Hypothetically, if someone were to write a Devils Revisited book in the same vein as Demons Revisited what named, unstated devil characters would you want to see and from where?
Named. Unstated. Mentioned in an existing product. Go.
I have a near complete Ravenloft collection, but not this! So it will receive a place of honor.
Thanks a ton man!
I feel like I hit critical mass over on the Ask Wes thread answering questions about various aspects of Hell, devils, the damned, etc. Rather than keeping all of that squirreled away on the off-topic forum, I'm relocating it out here where it's probably more relevant and accessible.
Remember that until something sees print nothing on these boards is considered canon or inviolable, but if you wanted some more ideas about Hell and its denizens from the guy who wrote the book on them, here' you go!
Lots of you might have already heard, but we got Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Mythic Adventures off to the printer yesterday! (Huuuuraay!) That's a huge deal and means that barring catastrophes, kaiju, and/or grand mal cluster@#$ery, we're going to have something very, very cool to show off in August.
But that was just one mountain.
We have one week left to get a ton more done, so the majority of our amazing production staff is in here again, chugging away to make sure there's more than a little awesome ready for convention season. And this time around Liz came in and made us all pancakes!
So just like last week, chime in with you support, last minute requests, and your perfect mimosa recipes (because we wanted it mix it up this week after just having orange juice last time).
If you've been around for a while, you're probably familiar with that most dreaded of seasons here at Paizo: The Gen Con Crunch.
If you're not, here's the gist, we release a TON of new hotness at Gen Con every year. To have a big release windfall, though, we need to send a ton products to printers months and months (and months) beforehand, so they have time to go where they need to go (aka, to our booth at Gen Con and YOU).
But to release August's books, we have to release July's books. To release July's books, we need to have June's books out. You see where this is going.
It wouldn't be a big deal if all of our products went through their production like clockwork, but you can probably see from the sheer volume of products we release and other crazy additional ventures we tackle that keeping all the trains running on time proves challenging. We have a project manager now, so that's been a huge help, but we're still paying for a lot of past sins, unexpected catastrophes, and our own endlessly wild ambitions!
But all of yesterday's issues need to be well in the past come our August deadlines. August deadlines that--because of shipping to conventions and when Gen Con falls this year--are several weeks earlier than our usual monthly deadlines. So challenges compound.
That's the Gen Con Crunch.
(Historically, This is also the time of year where Sutter and I usually say "Hey, what's over that big hill behind the office" and discover things like the Mountain of Broken Glass or signs that say "Danger: Radioactive No Trespassing." Good times!)
To sum up! @#$%'s Crazy! And it's been crazy, and its going to stay crazy for the next two weeks!
So today is Day #1 of the official Gen Con Crunch Overload! Folks have been burning nights and weekends for months to get everything out and caught up, but the difference is that today the entire Paizo production staff is in, and there are bagels and coffee and fishes and a touch more dementia then usual.
The targets under primary fire this weekend: Mythic Adventures, The Dragons Demand, The Worldwound, and Dragonslayer's Handbook, but there's plenty more on deck!
Check in here throughout the day for updates from the front, drop in with your support, and throw in suggestions for favorite coping techniques. Also stay tuned a bit later in the week for a blog post full of frayed staffers and spastic effort!
HUGE thanks to everyone who made it in to help today--you all are so far beyond the best there aren't even words for it (...we'll make up new words later). Big thanks to everyone on the boards reading this too, for all your support and for making burning all the oils (midnight, weekend, whale, flumph, and otherwise) all worthwhile.
So chime in, drop your support, and we'll see you all on the other side!
Since this got picked up on ENWorld yesterday, maybe there's more general interest than I thought... so check it out!
For over the past year I've been running a series of irregular ("erratic" even) games for members of the Paizo crew. So far we've done Ravenloft's "A Light in the Belfry," a mash-up using the (AMAZING) horror game Dread in the Engel campaign setting, and most recently a Pathfinder game set in the universe of BioWare's Mass Effect. Titled Project Lobotomy, this is the same one-off I ran at Paizocon 2012.
