Phantom Fungus

John Simcoe's page

130 posts. 1 review. No lists. No wishlists.


1 to 50 of 130 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>

cr0m wrote:
I like giving dwarves hammers and picks, but dropping axes is crazy talk. :)

Ok, OK. I see what you're all saying, but would you all at least agree to ADDING picks to the list?

Guy Humual wrote:

My only suggestion would be for there to be a bit more choice in the favored class. Races should have a choice between 3 favored classes, Elves for example might favor ranger, wizard, and bard. However the keeping with the spirit of 3rd once a PC chooses their favored class (by taking 1 level in that class) they can no longer use the others as favored. For example, an elf starting out as ranger couldn't gain favored class befits by taking wizard later, or an elf starting as a rogue, then multi classing into a bard, couldn't then choose wizard and gain favored class benefits.

Just an idea.

I'm in favor of this. Let each race have at least two favored classes (but I wouldn't let that HP bonus stack).

We talked a bit about this idea in the Gnomes Favored Class Thread (In General Discussion, I believe).

My suggestions ...
Elves -- Wizard and Ranger
Gnomes -- Bard and Druid
Halfling -- Rogue and Bard
Dwarf -- Fighter and Wizard
Half-Orc -- Barbarian and Rogue
Half-Elf -- Any
Human -- Any

That all being said maybe it should be one of the "four core" classes and one that's from the expanded class list.

Pneumonica wrote:

The problem with this is that ammo gets lost when you use it. That's part of the reason for the reduced cost - they're expendible. This is not to say that I have a serious problem with it, but is to say that this could make the Magic Darts of Murgle Dozi an expendible commodity. I would prefer the advantage that while I might only have three MD's of MD, I can almost always get them back.

See for me, I'm suggesting that this change means you don't have to worry about getting them back -- you can throw them at fleeing foes, across gorges, and opponents can't use your magic items on you after you unload on them! Plus this change means you can very well pick up "reloads" without a major expenditure -- the weapons aren't magic, the "quiver" is. Heck, I'd even take this change if you had to buy Masterwork Ammo to get it to work.

POINT NUMBER ONE -- Halflings. I love them. Beyond humans, they are the race I play the most. Heck, my EN World handle is Mighty Halfling.
One of my favorite 3.5e niches they have is their thrown weapon/sling bonus. I've built two different characters around the bonus.
Anyway, I'd love to see it back. It's a great little thing, and I'd especially like to see the Throw Anything feat the core. (Which, right now it is)
The idea of the little guy whupping his opponents with a sling or dart harkens back to David & Goliath, and that's a great image for Halflings. Likewise, it shows that Halflings (described as sometime slaves) know how to make due with what they've got. But there's also a mechanical reason: Halflings are slow in combat and frail. Allowing them a bonus for thrown weapons/slings keeps them safe. (Of course, those Save Bonuses are a big help, too!)

POINT NUMBER TWO -- Since we haven't seen a weapons chapter yet, let suggest this to you: Make a bunch of the thrown weapons qualify as Ammo, rather than individual items. This helps A LOT when you're buying magic items and helps counter the "you attack by unarming yourself?" theory. By making darts, throwing knives (not daggers) and shuriken ammo, you help a lot with "restocking fees." Perhaps you can make the sheaths/cases/straps that house these weapons the magicked item, and the "holder" simply charges the item.
Additionally, to further help weapon throwers, you could make a magic set of gloves that imbues what's being held (or any item from a specific weapons group) with a bonus. Yes, that how to get weapon throwers to match the sword-swingers.

OK, I know this has been a D&D troupe for years, but why are Dwarves associated with axes? If they're "miner folk" than have them adapt their common tools for their primary weapons -- The Hammer and the Pick.
You've already got the Hammer part -- The warhammer is listed among those in the Weapon Familiarity.
Now let's just drop the axes and add picks! Yep, picks may be low on damage, but their crit modifiers make them a lot of fun -- then add in your suggested changes to the Fighter, where specific weapons get expanded crit ranges, and the Pick looks even more fun.
So how about it? -- Out with the Axe and in with Picks!

