Gaston Cromarchy

Ernest Mueller's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber. Organized Play Member. 1,514 posts. 1 review. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Organized Play character. 1 alias.


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I'm running a nautical campaign that is roving from Riddleport to sunken Azlant to Garund south of Sargava and this map is invaluable, thanks for doing it.


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The problem with this is that people have a very "modern" version of how law enforcement works that isn't very compatible with a more Golarion-esque medieval/Renaissance world. The idea of a professional "standing" police force is not super realistic; law enforcement was very DIY in those times - apprehending a criminal and taking them to a judge was indeed your responsibility, and sometimes expected of you (see hue-and-cry laws, tithings, and other real medieval legal enforcement techniques).

So while I understand where you're coming from and the kind of behavior you want to curb and why... I'm afraid history isn't really on your side.


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Adam Daigle wrote:


Which leads me to your second question... I'm not a huge fan of direct analogs, and when writing Segada I wanted to have it make sense in regards to things that we've already said about Arcadia and have it make sense in regards to climate and geography. I didn't give the artist a ton of direction for the big city vista illustration other than the type of building materials that would be available and the type of vibe I was going for. The clothing styles are partially inspired by Iroquois designs, but, as I said about analogs, I didn't want to copy anything, but rather use elements to make something new. The hairstyle is an example of that. The priest of Kazutal has some strong Mesoamerican elements by design, but I also wanted to include other elements as she is very far from her homeland and I wanted to show at least a sliver of other Arcadian people since I only had one city to play with.

OK that's good to know. The hardest thing to do in these books is to come across with the "feel" of a culture or place. I found that city pic disappointing and to look like "just like everywhere else in pseudo-European Golarion" and it started me off with a hard slog on that chapter as it encouraged me to interpret everything in that light. The person pic does a lot of work to roll that back though. It's tough trying to seed whole cultures with a single city writeup because they have to totally drip with the different culture to not be interpreted according to the "usual" context. And starting with a city is hard for another reason; I assume most of us here think of Arcadia as more lightly populated than the European part but starting with a city makes it seem like "Oh so is there an Inner Sea-like population density there?" etc.


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Yeah, I agree, I want a mini too. She was one of our favorite characters in that AP (we certainly hated and dismissed the rest of what we referred to as the Boner Squad that got sent along with us).

It's exactly because she is anime-cute and no one else in the world is that it's notable! She was so perky we just couldn't help but befriend her. Most NPCs tend to be considered as tools or meat for the beast, it's unfortunate for them to kick against one who was actually interesting, there's whole APs where not anyone is interesting. (Finishing up Wrath of the Righteous now...)


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Yeah, agreed. Too often it seems like the writers want to get some Diversity Points (tm) by including these things but then give them short shrift and no downside. They're unwilling to go full "Blue Rose" and just say there's no sexism/racism/whatnot at all, they still say it's there in Golarion, but then when it would come up there's just zero effort put into it.

I'm not sure why. Is it just to tweak us if we're insensitive? From playing Wrath of the Righteous as best as we can tell all paladins and in fact perhaps all crusaders are gay, but there's no discussion of it except to poke it at you... They make noise about half-breeds being not tolerated (there's some city where they tend to emigrate to in southern Varisia somewhere) but then in play everyone seems totally 100% tolerant of everything... I think it's just the limitations of the "must be kid friendly" dictum, feel free and make it more realistic yourself.


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Curse of the Crimson Throne gets my nod for first on the story front, while not perfect (go chase macguffin chains in the desert!!!). Then Jade Regent. I haven't run or played Iron Gods or Reign of Winter so can't speak to those.


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Louis Agresta wrote:
One pointer: I underestimated how devastating the control water spell can prove. If that's in the mix it can utterly neutralize a ship -- even the Pride -- by simply dropping it in a 10-20' deep water ditch so her guns point at a wall of ocean water.

Yeah, my PCs have been doing LOTS of naval combat and this one was a corker; definitely a battle-ender. I decided that ships should get a haed Pro: Sailor check to get out of it so it's not automatic.

One way to force more naval combat is what I do, using mass combat rules (not unlike the troop rules) for the crews. A unit of N guys gets one attack at +.5N/+N, and usually I break them up into 10-person units, so PCs just flying over and dumping into a ship with 40 crews aren't just killing infinite third level guys, they are fighting 4 troops attacking at +5 to hit/+10 to damage, which tends to take them a little more aback. Add some murder guns and they're happy to grapple and board and let their units of pirates take some of the heat.


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Liz Courts wrote:
William Ronald wrote:
I use the violates copyright or other infringement as spam posts are generally business related.
Please use "Breaks other Guidelines".

I just did my first spam-flagging and this definitely confused me - is there a reason not to add a "spam" flag as a top level option? It's good enough for google...


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Snowblind wrote:


Shockingly enough, while players are happy with "I kick ass, and kick ass slightly more when my buddy is nearby", the same players generally don't like themes like "I am much weaker unless I have others helping".

This is a very insightful comment, and I think the way teamwork feats could be fixed to be actually desirable is to give you some of the benefit solo, just more with someone else in the mix.

For example, all the "+2 to whatever..." Maybe you get +1 when working with someone without the feat, +2 with. Or a similar minor trait-level bonus/juiced really nice feat bonus dichotomy if it's not a +something. Let's try this out.

Back to Back: You receive a +1 circumstance bonus to AC against attacks from opponents flanking you. While you are adjacent to an ally with this feat, the bonus rises to +2.

Allied Spellcaster: You receive a +1 competence bonus on level checks made to overcome spell resistance. Whenever you are adjacent to an ally who also has this feat, the bonus rises to +2. If your ally has the same spell prepared (or known with a slot available if they are spontaneous spellcasters), this bonus increases to +4 and you receive a +1 bonus to the caster level for all level-dependent variables, such as duration, range, and effect.

