Shiyara the High Mediator

Kelsey MacAilbert's page

Organized Play Member. 3,364 posts (8,127 including aliases). 2 reviews. 2 lists. 3 wishlists. 66 aliases.


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Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
Is Calpoly any good for an Architect?

You know, I actually got accepted to CalPoly SLO as a Geography major, but didn't attend because SFSU had Urban Studies (which sucked as a program, by the way). History vindicated me once I picked up a double major in Geography, as SFSU's GIS resources far drown out SLO's, and GIS is what got me into graduate school and got me a job, but for a while I wondered why I made a choice like that.

Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:

That's why I'm considering Architecture or Engineering.

That depends on the availability of on-campus housing, and could be complicated if I choose to become an architect.

I didn't even survive community college leveln Engineering courses. That field was not for me.

And on campus housing is absolutely terrible quality and filled with drama and conflict, while costing 50% more than off campus housing. So many of my problems at SFSU were solved by living in an in law instead of campus housing.

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Looking in on this thread 6 years later, it's kinda interesting how different and how similar the actual trajectory was.

I'm actually still in school, but I'm a graduate student now. I got my BA in Geography and Urban Studies from San Francisco State in May, and moved straight into the Master of Urban Planning program at San Jose State. Which I don't think I expected as a trajectory 6 years ago.

Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Can you do your first two years in a community college getting an Associates in Science, then transfer it over to a four-year college/university? It'd probably be cheaper.

This is actually what I ended up doing, though I have an AA in generic Liberal Arts, not an AS. I actually kind of had to do it that way. My high school GPA was pits and I didn't take half the entry requirements. I emailed San Jose State about applying, and they straight up told me I didn't qualify for any CSU and needed to go to a community college, so I spent two years at De Anza and don't regret it. Especially since the day came where I got my acceptance letter to San Jose State.

Celestial Healer wrote:
Architecture is a tricky major. In many schools, you would be in a 5 year B.Arch. degree program rather than a B.S. or B.Eng. That could make it more difficult to get into or get out of if you are not sure that is what you want to do (although early enough in the program I'm sure it's possible).

So funny story about that. In my graduate program, we have a ton of architecture majors, because they can't find work in the field. More and more projects are happening without hiring an architect, so some are switching over to planning.

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Kileanna wrote:
Punniculus wrote:
Kileanna wrote:
"Umm, nekkid hospital" or nothing xD

Hospitals can have offices. Done. Sign here. And here. Initials here. Sign here is blood. Sigh here. Initial here in someone else's blood. Initial sign there. Countersign on the back.

Just 12 more pages to go and we'll get started.

I don't sign or sigh anything without my contract devil revising it first.

So far, I've found three seperate clauses that involve relinquishing your soul to Urgathoa. I'm mostly confused as to what she wants with it and why Asmodeus isn't in on the deal.

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Been looking at some of my old threads to see what's changed. Can't believe I posted this 4 and a half years ago. Which means I've been in college 3 and a half years. Turns out I didn't have Colorado residency and my Montana residency didn't count for tuition purposes, so I moved in with my grandmother in Silicon Valley to take advantage of my automatic in state tuition in California. Studied a mixture of History, Geography, and Anthropology at De Anza College for two years and got an associate's in Liberal Arts (though I started as Computer Science, which didn't even last through my remedial math courses), and transferred to San Francisco State University, where I double major in Geography and Urban Studies & Planning (I would, however, consider Geography the primary major). Which actually be giving me more of the history I like most than a History degree might. I have a transportation planning focus, so my marine studies are specifically about shipping and port and harbor design. I've been in Geography for 3 years now, so I guess I'm pretty settled in by this point. Just not into anything this thread really suggested I was going to do. At least it's a field that's actually super interesting to me, and that has pretty good job aspects (Especially since I do have some GIS under my belt).

Now I feel old.

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I do believe my spatial analysis within ArcMap has definitively shown that Manhattan is filled with rich white people.

Fascinating. Whosoever would have thought?

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I'm sorry to have to say this, but Paizo has something of a problem with overly aggressive posting that verges on bullying, and I'm starting to feel like it's really slowing website traffic. The rules, advice, and general discussion forums feel kind of hostile a lot of the time, and I've noticed they aren't really as busy as they used to be and seen a few high profile instances of people leaving. For my part, I don't post much anymore and largely only observe the Pathfinder RPG forums because of it.

Which segues into the issue at heart - moderators are Paizo employees, and as long as they're trying to deal with people being jerks, they aren't doing all the other tasks they were hired to perform that are essential to keeping Paizo running as a company. So unless Paizo can afford the payroll to increase tech staff because we can't be nice to each other, maybe it's time some of the burden of policing shifted to the community as a whole. If such posters as the Paizo staff feel are trustworthy could mod on a volunteer basis, it may prove feasible to more directly confront some of the more aggressive posting behaviors while simultaneously relieving the Paizo staff of some of that workload so they can work on other tasks. The addition of moderators living across several time zones with varied work and sleep schedules could also make it much easier to respond to major incidents and spam attacks in a timely manner, as it may be possible to generally always have somebody with authority online, or at least have a better distribution of times where moderators are available.

