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RPG Superstar 8 Season Dedicated Voter, 9 Season Marathon Voter. 231 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

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For 24 hours or more t's all about taking some time to give due attention, congratulations and respect to our advancing RPGSS crew. So go go give them some love, eh???


...what format does one use to add a link to one's comment text?

square-Bracket b close-square-bracket works just fine to get bold, where <b> is the html I'm used to hand-coding.

But replacing greater-than/less-than with square brackets for the <a href="link"> html doesn't work when the time comes to insert a link.

What, precisely, should I be doing to get this right?

Thanks. I've cross posted this in the Blazing 9! section of the message boards, where people are practicing the craft of writing good game-copy, including correct formatting.

Anyone @Paizo know why when I click on someone's name I don't see any button to PM people?

Am I just failing to spot the obvious?

Where should the button be when it appears so I can make sure it's not there (and the problem isn't user error/bad perception check)?

Is there a common problem that cures this?

I'm using a mac, browsing with safari.

that I noticed a while back and can't remember where.

They're a bunch of whack-a-loons who want to breach the boundaries of the world - and I thought their name had something to do with "grey flame" that appears when dimensional boundaries break down, but all searches for "grey flame" get the weapon (even though that's a misspelling).

They have a secret group opposed to them trying to keep the dimensional boundaries intact.

Anyone remember what I'm talking about?

Thanks for any aid.


Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

I have never submitted to RPGSS. I have published elsewhere on other topics. When I write creatively in an RPG setting, I have always done so merely for friends, as a GM or consulting with a GM. I discovered RPGSS sometime in 2014 and read a bit of the archives. I didn't particularly pay attention, though, to Paizo blogs, and randomly came here literally 20 minutes before the deadline for submitting a magic item. I didn't submit, but knowing that I might have made me curious. So I hung around and voted, and have had a good time reading others' creative output.

I had thought that I would participate in next years' RPGSS. As it stands, however, I certainly won't. There are two main issues. First is this section in the Official Rules:


2. By entering this contest, the contestant authorizes the use, without additional compensation, of his or her name, likeness, voice, photograph, and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including, without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers, and other publications, and in television or film releases, slides, videotape, distribution over the internet and picture data storage) which Paizo may deem appropriate.

Like many women on the internet, I have experienced harassment and threats. I think that many of us are familiar with GamerGate. Whether one actually believes that the core issues of GamerGaters reduce merely to ethics in journalism, it is undeniable that women have been literally driven out of their homes by threats. Pseudonyms exist for a reason. I have used my own name to publish some of my material, but a pen name for others. I have used a consistent pseudonym on the internet for over 15 years. I’m not attempting to be fly-by-night or to make it difficult to attribute my work or solidify IP ownership or enforce contract. While Paizo may keep its community free of threats and harassment (and thank you!) I will not authorize Paizo to use my name, likeness, voice, photo, and municipality of residence at its sole discretion.

This could easily be rewritten that “By entering this contest, the contestant agrees that any use of a contestant’s name, likeness, voice, photograph, and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including, without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers, and other publications, and in television or film releases, slides, videotape, distribution over the internet and picture data storage) which Paizo may deem appropriate will occur without additional compensation.” This guarantees that the contestant cannot extort money from Paizo later without giving up control of one’s identity merely for entering the open call.

Giving up one’s control over one’s identity and safety merely to enter the open call is far too great a cost for me to pay. Frankly, I suspect that it’s far too great a cost to reasonably ask of many people, though most people without legal training will not appreciate the implications of this particular rule.

My second issue is with intellectual property ownership.

6. Contestants must agree to the submission agreement found on the submission form during the entry period.

I don’t know what this submission agreement is.

As an initial concern, it is unfair to keep this concealed from people who in all earnestness seek work as freelancers. It likely doesn’t matter to most people who submit, but the people whom Paizo would most like to cultivate are the ones most adversely affected. This should be published in advance, not merely on the submission form.

My greater concern, however, was revealed by Christopher’s response to me in another thread, where he revealed that all IP related to the Hollowheart Conquest now belongs to Paizo. I certainly recognize that Paizo has an interest in the module pitches and other work produced during the contest. I recognize that as a finalist, Christopher’s work is likely being considered by Paizo for development. Paizo should be able to protect the interest it creates through the contest.

I further recognize that Christopher’s summary is not the same as the the actual content of the submission agreement.

However, if it does resemble the actual agreement - a simple, one-time transfer of all rights - I think this serves Paizo poorly by serving the contestants poorly.

Freelancers must recycle ideas to make a living. Travel writers will write about the same trip for different magazines, once focussing on hotels, another time focussing on restaurants, but sometimes the hotel restaurant will be part of both articles. This is a normal feature of writing, and encouraging freelancers should recognize it. Moreover, there will be plenty of content that is not up to Paizo’s standards. Paizo spends a great deal of energy providing constructive feedback. While useful to lurkers, there is no reason for Paizo to prevent a freelancer from taking a good idea with too many drawbacks and turning it into something more polished. If Paizo isn’t interested in that reworked content itself, it encourages the flourishing of healthy 3PP creativity to allow the freelancer to take it elsewhere.

Moreover, why should a dabbling writer be prevented from taking the best ideas from their marketable novel as inspiration for RPGSS? The market for games content and novels are separate but related, like travel magazines that focus on different aspects of the travel experience. It should be easy for writers to use core ideas in different contexts without running afoul of Paizo’s intellectual property interest in the contest itself.