Leave the axe for the half-orcs and the humans! They're the ones that like chopping things down!

DRUID, make the gnome favored class be a druid.
Just look at the flavor text of the gnome, it suggests strong ties to nature (and adapting it through Alchemy) and the Fey.
I know that they've long been associated with Illusionist classes, but really a Druid would fit better. It certainly fits better than a Bard.
As druids, they just seem to fit better with their Fey-like nature. Wild Shaping, summoning nature's allies and even their weapon selection seem to fit with gnomish qualities like Keen senses, boosting their land speed and their racial hatreds and defensive trainings (you know, because giants, goblins and reptillian humanoids aren't really nature friendly).

Or at the very least, give the gnome have to favored classes -- Druid and Bard to appeal to the two main drives of the Pathfinder race.

But what about their passion for devices? That's not very Nature-y or very Bardish. I think that's what tripped WotC up with building the Gnome for 4e. That's an aspect more appropriate for Dwarves, if you ask me.

Darkjoy wrote:

1) where do you get your numbers from (Paizo and other publisher sales)?

Mostly from Erik Mona has stated there that Pathfinder and their module series are doing quite well for them.

EN Publishing has had a very steep drop in sales since the 4e announcement. "Morrus" (his EN World username) runs all of their publishing efforts and cited an 80% drop. He's also said that he's talked with other publishers who've had a similar issue.
Additionally, I work/worked as a line editor on EN Publishing's Faction Folio series. I know the figures (but can't divulge them), and there is indeed a big difference.
Of course, other factors could be at play, but most publishers point to steady sales before the 4e announcement and then a near dead-stop after.
... And let me clarify that this is all forum chatter, I have no numbers of my own except Faction Folio's.

Darkjoy wrote:

And where are you going to shop it?

That's the $20,000 question.

In all seriousness, I wish I had the resources (and time) to publish on my own. At this time in the market, d20 3.5e is pretty dead sales-wise. Paizo is still reporting decent sales, but everyone else is watching their sales drop like a Stone Golem in the Elemental Plane of Air.
I think the best thing for RPG writers to do is to weather the storm in non-d20 lines until the GSL kicks in. Even then, it's not entirely clear how lenient/flexible the GSL will be compared to the OGL.
The OGL was a desktop publisher's dream come true. The GSL doesn't appear to be.

Just write and publish your own, and then wait for the money to come flooding in!

Johnn Four's e-zine has been working on a series about jail breaks. That link is to No. 1 of three articles.

I built a kick-butt halfling druid who pretty much focused all his "oompf" on the first-level spell Produce Flame.
That spell in particular is great because the Halfling gets a +1 for thrown weapons and there's a thrown version of the spell.
Add the right feats (Metamagic and the throwing feats), the spell's ridiculous distance, the fact that it's a touch attack, all the halfling and druid goodies and he's got a great arsenal just from his first level spell selection.
Now some may say that Produce Flame isn't a thrown weapon, but when I was a player, my DM OK'd it.
Anyway, once we got to a high level, my halfling was bombarding people all the time while keeping higher level spells for druidy fun.
I also loaded him up with darts to further push his thrown ability. If you stick with an avian squad, as suggested above, darts and other throwing attacks would mesh thematically.
You could even poison all those darts too.

I wrote "The Buzz on the Bridge" from Dungeon 110 to be a "side trek"/fill-in adventure for low-level play.
Like the rest of the "Dark Sun" issue, it got a lukewarm response because, IMHO, players & DMs have always expect adventures to be of a grand scale.
But side treks? Their very nature is that they're momentary distractions to a larger story. That's what I designed "Buzz" to do. (That and the fact that it could be played in one session.)

I was a little disappointed when the "side trek" category was ousted from the magazine. There were so many interesting little adventures to tell.

Cosmo wrote:


I apologize for the error and I will get a replacement copy sent out as soon as possible.


