Since they gave TV!Ollie a somewhat narrow revenge motivation, I'm guessing that they wanted to wait until they got a full-season order to widen his POV a bit. But it also gives you the sense that this Ollie still has a lot of growing-up to do, no matter how "hardcorez" he may be.
I also like the notion of Digg as that little thorn in Ollie's side reminding him that yes, in fact he's human, not a revenge-machine. It makes me worry for Digg's fate though...
Well, there's the question of what aspect in *your* campaign do you want to emphasize - the ongoing changes to the world, or the specific plot of this particular heir?
If it's the former case, then you'd be better off setting it around clans in one of the various Successor States of Tian Xia. There's a lot more room to move around in, both geographically and narratively.
You could always change the destination of Jade Regent to be one of the Successor States instead of Minkai - much of the mythos of the oni and kami that Jade Regent borrows was itself borrowed (or inherited) in the real world by Japan from China. So there's plenty of folklore to enrich your story and keep everything knitted together.
I could also see a scenario in which the events of Jade Regent are like a "prequel" of sorts to your campaign, but rather than having time-travel or have Ameiko call upon her former comrades, you could shift it a couple of generations.
Have the Dowager Empress Ameiko summon the PCs to prevent war from breaking out among the newly-raised-to-the-imperial-class clans. Basically even after she's raised to Empress, she'll need to rebuild the imperial family. The best way would be to raise existing clans using the same ritual used for her own family way back when.
No question that fantasy actually does well in both foreign and domestic markets - but as you say, people have developed a taste for high-budget spectacle. The writing & acting on GoT is amazing, but so too are the lush costumes, sets, and locations. Big-budget television is - to my mind, at least - not entirely sustainable unless you have (a) serious executive support combined with management stability (like HBO often enjoys), and (b) corporate deep pockets (Fox, Disney, and of course the juggernaut that is Time Warner).
A friend of mine has been having good success in the UK, where smaller budgets can take you further. I understand it's a similar situation in Canada and Australia. And I personally feel we ought to be doing more projects with the efficient model used in the East Asian and Latin American markets - short series, marketed extensively, and lots of staff re-use/parallel production.
Another important element to consider - again, a personal interest/opinion - is that there is still some significant US industry pushback against having more ethnic diversity in SF/fantasy TV shows (and films, to a lesser degree). Arrow and Grimm are taking some steps in a good direction there, but we'll have to see how they play out over time (I don't know how either series is selling beyond the US/NAm market, for instance).
Thanks for the moral support :) I've got a doc up on Youtube that reflects some of my feelings about the odd love-hate relationship between geeks and the media. (I'm waiting for some final tweaks from my profs, but NYC has been shaken up a bit recently. *sigh*) Feel free to check it out and offer some tips if you like.
Glad to see a project like this get some notice. I'm an "unfunded producer" and I pretty much would love to do fantasy TV, but my observation in NYC at least is that the "big time" TV industry is just not *psychologically* inclined to take fantasy seriously. I think that one of the big reasons Game of Thrones made it to the screen is that as-portrayed thus far, it's mostly a no-/low-magic, humans-only setting. It's fairly easy for the producers/executives to pitch it as "Like Rome, only with (limited-CG) dragons".
That "sci-fi ghetto" notion that Hollywood clings to still considers things like Game of Thrones or LotR or even comic-book movies to be wildly chaotic and not terribly predictable in terms of success. I've come to the conclusion that good SF/F TV will almost always have to work through the web and direct-networking to fans, and focus more on building the quality of the work than getting a cable/network contract.
Would love to pick your brain though and "talk shop", feel free to shoot me a PM.
I think you guys are missing the point. The DDI was useful to 4e GMs mostly, and to players only in terms of using the offline/online Character Builder. The VTT was never fully *up* so it was never as big a deal (or deal-breaker) to 4e actively playing groups as it was/might have been to outside observers. You don't need much internet to read/download a bunch of 2-4 page PDFs, and even when the CB was fully-online, you only needed it at character creation (and maybe level-up if you're feeling lazy).
Wizards had a schizo split between a subscription-based model (DDI) and a dead-tree/mass-market model (hardcover books/Amazon). They never seemed to want to commit to doing either one in a strong, dedicated fashion. For a brief window (maybe a year?), they had pretty good editorial symbiosis between them when the DDI articles would support the upcoming books with related setting & character material as well as previews. But then they changed up editorial direction and that got all discombobulated.