Combat Medic: Whenever you use Heal to provide first aid, treat caltrop wounds, or treat poison, you provoke no attacks of opportunity, and can take 10 on the check.
Whenever you use healing spells on an ally who also has this feat, you provoke no attacks of opportunity.
Unlike with other teamwork feats, allies that are paralyzed, stunned, unconscious, or cannot otherwise act still count for the purposes of this feat.

Oh look I fixed teamwork feats. None of them are so badass you would certainly take them, but they rise from the level of "shaaa right" to "Oh, maybe for this build..."


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Morbus Iff wrote:

Received mine today. I _hate_ the new size. It is the difference between fitting them on my mass-media paperback shelves (where all the rest of my nearly 20 Pathfinder novels are) and having to be moved into an _entirely different room with bigger shelves_. If I want to keep the two different formats all together, I'm gonna have to move everything all around.

Annoying.

Not annoying enough to unsubscribe, mind you, but enough to sully the experience.

Agreed but for different reasons. I didn't know this change was coming, and when I opened up my box I was like "what, is this now in large print for Grandma?" It looks wonky. I went and compared it to a bunch of other books I have of the same size (arbitrary pulls from the top of my to-read pile - Tim Butcher's Blood River, Philip Keith's Blackhorse Riders, P.G. Wodehouse's Leave it to Psmith) and I realized why - it hasn't been redesigned right for the new size factor, both on the cover and in the interior. The new size is fine in and of itself, and I have probably a full bookshelf of books with that exact size factor, but there's a design problem that makes it look like a kid in ill-fitting clothes.

On the cover, the logo is oddly placed (low) and all the fonts aren't just larger, but seem to be stretched vertically to try to use more of the space. The back cover, without more content, seems to be making the odd choice to put the UPC code in a prominent location to burn real estate. In the interior, the text is leaving a lot of the page blank especially at the bottom.

The existing design is fine for mass market paperbacks but it doesn't work "just bigger" for the new format. It makes it look clumsy and amateurish. It's like the cover expected to be a centimeter shorter at the top and the interior expected to be a centimeter shorter at the bottom. I strongly suggest going and pulling a bunch of books of that size factor and comparing how they do front and back covers and their internal pages.

The Wodehouse book is a good compare because it uses a front to back art piece like PFT does, but even with that on the back they put in an artist bio, a pull quote, etc. to make use of the real estate. It also comes in at 293 pages for what I'm betting is the exact same word count by better use of interior space.

Love you guys, love all (well, most, not a fan of the Greenwood one) the Pathfinder Tales novel, so this is loving constructive criticism - the design doesn't look comparable to other books of this size factor, and needs significant tweaking so it can look like "NYT bestseller" and not "self published like you see at a con" alongside other titles at the bookstore.


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It's like that new State Farm commercial where the agents are chilling at the office but keep getting summoned away without notice by their customers. In fact... It's exactly like that. There's a bunch of gibbering mouthers in red sweater-vests somewhere in Orv whose job it is to take these calls.


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Monsters generally don't have Internet access to go troll CharOp forums all day.


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wspatterson wrote:

Hola. Okay, I need help getting my party on the right track.

Before I posted about the party having motivation issues, because each one had a different motivation. They sorted that out by having each of their current characters joining the Explorer's Guild. So,that hurdle has been overcome, but now I have a new one.
None of the characters has a connection to the Razor Coast at this point, with one Tulita character getting killed & the half-elf from Port Shaw being retired, and I've been having them do things in Freeport, the pirate city. They've just hit 5th level & they're now ready to tackle the Razor.
The matters that they've dealt with in Freeport have all run their course. There's really nothing much left to those plots, but the players are absolutely convinced there is more going on. They've created their own red herrings and are hellbent on following these "clues" to the bitter end.
So, how can I steer them towards the Razor Coast?

I ran my PCs through the Freeport Trilogy (in Riddleport, but whatever) and here's the hooks I have to get them down there. I mashed together Riddleport, Freeport, and Razor characters/plots freely to do it.

1. Elias Tammerhawk, rogue serpentfolk, escaped down there and they have a "dead or alive" bounty out for him.
2. Black Dog's ghost (both from Freeport and also Jaren the Jinx's dad from the NPC Codex) geased the party rogue to find and kill the Shark Lord's mistress who betrayed him.
3. The captain is a Bonuwat Mwangi from down there.
4. The captain is loving up the Golarion equivalent of Mami Wata, a juju water spirit, who then urges him along the spirital side of the path
5. The cleric is a cleric of Gozreh, so Shimye-magalla is involved (related in some undefined way to Mami), same deal


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My pirate PCs are in Ilizmagorti and preparing to head south to the Razor Coast themselves... It's been a long time coming!


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Louis Agresta wrote:
I looked everywhere: my external storage, my notes, everything. Couldn't find it. As best I remember, it was supposed to be a paralysis inducing intimidation feat. Sorry I couldn't do better.

I found it in the proofing files I still have, in the Appendix.

Dreadful Gaze
The intensity of your gaze causes enemies to think twice about tangling with you.
Prerequisites: Intimidate 3 ranks, Profession (sailor) 3 ranks, Iron Will, Piratical Nerve.
Benefit: As a swift action you may activate your Dreadful Gaze, which allows you to make an Intimidate check to demoralize all foes within 30ft. You roll your Intimidate check against opponents’ level checks as usual.
Normal: Without this feat you may only use the Demoralize Opponent effect of Intimidate on foes you threaten in melee combat.


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My gaming group is mature adults who all watch hard-R media like Game of Thrones, so we have sex and sexuality in our games. Since love and sex have been a major part of every art form ever in the history of the world. I don't understand why people have this mental block only with RPGs as opposed to every single other form of art and media they deal with.