We just wrapped up the game last week--Andrew, Erik, James, Rob, and Sutter's mercenaries-turned-investigators successfully uncovering the madness that claimed the Cerberus station at 2175 Aeia. In the interim I've put together my recap, reaction, and finally, all my notes and copious handouts, and now I've made them available for anyone who wants them!
When it comes to preparing for games, I'm slightly obsessive about the pre-work, which means that now that everything's said and done, what I'm left with is a 80%-90% complete sci-fi adventure, Advance Race Guide write-ups for six sentient species from the Mass Effect universe, tagged and untagged maps, something like a dozen handouts, and several thousand words of field reports advising how to (and not to) put the whole thing together. This is not a complete-complete adventure, but for anyone who wants to run this, a game set in the Mass Effect universe, or something similar, it's the lion's share of the work already handled. There's a few "i"s left to dot and "t"s left to cross, but honestly, you were probably going to do that for your own game anyway.
So check it out! I've posted the whole thing on my Erratic Episodes website (you'll want the first post, but really any post tagged "Episode 2"). I've zipped the whole thing up as a single download (a 348 KB file), with what's included explained in detail on the site.
As for rules, it's Pathfinder with the serial numbers filed off and reskinned--magic becomes biotics, Spellcraft become Tech, Fly becomes Pilot, etc. James also donated his gun rules from his Unspeakable Futures back-pocket game. As this game is meant to be a one-off, reskinning and GM adjudication worked nicely, so don't expect thousands of words on space travel or copious alien bestiaries--it wasn't needed for this.
There's also quite a few candid shots of the Paizo crew included on the site, along with an awesome video of Judy rocking the end of our Dread-Engel game (for those interested in what else we've been getting up to). If folks get a kick out of this, let me know and I'll post when we wrap up future sessions. I'm trying to make these monthly, but we'll see how that works out.
Hope you all enjoy!
1. Seeing Nick Logue again has been great, but hearing him (non-drunkenly) going on at length about what a beautiful soul Liz Courts is is then giving HER a backrub (Liz is notorious for her backrubs).
2. The Paizocon volunteer of the award, going to Tim Nightengale, Liz Courts, Mark Moreland (these were retroactive for the years before those last two were Paizo staffers [when they were doing most of the deeds that got them hired]). (I'm missing one other who wasn't there at the show, but we've got a plaque with all their names soon to be hanging in the office, so I'll correct this oversight soon).
3. Breakfast/lunch at the Redmond farmers market with Wolf Baur, Adam Daigle, Jeff Grubb, Brandon Hodge, and Dave Gross.
4. Richard Pett bringing Shelly Baur flowers.
5. Richard Pett and Tork Shaw being two of the most charming gentlemen I've ever had the pleasure of meeting (with Sutter's comment "Tork just objectively looks like an awesome person" being both true and right in line with both of these gents' personalities).
6. The after-banquet hangout on the hotel patio with tons of Paizo staffers, long time artists and contributors like Wayne Reynolds, Craig Spearing, Nick, Tork, Brandon, tons of fans we've either known for years and years, and awesome new folks we met for the first time (like this totally delightful Canadian couple who flew down for the convention, Eric and his lovely wife whose name eludes me [I'll have to get a reminder today to correct this].
7. Rob marking out of his game room with a board covered in crucified character sheets, the 25 deaths in his Dungeon Crawl Classics game.
8. Rob telling me as I headed into my Bastardhall game that he'd just had a TPK in that room, Erik had a TPK in the same room earlier, and it was up to me to keep up the tradition. (I did not. Bastardhall is about love. [And I got some great feedback from my awesome group, with great attendees like Jason Roeder, Jeff Erwin, and Robert Jordan [sorry for any spelling mistakes guys]).
9. Running my Erratic Episodes: Mass Effect game (give a click if you don't know what that is) with all my gadgets - bluetooth speaker, projector, laptop, iPad with Mass Effect Codex app, iPhone with music, and having my lazy laptop battery go south on me halfway through with no charger. Then Tom Beckett - player and director of now multiple Pathfinder plays - coming to the rescue with a Mac laptop charger right there on the scene. Hero!
