So I half remembered these books I read ~15 years ago involving a special child of some sort that was born--a half-elf, I want to say, and maybe the only of his kind--and I think his mother, who I think was an elf, was around a lot, and there were a ton of elves who lived, I think, forever, and they had a separate world to which they could retreat or some such, and in one of the books the main character was palling around with, iirc, his elf uncle who was also a ship captain and liked to sail his ship around the southern portion of the globe in the super-fast winds coming off the antarctic.
Or something like that.
And that's all I remember! And it's driving me insane!
Anyone have an idea?
I butcher-edited the mess out of that post. Ugh. sorrylol. To try again:
Someone on Twitter--I just peeked in at the #paizocon hashtag--tweeted that Crystal Frasier announced the new AP to be Iron Fang Invasion, involving hobgoblins. And indeed Molthune. Some other various details there.
For whatever tweets are worth, which may not be much, of course. I thought it was being announced later this evening.
The copy of For Queen And Empire from my recent subscription order is damaged at the bottom of the spine. Small area of creasing and warping, I guess--kinda look melted, in a way. My guess would be that it occurred in production as opposed to shipment, though there is slight damage to one corner of the module that shipped with it. So I'unno. This is the first time I've received a damaged product--previous orders have been pristine--so I thought I should check and see if this is just a luck-of-the-draw thing or if I need to see about swapping it out.
Many thanks in advance.
Update: Read Death's Heretic this weekend. It was all right. Fast, easy read. Thought Salim was a fun enough character. Liked the focus of the narrative, how it stuck with Salim and the adventure at hand. Mostly. Thought the manner in which his backstory was buried and presented as a reveal was frustrating, but the main idea there made for a great source of internal conflict. Had some complaints, some disappointments, but I'll spare you those.
Thanks to everyone who recommended it. I'll prolly check some more of the Tales novels out when the opportunity arises.
Also read the first half of the Book of the New Sun quartet. Totally loved it. An absolute joy to read so far. Big, big thanks for that recommendation.
I've always loved the displacer beast (probably could start this thread for the illithid, too, and might someday later), and I think they'll be a blast at my table. I've seen a number of takes on converting it to Pathfinder rules, but honestly/frankly/shamefully I'm not all that intuitive about these things, I never convert at all, and I'm hesitant to do something that'll be unfair to my players or otherwise waste their time. I pretty much stick to Paizo materials, with simple templates being about as fancy as I get with monster builds, so this is kind of new territory for me.
So per the title! Is there a conversion of the displacer beast floating around that you'd recommend? Or do you have a conversion you use? Is it time to start learning to build my own from scratch, and if so of what pitfalls should I be aware and for what general CR should I be aiming? I've got Monster Manuals for 2nd, 3rd, 3.5thrdst, and 5e to reference, for whatever that's worth.
Thanks very much, in advance, for your thoughts and advice.
Always thought it was a better idea than product (the anime adaptations, anyway, having not read the manga), but still am interested, I guess. If it turns out cool, cool.
Also, I'm not usually the sort to get upset over casting diversity and all, but ScarJo's casting strikes me as kinda disappointing at just about every level.
Haven't seen it since the theater, but I thought it was a solid movie. One stupid thing, for me:
Giving Bond and Blofeld the personal connection. So dumb. Wouldn't be surprised if they turn out to be Skywalkers, too!
And the big other:
How many damn endings did this movie have? And then they settled with the drive-away? Bond in love and quitting again? Ugh.
Otherwise, though, I thought it was pretty well back to the way a Bond movie ought to feel, more or less.
If nothing else, it's the best role Dave Bautista will ever have. Suited him perfectly:
Like, no lines. Seriously. Perfect.
So ready for a new Bond actor, though.
Just wanted to shout a big thanks to everybody, again, and also offer apologies one last time to those I've offended. Thread's been a big success for me, though; thanks to your suggestions I've got a glut of fantasy books headed my way. Should keep me buried for a while! We'll see how it goes.
