Hey customer service peeps!
Been a long time since I've really had a subscription running, so I'm not sure if there's been any changes.
I've just noticed that the next RPG line book is the Villain Codex, which I don't really have much need for (I rarely run games anymore, I only really resubscribed for Strange Aeons and Horror Adventures, and maybe a new Bestiary). Is there a way to skip a single product on a subscription now, or do I still need to cancel the sub and restart later if I want the product after it?
If it's necessary for me to cancel to not get the villain codex, please cancel my PFRPG subscription.
Thanks in advance.
Originally posted on The Grassy Gnoll (Original post includes some examples of cover and interior art).
I recently posted my first RPG review, for Angry Hamster Publishing's first game, WITCH: Fated Souls, over on my blog. Fair warning, this is a fair chunk of text (I really need to get better at keeping things short and sweet). I'll separate things out into spoiler tabs to make it a bit easier to read.
What is WITCH: Fated Souls?:
I was going to try to give a brief description of what Witch is, then I realised that had already been taken care of for me with the blurb on the back of the book. So I’m going to be exceedingly lazy and just copy that here:
WITCH: Fated Souls is a dark, modern fantasy role-playing game. You play a member of the Fated, a person who has sold their soul to a demon for power. The mysteries of magic and the countless wonders of our world are now yours.
While you explore the cosmos you must be wary. Hunters and other antagonists lurk in the shadows ready to strike, but most of all, watch out for your demon. Can you beat your demon at their own game and regain your soul? Embrace your fate and find out.
I think that’s a pretty good summary of it. You’re a Fated… or a Witch… or a Warlock. Basically you can call yourself whatever the hell you want, the point is that you’ve made a deal with a demon of some kind, and sold them your soul for power and knowledge. You might not have known this is what you were doing, or perhaps the deal was made on your behalf (the old “sell your first-born child” routine is a good example of this), but one way or another, there’s a supernatural beastie out there with a rather important part of you, and they’ve given you the power to give reality a swift kick in the nethers at will in exchange for it. Which is where the driving theme of this game comes in…
So you’ve got no soul… What are you going to do about it?
What are you planning on doing about your lot in life? Are you going to just accept that your soul is gone, and make the most of your powers? Are you going to hold out hope that you can get it back somehow, despite most Fated believing it’s impossible? Will you bargain with your demon for more power, despite what it may cost you or, worse yet, your friends and loved ones? The way I see it, at its core, WITCH is a game of coping with a very personal loss, and what that loss drives you to do. There are other motivations and themes of course, but that’s the big one for me.
Honestly, it feels very New World of Darkness (or more correctly, Chronicles of Darkness (CoD), as it’s known since the changes in ownership and so on earlier this year) , so much so that I almost suggested Witch: The Fated to fit the CoD naming pattern as a joke when the call for suggestions for names went out during the Kickstarter campaign. The modern setting with a hidden world of magic in it feels almost exactly like the idea behind CoD, the concept of a “world like our own, but with deeper shadows.” Everything familiar is there, in terms of technology, social structure and so on, but there’s more to it. The things that go bump in the night are real, and the world is a scarier place than we realise. Given that the CoD games are collectively one of my favourite settings (with the exception of the God-Machine, but that’s a rant for another day) since I burnt out on traditional fantasy RPGs a few years ago, so this is kind of perfect for me.
The setting section does have some really solid work detailing the history of the world and the current setting, as well the other planes of existence. It’s a fun read, and definitely a good starting point for a GM looking to run a game. The creatures section of the book is a bit short, but what’s there has plenty of variety and provides a good feel for the kind of foes your players will come up against. The sections with important characters and descriptions of the various types of demon are a nice touch as well There are definitely some bits that could use more fleshing out, but that’ll hopefully come with time as more books are released. I know there’s at least one more book that’s been announced, so I like the odds.
One thing I want to mention, but can’t go into too much detail on, is that I really appreciate the inclusion of a section dealing with the end game. It’s not just a case of “kill bad guys, adventure ends, characters retire.” There’s a real mystery inherent in the setting for the characters to work towards uncovering, and I personally think it’s fantastic. Plenty of suggestions are provided on how to run it for members of each Fate, and it’ll make it much easier for GMs wanting to run long campaigns to come up with a satisfying conclusion when they’re finally ready to wrap it up.
The Fated come in seven varieties, again reminiscent of the clans, lineages and so on from the various CoD games. Each is beholden to a different type of demon, and have their own spells and special abilities and weaknesses.
Character creation involves choosing your fate, then using a point based system to purchase your beginning attributes, skills, spells, pursuits and talents, with each having their own pool of points. Attributes are very similar to the old familiar d20 ones with a few additions. This is one area I actually wish they had pared it back a bit, for example I think Charisma and Manipulation could have been covered by the same attribute, as could Perception and Wisdom. Skills are the usual hodgepodge of utility (stealth, intimidation, knowledge and so on) and combat skills (explosives, ranged and melee). Pursuits are a measure of how well off your character is in various aspects, ranging from wealth to prestige in the magical society. Talents allow you to customise your character’s skill in certain aspects of their magic, and give you additional bonuses for talent that you chose to specialise in. Honestly, some of the talents are more useful than others, meaning you’d be very unwise to not take at least some ranks in them (Casting in particular is very important, as it straight up adds a bonus to your rolls for casting spells). Spells are arranged into sets a cantrip and six cantos. The cantrip is free but the cantos must be purchased in order from lowest to highest for each spell. Finally, when it’s all done, you get given a pool of “freebie” points, usually 10, that can be spent on anything you choose for varying costs (a canto will cost you all 10, while a skill or pursuit rank will only cost 2).
Like I said, I think attributes could have been simplified a bit, and skills could probably use the same treatment (is there really a need for an explosives skill in a game about people who sold their souls for magic?), but I guess the advantage is that it’s pretty familiar territory for anyone who’s played a game with a similar attribute/skill system, could make for an easier transition to the new system. I like the talents, but think they could have used a little more balancing so that there wasn’t such a clear advantage to taking one over the others, likewise some of the focus bonuses range from being very useful to being flavourful but kind of useless. Buying spells is simple, no issues there. The only bit I’m really not sure about is pursuits. I feel like they could have been condensed a bit. For example, having both Funds and Property feels a bit odd to me, I’d have just made a single one called Resources. As it is, if you want a rich character with a nice house, you have to buy sufficient ranks in both pursuits, which means you’re restricting how much you can do with other pursuits. It’s a good idea, I think it just needed another pass.
Character advancement is handled through incremental improvement rather than levels. You save up XP until you have sufficient to buy the next rank of whatever you’re looking for, then away you go, hopefully with some role-playing justification for how you’re improving. Simple, easy to understand, and perfectly functional. However to increase your Spell Level and become able to learn higher level cantos, you have to earn a separate type of XP called Spell Experience. Once you’ve got enough of that, you can summon your demon and barter for more power. The player is guaranteed to increase their Spell Level, the question is what their demon will ask for in exchange. I’m a big fan of this as it changes advancement from a plain power increase to a chance for some really great role-playing. There are also optional rules to use a Devils Deck, which can be purchased from Angry Hamster Publishing (I have one from the Kickstarter, and it’s gorgeous), as a tool to try and get a more beneficial deal out of your demon, though it also gives the demon a chance to force things further in their favour if they’re lucky.
The core resolution mechanic used by WITCH is one that’s going to be familiar to pretty much anyone who’s played a d20 based game before. You’re given a target number for your task, which you attempt to beat by rolling some dice and adding appropriate modifiers depending on difficulty of the task and your character’s capabilities. The average difficulty for a roll is 13, but this can be adjusted as needed by the GM for easier or harder tasks. A natural result of 2 is a botch (you fail horribly), while a natural 20 is a critical success (you did what you were aiming to and then some). The only real difference here is that instead of rolling one d20, you’re rolling two d10 and adding them together, meaning the probability map of potential results is a bell-curve rather than equal chance of any result you get from a d20. Long story short, this makes it more likely that your outcome is going to be somewhere around the average of the two dice, with very high or low results being statistical outliers, so your modifier values are very important. Overall, pretty standard though. It works, it’s simple, so I’ve got no complaints.
