Marco Massoudi wrote:
It is worth observing there here, as with the first Starfinder AP Dead Suns the entire first Adventure Path for the new rules system is being written in-house at Paizo. Every single one of the authors of Age of Ashes works in The Pit.
From a practical perspective, this means that Paizo did not have the added complexity and difficulty of changing the rules at the same time as having to communicate those rule changes to freelance AP authors. From a practical standpoint, looking to freelancers for the first AP of a rules system that has not been released yet just won't work.
And even with the second PF2 AP, which will feature freelance authors, it's still going to very much be a case where the freelance authors contracted to write those volumes are still largely going to be "at sea".
I don't think we will witness the power of the fully operational Pathfinder Adventure Path until early 2021. By that time, the new rules will be fully integrated into the thinking of freelancers.
Mind you, in my experience, so many of Paizo's freelancers are in the "Adventure Author" sub-genre of RPG fans. Very few of them play regularly and even fewer GM regularly. This can be a problem in integrating a new rules system into the adventure design (yes, this is what development passes are for, but still.)
I do hope Paizo, in assigning the first volume of the new PF2 AP to Amanda Hammon leaves this poor woman with a better assignment than the one she got for Dead Suns Vol 3. I am dead certain she can write better than the Procrustean Mess of an AP volume that Splintered Worlds ended up as a result of Starfinder RPG's development. (Personally, I'd have keyed Rob McCreary's car over being stuck with my name on Dead Suns 3!)
GameMaster Since 1st Ed wrote:
To be fair, it's not about that. It's about using this release of PF2's Adventure Paths to re-calibrate their release schedule so that a new AP begins in January of a calendar year, not February.
Paizo's business model began as a subscription based accessory replacing a magazine subscription. The release of PF AP #1 was tied to a release date in August (Gencon). They have been fighting against the logic of that release schedule for 12 years.
They are now taking the opportunity to fix it and have their 2 APs coincide with the calendar year. In order to do that, they need to release essentially 3 volumes of PF AP all near each other in late July. That's it, that's all. Tyrant's Grasp will end off that AP in July (as expected) and the first new volume of Age of Ashes will also drop in July, too (August 1 essentially) with Vol 2 of Age of Ashes a week later at Gencon.
I do wonder very much at your anger though - and I think you are a little off at sensing what the existing customer base wants. I am a PF1 enthusiast (indeed, a PF1 superfan would be a fair label) and I have no immediate plans to play or run PF2. At all.
That said, the idea that I would unsubscribe from Pathfinder Adventure Path is total heresy to me. Even if I never run a PF2 AP under PF2 -- I certainly will do so under PF1 rules. And I will continue to buy them if only for that purpose. And if I come to play or run PF2 over time, then I will have them for that purpose, too. Either way, I'm covered. Most Pathfinder AP subscribers are quite invested in the Campaign setting and the product line. Many of us have been here since we converted over our Dragon/Dungeon subscriptions with Burnt Offerings (PF AP #1.)
Your anger and your purchasing plans are your own. You are wholly entitled to them. But I think you do need to consider a bigger picture. In particular, you need to be able to sense and slot whatever your resentment is in comparison to others and understand how your views may not be shared by most other Paizo customers -- and why.
Bottom Line: You are off base here.
I have been using D20Pro (in its various incarnations) for about nine years now. I have used it to GM the following campaigns:
Carrion Crown AP
D20Pro is far more user friendly than MapTool, and in just about every way, equally as powerful -- or more powerful -- than Maptool.
D20Pro's greatest strength is now the built in code for pre-set spell effects, which are extremely robust. But above all, it is a 64 bit program which allows me to create extremely large and well detailed maps using image sizes that both Roll20 and FG II just cough a fur-ball on and cannot run.
D20Pro costs money. Generally speaking, when it comes to software, you get what you pay for. Often, you get far more than you pay for, too.
From the above list, you are probably wondering "how the hell did he get Call of Cthulhu to work in D20Pro? Well, with some difficulty. At first, I decided I would try to use Fantasy Grounds for it, especially as there was already a campaign add-on for FG for MoN that was available for purchase. So I bought it, fired it up...
And I hated it. Loathed it even. The limits on map sizes, token details and virtually everything to do with the program was horrible. Yes, the die roller is pretty. And HELL YES, the character sheet in FG is more attractive and easy to use.
But it stops there. The ease of building maps and encounters in D2oPro is far higher. The limitations on map building are endless when coming from D20Pro expectations. I found that this enraged me. This analogy is closest: It was as if I was doing my map and monster tokens in Photoshop -- all so they could only be displayed in MS Paint, locked at 800x600 resolution.
That analogy is balls-on accurate. Those are the graphical limitations of both FG and Roll20 as compared to D20Pro.
I use maps which are 6000 x 4000 pixels in size. I have every Paizo flip-mat at 300 dpi resolution in D20 Pro. FG can't run a single one of them.
After three months of [trying to] use FG for my Mon campaign -- I pulled the chute. "Screw it, I will kludge this in D20Pro instead. This just ain't worth it." We switched over to D20Pro for the balance of my year long MoN campaign and I was SO glad that I did.
A few notes on how we use D20Pro that runs counter to perhaps many people's approach:
Firstly, we don't allow players to use a Wi-Fi connection unless they absolutely must. One of our players is often on the road during the week all over North America. He plays from a hotel room where there is often Wi-Fi. He is the only player I allow to do this. Nobody else is permitted to use Wi-Fi. You must have a hard line connection to play.
