, the better you get at it.

This isn't an issue of having Folca as a theme, it's giving magic powers for child abuse - rewarding abuse.

Pathfinder, in the main, is a game about heroes overcoming obstacles to be, well, big damn heroes. It's not 'Don't Rest Your Head' for the most part, it's not 'Whispering Vault' or a Shoah Wraith campaign. And absolutely there are groups that can explore and deal with mature themes on a mature level.

Pathfinder's hardbacks have, traditionally, been player-focused, or player/GM split. So this is a book for players, not exclusively for GMs.

And yes, while there's a nod at a content warning, at no point does it say 'by the way, we give child abusers magic powers' in this book.

On reading Folca's entry, and the magic powers it grants, i flashed right back to my abuse and what happened to me.

And then I got angry, because this was Paizo, a company I thought of as being better than this, a company I thought of as broadly trying to do the right thing, sure with some mishaps and mistakes along the way, but actually trying to do better, to be better.

And then they ignored it, and dodged the questions and the criticism.

And then the only responses came when it went viral, with two individuals commenting personally about it, but still no statement as a company, still no official stance.

So, that's what they've done wrong. They said that in their game, abusing children gives you magic powers and makes you better at abuse...

Malefactor wrote:
So I must ask again, what has Paizo done wrong?

As he expressed it succintly, and bearing in mind I doubt you'll find anything wrong with it, and this will just be a case of agreeing to disagree...



Ok folks, it's time for my long-delayed talk on the Pathfinder RPG creature Folca. I'm delving into topics of consent, child abuse, storytelling, the lines of good taste,and when "oops" doesn't cut it. Strap in!
Full disclosure: Book of the Damned is a Pathfinder RPG book outlined by James Jacobs. My friend @TheRealShemeska wrote for this book and wrote Folca's entry to spec from the outline. I have also worked as a freelance author for Paizo in the past.

First, let's discuss who and what Folca is within the context of Pathfinder. Folca is a daemonic harbinger, an in-universe term denoting Folca as an extremely powerful exemplar of evil and a specific means of death. Folca's areas of concern are: abduction, strangers, and sweets.

Folca fills the same sort of "boogeyman" role in Pathfinder that the likes of the iconic Freddy Krueger fills. While everyone knows the knife-gloved demon of nightmares, we have to remember that wise-cracking Krueger is a villain and a child-abuser. Folca is intended to be that.

In-universe, Folca is described as a pale, gaunt, and faceless entity that has tiny children's hands grasping out from his flesh as if clawing their way to freedom. All told what we have is a horrific monster, and while covering very sensitive content isn't unusual in media.

This is where things start to veer wildly off course. Folca is presented as a divine creature, like a demigod, who is worshipped by evil mortals and offers power to them. Deific creatures offer "domains" to some of their faithful. These are thematic representations of the deity.

Domains are both a storytelling and game mechanic function. Here are the domains Folca grants his followers: Charm, Evil, Travel, Trickery. Subdomains: Daemon, Deception, Lust. Take a look at that last one, and re-read the earlier tweets.

Now we're still talking about a villain here. But we're getting more into the territory of explicit sexual abuse of children. This implies some really, seriously dark things but never outright states it. This is where the line of good taste should never go past.

Folca has appeared in this capacity in a couple other books. The original softcover Book of the Damned Volume 3 and Inner Sea Gods. Never has he been detailed beyond these horrifying suggestions of his whole self. @TheRealShemeska was asked to design off this framework.

But that's where Book of the Damned goes totally off the rails. Now I don't know exactly what was added by James Jacobs in development or what was asked of @TheRealShemeska in the outline, but at some point along the way the rules for actively worshipping Folca were codified.

In Pathfinder, most gods have some guidelines you can follow to get more power. Spend some resources on leveling up and perform some deeds and the god of strength makes you mightier. That kind of stuff. These are almost explicitly Player-focused options.
Here's the Deific Obedience asked of Folca's followers:
"Stalk a child and make him witness or endure a horrifically brutal event.
Promise him that you will return."
I'll give you a moment.

This is something that, by and large, "evil" characters would be expected to do to gain a mechanical benefit. Now not everyone allows or plays evil characters at their table. But this isn't even about how this goes down at a table. This is about table-setting.

There's now, in a printed Paizo book, a codified means for abusing a child to gain a mechanical benefit. Most gamers might shrug their shoulders at this, ask "what's the big deal?" Or say "villains are supposed to be evil!"

Villains are. And good villains also get their come-uppance. Freddy Krueger is defeated time and again. But never do we really SEE Freddy abusing children the way he's suggested to have. Implies violence is a strong narrative tactic. Less is more. For SO MANY REASONS.

But here you have another problem. Folca is a deity who allows for "neutral" worshippers. So let's say you're a GM running a game that doesn't allow evil characters. Someone playing a "neutral" character could worship Folca and take that Deific Obedience.

Let's not even talk about the wtf$$+ery of the alignment system with regards to that. If you're a busy GM who doesn't have time to check everything, you might glance at Folca's title as "Pale Stranger" and not really see what he's all about. You might unintentionally let it in.

So, to really understand how this went to print we need to look at the development cycle of a Pathfinder book. An in-house developer writes the initial outline, in this case James Jacobs. After that a contractor fulfills their assignment from the outline as written.