London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets by Peter Ackroyd. Next I resume reading my copy of The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London, which I inexplicably left a third through, and if time permits Georgian London: Into the Streets. I arrive in the city 1st January for my first ever trip abroad, so reading wise I'll have London on the brain for months.

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I praise Sara Marie because I haven't made Gary Teter mad at me in a few years now.

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Hypothetical scenario. PCs are in Cheliax, and one decides he just has to have a Halfling to make camp, mend tools and clothes, and such. So he buys one. Now what? While adventuring, how do you keep a slave obedient and prevent escape? What do you do with the slave in combat? Where in the Inner Sea do you need to stay away from?

Yea, and it was biggest in the 80s, but I'm a 90s kid, so that's where I feel it.

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The last network showing them will no longer do so.

It's not the death of cartoons, of course. And, with streaming, we can watch whenever we want. We just don't have that good old bastion of childhood anymore. Granted, it was my brother who was allowed to watch them, not me, but still. It feels like another piece of the 90s kid identity has slipped away.

And it is over. No now officially has obtained a majority of the vote. Scotland shall remain a part of the United Kingdom.

Votes are still being counted, but it looks really bad for the Yes campaign. I don't see any way they can get enough votes to make up the current deficit. Last I heard was 46% Yes to 54% No. Guardian and BBC have officially predicted a No victory.

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I think I want to see a sequel of this. I do most of my world building in North America inspired continents, so it adds some wonderful options that I'll get plenty of use out of. Looking through the PDF, I can't see much that I won't use.

Rysky wrote:

Ah, okay then.

*continues to glare at thought bubble of waffle fries*


I know how that feels. Jelly Belly supports anti-trans causes.

chbgraphicarts wrote:
Unless the subsequent books of 5th Edition radically change things up, it'll be like living back in 1979. By that, I mean 5th Edition will be OD&D, and Pathfinder will be AD&D. And we all know which version "won out" for all-around sales in that "edition war" (although OD&D DID last longer than 1st Edition, but still).

I don't. I was born in '91. What happened, exactly? The OD&D/AD&D/1st Edition/2nd Edition/Red Box stuff is confusing.

Weirdo wrote:
Getting off base is not a problem - we already play over Skype because our group moved apart after graduation. All he needs is 4 hours online during a weekend afternoon or evening to connect.

We didn't get internet access, either. Basic training is s*#+ty. Basic training is supposed to be s~*$ty. You don't relax and wind down, and the stress is kept intentionally high. Time off to Skype with your buds isn't something you will ever have.

Weirdo wrote:
I was worried about that. Luckily we had a bit of warning and just finished his main character arc but it would suck if he had to drop out because he couldn't get one afternoon every other week to himself.

In basic, you never get to go off base. Ever. Later on in training, you may be able to get weekend pass, but the regulations and frequency differ extremely wildly, and not all personnel can get it at all. After that, it really depends what you do in the military and where you are stationed. For the first several months, he's not going to be able to game with you at all. Assuming Canada is similar to America in this regard, of course.

thegreenteagamer wrote:
Having her "flip out" makes me think of rage of some sort. Why did you choose ranger?

I saw the hooded champion archetype, and I really liked it and the Robin Hood feel of it, but at the same time I wanted to roll up an evil character. So, I went with the idea of someone who tries to act like a Robin Hood, but is so over the line with her behavior that she is as bad as anything she opposes.

I had this idea while I was cooking lunch today. She's a ranger (hooded champion archetype). She's a freedom fighter who viciously opposes the local lords who rule over the region with an iron fist and enforce the law by death and torture. They are the enemies of the people, and they must face justice. Problem is, her version of justice is to kill or cast out propertyless any nobles she can get her hands on, and publicly execute the worst offenders in ways so brutal and painful it will serve as a deterrent to other tyrants. Those misguided citizens who won't join her rebellion? Traitors to the people who must be dealt with. Make her lose her temper, and she lashes out violently. When she kills someone she's angry at, she tends to fall into a deep bloodlust, and inflicts as much pain as possible before ending their lives to sate her desire for revenge. She is thoroughly convinced that she is the good guy in all of this, even though she causes more death and misery than the a!*%%%+s she wants to depose. Every time she does something brutal or unnecessary like having a noble's children executed, she finds some way of rationalizing it as the morally correct course of action, even though it isn't morally correct at all. The people she "protects" are more afraid of her than they are of the local lords. She's a very intense person who speaks in a low tone of voice, and is quite persuasive, largely because of how uncompromising and threatening she sounds. When she flips out, it's truly intimidating, because she makes all sorts of over the top violent threats, and is actually willing to carry them out a fair amount of the time. She will try to protect the innocent as best she can without thought of reward, but she does so with death, hate, pain, and revenge, not justice and long term solutions. Her alignment is Chaotic Evil, but she would never consider that she could be one of the bad guys in this war.

Here's her character sheet:

Is it a good build? Did I choose feats and magic items well?

Do you like this character concept? Should I put her into my campaign setting as a villain, or reserve her in case I ever need a character to play on short notice? If I do put her on reserve as PC, and then end up playing her, how should I portray her at the table? How do I underline how unreasonable and violent she is without going over the top? How do I avoid starting inter-party conflict with a character as extremist as this?