For students or those living at home with their parents where this isn't possible -- this can be a problem. We are all in our 40s and 50s so that's not an issue for us.
I cannot underscore how important it is for everyone to be using a hardline ethernet connection to play online. Everything goes faster. Video, audio, map load times. It all is undone by the weakest link in the chain, and the problems which do crop up geometrically expand with each Wi-Fi connection in the game.
Don't allow it. Ever. Be an unforgiving hard-ass and your online game will be awesome.
Secondly, you really do need to develop a stable gaming group for play online. So may new VTT players engage in what amounts to pick-up gaming and then complain over the quality of play. It's like comparing a PUG to a long-time guild based Raid group. If you have any experience with WoW, that analogy is accurate. I have been playing with a rotating number of players over the years online, but many of us know one another face to face, and we are all friends. I cannot stress how important that is for success in your games. PUGs generally suck. That is so no matter how great everything else about the game might be. You need players who are committed to the game and the group. If you don't have it? It's not going to work.
When it comes to VTT games, this is how I now game. I had a face-to-face group for about 30 years? Give or take. But for the past ten or so, online games via skype, webcams and D20PRo is how I game. I MUCH prefer it. There is no travel time involved for any of my games I play or run. I have a computer workstation designed for it, with 3x27" monitors. Because there is no travel time involved, I can play in multiple games per week and I don't get any wife complaints about being absent from the home on gaming days/nights.
If my gaming group met across the street, 100 feet away, I suppose that might be okay. But otherwise, give up my VTT based game to play face-to-face again? Nope. Not a chance in hell would I be in favor of that.
Vanessa Hoskins wrote:
And the various Magic Tricks feats, as it turns out, are easily my favorite mechanical innovation this book adds to PF1.
This is a great mechanic that needs to be expanded in 3PP. Very impressed with this mechanic. Not sure who came up with it within Paizo, but Kudos on this whole concept. Love it!
I have a serious technical complaint about the PDF which is available to all subscribers concerning Vol 4 of the Dead Suns AP. I have not checked yet as to whether the same problem is present in Vol 5. The problem is not present in Vols 1, 2 and 3 of the Dead Suns AP.
In previous PDFs published by Paizo -- virtually every single one of them going back to the very first PDF released for Pathfinder, the PDF security is set so that an end user can still use a software tool to extract the images from the PDF file.
In Vol 4 of Dead Suns, I can no longer do this with your PDF file. You have changed some setting within InDesign to prevent me from doing this. I expect this is unintentional -- but unintentional or not, the problem for your end users is significant.
I use the PDFs to create my adventures for use by my players on a VTT. I need to be able to access both the maps and character art within the PDFs to be able to do this. I can't access the character art in this volume and the Character art JPG and PNG image mask is not extractable.
Please appreciate that I subscribe to the Starfinder AP line so that I will have the PDF for the adventure from Paizo available to me to assist me in running my games via VTT. That is the principle reason why I do so. By locking the character images from being accessed and extracted in this fashion, a significant element of the reason I subscribe in the first place has been removed from the product. That's a MAJOR problem for your subscribers as it impacts on its value-in-use when using the product to play Starfinder.
Crystal Frasier wrote:
I posted about this as well in the AP forum in a new thread before I saw this post. My bad.
Time for One last drink before the War?
There is real trepidation here. in the playtest podcast, when skills appeared to be so simplified, CMB/CMD removed and the wholesale rework of magic items still to be explained (only threatened so far), we may well be in for some Old time, Come-to-Jesus, Edition Warring.
I don't know where this all sits just yet; so I don't know where >>I<< sit just yet.
So yes, One more drink before the War.
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
There will be a hardcover AP of Kingmaker, released sometime this year between August, 2018 at Gencon (most likely) to November, 2018 (less likely).
The reason is obvious: Kingmaker is sold out and Owlcat's computer game for Pathfinder: Kingmaker, the first major computer game to feature the Paizo AP is slated to be released between August to November 2018.
Are you seriously suggesting that Paizo is going to see the first release of a major computer game to ever feature their IP -- and they won't even have a print copy of the Adventure Path that game is based on to sell to somebody who wants it? Really? It's Paizo Publishing. The name tells you all you need to know.
Please appreciate that the people who may want it may not even be regular players of Pathfinder RPG. And you think Paizo is not going to have a book to sell to that untapped market -- and maybe gain a longer term customer? Because of something you think that they said on an Internet message forum four years ago? Not a chance.
No way does that happen. The chances of Paizo not having a hardcover compilation of a revised Kingmaker AP, featuring new art and new maps, encounter zones and areas created by Owlcat for the forthcoming computer game (so they can sell the revised AP book to owners of the old Kingmaker AP, too) are... drum roll
ZERO percent. This is a done deal, take-it-to-the-bank, 100% lock.
The only way it doesn't happen this year is that Owlcat says that their game can't ship until well into 2019 -- AND Owlcat tells Paizo this sometime in the next ~60 days or so. Because otherwise, in order to print that book in China and get it back across the Pacific ocean in time for Gencon, Paizo's decision to print will need to be made no later than late April/early May. Basically, less than two months from now. Maybe I'm a liar and it's three months. Whatever the case - the "print by date" is looming.