Then it goes back to Paizo for a developer to adjust wording, content, tone, etc. Then it goes to an editor who reviews technical aspects, grammar, content, etc. Then there's copyediting and more proofreading. It's multi-level.

Maybe somewhere along this way someone saw the Folca content and went "whoa." Maybe it was called out, maybe it wasn't. I don't know what happened between outline and publication, but at the end of the day the game mechanics for abusing a child made it in.

Probably around August the book was sent off to the printer. At no point between then and now did Paizo put out a content warning, knowing that a depiction of child abuse made it in to the text. Never in any of the blog posts promoting the book was that made clear.

After the book's release, once people saw the content on Folca and made their own judgments of it, @erikmona stepped forward and commented that it "was a mistake" and that they're going to try and make sure it doesn't happen in the future. That's not a BAD sentiment. But...

<snip for error on content warning>There's no indication that in future printings the Folca content will be removed. At the end of the day Paizo is still *making money* off of that content.

So, at the end of the day Folca's addition to the Book of the Damned is a gross show of obliviousness to their own content. One that they don't want to do again, but one that they're happy to continue to profit off of.

Steve Geddes wrote:
CPEvilref wrote:
It's been described as a mistake by the chief creative officer, and the creative director, albeit personally, and not speaking on behalf of the company (this being specifically made clear).
I must have missed that. Would you have a link handy?

Anyway... as I've said above it's a complicated thing that will take time for us to fix if we decide to go that route. But it's also a very IMPORTANT thing to look into. I'll be talking with Erik ASAP about the potential of adjusting the PDF version of the book, in any event. The final decision to do so is not mine to make so I can't make promises about this, but I'm gonna be doing what I can to make it right.

http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?594081-Harassment-At-PaizoCon-2 017/page19&p=7262357#post7262357

Steve Geddes wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
There is a difference between saying something personally, and saying something on behalf of the company.
I’ve never quite understood the relationship between Paizo and Publisher, but I personally took Erik Mona’s public statement of regret as being the official position.

Erik's comments were on twitter, he doesn't have anything directly linking him to Paizo in his twitter profile, and while we all know who he is, it's not an official company account.

The comments were also made in response to other people (me and Robert Brooks specifically), rather than a post himself, hence labeling them as personal and not corporate positions.

Steve Geddes wrote:

I’m not challenging the rest of your points (my own feelings are complicated and I don’t yet trust myself to form a coherent view). But I don’t think it’s right to characterise James’ and Erik’s remarks on the topic as unofficial. James took personal responsibility as developer for the inclusion of those mechanical elements and Erik spoke for the company (that was my reading, anyhow).

I absolutely appreciated Mr Jacobs owning up to it, and admitting it was a mistake, and expressed it to him at length, but that's not the same as action - in fact he himself said he wasn't able to guarantee any action on this issue - and it's not the same as an official company statement on this, there's a difference between 'the creative director says it was a mistake' and 'Paizo say it was a mistake', as much as I admire and appreciate his comments on it, they're not the same as an official company view, something that's become readily apparent in recent months with Paizo and assorted issues.

Lisa Stevens, for example, made a post in regard to the locked thread, which can clearly be taken as her view as the CEO and forming a statement by the company.

knightnday wrote:

Point 2: I do not believe anyone has suggested that they are OK with child abuse...

Given the number of people defending it, in spite of the long thread by a paizo writer on why it's problematic, and the personal comments by paizo staff members, i'm pretty okay with that assertion.

Elsewhere it was widely, roundly condemned, here it's supported and there's multiple people saying that mechanically incentivised child abuse is a totally okay thing for Paizo to have published. So, yes, given the lack of a company statement, and until that happens, I'm all good with saying that Paizo is the child abuse gives you magic powers company.

Dragonborn3 wrote:

There is one thing, however, no one has pointed out. The Cultist with the Obediance doesn't actually have to physically abuse the child. He or She simply has to show the child a horrific and brutal act, then promise he'll be back.

They don't have to beat, sexually assault, or emotional abuse the child.

This also doesn't take into account that children can be evil too. They might be overjoyed at being SHOWN a horrific and brutal act.

A) That's still mechanically incentivised child abuse. It's quite explicitly showing a child something horrific and then the implied threat that you'll be back to do it again. The idea that showing a child horrific things is not emotional abuse is utterly, totally wrong.

B) The comment about 'the children can be evil too' is, frankly, utterly ludicrous, insulting and dismissing. What next, 'she was wearing a short skirt?'

Note, again, at no point have I criticised the previous representations or descriptions of Folca, it is, quite specifically, how it was represented and mechanised in this book. Previous works left it as a hint, an implication etc. In this case it is child abuse gives you magic powers that make you better at child abuse. Also, the book doesn't create Folca as an antagonist to be attacked, instead just the powers his worshipers get for abusing children...

It's been described as a mistake by the chief creative officer, and the creative director, albeit personally, and not speaking on behalf of the company (this being specifically made clear).

On the basis of responses here, labeling pathfinder as the game that's totally okay with child abuse would seem to be an apt descriptor.

CrystalSeas wrote:
I'd be interested in seeing a specific list of things that Paizo absolutely must do to make this right for you.

I've posted it at least twice, in different language, in the thread, but to reiterate:

Officially take ownership of the mistake in what was published, with a company statement about it, and why it was wrong. Explaining the decisions behind it and how they came about, not least because there's a definite difference between the material submitted by the freelancer who worked on it and what was finally published. Why did that happen, how did it happen?