In the pirate campaign I'm running now, one PC is the lover of a jealous voodoo loa (a fantasy version of Mama Wati). She occasionally shows up and things go all Angel Heart.

One PC who's a serpent shaman got married to an actual serpentfolk woman and now she's pregnant, courtesy Honeymoon Rock from the Open Design module From Shore to Sea.

One is a priest of Gozreh and is thus celibate.

One is an assassin who rescued Lavender Lil from Riddleport and they have now joined up with the cult of Nocticula via a succubus they encountered. They have her profane gift and everything.

All this makes the campaign the real story of the characters' lives, not a series of "CR-appropriate encounters" to be beaten into submission to win the game via leveling or whatever. We like to call it "roleplaying."


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James Jacobs wrote:
There's not really a Mexican/Spanish "ethnicity" in the Inner Sea Region. There are some touchstones among the Taldans, Varisians, and Chelaxians with these ethnicities, but there's not an obvious analogue among the ethnicities of the Inner Sea Region.

Fair enough. I might then suggest something with a slightly closer analogue get added at some point, in the interests of "we like people to be able to play something that speaks to them," what with a continent plus worth of that sort of folk. Good sales sense in addition to diversity sense.


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You're definitely right in that in a given area of this size (Europe+++) there should generally be many smaller wars going on at any given time. I think the necessity of making a book describing "nations" (a pretty modern notion - read "The Myth of Nations: The Medieval Origins of Europe" for more on this) that needs to not be out of date in 2 months is partially at fault.

The understanding that many medieval nations were loosely affiliated often-warring nobles isn't widespread. "What do you mean, that town described in Towns of Golarion has been burned down?" I think people also have trouble understanding a more ancient concept of war that's not modern "total war" - that Cheliax could just send in some troops and grab half a county somewhere without it becoming a "we must take over THEIR ENTIRE COUNTRY" kind of thing or not escalating till the lich-generals are unleashed upon the earth.

Also, D&D-world wants to facilitate travel instead of the more xenophobic reality, and if you can't go from Andoren County #1 to Andoren County #2 because there's a land battle on, then the Adventure is Disrupted.

To fix it - just add war. You shouldn't be able to rove across Varisia or anywhere without someone sending a raiding party/cavalry extortion troop/whatnot to their neighbors.


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In my campaign, a NPC serpentfolk female and a PC fell in love. At first, while she was in human guise - I had Samaritha Beldusk from Second Darkness actually being a serpentfolk, mashing up with Serpent's Skull and the Freeport Trilogy a bit for a pirate campaign.

The PC's nickname was Serpent, he had a snake animal companion, and took the snake shaman variant. When she was revealed to be a serpentfolk she fled, thinking he'd reject her, but he tracked her down and said "look at me, if there's someone out there who'd be into snake ladies I'm that guy!"

Eventually they decided to get married and try to have a child; they ended up using the magical beach-rock in From Shore To Sea on their honeymoon to try to conceive - it worked! They have an egg they are keeping in a purpose-built sea chest. (Again, using the Freeport take on serpentfolk, so eggs instead of live birth.)

More at Reavers on the Seas of Fate.


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Best of luck Sean!


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Jason Buhlman: wrote:
Creatures are denied their Dexterity bonus to AC "if they cannot react to a blow" (CR pg 179 under AC). It was our intent that if you are unaware of a threat, you cannot react to a blow. I think we probably should have spelled this out a wee bit clearer, but space in the Stealth description was extraordinarily tight and ever word was at a premium. That said, I think these changes clear up the situation immensely (compared to where they were.. which was nebulous at best).

In the revamped Stealth thread.


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Gorbacz wrote:

It's a cycle that repeats with every playtest.

Core playtest had its usual 'SKR killed Monks because a Shaolin guy stole his girlfriend' and 'Paizo hates my favorite class because it didn't get any buffs' (bonus points if Cleric, Wizard or Druid fanboys were involved)

APG had the very same 'cheap and uninspired' round of arguments (Oracle? SorCleric, lame. Inquisitor? DivBard, shame. Witch? We have Mystic Theurges, WTF is this class for? Also, shouldn't male Witches be called Warlocks? SUMMONER? YOU GOT YOUR POKEMON IN MY SERIOUS FANTASY!)

"Someone complains about anything" does not mean "therefore everything is good."

Are you really seriously saying that these classes look as interesting and iconic as the APG classes? Because that's a valid viewpoint, but it sounds to me that you're just putting up a bluster layer for whatever "protect Paizo" white knight reason you're doing it, without engaging in the real discussion. It's exactly like those being dismissive of criticisms of 4e because "I remember someone complained about 3e!"


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Sean K Reynolds wrote:
* I get that some people don't like a "magical" ability like brawler strike being part of this class, but we need to make unarmed brawlers viable at overcoming DR (just as we do for monks), so it has to stay.

Not if they're using close weapons, that's the beauty of it. They can use magic/special material brass knuckles, cesti, rope gauntlets, spiked gauntlets, etc... All the things that RAW, no monk would ever touch. And that just scream "Brawler!"

"The brawler inflicts their brawling damage instead of the normal weapon damage when using any close weapon." Give 'em proficiency in those and improvised weapons and simple weapons. Done.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:


I am sorry you feel that way. The design team does not agree. While some of the classes might not be "there" yet in terms of their mechanics and expressions, I think many of them do represent an interesting conceptual niche for us to explore.

OK, so to sum them up and give some constructive feedback.

Tier 1. Definitely a solid concept here - take a step back, look at them, and modify them even more to hit the actual concept, not being hobbled by the components of the hybridized classes.

  • Shaman - Nice. Don't even call them "hexes" and it's reskinned even better. Call them 'totem powers' or something.
  • Investigator - a great concept, need to file off poison use and scrub the inspirations list to be more Johnny Depp-like.
  • Swashbuckler - everyone wants one! Even though we have several, none of them quite scratch the itch.