DocShock wrote:
Do a google search for YAPCG Sourceforge. It's a huge excel file called "Yet Another Pathfinder Character Generator". It's slow which can be obnoxious, but it's 100% free, the guys who manage it take bug reports seriously, and I haven't had it crash on me ever. If you go this route, in Excel, go to the Formula tab, and under Calculation Options select "Manual". That keeps the sheet from rerunning all the calculations until you hit F9 or the "CALCULATE" button in the lower left hand corner.
Heimdall666 wrote:
Its free other than needing Excel, but sCoreforge is great and has most of the books. It gets updated frequently. Only thing it needs is a pickable spell list and the newest rulebook (ACG). Only issue I have is its a pain to change things for homerules adjustments without rehashing the whole set of macros.

Sounds like that might be best, given that I have a reasonable level of proficiency with formulas and macros.

CorzatTheGray wrote:

The cost to get into Hero Lab is managable. $30 to start out for Core book and ALL PLAYER MATERIAL FROM ALL ADVENTURE PATHS (that's the part everyone forgets to mention...). From there you just purchase books or packages as needed. If you don't use anything from Obscure Splatbook, don't worry about buying it. If you're a completist that "needs" every book out there, yeah, it can get expensive if you need it the day it becomes available.

At the $80 entry point for the OP, you're probably looking at $30 for the Core, $10 for APG, $10 Ultimate Combat, $10 Ultimate Magic, $10 Advanced Class Guide, $10 Ultimate Equipment or some variation to get Campaign Setting books or Companion books which are $5 for ~3 books a package as a player. As a GM you're looking at (I think) $30 for Bestiary 1-3 bundle, and $15 for Bestiary 4 content in the above mix.
Look at what you NEED first. Budget it. Then look at you want. Budget it. Hero Lab is doable money-wise. If your HL license is the only one in the group and the group will be benefiting from it, don't feel bad to ask the group to help with the cost of the program and packages, especially if their character is the one taking the obscure feat from the brand new Book of Obscure Awesomeness in the $5 package of 3 books of Coolness You Can't Live Without.

I totally forgot about the Bestiaries. As a GM, I'd need those, too. Issue is that I want the software to take the edge off encounter design since school takes up so much time, but on the other hand I use splat materiel heavily. I'm the only one who'd use it, so asking my friends to pay isn't happening. I wouldn't feel comfortable with it, either, because there are a couple guys I merely tolerate because I need the extra players. I'm not going to ask for financial contributions from people I'd boot from the game if I could.

AndIMustMask wrote:
you'll want to have a line saying that wits count as grit for the purposes of feats pertaining to grit (like panache does).

Got it.

i'm liking the save advancement, though i'd be fine with plain 4+int skill points (though using wis instead is definitely cool), but right out of the gate i see a problem: no weapon training. this leaves he slayer and ranger (or anyone else who can pump their to-hit and damage via smite/rage/etc.) better at fighting than you. armor training is largely a formailty beyond the movement penalty removal. maybe roll the two into one 'battle prowess' ability or something?

Huh? My fighter starts getting weapon training a level early.

might wanna make the feat-swap thing a swift action (or move action downgrading to swift) to make it not outright better than the brawler mechanic.

Good idea.

instinctual defense could be for rounds/level instead of a flat minute and still be great.

Sounds good.


sure rough and ready should cost an action to prevent someone dropping several points at once and never taking actual HP damage.

similar reasoning with cautious aim--you could spend several points to make your entire full attack all crits otherwise.


combat vigilance might wanna take rough terrain and such into account as well as occupied spaces, and lists no action whatsoever

Rough terrain halves move, and an immediate action?

might wanna make perfect thrust any weapon that you've got weapon training in.

Maybe do that for other stuff borrowed from Gunslinger.

your gut shot debuffs seem to vary wildly in effectiveness. stunned or blinded/nauseated seem the obvious choices.

Offer those, then, I guess.

all in all it's pretty cool so far (my comments aside).


edit: noting your stance on combat expertise, consider just giving it as a bonus feat at level 1.

Well, I wanted any martial to have it.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:
You should try to post this in a document instead of a spreadsheet. In the current format, I have to scroll from left to right to read it.

I will. I'm going out soon, though, so it'll have to be later.


Veteran's Cunning

I like using Wis in place of Wisdom for feat prereqs, but changing what ability score determines skill points sounds like trouble, particularly when you factor in ability score increases and multi-classing. You have already increased skill points from 2 to 4, and given incentive to pump Wisdom. I would drop the Wis skill points bit.

Maybe that would be a good idea.


Flexible Defense

The wording could be improved, perhaps to "The fighter can spend 1 wit as a free action. If he does, he cannot be flanked for 1 round.

That works.



Immune to all fear effects at level 1 is too good for level 1.

Maybe start with a bonus, and improve to immunity at level 3 or 7?


Cunning Save

The wording is pretty bad. Its very confusing.

I'll see if I can find a better way to phrase it.

I am now reading this book on treehouses that I found at my local library. I have found that it is actually quite perfect for figuring out what elven homes likely look like campaign setting.

thejeff wrote:
OTOH, I generally think of African-Americans as just Americans too. Unless there's some reason to distinguish, in which case I'd almost certainly use white for me and either African-American or black for them. Mostly because black can cause offense in some cases, while white doesn't.