Alternatively: Paizo decides that "just in time" printing doesn't work for this release, and they decide to print anyway and then -- if they have to -- sit on the book with it in inventory until Owlcat is ready. That's bad for cashflow, as they would have printing costs for the book sitting in inventory *and* storage costs for it, too. That would suck a LOT, actually. I'm sure Paizo doesn't want to do that if it is at all possible to avoid it.
Oh, has Paizo announced the hardcover release for Gencon 2018 yet? Nope. They haven't. Have they ever left an announcement like that this late?
Nope. Never. This is unprecedented. The reason why is Owlcat and the inherent unpredictability of computer game release dates. That's what makes this one different. Paizo isn't sure yet when this thing is going to come out. They hope Gencon - but they aren't sure. This time, Paizo doesn't really control the release date of the book, because they don't control the release date of the computer game.
So they aren't sure that Owlcat will release at that time yet, and the marketing strategy is, to the extent possible, harvest the synergy of hooplah surrounding the computer game to bolster and hype the book's release. It's free publicity in the computer game hobby/website press. Paizo doesn't want to miss out on that.
I suppose this could be all mad, unbridled, baseless speculation on my part.
But, there's still been no Gencon announcement, and everything about what I've said above makes strong commercial sense. It fits the facts.
Mike Shel wrote:
So I can cast "reboot" on this boss, too? :P
You don't scare me anymore, mister!
captain yesterday wrote:
I thought the first asteroid base was the Devourer Cult and the Corpse Fleet had merely been the last people there.
You are correct.
I am suggesting that when the Corpse Fleet operatives entered the base, they had to open the airlock door with an engineering roll -- or strength -- same as the PCs.
When they got it open - they leave it open just a bit -- open the door behind that they came in -- and they vent the atmosphere in the mine into space. They do this because if you are concerned that there were any cultists left behind, this should make it difficult for them. The guys that don't breathe? They don't care.
There are other methods of opening the door that are more destructive in terms of explosive pressure loss/structure damage. But it all ends up in the same place: with a depressurized structure.
My point: why would the Dead guys leave it pressurized when it's a standard advantage to their race to not do so? They don't pressurize their ships, either.
It's not as if the PCs can't go in if its not pressurized. It's just more difficult for the PCs to deal with LowG Zero Atmosphere and having to remain in their armor.
And I suppose it gets rid of any notion of spore traps -- or sickened condition for TEN MINUTES from smelling spoiled food left on a table for a couple of weeks (eye roll).
Except that it doesn't have artificial gravity inside?
In contrast to the thin atmosphere of the asteroid, inside the base the atmosphere is of normal pressure and composition to support most oxygen-breathing life-forms so the cultists could occupy the base without space suits or other environmental protections; however, the area remains one of low gravity.
- Dead Suns Vol 3, p. 11
If the surface of the asteroid was the only problem with the module. I'd be fine with that. Except it isn't. Everywhere in this base we see things which don't fit.
The base is still pressurized? Why? The Corpse Fleet didn't need an atmosphere. Why did they bother cycling an airlock? Wouldn't it have been safer to depressurize it all to make sure what was left inside was dead? Put yourself in the shoes of the Dead Guys for a moment. See what I mean?
A trap for spores that goes through armor's Environmental protection? Why? We just had a Mold Storm that had the strength of evolutionary design on its side in Castrovel; it was *routinely* avoided through the use of any armor. But this one isn't? Why? Put yourself in the shoes of a player. WHY?? That isn't the way the tech even WORKS. It's designed to not take in ANYTHING from outside. It's made to work in a vacuum, FFS. No, "nanospores" slipping through the armor's molecular surface doesn't get you there; all armor, even noob Type 1 armor - generates a personal FORCE FIELD to maintain life support. That's how environmental protection from armor works in Starfinder. But not here; not this time.
Why was the spore trap not disarmed by the Corpse Fleet? They didn't know what the spores were when confronted by the trap. If they triggered it going in and out, why are there still spores in it? Why was the Laser Wall of Death not disarmed? Why do I care that a key card can help disarm a trap if I can't get to the key card before I get to the trap? What's the point of Saving Throws of DOOM in the Laser hall? Why is the data core deleted by the Devourers -- but not really deleted? Why is the data core deleted -- AGAIN -- this time by the Corpse Fleet -- but not really deleted, except the important part?
Again, put yourself in the shoes of the players: They get there, they look, they explore, they investigate -- they are DEFEATED. They don't know if they missed something. As they leave the Asteroid, they will think at that point that they missed something inside there. That is how AP players think when confronted by a conundrum of "no leads". They blew a roll, missed a clue, or >>something<< and the AP appears to be going off course. My players will go back in two more times and check it all over again, taking 20 in every f&!&ing room. Nope. NADA.
They then leave that rock with no leads and what amounts to a total failure. The Trail is LOST. If they were payting attention, they might not know who they are chasing. Or why. It's all foggy and unclear.
Then, suddenly -- POOF -- Opton 1) the bad guys attack, one survivies and we have a new lead where none existed before.
Or, Option 2: Chiskisk comes on the Comm link and tells them to go to Eox.
Doesn't that all feel a little, teensy weensy Deus Ex Railroadia to you if you are a player? Where is the feeling of success, of competence being rewarded?
And we're barely OFF the Asteroid. I fear plumbing the depths of Eox at this point.
