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RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32. Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber. Organized Play Member. 120 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Organized Play character.


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RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Onishi wrote:

I'm pretty sure wine works in OSX also since it is unix based.

Under OSX you have to use Darwine. Programs that work under wine don't necessarily work under Darwine.

Onishi wrote:

Most games work in WINE as long as you do not slap in some worthless crap like game guard on top of it.

I wouldn't go so far as to say "most," and even many of the ones that do work, don't work perfectly. My gaming time is limited, so I have to be picky about which games I buy. I apply a lot of different criteria, so "native Linux executables" is far from the only factor I consider, but it's a big one. For me to go to the trouble of running a game under wine, it has to be something I really want to play, whereas I might buy a game that seems only moderately interesting if it has a native Linux version. In one case, there was a game I wanted to play so badly that, when it wouldn't run properly under wine, I set up Windows XP on VirtualBox just so I could play it: Arcanum (I'm a huge sucker for steampunk).

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Ryan Dancey wrote:
...the primary drivers of the experience are other players and their interactions...This is not going to be a game where the objective is to gear up the "perfect" party to solve a theme park puzzle - you'll have specialized characters aplenty, but no "best" option for being an adventurer...

That is more or less exactly what I was hoping to hear. Thank you very much.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

superfly2000 wrote:
Torquar wrote:
High end graphics cards alone are $500+.
Not really. I have Nvidia 550i which is a cheaper "bulk" kind of graphics card for a lot cheaper than that.


He said "high end" graphics cards are $500+, and you responded by saying, "No they're not, I got a mid-range card for much less." In no way does that refute his statement.

You are correct that second- and third-tier hardware costs significantly less and is almost as good. However, for some gamers the extra power of cutting-edge power is worth it. You don't need it to play, but it makes an appreciable difference. I used to maintain a tricked-out top-of-the-line gaming rig, and no single part stayed in it for more than a year before getting replaced. Over time I spent less and less time playing games, and it no longer made sense to spend that kind of money on hardware, so I stepped down to second- and third-tier hardware. It was at that point that I also stopped building my own systems because I realized it actually costs more to build your own than to buy a pre-built if you're not maintaining a bleeding-edge gaming rig.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

superfly2000 wrote:

Mookay...take any other game then...

DDO, LOTRO, the upcoming GW2...

I really don't care whether or not those other games are as casual-friendly as you seem to believe (I doubt if they are). I want PFO to be an experience I can enjoy.

superfly2000 wrote:
To me it feels like everything is casual theese days...

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

When I say "casual," I don't mean "not a serious role-player," I mean, "someone who cannot dedicate significant time to the game on a predictable schedule."

superfly2000 wrote:

By the way...you mean that all the 12 million subscribers on WoW are hardcore gamers? ...as they otherwise would miss out on the MAYOR part of the game right?

A lot of them are not hardcore gamers, and they do miss out on major elements of the game. Many of them don't care, but a lot of them are bothered by it.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

superfly2000 wrote:

Pretty much ANY new game today can accomodate that.

When quoting me, you cut off the very important second part of that sentence: a place where my character would go to socialize, and where I can role-play in character, not a meat-market where people look for random strangers of particular character classes so they can fill out all rolls needed to take on some dungeon.

superfly2000 wrote:

World of Warcraft owes a great deal of its success for being so easy for the casual and single-player gamers.

Its more like an SP game where there just happends to be many others online.

Clearly you and I are talking about two very different games called "World of Warcraft." Sure, casual and SP players can enjoy some aspects of the game, but significant parts of the experience are only possible with large, well-balanced, well-organized groups. That is exactly what I was talking about when I said that all aspects of PFO should be accessible to casual players as well as hard-core gamers.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Torquar wrote:
A fair number of gamers in the $1k+ section of the market will likely build their own pc's, so won't show up in any pc sales figures. High end graphics cards alone are $500+. Sales figures for GTX 580/590's and AMD 6970/6990's might give an idea about the size of this demographic. Not sure where you can find those figures though.

That's a very good point, although sales figures for high-end video cards would be hard to compare to sales of home computers if your goal is to get a measure of the total number of potential customers out there: an average gamer probably only buys a new computer every few years, while the kind of power-gamer who builds his own systems probably upgrades his video card at least once a year, so a given number of power-gamers will manifest in market numbers as many more sales than the same number of average gamers.

Market research is hard because of exactly this kind of issue: the number you want to measure (number of potential customers using each kind of system) is impossible to measure directly, so you have to measure by proxy, but the relationship between the proxies (systems sold, etc.) and the number you want (actual customers) is often very hard to figure out. I think that the Humble Bundle numbers are by far the most compelling numbers posted here thus far, because they deal with actual sales of games, broken down by platform. Those numbers would indicate that if your game is Windows-only, you're giving up at least a third of your potential market, and quite possibly the most loyal and helpful customers.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Mark Kalmes wrote:
We want the world to be alive, and you may need to pay attention to the other players around you and how they are shaping the world.

Although I am certain that there are plenty of people who prefer solo play, and I think they should be supported, that's not what I was really getting at. It's an RPG, so of course I want to interact with all of the other people in the "world." I just don't want to be forced to have a perfectly balanced group of a certain size just to be able to get anything done. Nor do I want it to be necessary to play daily just to keep up with "current events." I want to be able to pop online at arbitrary times and still be able to enjoy myself. In my book, that includes a lot of in-character interaction with other players.

In most other MMOs, getting anything done generally does require a well-balanced party of a certain size. Players have two choices on how to make that happen. One way is to form a guild and set regular times for everyone to log in and adventure together. For casual players, that's not possible, so instead you get this situation where people congregate in meat-markets to form impromptu adventuring parties, a process which is generally completely out of character because people are mostly concerned about getting the right mix of classes in their parties: "We need a rouge [sic]!"

What I'm looking for is this: as a casual gamer, when I have time to play I log in and go to some public hang out (tavern, guild-hall, a place where my character would spend his leisure time socializing), possibly associated with some sort of faction I'm a member of (not a players' guild, but an in-story faction). There, I interact with other characters in character. If I'm lucky, I run into some people I've befriended previously and we decide to go follow some new adventure hook together, forming a party because we like each other, not because we represent a correct cross-section of classes. If I don't meet anyone I know, I role-play in hopes of making new in-story friends to adventure with in the future, or if I'm really itching to go adventure now, I set out for some solo play.

The key to this whole scenario I described is that if I happen to be a Cavalier, and I run into my Fighter buddy and my Ranger buddy at the tavern, but none of my Rogue or Wizard or Cleric buddies happen to be online right then, we can still go out and adventure together successfully even though all three of us have very similar classes.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

superfly2000 wrote:

I regard the mobile games platforms as some form of uber console-like and uber casual platform.

This might be true initially, but is already changing.

superfly2000 wrote:

I mean this is meant for people playing when commuting by trams or somtehing.