Well, I do think of African-Americans as being every bit as American as I am, and referring to somebody as just American when you apply that term equally to all ethnic groups isn't offensive at all. It's when somebody says "I'm just American, and you are African-American or Mexican-American" that it gets offensive. At that point, you are acting as if your ethnicity as normal for Americans and doesn't need mentioning (and I'll give you just one guess as to which ethnicity that might be), and the other person's ethnicity is not normal and needs to be pointed out.

I'm American, not Canadian, but yea, you don't get time to do much of anything in basic. I remember Sunday morning for personal time, and that was it. Period. Every other waking moment was spend getting yelled at for not folding clothes properly. You also barely sleep, so in the extremely rare times you aren't busy you are way too tired for anything.

Hitdice wrote:
. . .Dude, if you mix up a Frenchman and a German, they'll join forces to beat you up for not knowing the difference, and World War Two.

I'm a German-American, and I wouldn't really care if I got mixed up with a French-American (not that this has ever happened).

Then again, my uncle is a Plastic Paddy who gets pissed off gigantically if you ever remind him he has English blood or say anything nice about the English at all.

In my experience, no one cares if you identify european-american, french-american or german-american, but it's boorish (not Beor-ish, different thing) to say, "You're african-american, that dude's hispanic-amirican, and I'm just american."

Yea. Referring to yourself as just American while singling out the ethnic identities of others does come across to me as a bit bigoted.

Simon Legrande wrote:
I think it's funny that the CEO of the company I work for is from South Africa but can't be called African-American because he's white.

Blame historical context.

This isn't universal, of course, but I know some guys who immigrated frm Ghana who call themselves Ghanan-Americans rather than African-Americans because of the historical context of the second. To them, the descendants of slaves who have been in the US for centuries are distinct from recent African immigrants.

So, Hero Lab and PC Gen are basically the two main programs? Huh. I thought there were some other paid options out there.

I also went with emphasizing Wisdom and intuition, because, in my eyes, a fighter is a seasoned veteran, and getting to that point for a swordsman on the same battlefield as mages, barbarians, and monsters means being as wise, perceptive, and quick to react as he is strong. So, here goes:


It's still a beta release, of course. The deeds aren't quite right yet. So, what do you guys think it needs? What don't you think it needs? What is underwhelming?

The class abilities that are on the progression table but not described below are exactly as core rules.

Oh, also important to note that I consider combat expertise part of the system, not a feat. Working on other adjustments to the feat system to remove useless taxes or boost flagging trees. TWF probably ends up scaling with level.

I'm getting the impression that if I want something particularly good, I'm going to have to pay for it. Question is, where do I want to spend that money? If I'm buying, I want something good, but at the same time Hero Lab is a bit out of my league. $80 for the base package and all my Paizo spats is a little much.

I did some transit calculations to compare trains and worships and see which is likely more popular. I imagine alchemical engines as closer to diesel than coal, so I started with the Hindenburg, a diesel powered airship. I compared it to the Santa Fe Super Chief locomotive. The difference in cruising speed is only 16 miles per hour, accounting for terrain and weather variations. To put that in context, the airship will get you from San Francisco to New York in a little more than two days, two and a half to three if it isn't a straight shot, while the train will take a little more than three if it has some stops on the way, four if you need transfers. If we assume air travel is still new and expensive, it seems likely the train is preferred by most, with air travel being for the debutantes and top business executives of society, or for cross ocean travel. For anyone else, paying something like five or six times what a train costs just isn't worth the time savings.

James, do you think it's reasonable for somebody creating a Half-Elf who grew up poor and uneducated and never met her elven parent to decide their character cannot speak Elven despite the rules saying Half-Elves can, both because it makes sense and because the idea of a Half-Elf who gets either pitied or ridiculed by Elves because she knows so little about her heritage is interesting?

If the setting were Golarion, would ridicule or pity be common Elven reactions to a Half-Elf who knows so little about Elves?

Hmm. I'll see about trying out Fullmetal Alchemist once I get caught up with Fairy Tail. I have a lot of animes on my to-watch list already, though. Might give FF another chance some day, but I have a lot of entertainment on my plate right now.

I will definately see if FF D20 has anything I could borrow.

I got into a thought exercise on using compound bows in a military sense over at Giantitp. We have the tech to build them. End result was that if you issue them to soldiers, you can have a city slicker who's never touched a bow before shooting with range, accuracy, and penetration compared to an English lowbowman of old in a six month regime of basic and infantry training. With professional armies that fight in scattered units rather than mass formations, the advantages and disadvantages of these weapons beat out those of a modern crossbow or arquebus. Problem is, the pulleys are ugly compared to a bow of old. So, in comes mage hand enchanted bows that basically mimic the effects of compound bows. It's a cheap version of enchantment that has to be redone every couple weeks because it doesn't last, but it's quick and easy and any spellcaster could do it. Mechanical effects? +20 ft to all range increments, automatically get Str to damage, other effects are non-mechanical fluff effects (soldiers can learn to use it in months rather than years, can keep knocked for long periods of time, much easier to draw, less exhausting to draw, doesn't have to be 6 feet long to have intimidating penetration). They are a martial weapon and regular longbows and shortbows are exotic, because weapons training covers these bows, not the obsolete ones, and the obsolete ones are much harder to use. The arquebus takes a lot of tinkering/enchantment to overcome its issues compared to these bows, so it is a Gunslinger/archetype weapon for mechanically apt PCs, not a common military weapon. Cannons, however, do see some military use. Crossbows are ubiquitous among conscript and reserve levies that don't have the two months basic training and four months infantry training professional soldiers have, and among some city guards that haven't bought into bow training (some have, some haven't). Arquebus's are used similarly, but among city guard much more often than military, because they are loud and smokey, and that can give away the position of a unit.