Seriously; I am not impressed. At all.
I fear I am plunging into a topic here which does not appear to be covered... but I am having a great deal of difficulty with the description of the surface of this asteroid. Just because we are playing a Science Fantasy game does not mean that the most basic of physics wholly vanishes. My trigger limit for verisimilitude is clearly lower than perhaps other posters' here.
We have an asteroid barely a mile in diameter, and it has a thin atmosphere? No. No it doesn't. And in the asteroid belt -- the Diaspora -- the surface of this asteroid is NOT going to feature a liquid pool of anything; it is an iceball. No, skeletons on the surface are not going to rot -- but they *will* freeze dry and dessicate, so that's not just similar -- it's *cooler*. Sometimes, science leads to more interesting things!
Anyway, these issues became such a distraction that I had difficulty reading the main narrative. I was simply too distracted by the impossible premise.
Pocket planes are one thing; but a small asteroid needs to at least attempt to BE a small asteroid.
What do we want? That's a matter of personal taste, coupled with whether the AP has gone partly/ mostly out of print.
That points to Kingmaker and Carrion Crown.
So what are we going to get? Kingmaker. It's sold out and nearly completely out of print. Only non-mint copies of Vol 3 and 6 are available. It's otherwise completely out of print at the Paizo store.
Determining Factor: There is NO WAY that Paizo is going to miss out on selling Kingmaker when the computer game version is released. Won't happen. This is especially so, given that non Pathfinder players who play the computer game may decide to buy an Anniv Edition Hardcover of Kingmaker on a "some day" basis just out of an interest in the computer game. Your potential market for the book is far larger than any other AP as a consequence. When you can sell a book to non-players? You don't miss out on that.
Kingmaker can do with some renovation. Changes to the modules by substituting/adding in newer creatures from the Bestiaries 2-6, changes to kingdom management, and addressing more foreshadowing of the Part VI end boss which isn't telegraphed as clearly into the AP as a whole as it probably should have been.
And there are potential synergies between new CRPG locales and encounters in the forthcoming computer game which a newly revised print version can explore as well.
Anyway, whether you agree with that take or not, there is no doubt in my mind at all that a Kingmaker Anniversary Edition will be coming, at or about the time of the release of Owlcat Games' CRPG.
I've been running my Musketeers of the Crimson Throne in D20 Pro. I'm a longtime user of D20 Pro in its various versions - nearly eight years now.
In order to prep modules for D20 Pro, you use your own artwork manipulation skills to get the maps into the program. So you will want the PDF version of the Anniv edition at hand. The data for the encounters are purchased from Lone Wolf in Herolab format. You then import them into Herolab and save them off for import into D20Pro (you don't need an uber "full" version of Herolab for this; just the AP encounter file for CotCT). If you already have the PDF for CotCT, this is a lot cheaper than buying it for FG.
But it's more work. The graphical results in D20Pro are WAY better though than any other VTT and you know how the adventure is constructed - to a TEE - as the process of placing those encounters and putting it all together serves as the ultimate tutorial.
I used Fantasy Grounds off and on for a decade and most recently last year (for a time) for running Call of Cthulhu Masks of Nyarlothotep. As a longtime user of D20Pro, every limitation of FG just had me howling in frustration. I must admit, I really came to loathe FG.
But at the same time, D20Pro takes some work getting used to. I vastly prefer it; but it costs money. Its more powerful features (and it is WAY more powerful than any other VTT) also take time to learn. Its interface doesn't look as pretty and its dice aren't as splashy (FG's nicest feature). But everything else about it is graphically superior from the end user's perspective. It's a 64 bit program so it doesn't have the memory limitations that FG's 32 bit engine has. (FG's memory limitations drive me NUTS.)
I recommend D20 Pro for hardcore Pathfinder VTT users. It shines brightest in Pathfinder. The graphical excellence and new rules sets are impressive and outstrip any other VTT. But there's a learning curve. You also have to get to know how to use GIMP2 or Photoshop as well as Herolab to get the most out of it. For many users, this is something they aren't big fans of. YMMV.
I know the Anniversary Edition has been out for quite a while now. I pre-ordered and got it when it was released.
And yes, I flipped through it and was aware of the changes to Scarwall in a notional way, aware of some of the specific changes and I knew that there were others as well. The details of most of this I was content to leave for later exacting reading.
This past weekend, I started preparation in earnest of Skeletons of Scarwall to get it all into D20Pro. It's a lot of Photoshop, Herolab and D20Pro fiddling to do all of this. It's also, by-the-by, excellent preparation to tear a dungeon apart and get everything into D20Pro to understand how it all works and fits together. Oddly enough, the more diverse and spread out the adventure material is, the less getting it all into D20 Pro serves as a tutorial. Sweeping, multiple local adventures don't really benefit from a D20 Pro break down in quite the same way.
But for dungeon crawls? Especially something as massive as Scarwall? Breaking it down and getting all of the details into D20Pro is the ultimate GM instruction tutorial. I frikkin KNOW this AP volume backwards, forwards, and sideways now.
And that, in turn, brings me here with words of praise. HOLY CRAP the revisions to this thing are significant and pitch-perfect.
I am truly, super impressed with the Anniversary Ed version of Skeletons of Scarwall. I had always dreaded running this part of the AP and had built in a massive EJECT button into the campaign early on to sidestep most of it.