10. The GMing 101 seminar put on by Nani and Kyle Pratt, Kyle Baird, and Doug Miles (thanks Kyle!). This was a great workshop, but what made it awesome was the roleplaying scenarios at the end where one attendee played the GM and stepped out of the room, while his "table" of players were given a scenario - a problem from a real (or embellished) PFS convention game - to confound the GM with. The most awesome one was the GM who had to deal with two players at his table who were exs and started fighting mid-game. The GM did his best to break it up and got high scores and tons of great feedback from the judges. A MUST SEE event for next Paizocon (AND GENCON!) even if you're a master GM.
11. Gary's totally cool in the face of catastrophe VTT announcement presentation. Dude is bombproof.
12. Erik, Jeff, and Vic's on the scene public promotions.
13. Patrick's hat (care of Jodi Reynolds).
14. Judy's Baba Yaga mittens.
15. Stealing/saving James's minis. I should really tell him I have those...
16. Meeting the famous Rob Lazzeretti for the finally! Great, super chill guy!
17. Packing Paizocon swag bags with the esteemed John Halpin.
So this wasn't three, and I'm forgetting a dozen of things and hundreds of people, but I'll post more later and will see if I can get other staffers and attendees to jump on here. Best off all, the show's not even over yet, so I'm headed back there now!
We're doing a lot of brainstorming here for new products coming down the road in the Player Companion series, and while we always get our say, I wanted to hear what you want.
As GMs, I think a lot of us tend to gravitate toward monsters and villains and antiheroes. But does that mean that good guys have been getting the short end of the stick? So say we did a Player Companion focused right on the good guys - and by that, I don't mean just paladins and knights in shining armor and good clerics, but good guys of all stripes, races, nationalities, organizations - what would you want to see?
We're doing a lot of brainstorming here for new products coming down the road in the Player Companion series, and while we always get our say, I wanted to hear what you want.
One type of Player Companion I could see us doing really easily are some focused on particular environments. We're already dipping our toe into that water with People of the North, but that's even a horse of a different color than what I'm talking about here. I'm thinking something very focused on adventuring in a singular environment, something that would be the go-to source for your character when you GM runs a desert campaign, or takes you over the Crown of the World, or goes underwater. So, aside from turning this into great messageboard list of biomes we could potentially do player companions themed around, what are some environments would serve you particularly well in your games? And then, what rules elements do you think would serve such environment well?
So, instead of jungles or deserts, maybe like the Darklands, dungeons, the planes. And if we went those routes - or other awesome directions you have suggestions on - what would you want to see in such books to make them distinctive?
Thanks all, can't wait to see what you've got in mind!
I wouldn't mind seeing more on Demons and Devils, and would love to see these returned to at some point. One 64 page each just serves as an appetizer!
There's no doubt that many of us here at Paizo love our fiends - we've cranked out three entries into the Book of the Damned series after all. But is that all there is to say about devils, demons, and daemons?
We're talking (over here) about possible future entries into the Book of the Damned series getting away from the three big "D" races, but we know devils, demons, and daemons are popular and get a ton of use in modules, Adventure Paths, org. play, home games, etc.
So, if we were to do more on devils, demons, and daemons now that the Book of the Damned series has hit all three of them, what else is there to say about them? What did the first three Books of the Damned leave you wanting more of? What - specifically about devils, demons, and daemons - do you still want to see?
I just wanted to send Neil Spicer belated Valentines day wishes from the entire Paizo editorial pit*. Neil's exceptionally nuanced analyses of each contestant's work should be one of the highlights of this year's show for anyone interested in freelancing for Paizo--he's really giving away the secrets here folks. But, for me and all of the developers and editors on the Paizo staff, Neil's writing advice is worth its weight in gold, as it's the exact sort of feedback we give our freelancers.
It turns out that having awesome ideas isn't even half the battle of writing for RPGs (it's actually kind of expected). You've also got to make your ideas exciting to read and easy for your developers and editors to work with. Someone might have the coolest adventure ideas in the world, but if I have to rewrite every sentence, I'm never going to assign that freelancer work again. So, all you would-be designers out there, dust off your grammar books, read Paizo's published products and really consider the styles and formats you're seeing, and take a good look at Neil's advice throughout this competition.