All three of these are iconic out of the gate. You know what a shaman, investigator, and swashbuckler are from lore and lit.

Tier 2. There's a concept there but it needs teasing out.


  • Hunter - This could be a good "pet class" similar to the WoW hunter; the Summoner was almost that but got too weird and had too many powers otherwise. Animal Focus has too many options, tie it to their companion or something. Any power where you get to choose between 12 things at invocation time is a PITA (yes including inquisitor judgements). I'd also like to see a specific spell list so it's not "all druid stuff," focus on buffing self and critter and not controlling the weather or whatnot. Then make the companion a little stronger - not eidolon psycho strong but strong enough that you can realistically send them into combat at L12 and not get them filleted in a round. Since the slayer is a hunter this one might should be beastmaster or something (also so as to not get sued by WoW :-)
  • Skald - Somewhat the same deal as bloodrager. Spell Kenning is a fine power but completely unrelated to the flavor here. I like it's singing and not messing around with 3 weird instruments like a bard.

Tier 3. Not enough concept or space here to make it meaningful without a big addition.

  • Bloodrager - this one I don't get, with the slow spell progression it seems like it's not really more than a barbarian/sorcerer multiclass. I guess the full BAB. Seems like you may as well just have said "to fix multiclassing, you can choose one level dependent thing, like BAB or spell progression or singy power or sneak attack dice, and take the full one you like off one of your component classes! Done."
  • Arcanist - there's no flavor to this that a wizard doesn't have. Replacing the wizard with it sure, but it needs something significant and new to not just be a duplicate with more min/max potential.
  • Brawler - besides being the long awaited "Monk with full BAB" it exists in a super narrow space between fighter(brawler) and monk - not much of an interesting remaining space. And its flavor is different from neither in practice. Remove brawler strike and monk weapons, go heavier on the actual brawler weapons (cesti etc.) - in the end it's just a fighter archetype with Rapid Shot on their hands, it's not really classworthy.
  • Warpriest - you mean like a paladin and an inquisitor? But not as interesting? I'm not sure how to make this unique in this super crowded space (clerics can often be better fighters than fighters anyway...)
  • Slayer - you mean like an assassin? Don't mind the mechanics but there's no new design space here at all. Save for PF 2.0 Assassin.


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Kryzbyn wrote:
Headfirst wrote:

* More granular hybrids like these are really superfluous in a game with a robust and interesting multiclass system. If 3.0 had not vastly simplified multiclassing, I might be a bit more enthusiastic about these new hybrids.

Except for, ya know, in a game where your multiclassed character isn't as strong as a single classed one of equal level...

It would have been a lot more interesting to solve that problem, IMO.


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But then... Why do it? We don't need 10 new classes just to have new classes. "Adding more classes as inoffensively as possible" doesn't seem like a very interesting design goal.

If it's just have "more combinations of the same numbers for people to play with," I think you may be misjudging your player base from the loud cries of a couple charoppers.


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Peter Stewart wrote:
To Ernest Mueller, Soluzar, Lemmy, Psyren, Saidoro and everyone else predicting the end of the world -

You clearly didn't read my post at least, are you just rounding up everyone else who posts in the thread and deciding you're calling them out? Thanks for being the self proclaimed thread controller but I'll opt out of that, thanks.


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Not to be a downer, but I loved what Paizo did with the APG. The classes they added were super unique and flavorful. The archetypes in UC and UM haven't been 100% hits but have had some strong and interesting things.

Most of these classes in the playtest... They seem more like min/max options. "If only I could combine X with Y and make it more powerful." Or compensators for multiclassing being a nerf. But they are all just mashups without anything interesting and new. Which, I mean, I guess I shouldn't complain because that's what it says on the tin. "You wanted the power of both a sorcerer and a wizard? OK here you go!" "You wanted a monk with a better BAB? OK here you go!" But none of the brilliance and super archetypal flavor of the witch, the alchemist, the samurai...

I try to envision an "iconic X" (where X is most of these classes) that doesn't kinda make me yawn.

With the exception of the investigator and shaman and, I think swashbucker. Those are "new class worthy," adding not just "A new combination of numbers and powers!" but actual flavor and iconicness (iconicity?) beyond what the existing classes do. As a product manager type, I would personally take this raft of 10 things, if brought to me, and say "scrap those 7 and put extra work into those 3 to make them gold, because they're already silver." Maybe reuse the Brawler and Arcanist later to replace the monk and wizard and sorcerer in Pathfinder 2.0.


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I like this as a "better monk." The claims about "but it's without the mysticism" weaken when Brawler Strike lets your fists overcome magic DR... Why not let them use gauntlets/brass knuckles/cesti/all the other weird fist weapons y'all have put in that are useless to monks as written and make them enchant 'em like normal fighters? Knockout is "not mystical" but Stunning Fist "is mystical?" I just don't get it. I do think this would make a lovely Pathfinder 2.0 Monk, with some later separate "mystical martial artist" class that has actual real mystical stuff (qigong + monk ++). Like this old variant 2e monk that's kinda like a preview of Book Of Nine Swords.

I definitely agree with removing proficiency with the "weird" monk weapons - this has what to do with kusari-gamas? Give them a bunch of actual "whup-ass" kind of weapons, the hand weapons I mention above plus other relevant thematic ones.

The biggest problem I see with this class is the Martial Maneuvers. Pretty much any "use any X" ability turns into a nightmare of decision paralysis at the table. "Wait let me read through Ultimate X to find the absolute sweetest feat for this situation!!!"

The Martial Maneuvers description isn't clear - before 6th level can you just spend 2 move actions to use it twice and be emulating 2 feats anyway? Is the 6th level ability just mildly quickening it?