Even among huge fans of a work of fiction, there are generally things that aren't that good. In Fairy Tail the magic council's behavior is completely nonsensical and the main characters are super quick to forgive attempted mass murder. Assassin's Creed IV was a fun naval romp, but the controls were absolutely horrible during ship boarding and the story was meh. Watching Blackbeard gush about Kenway like he was a sueish fanfiction OC during the intro had me rolling my eyes fast enough to power a small generator. Almost every interior I enter in Dragon Age 2 is something I've seen 15 times before, and they really don't take Mother's death all that seriously. Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines is so buggy, it partially defines the game.

I am a fan of all of these works, I just hate these aspects of them. Not enough to stop watching or playing, because they are good works, but enough to feel irritated about them. That's the feeling this thread is about.

Cyrad wrote:

The race creation guide says a poor 40 foot flight equates to 6 RP as an advanced ability.

Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
I'm not fully convinced that flight is totally overpowered (it's not like wizards can't pull it off at the levels I typically play at, anyway), provided the GM takes the presence of a flying PC into account during encounter design, but it is still significant. I just need to know how significant.
By your logic, it's not overpowered that a 1st level PC can use an ability at-will, because a 5th level wizard can use the same ability if they cast a 3rd level spell that lasts minutes per level? Especially when an at-will version of that ability makes two skills almost completely obsolete? When it's otherwise not possible for a PC to obtain this ability prior to level 5?

I can't remember the last time I actually ran below level 5, so I was thinking about moderate levels.

If you're the GM, then sure. But understand it's a powerful ability. You're essentially giving a 9th level spell (overland flight) to a PC and make it pointless for any member of the party to specialize in Acrobatics, Climb, and maneuverability.

Hmm. They need a weakness to compensate, then.

Yea, level 5 is about normal as a starting point in my eyes.

If necessary, I could toss a few RP points around to bump the other races into advanced. In theory, if everybody is hovering around 12, it at least fits RAW.

Also, I'm embarrassed that I only checked the standard race point values before posting the thread.

Bardarok wrote:

From the race builder

Flight (4 RP):
Prerequisites: None; Benefit: Members of this race have a fly speed of 30 feet with clumsy maneuverability. Special: This trait can be taken more than once. For each additional 2 RP spent, the race's fly speed increases by +10 feet, and the maneuverability improves by one step.

Its normally an advanced trait but you might as well use it with the RP as written.

Exactly how wonky is a standard race with advanced level traits?

40 ft speed, poor mobility. This race is intended as a major PC race.

A point to note is that I use different jump DCs:

High Jump

Feet * Acrobatics DC
12 foot * 4
16 feet * 8
20 feet * 12
24 feet * 16
Greater than 24 feet +1 per foot

15 feet * 5
20 feet * 10
25 feet * 15
30 feet * 20
Greater than 30 feet +1 per foot

(Why, yes, I do watch anime. Why do you ask?)

((Yes, it is held that a character can jump into the air and grapple/attack a flying character in the same round, and grappled fliers tend to hit the ground.))

I'm not fully convinced that flight is totally overpowered (it's not like wizards can't pull it off at the levels I typically play at, anyway), provided the GM takes the presence of a flying PC into account during encounter design, but it is still significant. I just need to know how significant.

Kirth Gersen wrote:
Yes. I'm looking for a discussion about what in the feat system isn't really worth buying into (or feels way too expensive for what you get) or feels like it must be bought into.
Feat chains make me very sad, especially ones like Two-Weapon Fighting in which you're getting less and less out of each feat, incrementally, in the chain.

I do dislike how many feats TWF characters need to invest.

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As the title says, which feats are underpowered? Which feats do you pretty much have to take to pull off specific concepts? I want to hear everyone's opinions on what feats are trap options or underwhelming, and where the feat taxes are.

boring7 wrote:

Is this a campaign world or an idealized world you'd want to live in, 'cuz it sounds as perfect as the Land of Happy.

Sorry, maybe that was too harsh. But do remember a world without strife doesn't NEED heroes.

Is it a world I'd want to live in? Yes. The average civilian actually has it pretty good. The issue is keeping it that way. There's an old quote, misattributed to Orwell, that says "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." That describes the attitude of the setting pretty well. The world itself is pretty happy and well off, but largely because people like the PCs are constantly fighting to keep it that way. The wave of divine power (released by the deaths of so many Gods) flowing into human hands that enabled all this magitech and the explosion in living standards has also driven the monster population sky high and made a lot of them more powerful, some people abuse this divine power in ways so dangerous that they have to be put down, and the one God humans failed to kill is slowly corrupting weak willed humans into violent, sadistic cultists in a long term plan to slowly destabilize the whole system (and if he worms his cult into a major national government...). All of these are problems that fall to the PCs to handle, and the monster problem is of a big enough scale that keeping it contained is actually a major effort that gets a lot of attention. The PC-types (Mythics, basically) are getting run ragged going around dealing with all the higher level stuff, and professional standing militaries are kept around to handle the lower level stuff (the zombies that like to reanimate without a necromancer, hordes of goblins with no visible source, the weaker types of fey [Fey were created to be masters of the world, then lost that position to the human races. They are still pissed off.]). Geopolitics isn't really a focus, but war hasn't been done away with at all, and neither has espionage or sabotage, so those angles could be played up.