Below I've copied a number of the comments that provoked all this gushing.
Our Favorite Judge wrote:
With all of that in mind, I strongly RECOMMEND Mr. Spicer advance to judge next year's competition**. Thanks Neil, from all of us in the pit!
* And we love the rest of you judges too. Just slightly less then Neil. (Unless you're Sean... screw that guy.)
** Sorry dude. No rest for the wicked.
Where in our products have we mentioned monsters but not presented stats for said monsters? (Like how the Tane got mentioned in Pathfinder #2 but largely didn't show up with stats until Bestiary 2). I'm on a hunt for the statistically unloved and any help would be appreciated.
Alternatively, where have we illustrated monsters that have no stats? (Like the picture of the monks fighting the manananggals from the first campaign setting book, or Merisiel and her flock of pretty pink fish-monkeys that most recently appeared in the APG.)
What I'm not looking for is named individuals, even those of a monstrous persuasion (like Ayrzuk, the Nirvana Dragon, or the Spawn of Rovagug), so we can leave those big guys out - though if a region has its unique, named beastie (like the Sandpoint Devil) feel free to throw it on the list!
Post the monstrous mysteries that have baffled you most here!
We've all had that week where everything's set for a game, but someone bails at the last minute. Not a worry for most GMs. Some give the missing player's character sheet over to another player. Other GMs run the PC that week. Still others have the PC conveniently fade into the background. But one GM I played with a few years back explained away such absences as the manifestations of an unpredictable and remarkable Curse.
The story had to do with some great clash of wizards in the ancient past that disrupted the fabric of reality in such a way that the wizards' threads of existence, their very ties to reality, became frayed, as did those of many of their ancestors. The result was that, occasionally and without forewarning, individuals so affected would periodically wink out of existence. Sometimes such a disappearance would last only a matter of hours, sometimes days or weeks, and sometimes the victim would never be seen again. Most of the time, though, the curse sufferer would snap back into reality after a short absence, and when he did it would be in close proximity to an anchor of his bloodline's reality, aka, an individual or, even more likely, a group of curse sufferers.
Obviously, every PC was a curse sufferer, and every time a player missed out on a session or jumped back in, the PC winked out or back in. It had little to no effect on the players and alleviated the GM of the the concern of dealing with the unmanned character and guessing what the missing player (and, often, his missing character sheet) had subtracted from the group's total resources. At first this seemed a bit forced, but after a few weeks, the curse became just a fact of the world, one more oddity in a world of oddities. Also, once accepted, this explanation lent the game a degree of verisimilitude lacked by some other solutions - like a character mutely fading into the background for a session.
RPGs like Pathfinder account for thousands of eventualities and possibilities that can drive fantasy storytelling, but simply overlook others, particularly metagame (out of game) concerns like the one in the example above.
So I'm wondering, has anyone - or has any played with a GM who has - concocted some elaborate in-game explanation or rule to handle metagame concerns?
I'm not looking for opinions on such systems or insights on why you don't need them - of course they're optional, of course you can just not let such things bother you, of course you can handle things in more traditional ways (heck, I do myself) - rather, I'm interested in hearing how some GMs might have adjusted their games and altered their worlds to accommodate the occasional realities of gaming.
This can go beyond ideas like "The Curse" too, so if you have a special in-world explanation for re-specing your character using new options, or ignoring rules you don't want to deal with (encumbrance? carrying rations? ammo? eating? drinking?), or whatever, I'd love to hear about it.
We've talked around and around about the words, but now I want to hear a bit about the art. I'm not interested in critiques, we have numerous very talented artists working on this line and artistic opinions are so subjective that "I loved this, I hated this" criticisms provide us with little real data (aside from an idea of how much you were or weren't hugged as a child). What I want to know is more about implementation.
Do you think the Player Companions have enough art?
The art typically tries to represent a type of character relevant to the words on the page - maybe of the same religion, using a described feat or spell, of the presented prestige class. How's that sit with you? Would you rather see something else?