Remove the material from the PDF (this is not a big job).

Make a public statement about their standards with regard to child abuse and child endangement, making clear the company's standpoint and attitude to this.

And never publish anything anything like it again.

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Shaudius wrote:

The one specifically about this on rpg.net went on for a few pages and then quietly died and people seemed generally satisfied that James Jacobs and Erik Mona had apologized

The specific thread on the issue didn't touch on the personal apoligies, as it happened weeks before they made them...

And, as said, it had extensive discussion on rpg.net, enworld, reddit, twitter, facebook. You might want to dismiss that, you might want to dismiss all the people who have expressed their concerns with paizo, but broadly speaking, the original post wasn't aimed at you, it was aimed at Paizo, as a company, calling them to account. And sure they can look at all the people who just don't care, but they get the consequences of that.

Shaudius wrote:

I'm actually generally surprised its being brought up now as it seemed like the general community had moved on to much bigger general issues with harassment in gaming generally.

If you'd read the links in the OP, you'd have seen that Robert Brookes did a long thread on twitter about the problems with Folca yesterday. I saw it today and it reminded me that it's been 7 weeks since these were called out to Paizo, with no response, and then 3 weeks since this went viral, with Erik Mona and james Jacobs personally admitting the mistake, but without any official comment.

Here's Robert's thread again in case you missed it:


I was reminded, on reading his posts, how long it's been since Paizo were called out on this, how long it's been since they ignored emails and posts about this and how long it's been since individuals in the company admittred the mistake, but without an official comment on it.

So, that's why it's being brought up now.

Also, to be frank, there is no timetable on wrongdoing, it's the same thing that gets said to victims of abuse 'why did you wait to bring it up'. As the OP, I decided to reiterate it now, today (well, yesterday for me), It's not gone away, it's still there, and Paizo, as a company, have still not addressed it. Whatever individuals at the company have said in private has no bearing on what they, as a company, say and express as to their corporate values and beliefs.

knightnday wrote:

That .. doesn't seem to be what people are saying.

From what I have seen, there have been comments asking why this particular thing has caused an issue when there are many others that do not seem to be raising any hackles. That may be because of the mechanical incentive, although there are mechanical incentives for the others as well.

I have not seen any evidence that they "messed up" by presenting a book with mature content. Rather, I have heard that there are people here and elsewhere that are unhappy with how one was presented.

There is talk of "real responsibility" to be taken, and talk that Paizo isn't standing by its values of inclusion.

That isn't something I am seeing.

Did they go too far? Maybe, maybe not. It isn't a definite line, clearly.

Go take a look at enworld, rpg.net, twitter, facebook, google+, heck even reddit. rpg.net's thread(s) on this was thousands of views, albeit they also covered other issues in the industry. Enworld the same.

There has been a lot of backlash against Paizo for this.

And, to reiterate, two senior members of staff at Paizo (Erik Mona and James Jacobs) have privately said that it was a mistake, that they shouldn't have done it.

And yet here we are in this thread with people dismissing that, dismissing the effect the material had on victims, and just excusing it.

Paizo, has a company, has not taken ownership of the issue, and has ducked the issue, there's no formal statement of 'we screwed up', no 'and this is how we're going to do better' and no 'and this is how you can trust us going forwards'

And maybe you (the generic you) just don't care, maybe you think child abuse daemons that give powers that directly replicate real life abuse is cool and totally okay.

But lots of people don't think that, and those people's opinions of Paizo are and have been affected by this.

knightnday wrote:

I'm still a little confused on "taking steps to rectify it." Ok, they could change the PDF, but there are still copies out there. There are thousands of hardbacks out there.

They could apologize, I suppose, but would that be enough? I'm not even sure that there is something here to apologize for. The put up something that strikes close to home for many survivors of abuse, including myself.

That doesn't mean that they have done something wrong, however. More so, for myself and at least another up thread it provides a certain amount of motivation to root these people out, perhaps doing in game what one cannot in real life.

They can't undo, what they've done, though certainly there should be a formal accounting (and, if you'd read the links, you'd see that both Erik Mona and James Jacobs have privately said that it should never have been published).

They can, however, remove it from the PDFs that are being sold, they can make sure that it doesn't appear in any reprints.

And yes, they can apologise, formally, they can say 'we made a mistake', there's worth in that and effort and admittance of guilt. It's what people do when they screw up, they admit their mistakes, they commit to how they won't make them again, and they try to move on.

Given the multiple black eyes for paizo over the past few months (see linked, locked post) this is the least they should be doing.

But they're not. It appears as if they're just hoping it will all blow over. And that does damage, it does damage to them as a brand (hundreds of people have commented on how their opinion of Paizo has changed as a result of these issues). This isn't EA, this isn't a vast company that can suck up negative press knowing they'll still make a load of money.

This is one of the companies that had a reputation for doing better, for being better, for striving to be on the right side of issues, for wanting to support the marginalised, the minorities. And then they did this (and other things) and have, as a company, ducked responsibility for it.

PS YOu don't need to detail +2 charisma, unnatural lust, modify memory and veil in order to have a reason to oppose followers of Folca as it was previously depicted. The issue is not 'Folca exists', the issue is 'Folca exists and here are the cool things that you get'.