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That sounds like loads of fun. :-P


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The benefits of Organized Play include spreading the game through play opportunities at conventions, increased regular play options for those without regular gaming groups, and provides adventure content quickly consumable by GMs. It also provides a sense of community among the participants that make them stickier to Pathfinder and other Paizo products.

There are downsides to Organized Play too however. Let me preface this by saying "yay Organized Play is good, its adherents should not be drowned in drainage ditches or anything." This isn't an argument against it. I'm sure people will trip out, but just because you like something doesn't mean you shouldn't be advised of its side effects, just like any other medication :-)

However, I've been involved in organized play for a long time (RPGA, including Living Greyhawk Triad duty), and here's some issues I see coming from it. It's mostly an extention of "Walmart/McDonald's syndrome" (Or now "Netflix syndrome") - the kind of specific decisions you have to make to create something that works impersonally at scale become predominant and affect even smaller venues because they set specific expectations.

1. Strongly sets a playstyle that disallows GM flexibility/fiat in favor of rules adherence; this is pretty much unavoidable due to the format. This allows a strong focus on character optimization to flourish and become a default way of looking at the game. This isn't all PFS, but I believe a lot of the rise of RAW/CharOp playstyle from fringe to majority in the last decade has been as a result of the strong 3e/3.5e/PF Organized Play movement. When 3e came out, no one dreamed of using the CR system, or wealth by level, or any of those things as a straitjacket, but now that's common. Optimization was mentioned only in terms like "min-maxing" or "munchkin" beforehand, now it's a major part of almost all rules discussion. Of course, if you love RAW rules theory and CharOp this isn't a downside. But it's clearly a side effect.

2. Normalization of rules. Authors are loath to put non-legalese rules into products because it'll be unsuitable for OP use; this means fewer cool experimental rules, fewer rules that depend on GM adjudication, and more fuel on the fire of the expectation that RPG rules should be a legally complete document. Whatever books are allowed by PFS, players feel entitled to use and feel ripped off if a home game doesn't allow them. Third party publishers, since not allowed in PFS, are marginalized in home games too. Long term, this normalizing pressure ends up leaving us with more Quarter Pounders than home-cooked meals. I'm happy that things like Mythic are still being put out but just not allowed for PFS; it would be easy to be pressured into decisions that don't let that happen. The more that PFS is tapped for playtests, etc. the more that can happen.

3. Promotes cookie-cutter adventures. To be fair, PFS innovates within the strict time/XP/treasure format a lot more than RPGA Living adventures did, but even so, there is a strong driver towards a very common "4 scenes 2 combats 1 RP 1 puzzle" or similar formula. When I lament the death of Dungeon Mag, James Jacobs says "well use some PFS adventures!" With respect, the PFS modules don't compare favorably with Dungeon adventures in terms of raw diversity. And they're not supposed to; like everything else for Organized Play they have to be crafted for large scale, transactional use, with little prep required and change allowed from page to play. And that's good for PFS but tends to drown out deviations.

Now, I'm not saying OP has killed all third parties or interesting adventures or people that make RP decisions over rules ones. But it has clearly influenced the hobby in specific directions. There's restaurants other than McDonald's still, and stores other than Walmart, and movies you can't see on Netflix. But the existence of a somewhat homogeneous monolith does create downward pressure on other types of gameplay. In our FLGS there's seriously maybe 40 people a weekend playing PFS that "can't find a home game." There's 40 of you there, sure you can - it's just not as repeatable as that Quarter Pounder, so we go for the QP.

What's interesting, besides the arguing over "IT DOES NOT!!!" I'm sure there will be, is figuring out how to run OP in a way that mitigates these three effects. I think there have been some steps in this regard already; being able to sanction home play of APs and still putting out rules that aren't PFS-safe are great. And I am sure this isn't the intent of many of the venture-captains and all, who work hard to provide interesting and customized experiences especially at big cons with interactive events and such. What else can be done to have an OP that doesn't go "full McDonald's?"


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Jessica Price wrote:
I personally believe good people don't want to prevent other people from being in loving relationships because of their gender. And I'm pretty sure our developers likewise would not make a good deity of marriage homophobic.

I think making no one ever have a problem with homosexuality in Golarion is unrealistic and lame.

"No one good could ever have a problem with it" is as ignorant a statement as "No one good could ever condone it."

One of the things I like about Golarion is its diversity of opinion. And all the same problems from our world are there in some form too. Good and evil Ustalavs don't like orcs. Good and evil Sarkorians don't like Ustalavs. Various religions believe various kinds of behavior are good and some believe they're bad (from prostitution to whatever). There are many different faiths and philosophies and cultures and races. Sanding the edges off to suit one's personal real life opinions... Ew!

In how I run Golarion, Erastil is super conservative and a bit sexist, like he was previously stated. I know the devs tried to "roll that back" to look good, that's a mistake IMO. Does that make him "evil?" No. You see, it's an unfortunaly common fallacy that opinions differign from one's own must be "evil." It's much more dramatically interesting to have a Bolka's portfolio seems to be advocating marriage in a race that has a low birth rate. That's probably straight marriage. Is that "homophobic?" Only by a mistaken definition of that word. Certainly, including characters with that opinion in a fictional world isn't (any more than including Kuthites is pro-torture). Meanwhile, clerics of Gozreh have to be celibate...

I don't know how other people play their games, but we like story and drama. "I want to be a half-orc in Carrion Crown because the locals will totally discriminate against me!" is something we do (are doing currently). Roleplaying isn't just for power fantasy and it also isn't jsut for wish fulfillment fantasy, it can be for other things.


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Numeria wins at last!


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Oh especially since they're in Hero Lab too so tweaking a level or race or feat or whatnot and then having it be math-legal is the shizznit.