A lot of people thought that, but they're actually seeing significant use in the home. I have several friends who own iPads, and it's almost all they use around the house anymore. They only sit down at a more traditional computer when they have extensive typing to do (e.g. a long email).

superfly2000 wrote:
If you're looking to make a groundbreaking in-depth fantasy experience you need to look at PC and windows.

Nobody here is arguing that they shouldn't support Windows, only that they should also support other platforms. The original Neverwinter Nights from Bioware was "a groundbreaking in-depth fantasy experience," and it was available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, all from day one. (Maybe the Mac support was delayed a little, but I remember buying it a day or two after release, taking it home, and playing it immediately on my Linux box.)

superfly2000 wrote:
...we all know where the best looking games can be made theese days...

Any game designed with proper cross-platform support will look just as good on a Mac or on Linux as it will on Windows. In fact, since an average Mac has much better hardware specs than an average PC (and a much less bloated OS), a cross-platform game has the potential to generally look better on Macs than it does on PCs.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

jemstone wrote:
Using these numbers, you get the range of 5 to 10 percent of computer users using Mac OS. This is completely factual for the subset of users being polled.

The Mac OS market share numbers I've seen (~10%) aren't based on polling, they're based on sales, but I would actually think that scientifically-conducted polling would provide a more accurate picture of which OSes people are actually using.

jemstone wrote:
Of our 6+ million users across 20 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Japan, and Hong Kong, approximately 40% were using Macs. Approximately 50% were using Windows. The remaining 10% were various flavors of Unix, a few dozen OS/2 Warp...

This is interesting, and I think it jives with what I said about people with more disposable income buying Macs: if ~90% of home computers sold are PCs, but only ~50% of home computers on the internet are PCs, that means that a whole lot of people who buy PCs can't afford an internet connection (or at least don't choose it as a budget priority).

Again, however, the last point I was trying to make in my previous post is that "computer users" != "computer gamers." Of your 6+ million users at that ISP, I'd be willing to bet that the overwhelming majority did not play MMOs, or AAA games in general. To figure that out, we'd need to see serious market research. Unfortunately, serious market research usually costs $$$. However, this is very telling:

Jewelfox wrote:

I think maybe the most revealing stats are the ones used by the Humble Indie Bundle and Wolfire Games. They get like two-thirds of their revenue (roughly) from Windows, and one-third split more or less evenly between Mac and Linux users.

They've found added benefits from supporting Linux, too: Since it's such a small community, it's easier to make waves and get Slashdotted (or the 2011 equivalent) for writing a Linux game. And the kind of players they get on Linux are not only more loyal and more willing to pay for stuff (like Mac owners), they're also more likely to send extremely detailed and helpful bug reports.

I can say that, as Linux user, I tend to be pretty loyal to any developers who release native Linux versions of their games. A big driver behind this is that so few developers choose to do so. I wonder if that same level of extreme loyalty would remain if Linux games weren't so rare...but I somehow doubt if we'll ever find out. Bioware really cashed in on this with the Linux-based community that produced so many great modules for NWN, and I'm sure that Paizo could benefit in a similar way from providing a Linux client for PFO.

Jewelfox wrote:
Windows is in decline, and the Humble Bundle people are ahead of the curve with cross-platform support. I strongly suggest Paizo take cues from them. (Heck, Android and iPad support might be where to aim in the long long run.)

You make a very good point about Android and iOS support. iPads and their Androids equivalents are already starting to displace PCs for many home applications, and I think that trend is only going to accelerate. As I mentioned earlier, Mac has the "premium home computer" market cornered, leaving Windows with the (very large but very low-margin) lower end of the home computer market. That portion of the market is going to be rapidly disrupted by even cheaper devices like Android pads and Chromebooks.

I still think that the hard-core gamers are going to stick with Windows PCs for a considerable length of time, but that will eventually change as the rest of the Windows market erodes around them. Plus, a whole new generation of gamers is going to grow up on iPads and Android tablets, and they may not like the desktop gaming experience nearly as much.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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I really hope that PFO offers a much better experience for casual gamers than most MMOs. From what I've seen of most MMOs, there are significant portions of the game experience which are only really accessible to well-organized groups. Being that well organized is generally not possible for people who just like to log on for an hour or two at a time, two or three times a week, at varying times that can't be set in stone in advance. I know, because that's exactly my play style. Will players like me be able to engage in the full PFO experience, or will a regular party/guild be needed to undertake some activities?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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Saint Caleth wrote:
These PvP "battlefront" areas would only be a small minority of the total map area but they could be moved over time by the actions of players, allowing for the eventual sacking of rival cities and towns.

An interesting side-effect of doing this would be that towns would behave somewhat realistically in the face of an impending invasion: many people would flee. In almost every MMO there are people who prefer to never engage in PvP, and who therefore completely avoid areas where PvP is allowed. Presumably such people would take up residence in places that are far from any PvP, but if PvP areas move, a bunch of non-PvP players could suddenly find themselves faced with a choice: abandon their homes and flee, or take up arms and join PvP in an attempt to save their town. This is the exact same choice faced by many real people throughout history, such as peasants in the path of the Mongol hordes.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

jemstone wrote:
...potential for other *nix platforms as well.

I can only hope...

jemstone wrote:
There are a ton of "professionals" that will give you Very Good Reasons why you don't want to do cross platform support out of the gate. These people are not paying attention to actual user numbers, and live in 1987. Do not listen to them.

As a long-time Linux user, I'd like to second you here--because I would like nothing more than to see a Linux version of PFO--but I'm not entirely sure the numbers support you. On the one hand, Mac has been hovering at around ~10% market share for the past several years. On the other hand, among the subset of home computers priced at $1,000 or more, they have ~90% market share. What that tells me is that the overwhelming majority of people with significant disposable income buy Macs. If you're trying to sell a non-essential item, targeting people with significant disposable income is generally a pretty goo strategy. That being said, hard-core computer gamers still overwhelmingly favor PCs (I would guess that the ~10% of $1,000+ home computers that are PCs, are overwhelmingly gaming rigs).

Bottom line is: I'm skeptical as to how much the market numbers have moved since the late '80s. I would very much like to see some actual numbers. Do you happen to have any handy?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Neil Spicer wrote:
There are ways to work around some of these issues. You just have to be diligent in exploring other rules to see what you can string together that provides a logical answer to your self-imposed puzzle. And, after you do all that and if there's still not a good explanation, maybe you should think about discarding that idea until an opportunity comes up to create a new spell or a new feat that will help you explain that type of wondrous item effect? Unfortunately, for RPG Superstar, you're constrained to using the existing rules, rather than creating entirely new ones to prop up your design. Once you make it into the world of freelancing, though, new doors become available to you.

Thank you. While I accept this policy and understand the (very good reasons) behind it, I still can't help but feel that it pushes everything in the direction of SIAC. Then again, people are obviously able to overcome that influence, so I guess one could view it as just another design challenge to help stratify the contestants.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32




Vic Wertz wrote:

Okay, let's say that there is a place for this kind of concept...What spells do you use to construct it?
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

* You can't control flies with dominate animal (they're vermin), so that's a confusing reference.