Encouraging this creativity and a large, talented 3PP base is part of the desired outcome for Paizo, and is certainly desirable for the talented but inexperienced would-be freelancers that Paizo is specifically encouraging to submit. Nonetheless, Paizo creates interest in people, creatures, plots, places, and things through its sponsorship of RPGSS.

A reasonable IP transfer would thus include good protection for Paizo with flexibility for freelancers to reuse good ideas so as to learn from their time participating in RPGSS. I see the best version of this containing several core ideas:

1. All names of persons, places, items, etc, whether unique or general, become property of Paizo as a one-time transfer.
2. All other intellectual property contained within an entry (what an item does, the plot of an encounter, etc.) transfers to Paizo for a period of 2 years from the end of that year’s RPGSS. At Paizo’s discretion, the intellectual property can be used by Paizo in a Paizo publication. If published within the 2 year period, rights remain with Paizo. If not published within that time, full rights revert to the author (remembering that this does not cover names).
3. For the first couple of years using this system, until Paizo is sure that 24 months is a sufficient time frame, add a clause that upon written notice the period in which other IP rights are conserved by Paizo is extended for an additional 12 months, with publication during that time also permanently reserving the rights for Paizo, as if published during the initial 24 months.
4. Rights to publish intellectual property from item 2 are not reserved to Paizo for purposes unrelated to the gaming industry. Paizo would have to decide if it means electronic gaming as well as paper & tabletop gaming.

As examples for the utility of the above, and further explanation of purpose:
The first allows someone to use a novel-in-progress or even completed as the basis for an adventure proposal. A global find-and-replace for names is easy enough with today’s tech and doesn’t limit freelancer’s creative reuse of core ideas. This rewards the creativity while preventing confusion created by a novel and a module both titled, “The Hollowheart Conquest,” with the novel unrelated to Paizo’s business (but possibly profiting off the association).

The second, the reversion clause, permits authors to reuse ideas that Paizo clearly doesn’t intend to publish. If the author can learn something in 24 months to make that idea better, it only benefits 3PP to have good IP in circulation instead of in the dustbin.

The third simply makes sure that the second is workable in practice during a time when you don’t have enough experience to know what the right cut-off is to balance keeping good IP in circulation and giving Paizo sufficient lead-time to publish.

The fourth allows an author to simultaneously work on the hypothetical novel instead of waiting 2 years to market it. Note, importantly, that only that in the RPGSS submission is covered by the agreement. If you actually choose to ask a finalist to write a module, the contract for that work can further restrict (or eliminate) the rights to use content elsewhere so that no novel can too-closely resemble the final plot. The problem is that the general outlines contained within proposals can fit a wide variety of final products, and a freelancer would currently have to steer quite wide of any content in the proposal even when adapting an idea to an entirely different context. Paizo can and should be more restricted when contracting a freelancer to develop an idea. Mere submission to RPGSS, however, should not be so restrictive.


I am not saying that my ideas have to be adopted specifically as I have proposed for me to participate. Nor am I saying that my participation alone is sufficient for Paizo’s concern. I hope I have articulated that there are reasonable bases for concern with Paizo’s current authorship, identity, and IP provisions and that my proposed fixes show that Paizo can profit from RPGSS directly, while better meeting its goals of encouraging flourishing 3PP and freelancer communities, and do so without too terribly much effort or cost.

I hope that Paizo seriously considers making the submission process safer for those concerned about threats, stalking, etc., and simultaneously better for the creative dabbler or new freelancer seriously interested in producing great ideas for the Pathfinder community.

So I don't need answers to questions I don't ask. I know how many attacks you get, what TWF does, etc.

My question is one I haven't seen directly covered in the rules.

As I understand it (but correct me if I'm wrong), the rules are pretty clear that if you have, for instance, a +11 BAB so you get +11/+6/+1, you can't take the +1 attack first, no matter how clear you are with your GM that, "Hey, in this round I want to take my attacks +1 then +6 then +11, ok?" before you role the d20.

However, I haven't seen anything that would clear up whether you can switch back and forth between weapons before all the attacks available with one weapon are done.

It seems an open question whether the character above (say the character has Improved TWF and so gets +11/+6 with the off-hand weapon, before penalties for two-weapons are applied, of course) can

1. announce that the offhand goes first this round, make two attacks, then switch to primary hand and make 3.

2. announce that the two highest bonus attacks will go first, primary hand, then off hand, then the two attacks at +6 (primary first), then the primary weapon at +1

3. Begin an attack sequence with the primary hand, perform one or two attacks, then announce a switch to the off-hand, do both off-hand attacks, then announce the switch back to the primary hand to finish those attacks

and so forth. Note that in each of these cases, the +11s go before the +6s for any given weapon, so the rule that -5 applies to **subsequent** attacks maintains its integrity. We're not reversing time here or reversing BAB order. We're just talking about determining before the d20 roll which hand is being used instead of doing all primary attacks then all offhand attacks in that order (or, in some versions I've seen, all max bonus attacks, primary first, then off-hand, then all -5 attacks, then all -10 attacks, then all -15 attacks).

Is there a firm rule anywhere to which you could point? Or is a character free to decide with which hand the next attack will be made?