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Malefactor wrote:

So? This is for EVIL people, who do EVIL things. I mean, yeah someone is going to go "well, you can be a neutral worshipper of Folca" and yeah, RAW says you can, but that runs into the same problems as being a Chaotic Neutral worshipper of Socothbenoth, who's pretty much demon lord of rape, which is RAW says you can, but basic human decency says you can't. I mean, I would understand this uproar if this obedience was for a good or even neutral deity, but not only is Folca a neutral evil deity, but he is a Daemon, a fiend so evil that devils and demons team up with celestials to combat. No reasonable person is going to look at Folca and come to the conclusion that Paizo supports child abuse. And as for unreasonable people, do you really think someone who is legitimately okay with pedophilia is going to go "Gee wiz, I wish their was a mechanical benefit for abusing kids, because otherwise, I just won't bother." I still have not heard a compelling reason why we must remove all mentions of Folca, even though using the same logic we shouldn't let any villains kill people because someone who is okay with murder might think that the game encourages killing random innocents. Bad guys are supposed to BAD things so that the players realize they are BAD...

Would you be rolling the saving throw for the 8 year old child that the abuser has cast unnatural lust on?

Will your players be rolling a saving throw for the unnatural lust cast on them?

Will you be detailing the magic aura for the modify memory cast on an abuse victim after one of your players casts detect magic when they arrive at the aftermath just too late to catch the abuser but see the abused child there?

Will you be describing how the child has been turned into a perfect representation of the abusers ideal victim, so they can follow those down and hope to track down that abuser?

Will you be stopping with your slippery slope arguments and straw man fallacies anytime soon?

Please show me where I have said that any mention of folca should be removed.

The issue is how, not what, it's the deliberately chosen mechanical incentives for child abuse, and the benefits that directly replicate real world abuse.

I said it in the OP, I've said it repeatedly. Paizo has published mechanically incentivised child abuse. Not the 'hint but don't reveal' which horror works best at, but outright 'here are your benefits for being an abuser'...

Shaudius wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

Anyone can express that, for example it's been expressed on these very forums in this very thread.
Sure, but the OP isn't just expressing displeasure they're demanding action and sooner rather than later not just personal contrition. So my question is more bluntly, what does a company owe a consumer after admitting a mistake. What is the proper way to handle an admitted mistake in a book that has already been published (knowing that recall is not happening.)

A) The company hasn't admitted a mistake. Individuals have posted, as individuals, on twitter and enworld that it was a mistake, that's not the same as the company admitting it, and taking steps to rectify it.

knightnday wrote:
So if they didn't get a mechanical bonus or spells that replicate something that real abusers do then there wouldn't be a problem?

I'm not going to say a blanket yes to 'anything else' but for me, and clearly lots of other people who have been commenting on it, broadly, yes. There were multiple ways that the mechanics could have been handled, rather than those ways, paizo went with directly, exactly, replicating real world child abuse, and incentivising it. +2 charisma bonus for abuse, unnatural lust, conceal what happened, make them perfect for you - all now with special bonuses, the more you abuse, the more you get...

Malefactor wrote:
Yes, I have read it. You think it mimics things that have happened in the real world to much. But why is that the only one you're bringing that up about?

Because I can, because I have, because I did, because this is an issue, and Paizo, as a company, are ignoring it. And FYI the picts didn't use wicker men, you mean the celts, but there's no evidence of them doing it either...

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Malefactor wrote:
Really you're getting awfully offended over something that isn't even the worst thing Paizo has "encouraged" people to do by mechanical benefits being able to be drawn from it. Do you think Paizo promotes cannibalism because of the Cook People hex? That they encourage drug use because of the Psychedelic Psychic Discipline? That they promote self harm because of Abraxus's Obedience? That they support skinning humans to use their skin for drums like for Angazhan? That they support torture because Andirifkhu requires you to torture something smaller than you to death? Of using a child's bones to carve incantation's to your flesh? Burning things alive for Flauros? Drowning someone in swamp water and impaling it's corpse for Gogunta? Gyronna's is just making ANYONE's life worse, no age required? Do you really think Paizo wants you to do these things? If not, why do you think that Paizo specifically wants you to torment children?

Yes, I am awfully offended by mechanically.incentivised.child abuse. You're right.

Shaudius wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Also a trigger warning does not absolve the publisher of responsibility for bad decisions.
Sure but who gets to decide it's a bad decision and how do they get to express that it's a bad decision.

Well as the chief creative officer, and the creative director have personally said it was a bad decision - you did read the links I included in the OP right? - together with the hundreds of posts on rpg.net, enworld, twitter, facebook and google+ all criticising it, I think it's pretty safe to say it was a bad decision.

There's just a difference between two members of staff saying it, and paizo officially saying it, explaining it and making clear their steps to address it, hence the OP.

Gorbacz wrote:
dark and intense concepts.

Dark and intense concepts, and +2 charisma bonus for child abuse, and sexual abuse spells are not the same thing.

RocMeAsmodeus wrote:

Modify Memory may be more likely to be used to make a child think something horrific happened, rather than cover it up.

Eliminate all memory of an event the subject actually experienced. This spell cannot negate charm, geas/quest, suggestion, or similar spells.

This is what happens in actual real life abuse. Someone deliberately chose that spell.