While my group is still in the beginning of A History of Ashes, I thought I would spend some Xmas vacation time to just get Scarwall into D20 Pro and see what I would keep. One encounter after another, one room after another, it all sucked me in. Haunts, phantasms, encounters -- one after the other -- just when I thought I was out, it pulled me back in.
So, I have to run all of this, somehow. Major Thumbs Up. The first Paizo Uber Dungeon Crawl got even better; way better. Well done.
The lack of an actual wilderness map for the journey in Ukulam -- let alone the notional position of the Temple of the Twelve is really disappointing.
I know this thing was developed on a shoestring - but things like this really should have been included.
If I sound like an annoyed customer - that is because I am. The shortcuts to presenting a supposed complete product and the budgetary restrictions of this AP really suck. A lot.
Speak for yourself. In Toronto, I have unlimited text, calling and data for $25 a month via Chatr (grandfathered in from Mobilicity - never expiring contract!)
Just a heads up that the sound sets that might be usable for Dead Suns were (and are) of great interest to me.
The problem is, the soundsets that you advertise at the link you posted above say absolutely nothing about Spacedocks, Alien Planets, Cyber-punk discos or a host of other useful locations and creatures.
They don't lead to any link at all which appears to feature those sounds. What's there are links to ship soundsets. This appears to be for ships only.
Now, it may be that everything you say is what is offered for Syrinscape for use with Starfinder. That would be awesome if it was. I think the links you can steer your customers towards can do this if you point them somewhere else...
The problem is, your pages' product offerings are not matching the expectations created by your post (or indeed, the expectations I would have as a GM about to run Dead Suns as shown on Dice Stormers.)
You need to address this mismatch in product description in your links vs customer expectations. The content is there, but it's not as clear to see for a customer as might be preferred.
Alpha? Not even first out. I don't run beta, let alone alpha software. Lone Wolf has had an alpha for months. They showed it at Gencon.
Broken software with features not yet implemented (That is what Alpha software, by definition, is) may be "out of the gate", yes, but it is a gate LWD left long ago.
Cross the line with a bug free piece of release software? Ok. Diff story. PCGen could still win that race, too.
But not there yet.
At the risk of opening a can of worms, I thought Paris' work was so good and useful to all GMs and players, I *ahem* improved its appearance.
If Paizo (or Paris) wants it down, they only need ask.
■ there is a softcover book series for Starfinder (which makes playing catch up with official releases difficult for PCGen)
■ assuming it comes out next month and actually works...
■ assuming the VTT importer for PCGen characters works...
(LOT of assumptions...especially on the VTT side.)
PCGen might actually be truly viable for the first 12 months of Starfinder and maybe develop a real following. But after a softcover series of books comes out where PCGen is hopelessly trying to play catch up with (relative to HLO)? Not so much. Still, that's then; this is now.
But yes, this is a race right now between two software products that aren't ready for wide beta. So I guess we'll see.
Just to be clear, a 10th level mercenary who is tied up is helpless. Not only will he take 2d6 from the tiny pistol (which will hit him for certain as a coup de grace) but he will have to make a Fort check equal to DC10 + the level / CR of the person firing the gun, or die. With every shot, that's the save or die effect in play within Starfinder. This is not an optional rule.
You will observe that in every case, no matter how high in level the mercenary, there is at least a 5% chance of death, even if the one firing the gun is a deaf Centenarian in a wheelchair...
It sounds like, in order to access an electronic version of the character .por file, they would log on with YOUR account and YOUR password to access it in electronic, changeable form on HLO.
You could print it for him, or probably e-mail it to him in PDF form.
But in .por format, he would access that dynamic changeable file via HLO's browser through your account if you have multiple devices available to you.
Now, it may be that it is possible to download a .por file and email THAT to him, and he could upload it to his account and work on it that way. I don't know, they have not mentioned this. But there has to be a way to download a .por file as those need to be accessed by a VTT... so maybe?
Maybe not though. It might be that at least initially, the files flow only one way. You can download a .por file, but not upload one. So there's that. Basically - we're just speculating here, albeit with some solid info as we know that LWD is providing files for GMs to work with to import into D20Pro (because both Herolab Rob and D20Pro Tobias confirmed this at the Gencon seminar). So there is definitely going to be *some* files downloadable. In what form or format? TBD.
In this example, using the word "devices" is a paradigm only. The multiple "devices" for Herolab desktop when transposed to HLO is reduced to multiple simultaneous logins from *any* device, as there is no reliable ability for LWD to actually obtain **specific hardware info** of what is connecting to them via a browser.
To get that information over the web (and that level of security), they'd have to have their own app too, which defeats the system/device agnostic goal of accessing HLO via browser supported by any device independent of OS (PC, Mac,Linux, iOs, Android, etc.).
When assessing anything, it is a safe practice in all things to not attribute to malice or cunning that which can be readily explained by incompetence and human error.
It's a corollary to Occam's Razor. It's usually true.
They screwed up and you may be seeing the consequence of fluctuating plans and imprecise estimates, now showing rough edges as they work to get info out as the pressure mounted. I heard an annual $20-30 fee suggested for a subscription rate being floated initially. They clearly were not sure. Err on the high side? $15.00 for six months was a ballpark value for that. That is how you could get that value diffefence, innocently.
You can be annoyed by it, but they aren't trying to trick us, ok?
That was the elephant in the room.