I went with Death's Heretic, on the Tales front. I wasn't so much choosing it over Nightglass as, well, it just kind of worked out that way. So maybe next time on that one
Also grabbed a bunch of (by which I mean waaay too many) things y'all suggested otherwise. Won't bore with the details. But I'm very appreciative and looking forward to checking it all out.
I'm too far down this rabbit hole not to take anything seriously.
Anybody have thoughts on David Farland's Runelord series? That popped in my head earlier. I remember enjoying it but associating it somehow with Robert Jordan's sort of oeuvre.
How about Lawrence Watt-Evans? I remember reading and enjoying the first Obsidian Chronicles book. Seems like something I might enjoy finishing, but that was so long ago I don't recall anything at all but snippets of plot.
Also, Sara Douglass? I know I read her first Axis/Wayfarer book (that cover art, be still my heart) and enjoyed it, but something tells me that might be barking up the wrong tree, at this point in my life.
A note: Aside from the Faded Sun trilogy, I also read the first of Cherryh's Fortress series. It was fantasy. Recall enjoying it. Kind of thinking about picking some of those up.
Ian Irvine's View from the Mirror quartet. I picked the first up because the cover art wowed me so (I am, or at least can be, pretty fickle). Actually really enjoyed those, though, as I recall. Believe he continued that series quite a bit but never read past those first four.
I'm putting together a small pile of a shopping cart. The more highly recommended stuff from earlier is in, and the floodgate of memory has opened to let this rest through. I'm feeling nostalgic, and finding a lot of it cheap, but I'm hesitant to pull the trigger.
And still, not a lot (anything?) in the more explicitly "D&D" mode, but I guess that's okay.
Saying "his prose is so good, sometimes you can't even understand what's going on" made me look by him at first, lol, but gotta say I'm intrigued by The Book of the New Sun and the little bit I've read about Wolfe tonight. Could swear I recognize some of the artwork associated with that title, but I'm certain I've never read it. Making plans to do so soon.
Liane, I like the music analogy, but I'd turn it on its side a little and suggest that 1800's symphonic music and 80s pop probably are doing as many of the same things as not, in the grander scheme. They're both playing songs (to put it as dully as possible; jeez, maybe I am a moron). It's to the audience, both perceived and actual, I'd turn for differentiation: Some people like a fundamentally similar product composed one way more than the other. So they produce it or consume it to suit needs and tastes.
Or maybe not, I don't know, lol. But I'd like to take that notion and slap it right down on the novel. Except in experimental sorts of cases they're all doing the same basic thing in telling a prolonged narrative in prose. Lot of different ways to do that, indeed! That's glorious, and I'm not here to hate on any particular style. Going back to the notion of genre fluidity, I think it's perfectly reasonable to have it all: Any boundary can be crossed, and intersections are everywhere. I guess I'm looking for that perfect intersection, if not of genres at least of styles.
I'm really disappointed this turned into the sort of thing where people (me too!) feel it necessary to defend the right of a person to enjoy a thing. I make idiosyncratic art intended for a fairly small audience. I'm deeply interested in others' art that also fits that bill. I get personal preference. There are things I think make writing good and things I think make it bad, and I've shared that not as any sort of gospel but only to try making clearer what I'd like to read (hasn't work as I'd hoped!). I've no need to convince anyone else that they need to feel the same.
Indeed, I greatly appreciate others' take on writing, even--sometimes especially--when it's critical of what I like. I identify most closely with literary fiction, as far general genre preference goes, but I think you're spot-on in identifying one of the problems with it in that a lack of plotting, of cause and effect or of consequence, makes for a lot of terrible writing. I find myself drawn to tightly-plotted or otherwise cleverly-structured work. "Literary" romances, mysteries, and war stories have been of particular interest to me because of this. And westerns; Cormac McCarthy's enough to get me locked down there all on his lonesome. If we want to blur the edges into another medium, I think the structure of comics like Watchmen and Maus place them among the greatest longer-form stories I've ever read.