These two quotes have raised a more general question for me: what do you do when you come up with an idea for a wondrous item, but there are no spells (or combination of spells) which do what your item does? I had thought that the answer was: "Find spells that fit reasonably well, then bend them to fit your purposes." But if your chosen spells have to fit exactly, I see that as being terribly limiting on creativity and more or less asking for SIAC. Or maybe you're allowed to bend spells in some ways, but not others; or perhaps its a matter of how much you bend them. Could we get some guidance on this?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Nicolas Quimby wrote:
darth_borehd wrote:

* this is a plot device
I'm not certain what that means.
Me either actually; it looks like a lot of items are being bashed for reasons which sound to me like praise.

A wondrous item is a tool for players. A plot device is a tool for GMs. Plot devices have a more profound influence on the story/world, so it's very important that they be under the control of the GM, not readily available to any PC who can come up with the necessary materials and spells to construct one.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
(Feedback on Crystal Fly)

Thanks very much! This was very valuable to me because, while I knew that this item had some potential for ambiguity, the things you found ambiguous were not the things I expected. Good to know for future years.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Nicolas Quimby wrote:

...If not then I'm just confused...

Yes, which is what I was afraid of. This is an awful lot to cram into 300 words (you should have seen it when it was 200!). Thank you very much for your response. There is no "missing text" in there. To clear things up for you, here's a play-by-play of how it works:

  • You have a small lump of crystal that's shaped like a fly.
  • You squeeze it in your hand while mentally focusing on the length of time you want it to be active. You could choose a day...or an hour...or one minute...or anything in-between. Note that you're not memorizing anything here, you're chosing (I knew that this was the most awkward sentence in the whole thing, but couldn't figure out a clearer way of saying it without blowing the word limit).
  • It turns into a "real" fly.
  • You get to control it for one minute in order to choose a good place for it to hang out and spy on people (like the figure of speech, "I'd love to be a fly on the wall in that room). Maybe a wall in a room...or inside somebody's backpack...wherever. When this minute is up, you no longer have any control over the fly, ever again. Never.
  • The fly stays put for the period of time you chose in the earlier step. Sure, if somebody tries to swat it, it responds like a real fly...but then it goes right back where you told it to stay.
  • When it's time is up, the fly dies. Then it zaps back into your hand (or not, depending on circumstances).
  • You (or a friend) swallow the fly and learn everything that happened around it while it was hanging out for a day...or an hour...or one minute.

It never goes dormant. I'm really not sure where you got that from. It works for a set amount of time (one day max), then dies. During the time it's "alive," it has no magical aura because otherwise people might say, "Hmmm...that's odd. That fly in your backpack is giving off some serious sparks, dude. Maybe we ought to look into that."

Nicolas Quimby wrote:

Also, you say that you have to swallow the fly to gain the information. That COULD be interesting; unfortunately, you go to such lengths (and use so many words) making it impossible to prevent its return that swallowing it isn't much of a challenge. You might as well just have the information transfer remotely. I think this needs a lot more polish.
This is actually very important in a lot of ways. First, the swallowing requirement means that anybody can use the fly. One person can send it out, then give it to somebody else to swallow. Second, in case there was any doubt, the swallowing part makes perfectly clear that it's a one-use item. Most importantly, it's meant as a balancing device because this fly basically amounts to a form of scrying that can't be detected or blocked by the spells normally used for that purpose. It is actually very possible to prevent its return, just by other means. Consider this scenario:
hypothetical wrote:

The PCs get a fly into the BBEG's lair by having it land on some supplies destined for his inner sanctum (magical components or somesuch). It spends the better part of a day collecting all sorts of great information for the PCs. Then it curls up dead and teleports...to the nearest wall, where it is stopped cold by the magical barrier that the duly paranoid BBEG always keeps in place. He immediately notices the big-time aura coming from the dead fly in the corner. A simple Knowledge check is all it takes for him to realize what the fly really is. He swallows it, and since the memories start at the moment the fly activates, he now knows exactly who was trying to spy on him, and where they were a day ago.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

I built this for last year's first round, but decided not to submit it because I was too busy at the time to follow through with the full competition if I had made it. This year I pulled it out, dusted it off, added 100 words or so, and posted. I didn't notice the rule against "ALL CAPS" until I was reading the round two rules. Total face-palm!

Aura strong divination; CL 13th
Slot — ; Price 5,000 gp; Weight

This tiny piece of perfectly transparent crystal is carved roughly into the shape of a fly. It can be activated as a free action by clenching it tightly in a fist and thinking of a span of time of up to one full day; when released, the crystal transforms into a real fly. For one minute after activation, the activator is able to control the fly as by the spell dominate animal. At the end of this minute the fly must land on an adjacent surface or object where it will stay for the period of time chosen at activation, after which it curls up dead. During this time, the fly has no magical aura and appears completely normal even under magical observation; the dead fly regains its strong aura of divination. The activated fly has darkvision 60 ft, uses the activator's Perception skill bonus, has AC 23 (+8 size, +5 Dex), has 1 HP, flies with speed 60 (good), and is unable to make attacks. If attacked or otherwise disturbed, it will buzz around for one round before returning to its place. When the fly dies or is killed, it teleports instantly back into its activator's hand. If prevented from teleporting to its activator, it will teleport as close as possible and the activator will instantly know the fly's location. Any intelligent creature who swallows the dead fly instantly gains complete memories of everything which happened within sight or hearing of the fly while it was "alive," as well as perfect knowledge of where it was located at each point in time.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, dominate animal, find the path, greater scrying, word of recall ; Cost 2,500 gp

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

On the off chance that anybody is still watching this thread, I figured I'd link to some news that I think some people would find interesting:

Avalon Games is about to release a Pathfinder-compatible sci-fi game titled Infinite Futures.

A lot of people on this thread (and the original P20 Modern thread) expressed a desire for the P20 Modern project to cover sci-fi as well as modern. Well, P20 Modern may be on hold, but at least now there will be a sci-fi system available. P20 Modern has now essentially been bracketed: Pathfinder in the "past" and Infinite Futures in the "future," with P20 Modern in-between.

A free preview is currently available for download at RPGnow.
I just finished reading through it, and all I can say is that I hope that a whole lot of editing happens before the final release: spelling errors abounded, I saw more sentences with improper grammar than not (mixed tense and mixed plural/singular were especially common), and many of the sentences with correct grammar were nonetheless difficult to parse because of awkwardly phrased prose. On the plus side, the artwork was very impressive and the layout looked professional. There simply wasn't enough content in the preview to be able to tell how well designed and balanced the rules are, but I'm holding out hope. I can put up with bad writing as long as the underlying mechanics work right. I'll most likely end up buying this when it first comes out, because that will be the only way to know for sure.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

LV wrote:

Here's a thought, and maybe it's been considered before, but I'm new to the discussion of P20.