Skill rolls are a pretty standard affair. Pick a skill and appropriate attribute, roll 2d10, and add it all together. Dexterity + Athletics could be used to chase someone down, while Strength + Athletics could be used to lift something heavy. Opposed rolls are the same thing, but you’re trying to beat what the opponent rolls. Talents can be used in a similar way, for example using Intelligence + Casting to determine what spell someone is casting, or Wisdom + Potions to help identify useful ingredients for brewing potions.
Combat is once again going to be familiar to anyone who’s played before. You roll initiative to determine the turn order (2d10 + the higher of Dexterity or Perception), then everyone gets their turn. Like most games, you get an action and movement. Attacks are rolled as 2d10 + Dexterity + Melee/Ranged skill as appropriate, and the goal is to beat the opponent’s Combat Difficulty, which is 11 + Dodge (though certain other factors may adjust this). If you hit, you subtract any armour value your target has from damage, then apply the damage. As you take damage, you’ll start to take more penalties to your actions, to represent the wounds you’ve received. There are special manoeuvres and so on available, but that’s the basic gist of it.
Casting spells gets a little more complicated. While cantrips can be cast at will, casting a canto requires a roll. The roll is the same as normal (2d10 + Spell Level + Casting Talent), with the target depending on the difficulty rating for the canto you’re attempting to cast. However, as you repeatedly case the same canto in a day, the chance of botching the casting increases. For example, if you’ve cast canto I of a spell three times, you’ll now botch on a roll of 2 – 5 instead of just a natural 2. Where this gets really bad is if you push yourself stupidly hard, raising the botch chance for a canto to 15 or higher, and you botch the casting roll, you create something called an Eternity Chasm, something described as a magical atom bomb capable of causing untold horrors (effectively giving the GM a chance to do whatever the hell he wants for a bit, including causing a total party kill if the situation is dire enough). Additionally, the botch chance only lowers at a rate of one per night of rest, or when the GM decides something exceptional has happened to justify it, so overusing a single canto can lead to problems very quickly. I really like this mechanic, it adds some real risk to the casting, while still allowing players to access their abilities if need be, unlike the Vancian casting system often used for magic, where once you’re out of spells for the day, you’re done. Performing rituals and brewing potions function in the same way, just substituting the appropriate talent for the Casting talent when making the rolls. It’s also possible to botch these rolls, and the chance of doing so increases in the same way as for spells, but I’m not sure if it’s possible to trigger an Eternity Chasm off them (if I find out the answer, I’ll come back and update this). Mechanically speaking rituals are basically learned spells that have specific incantations and so on required for them. Potions are bottled spells triggered by drinking them.
There are guidelines for altering spells to suit your character more, but as this is really up to the player and GM to negotiate, I’m not going to go into that here. There are also higher level spells, but they tie into a lot of GM only setting details and end game information, so I’m not going to talk about that. Artefact creation rules seem pretty standard (choose abilities, set difficulty, roll etc.) so I’ll leave that alone too.
Mechanically speaking the game seems solid. I think at times it cleaves a little too close to traditional d20 aspects, but it’s not a major issue. I think if I have any complaint, it’s really just that they played it a bit too safe during the design phase. I’d have liked to see some of the more traditional gaming elements stripped back. Lower the number of attributes, streamline the skills a bit, that kind of stuff. But honestly, it does what it’s meant to, and it does it well without being overly confusing, so I can’t say I’ve got any serious problems with it.
WITCH: Fated Souls is a 208 page (including the back matter) book. The print edition is a solidly constructed hardcover book, with a nice glossy paper stock used for the interior. It’s closer to the kind of paper you’d see used in a coffee table book than anything I’ve seen used for an RPG book before. As a result of the paper quality, the background colours, illustrations and text look really sharp, very clear lines that seem to pop out of the page nicely. Due to the high gloss, I’ve found that you get a bit of glare off the pages if reading in a particularly brightly lit area, but it doesn’t really affect readability. The font used for the bulk of the text is a nice simple serif typeface (at a guess, Times New Roman, but I’m not exactly an expert on fonts), and it’s a decent size, so you aren’t squinting to read it like some books I’ve read. Fluff/fiction text is italicised, but still easy enough to read. . Tables in are clearly laid out, and alternate between white and coloured rows to allow for easy differentiation between each row. The only thing I don’t really like is the way some of the inset fluff text is on a background comprised of splashes of colour. I know it needs to be differentiated from the main text, but these are the only bits that ever game me any trouble reading them. Not all of it, and it wasn’t horribly difficult, but sometimes I needed to look a bit harder than for the rest of it.
Artwork is plentiful throughout the book, and ranges in style from the vibrant, colourful and almost cartoonish character portraits, through sombre images of mystical artefacts and ingredients, to the black and white ink work designs used for chapter headers. Hats off to the graphic designers for this, because despite the variance in style, all of it fits the tone of the game. I actually really like the cartoon look of the characters, because I think it helps drive home the fact that the game doesn’t have to be all grim, all the time. Even a dark, serious game can have moments of humour and hope. I’d say the weakest artwork is in the creatures section, but none of it is awful, or even bad, some of just isn’t quite up to the standard of the rest of the book.
The layout and organisation of the book is pretty much ideal. The introduction includes a summary of what each chapter contains, and every chapter opens with a splash page that lists what’s in it. Sections within chapters are clearly titled so you know when you’ve moved onto a new topic, and the various rules and pieces of information are arranged logically, with related sections being grouped together. When information from another section is needed, the page number is given for ease of reference. Very glad to see that there’s an index, I’ve seen an irritating number of rulebooks that don’t provide such a basic and important feature.
There are a number of editing issues throughout the book, but nothing worse than any other indie RPG I’ve seen, and in fact it’s better than a lot of them. Just the odd grammatical error or spelling mistake that didn’t get picked up. Only other thing I’d say is that some of the fluff writing is oddly formal sounding, especially when it comes to conversations. I kept noticing places where contractions would have made the text flow much more naturally. These are really just nitpick complaints though, and I’m only mentioning them because I know if I didn’t, Sod’s Law would pretty much guarantee that someone would read this review, buy the book, notice it themselves and email me to complain.
WITCH: Fated Souls is a seriously solid first release from Angry Hamster Publishing. Would I recommend it? Yes, absolutely. If you’re not sure, you can always just pick up the PDF for $14.99 USD from DriveThruRPG, then grab the physical book from Angry Hamster Publishing’s store later if you decide you like it enough.
Look, it’s by no means a perfect game, but it’s well thought out, has an interesting premise and setting, and brings some strong design skills to the table. It’s also very much a labour of love, which was made clear by the enthusiasm thrown into the Kickstarter campaign for the game. Honestly, that level of excitement is kind of infectious, and I’m really looking forward to getting a group together sometime soon and running some games. But more than that, what I find really exciting about is that it’s such a good sign of things to come. Seeing such a strong game as a first release makes me excited to see what else they’ve got up their sleeves, not just for WITCH, but for their next project (which I won’t say anything else about, because I’m not sure if it’s been publicly announced yet).
I'll keep this short, 'cause I'm barely holding it together right now. I know I haven't been active on here for a fair while now, and either has the 8th Dwarf, but I wanted to at least come back and make this post, since I know how much he loved this community, and his lack of time spent here wasn't really his choice.
The 8th Dwarf, known to his friends and family as Brad, lost his year long battle with cancer this morning. He was a great friend to me when I needed it the most, even if we never got to meet face to face for drinks like we planned. He was always ready to listen to me vent or give some calm, measured advice, or just cheer me up with some stories about the various shenanigans he'd got up to both in and out of games.
Brad, wherever you are, I hope the dice are rolling in your favour. Thanks for everything mate, I'll miss you.