At any rate, books that blend great story, great plot, with a high level of prose craftsmanship. That's the thing I want. I think I'm on the right track to finding it, thanks to everyone's recommendations. If I can find that from a high-fantasy, D&D-like sort of book, I'll be all the happier.
Thanks for the heads-up on the sample chapters. I may not be the right audience, but I'm still aiming to give it a try.
Thanks for mentioning Earthsea, Emmit. I didn't particularly enjoy Le Guin, years ago, when I read a very little, but I did think her a skilled writer. She seems like a great candidate to revisit.
And thanks, all, for the further recommendations! Aside from those couple Tales novels, right now, I'm kind of got Le Guin, Sanderson, and Hobb right at the top of the list, not necessarily in that order, but I'll definitely be keeping a list of everything.
James Jacobs wrote:
Lol, same story here. Feels oddly comforting to know I'm not the only one to have that reaction.
Did you watch the (latest) movie version, though? I enjoyed it right well. But I don't mind the comedy-mix on-screen.
I even shamefully enjoyed Your Highness, for the most part.
Jessica Price wrote:
This seems to me belittling and groundless--and a little personal, dunnit? The Twitter-shaming is certainly kind of awful. I think you know that, though. As someone I've seen admirably ringing the bell for inclusiveness, you surely appreciate the open exchange of ideas. I just, you know, don't like fiction that fails to do certain things. That's my opinion; it holds no bearing on what others like. It's not objective. My opinion differs from yours, and that's fine by me! I don't understand why it seems to be a problem for you.
Since you've signed off on the conversation I guess there's no point in saying it again, but I feel purposefully misrepresented. I came here in good faith, acknowledging from the outset limited knowledge and peculiar tastes, and explicitly asked for advice on expanding my base. I said I wanted to read some genre fiction; you excoriated me for not wanting to read genre fiction.
Just doesn't compute.
Again, while I stand by my opinions and requests, I apologize for whatever offense I've caused you. I've had nothing but pleasant interactions with Paizo staff prior to this, and it's certainly not my intent to incite cross-platform vitriol.
Best wishes to you.
Thanks for the recommendations, everyone!
That's two mentions for Nightglass, so I guess it's a definite possibility. "Ocean's 11 with demons" made me giggle; certainly sounds fun. Is the worth reading in a certain order vis a vis the AP, or is it a moot point since those product lines are, as I understand it, quite separate?
I've enjoyed Sutter's work on the RPG books, so Death's Heretic could be a great starting point as well.
Sanderson is definitely the name I hear most frequently these days. General consensus always seems to be to start with the original Mistborn trilogy, right?
I've shied away from that in part because I indeedily-doodily am looking for more "D&D style" than what it sounds like that offers. I really don't think the (sub) genre is outside the possibility of greatness. Again, it's why I'm here. But anyway.
Robb is a name I remember, but I don't think I ever read her stuff. I think teenage-me had that pegged as too romantic a series of books, or something. Though I could be confusing it. Anyway, she'll be right at the jumbled top of my list.
Anybody have opinions, one way or another, or recommendations on C. J. Cherryh? I remember enjoying some of her sci-fi-ier stuff (Faded Sun trilogy, I think?) but never really got into her more fantasy-oriented stuff.
Thanks again, everyone; I'm taking note of all these suggestions, though I don't have a response beyond "thanks!" for each of them. You've given me a number of things to check out. I really appreciate it.
Jessica, hi. Let me, first of all, thank you for your response.
But lol and/or yikes. I've had that version of this conversation far too many times; it's a needless argument. I'm not looking to have it again. I'm not looking to compare degrees and credentials. I came here meekly, admitted my snobbish shortcomings, shared my personal experience, and asked for a recommendation.
I agreed with you in advance that there's a lot of bad "literary" writing, and I'll happily agree with you that there's well-written genre fiction. I didn't come here looking to deride fantasy fiction or genre writing in general. Obviously I'm open to reading genre fiction. I started this thread, seeking recommendations for fantasy novels!