And they had this weird "red-headed stepchild" thing going on with the increasingly rare or at least wildly-diverse FLGS. The Encounters program would have been the best bet to bring players to 4e, but they made it very restricted (only through/played at stores, only on Wed nights??, everybody plays the same modules at the same time). I applauded the concept, but given how many GMs run games at homes, meetups, or schools (or conventions!) rather than at a store (assuming they have a dedicated gaming store, or have one that has gaming space), it seemed silly to tether the entire program to a limited concept of "public tabletop gaming".
TL;DR - 4e the game did/is doing okay - not *awesome* but okay. Wizards the company made its bed through mismanagement and now has to lie in it.
The support group scene is funny and sets the stage, but most of its characters don't show up elsewhere. But there's plenty of other game-mashup fun (plus a *lot* of shout-outs & cameos).
I'm looking forward to renting the DVD when it comes out to pause and catch the references we missed in the theater. "Aerith Rules!" *LOL*
Your spoiler plot is very well-aligned with Jade Regent, the political *meat* of which is set entirely in Minkai. So you could stick with your first option and keep the clans/PCs centered in Minkai following the events of Jade Regent.
*Or* (Jade Regent spoilers)
You could have Ameiko *be* the sleeper agent. It would be quite the turnaround for the PCs to have worked so hard to install Ameiko as the "rightful" heir, only to find that she's somehow been corrupted by an external power.
There are a lot of possibilities for your "external power" - you probably ought to poke around the GM threads for Jade Regent if you haven't already, and maybe check out the Varisia setting book in addition to Dragon Empires.
Luckily I never equated my love of the game with owning stock in the company.
To answer the restart-OP, I GM 4e and have (re-)introduced D&D to several players in their 20s & 30s (and 10s) using 4e rules. I still have and actively use the offline Character & Monster Builders, and do what I can to keep them usable at my table.
Don't plan to switch to 5th/Next rules, but I have kept my DDI subscription for the current-Compendium, and presumptively future-setting/gameplay/GMing articles. They have been dithering about lately with the late/few article releases, but I'm guessing that'll sort out with a new-ish 5e staff. (Seems like edition changes always bring staff changes at TSR-then-Wizards, which might have been a cause of some of the wars/hostility...)
As to the main topic, I think 4e failed to bring in its own bumper crop of new players because of the BS betw Wizards and Atari over the video game license. Without cRPGs, 2e would not have been as popular. Word of mouth, even with social media, only goes so far when you still need to try/play the game itself.
Not necessarily recommending the series, but in a Chinese-mythology-flavored fantasy series, the author took the tack of magical creatures who procreate in human form will produce a child who is incompletely magical/human. That child would be "stuck" in the human form of its birth until it learned/developed the shape-change ability on its own, if in fact it ever developed.
One example given was a human teen who shows a remarkable martial arts/magical ability beyond an ordinary human's, only to *pop* into a dragon for the first time during some moment of great stress/trauma. She was specifically not told about her dragon heritage, since the parents were unsure if she'd fully inherit their magic.
The writing overall was a bit weak, but the explanation seemed sound - since the change is a combination of incompletely-inherited magic & personal will, the child would have to be the one to make it happen.
I would generally agree with Set's take on the birth itself however, since animal bodies are pretty much purpose-built for their evolved form of reproduction. No dragon eggs coming out of a human/humanoid body in my mind... and yeah, I avoided those "boobs on Tieflings" debates, too...
Not sure if this counts as thread-necromancy, but yeah, me & mine still watch Grimm, and I think the show improved *a lot* over the first season, and now into the second. They still mostly keep their case/monster-of-the-week A-plot (it *is* a cop show), but the B-plot world-building & character development is what keeps things going.
Monroe is my #1 fave, followed closely by Capt. Renard - definitely the hottest guy on the show. The 2nd season developments w/ the girlfriend Juliet & the partner Hank have just made my day.
Hank's in on it!! Yeah! Hoping Juliet fades the rest of the way away as a setup for Nick leaving town...
Looking forward to see where they go with Team Nick vs the Royal Families...
Dave Gross wrote:
Looking forward to both :) Will be sure to look for the story when the leaves turn *heh*
Pre-ordering... a nice heads-up after a bit of board hiatus. Wish we'd see you for a signing or somesuch at NYComicCon - that would be cool. Any case, I heartily second the love for Radovan & Jeggare, their hell is our pleasure.
Edit: Will there be a bridge-story to pick up the post-Devils continuity? I don't peruse the blog that often & the web tales don't get announced in the email-newsletter...
Anybody have any particular recommendations (from the above list, or others) that are less 1600s Age of Sail and strike more of an early Medieval, 10-13th century vibe?