One of my friends just started putting some painting guides together for my blog. First one just got posted if anyone's interested:
So I started playing in a cyberpunk game run by a friend of mine using the Interface Zero 2.0 setting for Savage Worlds. I decided to keep a campaign journal for my character, Roxy "Rebound" Rasputina, champion JUMP bike racer and media darling. She's the face and transport specialist of the party.
Over the course of writing the first update, it really became more of a dramatisation of the events of the game, with a heavier focus on Roxy as the primary protagonist. So it's not 100% accurate to the game, and there are bits changed as needed to fit the flow of the story, but I thought I'd post it here anyway.
Constructive feedback is welcomed on the writing, as I'm doing this in an attempt to get myself back into creative writing. Updates should hopefully done on a fortnightly basis, with some variance depending on how often we actually get to play.
Original post is located on my blog: A Fistful of Roses, Act I: My Name is Roxy | The Grassy Gnoll (original version is uncensored, I assume the autocensor here is going to pick up a few things in the text)
Just saw this... can't sleep, clown will eat me...
Actually a pretty damn good remake though. Solid performance from Sam Rockwell as the dad, and I always enjoy seeing Jarred Harris show up. The little girl really reminds me of the girl who played Matilda in the film adaptation of that as well for some reason. Obviously not her, but makes me think of her.
Anyway, solidly made, not too creepy for me but still weirded me out while I was watching it (not going to need the light on while I sleep tonight like I did with It Follows). Not as creepy as the original though, at least what I remember of the original. I'm going to have to go back and rewatch for the sake of comparison.
One of my friends just opened a new gamestore last weekend here in Canberra, and hasn't been able to find someone to run D&D Encounters for the store yet.
While I'm technically free on Wednesdays (apparently Encounters has to be run on Wednesdays, for some reason), it's one of two nights a week I can guarantee I have to myself. Plus I haven't even had an opportunity to read the rules for 5E since early in the playtest. I'm looking at maybe at least getting it running for him while we find someone to run it on a more permanent basis, but my concern is the lack of rules knowledge.
So I was wondering if anyone's running it at the moment, and what their experiences have been? I'm not able to get my hands on a copy of the DMs guide at the moment (he doesn't have a store copy yet), so I'd be relying on whatever resources are available online. Would the online resources be sufficient, or am I going to definitely need a copy of the books?
Hi customer service gurus,
As much as it pains me to do this, I need to cancel some subscriptions. Between the fall in the Aussie dollar and my unpredictable medical expenses, it's just too much to keep going right now. It's actually become more cost effective for me to order from the FLGS, which is a first for me with Paizo products.
Can you please cancel all my subscriptions except for the Adventure Path line. I'll keep that for as long as I can manage it, as unlike the other lines there's never been anything in there I haven't really wanted. EDIT: Sorry if that sounded harsh. Was just trying to say that the Adventure Path has consistently had me excited, while occasionally there's products in the other lines where I go "Eh... not really sold, but I'll give it a go since I'm subscribed anyway"
I'm so very sorry to have mucked you all around so much with suspensions and so on over the last year, and I cannot thank you all enough for your everlasting patience and friendly assistance. You can be sure that I'll still be ordering plenty of your stock, I'll just have to do it locally and more sporadically from now on.
Cheers, and thanks again,
I can't recall if I've talked about it on the boards before, but I was a backer for Third Eye Games' RPG AMP: Year One. The game turned out great, and is a really slick, fun little modern day supers game. It's a very familiar feeling game for any X-Men fans, which is what really appealed to me. Lots of mutant powers, different organisations (both for and against the AMPs) to ally with or work against, and a pretty simple system to learn.
Anyway, the Kickstarter project for the first expansion book, AMP: Year Two, has been launched. It progresses the storyline into 2016, and deals with the fact that AMPs are now known to the public, and how the world reacts to this. I've done a quick writeup over on my blog. Project is already funded, but every $1500 above the goal adds another guide to one of the organisations from the game world.
First thing I saw when I got online this morning: Leonard Nimoy, actor who played Mr Spock on Star Trek, dies aged 83 - The Guardian. This is a sad day...
Rest in peace Mr Nimoy, and I hope that whatever you find in the undiscovered country is as mysterious and wonderful as you deserve for all the joy your brought the world.
Hey Customer Service peeps,
Could you please reactivate my subscriptions. I'm through the worst of my medical expenses for the moment.
That said, could you please remove the Strategy Guide from my sidecart? I still need to trim expenses a little where I can, and while it'd be nice to have, I don't really need it.
Thanks in advance :)
Hey Customer Service gurus,
I received order #3390941 this morning, which according to my shipping notice should have contained Pathfinder Adventure Path #90: The Divinity Drive and Pathfinder Player Companion: Familiar Folio.
However I've actually got The Divinity Drive, and the Iron Gods Poster Map Folio. I can send a photo if you need it. Just let me know what you need me to do.
Thanks in advance.
Anyone here been watching Peaky Blinders? I just wrapped up the second season, and can't wait for the third.
It's a British historical crime drama series, starring Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby, head of the Shelby family and their gang, the Peaky Blinders (based on the historical Peaky Blinders, though it's not entirely clear if the originals were a specific gang or just a generic term for street gangs). First season is set in 1919, and deals with the gang expanding their control of the gambling scene in Birmingham, while the second takes place two years later and has them spreading their business to London.
Apart from Cillian Murphy, the rest of the cast is fantastic as well. Sam Neill as Chief Inspecter Chester Campbell, and Helen McRory as Aunt Polly are standout performances, but the entire cast is strong. Second season adds Tom Hardy as Alfie Solomons, a Jewish gangster involved in illegal distilling, and Noah Taylor as Darby Sabini, a paranoid Italian gangster who runs nightclubs and dominates the London bookies.
The soundtrack is kind of amazing too. While the music that's actually part of the story (songs sung in bars, played by bands at clubs etc) is all period appropriate, the actual soundtrack is comprised of more modern music. A lot of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds was used, as well as PJ Harvey and a number of other artists. Works really well with the style of the show.
Third season is apparently due sometime this year.
Was out at CanCon today stocking up on boardgames and some RPG stuff (my wallet is currently crying in the corner), and met the creator and chief game tester for Sol, a fantasy RPG currently on Kickstarter, with a special pledge level only being available for the next few days while CanCon's on ($30 to get a signed copy of the book, a GMs screen and the introductory adventure). You can check it out here:
Had a bit of a chat with them, it sounds like they're going for a fairly simple game. While it's fantasy, they're very definitely not aiming for something like Pathfinder where the PCs are incredibly powerful. The goal appears to be a game for playing as heroes who, while strong and fast, are more performing within the peak (or maybe a little higher) of human capabilities.
Haven't had a chance to have a proper look at the mechanics yet, but from the quick explanation I got from them it sounded like a 3d6 based version of something like Basic Role Playing (as in Call of Cthulhu) crossed with the modifiers from d20 games... you've got your target number, based on the appropriate attribute. You're aiming to roll under your attribute on 3d6, but you get a modifier based on the difficulty of the task (which is assigned by the GM). So the example I was given was that you might want to jump a 10 foot wide gap. There's no one around, the weather is clear, the ground is dry and solid. Your strength is 7, and the GM says it's attainable, which gives a -6 modifier. So you're looking to roll a 13 or lower (I think equaling the target also count as a success, I could be wrong though). However if you were being chased, the GM might say it's challenging as you don't have time to think about what kind of run up you need or anything, and might say it's challenging, which would make it a flat roll of 3d6, no modifiers.
As for advancement, from what I understand there isn't any leveling, it's again more like BRP. Any attributes you've used successfully, at the end of a session you roll 3d6 and attempt to get higher than your attribute (equaling does not count in this case). If you get higher than it, your attribute increases. So you increase in strength gradually, and it gets harder to do so as time goes on.
They're still tweaking it a bit, they've got a couple of friends who are pure maths and statistics geeks working on the probability and so on to try and come up with a fair and reasonable system.