This issue is addressed directly in the FAQ. Short strokes, if you have multiple devices authorized on your Herolab Online they can all log on to HLO, simultaneously.
It works the same as the desktop version. Not a cash grab.
I expect this lies at the core of your concerns. If I am wrong and misinterpreted, you will no doubt correct me.
Which leaves us with an annual server fee for HLO of $25, Six months server access is free when you buy Starfinder for HLO. After that, the fee kicks is a, which is the part sticking in people's craw the most I expect.
Is the server access element of the subscription somewhat lessened by that free six months up front? Yes. Wholly mitigated? No. I am not sure what I think of it, tbh.
This whole thing is not the disaster people have been painting it as -- but LWD has nobody to blame but themselves for that. The Sound of Silence approach was just dumb, frankly, and all it lead to was angry customers whipping up their own fears, fed by a vacuum of info of LWD's making.
So while the overall product and its plans might not be for you, I will get it. I have no plans at all to switch over my Herolab desktop to HLO though. Nope. If HLO is the only way I can get it for Starfinder, I will do so for a time only for Starfinder and kick the tires.
LWD: Bottom Line: Good software; poor marketing and communication.
While I appreciate that is your perspective, I suggest to you that playing in PFS and Cons can distort your perception of the importance of that element to the broad mass of Herolab users.
PFS, WiFi at cons and operating within a store is a matter which affects only a small minority if Herolab's paying customers.
In short, I think you are projecting your concerns on the broad mass of users. They are not the same thing.
For those who have listened to the seminar at Gencon via Know Direction, there is a big question mark concerning multiple licenses and how those are going to work with HLO. 40-50% of Herolab customers have multiple devices authorized. How that will work for simultaneous server access is "unknown". Rob Bowes said there would be an answer coming, but he didn't know just yet.
To be blunt, the whole of the success of their HLO product launch probably hangs on that issue.
My guess is that explains the silence better than anything else.
If you have not listened to the seminar yet and want more info, I urge you to do so.
Captain's Log [Supplemental] Final Question was a good one. How about this as a suggestion as it would not fit in the entry box on the survey:
I would suggest something significantly useful that people would use that would be within your power to deliver, but that would not tale up massive amounts of time or money to create. A whack of NPCs in Herolab format would seem to fit the bill. It would take you work, but not money. And you could use that as a platform to showcase whatever new rule options you have, too.
If past practice is any guide to future performance, I am sure there will be lots of all of these in the fullness of time.
More generally, I find it very interesting to see the diversity of opinion among Starfinder customers over what flavor they want, what they want more of (Fantasy or SciFi) and in terms of rules. Sometimes the opinions are so varied, it must seem like herding cats to Paizo in order to make sense of it all.
It will be fascinating to see what Paizo does going forward to balance these divergent interests and manage to keep most of their customer base (or even all of their customer base) content, if not happy with Starfinder as it unfolds.
I prevailed upon the guys at Know Direction to have their recording of Lone Wolf/D20Pro/Syrinscape info seminar at Gencon to jump the queue and get posted earlier. Hopefully it goes up tonight or tomorrow on their website.
So at least we will get the information they shared at Gencon in some coherent form.
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
I'm pretty sure they aren't. They are probably gauging the temperature with reference to their own forums, where few go anyway - and where - it being theirs, people are less inclined to vent.
The lack of significant posting on their forums and kicking at the door is leading Rob to think that the demand for info is not really there, that somehow the infor released at Gencon has filtered its way to all of their customers, and that they have more time to do what ever whatever it is that they are doing, or waiting for.
To be honest, I am having a hard time explaining The Sound of Silence. This is really not a good look.
It would be quite easy to reskin the premise of Dead Suns 1 to a Star Wars: Saga Edition game.
Indeed, my instinct it to say it would be ridiculously easy to do so.
I do not see this as a bad thing at all. One of the greatest problems with Star Wars: Saga Ed is that it did not get the robust adventure support for the game from WotC that it needed to succeed. Instead we got rule book after rule book until... we ended up with little more than a system that encouraged class dip (after class dip) but still no real adventures to play...
And the sales weren't there, so when the license came up for renewal and WotC said "no thanks". So it died. Paizo also said "no thanks" to getting the license (a crossroads in time I'd love got Paizo to have again on a do-over) and so we got FFG's Star Wars RPG. (Not my cuppa tea.)
So: could a GM run a new Star Wars: Saga Ed campaign with Starfinder AP providing the backdrop to the adventure, more or less out of the box?
Absolutely. I don't think I would necessarily do it as you propose; I think it requires a little more finesse than that. Still, as we see the rest of the Dead Suns AP unfold, I think it will be easy for GMs read and make some alterations dor those who wish to go down that road. Setting it in the timeline of The Old Republic always works best. So no, not the Empire as such. But the Sith or a group aligned with them? Sure.
In time, I might even be one of the people to want to do this, too. But for now, I am content to kick the tires on Starfinder.
Steve Geddes wrote:
Well these are good points and it scratches the surface of expectations - and why Pathfinder AP is the way that it is.
Remember, Pathfinder AP didn't come from nowhere. And it wasn't designed to do what it does simply so that it could do what it does. That was only party of why it was a 96 page book.