I'm looking at the Al'Qadim Corsairs books right now, which mostly fit what I'm looking for as far as 'Arabian Nights'/Mideast pirates/sailors, but pickings seem to be slim for the rest of the Mediterranean/Indian naval regions. I'm looking to give my existing Kelesh/Al'Qadim hybrid campaign a cosmopolitan vibe with sea traders from other lands, now that the PCs are in that sort of region.
There's some real-world, happening-now archeology on the 'Maritime Silk Road' (Africa-Arabia-India-China via the Indian Ocean) which seems really cool, but I'm not quite hardcore enough to browse journals for my RPG campaign. If some enterprising indie RPG publisher has already done some research in this vein, I'd love to throw a little money their way.
I do like my dry-erase whiteboard w/ Paizo's Initiative Tracker magnets. But if there's an app around that has *at least* that level of functionality/ease-of-use, and allows me to link it to my own private notes (distinguishing among enemy tactics, 'what if' advance plans, random plot notes, etc), that would be great.
Also bonus-points for making it either inherently system-independent (like the Tracker magnets), or make it easily system-customizable/modular (like say, MapTools). Dice-rolling should be able to be on-demand, set-ahead, or type-in. Oddly, actually rolling for initiative with actual dice is something players love, but as the DM gets a bit time-consuming.
Got too much on my plate right now to code it myself, but would love to see something like this available.
It's a fuzzy distinction to many PCs, but Cheliax hates demon-worshippers. You can have a demonic cult working from inside/outside Cheliax to destabilize the country in secret.
You could also go the 180-degree way, and have an all-Chelish cult of Sarenrae or Desna worshipers, maybe being horribly oppressed (no freedom of religion!) or maybe secretly working to raise the rabble or assassinate nobles/movers+shakers. In my mind's eye, I see some total hippie-type as the BBEG... *LOL* That would send your players for a loop.
Not even going to get into Apple vs Android - as a homebrew programmer & a big fan of getting 'under the hood' the choice is no choice for me personally. As for the OP, I have to 2nd the recommendation to get hands-on with a lot of tabs (I went to Fry's) and also to have some sense of what you actually will use the device for.
My hubby has an 8" Archos G9, which I find to be an okay compromise on screen size in exchange for microSD, miniHDMI, and microUSB built-in. It is a bit meh on responsiveness and mid-level on graphics, but that's good at the $250-300 price level.
For myself, I checked out a lot of tabs, incl my sister's iPad2, and have decided to price-wait on the Asus Transformer Prime. It is very comfortable in the hand, comes with built-in microUSB & microSD, has great responsiveness, and f'in brilliant graphics - not just in terms of pixel depth or clarity, but also graphics processing power. I played their water-motocross game for a good 20min (after a staffer had been goofing off on it for who knows how long) and the image had no lag or stutter or artifacting that I could detect, even projected live on a big screen.
I've tried typing on both the Archos & the iPad, and found it to be very taxing and cumbersome/clunky for (a) a touch-typist and (b) more than a few words, or extra-dictionary words, like for DM's notes. I would like something with the touch-or-tactile-type that I've come to enjoy on my original Droid, but with the size/robustness of a tablet, and I think that's the Transformer Prime. But it's still listed at $500-550, plus $150 for the dock, which is too rich for me now.
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Well... switch the gender and it's David Duchovny's Californication, or any number of vampire movies from before the sexual-violation aspect was toned-down.
The fae are explicitly portrayed in this show as predators of humans in general, perhaps forming a symbiotic or at least conservationist relationship with humans as a food-source population. They make no excuses or bones about this, and Bo is seen as naive and deviant for even considering a more egalitarian approach, kind of like someone asking for livestock to be treated with full human rights (but without the option of going vegan).
It's certainly a dark take on two parallel humanoid species, and a refreshingly cynical modern interpretation of the fae. But despite the 'sexy bi chick' aspect, I think Bo is pretty clearly intended as a heroic figure struggling (tragically?) against her own nature & against the cultures of both the fae & humans (who are shown frequently as being just as predatory, in their own way).
Vacuous and implications-unaware certainly do not apply.
Fake Healer wrote:
Pathfinder MMO is not really anything I am interested in. I want to play as a party of adventurers doing some questing. I really don't want to play one dude trying to team up with whatever dredges of the internet I happen to find.
I still feel like (a) there are already a glut of MMORPGs in exactly the same vein as Pathfinder Online is stated to be heading towards and (b) a single-player/multi-player social game (FB or XBLA/PSN) built around party-tactics where you could easily opt to play w/ your friends' characters as a full party would be better.