RocMeAsmodeus wrote:

Veil sounds as though it is more likely to make the caster, or another creature or object, appear more terrifying to the child.

You instantly change the appearance of the subjects and then maintain that appearance for the spell's duration. You can make the subjects appear to be anything you wish.

This is done by actual abusers, dressing their victims in particular ways, posing them in particular ways etc. This is again, directly replicating real life abuse and methods of abuse.

And, even if you were right in your guess, that's still 'be a better abuser'.

RocMeAsmodeus wrote:

Unnatural Lust.... yeah, I'll give you that one. Even if intended for another use, it has overtly sexual connotations. A variant "Unnatural Gluttony" or something may be more appropriate.

The spell's only purpose is abuse, it's sexual abuse, the spell. You can conceive of other uses for the other spells, albeit the connotation with Folca is clear, but unnatural lust is sex assault the spell, save or be abused. It's abhorrent that Paizo would consider this an acceptable spell to publish, and then to add to the bonuses for a child abuser.

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

If management has admitted an error, then they should also take steps to rectify the error. It doesn't matter if it's a small job or a big job.

While they're at it, they could maybe fix the art for Nocticula. To something a little less Male-Gazey?

If you're going to make a book with mature themes you have to be incredibly careful about what lines are being crossed, and how you're representing the game.

I understand that books are complex, but unless direct action is taken to rectify mistakes, then this is another bit of lost faith in Paizo as a company and Pathfinder as a game.

That 'Nocticula' is one of a list of issues recently highlighted on social media and how certain themes are depicted in Paizo products (gluttony versus wrath versus lust), and I absolutely agree with you, but while I thought about making it a broader 'hey, what the hell are you doing?' issue, I chose to drill down into this one specific one. But absolutely, it's bad and poor and full of male gaze and lust=lust objects rather than lust personifications with the other 'sins' depictions.

RocMeAsmodeus wrote:
Plus I'm pretty sure Folca is supposed to be an embodiment of folk horror stories meant to frighten children into behaving, like Krampus.

Unnatural lust, modify memory and veil have nothing to do with 'behaving', the link between child abuse and 'well good children don't get abused' is abhorrent and discredited. That is not the theme of the daemon, and explicitly described as a mistake by James Jacobs, albeit, as per my original link, in a personal manner, not on these forums and not as an official statement.

Gorbacz wrote:

Folca's obedience is only "+2 for sexually abusing children" if you really want it to be.

Unnatural Lust, Modify Memory, Veil

You can’t dismiss those as ‘if you really want it to be’ when those are the mechanical benefits of following/worshipping Folca.

“Stalk a child and make him witness or endure a horrifically brutal event. Promise him that you will return, and then leave him with that haunting thought. Gain a +2 Profane bonus on Charisma checks”

That’s child abuse, it just is, it’s not ‘if you really want it to be’ it’s child abuse.

I was abused, I find this abhorrent, disgraceful and disgusting from Paizo. I found it abhorrent 7 weeks ago when they ignored the complaints, with only personal comments coming after it went viral. And, to be clear, this has gone viral, there are hundreds of comments about this across twitter, google+ rpg.net and enworld calling out this material as being unfitting of paizo and unacceptable.

Paizo knew, 7 weeks ago, that this was an issue. Heck, they knew it was an issue when they were developing it, when they went from the ‘hint but not describe’ as Folca was previously, to mechanically incentivised child abuse.

And yet here we are, with people excusing and dismissing it in this thread.

How many DMs will be rolling saving throws for children being the targets of unnatural lust, having it wiped out by modify memory, so your NPC can abuse again, or making them a perferct victim with Veil?

How many DMs will be tracking the +2 Profane bonus because your abuser had stalked and tormented a child prior to the players’ encountering them?

How many players will use 'well it's in the book' as a defence, because we all know that that happens.

To paraphrase from someone else, speaking on this subject, there is a big difference between ‘Bob abuses children because he’s playing his character that way/that’s the kewl grimdark thing the DM wants to do’ and ‘Bob is playing his character that way because the book mechanically incentivises him and gives him the powers to do to that’.

The abilities granted specifically replicate real world child abuse. In fact they make them even better because it’s ‘save or abuse’. The behaviour and actions are encouraged by the mechanics.

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TOZ wrote:
What would you have them do?

Officially take ownership of the mistake in what was published, with a company statement about it, and why it was wrong. Explaining the decisions behind it and how they came about, not least because there's a definite difference between the material submitted by the freelancer who worked on it and what was finally published. Why did that happen, how did it happen?

Remove the material from the PDF (this is not a big job).

Make a public statement about their standards with regard to child abuse and child endangement, making clear the company's standpoint and attitude to this.

And never publish anything anything like it again.

Jurassic Pratt wrote:
Wow, how dare they give literal incarnates of evil a deity who does a bad thing. Hint: these are the guys you're fighting against.

Or, not, because you can have a neutral follower.

Just to be clear, will you be making the checks to see if the child makes their save from unnatural lust and then describing what happens to your players, and then having their mind wiped in front of them, or after and describing in detail what they find out when they try and piece it all together? Or are you cool with one of your players doing this and describing in detail (because it requires a specific obligation) how they torture and abuse that child to give them their +2 bonus?

Gorbacz wrote:
Hey OP, have you ever heard of World of Darkness?

I have, yes, that setting has nothing to do with this.