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My print books came in while I was out this weekend! Started reading Heart last night. Good stuff! And I even got credits in two of the books, so I get to be alpha geek in my local gaming group for a month at least :-)

Great job Lou on getting it all put together, even when I was helping edit RC I wasn't sure this would ever come to fruition and I'm super happy it did. I credit your diligence and the good karma the whole Pathfinder community seems intent on building up!


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Christina Stiles wrote:
The story awards continue in the next one, for sure. Many are in regard to investigative bits. I find the story awards fun, and they serve the purpose James mentioned above. I have always included something similar with my home campaign. It has worked to make sessions less combat focused. I play a very political game, so XP for other things besides killing monsters has always been a part of my campaign. I say give the idea time to sink in.

Well, as Steve and I say, the idea has "sunk in" fine and we're on board, it just seems like a misuse of story awards to give them for "I walked up some rubble" or "I looted this treasure sitting here to be looted." Successfully crafting a political agreement between two factions, sure, knock yourself out. It's not the concept it's the execution we're talking about.


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James Jacobs wrote:
Because we wanted the PCs to have a fight against a huge dragon, frankly, and that meant that we needed the PCs to be able to reach a minimum threshold, power-wise, where they could honestly have a chance against a huge dragon. We also threw in some NPC allies and more treasure than we'd normally give out in an adventure like this to help the PCs as well.

Oh sure, yay for dragon fighting, but why do the PCs have to start at first level then? If this was "for levels 5-7" or whatnot then problem solved, right? The previous modules started at all various levels, the ones going forward aren't all going to start at 1 I assume/hope...

And good point, it was not clear to me at all that story awards are split among the group, I assumed it was "award this to every member." So that does help, for sure. (This wasn't clarified in the adventure text, is there a standard Pathfinder definition for how story awards work in some other book somewhere?)

Also like I say, I believe in the idea of story awards - but for story things, not "because this room didn't have XP in it" which is how the first part comes off. I think the later awards of "1200 for turning over all the stuff out of honesty" and "get dude on your side, get XP as if you'd defeated him in combat" are totally legit. There were just a lot of story awards for IMO questionable reasons.


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I just got and read through The Dragon's Demand. There's a lot to like about it (The Belhaim Locations table is pure gold and every starter town should use this format forever from now on), but there's a pretty significant design decision here that I really don't like as it degrades the usefulness of the module for me.

And that's the XP padding. For some reason it was decided that characters had to go from level 1 to 7 over the course of this adventure. To make this happen in space only somewhat larger than a normal AP chapter (where you usually only go up 3 levels in an AP installment), there's a bunch of very questionable "story awards" for the XP.

And these aren't nominal amounts. In the very first part of the adventure (The Collapsed Tower), a six page mini-dungeon, for example, there's 1600 XP, pretty much an entire level for our newbie adventurers, just of "story" award, where "story" means going in the front door, going down a hall, and looting a room. That's on top of 4400 XP for the challenges in level (a good share of which is fairly questionable 600 XP traps...) Hello third level easily (the adventure says to use the medium XP track). To be fair the adventure also says that the group really is only supposed to be level 2 by the time they finish it but that's unlikely as written and I'm not sure the amount of stuff they do in that first dungeon is even worth a level, objectively.

The rest of the adventure tends to proceed in this vein. I don't mind giving "story" awards in the abstract - but for actual story accomplishments, not for "you looted a room in the dungeon". And the inflated XP makes it so PCs just shoot up in level at a dizzying rate over the course of this thing.

Please don't do this in the future. I *like* modules only taking you through maybe one or two levels of experience, because then I can patch together my own campaign using various modules. Like back in the AD&D days, you'd pull maybe two or three of the "Levels 1-3" modules, then a bunch of the "Levels 5-7", etc. The new "quarterly jumbo size" plan will mess with that a little, but we aren't expecting a certain number of levels for our money, please keep subsequent modules suitably compressed so that people are only swinging a couple levels during the whole thing.

[In advance to helpful apologists: Yes, obviously I can change this myself when I run it, and reduce the XP awards, but then it is quite difficult then to run a long adventure that has encounters tuned for level 1 and level 7 within its pages...]

I don't mind in concept the move from traditional-size adventures to these longer ones, but this is a good example of a design decision made which then works with the format to strongly modulate gameplay in a way the group may not want. If I don't get on the maxed XP train and have this one adventure be 1/3 to 1/2 of those characters' likely total lifecycle, I pretty much have to rewrite large swaths or not use it. Those are bad choices to have people make since the draw of buying adventures is stuff we can insert into our games with less work...


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Evil Lincoln wrote:


I'm also wondering (actively) what it would take to just use the short spell descriptions from the class spell lists instead of the full spell description. Is there a rule of thumb you could apply? Do we really need 2-5 paragraphs describing all of the things you can or cannot do with the spell? Would it get out of hand without any of that?

</thoughts>

Oh, I agree. Spells work just as well as they did "back in the day," but are many hundreds of percent more verbose - mainly because WotC decided "GM and player judgment is bad, we must stomp it out via legalese".

Here's the Knock spell I first learned, from D&D Basic.

basic wrote:

Knock (122 words)

Range: 60’
Duration: See below
Effect: One lock or bar
This spell will open any type of lock.
Any normal or magically locked door
(by a Hold Portal or Wizard Lock spell),
and any secret door, may be opened
when found (but a secret door must be
found before it can be Knocked open).
Any locking magic will remain, however,
and will take affect once again when the
door is closed. This spell will also cause a
gate to open, even if stuck, and will
cause any treasure chest to open easily. It
will also cause a barred door to open,
magically forcing the bar to fall to the
floor. If a door is locked and barred, both
will be opened.

Then here it is in 1e AD&D.