How do you feel about reused art? How do you feel about reused art when we're just talking about symbols, relevant runes, flags, and the like?
Say we have a section about new magic items. Do you want to see it illustrated with pictures of two or three of those items, or by a cool character wielding one or two of those items?
Can you think of a way the art might better support the content, or vice versa?
Again, this isn't about artistic quality, merit, or any of that eye of the beholder stuff, it's about art as part of the product's content. What might make it more useful to you or engaging to your players?
One of the goals of the Player Companions has always been to create a product that you as a GM can just toss at player with a particular character concept and say "Go!" Got an elf? Check out this elf book, it's filled with ideas to make your character a cool elf. Got a faithful character? Check out this deities book for details on how to make a cool religious character. And so on.
As much as these are meant to be chapbooks, exploring a single topic, we also want them to engage players and get them excited to play the type of character presented within. So maybe occasionally the above idea works in reverse and a player picks up the book on Andoran and decides she needs to play a character from there.
All that's the goal. I know we've had some successes. I know we've had some failures.
The question, though, is what have you seen that works? Have you had any experience where things played out exactly as described here? And if so, what did the trick? And if not, what sort of content do you think would better engage your players?
In the back of pretty much every Player Companion are several sub-articles, typically divided into Combat, Faith, Magic, and Social.
The inspiration behind these - obvious for long time Paizo readers - was the Class Acts section of Dragon magazine, the section with the mandate that no matter what class you play you'll find something (at least tangentially) useful for your class. We felt it was important to keep this mandate for the Players Companions, thus the four sub-articles you see in the back of each.
You've been seeing these for a few years now so: Love these? Hate these? Does it depend from on volume to the next? Do you like the idea but dislike the implementation? Do the names make sense to you? (Do you get that Combat is for fighter guys, Faith is for religious characters, Magic is for arcane spell casters, and Social is for roguish types?)
What do you think?
With little deviation, the majority of Pathfinder products have the same voice - that of a vague, third-person, semi-in-world yet omniscient persona. To only slightly varying degrees, that's how you see pretty much everything written, whether we're talking about the ruins of Kibwe in the Inner Sea World Guide or introducing new class features for the gunslinger in Ultimate Combat.
It's textbook voice. It's more flavorful than textbook voice - 'cause we're brilliant writers - but it's still, basically, textbook voice.
The Players Companions are where this breaks most regularly, slipping occasionally into second person and addressing the reader as "you." It doesn't happen terribly often, but when it does it's much more informal. And for guidebooks and advice pieces, it seems to make some sense.
What do you think about that? Is that a cool thing? Does it engage you more? Do you think it's clearer or more exciting to have an article say "ninjas of the Thousand Bleeding Stings do X, Y, and Z" or "YOU do X, Y, and Z?"
So that's topic one.
Topic two has to do with what I said above about the voice being "semi-in-world." That largely presents itself in the descriptions we choose to use - or perhaps more aptly, the descriptions we don't choose to use. How many times have you seen an object or an aspect of a creature or a feature of a room described as being about the size of a man's fist, or a buckler, or a wagon wheel? That's because all of those are examples that someone in Golarion, or any vaguely medieval fantasy land, would be familiar with, and because it's more flavorful than flatly saying "the glowing orb is 20 inches in diameter and weights 5 pounds." But can you really say that you're intimately familiar with the dimensions of a buckler or a wagon wheel (man's head, maybe - no I don't want to hear about your collection; also, those of you who regularly wield bucklers or drive wagons, pipe down)? We do this to keep readers immersed in the fantasy of the world, so even the experience of reading one of our books is in a similar voice to that which a GM uses to run a game.
But for players, is that immersive, or does it add an unnecessary barrier between the meaning and the reader's point of reference?
Just let me note that I don't think that hearing people saying this IS a barrier (even if a minor one), or that they just don't care, means huge changes, like describing all monsters in terms of MAC trucks or pieces of armor in terms of hubcaps. But, would it be a deal breaker for you to hear that the temple's gardens of singing crystal are the size of a football field, that the vegepygmy's spear is the length of a ski pole, or that the tarrasque is the size of the Space Needle? These aren't examples that would regularly come up in a line like the Player's Companions (and I am only musing about the Player Companions here - nobody worry that they're going to have to weigh in here to prevent the appearance of bus-sized behemoths in the next AP), but hopefully you get the idea.