What if Golarion were to experience a major technological advance? The folks at SGG could develop weekly materials for use with the existing Pathfinder RPG that advanced the timeline of Golarion (and tech level) a couple thousand years. These supplements would gradually introduce d20 modern elements into the existing corpus of Pathfinder materials and allow for creative, gradual playtesting of certain conversion concepts, while, at the same time, building excitement (and hopefully revenue) for the P20 project.

I can envision a line of companion-like supplements, perhaps even an adventure path of world-sweeping proportions, that changed the sociological and perhaps even cosmological face of Golarion.

Naturally, such an effort would have to be done in collaboration with Paizo since it would involve use of their copyrighted sandbox. Perhaps there's too much legalistic red tape in this regard, but, then again, perhaps not.

ps. I'm also down for buying whatever gets created in this direction.

I've been pondering this for a few days and I think you're actually on to something here. As others have pointed out, there are some potential IP problems with advancing Golarion along a timeline. Also, I think that advancing any particular setting along an accelerated historical timeline is probably not the best way to reach the desired goal.

However, the general idea of incremental development has a lot of promise.

I thought about the classes in d20 Star Wars, and it occurred to me that most of the core classes (Jedi being a notable exception) would work pretty darn well if you dropped them into a modern setting with only minor tweaking. Furthermore, some of the classes are almost identical to D&D counterparts: the biggest difference between the RCR Soldier and the 3.5 Fighter are the starting weapon proficiencies. Likewise, the RCR Scoundrel is very much like the Rogue. It would only take some very minimal modification to use PFRPG to play in modern settings: a few additional skills and feats, new uses for several existing skills, new weapons and equipment, and tweaks to make some of the core classes to fit the new skills, feats, weapons, and equipment (to start with: Fighter, Rogue, and two to four others). It should be possible to have a relatively small supplement that makes PFRPG playable in modern settings, albeit in a rather limited fashion.

Subsequent supplements could flesh out the system further: SGG already has a history of adding new core classes to PFRPG, so why not make some of them appropriate to a modern setting? As I already discussed, some core classes will transcend time-periods or genres with just minor tweaking. Other core classes will probably remain suitable to only a limited range of time periods or genres. Every new core class could come with a list of options for different time periods or genres: "use as-is," "use with the following modifications," or "not recommended for use in this time period/genre."

Other supplements could add more monsters/adversaries, or more weapons and equipment. Piece-by-piece, one weekly pdf at a time, it would be possible to expand PFRPG to include a wide variety of time periods and genres.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Thank you very much! That was pretty much exactly what I was asking for. As I suspected, you all have a lot on your plate, and projects that pay the bills necessarily take precedence over projects that might make some money someday, maybe. I'm intrigued by your mention of proposals from others, and I look forward to hearing more when the time comes. In the meanwhile, I will keep myself busy by forming wild and unsubstantiated speculations about those proposals.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Urizen wrote:
*clears throat* AHEM!

I think Urizen tried to be a little too subtle, so I'll go for blunt:

Please keep posting updates here. I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only one obsessively checking this thread on a daily basis, and a little bit more from the Super Geniuses would go a long way towards keeping the obsessive fans calm. Even if your updates are nothing more than a "heartbeat" (e.g. "We're still here, we're still working on it, we'll try to have more details for you next week"), I think it would be greatly appreciated by all. We all understand that you are very busy; we all are confident that you are working on this to the best of your abilities; we all know that as soon as you have a plan, you will post it immediately. However, despite all of that, it's still hard to sit around in the dark waiting.

A little bit more insight into the process is all I'm asking for. I'm sure there are some very good reasons why your new plan for moving forward isn't ready for public release: I, for one, would like to know a little bit about those reasons and a possible timeline for resolving them. I'm not asking for detailed minutes of your meetings on the subject, just a very general summary (even if it has to be extremely vague) and a best guesstimate as to how long the remaining issues will take to resolve.

A lot of us pledged money because we wanted to feel involved. Right now we don't. Even though low-content updates might sound silly and not especially useful, they will help us to feel more involved. Well, me at least, but I'd be willing to bet that others feel the same way.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Stan! wrote:

I just started a new thread which begins with an overview of where the P20 Modern project is. I thought about posting it here, but this thread has gotten so long and unwieldy that it's hard for new people to get into. Still, I thought that I should let the folks who HAVE been following this thread know that the conversation is (hopefully) continuing somewhere else.

I suggest we continue this conversation over on thread with the P20 Modern Project update ... but that's just me.

The URL for the new thread changed for some reason.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

fray wrote:

Also, I think the project needs more advertising.

Anyway to get the news of the project to the game shops?
We are already a niche hobby/society and there are so many places to find gamers on the internet. Need to get them all.

Try to get the project on some of the gaming podcasts too. And on the gamer blogs.

Agreed. I think it would have helped a lot to have had flyers ready to go as soon as the kickstarter project launched: supporters could have put them up in gaming stores all over the place and probably brought in a lot of people who would otherwise never have known about the project.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

One other thing I'll say:

I want to see this project to succeed so badly that I would put up the same amount of money, with no guarantee of ever seeing a finished product: just the promise that SGG will do their best to use that money to build something that might help to garner further funding for a full-fledged book.

Asking people to put up money in this way is asking an awful lot, so I'm sure that most of the other contributors wouldn't be willing to do this, but there might be enough to make something happen.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

I'm hoping that there is some way to bootstrap this: a scaled-down project that can be leveraged to fund the final full-scale product.

I would personally be willing to contribute at a high level to such a product, with the knowledge that it will serve as a seed for a more ambitious follow-on patronage project.

One thing I noticed about the funding for this project: a very small number of very high-dollar backers made the bulk of the contributions:
18 x $250 = $4,500 (that's half!)
5 x $150 = $750
8 x $100 = $800
53 x $50 = $2650 (less than a third came from $50 donors)
(These numbers don't quite add up because some people pledged a little extra, e.g. $175 instead of $150.)

What I'm trying to illustrate here, is that the contributions were very top-heavy. What these numbers show is is that enthusiasm for this project was very much all-or-nothing: people who were extremely enthusiastic gave as much as they could (whether it was $250 or $50), but people with moderate interest gave nothing.

A $50 contribution is very comparable to a pre-order: it's roughly the price of the final product, and participation as a patron is limited when compared to higher dollar-levels. I think that's why we saw a lot of people say something to the effect of "I want it, but I'm not going to pay to pre-order it." The problem is, to make a project like this successful, you need those moderately interested $50 contributors. That's where the bulk of the money has to come from, because there aren't enough people out there who can afford to pledge $150 or more.

What we need, then, is a way to move people from "I want it, but not enough to pay up-front" to "I want it, and I'm willing to pay up-front for it.

Fortunately, we have a tool we can use to get there: the extremely dedicated fans who already pledged. They've demonstrated that they really want to see this thing get off the ground.