No need to apologize, but thanks for the replacement. I've already got the confirmation e-mail.

I got Dungeon 150 in the mail today, but there's a major binding mistake. Every page after 114 is bound in at a 45 degree angle, making it look like it's a triangluar shaped magazine.
Can I get a replacement?

Greg V wrote:
Because they supposedly came from the old TSR intellect whole cloth with no independent basis in myth, folklore, literature, etc. Heck even the rust monster was based off an old propeller-tailed plastic figurine (I actually had one that came with a set of dinosaur figures when I was about six, sigh for the old days, though I don't know exactly what type of dinosaur they were trying to depict.) I guess all the SRD monsters have roots elsewhere.

I had those! I always thought that the makers of the plastic monsters looked at the Monster Manual, not the other way around.

As I remember the pack, there was a Rust Monster, a Shambling Mound, a Naga, a few different winged Demons and a couple of Men-at-Arms.
Over the years, I've looked for them on eBay and found one partial set.

Robert Aspirin! --- But I doubt he'd do it.

What's that blank one down there at the bottom? Is that the one you left for Ehlonna's Scar? (hint-hint!)

I remember back in the 1980s during the "funny era" of DC Comics' Justice League when someone wrote in a similar request.
The editors printed the letter in full and then a reply that said something like this "I'm sorry, Talon, but we can't just print someone's name and letter because they ask. You've got to say something meaningful and thought-provoking."
This of course resulted in another letter where some one else wrote in and said something like "My friends said I should write a letter to you to see if you'd print it."
Again, the editors printed the letter in full and offered a reply "Hah! We're not that stupid!"
Now that's funny. Gosh, I loved that comic.

So, do you have a master list of all the Dungeons (and Dragons, I suppose) that are available on PDF
I'm particularly interested in getting a bunch of the Dungeons that carried the Polyhedron Mini-games in PDF. That way I might eventually be able to convince my gaming group to give them a try.

Thanks for the votes for King Bog!
I remember the day I realized that everything fit together right. You could take that Titanic-templated toad, apply the Awaken spell and then even give him class levels. It was like I hit the jackpot inside my brain.
Once I had that figured, it wasn't long before I realized I could finally use the real-world Serpent Mound for his secret HQ. I was just flipping out about how cool it was all turning out.
It's funny, I held onto an Internet story about the Serpent Mound for two years before I was able to figure it out how to squeeze it into a D&D setting.
(Though I'm still kind of regretting the use of the super-high level orc soldiers for the army. Why'd I do it? I was just dying to get the Orc Shotput back into print.)

I'm actually the line manager/editor for EN World's upcoming series called Faction Folio. I inherited those duties from another person who dropped out.
That being said, I don't think that there are any specific submission guidelines for the publisher. Instead, I believe the primary contact for all EN Publishing business is Morrus himself.
I have no idea what he's looking for in his future publishing endeavors.
What's Faction Folio?
I'm glad you asked!
It's a series of PDF supplements that outline organizations that exist in a D&D campaign. Some good, some bad, some just waiting to be hired by whoever has the most coin.
We've got two projects on the plate right now -- a thieves guild and a city guard. I'm expecting one will be published in May and the next in June.

But, please, no demon princes, or I'll never buy another Dungeon magazine!!!

Hey, you're a poster over at the Atomic Thinktank, aren't you? (I think you helped me build a character once!)
Anyway, Dungeon and Dragon are both exclusively D&D products. Any other time the publishers put non-D&D stuff inside they get a raft of sh!t from their regular buyers.
You wouldn't believe the flak they got for converting their sub-magazine, Polyhedron, into an experimental vehicle for all things d20.
That being said, I would fully support an M&M exclusive print magazine. That game is amazingly good.

I'm in the newspaper business and it's another troubled industry. Darn that Internet!

A vacation house.

Siobharek wrote:

A) It bothers me that I feel I have to establish some kind of worshipping credentials in order to feel that I won't be perceived as yet another Christianity-bashing roleplayer. So <grinding teeth>: I, too, am a Christian gamer. I chose to be baptized in a late age (my mother did not feel the same way), I had my daughter baptized, and because of that, my wife rediscovered her joy in religion.