It seems like MMOs really ought to be the latter, and they all claim to (intend to) provide that experience in a "new & unique" fashion, but IMO they end up with a similar combo of approach, dynamics, and marketing/business model that engenders the same complaints of player/guild-antics & $$transaction-driven game design. And the folks who genuinely enjoy playing MMOs seem to be either entrenched in the WOW juggernaut, or they wander from new MMO to new MMO like nomads, no matter how coolshinysexy any particular game might be.
If it's a student project unlikely to see the light of day outside of your classmates/teachers, it's probably a worthwhile learning exercise. If it's an indie game for the open markets, you're better off coming up with your own game system, or one that is in fact open-for-use. There are lots of questions/situations similar to yours around on the 'net (and on these forums), and it would seem that the OGL pretty explicitly rules out making digital "adaptations".
doc the grey wrote:
Though not the target demographic there is one that always bugs the crap out of me. I always hate that the iconic s for spell casters are either old guys or young girls, as a twenty something male I never really identify with either and always wish there was something more aimed at me as I feel like my options are to be either gandalf or sailor moon. Hell I would even like to see an iconic old female wizard now that I think about it just something to break up the trend. Also as someone mentioned before glasses, male, female, either would be awesome on characters and are badly under represented. Also also (such bad grammar) Goblin, top hat, monocle, sword cane, nuff said.
I think young guy wizards get short-shrift b/c everyone assumes them as the default "wizards' apprentice". Now there've been some young men (not boys) characters who became serious, top-shelf wizards/mages long before they became old-and-grey (e.g. Raistlin, Rand, Belgarion, Pug fr Feist's Magician/Rift books, Andry fr Melanie Rawn's Sunrunner books, etc.) but even when they're featured in art they don't seem to get to do flashy spell-slinging. No idea why, really, unless they want to make more room for this sort of thing (tvtropes warning).
Robert Hawkshaw wrote:
It's forty-five minutes an episode up here too. I think they filmed it with the aim of being picked up by syfy.
Yup, you're right - I was marathoning & didn't even notice the individual runtime.
Anyone know if they're doing any content-edits at all then? It runs after 10 on Syfy, and I've seen some non-premium cable channels (Comedy Central, F/X) run with looser language/content than is typical (allowing "s??t" through, more nudity).
Pedro Coelho wrote:
I wouldn't equate using pdfs to using them live at the table. Printing out what you need is sometimes the better option. Also, they're useful as an organizational tool. PDFs that you've bought can be "unlocked" so that you can mix/match different parts of scenarios, make highlights or comments, and insert additional monster blocks or setting info directly where you're going to need them. Keeps your digital "bookshelf" tidy, and I don't think it violates Paizo's security/rights, so long as your modified version is yours, for your use only.
what's good enough for Dr. Manhattan is good enough for John Carter, Dejah Thoris, Tars Tarkas et al.
Been waiting to see the movie before diving into the books, but desert cultures might want to cover up the most sensitive bits. Just sayin'. And Watchmen=Warner Bros.=grownups, John Carter=Disney=Happy meals. So no gratuitous blue (or green) wang on big plastic tumbler glasses.
Also, +200 for "pulsists", gotta remember that one.
Does everything have to be about beefcake or eye candy? Can someone be curvy or heavyset and still be attractive? Is everyone in our settings an Adonis or an Aphrodite?
Hmm, I'd say that's why the term "fanservice" != beef/cheesecake, IMO. Fanservice implies that there's lots of different ways to er, service fans... Just like some folks like their boobs petite-and-winking, giant-and-falling-out, or just well-supported, others get excited over guys in waistcoats, or with middle-age panache (and paunch), or in thick glasses. Or their RPG equivalents.
I haven't seen a full US-edited episode, and I couldn't find a side-by-side comparison with a quick google search. But just off-the-top, I'd guess "s??t" was knocked out, maybe some of the more overt sexual scenes, and they would've had to cut at least 15mins from each episode to bring it from Canadian 1hr=60min to US 1hr=44min.
It's a fairly tightly-plotted show, so losing 1/4 of it makes a difference. I remember watching the US A&E edited version of MI-5 and then the UK version on DVD, and whole character-plotlines were sliced out to make room for commercials.
Anyone else watching Lost Girl? I got looped into it from the Syfy marketing, but went through the Canadian/online version of S1 to get the unedited goodness.
I fully approve more "fae who are not Disney faries" on television :)
Also +1 for more meaty roles for 'little people'. I know it pre-dates Game of Thrones, but still, good to see.