Here's what I suggest: a new round of funding, with a $10,000 target, for a B&W core rulebook with no illustrations, no (or bare-bones) sample setting, minimal example characters (things like iconics and prestige-class examples, but no catalog of NPCs). In short: nothing but the bare rules. When the book is complete, all patrons get hard-copies and pdfs go on sale. Nobody else gets hard copies. The pdfs are the funding mechanism for the next step, and serve as a form of pseudo-patronage: they sell for about $50, with all profits going towards development of the full-fledged $70,000 book with color illustrations and all the other good stuff. When the final book comes out, anybody who bought the B&W pdf or supported the original patronage funding gets a free copy of the book in the mail. You could also add a second round of patronage funding, so people who didn't get in on the ground floor can at least participate in deciding things like sample settings, NPCs, and artwork. That also gives you two revenue streams: people buying the "pdf-plus-final book pre order" and people paying straight into the project to help it get to the next step.

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Kolokotroni wrote:

But the talents can all be taken individually, they are split in multiple books, and in many cases they do very different things. As of rebelion era there were like 60 something jedi talents. To fill a maximum of 10 talent spots (but in reality it is fewer since you were bound to go into a prestige class). Do i really need to point out how many friggan permutations 60 into 10 is?

I think you're missing my point entirely here. You are correct that there are a mind-boggling number of possible talent combinations. It's not quite 60 permuted into 10, because of the prerequisites, but that's also beside the point. The point is that you don't have to consider all of the possible permutations. You don't have to sift through every possible talent in every possible book and find the optimum combination for the very exact character concept you have in mind. (Well, technically speaking, if you are a powergaming min-maxer with OCD, then you literally do have to do that, but that doesn't apply to most people). If you're talking about someone who either doesn't know or doesn't care about building the "perfect" character (i.e., someone who cares more about playing a role and having fun than he does about rules minutiae), then the number of combinations doesn't really matter. You are correct that the talents can be taken individually, that they don't have to be taken as entire trees, but those trees exist for a reason: they serve as a form of guidance for "normal" gamers who don't want to deal with the hassle of sifting through a zillion choices. Those people can decide on their character concepts, pick classes that fit reasonably well, choose a few talent trees that best fit their concepts, and then stick with those choices all the way through 20th level. They will probably have more fun than Mr. OCD powergamer.

A few examples:

Jedi Negotiator wrote:

I want to play a Jedi who resolves conflicts nonviolently whenever possible, but who can kick serious butt when violence does ensue.

Well, the Jedi class is the obvious choice for me. Let's look at the talent trees: The Jedi Consular tree is right up my ally with all of the negotiation skills, and the Lightsaber Combat tree will let my character kick butt when required. Hmm, that adds up to ten talents, which is enough to take me all the way to 20th level. All I have do do now is decide which order to take them in, and I think I'll work that out as I level up each time.

Optimal? Hell, no! Good enough to play and have fun? Absolutely. Easy? As easy as it gets!

Here's another one:

Computer Slicer/Gambler wrote:

I want to play a master computer slicer who travels the galaxy under-cover as a high-stakes gambler.

Scoundrel is clearly the class to use for this character. What talents are available? Well, the slicer tree is a no-brainer, and the Fortune tree looks like it will fill out my character's gambling capabilities. That totals eight talents, so I'll eventually need to pick two more if I go to 17th level or beyond. If it comes to that, I'll just pick a couple from the Misfortune tree.

See how simple this is? It's not perfect, but it sure is good enough!

One last one:

Back-alley Brawler wrote:

I want a character who grew up in a tough neighborhood. He became a first-rate street-fighter who can take a lot of punishment, but also learned that teamwork and smarts are the best way to win a fight.

This character is all about fighting, so Soldier looks like the right class. How about talents? The brawler tree is a perfect match for his street-fighting background, and the commando tree looks very teamwork- and tactics-oriented, so I'll use those two. There are twelve talents total in those two trees, which is two more than I'll ever be able to choose; I'll pick the talents that seem most useful as I level up, and in the end I'll wind up skipping the two that matter least to my character.

As you can see, building characters from talent trees is only as complicated as you make it. If you don't like choosing from a nearly limitless set of options, then don't! Scope down your choices to make it easy on yourself, and focus on the stuff that matters to you. You can literally think of the talent trees as "sub-classes," and then they become almost as fixed as the character features in Pathfinder. Is this how I build my characters? No! I rather enjoy sifting through a lot possibilities and taking little bits from many different classes, talent trees, and prestige classes. That's what I love about SWSE: it lets me build characters my way, but still makes it easy for people who don't want to deal with all of the complexity.

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Kolokotroni wrote:
My concern with stat based classes is that as shown in the d20 modern NPC's, it requires alot of multiclassing. Just look at the npcs for police officer, terrorist, criminal, and doctor. The are all multiclass. If you go with 6 stat based classes (or just 6 very broad base classes) you have to make multiclassing a core part of character design. This is obviously counter to some of pathfinder's design principles. Since one of p20 modern's goals is to build off of pathfinder's advances, this is something we have to seriously consider...

You've really hit the nail on the head here: one of the great things about Pathfinder is that you really can take a character all the way to 20th level in a single class, and have that character be very effective. I love multiclassing, and my characters almost always turn out to be a byzantine patchwork of core- and prestige classes, but I still love this aspect of the Pathfinder base classes. The old d20 Modern system of advanced classes is mutually exclusive with the principle of having core classes that are playable through 20th level. That's why I think that P20 Modern should employ something other than stat-based core classes. I still like my idea based on different approaches to problem solving, but I really just threw that out there as one possible idea: my main desire is for a better idea, whether it be mine or someone else's.

Kolokotroni wrote:
...If the class is all talents and feats (like say saga edition) you get no direction from the class as to where to take your character. Just look at 'jedi' from saga edition. This could mean literally thousand of talent/feat combinations. It can be overwhelming to anyone not particularly fond or skilled at building a character...

However, I totally disagree with you on this point. The talent trees in SWSE are a form of direction as to where to take your character: you can build a great character simply by picking one or two talent trees and just filling them out in order. If an inexperienced gamer knows that he wants to play a gambler, or a starfighter pilot, or a computer slicer, or a repair mechanic, or a street brawler, the talent trees will tell him exactly how to build that character. You still have to pick your feats, but that's true of any d20-based system. If the talents weren't organized into trees I'd say you have a point, but they aren't just a hodge-podge of bewildering choices: they are clearly categorized collections of neatly organized choices.

The beauty of the talent trees is that they work for experienced gamers as well as newbies. While the newbie can simply pick one or two trees and follow them all of the way to 20th level, an experienced gamer can pick and choose from different talent trees, or even different classes. If you want to, you can ignore those clear categories and choose from the talents as you please. It's hard to design a system that simultaneously provides guidance and flexibility, but I think that SWSE pulls it off masterfully.

I'm also surprised that you would find the SWSE classes too broad, but consider the Pathfinder classes good. I think that the Pathfinder classes offer almost as many choices as the SWSE classes. There is either a feat or a class feature to choose at pretty much every level. Even at character creation, some of the classes offer wildly divergent choices: just look at the Cleric domains, or the Sorcer bloodlines.