I'm going back tomorrow to take my cousin to his first CanCon, so I'm thinking I'll drop by and see if they might be interested in doing an interview for my blog at some point in the next couple of weeks, but in the mean time I thought I'd just this here in case anyone's interested.
So, this is more of a question about audio hardware, but I figured there must be some people on these boards who do radio and/or podcasting. I'm looking to buy a mic, but I've got no idea where to start looking in terms of brand and features that meet my requirements (or even if my requirements are unrealistic.
So the situation is this. In the last couple of months, I've joined a community radio show here in Canberra called Reel Time (we do film reviews, interviews with local people involved in the industry, talk about trailers for upcoming films and generally ramble about cinema for an hour a week - You can check out the archives here: Reel Time 2XX Archive. I show up in ep27 as a guest host talking about the 2014 Canberra International Film Festival, then I was away until ep31, after which I'm there pretty much all the time since I became a more permanent member of the show). Problem is that since it's a community station, they don't have a lot of budget for equipment, meaning we're limited to four mics in the studio we use for the show. That's fine when only four of us show up, but more often than not there's five of us, and sometimes six if everyone can make it that week. We've been getting by sharing mics, and in the case of two of the hosts it works really well, but due to the fact that three of us like to banter back and forth a fair bit, it gets kind of crowded with us trying to shuffle back and forth between the two mics we share.
Since I've been meaning to start recording some of my gaming sessions for the purposes of having a reference when I'm writing stuff up, and also maybe starting to do some podcasting, I figured I could kill two birds with one stone and buy a mic I could use for the show as well. Herein lies my problem. I know that the microphones we use in the studio only really pick up sound that's coming at them dead on (allowing us to turn down our own and talk quietly without being heard on the show while others are talking). So obviously I need something capable of doing that... but for recording the gaming group, and for podcasting if I get someone else on as a guest, for that I need to have it be able to pick up stuff all around the table. I have no idea if there's a mic that can be switched to work in either way or not, but that's the kind of thing I'm looking for (otherwise I guess I need two mics).
So, the requirements are:
So. The cry goes out to my fellow Paizo board lurkers! Halp! Lend me your wisdom and expertise! Shower me with knowledge of these magic amplification sticks. Seriously, if what I'm asking is totally unfeasible/impossible, just let me know. If that's the case then I guess I'd be looking for advice on two mics (preferable without doubling my costs if I can avoid it :P)
Thanks in advance for any help guys. While I think of it... As I'm sure you gathered from what I've said above, I don't know a whole lot about this sort of stuff. Feel free to get technical, but if you do so, please also break it down into simple terms for me. Explain it like I'm five, as I think the peeps over on Reddit say.
Just wanted to wish everyone a merry Christmas/Chanukkah/Kwanzaa/whatever is appropriate for you, and a safe and happy new year.
The final post for 2014 is up on The Grassy Gnoll, and explains why I haven't been posting as much as I would have liked over there.
To cut a long story short, this year almost broke me due to depression and a lot of other issues, many of which ended up being tied to the fact that I have apparently suffered from sever obstructive sleep apnea for some time now without knowing. Including, to a greater or lesser extent, the depression. So now that I'm diagnosed and on treatment for that, and am actually feeling like a functioning human being again rather than a half dead waste of space, things are looking up.
I'll be leaving town for a week or so to visit family, so I probably won't be posting much on the boards during that time. I'll catch you all in the new year, and hopefully will have much more content for the blog.
Also, for those who received artwork during my Mid-Year Mikazemas... rest assured I haven't forgotten about the character write-ups I said I'd do. I'll be getting back to work on them shortly... crippling writers block was another part of what I was dealing with this year. Hopefully that's over.
Take care everyone, and keep safe.
I'm sure this has been mentioned somewhere on the boards before, but thought it deserved it's own thread.
Preacher, the darkly funny, violent and foulmouthed comic by Garth Ennis, has been confirmed as getting a pilot episode sometime next year for potential pick up as a series in 2016...
I was pretty excited about this, but I originally thought it was a HBO show. Turns out I was getting confused with a potential series in development years ago that they passed on... AMC is picking it up instead. Still, it could be good, but if there's one thing in the article that makes me worry, it's the final paragraph:
"If you read Preacher, it has some obviously graphic violence and language and other things that we will not bring to the commercial television series," AMC president Charlie Collier told THR at the time. "But I love that the fans will know that we'll treat it with respect and that will elevate it and not dumb it down. And that matters. It's an amazing piece of writing and character. Where do you see a character like that on television?"
Not that I expected to see all the stuff in the comic in the series, but if they strip it back too much, I'm worried it's not going to feel like Preacher. It's the kind of story you can't really sanitize without destroying it.
Hi Customer Service Gurus,
I noticed that there are two campaign setting products coming out in January, the Belkzan, Hold of the Orc Hordes book and the Iron Gods map portfolio.
Is it possible to only get the Belkzan book and cancel the subscription for just the Map Portfolio? In the past I've just cancelled the subscription for the month when the portfolios come up, but this is the first time I've seen the portfolio and a book that I want in the same month.
Thanks in advance.
Hey customer service peeps...
I'm really sorry to bother you again with this, but I need to suspend my subscriptions again. Unfortunately I'm told that being able to breathe properly is rather important, so I'm afraid I'll be shoveling all my spare cash into buying a machine to help with that until next pay. I'll be right to get them reactivated by end of month, and there'll be no problems with next month's subs.
Thanks in advance, and sorry again.
Greetings oh mighty Customer Service!
I'm ready to have my subscriptions reactivated now. Though is it possible to get an estimated shipping cost before we do that? I'm about to get hit with one hell of a medical expense, and I know the hardcover books often blow out international shipping, so I may need to cancel the RPG sub for a time depending on what it comes to with shipping.
Cheers, and thanks in advance.
So I went and saw The Tea Party (the Canadian rock band, not the political group) last night at the ANU Bar. I'd been waiting to see these guys for a long time (I think I was given a copy of their second studio album, The Edges of Twilight, around my 7th or 8th birthday), and they didn't disappoint (having The Superjesus as one of the support acts was a nice bonus). All in all a great night, and I can't wait for them to tour this way again next year.
Unfortunately, there was a high concentration of idiots in the crowd. Enough of them causing enough problems that I was actually getting somewhat angry about it. Not enough to ruin the music for me, but enough that when I got home, tired and sore around 12:30 AM, I couldn't sleep without getting it off my chest. So, I present to you the result of that little exercise in ranting:
There's a little (read: a lot) more swearing in it than I originally intended, but that's what happens when it's the wee hours of the morning and I'm in a ranting mood.
Hopefully it's good for a laugh for some people who've seen this kind of behaviour at gigs.
Sorry to be a pain, but could you please suspend my subscriptions again. Unexpected expenses strike again... I'll be reactivating them around the 23rd of the month, if there's any issue having them suspended for that long, please let me know.
Thanks again for all your help, you guys remain the best customer service team I've dealt with.
I just published a review of volume one of a Weird West style comic called Pariah, Missouri over on The Grassy Gnoll.
The comic is set in the frontier town of Pariah, and is described by the creator as "Buffy meets Deadwood." It's a reasonable description, but I'd add that if you're a Deadlands fan, this may quite possibly be of interest to you.
Check out the review here: The Grassy Gnoll | Review - Pariah, Missouri Vol 1: Answering the Call
In case you don't have time to read the review, I'll give a quick summary: I really enjoyed it, I can't wait for more of it, and if you want to check it out, there's preview PDFs available from the Kickstarter Project page (the kickstarter is to release volumes 1 & 2 as hardcovers).
As much as it pains me to have to do this (words cannot describe how badly I want that ACG and Tech Guide right now), can you please suspend my subs for the moment? I've got some bills due this week, and payweek isn't til next week, so living expenses sadly come first.
Sorry for any inconvenience, and thanks in advance.