I recognize that genre labels are at best fluid and at worst arbitrary, but they make for useful guideposts, most the time. I feel compelled to throw the scare quotes on "literary" when referring to the style of writing it loosely identifies precisely because it's a problematic term, more accurately signifying a style or manner applicable to any genre. But when I use the phrase "literary fiction," or when I refer to "fantasy" or "sci-fi" or "romance" or whatever, I feel it gets us significantly nearer the ballpark of what I'm saying. To echo your choice of descriptors, "unapologetically" so.
At any rate, "genre" certainly need not be code for "bad." I identified in the post above some things I consider markers of successful writing, of an "entertaining story." It's more than plot points. Regardless of genre, deftly-crafted prose and exploration of the human condition are key for me. These are things that led me to stop reading fantasy years ago, though: I just couldn't find them. Where I came closest, reading authors that strayed toward sci-fi or the literary-friendly magical-realism end of the spectrum, I found better-crafted writing at times but never the kind of fantasy I wanted--D&D/medieval/high/whatever.
I'm not saying it didn't exist then or that it doesn't exist now. I simply couldn't find it. There's no reason it shouldn't exist. Indeed, I'm here looking for it again. I love the Pathfinder RPG and it's world, y'all are running a good show, and I genuinely do not know how I could've come at this any more politely or forthrightly. I just want to check out a Tales novel, and I'm hoping it'll be one that meets my criteria, or my wishlist, if you will, for good writing. So I shared and asked.
Again, thanks for responding. I really appreciate your recommendation--per its description Nightglass certainly seems ripe for introspection and discovery--but must confess too that I found your tone unnecessarily confrontational. A bit supercilious, honestly, though I'm sure we can laugh together at that since I'm the one talking about "literary" fiction, after all. :)
Thought this would be the most appropriate place for this; apologies if it's not.
I got on a nostalgic kick this last week and picked up copies of the original Dragonlance Chronicles trilogy and then the Icewind Dale trilogy. Haven't read them since the 90s. No big deal, I guess--except that I haven't touched a fantasy novel in over ten years, now. Fantasy novels were a huge part of my teenage years. Even beyond D&D, actually gaming, I consumed everything on which I could lay my hands. But there came a change.
I turned into kind of a snob. While I was in college, I got a taste for "literary" fiction. Don't get me wrong; there's a lot of horrible stuff being put out every day in that scene, too. But as I got my little bit of edumacation, I developed a love for good prose. Vibrant writing that jumps off the page. That doesn't rely on cliche. That speaks to the human condition. Lot of "literary" folks were doing that, and it really spoke to me. I's reading Denis Johnson and Sam Lipsyte and Joy Williams. Times were good.
But I couldn't find fantasy authors doing the same. I couldn't bear to read my old standbys anymore. Like, I couldn't finish Robert Jordan's WoT series--stopped, literally, a hundred pages from the end of the ninth or so book, wherever I was. Could do no more. RA Salvatore the same. I won't provide an exhaustive list of the foibles of my delicate tastes, and I'm not aiming to dump all over those guys or anybody else, but they turned into a big source of disappointment. So many writers did. For me. So many writers were writing about worlds I enjoyed, but via ponderous styles and uninspired ideas and a refusal or inability to speak to anything meaningful in real life, they lost me. I gave up.
The last fantasy novel I read was Martin's third Song of Ice & Fire entry. I actually didn't hate his prose, as I recall, but it was so long before the next came out that I'd been out of the game for too long. I didn't even try (though some tell me I saved myself some trouble there anyway; that's neither here nor there). I'd sadly gotten out of RPG's, and I spent almost ten years out of gaming. Truly a shame.
A few years ago, though, I found a small clutch of unpainted minis tucked away in the storage shed. I pulled them out and decided to paint them. Then I went looking for some D&D stuff. A few weeks later I was playing a 2nd Edition D&D game with some folks I met, forming my own Pathfinder group (I'd really liked 3.x and all), and beginning a ridiculous collection Pathfinder RPG books. Truly a blast.