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Stan! wrote:

...What I'm saying is, that if the goal for the product is to make a set of RPG rules that can be applied to a wide range of campaign models and even time periods, then you need the base classes to be something that will be true across ALL of those iterations. And roles as common as soldier, medic, diplomat, etc. will need a variety of implementations for use in different games...

Stan!, I agree with you wholeheartedly that role-based classes like "Sodlier" and "Medic" won't work very well for a system that has to cover so much ground. However:

Kolokotroni wrote:
For instance to make something akin to a pathfinder rogue you had to multiclass in d20 modern. It was a fast hero/smart hero mix. And if we are going to be using pathfinder design philosophy we should try to make it possible to fit ideas and concepts with single classes.

I also agree with Kolokotroni, which is why I think that the stat-based base classes are not the way to go. There has to be a better way to accomplish your stated goal of flexiblity.

Personally, I think that a good place to start is with the question, "How does my character approach problem solving?" Here are a few examples:

  • Brute Force
  • Quick Thinking, Unconventional Thinking, & Trickery (aka, Cleverness)
  • Critical Analysis & Insightful Planning (aka, Superior Strategy)
  • Effective Team Building & Coordination (aka, Leadership; or in a darker sense, Manipulation)
  • Gut-Instinct Impulsiveness
  • Hard Work & Perseverence

Classes based on the answer to this question would be suitably flexible to allow for soldiers (or scholars, or medics) of every stripe, while still allowing roles to be based on a single class. You can probably look at each of these categories and think of a famous (real or fictional) soldier who fits (e.g. Odysseus was clever, Rommel was a supreme strategist, Jayne from Firefly used a brute force approach, etc) These problem-solving approaches are somewhat aligned with attributes, but most of them can't be shoehorned into the old attribute-based classes:

  • Brute Force : STR
  • Quick Thinking, Unconventional Thinking, & Trickery (aka, Cleverness): INT & DEX
  • Critical Analysis & Insightful Planning (aka, Superior Strategy): INT & WIS
  • Effective Team Building & Coordination (aka, Leadership; or in a darker sense, Manipulation): CHA & WIS
  • Gut-Instinct Impulsiveness: DEX & WIS (and, to be honest, lots of luck!)
  • Hard Work & Perseverence: CON & WIS

Even this list of associations is misleading, however: consider an engineer trying to solve the problem of putting a person into space. The "brute force" engineer wouldn't try to use his STR to pick the person up and throw him into space; he would use his INT to build a big huge expensive rocket, which is exactly what we have done for most astronauts so far. Now, however, some people (like Scaled Composites) are trying to find other, less-"brute force" methods to put people into space.

I think that if you use core classes based on problem-solving approaches rather than attributes, and if you build enough options into each class, you could completely eliminate the cumbersome (and not-very-Pathfinderish) Advanced Classes, sticking instead to just Core & Prestige Classes.

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I voted for Matthew McGee's From Time's Depths.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

I wasn't able to listen in real-time, but I managed to find some time today to listen to the whole show. Great stuff!

Urizen wrote:
Sex Machine the gnoll did come up in conversation, too. ;P

And since the designers are calling him "Sex Machine," that must be his name. That's the patronage system in action: several of us gave input, and the designers made a choice. ;)

JoelF847 wrote:

But "Sex Machine" is a real name - haven't you seen From Dusk Till Dawn?

Indeed...and congratulations on naming the Gnoll!

For those of you who wish to discuss Sex Machine in polite conversation, I recommend the aliases "James Brown" (who made the term famous, and who has evidently risen as undead) or "Tom Savini" (who played "Sex Machine" in "From Dusk Till Dawn")

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dm4hire wrote:
I think it should be a woman, along the lines of Lara Croft, only better looking and with a way cooler name that's reminiscent of pulp era heroines.

I'm sorry, but this really made me laugh when I read it, because of the image that popped into my mind:

A hot female gnoll (whatever that means) with unrealistically large, gravity-defying breasts, dressed in a tight white baby-doll t-shirt, short-shorts, dozens of gold chains, and--of course--a nuclear powered, robotic, flame-throwing, tinfoil-wrapped armadillo-cucumber-hybrid codpiece. She would somehow manage to balance a boombox on her shoulder while simultaneously wielding a sub-machinegun and two heavy-caliber semi-automatic pistols, all while performing complex acrobatics and keeping up a witty banter. Her name would be something like "Dejah Ravenwood" or "Marion Thoris."

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

HyrumOWC wrote:

Have you checked out Solid!: The d20 Blaxsploitation Experience?



tallforadwarf wrote:
Stan! wrote:
Link or it's not real!

Wow. Part of my brain thinks, "That is pure, 100% awesome!" and the other part of my brain thinks, "That is so wrong!" Both parts agree on one thing: "I can't believe somebody actually made that!"

I think I would love to play in a campaign like that, but I could never DM it, because the whole time in the back of my mind I would picture myself as the executive in that Sprint commercial from a few years ago:

Boss: It's my way of sticking it to the man.

Assistant: But sir, you are the man.

Boss: I know.

Assistant: So you're sticking it to yourself?

Boss: Ummm...maybe.

xorial wrote:
I still think Pooky is a great name.

It's funny, but the joke has been overdone, from "Little John" in Robin Hood, to the guy in high school who got nicknamed "screamer" because he hardly ever spoke, and was very quiet when he did.

Louis Agresta wrote:

How about Gnolldingo or Johnny Urge?

Not bad. Is there some kind of reference in "Johnny Urge," or did you just like the way it sounds?

I was thinking maybe "Harold Savage." He insists on using his full first name, and whenever anybody calls him "Harry," he flies off the handle and gets violent unless a friend restrains him.

I also like the way "Leroy Feral" sounds, but it lacks the personality quirk that comes with "Harold."

Any other suggestions?

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Louis Agresta wrote:
How about a mini?

That's actually a really good idea. It would be a BAD idea to use a gag like this for cover art, but there's a pretty long tradition of gag minis. It would be great to sell (and/or give away at conventions) as a launch promotion. Now we just need to come up with a name for him (no, not "Sex Machine," a REAL name). I'm thinking it should be something that sounds like a character from a blacksploitation flick. Once he has a name, he can be the unofficial mascot of P20 fundraising.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Louis Agresta wrote:

A nuclear-powered flaming robotic cod-piece the size of a mutant cucumber bio-spliced with an armadillo and wrapped in tinfoil.

On a gnoll with a submachine gun.

tallforadwarf wrote:

...said gnoll also has a boom-box on one shoulder, blasting thrash-metal. And Mr. T-style gold chains.
Louis Agresta wrote:

Quick, someone draw this!

Can you say "cover art?"


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Urizen wrote:
Louis Agresta wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
xorial wrote:

Not just a gnoll, but a gnoll armed with a machine gun. :P

If someone has shelled out $250 to make P20 real, and they want to be represented by a gnoll with a machine gun, I am totally fine with that!