In short, if you're a player having... say... a magic item described to you, does it help you more and/or get you more interested to know the orb is the size of a chamber pot or a basketball? And why is that?
And even if it would bug you to see a sword described to players as being the length of a baseball bat, would it bother you if real-world examples were relegated to sidebars or other call-outs?
No agenda here, and no strong preferences - just wanted to see what you all think.
10:10: Raided Sarah's fridge and discovered - SHOCK! - booze! I'm sure that'll get the ol' red ink flowing.
Not a twist off! Foul play! I don't carry a bottle opener - do I look like a frat boy... or Jason? And every time I try the whole table edge slap thing I end up with wounds, so that's right out.
Hey everyone. We're currently searching for a new member of the Paizo editorial team. Having already talked to numerous gaming professionals, we wanted to broaden our search to include talented gamers whom we perhaps don't know about.
The position is for a new developer to work with us on Paizo's varied Pathfinder lines, with a focus on ordering new content, working with freelancers, managing continuity, sculpting freelance handovers into material adhering to our high standards, and various related tasks. This is an entry-level position that requires mastery of the English language, daily attendance in Redmond Washington, and an unbridled passion for RPGs, storytelling, and the varied arts that make a great Game Master.
We already have several candidates in consideration and would like to find the perfect fit in short order, so please send in your resumes as soon as possible. We will take down this posting when the position is filled. Thanks!
Writing on Rule of Fear (a.k.a. the "Ustalav Book") has reached that point where the space available keeps contracting and I'm having to make some hard decisions about what to keep and what to let go.
So, what do you want to make sure absolutely gets in the Ustalav book?
Whether in Rule of Fear or at some point during the course of the Carrion Crown AP I want to do a run down of suggestions for creepy background music to play during horror-themed adventures. We've already got a bunch of this in the reference section of the GameMastery Guide, but I want to expand beyond this.
So what do you use in your horror roleplaying to set the tone? I'm not looking for "Creepy Sounds XI" from Spencer's Gifts, but actual moody stuff subtle enough to play in the background of your game, but creepy enough to set a mood.
To get things rolling, I'll throw five out here that immediately come to mind:
Midnight Syndicate (Anything)
So what works for you? As always, links are appreciated!
Okay folks, we've done this before, but now it's time for the horror-themed bonus round!
What folkloric/mythological/public domain monsters to do YOU want to see in the Bestiary sections of the Carrion Crown Adventure Path?
We're really playing up the gothic horror angle with this one and a thousand eyes are always better than two when it comes to this sort of research, so whatcha got!?
When possible, links would be very helpful!
After an hour or so of entering changes on the Advanced Player's Guide, now seemed like a good time to, you know, save. And while my computer slogs through its work on this HUGE file, I thought I'd update folks on my progress (and will keep on throughout the morning).
Chapter 5 Spells: changes entered up through gravity bow. Right next to James's favorite picture in the book, where Droogami's licking Lini's face as she casts.
Every year at Paizocon (going on twice as of June) I run a session of my horror gaming playtest/workshop/focus group, Bastardhall. Flat out, in a convention environment, it's really hard to maintain the focus and control you need for an effective horror game - it's difficult to keep a group's attention on the ghost of the countess's sister when the table next to you is having a who can lisp loudest contest. That said, we had some great discussions last year, and even though most of the adventure's details were on the fly, the group I did a great job offering feedback, calling me on cliches I didn't even think of, and noting what worked particularly well.
Well, Paizocon's just around the bend again and I've started working on this year's adventure. So, rather than waiting till I'm at the game table with just a small group, I wanted to open the big question up to everybody in advance:
What have you done in games you run - anywhere; homes, conventions, elsewhere - to really inspire dread in your players.
Alternatively, what adventures have you run that do this best and why do you think that's so?
Really interested in your feedback, for Paizocon, and for a few other ideas brewing away...