I was a Bloodline backer for Double Fine's fantasy tactics game, Massive Chalice, meaning I get to submit a house for inclusion in the final game. I've managed to come up with a family name, and the names of the male and female founders, as well as the keep, but I'm having issues with the motto and battle cry. So I thought I'd throw some ideas up on here and see what people think.
Details of the house so far are -
Keeping with the star theme that I had for the names, I was thinking something like "We Burn Ever Brighter" or "We Burn Brightest" for the motto, but I'm not sure.
Battlecry is where I'm completely out of ideas. I want to keep it on theme, but I'm coming up blank.
Any suggestions or comments more than welcome.
So Australia finally got an R18+ rating for video games, meaning that the adult gamers here could play games that had previously been refused classifications, and games that previously would have snuck in as MA15+ would now be classified correctly.
Unfortunately, things are still not quite right here, and recent discovery of some JRPGs that got R18+ ratings for no good reason sparked me writing a rant about it.
If you're interested, feel free to check it out here (Warning, does contain some profanity):
Hey fellow Paizonians (is that the term we use? Did the thread about that ever get resolved?)
I've just published an interview with Wendy N. Wagner, the author of Pathfinder Tales: Skinwalkers, over on The Grassy Gnoll.
Wendy talks about some of her favourite stories, authors, films and games, as well as what it's like to write a novel for Pathfinder Tales (and how awesome an editor James Sutter is). You can find it here:
Hope you enjoy it :)
So I've just posted the first in a new series of (irregular) updates on my blog, The Grassy Gnoll.
The series, Role-Playing 101 is all about teaching my fourteen year old cousin and some of his friends how to play RPGs. The end goal is to get them running their own games, but the current plan is to keep running a variety of systems for them until they find something they really like and want to focus on.
You can check out the first update here if you'd like. It recaps their first session of The Laundry RPG, by Cubicle 7.
So far it's been a really rewarding, if at times frustrating process. The group is having fun, and that's the main thing as far as I'm concerned.
If you have any suggestions for systems to trial for them, or other comments, feel free to throw them at me here or on the blog itself :)
I just foundout that Bob Hoskins passed away on the 29th of April, after a bout of pneumonia.
He may not have been one of the big A-list actors, but he had a huge impact on my childhood, playing Eddie Valiant in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Smee in Hook (he also played Smee in the 2006 mini-series Neverland). I've always enjoyed coming across him in random films, usually as a cockney, a gangster, or a cockney gangster.
I also liked his sense of humour. One of the best examples of it is from when he was the second choice for the role of Al Capone in The Untouchables, in case De Niro turned it down. After De Niro took the role, the director sent Hoskins a cheque for 20,000 pounds and a thank you note... Hoskin's response was to call up the director and ask if there were any more movies he didn't want him to appear in.
Some of his memorable films that I'd recommend:
The Long Good Friday
I'll just finish this off with what I think is a great quote to sum up his personality and attitude towards life. Someone asked what he most owed his parents in an interview. The answer?
"Confidence. My mum used to say to me, 'If somebody doesn't like you, f*** 'em, they've got bad taste.'"
Rest in peace Bob.
I wanted to do something similar to Mikaze-mas, since I was a beneficiary last time. I will of course be reviewing the PDFs I received when I actually get a chance to read them properly (my free time has been in ridiculously short supply since Christmas), but I wanted to give something as well.Now hopefully Mikaze doesn't mind me adding a twist to his tradition for my version of it, but I'd like to do something a little different. I don't have huge amounts of funding lying around, and what I'm planning is pretty time consuming for me, so it's going to be a smaller scale affair.
So here's how it's going to work. I'm asking for people to provide detailed descriptions (clothing and physical description), personality and backgrounds for their favourite character. The more detailed the better. Note that this doesn't have to be Pathfinder, it can be any game you want. Actually, they don't even have to be from a game, if you created it, it's fair game.
It's a case of first come, first served, with four descriptions being accepted at first. I'm giving Mikaze first dibs on the fifth slot if he wants it, as a thank you for kickstarting the whole phenomenon of generosity that occurs here around the time he kicks of Mikaze-mas every year. If he doesn't want it, I'll accept the fifth description posted.
Basically what I've done is put aside enough cash to get five character sketches done by the guy who I usually use when I want one of my characters illustrated. To get an idea of what the art is like, you can take a look at the Unusual Suspects updates for The Samurai and Varian Blackthorne on my blog. It'll be more like the Samurai artwork, it won't include a more detailed background like Varian has. I'm told that the artist's basic sketches (which is what I've budgeted for) now don't include shading either, so that'll change the look a bit, but I'm told they're still excellent quality.
If the first piece of artwork comes back and I'm not happy with how it looks without shading, I'll do my best to try and squeeze a little bit extra out of the budget to try and pay to get the extra detail added, but I can't guarantee that will be possible sorry.
So, the first part of this is to get the artwork done (which is where the physical/costume descriptions come into it), and maybe a bit of the personality as well (the artist is pretty good at capturing the attitude of the characters when he draws them, or I think so anyway). But although it'll take time to get that done (usual turnaround time is just over two weeks, may be a little bit longer for a bulk order), that's not the time consuming part for me.
Part two will start when I get the artwork back. The creator of each character will be emailed a high quality copy of the image, while I get to work writing a short piece of descriptive fiction for each one (again, for examples, have a look at the updates on my blog) introducing the character. This is what'll take me a while. I'd be looking at trying to get one done a week, maybe two, depending on work and other commitments. As each character is done, I'll write up their background, personality and so on based on what I was given originally, and post it on the blog as part of the Unusual Suspects feature, an introduction about who created the character, and links back to their site (assuming they have one of course).
If this goes well, I'll be considering opening it up for some further submissions at a later date.
If you submit a character for this, I'm going to assume that means you're happy to have your character featured on my blog. If you're not, please don't submit one. Also don't submit if you're impatient, like I said, this will take a while, and I do occasionally suffer from writer's block. It WILL get done, it's just a matter of taking the time to do the best job I can.
Please use the following format for any submissions -
Name: Self Explanatory
Race: Self Explanatory
Source: Where is the character from? Pathfinder? World of Darkness? Your own fiction?
Core Concept: A summary of your character's concept, in no more than a sentence or two. For example, Varian Blackthorne is "a spirit-binding werewolf shaman. He works as a stage magician, using real magic", while the Samurai is "a warrior from the past brought forward in time to avenge the death of his lord".
Put your description of your character in a spoiler tag. Helps keep the thread from looking like one big wall of text. Include details of physical appearance, distinguishing marks, clothing etc. As detailed as you can make it
Put a description of the character's personality here. Again, detail is key. What's his vice? What's her virtue? Is he friendly, outgoing, cold, distant, aggressive.
Put the backstory of your character in here. Is he a mysterious stranger wandering around to put wrongs right? Was she born under a particularly auspicious phase of the moon? Did he have a loving family, or were they taken from him?
So, let's get this Mid-Year Mikaze-mas started! Hit me with your favourite characters!
Okay. Not sure if this is the right place to put it, but given that it's an issue that I suspect isn't going to be limited to the Mummy's Mask AP, and isn't specifically related to the AP so much as it is to the cover of one of the volumes, Adventure Path General Discussion it is!
Fair warning, this is going to be a long post. I'm going to spoiler the background for why this thread has been created to try and make it a bit more manageable to read.
Background for discussion:
So, there were some comments made on the product pages for AP #82: Secrets of the Sphinx and AP #83: The Slave Trenches of Hakotep in the last 24 hours regarding the cover portraits for each volume. Reading through the sarcasm that the posts were written with, it appeared that the poster was unhappy/potentially offended by the fact that the female portrait on #82 is scantily clad and sexily posed, and was pointing out the disparity between that and the male portrait on #84.