And a robotic cod-piece? A gnoll, armed with a machine gun and defended by a robotic cod-piece? Are you fine with that Owen K. C. Stephens? ARE YOU?


A flaming robotic cod-piece. :P

I think I see something...yes, there's definitely something out there, and we're moving towards it at very high speed.

It's the line, and at this rate we're going to cross it very soon.

Since we're going there anyway, I might as well help:

A nuclear-powered flaming robotic cod-piece.

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Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

I'd figure something out. You have my word on it.

I ever doubted as much--I was just trying to figure out how far you would have to stretch to accommodate different numbers of $250 backers.

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

...after core classes, advanced classes, player character races, optional rules, recurring combat examples, introductory fiction for each chapter, an introductory adventure, locations, adversaries, and sample PCs and NPCs...

That pretty much answered that part of my question.

As to my broader question, it sounds like you didn't place any limitations on sponsor levels because you didn't see an insurmountable downside to large numbers of high-level sponsors. Very interesting.

Thanks for taking the time to answer, and thank you even more for starting this project!

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Urizen wrote:

Look at Owens' answer a couple posts down from here.

I'd seen that post already, I hadn't forgotten about it, and it doesn't answer the question I was asking this time.

I will preface all of this by saying that it was a largely academic question, and that I really don't expect such issues to actually come into play. I was trying to get a peek into the minds of the designers, to understand their thought process when they made these decisions. Also, I mentioned the number of contributer-NPCs as one example of many possible factors that went into the decision--I'd like to hear about the other factors, as well.

Owen said that there will be many NPCs in the rulebook, leaving room for many $250 supporters. However, contributions notwithstanding, there would be a finite number of NPCs in the book. Maybe 50, maybe 100, maybe 1,000. If the number of $250 contributors exceeds that number, then the designers will have to start shoe-horning NPCs into the book to satisfy the contributors. Granted, this is a much better problem to have than insufficient funding, but it would still be a problem.

The total number of NPCs isn't the only problem: if you look at other setting-independent RPG rulebooks, most of the NPCs are deliberately short on details, so that they can easily be plugged into a wide variety of settings by GMs. You typically see five to ten fully-developed "example PCs" (the "iconics," in this case), ten to twenty well-developed "major" NPCs, and then dozens of mooks, which typically consist of a stat block plus a paragraph of description and a paragraph on how to modify them to fit into different campaign types. When the quota for "major" NPCs has been filled, the designers have a choice: do they add superfluous "major" NPCs to match all of the $250 contributions, or do they shaft some of the contributors by making their characters mooks? I'd be extremely surprised if they chose the latter, which means that, after a certain point, additional $250 contributors will mean a more crowded book. I wanted to know when this would become an issue. Maybe it's a relatively low number, like twenty. Maybe it's a really high number, like 100. Probably somewhere in-between.

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Gary Sarli wrote:

(2) According to this article, it's very common for projects to get a surge of pledges in the last few days before a deadline: The Kickstarter Effect: Fundraising as Game Theory. Having taken quite a bit of coursework in game theory, I found that to be a really interesting article -- definitely worth the read for anyone who wants to learn more about how this fund-raising system works in practice. :)


I'm not trying the threadjack here, but I have a kickstarter question that relates more to e20 than to P20:

I noticed that some of your higher-level contribution rewards have a "number remaining" (in fact, the highest level is "sold out"). Why did you choose to limit these levels? What did you see as the advantages and disadvantages of doing so? Do you think that your "Kickstarter Effect" final surge might be damped somewhat by the unavailability of higher-level rewards?

Thanks for helping the Super Geniuses get set up with Kickstarter! I've contributed to both projects, and hope to see both succeed.

I'd also be interested to hear from the Super Geniuses about how they came to the opposite decision about limiting the availability of certain reward levels. You've already stated that you would limit the number of locations you would allow at the $250 level, but that you would (understandably) allow any number at the $5,000 level. It's clearly too late for you to place any kind of limits on the number of NPCs, but is there a number of $250 contributors where you would start to think, "Man, how are we going to incorporate THAT many NPCs without short-changing some of them or overcrowding the book to accommodate all of them?"

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I just did some VERY unscientific "research" on Kickstarter, and it looks like P20 Modern is easily one of the most ambitious Kickstarter projects ever.

This all started when I noticed that $70,000 is significantly higher than any of the other projects that pop up when you go to the Kickstarter front page. Most of the projects are $20,000 or less.

That got me thinking, "What's the highest-budget project ever to be funded through Kickstarter?" I couldn't find a way to sort projects by dollar amount, but I did notice that the "popularity" factor they use has a slight correlation to total dollars pledged (if I had to guess, I'd say it correlates very strongly to the average rate of dollars donated per unit time). I clicked through the "most popular projects of all time," and could find only one that raised more than $70,000 (it's the very first project on that list; it raised over $80,000, but the goal was less than $70,000).

So what's my point? First, if this project meets its funding goal (knock on wood), it will be the highest-budget project to receive funding through Kickstarter to date. Second, if it exceeds its funding goal by 21% or more, it will be the highest-grossing Kickstarter project to date. To me, it's very cool that an RPG project has the potential to be the biggest patronage project on the internet.

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tallforadwarf wrote:

I've got to ask - how much of the general discussion is going to take place on FB?

See, I don't want one, I've put off having one successfully for years, but I really don't want to miss out on some juicy P20 stuff. I know the project will get it's own design forums (won't it?) when it gets enough cash, but I want to maximize my P20 experience!


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  • Jesse Benner — Hassaldor's Span
  • Jim Groves — Seven Towers Observatory
  • Matt Goodall — The Lost Ziggurat of Amar Zedas
  • Matthew McGee — False Tomb of the Crawling Pharaoh

Never before have I been so out of phase with the judges. I think this mainly happened because I cared more about description and ambiance than the encounters. I agree with the judges that the encounter was a weak point in The Lost Ziggurat of Amar Zedas, but I liked the rest of it so much that it didn't matter. I really liked the encounter in Hassaldor's Span, and was kind of surprised that it got hammered so badly by the judges.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

xorial wrote:
My crazy idea for a P20 Modern setting: Alien invasion. Done before. How about our best hope is the vampires & werewolves.

This has already been done by Hollywood (well, close enough, anyway). ;p

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

For the past several months I have been busier than I have ever been in my entire life, and honestly busier than I reasonably ever expect to be again for the rest of my life (at least, I hope so). That's why I haven't been my usual loudmouthed self on the discussion boards during this year's competition. However, I have been reading your entries, and I'm very impressed.

Congratulations to all of you for making it this far! The bar definitely seems higher for you than it was for me (and I ran into that bar face-first). Even some of the stuff getting crushed by the judges this year looks better than some of the stuff that did well last year. I'm seriously giddy at the prospect of putting some of these monsters to use.