Thank you for mentioning that. Looking back at my letter now, I do go a little overboard. I think saying "I'm a Christian" would have been just fine. In the context of my complaint, what difference does it make how often I attend church?

Siobharek wrote:

B) "Judge not, lest you should be judged", yet we have seemingly normal, sane people who are either willing to cut and slash a magazine because a drawing makes an imaginary being look too good (I'm looking in your direction, John) or who use a threat of not buying the magazine to enforce their limited view on the world on Dungeon Magazine (that would be Jim I'm looking at here).

I did indeed cut the image off my cover. And, as you suggest, it didn't particularly feel like the most sane thing to do when I was doing it. What was this? An art project?

And what would my one little action do after all? I certainly didn't expect a wave of support from the D&D community on this. (And I'm not baiting for comments there)
Still, it's what I felt was right for my particular household. I didn't want to have to enter into yet another argument with my wife over my hobby. I love her. I enjoy my hobby immensely. I need to avoid conflict between the two whenever possible. The image on Dungeon No. 140's cover would be immediately recognizeable by her (and anyone else) as a archetypical devil, which would indeed upset her. I personally can handle all the D&D demons and devils Paizo has to offer. My wife, however, is not so accepting, so why bother giving myself grief?
Siobharek wrote:
Please keep your religious beliefs out of my game. I don't take my game to Church, so why take the Church to my game. It won't make you a poorer Christian.

There are certainly different types of Christianity. My brand suggests that you should consider the impact of everything you do on your spiritual life. Yours, of course, may be different and I respect that.

Siobharek wrote:
I'm sure that John, Jim, and all the other conservative Christians would join the rest of us in a resounding "Hell No!" if an islamic gamer called on Dungeon to cover all the women in their illustrations in an abaya or abstained from showing pigs in a rural scene.

I certainly would respect their complaint, which is exactly what the Paizo staff has done for me, and I thank them for that.

A few other points ...

  • My ultimate intention with the letter was to suggest to Paizo that using an archetypical devil on their cover might bite them in the butt somewhere in the future. I was writing the letter imagining a Congressional hearing or "700 Club" show where they talked about "kids" being introduced to "devil worship" through the popular media and games. I certainly don't believe that D&D does this, but it would be easy for a person unknowledgeable the game to make that assumption. The cover of Dungeon No. 140 shows a powerful-looking demonic character that these misguided "kids" could look up to. I could certainly imagine Pat Robertson holding it in his fist, decrying the publisher, insisting game materials like it be shoved behind store counters, censored by the government and that kind of foolishness. (And I put "kids" in quotes because the prime demographic for this game is definitely not kids or teens. This is something that most non-D&D players don't seem to understand.)
  • Really, I'm not a conservative Christian. I'm just a Christian! Here in America, "conservative" implies a heavy Republican leaning, which I do not.
  • Let me say that the cover art, on a technical level, was top notch, and I have no beef with the artist himself. I wish I had included that in my letter to Dungeon.
  • I'd like to thank Siobharek and the rest of the posters for talking about this in a non-confrontional way.

Might I also say that I love that you've revived the name of an old pulp magazine for your new novel line. Man, they had the BEST covers!
Maybe you should tackle Amazing Stories next! :)
Or maybe not ...

Troy Taylor wrote:

My Top 5 of recent years:

1. Ehlonna's Scar.


You definitely want to hold off writing anything, especially when it uses WotC-exclusive elements, otherwise you can't sell it to anyone but Paizo or WotC, and the chances of that, given the limited number of available adventure slots in Dungeon and WotC modules, is slim. Time is very valuable to a free-lance worker and you shouldn't waste it on a idea that may not garner any interest.
On the other hand, if you want to write for fun, go ahead.

I don't have an answer for your, but I just wanted to say that I thought this adventure was quite cool.
I especially loved the illustrations.