Jim Groves asked for input on the matter. After putting together my interpretation of the situation and posting it, I went to bed. On checking in this morning though, the moderators had been by and removed whatever discussion may have taken place since then, as well as the original post, Jim's request and my response, suggesting that the product discussion thread may not be the best place for it. I think that's a fair call on their part, so I asked for the text from my removed response, and am reopening the discussion here, since I couldn't see that anyone else had started a new thread yet.
A plea for civility and sanity:
As per Jim's original request, I'm going to ask that people try to keep things polite and friendly. There's no need to flame, troll, or dogpile on those who may share differing opinions to ours. Rational argument and discussion is a good thing, online screaming matches aren't. I think this is an important issue to discuss, and I'd hate to see it get locked or heavily moderated due to inappropriate behaviour.
So, let's kick this off. Below is a (slightly modified) repost of my original response to the discussion from the Secrets of the Sphinx thread. I've removed the quoted text of the original post that prompted it, as I don't want to identify the poster without their okay. Other than that I've just cleaned up the content a little to make my points a bit clearer.
Tinkergoth's Original Response:
"Obviously I can't speak for him, but I think I can kind of see where *NAME REMOVED* is coming from. I don't find it personally offensive, and I don't think it's anywhere near as sexualised as some of the previous cover portraits on AP volumes have been. Areelu Vorlesh's City of Locusts' picture springs to mind, as it fair screams 'sex and violence' at the reader. That said, the cover (Link to image) also isn't exactly a portrait of subtlety, given the classic provocative feminine pose (it looks less like she's using the staff for support like Gandalf might, and more like she's leaning into it like a dancer on a pole), the gracefully posed bare leg and the rather obvious case of underboob.
Additionally, the fact that the dress/robe/whatever it is appears to be specifically designed to NOT cover her breasts probably isn't helping the situation. Maybe I'm just misunderstanding what the picture is showing, but it looks like the only reason we're not getting a full frontal view of her chest is that her hair is covering it. I could be wrong, and that could be another part of the costume that happens to be in another colour, but my mind immediately processed it as hair draped forward artfully over her chest
I imagine the primary complaint is similar to the complaints that arise about posing for female characters in comics, in that they always seem to be deliberately provocative, no matter what the situation is (and in many cases physically impossible without some severe contortionist skills, but that's besides the point), whereas male characters just get your classic heroic poses. Same deal goes for costumes, you rarely see guys in loincloths or revealing clothing, but it happens a lot for women, again with no regard for situation. Given that I can see *NAME REMOVED* has made a counterpart comment on the thread for The Slave Trenches of Hakotep, pointing out that perhaps the male character should be sexualised more to appeal to female readers, I think this is a fair guess at what point he's making
Like I said, this doesn't really bother me personally, since I happen to like artwork of pretty people, be they female or male (in fact, feel free to roll on the Equal Opportunity Scantily Clad Heroes of Golarian calendar Paizo!), but I can see where others might have a problem with it. As mentioned above though, I consider this one to actually be pretty tame compared to others. It has all the elements of being a really sexual image, but somehow doesn't entirely come across that way to me (and before anyone says it, no, it's not because of the mask. Can't quite explain it). I guess it really is a case of YMMV.
Hope that's of some help Jim.
*NAME REMOVED*, feel free to jump in and correct me if I've misunderstood anything you were trying to say."
So that was my take on the matter. Does anyone have anything (constructive) to contribute to the discussion?
Just in case any Chevelle fans are around here and haven't heard about it yet (I only found out yesterday), turns out they released their... seventh? I think seventh album, La Gargola on the 1st of April. Yet another change for their sound, while still keeping enough familiar elements to pull the fans back in. When I've had a chance to have a proper listen.
For those who haven't heard of Chevelle, and like alt metal (they've been compared to Tool at times since the first album release in 2001, though they definitely have their own sound), I highly recommend checking them out. Albums, in chronological order are:
So I just received a pm that had all the hallmarks of a spam/scam message. Poorly spelt, little attention to grammar and a an unsolicited request for info about myself. Username of the sender is James Bill
The account doesn't seem to have any posts on the boards. Wasn't really sure how else to let the mods know about it since you can't flag a pm. I know I can block the user, but in case its happening to anyone else I'd like to make sure the appropriate people at Paizo are aware.
So I've got a bit of time between my breakfast with my family (those of them here in Canberra anyway) and my birthday dinner, and thought I'd share a quick list of things I've learnt in my quarter century (Yes, I know I'm still a young'un, relatively speaking, but who damn it I'm doing this anyway).
1. You have to work to get where you want to be - I may not have gone to university, to the disgust of some of my friends who are still studying or working full time for far less cash, but I worked myself silly to get to the level I'm at now. A year and a half on a minimum wage traineeship, 5 years on two service desks, and a hell of a lot of voluntary extra work so I could earn my position.
2. Friends and family are two of the most important things in life - Material possessions are nice, but I value my family far more, along with my friends. Without them, I wouldn't have made it this far. You may lose contact with some of them, but they're still an important part of your life for the roles they played in the past.
3. Sometimes relationships don't work out, and that's okay - So I'm 25. Most people laugh when I talk about my "serious" relationships, saying I don't know what that is. Maybe that's the case, but a three year relationship where I was living with my partner and seriously considering proposing to her is serious enough for me. Obviously that, and my other relationships, didn't last, but I've come to accept that, look at them as learning experiences, and focus on the good times.
4. You need balance in your life - For me, this means not only keeping a good work life balance, but a balance in my downtime between passive activities (sitting around reading, playing games, writing etc.) and keeping physically active, which is why I spend so much time at the gym. I can zone out and listen to music while I tire myself out, and the exertion keeps me happier and makes it easy to sleep.
5. Being too strict with yourself is a good way to set yourself up for failure - Say you're on a diet. Don't let that rule your life. have a night off now and then. My diet runs on a two week cycle, one week I'm on it 7 days, the other 5. It gives me a night where I can have pizza with my gaming group, and a morning where I can mosey down to the local cafes and have a nice breakfast while I read a book and get some writing done. I feel better for eating something I really enjoy, and I'm still losing weight because I'm being good most of the time. Same goes for hobbies when you're trying to save money or pay off debts. Don't buy everything you want at once, but make sure you keep a little bit of cash aside for things to treat yourself with. I've got my Paizo subscriptions, and a monthly budget for buying games, CDs and DVDs with. That way I'm still enjoying myself, but I have a controlled expenditure.
Life may not always be fun or easy, and I've had my fair share of problems (in certain areas, more than my fair share), but the points above have always got me through in reasonable shape.
Feel free to throw out some general advice on life of your own. Always keen to see what others have figured out, and see if I can learn from it.
Happy new year Paizo Customer Service!
I know that the process for the January subscriptions hasn't started yet, but I'm hoping that giving you an early heads up may make things easier for you.
Unfortunately some credit card scammers decided that what I really needed on New Year's Day was to have my credit card suspended because they attempted a bunch of fraudulent transactions. Thankfully due to their stupidity, I've only lost minor money and should hopefully get that back anyway... but, what this means is that my card has now been cancelled and I have a new one on the way. Given that it can take a week or so, and I'm not sure when you're starting the January subscription authorisations, I thought I'd better ask if you could please delay the processing on mine until I can confirm that I have the new card and have activated it.
Sorry for the inconvenience this may cause you.
Hope you all had great Christmas and New Year's celebrations.
I've just taken a look at my upcoming subscriptions list, and noticed that it's showing nothing at all for January. Product schedule still shows a bunch of stuff being released then, but it all looks like it's been shifted back to February on my subscription page.
Was just wondering which page has the correct information, I tend to try and use my upcoming subscription list as a guide for putting money aside to make sure I have it when the payments authorise.
Anyone from Canberra or the surrounding area on the boards here?
The biggest complaint I hear from my friends and colleagues about living in Canberra is that there's supposedly nothing to do. This never ceases to amuse me, because when I ask them if they're going to various events the answer is always "I didn't know it was on." I've realised that the problem is that they never bother to look to see what's happening, so they just assume nothing is going on. So I've started deliberately looking for upcoming events and passing the information onto my friends and co-workers, and I thought why not expand the audience a bit. We may not get all the huge concerts and so on that Sydney and the other cities get, but we have a lot worth checking out.