My votes for round three are (in no particular order):

  • Alexander MacLeod's Chymick Swarm
  • Benjamin Bruck's Churjiir
  • Jason Schimmel's Chaitrakhan
  • Matthew McGee's Astrumal
  • Matthew Morris's Caltrop Golem
  • Richard A. Hunt's Slithering Horror

I wish all of you the best of luck in the coming weeks, and I'm very excited to see what you come up with next!

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I would definitely contribute to this project at least at the $100 level. How high above that I would go would come down to negotiations with She Who Must Be Obeyed, but I'd be willing to give up other major personal purchases to hit a higher level of patronage for this project.

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

...And yeah, as author of d20 Cyberscape, co-author of Saga Star Wars, and someone with a ton of sci-fi material under my belt, I'd be looking at future too...

I'm glad to hear you say this, because I can't really see myself using d20 modern for actual present-day stuff, but I really like the idea of using it for future/sci-fi campaigns. There's something I want even more, though: d20 past! The only time I ever used d20 modern was to run a WWII game using Bloodstone Press's Hell on Earth supplement. The campaign was OSS agents mixed up in Occult dealings--sort of Cryptonomicon meets Indiana Jones meets Hellboy. WWII is close enough to "modern" that it doesn't need a lot of modification, but I'd like to see these rules flexible enough to go back at least to the 19th century, preferably as far as the 17th century (the period of time when natural philosophy began it's evolution into modern science).

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32


Congratulations! You definitely earned this, and I'm very excited to see your final product next year!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Epic Meepo wrote:
Consider giving him a few food sources other than murder. Or at least add something interesting to the murder thing. Perhaps he gains more sustenance from murders when the murderer is seeking vengeance against the victim for imagined wrongs. Or maybe he gains more power from murderers who kill family members and loved ones. Some sort of angle that makes all of the murders committed in his name more bizarre and distinctive.

I did say that "all" acts of evil give him some amount of sustenance, so he does have plenty of other food sources. It's just that murder is his "staple food." I also don't want him to get more or less susenance for different types of murders, because then his motivation reduces back down to "eating to survive," and that makes him less evil. I do want him to choose bizarre and distinctive murders over mundane ones, not because he gets more sustenance out of them, but because he prefers them as a matter of taste. I thought that I had made this pretty clear, but I'll give it another look and see if I can't describe it better. Also, I will try to say something to the effect that he will sometimes pass up a "plain" murder for a more twisted crime of lesser magnitude, if he is well sated and doesn't really need the extra energy from the murder.

Epic Meepo wrote:
Also, you might want to throw out a few hints about the "greater powers" that are keeping Gibnem down. Are they full-powered deities? Does Gibnem do anything to spite them for keeping him down? Does he target priests when the opportunity presents itself, for example, or burn down temples? Has he ever tried to organize a rebellion of oppressed spirits?

These are great questions, but I'm trying to keep this thing under the 500-word limit and I don't think the answers are important enough to displace other things. I'll think about this and if I come up with anything good, I'll post an "addendum" with the extra stuff to answer your questons, but I won't be incorporating these ideas into the "main" description.

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NSpicer wrote:
Lucas Jung wrote:
Otherwise, do yourself a favor and stay home. There will be another con next year, but your child is only born once.

Thanks for the advice, Lucas. Actually, my wife is more supportive of me attending PaizoCon than GenCon at this point. She's not due until well into July. And, experience with our first two children indicates she's been very accurate in terms of her delivery dates. So, the risk of missing the birth of our 3rd child isn't anywhere near as high as maybe I led you to believe with my potentially "flippant-sounding" comment.


Just reread my post and realized that it may have come off as being rather aggressive, which wasn't my intent. I just hate to see guys go through that, is all. It sounds like you have a solid plan in place, and so I wish you luck and hope you enjoy the con.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Epic Meepo wrote:
I may be out of the competition, but I’m no less inspired by the Top 8 villains than anyone else. So, to pay homage to one of my several favorites, I’ve designed a lair for Bract Darkhouse using the Round 4 rules...


As promised, I took a look at your lair. I relly like it, but there are a couple of criticisms/suggestions I can offer you:

  • To me, this feels less like a lair and more like an encounter. As an encounter, I really like it, but I wouldn't call it a lair. Bracht is gone, leaving no real "boss" in residence, which is, to me, a key component of a "lair:" somebody or something has to be "lairing" there. Another factor is the requirement that the heros "need" to enter the house for some DM-specified reason, and that the heroes show up right after the fight. If I think of this as an encounter, those factors become an asset because they help me move the story along without blatant railroading: the PCs find out that they need something and that it is in the Dark House; when they get there, they are swept up into other events. However, if I think of this as a lair, these same factors become a liability: I want my PCs to enter a lair because they decide that the time has come to take on the villain there, not because they need to go in to advance the story.
    Bottom Line: Great as an Encounter, not so much as a lair
    Recommendations: To be perfectly honest, the distinction is largely semantic, so there's not much to change. However, I would be very interested to see what my PCs would encounter if they came here before the fight, with Brachthouse in the midst of some unspeakable act.

  • The rooster: everyone else seemed to like it, but it struck me as belonging more in the "gag villains" thread. They accepted a deformed chicken as payment for secret poisons? They must not be very good hagglers. And naturally, they ate it right away; I mean, what else do you do with suspicious food?
    Bottom Line: I'd like a more compelling (and preferably creepier) story for how he deformed the goblins.
    Recommendation: Bracht used the goblins as guinea pigs: he gave them a potion to drink (or a salve to smear on themselves, or something else to use on themselves) and told them that it would make them stronger and more powerful. They feel betrayed, believing that he knew it would deform them. I reality, he had no idea what the side-effects might be, and he was correct in one sense: they really are stronger and more powerful.

Hope this helps. Now I'm off to respond to your comments in my Gibnem thread.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

NSpicer wrote:
3) my wife being open to the idea of skipping town both before and after our 3rd baby is due, to attend both conventions,


I have chosen a career which garuantees, as one wise man put it, that I "will miss many important family events." I don't want to miss any of them, but it goes with the territory. I have been lucky so far: I've missed a few weddings, but I got to be around for the birth of my first child and most of her "firsts." However, I have also seen colleagues who were forced to miss the birth of children (some 1st, usually 2nd, 3rd, or 4th). I saw the looks on their faces when they opened their emails to see pictures of their newborns: joy from seeing the child, mixed with bitter disappointment at not being there in person. I watched them ride emotional roller-coasters as they met their children for the first time days, weeks, or months later. They had no choice in the matter, but you do.

I certainly understand the concept of "What will my wife let me get away with?" (like missing important life events, asking that question is common where I work) but this should not be one of those instances for you. Instead, you should be asking, "If I miss this, will I be kicking myself for the rest of my life?" I can tell you this: if I showed the above quote to one of the guys who missed the birth of a child, he would punch you in the junk without a moment of hesitation, for squandering a gift he was denied.

If you have a private jet to zip you home in under an hour if your wife goes into labor while you are at the con, then by all means, attend. Otherwise, do yourself a favor and stay home. There will be another con next year, but your child is only born once.

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