Low poverty isn't certain in a world with mass production, just ask our country. Plenty of ways to leave folk behind, economically speaking, despite having the power to feed and shelter all of them. What do the peasants do with their time?

True, but when we look at the US and Western Europe, most in poverty are fed and sheltered, just not very well, and a lot of poor people can afford things like phones. The US has major poverty problems, but it's of a different sort that people starving in the streets. The same is true here. Poverty and wealth inequality are there, but people are still measurably better off than they were before all this stuff with killing Gods, and even the poor can afford to have things a medieval peasant couldn't dream of.

No cars, horses (or mechahorses) as the best ATVs, reliance on railroads, and the like mean there's a huge disparity between the magitech-rich cities and the stone-age wilderness. Farming villages and communities are probably candles in the darkness of a brutal and dark no-man's land. This leads to certain mindsets and mentalities. As well as, from time to time, resentments about the folk who live in the cities.

Doesn't help that the outskirts attract a lot of the increased monster population, and that the city folk are more numerous than rural folk. It's also like the modern US where the actual farmers are actually pretty well off, but their hired help is much less so, but most rural folk aren't actually working in agriculture. Given that there are so many monsters hanging about, the PCs end up around these parts with some frequency.

If electricity is used, perhaps complete with steampunk impossibility tech, how is it generated? Lots of little tiny dynamos/generators that can be set up all over or big giant generators that can be sabotaged to widespread effect?

Depends on the source. If it's hydro, it's one big dam that could be blown to absolutely devastating effect. If it's wind? Pretty decentralized. Solar can be either, depending on type of generator.

Now that I think about it, if we have airships, we have the naval screw. No way we'd have one and not the other. That relegates paddle wheel ships to river and harbor work.

Kazaan wrote:

The thing to keep in mind about JRPGs (and east-Asian fantasy settings in general) is the fundamental difference between Eastern and Western philosophy. In Eastern philosophy, there is a strong influence of concepts such as Ki, the vital energy of the body, such that attacking with a Sword isn't "just" about the physics of attacking with the weapon itself but also takes on a metaphysical aspect of how you, the wielder, empower the weapon far beyond what would scientifically be accepted as the weapon's physical limitations. This concept has heavily influenced JRPGs such as Final Fantasy in that melee weapons have a far greater effect derived, in part, by the "spiritual conditioning" of the wielder. The sword strikes so hard not because of the physical properties of the sword but, rather, because of the spiritual force behind the attack. This makes them fundamentally different than purely science-based weapons such as firearms and high-tech weaponry which are cold, dispassionate weapons. Consider Obi-Wan's disdain of blasters from Star Wars as primitive, inelegant weapons. You also have the concepts of Taoism which view the universe as an integrated whole and the scientific process of "dividing" the universe into discrete pieces for analysis hampers your connection to the Tao (sometimes translated as Great Integrity). In the philosophy of Taoism, a person is stronger when they integrate and submit themselves to the universal one-ness and their attack carries with it the entire force of the universe. By contrast, by relying on a weapon of science which derives its power from the slicing of reality into bite-sized bits, you carry no more power than the slices perceived to be directly connected to the weapon. There's no philosophical "umph" behind your attack. That's why medieval weapons are the "go-to" even amid all the otherwise modern, nearly-modern, or even beyond-modern technology used for other purposes.

If you want to mimic this concept, I'd suggest giving everyone access to "spiritual powers"...

That certainly explains a lot about anime, but for my own personal setting I like the approach I'm using.

Asian influences are important, though. This is a setting with long range transit and cheap mass communication. It's a global world, and Asian inspired nations are as important within the world as European inspired nations. For that matter, American inspired nations are important, too. I will use the Nyambe: African Adventures setting within my world, with the technology level, political situation, and theology updated to fit in with how I do things (I consider gods and spirits separate things, and spirit magic is how Clerics, Witches, Druids, Inquisitors, and Shamans cast, so we do have Orisha [and also Kami, who I consider more spirit than god in this setting]). Nyambe is an African inspired continent, and it contributes as much to geopolitics as the European, American, and Asian inspired nations do, and is about as wealthy and high tech as those continents are.

I'll take a look through my copy of Mythic Adventures. I hadn't thought to use it, but it should be thematically appropriate to give all PCs tiers.