The biggest upcoming event at the moment is the 17th Canberra International Film Festival (one of the guys at work actually mentioned that he thought it was great we finally had a film festival...)
The festival opens on Wednesday the 23rd of October with a members only screening of The Butler, and officially runs from the 30th of October til the 10th of November, with a members only screening of On My Way in the week following that. There are over 60 films from all around the world and from all genres showing at 100 screenings throughout the festival. The films are split into ten strands based on themes, nine of which are then grouped into sets of three that share similar themes. The groups are Sex, Politics and Religion; Individual, Family and Planet; and Life, Love and Liberty. The final strand is 'Freaky Fridays', and only contains four movies that are horror/thrillers and are being shown as double features on the Fridays. One film from each of the main nine strands has a discussion/Q&A session following it.
You can find a complete list of the films showing at the festival here: Films by Strand
The individual pages for each film have a blurb about the film and the trailer for it. I'll be attending sixteen of the films throughout the main part of the festival, as well as both of the members only screenings. I've listed my picks below (each title links to their individual page on the Film Festival site).
Tinkergoth's Film Festival Schedule:
I'm thinking of trying to fit in a screening for My Sweet Pepper Land as well since it looks like an interesting take on the Western genre, but the only time I can do that is on the same day I'm seeing two movies already, so I'd have to get to work ridiculously early and then spend around 6 hours in the cinema straight after getting out... could be worth it though.
The one I'm looking forward to the most is Filth, which is based on the novel by Irvine Welsh, who also wrote Trainspotting.
So if you're going to be going to the festival, or know anyone in the area who might be interested, please pass the info on to them. Hell, just take a look at the list of films and see if any of them catch your eye. I know I'm going to be trying to get hold of most of the ones I don't have time to go and see anyway, because they still interest me.
Sorry if this one's not really of any interest to anyone, I've just been sorting some stuff out today and my mind is refusing to let me get to sleep, so I'm hoping writing this will help me relax.
I'm spoilering the background to my question to the boards, since it's a bit of a wall of text.
Seriously, wall of text right here:
So I crashed my scooter a few weeks ago. I was only going very slowly, 15km/hour or so at most, since I was coming out of a corner in the rain. Lost traction(a rare occurrence on my particular scooter), the rear tyre went out from under me, and I realised that I wasn't going to be able to save it, so I just went with it. I actually came out of it remarkably well, walking away with heavy bruising (sufficient that I didn't really wander far from bed for a few days afterwards) and a broken toe. The bike had what I thought was mostly cosmetic damage, but turned out to be major problems, which was a bit odd given that it went over at low speed and slid, rather than flipping or smashing down... but it happens I guess.
I'd only had this one for a year. One of the older model Gilera Fuoco 500s, second hand when I got it but with less than 5000 km on it. Buying it helped put me into debt, though that was also partially to do with moving house and having some other stuff going on at the same time. But I didn't mind, cause I'd had my eye on it for a while, and had just got my provisional license, so it seemed like perfect timing.
I quickly learnt that although I loved the extra power and features, and it made rides down the coast (3 hour or so trip) to visit family much more comfortable, with the trip up the mountain being a thousand times more pleasant, it certainly was far more of a drain on my finances. Higher maintenance costs than my old scooter, higher registration fees (any bikes/scooters under 300cc in the Australian Capital Territory is around $220 a year to register, anything over is around $650), and fuel consumption was obviously higher (though still ridiculously cheap compared to driving a car).
Anyway, since I'm still paying off my previous loan, I was hopeful that my insurance company would authorise repairs rather than writing it off, since I didn't think I'd be able to find anything reasonable in the price range I could afford with payout from a write-off. Today though, I got told that a write-off is more likely than not (should be confirmed by Monday or Tuesday). So I wandered down to the dealer/mechanic and started looking at some of his second hand scooters.
Turns out that if it IS a write-off, I could be in a better position financially than I was before I crashed. There are two main options. There's a more recent model Fuoco 500, with only a few thousand more km on it than mine currently has (mine is just below 15,000, this one has a bit over 17,000), for about 4/5 of what the payout should be. It'll need a major service in a couple of thousand km, but I'd have enough left over from the payout to cover that and clear my credit card completely, allowing me to focus on paying off my loan faster. I'd still have the higher running costs, but not having the CC to worry about would make that easier. On the other hand, there's another second hand scooter a Piaggio 250-300cc (not sure of the exact model yet, waiting to hear back) that the owner will be available within a week or so, for about 1/3 of the total payout. It's just had it's major service at 20,000 km, comes in at the cheaper rego price and has far lower running costs. Sure, there's less power, but it's still much better than my old scooter (which was a Vietnamese knockoff of the series of scooters this one comes from). Buying that leaves me enough to clear my credit card and a third of my loan, as well as leaving me in a better position to pay off the rest of it faster and leaving me still able to go visit my family, if not in as much comfort or style.
I just thought it was kind of funny how good things can come from something that seems like a total disaster. I mean even if my current scooter does get repaired, I'm still in a reasonable financial situation (I'm slowly but surely paying everything off), but if they do have to write it off and I have to get a new one, I'm pretty much guaranteed to be better off.
So here's my question. Has anyone here ever had something that seems like it's going to potentially ruin their lives in someway turn out to be a boon to them? Have you seen other people have this happen?
Apparently the messageboard decided to eat my first attempt at posting this, so I'm typing it again. Have decided to try and shorten it since I can't be bothered typing the whole thing again.
Situation is this. We play Pathfinder fortnightly, running alternate sessions of Reign of Winter and Shattered Star (I run Shattered Star, a friend runs Reign of Winter). The Snows of Summer and Shards of Sin both wrapped up around the same time, so I said I'd run a short-run Hollowpoint game (3 to 4 sessions).
Now, here's where my problem starts. I'd like some honest opinions from uninvolved 3rd parties to see if my feelings on this are understandable, or if I'm being unreasonable. Now, please note, I'm not saying I have a problem with players cancelling on a session. I understand, s*$@ happens, and sometimes sessions get delayed. Hell, I had to delay the game by over a month because I had to travel for work, and I host the sessions. My problem here is the fact that they all left telling me til the last minute, when they KNEW I was going to be unavailable for a couple of hours before the session was scheduled to start.
Due to being ridiculously busy this week at work, I didn't have time to do more than write up an introductory letter and print it (I always hand out physical letters from the employers in Hollowpoint games to start them off) during the week, so I spent over 7 hours on Saturday writing the game up (A oneshot takes me an hour or so, but I had to come up with a whole new setting for this as we wanted to try a genre swap to urban fantasy instead of gritty crime fiction, as well as having to come up with a longer story arc). I was working on it from 8:00 AM til 3:45 PM, which was when I had to leave home to take a couple of my young cousins to see A Letter to Momo at the cinema. I had made my players aware that I was doing this, since it necessitated pushing the game back to a 7:00 start as the movie wouldn't get out til 6:30 or so. They knew I'd be out of contact for 2 hours or so. I hadn't heard anything about not being able to make it before hand, so I went into the movie assuming everything would be fine for the session. When I got out at 6:30 and turned my phone on, I received three messages from players saying they couldn't make it. All of them had good reasons, but also could have told me much earlier, as none of it was sudden.
It ended up being cancelled because I need a minimum of two players for Hollowpoint. I was pretty ticked off about this, because I'd spent what now felt like a wasted day working on it when I could have been getting my laundry under control, studying for my SharePoint certification exams or even just catching up on some video games. But I cooled off, got some stuff done in the evening, and figured that since it's a long weekend, maybe we could have a catch-up session on Sunday night since no one had work on Monday.