Zhangar wrote:

Declaring Paizo to be the "child abuse company" because of one evil demigod reeks of histrionics.

Given how many people accused Weinstein's accusers of histrionics, or assorted other abusers over the years, i'll take that as my badge of honour, thanks!

Once again, +2 charisma bonus for child abuse...

DJEternalDarkness wrote:


I say Harumph my good man that you see this made up controvesy!

Firstly, I didn’t make it up, Paizo did, when they published mechanically incentivised child abuse rules. Secondly these rules, and Paizo as a company, have been roundly condemned around the internet for this.

But of course all the initial responses here are a rejection. We don’t, as humans, want to consider that the people we like, or the things we like, might have done something wrong, because that runs into self-awareness and cognitive dissonance, it’s tough to consider that a thing we like might also be bad.

And so the reactions to Spacey and Weinstein and Bill Webb and Mentzer and Ratner and all sorts of other people who’ve been exposed as doing something wrong, something bad, something terrible.

Ignoring and dismissing it, is the same as condoning it.

Paizo staffers, on their own time, on twitter and enworld have admitted that it was a mistake, but this has not been followed up on by Paizo as a company.

There are several hundred posts about this around the net, several hundred twitter, forum and google+ posts, but there is no formal statement by Paizo.

I expect better from Paizo, I want better, hence the original post, hence calling them to account, again, because they've ignored or dodged the issue on a corporate level and that's not acceptable.

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What's going on Paizo?

You published mechanically incentivised rules for child abuse.

You have spells which specifically replicate real world methods of child abuse, and give them to followers of the daemon/deity Folca.

You were called out for this at the time of release, you were called out for this in a previous thread. Two senior members of staff have admitted, elsewhere, that this was a mistake (Erik Mona and James Jacobs) but there's no official statement on it.

You've had several weeks to craft something, several weeks to make something public.

If, as said, you intended to remove that text, it would have taken me a day to rework that page of the indesign document, splash in some filler text and recreate it. If needed i'll do it for you.

For those just joining the party, here are some links that you might want to review:


Here's the description of Folca in the Book of the Damned:


Here's Erik Mona saying it was a mistake:


And here's James Jacobs saying the same:

http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?594081-Harassment-At-PaizoCon-2 017/page11&p=7261191&viewfull=1#post7261191

It's 3 weeks since those statements on twitter and enworld. It's nearly 2 months since the book was released and the first questions of what the hell are you doing were being asked.

To make clear, again, the book includes mechanically incentivised child abuse.

+2 charisma bonus for abusing a child
Other benefits:

Unnatural lust
Your target is filled with lust and desire for a single creature or object as designated by you at the time of casting. That creature or object must be within the spell’s range and perceivable by the target of the spell. The target is filled with the compulsion to rush to the subject of its lust and passionately kiss or caress that subject on its next turn, taking no other actions. If the target would not normally have lustful feelings toward the designated creature or object, it receives a +4 bonus on its saving throw.

Modify Memory
You reach into the subject's mind and modify as many as 5 minutes of its memories in one of the following ways.

*Eliminate all memory of an event the subject actually experienced. This spell cannot negate charm, geas/quest, suggestion, or similar spells.
*Allow the subject to recall with perfect clarity an event it actually experienced.
*Change the details of an event the subject actually experienced.
*Implant a memory of an event the subject never experienced.

You instantly change the appearance of the subjects and then maintain that appearance for the spell's duration. You can make the subjects appear to be anything you wish. The subjects look, feel, and smell just like the creatures the spell makes them resemble. Affected creatures resume their normal appearances if slain. You must succeed on a Disguise check to duplicate the appearance of a specific individual. This spell gives you a +10 bonus on the check.

These spells specifically, exactly, replicate real world, actual abuse. They make the victim 'want it', they make the victim forget it, and they make the victim perfect for them. As I said previously, in email and posts, as the victim of abuse who suffered the above 'spells' in real life, I find their inclusion disgusting and disgraceful.

Why was this published?
Who made the decisions to include this material?
What are you specifically going to do about this?
How can anyone trust that you won't continue to promote this again?

You've had 7 weeks to address this, and there is no public, official statement on it. Yes, two members of staff have said it was a mistake, but neither were speaking on behalf of the company, and you shut down the forum thread here, on your forums, where you could have spoken about it, and the related public statement didn't touch on this at all.

You ignored emails about it, you ignored threads about it, only when it went viral across the net, in connection to a number of other issues, was anything said, and yet there's still no official public statement from you.

Does Paizo want to be the child abuse company, or not?

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taks wrote:
I'm curious how this Frank Mentzer thing is applicable to Paizo. He's not an employee, is he? He held no power over Jessica Price, as far as I can tell. Regardless of what he did, I'm not seeing the relevance.

He was a guest at Paizocon, during which he attended an industry dinner with Jessica Price. After the con he sent her a creepy, harassing PM.

She has said she was pressured not to make this public, and at that time it wasn't a hill she wanted to die on. She's now in a different industry and has made it public.

The specific quotes that make it relevant to Paizo are:


And I don't work for Paizo anymore. I was warned, when I did, that there were limits to how much of this sort of thing they'd tolerate.
So when I told them what had happened, in this particular instance, while I was still deciding whether to talk publicly...
...they "thanked" me for not going public with it. I decided this wasn't the particular hill I was willing to die on.
...there are a lot of those hills.
But that was then, and this is now.