Pathfinder AP was designed so that it would replace the content in two magazines that Paizo had existing subscriptions to fill. They had customers who had subscribed to Dragon -- and an enthusiastic number who had subscribed to Dungeon. Pathfinder AP was designed within the operating parameters of the OGL to service those customers to provide value and fulfill their expectations in terms of product length.
So that was one of the main reasons why Pathfinder AP was 96 pages. The subscribers were expecting a roughly 100 page book to replace the material they were losing from the cancellation of Dungeon and Dragon.
Now, as it turned out, there were benefits to that design which Paizo made work. We know that a max length of 48-50 pages was the most a developer could develop in one month. The balance of an issue of Pathfinder AP had to be something other than the adventure that the developer and author were creating. So it all came together premised upon that base. And Paizo found the formula that worked early on, but they have tweaked it here and there (extra adventure side-treks, in some). And now fiction is gone.
Still, it turns out that 96 pages has a lot of strengths for other reasons that might not have been obvious at the time. That format also supported two APs a year, not just the one that Dungeon had featured, which prompted people to stay subscribed even if the current AP wasn't their cup of tea. Paizo considered that a significant strength at the time. I expect they still do.
For a lot of reasons, mainly cost and uncertainty, Paizo went with a 64 page format for Dead Suns. I've been unhappy with the decision, mainly as it has adversely impacted on the length of the adventure. It seems too short to me; much too short.
But there is a possibility that my sense is wrong headed and is chiefly based on "this is the way it was; this should be the way it continues to be".
For one thing, more than a few people have remarked that they don't finish the current APs that Paizo publishes, or at least, that it takes them much too long to do so. They may have a point.
Dungeon's original format of an AP hoped that a group who played weekly with a 4-6 hour session (maybe leaning towards the 6) could play along with the monthly release schedule and essentially keep up. I am sure that some did, but we all know that most did not.
Fast forward 12 years, and we know that some people still play an AP, beginning to end in a single year. That has to be clear minority of players though. For most of us, it's a lot longer than that. Maybe closer to ~two years. Sessions aren't always every week (many groups play every other week) and what a "session" is varies from group to group, too. The devil is often in that detail. Three hour sessions are not the same as six hours sessions; not even close. Layer on real life and cancellations getting in the way...
Suddenly, we are taking 2 years+ to finish an AP of Pathfinder to level 17. Is that too much time? Yeah, tbh, I think it probably is. Something's wrong here.
So maybe there is something to be said for shorter APs? It's not what my knee-twitch is saying, but I admit the possibility that perhaps my knee-twitch is wrong.
Or maybe what I would rather play (in Pathfinder terms) is a story arc then ended at level 10-12 or so, across 4 x 96 page books with a satisfying conclusion in 12 to 15 months. Instead of one that plays 6 x 96 pages and ends at level 17 in 2 years+.
Maybe they aren't wrong about this after all. Still bugs me though.
The obvious is a "Starships of the Pact Worlds" hardcover, providing:
● New themes, feats, and archetypes for pilots and engineers;
● Expanded role actions and optional additional roles for larger adventuring parties;
● New and expended optional rules for Starship combats and fleet engagements;
● New rules for use of Starships within atmosphere, gas giants, and below the sea;
● New weapons, components, computers and upgrades for Starships;
● New optional rules for commercial Starship construction
● New Codex and a crap ton of stat blocks and illustrations for military, commercial and scientific/exploratory ships of the present and the past eras of the Pact Worlds, including some ships of the Pre-Drift engine era.
THEN, base your Pawns off of that book for additional bang for the art buck.
Add a couple of flip-mats of the better ships. Bob's your uncle.
320 pages, $49.99 Coming Soon. Hugs and kisses.
Well, I can't comment on that. But I do know that one unhappy commercial interaction does not a brand - or overall corporate goodwill - make.
I would underscore the importance of this by pointing out that when WotC licensed Dungeon and Dragon to the then brand new Paizo in 2002, WotC thought they were just licensing the right to publish a magazine for five years. They didn't think they were licensing their brand's goodwill (because you don't often get that back).
And maybe they were just licensing two magazines. But the problem was that they took steps to insulate their creative staff from interacting with customers online during this period, too. Add to that the fact that key creative talents who developed D&D 3.0 and 3.5 left the company and WotC staff suffered a creeping loss of legitimacy in the eyes of their customers. It wasn't terminal, but it was real.
The real problem was that while WotC was "managing" its staff and discouraging online interactions, Paizo was not. And at the same time, they were writing columns, monthly, and answering reader mail in the magazines. They became the spokespeople for the D&D brand, by default.
So after five years, it was Erik Mona and James Jacobs who had become the people who were most visible in being the people behind D&D. Whether that was true in substance or not, that didn't matter. They had powerful credibility and goodwill.
Layer that on top of the OGL, subscriber lists and a vision -- and very few subscribers asked for their money back. They wanted more; they bet on Pathfinder AP. And so here we are. *gestures around*
Do not underestimate the importance of interacting with customers online in a positive way, or sell Paizo short in how well they do it.
It is literally why we are communicating on this Message Board over a decade later. They do it exceptionally well.
It certainly was not. Paizo staff go out of their way, daily, to explain the game, their products, and the reason for their decisions. They do it every day. Out of their own time. Every. Single. Day.
They have done it for more than ten years. It is a hallmark of their relationship with their customers. It is exemplary.
Contrast it to the position, over the years, where TSR or WotC employees (doesn't matter which edition) were deliberately insulated from and discouraged from interacting with customers online.