Not sure if you're still looking for guidelines/examples, but here's the sha'ir I built for my Al'Qadim-Q'adira homebrew. Coming up with 4e powers is much like creating a 3.5 custom class, in that it really helps to write down what your goals are first, and free-write powers to suit, looking at other powers mainly at the end to get the math down.
In my case, I wanted to build the sha'ir as a controller hybrid of both the "genie fetches your wizard spells" 2e sha'ir and the "specialist in 1-2 elemental schools" 2e elemental mage. So 2 builds w/ one common origin fit the latter goal, and I came up with the idea of relating fire/ifrit & air/djinn powers to melee/ranged damage-dealing & flashy evocations, water/marid powers to movement & teleportation and earth/shai'tan powers to terrain-manipulation.
When I come up with some higher-level powers, they'll start to incorporate ideas associated with more powerful genies, like illusion, flight, elemental summoning, theoretically even planar travel at epic levels (though my game won't run that high).
the David wrote:
Not to threadjack, but Disney's been complaining that women aren't interested in seeing John Carter (of Mars!). Clearly they need to take a page out of both new Conan & Game of Thrones' playbooks, and redo the trailers to accentuate the main character's "assets". Since they don't want to talk about the sci-fi plot.
Spanky the Leprechaun wrote:
I guess my point is that I don't think it's a "fanservice" issue necessarily. Women aren't men, and I don't believe there is a "fanservice" that will "appeal" to them.
Oh no - women definitely respond to fanservice. Many a man has been surprised (appalled?) by men-as-meat-cataloguing by the women around him. (cf. Jennie Breeden's annual kilt-blowing event at Dragon*Con, with calendars [NSFW?]) But just like for guys, there's a very personal aspect to the "what turns you on" question, and there are more social stigmas associated with even publicly acknowledging women have visual-sexual stimuli for het women, let alone bi/lesbian women.
I feel too awkward myself to try to give a bunch of effectively-strangers my personal turn-ons list, so I'll add to the calls for variety/diversity of images. And more guys with glasses. And more depictions of guys in profile, or from the ah... rear.
I think the whole structure of the game is geared towards dudes, and I think that whatever intersocial/emotional payoff there is in what I'm talking about its probably severely lacking in rpg's, and I at least have the guts to say I don't know what exactly it is, but I'm pretty confident that it's not fanservice.
Good point, and definitely should go in a different thread (and has, in various ways). But really briefly, you actually did hit on it, it's all wrapped up in the social aspects. Gender relations & assumptions, availability & diversity of other female gamers (esp. GMs), where games are played & advertised, etc. There's nothing inherent about killing monsters/stopping villains and stealing/earning 'phat loot' that's dudes-only.
Just wanted to correct myself- the DH says that (a) the post-Voyager books are only a few years ahead of TNG, and (b) the Voyager crew is included/featured in quite a few of them. So happy hunting!
Quantum Steve +1
I like to game in a "starting from storebought" kind of way. I like my games (as both player & GM) to be very culturally-diverse and rich with very different-feeling NPCs, cities, adventure locations and the like. Taking advantage of a staff of writers helps me focus on either coming up with the character I want to play, or the plot I want to GM, without having to think about important, but mundane, stuff like economies and political systems, or whole-world tech-level & climate/geography.
I particularly like to read/pull from the Paizo CS/APs/modules/scenarios, because I really like Golarion as a setting, incl. all the cultures/religions, nations/politics, wacky NPCs, et al. But I still like to personalize it with my own creations, and certainly pull stuff from other sources (D&D, books/pop culture, history/folklore).
You need to have a good foundation to hang all the other stuff on though, and that's where the setting material comes in - and not all the setting stuff is in the "Campaign Setting/Chronicles" line.
4 might be a bit young for the Pathfinder Journals... Myself, I've read the two detective-style ones that Dave Gross did featuring Radovan the tiefling street-thug & Count Jeggare the half-elf noble "gentleman's detective". I'd say the one in Curse of the Crimson Throne, "Hell's Spawns" had more "mature content" than the one in Jade Regent, "Husks", but both have their share of nightmare fuel & implied sexual situations.
Sexual attraction/relationships, a fertility demon, pretty gruesome monster at the end, implied torture at the beginning
A string of murders involving skinning victims alive, a prostitution house, a gambling den, discussion of deflowering virgins, descriptions of violence
I haven't read them all myself, but I believe Elaine Cunningham's stories featuring Channa Ti the (elf?) druid have some "female empowerment" themes, but I couldn't say how much sexuality & violence was featured.