Rouge? Isn't she one of the X-Men?

The article's all spruced up with art and html.
Here's the link: antary-library-builder.aspx

That is so neat. I'd love to see how others out there piece together their world by using Dungeon.

Can I post that on my web site? -- with credit to you, of course and spruced up a bit to make it more readable.
Web site:
John Simcoe

You were four when you got the Expert rulebook? Geez, you're precocious!

Geez, I go on vacation and everything blows up!

But yeah, it's the "ranger" solution as described above.

Let me know how your game turns out. My guess ... Kobolds get killed really quickly!

"Wondering Monster"? Sounds like a psionics-wielding beastie.

I hope the cleanup goes well for all the Paizo staff. It sounds like it was rough out there.

Yes, they redraw them, but not much.
My maps for "Throne of Iuz" look very similar to the ones that finally got published. To me it looks like the cartographer scanned my maps in and then traced, colored and toned them with Adobe Illustrator.
The end product looked much cleaner and more readable than the black-and-white pencil drawings I submitted.

"Buzz on the Bridge" is in issue No. 110.

I like the idea of all of these possibly being in the mix for a disease!

Spell resistance
Caster-Level checks
Specific component requirements
High Heal checks for diagnosis

That would make Remove Disease less powerful, but it would certainly improve RPing of the dangers of disease.

You could just give every disease some sort of spell resistance, that way they don't automatically get cured. Instead, a cleric might have to apply cure disease several times in order to get it to "stick."

You know this question gets asked A LOT here and over at ENWorld. Perhaps the good folks at Paizo ought to consider doing a kid-friendly issue of Dungeon.

I've had the same problem too. Statted villains run by the DM can't match four independently thinking adventurers unless they have an escape route.
Word of Recall is a good resourse, as are trapped tunnels, minions who can stall or split up the PCs, high Saves and bucketloads of HP.
The most important thing is for the villian to use that option when things are still going their way! It sucks sending a villain away with their tail between their legs.
One additional suggestion: GIVE ALL YOUR STATTED VILLIANS MAXIMUM HIT POINTS! It's dirty pool, but it helps the plot!

While "Heroes of Battle" came out after I wrote "Throne of Iuz"(Dungeon 118), I think it would work well with rules put forward in that book.
Basically it's an adventure where the heroes raid a well-armed orc encampment, and if they do it wrong, they could bring the whole army against them at once.

I disagree with the "it's only a cantrip" thought. Sure, it's not an attack spell, but it is putting two opposed elements together. The cleric obviously was in no position to do anything else to help. Let the player give it a whirl.
One thing you naysayers are right on: Severely limit the damage. 1 to 3 HP for the whole attack seems appropriate. Heck, I'd even give the Elemental a save to take no damage.
The last thing I would do is make the player feel like an idiot for creatively using the spell.

I like your solution, Fake Healer, but I'm not sure I would have thought of it in the heat of the moment.
Still, it rewards the player, as you said.
Additionally, it certainly would heighten memories of the encounter, giving the players the impression that they threw everything but the kitchen sink at the elemental.

Well, I'm not entirely sure. Holiday Essentials seemed to leap into his mind quite recently. We've been working on our project (City Essentials) since I wrote this article ( for his several years ago.
Who knows which one will come first. I know he has a new addition to his family coming soon, so that may hinder things even more.

Great Green God wrote:

PS John you still in the adventure writing game?...

Yep, I had a few proposals rejected earlier this year and then I moved which took a lot of time away from my creative work.

I've got another two proposals waiting to clear the render. ><crosses fingers><
I just "co-wrote" an e-book with Johnn Four, which you can read about here:
(I put "co-wrote" in quotes here because I did very little work on it.)
Johnn and I have been working on a project for city adventures for several years now. He's expecting the first part of which should be ready sometime soon. On this city project, I did a lot more writing (something like 65,000 words in total)

I didn't even realize there was a third set! You should let us know when you do things like that.
And for the record, I like the first set best!

1 to 50 of 130 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>