I'm making a bit of a modification to some of the tech. I've decided that coal and fossil fuel don't exist at all, because the world is only as old as humanity is. Most substances that take millions of years to form exist because the Gods willed it so during creation, but the Gods specifically did not want coal and fossil fuel to exist. We have and use electricity, but batteries aren't very good at the moment, so alchemist's fire engines dominate transportation, except the cable car networks, which use electricity from the power grid to run the cables (here is how a cable car works, for those who don't know. Individual cars do not have engines.). Do to heavy fuel consumption as mentioned above, they are large affairs, so trains, ocean ships, and airships are the default, and airships generally have to refuel during cross ocean journeys. To facilitate that, there are tanker ships that serve as waterborne refueling depots for airships. This means that airships crossing the ocean congregate in specific routes (kind of like having an invisible highway), so that refueling ships can stick to those routes, making everybody's life a bit easier. When airships end up off course and away from these routes, fuel becomes a major issue, and crashes happen. So, airships carry enough life boats for all passengers, and if they are running out of fuel they intentionally land on the ocean so that the passengers can take to the boats and wait for rescue.

Another issue is that alchemist's fire engines aren't as safe as fossil fuel engines. Given the right conditions, it can explode, and alchemist's fire in and of itself is more hazardous to handle than petrol. This is another reason the car hasn't been adopted, along with high fuel consumption. It isn't safe for a non-professional to be working with one of these engines.

Firearms haven't been around very long at all. I am retconning the earlier mention of many soldiers carrying them. It's such a new technology, it is still in the hands of people who made them from scratch. Blackpowder is used instead of alchemical powder, because it has problems and I want it to have problems. With magic crossbows being straight better than regular crossbows and massed formations not being used much (troops tend to fight in scattered units, because a massed formation is a juicy target for mages or explosives, neither of which is hard for a military to come by), there is more hesitancy among militaries to adopt firearms. This will change in the future, and eventually firearms will become dominant, but that is then, and this is now. For the moment, they are quite uncommon, mostly in the hands of experimenters like PC Gunslingers.

Darkholme wrote:
The tech level you're describing is VERY Final Fantasy. I would have suggested looking to FMA, but you're going for a significantly higher tech level than that.

I tried Final Fantasy 1 or 2, and never really grew to like it. Didn't much bother with the series afterwards. My issue was the combat type. Once I grew out of Pokemon, I didn't much play games with that specific style of combat. I can't remember the last time I played a JRPG, just that this is a tech level that is very common to the genre.

I haven't watched Full Metal Alchemist. There are a lot of animes I haven't seen yet. As a kid, I watched Dragon Ball Z (loved it then, hate it now), Pokemon, Inuyasha, and a couple other animes and read Shonen Jump, then stopped watching anime and reading manga in my teens. I recently started watching anime again, and I'm liking it, but because of school I've only watched a few. So, my anime-fu is actually pretty weak, and I don't read manga at all.

My biggest inspiration tech-level wise is Fairy Tale, with a bit of Soul Eater mixed in. I suspect there are parallels to Eberron, but I read much of the setting (I do plan to pick up the main 3.5 book eventually, though. Probably useful for idea mining.). I'm also somewhat inspired by some of the Legend of Zelda iterations.

Though I crib a lot from Fairy Tale in terms of technology level, in terms of tone it doesn't fit my world. I prefer serious and semi-serious campaigns for roleplay, rather than the rambunctious humor, complete oddball characters, screaming out names of all attacks, and general quirkiness of shonen anime. Great in a television show, not what I want at the table. I like my games high powered but gritty in that combat is bloody and extremely graphic, evil people do really messed up things (innocents, including children, get killed or maimed with some frequency), and allies often die. My tone here is that of a world where humans (my world considers elves, orcs, halflings, and the like to be human) have killed the gods, and their spellcasters now wield that divine power themselves (which is how the world got to Pathfinder level magic, which is a fairly new thing in this setting).

This is good in that it has fueled the growth of a high tech world with little poverty and great standards of living, but on the other hand humans don't always use divine power responsibly. In come the PCs, who's job it is to hunt down those who abuse magic in ways that threaten lives. Also, the release of so much divine power into the world has driven the number of monsters through the roof, and the PCs are also tasked with handling monsters who pose a threat. There is also the one god the humans didn't manage to kill, who has gone crazy and is slowly corrupting weak willed humans, created evil cults that cause all sorts of trouble (he dares not manifest in the human world, because they will kill him like they killed the others). The scariest part is that these cults can infest anywhere, including the nicest neighborhoods around. So, life is good, and people like the PCs face down some of the worst horrors that can be imagined in order to keep it so. The quote "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." explains the general idea of the game pretty well.

Orthos wrote:
What's the main method of communication, especially long-range? Have telegraphs/telephones been invented yet - that mirror trick you mentioned, is it available even to non-casters? Or are some/most people still relying on hand-delivered mail (Pony Express type stuff) and messenger birds? Or is it irrelevant due to the easily and cheaply available magical communication that even a mundane person can use? (Though I imagine you still have your Pony Express type transport regardless, for things that aren't just communication/letters/information - shipping packages and the like).

The mirrors are available to pretty much anyone, and it's had a profound effect on society in the same way that easy internet access and mobile phones have profoundly changed modern society.

The one problem is that the devices rely on magical towers, and those towers are built where the people are. Once you get out into the boonies where there aren't any towers nearby, or if the towers are blocked by terrain or magic, you start to lose access to the information network they tap into.

Sea travel. Are most ships still reliant on wind power, or have steamships (or fire-powered ships, as you mentioned alchemist fire-fueled trains) entered the field? Are most ships still wooden, or have metal ships begun to be made on a large scale? Are there submarines - even primitive ones?