I suspect all the Pathfinder content is kind of US PG-13 as-written. If you want some fantasy bedtime stories with a bit of an edge, but still appropriate for a young'un, you might have better luck asking in the Books sub-forum for recommendations.
There's a fair amount of stuff I can think of, either books I read as a kid or read to my sibs, but nothing too hardcore before they were 7-9 or so. (Although oddly enough, even the Bawdlerized & Disney versions of most Grimm's fairy tales are pretty gruesome & kids are still cool...)
Hmm, the articles were good though, and there were a fair number of cool NPCs to check out for future reference. I didn't really get the whole trek across the pole/Crown either, except as an elaborate setup to get Vikings vs. Ninjas. *LOL*
I did like the Inuit-themed Bestiary article from vol 3 or 4 - it was good to see a Northlands culture that wasn't Scandinavian. Might be interesting to do some research into Siberian & Ainu folktales and get a real cultural hybrid going (since trekking across the pole/Crown is the oldest/fastest way to travel, barring death-by-freezing & magic portals).
I haven't got a problem with the 'stranger/strange land' approach for things like modules or PFS scenarios, since it's assumed that you'll be running existing characters and just 'popping in' to the adventure.
But it just feels jarring in the APs, since the assumption is that you're (a) running new characters and (b) looking for a theme. If you're starting from scratch and getting into a new atmosphere, why not explore a new background culture too? One of the big draws of PnP to me is that it's inherently more open to gonzo multiculturalism than say, video games or books/movies/TV.
Matthew Morris wrote:
is there any fiction dealing with the Voyager crew's ** spoiler **
My honey's a ridiculously-avid Trek novel reader, so I can ask for specific post-TV Voyager recommendations, but I believe that the stories you want are published under some of the 25-50+ years-ahead-of-TNG, book-only series.
IIRC, the Voyager heading is mainly for novels during their Gamma Quadrant odyssey.
Alternate Voyager spoiler. ** spoiler omitted **
That would've been really interesting, probably more so than the actual series. There were some pockets of good sci-fi there, but the writing on Voyager was too uneven to keep me involved.
Shame more Trek fans couldn't get into Enterprise - I thought their alt-history was leading into a somewhat less rose-colored-glasses version of early Federation history. The Romulan Wars (the plan for Seasons 6-7) would've been a drawn-out Kobayashi Maru scenario. They did get into some good stuff with the Vulcan-Andoran conflict, at least.
It'll take me a while but I'll try to get an examples post up today to give some sort of reference point. My one worry there is that it certainly won't be able to cover every sort of base there is as far as what folks do and do not like. Still gonna be reliant on others throwing those details out there for that. Not sure about going into detail about the setting*, as that could reduce the usefulness of this thread to others that may be reading.
Well, setting gives a better sense of aesthetic - there's stuff I like in art geared towards an anime audience that I don't like in my PnP RPG art, or in say, SF/F novel cover art. And don't get me started on video game art...
Characters aside, even though Kamala's dressed in rags (Magister, left) and Alexia's swathed neck-to-toe (Parasol Prot.) they still have some air of defiance in pose and attitude. There's a sense of self-control and control of the environment that appeals, and the costumes are slinky/form-fitting, but don't undermine the attitude in a slutty way. In fact, Siderea (Magister, center) is actively/aggressively promoting her sexuality, (cue tentacle caressing) but hers is the most compelling cover IMO.
As for what to avoid, Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series. Love these books, but I dismissed them *3 times* based on the dopey cover art. The covers are standard urban fantasy slutty-chic, with touches in each one that hint at Mercy's as-written greasemonkey nature. Lots of real-life garages/toolshops have played off the hot-chic-working-on-cars motif, so it's kinda sad that these covers go for the cliche rather than going for something more interesting. It's only once you've read the books that the schtick with the tattoos/props comes across, and really, who notices the wrench when all that boobage is in your face?
There are a lot of tips for GM & player roleplaying around on the web and here in the forum archives. But the general advice I'd give is to go with your (and your group's) strengths, and try to relax. Roleplaying is an entire spectrum of stimuli & actions - feel free to use whatever works for you and ignore what doesn't.
If you're not good with voices, try gestures - you can give impressions of personality with "noble" vs "crude" gestures, or dramatically slapping the table or stomping your foot.
Some folks like to play music, if you're in a home or similarly controlled space. Aside from the gamut of RPG-specific CDs released, there's also movie soundtracks (you can pick something classic D&D-related, like LotR or old/new Conan, or expand to other genres like horror, pirates, Asian, Mid Eastern etc). Some of the blog/forum entries have people's RPG-friendly music playlists, so it's worth doing a search.