I sent a message out at 10:00 AM Sunday morning checking availability. By 7:00 PM, I'd received ONE response. From the sick guy. Who had apparently already made plans despite being too sick to come out the night before. The others were unable to take the two minutes needed to send me a response during that 9 hour window. They've all been on Steam playing various games throughout the day. Considering that two of these people get extremely irritated when people don't respond to their messages, I've starting to feel pretty angry about this myself.
So, seriously. Are my players being inconsiderate here, or am I just overreacting horrifically?
I'm building a character for a Reign of Winter game that I'm going to be involved in soon. Basically as soon as I wrap up Shards of Sin, one of the players in my group is going to run The Snows of Summer, then I'll run Curse of the Lady's Light, and so on and so forth.
It's been a long time since I've actually played in a game of this type. In the last few years I've played in GURPS, Warhammer 40k, World of Darkness, Cortex and 2nd Edition D&D, but haven't played 3.5 in about 4 years, and have always been the GM for Pathfinder games. So I'm a little bit rusty on building PCs. Flavour wise I'm good, but I'm more used to throwing together NPCs quickly than I am to building something I want to actually play.
So, I'd like to get some input on a few things. Before I go into it, I should state that I'm not going for outright optimisation.
Anyway, I decided I'd like to play a bard. I've only ever played one once back in high school, but I enjoyed it. Based just on the personality/fluff of the character I'm going for, I'm thinking of the following possibilities:
The main things I'm considering are race, early choices of spells, skills & feats, and if there's any particular arguments for or against the three character concepts I listed above (while I don't consider myself an optimiser, I'd rather not play something that is broken to the point of being useless). I do want the character to have a decent viability, as I'd like to keep him alive for as long as possible (I've just lost one character due to a WoD game going on hiatus, and another because the GM killed him off while I was on a business trip for nearly 7 weeks - apparently the fact that I was out of the country doesn't stop his 'miss 4 sessions in a row, your character dies' rule - so I'd like this one to survive a while)
Current thoughts in terms of race is an Azata-blooded Muse, as I've never played an Aasimar before. The GM was playing one in my game and seemed to think it was an interesting race given the option for completely random replacement of the SLA. Given that the Azata appear to be the muses of the good outsides, it seemed like a logical choice as well. But if there's anything others would suggest, please let me know.
Additionally, the GM has advised that he'll be making a few house rulings to how things work, some of which may have some bearing on suggestions. The major ones that affect my proposed character are below
DR functions slightly differently for players compared to monsters. Basically he'll take the damage off the total that a PC deals to a monster in their turn, rather than off each separate attack (however if a PC has damage reduction, it functions as written).
Weird Words is confirmed as being able to be focussed in his game (which I'm fairly sure is how it's meant to work anyway, but I've seen some disagreement). Combined with the DR rule change this means Weird Words should remain viable into higher levels, since it won't get entirely soaked by DR. I hope it will be anyway.
He's also advised that he's willing to let me make a one time choice for how Weird Words works in terms of whether it is treated as a ranged weapon (his ruling on this is that it means it can be affected by weapon feats like Point Blank Shot and so on, but will provoke AoOs when I make the attacks), or I can choose to have it not count as a weapon (meaning no feats, but I also don't provoke AoOs when using it). Additionally, he's said that no matter which of these options I choose, the ability will never incur the -4 firing into melee penalty. I'm honestly not sure what to choose here, how much of a difference do the feats make? How many of them would be useful to me?
If you're wondering what the personality of the character is, I've put it below in spoiler tags.
Xargin Swift, a.k.a. Masque:
Xargin is an accomplished entertainer, with some skill in all types of performance, but a specialisation in singing. He's charismatic, knowledgeable, and basically a jack of all trades (I'm building him as the skill monkey and face, as I know the others are likely to play specialised combat roles). Despite how charming he is, there's still something a bit off about him. It sometimes seems like he's not entirely there, and his attention is wandering, but a second later he'll be completely focused and entirely aware of what just happened. He has an odd tendency to swap between referring to himself as I and We, often in the same sentences. This appears to be completely involuntary, and when it's brought to his attention he doesn't understand what is being commented on. As far as he's concerned, it's perfectly normal that the others want people to know their opinions on the matter as well.(I've written this in as a reference to Matthew Swift from Kate Griffin's Urban Magic books, they're one of my favourite series at the moment and I wanted to play with a few elements of Matthew's character. Matthew is an urban sorcerer who was resurrected and shares his body and mind with the Blue Electric Angels).
He has a fascination with sound, and it's effects on the world. This relates to all noise, whether natural or manmade, instruments or vocal. His particular love is vocals though, particularly singing and chanting.
Standard clothing is black breeches tucked into soft leather boots, with a white shirt. Over this he wears an armoured long coat. His hair is short on one side, while the other is longer and falls around his jawline and partially covers that side of his face. The other side of his face is covered by a white half mask with a pattern scrawled on it in black ink (the masks are replaced occasionally and a new pattern designed, seemingly at random).
It's all still being fleshed out, but that's what I've got so far
So guys, please hit me with any suggestions you've got. Once I've got a stronger feel for what I want to build, I'll actually do up some builds and post them.
EDIT: Should mention that this is going to be 20pt buy, possible 25. But definitely no lower than 20.
I'm currently stuck on a work trip in a country where I don't speak the language (believe me, ordering meals here has been a bloody adventure and a half), the weather has been miserable (either hot and humid, or too wet to go out) and I've been sick on and off since I arrived. So I've been spending a lot of time in hotel rooms, watching a lot of movies and trying to catch up on some reading. Unfortunately that's started to get a little bit tiresome,so I thought I'd work on my blog... at which point I discovered that not only are Youtube and Facebook blocked here, but so are a lot of blogging sites. Meaning no access to Wordpress for me.
So, I've decided to throw some of the ideas for a homebrew campaign I've been working on out for opinions and advice. I actually had a lot of work done on this, when a simultaneous failure of a drive in my computer and one of my backup drives wiped out most of my documents. Please comment on anything you feel like, you'll be helping to maintain my sanity by giving me something to think about.
Important note on naming:
Those of you familiar with Tad Williams will probably recognise some similarities with the naming for the noble houses to his novel War of the Flowers, though I'm using botanical names rather than the common names of the flowers. This is intentional, as it's one of my favourite novels and I wanted to pay a bit of tribute to it. Similarly, the name of the country, Kildaea, is a reference to Trudi Canavan's Black Magician trilogy. If I ever get around to actually publishing this campaign setting (unlikely, but you've gotta dream huh), obviously I'll be changing those details.
A large part of my inspiration for this setting came from an interest in writing a fantasy military themed story. The idea is that the military within the game will emulate a lot of modern military tactics and techniques using magic instead of technology (I'll go into specifics on this later). The players will be starting off as one of the new elite forces teams, specialising in recon, infiltration and covert operations. Think of them as a cross between the US Marine Corp Recon teams and the British SAS. Actually, they've probably got elements of pretty much any of the special forces teams around the world. The elite teams are also used as a deterrent by the Imperial House, the idea being that the houses know that if they start anything that threatens the imperial family, then at least one of the teams is going to show up and finish it permanently.
So, let's start off with some basic information. The setting is designed for use with the Pathfinder RPG (hence why I'm posting about it here), but is set within a single country run the Imperial House and the Eight Lower Houses. Magic is becoming more and more common, and almost all nobles have some form of magical talent, even if it's just a minor ability to cast a few cantrips. Due to the increase in levels of magic, and the push by the imperial military to develop new uses for it, the country is undergoing what I've termed the "Magic-Industrial Revolution". New technologies are being developed using magic on a regular basis, initially for military purposes, then spreading out to the rest of society. There's compulsory government service for all magic users (haven't quite determined the time frame for this yet), after which they are free to continue in their position or to go their own way.
There will be more info to come, but unfortunately I've started to feel ill again, and am planning on just putting on some quiet music and trying to get some sleep. I know this isn't a lot to go on so far, but unfortunately right now it's all I can do. I'll try to get some more up in the next day or so. In the mean time, feel free to hit me with any initial impressions.