Alchemist fire fueled ships are the most common, usually in paddle wheel configuration. Metal clad wood is the norm for hulls. We do have submarines, but it's a new technology and they have many dangers and limitations.

On that note, what of air travel? Primitive planes? More advanced ones? Airships? Or is flying still left to winged races, mages, and people who can afford wings of flying and similar magic items?

Flying is difficult. Alchemist's fire engines use fuel too rapidly to work for airplanes, and coal isn't powerful enough. There are airships, which work by sucking the air out of the balloon to leave behind a vacuum, which has enough lifting capacity to compensate for the large quantity of alchemist's fire needed. These are used for passenger transit (ships are used about as they are IRL). Drake riders are used as cavalry all the time.

One of the things that's most telling about FFVI's setting is the ubiquitousness of clocks. Ever notice how there's a clock - either a big grandfather clock, or a little foot-high desk/table/shelf clock - in nearly every building in FFVI? And how if you go back to games like IV and V which are set in more "medieval" settings, there's no clocks anywhere? I'm not necessarily saying fill up your world with Elixir-filled clocks like you're starting a bad game of Oregon Trail, but perhaps might want to look at Wikipedia and TVTropes for some examples of what those eras were like. TVTropes actually has a bit of a convenient list on those pages for common fashion and everyday sights you'd see wandering around an average city in a world set in those eras.

I'm actually not a Final Fantasy fan. Never really did anything for me.

Hope that's a start at least =) I'll be watching this thread, as I've said in many other places recently this is my preferred setting era as well, and am in the process of revamping my own homebrew world in preparation for my next campaign, set deep in the Age of Steam.


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I've been thinking about my setting, and I think I need a better technology level. I've noticed a common anime/JRPG tech level trope, where medieval weapons are mostly the go-to (armor to a somewhat lesser extent), and many things about the world feel medieval, but at the same time there is a lot of modernity to the world (trains, homes and shops that look like something out of a modern US city, very modern looking clothing). A good example of what I'm on about is the anime Fairy Tale. I've seen it in some JRPGs, too. I also like the feel of Eberron. I enjoy many aspects of this tech level, and I want to crib heavily for my setting. Some decisions I've made:

Mass production is a thing. Most of the clothing people wear came out of a factory and was bought in a shop. The same applies to household and recreational goods. T-shirts and jeans (and my favorite, plaid flannel shirts) are pretty common, but the fashion industry is in major swing, and almost everybody can afford to spend on it. A modernish service economy is in unprecedented boom, and agriculture employs very few people. Canning and freezing have been mastered, and food can easily and cheaply be transported worldwide. In most countries, between 70% and 90% of the population is urban, though there are outliers. Poverty is low and the standard of living high. With a crystalline mirror and some magical tinkering, you can create something kinda like a cross between a smartphone and a tablet, and these are gigantically popular. Like, "everybody wants one, and almost everybody can afford one, so it's revolutionizing society" popular.

Magic is prevalent, though only since the Gods were killed (about a century ago). There were spirit casters like Witches, Druids, or Shamans before the Gods died, but they were low in number. These casters still exist, but now Alchemists, Wizards, Arcanists, Magi, and the like also exist. There is no Arcane-Divine magic divide, since God magic and Spirit magic aren't all that different in practice, just in source. Once that divine power entered human hands, the current Golden Age began. This divine power people wields is very dangerous when abused, however. Every government has monster hunters (the Player Characters, basically), who are also tasked with dealing with abuses of this power.

All the weapons of Pathfinder are common. Gunpower is alchemical in origin, will go off when wet, and doesn't cause much fouling or corrosion. Firearms are still a pretty new invention and are slow to reload and gives away a shooters position with a bang and colored smoke, however, and elite warriors like the PCs are way stronger than normal people and can draw bows most couldn't, so archers haven't disappeared yet, but they tend to be seen in elite units (especially since archery takes years to learn, meaning most archers were sporting archers in school [governments tend to encourage that]). The average soldier has a melee weapon or a musket, though many second line and reserve units still issue crossbows. Light and medium armor are used, and a lot of skilled warriors aren't armored at all, but plate armor isn't much of a thing.

I like environmental friendliness, so electricity generated from wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal power is used. Coal was used, but it turns out alchemist's fire is actually a powerful and cheap way to drive a steam engine, so coal isn't seen much. Trains are ubiquitous, but not cars. We don't yet have alchemist's fire engines quite small enough for them (alchemist's fire is cheap and available in massive quantities, but engines burn though it at a massive rate, so miniaturization is a gigantic pain), and electric cars don't have much range do to poor batteries. Currently, almost nobody, even the rich, buys cars, because they just can't go far at all and streets aren't designed to accommodate them. Cable cars are as ubiquitous as trains, and dominate urban transit along with bicycles and, to a declining degree, the horse. Horse transportation is still a big thing in rural areas, the military, and law enforcement. You could use a thunderhorse (kinda like a horse golem), but those are pretty hard to create, so only a few people have them.

Children are required to attend school, and as a general rule if you want to go to university you can. Pretty much everyone is literate, and finding out somebody is illiterate would be a shock, prompting wonders of how somebody can function in society at all.

That's what I have so far. Can you guys ask me questions about the tech level to help me hash out more details? Give opinions?

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