If you're into props, try showing your players pictures of the NPCs they're interacting with. You can pull images from online, from adventure PDFs, whatever floats your boat. Paizo does some nifty Face Cards that pretty much pulls a selection of NPCs from the Adventure Paths, so if you don't have color-printing handy, you could try those.
Heck, if you're tech-enabled, you could pull up pictures of NPCs & locations (buildings/cities, ruins, wilderness landscapes) on a tablet and have it on the table for folks to ooh and ahh over :)
And don't forget anything that generally relaxes you & your players. For some folks that's having a chat about random BS for a bit before you get underway, for some folks that's passing around snacks, for some folks that's having a couple beers. Whatever floats your boat.
You could argue that the whole Sisko-as-Emissary arc-plot was itself a violation of the Prime Directive. It's one thing to believe in god(s), it's another to have some alien show up and have a beer with them (or play Celestial Temple baseball).
As for the spoiler, I think all the latter-day Trek epic/ongoing wars - the Borg, the Dominion-Cardassian alliance, the Xindi fr Enterprise - pretty much put lie to the notion that the Federation puts its morals above its baser interests.
I love the future-looking hopefulness of TOS & TNG, but DS9 and Enterprise brought a good dollop of realpolitik to the franchise that just made everything richer (on the TV side, at least - I think the books have always done this in varying amounts).
Questions are a bit broad - could you give some sense of what you're looking at/for, or maybe some examples. It's a bit easier to give a useful response if there's something concrete to say, "yeah, I like this, or, no, I don't like that". So much about art & (self-)image is subjective and abstract, and doesn't work well in generalization.
There are so many folks who don't like getting 'Asian' in their gaming, that I'm guessing Jade Regent is probably the last AP we'll see on that side of the world (for several years, at least).
That said, I'm +1 for any culture-saturated gaming in Kelesh/Casmaron, Vudra, non-Osirion Garund, and the various non-Minkai Tian Xia states. I feel like cultures from these places are so far off the radar for most folks that even when we get an adventure, it's locked into the 'stranger in a strange land' trope.
The coolest approach might be a sort of 'Indian Ocean'/Silk Road tour - tying together southern Garund, Vudra/Kelesh, southern Tian Xia, and ending up in the off-the-map land of Sarusan. Good opportunity there to have some kind of undersea kingdom adventure for the ocean voyage part. Heck, even something set in *one* of those lands that at least spurred some setting articles would be appreciated.
What happens when you show up to the gaming table with a picture of a female character with normal proportions wearing practical clothing that covers well, darn near everything, but you still get that oh, she's perpetuating the stereotypes response because she's still attractive. Had it happen. Actually lost track of how many times. Because according to the people that I was gaming with that image fits under their definition of sex idol. I would never make a character with big boobs. I have big boobs and the extra curvature in my spine to go with them. One of these days I'll save up enough for breast reduction surgery, but I digress.
Stuff like this really makes you consider what it is to be a geek in some pretty vastly different cultural environments. Folks talk about putting up with some crazy attitudes (or have crazy thrust upon them) just to have folks to geek-out with (or whatever Derek's hipster-geek approximation is *LOL*). My social life always seems to be either famine or feast, so either there's no choices to be made, or you can always hang with nicer people, who aren't asshats.
As for women cutting each other down, that seems to be some kind of f'ed up dominance-hierarchy malarkey. Some folks do it with appearance (Did you really come outside looking like *that*?!) and others do it with interests/expressions, but it's catty frenemy behavior either way. And don't think for a minute that family's immune to it, nobody can screw with your head like family...
All I can say is life's too short to waste any of it second-guessing yourself b/c of what other people think. (I'm lucky enough to have family/friends/spouse that help shake me out of any second-guess-traps, vigorously, if necessary.)
Those Icons tokens look like they'd be better as messenger bag buttons/pins - I see a lot of folks at cons with the like.
As for Paizo's own products, ask and ye shall receive, in May apparently: Bestiary Box.
EDIT: Although these are square and not round, they can be used standing-up or laying-down.
Sexually provocative images are great for covers since they do grab people's attention. But (a) every non-cover image in many pubs (not necc. here) is also highly provocative, and (b) provocative doesn't automatically have to mean nekkid & helpless.