It is a night and day comparison.
And to be clear, Lone Wolf Dev is normally very good at it, too. My guess is that LWD was concerned about promising a release date in an environment full of uncertainty which can just antagonize the hell out of people. I get that, totally.
Problem is, such silence (however well intended) allows people to make up their own views, those get repeated and suddenly somebody else is writing your news releases for you. Right or wrong, it affects your goodwill so you need to get ahead of it.
Yes it was.
I would observe, however, that Lone Wolf is in the business of selling things through the internet. That's the entirety of their business relationship with their customer base. 100% of it. They communicate with their customers through that medium.
So when they don't do that, or they do so with insufficient clarity == misinformation, speculation and unhappiness among some of those customers will inevitably result.
That may happen because the people involved have other priorities. Family, business, health, sanity. All of them may be excellent reasons.
That's fine too. They get to set those priorities.
But what you don't get to do is set those priorities and then complain when the foreseeable consequences of those priorities come to pass.
It's called customer goodwill and you need to take care of it. If you don't because other things are more important to you at the time? That's fine. You make your choices.
But you do have to live with them. You don't get to have it both ways. Nowhere else should that be more clear than on the Paizo Message Boards which are a model of enhancing customer goodwill on a daily basis.
I have purchased Herolab - all of it for Pathfinder (and a few more systems on top of that, too) and I will continue to do so.
I will purchase Starfinder for Herolab, whether that is Online or Offline. I have been (and will continue to be) a loyal - if not enthusiastic - customer of Herolab and Lone Wolf.
That said, I am NOT HAPPY about being forced to move to an Online model only though with Starfinder, nor am I pleased about incurring a yearly fee to access it. I have not been provided with a choice here.
And I don't like that. Not one little bit.
Most of all, I am less than enthused that more code uncertainty and vectors for difficulty in delivering a timely product have been layered on top of a new Starfinder product for Herolab so that it is not available on release of the game.
I wanted a timely product. I'm not getting it. That's it. The rest is simply excuses. It's either on time or it isn't. There is no room to finesse that statement.
Given the difficulty and uncertainties ahead, it may not be until 2018 until we get a working, stable, bug-free version of this software. Am I happy about that? No. I'm not frikkin happy about that -- and I am not going to PRETEND that I am, either.
It would be one thing if Lone Wolf Development had released a stand-alone version of the software on release of Starfinder with SFO to come later. Instead, we are left hanging with delays, uncertainties, beta-testing and all that comes with biting off more than they could comfortably chew.
So now I have a game with no character management software, no tactical console, no nothing. What I have are promises of there is a "beta coming".
Beta, schmeta. What I wanted is reliable software I could use with my new game upon its release. And now I don't have it.
So no, I'm not happy about that. It was entirely foreseeable too. There isn't anyone who has worked in software development who would not have said "they'll probably be late". It's as surprising as day following night.
Well let's get to my heart's desire then:
Never mind on the kind of tale you want to make or believe will sell best. Paizo developers are well able to make that determination on its own.
I would ask that, where possible, you leave the nature and degree of magic (and the flavor of same) somewhat mutable at the instance of the GM. Some GMs will want to emphasize it more; others less.
If Starfinder AP is to remain on an every-other-month schedule?
I want a 96 page Starfinder Adv Path book, not a 64 page book. Yes, I'll pay more for it.
If it is to move to every month?
I'd still prefer a bigger book every month and will pay more for it, too, I'll accept a shorter one more readily if it's published monthly.
Short Strokes: MORE PLEASE
Short answer: Yes.
Longer Answer: Yes, but if you try to outright strip away all Undead, you will probably seriously undermine the utility of many adventures and expansions. Better to come to some pseudo-biological explanation you can make youself comfortable with on that score and downplay it.
There is a point where the benefits to using a current system can be undermined by varying the default assumptions too much.
Frames Janco wrote:
Yes, on maps - Is there any avenue of getting the "player view" version without the markers (numbers, letters, etc.) on them? Or do I need to dust off the old Photoshop fingers?
A simple copy+paste of the image from the PDF into GIMP will show you that the layer being copied is separate from the layer with any lettering of numbering on it.
In short, no need to dig out Photoshop for that purpose.
Fixing up the unfortunate crop at the top of the Fusion Queen map, however, will take a good long while in Photosop to recreate the 1/3rd of the top row that has been cropped from the map. Because of the encounter setup and wall placement, you can't just crop out the rest of the affected Row as the NPC is literally fighting from that exact position.
It's a rush to get these products printed for Gencon and consequently, errors do happen.
Go back to page 11. Before the "Info Check Tables" begin - there is this all important and over-riding piece of advice provided by the author:
All of the following two pages of information on those charts is just a summary; a guideline of info that is to be obtained. It isn't a hard and fast outline in any manner. It isn't intended to be.
GMs need to do some work here. Rob McCreary couldn't do it because of the space limitations of the 64 page format - where only about half of that is adventure text. In short, Part 1 of Vol 1 of the AP has been dehydrated. You need to rethink how all of this will best be investigated and revealed, add boiling water and stir.
Regarding the infosphere, I didn't even require a check. We all just assumed it would exist and the PCs would know how to access it.
I think that approach is entirely fair and reasonable. In this society, it is baseline assumed technology; a bedrock of civilization along the order of "we have electric power" and "we have the net".