I enjoy the core books, but that's mostly a matter of rules and the like. I really dig Golarion--[u]The Inner Sea World Guide[/u] set my imagination aflame again. I've enjoyed reading the Campaign Setting and Player Companion entries, or at least a number of them. But aside from enjoying gaming again and digging the setting fluff, I've found I absolutely love reading the AP modules. The adventures. I'm a weirdo and don't even read the story entries; I still feel a weird hangup about reading genre fiction. The adventures feel like technical writing in a weird way--it's all the marvelous world building and scenarios, the plot of the story, without the burdensome style and horrible characters and devices and cliches and all the awful that's branded on my mind from long ago.
But being the ever-flip flopping sort of fellow I am, I've started eyeing the Tales line. I'm wondering--would I like it better now? Would I be in the spirit again? Could things have improved? This is Pathfinder, and I really like Pathfinder. Should I take a chance? If so, which would be the book with which to start?
If you could just one (or two, or, say, a trilogy at most), which Pathfinder novel would you recommend to a book snob who loves the PFRPG and loves well-crafted prose and wants meaningful human conflict in his plots and hasn't read fantasy in over a decade?
Fair enough, but he just embodies the vibe for me, I guess.
I don't feel that obligated to the overly literal when making such a comparison, though, especially based on something as already problematic as the static D&D alignment system. Closer to home, even, I've difficulty thinking of the LN, and even LE, variants as anything other than paladins of a different order.
Anyway, he fits a certain vision of a paladin in my idiosyncratic head.
I built an NPC rogue a while back to take advantage of sneak attack with the elven curved blade. Wondering now--don't have Ultimate Intrigue yet but having just seen people talking about Starry Grace, which I take it is for starknives specifically, being "starry" and all--if there's a feat out there like Starry Grace that would allow one to go DEX-and-a-half with the curved blade.
^Pretty sure/assumed he did.
Also, just to double back and (maybe foolishly, but why not) double down on what I's originally getting at: Using a point-buy, people can generate the same exact numbers every single time. Using a rolling method, they're almost guaranteed to get different results. I think think that's a helpful thing, as it injects a little randomness into what might be best for a PC's creation at any given time.
Our current group formed through the public school system where we were working. A little weird at first, maybe, while we figured out how chummy we could be outside the workplace, but we quickly discovered we're all just big dorks, and we've had a blast. I'd like to think, anyway, that sharing the hobby, coming together for a tabletop game, puts everyone on even enough footing. Though I'm sure that's not always the case. So, yeah. Some feeling out probably required.
No bosses involved; that might be really weird, I'unno.
Biggest thing, while four of the five of us were all working in the same building, was that we'd lose a decent chunk of each session gabbing about work. Which wasn't awful, or anything; just kind of went with the territory, I guess.
Why I's talking about a rolling setup that lends itself to scores over 10, as does 4d6-1. Add in the three-sets variant.
Not suggesting it'll fix the issues for folks lamenting that other classes supposedly can do things better, etc., but, again simply that it'd make abilities/skills at least a little friendlier than when compelled to lower them to negative modifiers at the outset.
Lol, I guess. I'm just talking about getting those low stats up so they'll be, or at least feel, more effective in play. Changes the mindset as much as anything else, since that's an issue for some folks. Of course more important stats still will get the higher number, but it avoids forcing stats lower simply to bump another higher. I think it encourages parity, or at least competence; more people can be better at more things.
Love that donjon generator. Haven't used one of the maps in a game, but I've generated some really fun ones.
To echo Deadmanwalking, I haven't made a pass at building my own world in a long while because I like Golarion so much. Most I've done is create some cities and villages in some areas to meet specific ends.
My biggest thing is that I always have to remind myself not to be disappointed when my players inevitably want to leave the area I've developed and am super thrilled about to head just anywhere else at all. 'Cause it always seems to happen, lol.
I can get totally on board giving fighters some more skill points.