1e wrote:

Knock (Alteration) (153 words)

Level: 2 Components: V Range: 6" Casting Time: 1 segment Duration: Special Saving Throw: None Area of Effect: 70 square feet/level
Explanation/Description: The Knock spell will open stuck or held or wizard-locked doors. It will also open barred or otherwise locked doors. It causes secret doors to open. The Knock spell will also open locked or trick-opening boxes or chests. It will loose shackles or chains as well. If it is used to open a wizard-locked door, the Knock does not remove the former spell, but it simply suspends its functioning for 1 turn. In all other cases, the Knock will permanently open locks or welds - although the former could be closed and locked again thereafter. It will not raise bars or similar impediments (such as a portcullis). The spell will perform two functions, but if a door is locked, barred, and held, opening it will require two Knock spells.

And now in Pathfinder. With all love, Gygax had a bad case of diarrhea of the mouth, but we're still managing to significantly outdo him.

Pathfinder wrote:

Knock (215 words)

School transmutation; Level inquisitor 2, sorcerer/wizard 2

CASTING
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V

EFFECT
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Target one door, box, or chest with an area of up to 10 sq. ft./level
Duration instantaneous; see text
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

DESCRIPTION
Knock opens stuck, barred, or locked doors, as well as those subject to hold portal or arcane lock. When you complete the casting of this spell, make a caster level check against the DC of the lock (see table at right) with a +10 bonus. If successful, knock opens up to two means of closure. This spell opens secret doors, as well as locked or trick-opening boxes or chests. It also loosens welds, shackles, or chains (provided they serve to hold something shut). If used to open an arcane locked door, the spell does not remove the arcane lock but simply suspends its functioning for 10 minutes. In all other cases, the door does not relock itself or become stuck again on its own. Knock does not raise barred gates or similar impediments (such as a portcullis), nor does it affect ropes, vines, and the like. The effect is limited by the area. Each casting can undo as many as two means of preventing access.

Am I having 100% more fun with the game now than I was in Basic days? No.

Are more people playing D&D/Pathfinder now than during Basic days? No, that thing sold millions of copies.

And in the end, are any of these signifcantly better than having some standard power-by-level rules and then Knock just saying

summary wrote:
Knock: Opens locked or magically sealed door.

Yeah, I'm not sure either.

There's a basic economic concept here most people miss, the standard value curve. Is the more detailed spell "better," does it convey more information and cover over more holes? Sure it does. But enough more for the cost? In software, for example, people are often tempted to cram more and more features into something until its cost approaches what its value is - the "break even point." But this is bad, because lean thinking shows us the place of most value (and profit) is where the cost and value curves are the farthest apart - adding more to the product after that point, each added bit has less value. In an RPG the costs are complexity of play and cost of the actual rulebook/printed word. The question isn't whether another sentence of clarification is "better," it's whether it's worth the cost, and often it is not.


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Ignoring is for "people or topics you don't like," people actively misbehaving should just get booted.


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Hard on the heels of our Jade Regent campaign, we've decided to run Carrion Crown.

I post the summaries on the blog because they are 10-20 page pdf masterpieces! Dialogue! Combat! Shenanigans! Come follow along as your favorite wacky pack of players gets horrorized! We've finished The Haunting of Harrowstone already and play every other week.

Starring:

  • Ernest as Sredni Vashtar’s Girl, a troubled Vudran girl who worships her weasel familiar as a god (a witch)
  • Chris as Icobus Basilisk, a down-on-his-luck Taldan nobleman (a battle oracle)
  • Bruce as Oswald Bainbridge, a grizzled crossbowman (a crossbowman fighter)
  • Patrick as Nigel Snodgrass, an emo musician (a dirge bard)
  • Tim as Doctor Jegen Vaus, elven professor of alchemy (an alchemist)
  • Matt as Vladimir Vampijérovic, a pale-skinned stranger (a dhampir hungry ghost monk)


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I'll be honest, I don't use the boards here much any more because of all the hostility and general bad behavior; it has created an environment where for sure 1 out of 3 threads is going to have the same warring, threadjacking suspects turn up in it. I don't understand why Paizo doesn't enforce the "don't be a jerk" rule more on *posters*.

Locking a thread punishes everyone in the thread. In Full Metal Jacket that works great because everyone can torture the guilty parties at night. But on the forums, IMO we need a lot more suspensions/bans on the actual people creating the actual hostility.

How about after every third justified flagged post - three days off as a suspension. That'll let threads then proceed without the agitators and will hopefully teach the agitators that correct behavior affects them, and isn't just a tactic to derail other peoples' conversation.

I don't think Paizo needs people's money enough to let them be jerks to hundreds of other people that are equally willing to pay them money.

(I'm not so much interested in "don't lock the threads" as in "let's fix the root cause here.")


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Well, we've just finished a year and a half stint playing the Jade Regent Adventure Path! We do ~10 page PDF session summaries of each session, so if you want to read the full story of someone's Jade Regent experience, go check out our session summaries on Geek Related!

Thrill to the adventures of:

  • Yoshihiro Kaijitsu, the reckless Tian archer-knight (Ernest)
  • Harwynian Fallingleaf, the elegant elven transmuter (Bruce)
  • Jacob Frostfang, the ale-loving Kellid battle sorcerer (Matt)
  • V’lk, the feral mute elf (Chris)
  • Gobo Samarillian, the blind gnomish oracle (Patrick)
  • Bjorn the Unlucky, the hapless Ulfen woodsman (Tim)

as we best vikings, ninjas, hookers, and demons in our quest to free the benighted but picturesque nation of Minkai!


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ujjjjjjjjjj wrote:

Thanks guys. This is what I needed.

My math comes from a single square being 750 FT X 750 FT

The amount of square feet inside of that is divided by 3 to get the meters squared.

Then *4 for the amount of Squares occupied.

Your math is wrong, you have to divide by three to get meters first (250x250) or divide by 9 after because you've already squared it. The number is 250,000 yards squared. (Also note 3 feet = 1 yard, not 1 meter, but that's a smaller level of error).