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Wrath wrote:

That's a very important clarification, and speaks to their decision.

If charges weren't laid, the company would need to be careful in how they handled further interactions for legal reasons.

Imagine the repercussions if a major publishing company blacklisted someone who's business relies on the same community circles. Especially if no reported offence had occurred.

The person not reporting this may well have tied the hands of Paizo as a company.

The offences (plural) were witnessed. Whether criminal charges are pressed or not, in no way prevents Paizo from banning the attacker.

Here's Gen Con's policy

Here's the Pax (West policy

Neither require that charges be brought in order to ban the harasser.

Wrath wrote:

That's the point of what's being asked here though.

If a company does handle it, that's great. In other words, if they inevestigate it and act on the findings as they should, then there's nothing wrong. Doing that quietly and with as much dignity for all parties as possible is perfectly fine.

But that's not what's being claimed here.
What's being claimed here is the company hasn't dealt with the issue. The claim is they suppressed it, and continued as if nothing occurred.

So far, these are just claims though, and only from a very few people, some of which is only second hand information.

Who else, other than Jessica Price, has to claim that she was pressured into staying quite about Mentzer's harassment?

Who else, other than a witness to harassment to raise it as an issue?

Who else, other than the victim of harassment, has to speak about it? And given they've been given legal threats (albeit ones that would not be sustanable in court, but people often back down to unsustainable legal threats, that's why anti-SLAPP laws exist in assorted states).

If the line is 'I won't believe it until more people come forwards', then you're erpetuating sweeping it under the rug until some personally acceptable number of complaints is reached.

The con incident happened months ago, the Pathfinder society harassment was reported 12 days ago, and Jessica Price was pressured into staying quiet two years ago, and only now she's out of the industry has she come forwards (and also doing so with the backdrop of many victims feeling that now, now they might be believed when theyc ome forwards).

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Andy Brown wrote:
CPEvilref wrote:


The victim was politely informed that all of their interactions should be considered under the volunteer NDA and that they are not permitted to discuss the abuse.
If this is true, and is company policy rather than somebody misinterpreting what the NDA should cover, I'll be seriously rethinking my involvement with organised play specifically, and Paizo in general.

I'd like to think it's that, but given the other actions in the complaint, I have no hope of it.

It's undoubtledly been incredibly badly handled. Just as it was with Jessica Price, just as it was with the convention harassment and assault. Add in other not great things, and to my perception Paizo's been getting worse, not better at being on the right side.

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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:

I claim no expertise on the local 'trees' in this matter - however, as a student of history and psychology, and as a lifelong observer of Humanity from the perspective of an outsider, I do have enough familiarity with the 'forest' to be concerned by this very sudden flip from something that's somehow gone from an issue nobody particularly worries about to an issue that's outright monopolizing public discourse.

You're genuinely saying that sexual harassment, abuse and assault was something 'nobody particularly worries about' and you're concerned that people are now worried about it?


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Wrath wrote:

So far I'm seeing only two incidents. Lots of talk about just two.



So someone came forward to me today about something I really can't even begin to fathom. Yes, it's about Paizo again, and it's about abuse.

A volunteer organizer for Pathfinder Societt, under a volunteer NDA, co fidentially disclosed to me that they submitted a well-documented case of abuse from another PFS volunteer. The result of that filing was allowing the abuser to remain working, but also promoting the victim which in turn forced them to WORK WITH THEIR ABUSER. If that doesn't set your hair on fire, I'm sort of only just getting started.

So this UNPAID VOLUNTEER continued to be abused by the same person. Reports to PFS Organized Play Coordination went nowhere and then...

The victim was politely informed that all of their interactions should be considered under the volunteer NDA and that they are not permitted to discuss the abuse. So not only is the abuse an unresolved issue, the abuser remained unpunished and the victim silenced.

<snipped swearing comment>

Worse is that this (obviously) isn't an isolated issue. I've heard reports of similar situations from players and volunteers in the past.

But no one is willing to discuss the problem or properly address it.

And just by bringing this up and showing my disappointment in the organizational shortcomings, I risk my own career by "rocking th boat."

Before anyone asks, I will not identify the parties involved because I am concerned for the victim's identity and safety and any backlash.

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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:

So no, this isn't a "witchhunt" or a "moral panic" or a new "McCathyism."

The lone incident? No, doesn't seem like it - but it's very unfortunately-timed, as it is appearing against the backdrop of a vastly larger hivemind manifestation that appears to be just that.

Are you seriously suggesting that men and women coming forwards to report assault, harassment and abuse in varied industries is a 'hivemind manifestation' And that it's somehow unfortunately-timed with regard to RPGs and Paizo?

I mean, Robert reported the harassment and assault incident back in July.

He reported the harassment in the Pathfinder Society on the 12th of October.

It's only now, when added to Jessica Price's revelation, that this is getting traction.

Almost as if these things happen all the time, but it takes some light being shone to make people take notice of them.

Eremite wrote:
A slower release schedule would suggest that they're about to embark on another round of retrenchments. Hmmm....

And if the release schedule was slower, that would mean something, but it's not:

2009, Jan-Aug had 19 products
2010, Jan-Aug has 22 products (with at least one DDM set not on the schedule)

Raevhen wrote:

I have the 2 races history more closely tied to one another along the lines of Babylon 5, with the DB being analogous to the Narns and the Tieflings being similar to the Centauri. Both of them having fallen empires trying to recapture that lost glory.