Down those lines, in a broader sense, how about ditching the point-buy system? With a typical ~4d6-lowest format one can do away with the dump stat. I mean, I see how that might be a problem for some folks, but by making things less evenly distributed they seem to me to get more fair. Everyone's still going to be better at some things than others, but if one can "dump" a 12 into CHA instead of a 7 or 8 it makes a difference. Especially combined with some skill-point flexibility.
Regarding "fudging," is it crazy to think that "gamemaster" has "master" right there in the title for a reason?
I really don't understand why a GM would hide, or lie about, fudging, and there're limits to everything. But to call a GM's manipulating numbers "cheating" seems silly to me. It's fine to refuse to play in a game run under such an assumption, of course, but I think it does misrepresent the gamemaster's role. The GM isn't a plug-in component for throwing the bad guys' dice but rather the whole game. S/he creates the game for the players in an act that necessarily must transcend the numbers. Even all the rules, and the dice, must run through the GM, or else they're meaningless. They're never unfiltered.
By way of analogy, s/he isn't the ref who rolls the basketball onto the court and then referees the game, though that's certainly part of the job. Rather, the GM is the ref and the ball and the court and the goals and even the crowd. S/he's the other team. S/he creates, embodies it all for the players. The rules exist outside ref/GM, but they're subject to his/her observation and understanding and judgment. Some calls will be missed. Makeup calls will be made. It's a human component, which means there will be human error.
It's inevitable on some levels, and I think it adds to the game. I'd rather embrace than fight it. Use it to the GM's advantage. To hearken back to someone's post earlier: It is indeed shared storytelling. To deprive the GM of the authority implicit to the role of storyteller, as master of the game, is no better than denying the player his/her agency in interacting with the game.
I guess that's right in line with most the lamentations for game balance: People want the numbers (and/or/not-just the dice) to resolve all issues. I understand the impulse, but I'm not sure it's plausible. Nor that it's necessary, really. Even if we can errata our way to a better fighter or rogue or whatever (mark me down for being one terrified of a new edition; I have waaaay too much invested in the current setup), which I think it'd be just fine even if I don't feel the same need for it, it still takes a GM running an adventure to make it mean anything.
RE: treasure charts
Following the "Treasure Value per Encounter Table," you get a general idea how much treasure should accompany each encounter. They have it broken down for each advancement track, too, so however you're doling out XP you're covered. For a party at level 1, Medium XP, the average treasure received in an encounter is 260 gp.
Not every encounter will lead to treasure, of course. If you want to give bigger rewards for an encounter it's easy to balance that by providing less treasure elsewhere. PC's might face an NPC carrying 750 gp worth of equipment, for example. Later, however, an encounter might present animals or oozes of some sort that do not carry any treasure at all. Or they might gain XP via a social encounter, and no treasure. So it averages out over time.
One (obvious) thing I often like to do, especially with dungeon delves and the like, is include a larger horde, say with the BBEG. Or a big item of much greater value. So if I have a big mountain of treasure at the end, I'll give a little less along the way to it.
Following the "Character Wealth by Level" chart, you get a general idea of how much wealth--money, items, weapons, everything--a character should have at each level. So by level two each member of the party should have about 1,000 gp of stuff. So as you're going you can plan your treasure accordingly, so that the encounters it takes to provide the XP to hit Level 2 also provide the money/items to hit 1,000 gp at level 2.
So at level 1 or 2, even maybe 3 or 4, items like you're talking about probably wouldn't be appropriate for PC's to have. They simply cost too much--meaning the items are likely too powerful. As the PC's advance and become more powerful, you'll be able to let them acquire more powerful items.
Kyuss's Welcome To Sky Valley.
And then what is apparently a deluxe edition of the Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness of which I'd not heard tell. Because they're remastering and releasing anniversary editions of the soundtrack to my teenage years.
I'm getting old.
Anywho. Listening to that new Druid album now. Pretty all right through a couple tracks. Seemed like it started hitting its groove toward the end of that long opening track.