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Here after the thread has degenerated into aimless bickering, but to the OP and your original point - our group also doesn't like having to play catch-up with the endless rules options, so for each of our campaigns we clearly state what's in scope for the PCs. So far we've expanded to regularly include the APG but not UC or UM (with a brief exception for UC Asian stuff for Jade Regent).

I do worry about the pace sometimes, and if at the current rate of rules output Paizo will be forced into more and more questionable areas and eventually hit the "time to collapse and do a new version" wall, but so far they've been pretty innovative in filling in the schedule - Mythic Adventures, for example, is a brand new idea and not just "here's some toys to charop better by point building your race/class." And some of the "rules" books are just generally useful to us GMs without having new rules per se, like the NPC Codex.

I'm OK with the rate of Golarion publishing, I don't want everything to be 100% covered after all. If anything I'd like more adventures, not the APs but the one-offs.


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Trogdar wrote:
what if attribute spread was cooked into the mythic progression? something like half your attribute advancement would have to go into mental statistics and half would go into physical?

Or just a simple "+1 to all stats." You're getting better and more mythic but across the board. Maybe it's a choice, +2 to one to min-max yourself further or +1 to all to just get better and more heroic overall.


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So Curse of the Lady's Light is supposed to be themed after Lust. But except for "perfume" and doorknobs you have to, gasp, touch with your hand, it's pretty much batting .000 on the lust-meter, except for a mostly ex-relationship between Scarface and fake-Sorshen.

They Asylum Stone, on the other hand, is full of kinky-ass love triangles and various forms of bestiality. Which I heartily approve of, of course, but my main point is why is CotLL so... boring and vanilla?

Look, I know there's a variety of opinions on how salacious AP chapters should be, and there's a bunch of people still butthurt over Hook Mountain Massacre (zing!) but shouldn't the lust-themed chapter about the Runelord of Lust have... some lust in it somewhere? As a result, except for the clone gag, it's pretty boring an adventure.

Anyone else have the same reaction?


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Heck, most of the hetero couples that are major (not background or loitering in some hamlet somewhere, but appearing in part of the plot of an AP) have one or two evil participants as well. It's almost like the world is full of dramatic foils for PCs or something.


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I got some last night! Here's my look at the ones I got, but more entertaining was the feedback from my ten year old daughter and her friend. (I have pics in my review linked above to look at to get the full effect of this commentary.)

Storm Giantess: “She looks like she’s about to do something to me.”
“Cut you into pieces?”
“Yeah.”

Ogre Brute: “Looks like trollface meme guy.” <brief interruption where they tell me I’m so uncool and not up with the hip new things and we have to Google trollface. He does.>

Mash-fell-knocker (their pronunciation of Malfeshnekor): <in a high voice> “Who’s a good doggie, who’s a good doggie, who’s a good doggie?” <in a harsh voice> “I kill you!”
“He looks like a monkey with elf ears.”
“He looks like a mix between a bat, a dog, and the ‘My precious’ guy from Lord of the Rings.”

Lucretia: “Her hair and eyes look evil. She’s kinda bald but pretty. She must be the queen of something.”
<imitating Lucretia> “You must obey me or be cut into pieces!”

Lyrie Akenja: “For Pete’s sake woman, put on a shirt!”
“Put on a shirt! Put on a shirt! Put on a shirt!” <chanting together>
“She has a wand, what is this, Harry Potter?”
“Oh look she has a kitty!”
<a long discussion on the pros and cons of kitties ensues>

Ogrekin: “Looks like Invader Zim with a muscly body and something on his head.”
“Looks like a bodybuilder with a messed up face.”
“Yeah, his face is jacked up.”
“Is that a baby rattle he has?”
<i do have to admit the ogrekin’s weapon is underwhelming, needs more meat on it>

Faceless Stalker: “It looks like a beast that paints itself.”
“Put on some clothes!”
“His weapon looks like a spoon.”
<reading the base> “6 of 65! Wow! Good job for nothin’, guy!”
<this is a pretty weak mini, I agree with the girls>

Wraith: “Tornado man!”
“He kinda reminds me of the Statue of Liberty!”
“I know!”
“He’s not the Statue of Liberty, he’s the Statue of Liberty’s torch.”
“Yeah.”

Goblin Commando on Goblin Dog: “Oh look it’s a gremlin! It’s a gremlin riding a puppy.”
“He looks like the guy from that book… Origami Yoda!” <I feel pain and regret that apparently kids nowadays don’t know Yoda except via derivative media.>
“He looks like the gremlins from that movie where the girl’s little brother gets taken and she has to marry someone and they attack her face!”
<a long Q&A ensues where I try to figure out what movie she’s talking about>
“Yeah, Labyrinth!”
“I’m bored, can we go play Littlest Pet Shops now?”


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Mikaze wrote:

:)

Salt In The Wound
The Bleeding Earth
The Broken Earth
Charge of the Saviors
Entropy's Absolution
The Damned and the Defiant
The Break of Dawn (damn Twilight, let's take it back)
Purgatory's PLague
Perdition's Plague
Against The Abyss
A March Into Madness (eh, "March Madness" ruined this one)
A Charge Into Insanity
The Cry of Sarkoris
The Light and the Lost
Where Angels Dare

** spoiler omitted **

I like a lot of these. I really dislike D&D 4e style made up compound words like "Demonblight" (or, frankly, Worldwound) - they always sound like made up fantasy names.

Also, I like anything that breaks out of the fine but now-too-predictable "X of the Y!" format.

The Cursed Earth (darn - looks like Judge Dredd uses that)
Cursed Is The Ground / Cursed Is The Earth (Genesis 3, natch)
Unholy Ground
Descent into the Pit (Pit ~= Hell Biblically, also a riff on Descent into the Depths)

More later!

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