If Seoni's girls had the infrastructure Jess so clearly craved, and she looked a little more "about to kick goblin ass" and a little less "about to punish her 'naughty boy'", would that be so much less sexy? Would it have dropped sales? Maybe, maybe not. But images for commercial purposes are carefully constructed/chosen to appeal to existing sensibilities (real or perceived), so it's not happenstance that Seoni appears on PF#2 - heck, it says something cool that skimpily-clothed concepts weren't used for all of the early female iconics. (I think a company's decisions when things are still uncertain are more telling.)
It wasn't very long ago that a female paladin would have been a half-orc or bearded-butch dwarf or something. Seelah looks confident, feminine, *human*, curvy (that armor's awful form-fitting), and yet still looks like she might plunge into battle any minute.
EDIT: Re: National costumes - I think most of the cultures are too varied, and the art styles too diverse to get a strong sense of this. That said, you might try attacking the problem from the NPC descriptions & PF fiction, and then finding some examples to match.
No prob. You might try a general google search of some of the RPG blogs as well, I'm sure I've seen folks post solo conversion tips for APs, but that thread was the only one I particularly remembered. Before my current table formed up, I considered running the hubby solo through Jade Regent. Some setups seem to lend themselves better than others...
Freehold DM wrote:
Good points mandisa, and it's great to see you again!
Hey Freehold, good to be back - been lurking in the 4e forums & with the club on FB.
I do however think that RPGs are sort of in the goldilocks zone of weirdo attraction. For one thing, a lot of the game is about wish fulfillment, and an immature person can get very immature, very quickly. For another, as Jess said, it only takes one jerk like that to ruin a whole table's experience and turn off a new comer forever.
I think it's more that the nature of where & how RPGs are played makes it more galling when the social norms are trampled. Private homes, and even regular groups at shops or the like, just *feel* more intimate. You would feel a way about it if an extremely creepy person was invited to a party at your house, or sat near your friends' table at a favorite hangout - an RPG group is even smaller & more tightly-knit than that. So stuff that you might otherwise shrug off & move past becomes more threatening to your calm.
Conventions are a strange beast - everyone wants to have free fun at the carnival, but that means dropped inhibitions & some pervs see that as a license to have their own sort of fun. Me & the hubby are trying to start a trend of photo-blocking when we see folks (yeah, usually 30s-40s guys) trying to take wholly uncool pics of cosplayers. Not skimpy-dress types - I mean the zoom lens from extreme angles, make your own RL fanservice type.
One quick anecdote on RPG artwork specifically - I was recently pouring through several years of 3.x/4e WotC art looking for avatar options for the players in my current game. There's one woman, playing a sha'ir (elemental/genie sorcerer), and 6 guys, playing a monk, 2 fighters, a swordmage, an assassin, and an avenger (a Black Ops paladin). Most everyone looks human/elf/half-elf, except for 2 guys playing warforged (the monk & 1 fighter).
Looking at basically every character portrait in something like 15 books' worth of material, I was able to find at least 3 options for each of the guys that matched their race, weapon, and personality (both player & PC). I was even able to spread out the options between contemplative & action poses.
For the woman though, who could've been portrayed by any female human staff-wielding magic-user, I struggled mightily to come up with options that didn't make her look like some sex-slave the guys just rescued. I ended up with 5 potential avatars, but not a one wasn't trying to rain down holy-hell (or quietly ponder the adventurer's life) without showing off tight midriff and perky boobs, although the 2 desert gals at least got to wear skirts with side-seams.
Ironically my female player is a mainstream comics fan and picked this one for the gratuitous bustiness (and mini-genie), so you really can't tell for trying.
Ion Raven wrote:
I don't think it's some huge shock to recognize that most people who self-identify as geeks (which is not everyone who loves geeky things, oddly) are often shy, or socially awkward, or have higher-than-average issues with self-image and/or self-esteem. Asking someone out on a date is a big step, fraught with social complexity & risk, and often requires more than a small amount of self-confidence and hope of success. I've seen many folks in my club take 3-6 months before they even tell us their name & favorite series, and it's a pretty low-stress social environment. So 'geek love' has more than its fair share of obstacles to overcome.
As for the original article and the thread, while I think pin-up art in SF/Fantasy in general is a whole can of clashing commercial vs aesthetic interests and personal opinions (which reserve the right to change daily), I think the main issue is how we as geeks treat each other, especially in clearly-delineated "geek havens".
I've seen the atmosphere at anime & general geek cons get progressively more welcoming and egalitarian to different flavors of people, but it seems like there are still odd little nooks that put out a sense of "go away and don't bother us". Similar deal with some of the comics & game shops (here in NYC), even as retail stores close left and right, there are some shops that act like a woman's money isn't as green or something.