Neat approach. I just realised i'd subconciously done the same thing, even to the extent of some of their cultural beliefs and customs. Possibly not as overtly as you but the two races do tie into the Narn/Centauri divide nicely.

And to answer the OP, I find that Dragonborn fit nicely into the game. If you can accept dragons and elves and eladrin and gelatinous cubes and all manner of other creatures that would be impossible in the 'real world' then why not Dragonborn?

EDIT: scooped by wotc changing their mind.

Meh, I'd much rather see a separate Dungeon and Dragon Insider package and one with the tools as well. While I may use the tools in any given month, I know i'll use the mags every month.

joela wrote:
Linky here. Link to website on PR goes back to post. Select/enter Poison Ivy Press to get to the site.

If the writing (and editing) standard of their books is anything like the standard of their website then I have low hopes for their success.

Yes, and I'm happy with it so far.

Unsurprised to see rhetorical fallacies still thrive here.

Polaris wrote:
Outside of Paizo (and that has yet to be shown), I don't think the OGL community is doing fine. I get tired of people sitting singing "kumbaya" around the campfire and saying that Pathfinder and 4E can peacefully co-exist. They can not. They might in fact co-exist but unforunately...and I do think it's unfortunate...the relationship will necessarily be hostile. It will be hostile because Pathfinder's existance and (possible) success will keep the GSL from working for precisly the reasons you've stated earlier. It will give 3PPs a place to go and keep Wotc from cornering it's own IP. If you don't think that wasn't the intent with the GSL, you're dreaming. Some have wondered why Wotc put forth a GSL given it's restrictions and the realities of US Copyright law as it applies to games. I've given a perfectly valid (from a corportate PoV) reason. Few like to believe it, however.

You really should know more about the gaming industry considering the amount of rubbish you post.

Mongoose - 4th or 5th largest/most succesful games company in the industry atm - OGL.

And stop saying OGL and only meaning d20, there are several non-d20 games published using the OGL and they're all doing fine as well.

Do try to learn something about the subject before you get it wrong again.

Ubermench wrote:
4.0 is D&D except for the magic system, the new races, lack of an old race, missing classes and the absence of any Tolkien influences.

C- fails to truly show any depth of comprehension of the subject and his troll skills are notably lacking.

David A. Nixon wrote:

House rule: Re-clawing the De-clawed. or old skool F--- you up.

Lethality of combat (or eviscerate one another)
all normal damage rolls are open ended.
example: bastard sword 1d10 dmg, if the result of the die is a "10", the die is rolled repeatedly until a "10" is not rolled.

This makes weapons such as daggers far, far more dangerous, bigger increase for them than it is for the bastard sword.

underling wrote:
CPEvilref wrote:

If more people thought and posted as you did, Underling, then the Paizo boards would be a far more welcoming place. It's a shame that it's not but as much as I appreciate your own approach, that doesn't mean I feel that the 'bozos' should go unchallenged when they post utter tosh.

Hey, I'm far from an angel. if you could look back far enough I got into it quite a bit during the edition wars. But I think enough time has passed that many of us hung up our gloves and retired.

You know, I seem to notice that the anti 4e people who post on the 4ed boards don't stop often on the other boards. It also seems like the anti 3e people who troll over on the other boards seem to hang there more.


I'd seen you post a few jabs but had also noticed them stopping of late and you trying to take a more reasoned/non-antagonistic approach which was what I appreciated.

As for the second, that's something that i've been puzzling about. e.g. I don't like the pathfinder system (burn him, burn him), but I don't go post about it, just as I don't post about not liking palladium's system. For some reason though, X number of people feel the need to continually attack a system they have no interest in playing. It's perplexing.

Polaris wrote:

Actually it's not. It's just a statement of fact. 4E does not have multiclassing as it's been defined for thirty years. 4E has class customization that they've redefined as multiclassing.


PS A fighter with a bow will be significantly less accurate than a ranger since a ranger will boost Dex through the ceiling and a fighter will not.

It's an opinion. And a fighter _can_ boost dex through the ceiling just as much as the ranger can, so your second point might be accurate in that the ranger is _more likely_ to, but it's not an absolute, which you're presenting it as.

underling wrote:

Is this argument even relevant anymore? Play 4e, play pathfinder - play whatever makes you happy. Do I like 4e? Nope. Do I care that you do? Nope. Have fun with your game du jour, and I'll try to do the same with mine.

For the record there are plenty of us anti-4e crowd who have struck a conciliatory tone on 4e. Try not to assume that the behavior of a few bozos is indicative of the rest of us. Heck, come join one of the design threads to see whats up on the rest of the site. We'll even try to go easy if you slip up and knock our edition a little bit ;)

but no promises.

If more people thought and posted as you did, Underling, then the Paizo boards would be a far more welcoming place. It's a shame that it's not but as much as I appreciate your own approach, that doesn't mean I feel that the 'bozos' should go unchallenged when they post utter tosh.

Russ Taylor wrote:

Unfortunately, signs are that 4E will head right down this path of that 2E and 3E took, to the detriment of both editions. I prefer the sourcebook/adventure heavy approach, too much crunch is a bad thing.

You know that crunch books are the highest sellers, and adventures the lowest sellers, right?

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