General Gorstav

Vorn, Servitor of Gorum's page

9 posts. Alias of Sean K Reynolds (Contributor).

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Heya, folks! If you don't know me, I'm Sean K Reynolds, designer on 2E D&D, 3E D&D, 3E Forgotten Realms, in-house developer/designer on Pathfinder and Golarion for six years, and now I'm a developer/designer at Monte Cook Games.

MCG is making a book full of advice about playing and running RPGs. It doesn't matter what system you're using, this book is not about game mechanics, it's about the people at the table (or online), ways to be a better player and better GM, and ways to make that awesome remember-it-years-later game experience happen more often.

I made a little vid about it, which you can find here. Make note of the different shirts I'm wearing!

No matter what RPG is your favorite, no matter whether you're a player or a GM, a newbie or a veteran, you'll learn from this book.

If you want to skip the video and get right to the Kickstarter (which only has two hours left), go here.

Thanks, and good gaming!


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I'll be at PaizoCon this year!

I'm working on a silly little card game that I'll be kickstarting in July, and I'll be bringing the prototype to the con to playtest/demo it. Where? Wherever we can find some reasonable seating.

I haven't tried to put this on the event schedule, (1) because I wasn't sure if the game would be in a workable state by the time the con started, and (2) I'd like to keep my schedule at the con very casual.

So once we're closer to the actual con, I'll have figured out what days I'm attending and what times I'll be demoing the game. If you're available at those times, track me down and sit in on a game or two, I'd love to hear your feedback. :)


I'm having a Five Moons RPG pumpkin-carving contest! Entries due 11:59pm Oct 30th! Win a signed Five Moons RPG Corebook!


Take a look at the Fighter page on the PRD.

Above Table: Fighter, I am able to select the line that says, "Skill Ranks per Level: 2 + Int modifier." And below that table, I am able to select the "Class Features" text and all the text below it. But I can't actually select any text in the table, starting with "Table: Fighter" and ending with "... weapon mastery." I can't drag across it, and I can't double-click it to select it. I can work around this by starting a drag above the table and ending below it, or by choosing "select all" on the page, but it's odd.

Likewise, in the Staves page on the PRD, I can select the "PRD HOME / MAGIC ITEMS / STAVES" text above the table title, and I can select the "A staff is..." text below the table, but I can't select any text in the table itself. As with the fighter stuff, I can't drag to select the text in the table, or double-click it, but I can work around it by starting above and ending below, or by using "select all."

Likewise for the Feat Descriptions table, the Skill Descriptions table, and so on. Always tables.

The problem occurs whether I use Safari (Mac OS 10.9.4) or Firefox (ditto), but Jodi can select it in any browser (Windows 7).


She's a stern-looking lady, but she has a good heart.


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Given how much witches and witch-magic play a part in this AP, I thought I'd mention I have a Kickstarter for my book Goody White's Book of Folk Magic, a 32-page book of new folk magic spells, witch hexes, and rituals going on right now. It's already fully funded and we're making steady progress toward the second stretch goal.

FYI. :)


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The kickstarter for my PF-compatible book Goody White's Book of Folk Magic is now live!

Please take a look! And feel free to ask me questions about it here. :)


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I wrote a blog post about Ex abilities vs. Su abilities, how that interacts with the idea of "martial characters aren't magical and therefore shouldn't be able to do X because you can't do that without magic," and how abandoning the need for defining something as Ex or Su might give some traction to abandoning that limitation.

I thought people here might be interested in the topic.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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I'm strongly considering an online for-pay class where:
1) A designer writes a wondrous item and sends it to me.
2) I read it and create developer notes for that item.
3) The designer and I have a live Skype chat discussing the item, its successes, and its problems.
4) I provide feedback about where the designer can improve their magic item design chops.
5) Repeat steps 1–4 for designing a monster.
6) Give the designer a week to revise their wondrous item and monster.
7) I develop the revised wondrous item and monster and have an editor edit it.
8) I'd have classes for multiple designers in a certain period of time (say, 5 in the month of August). Once all the items and monsters for these 5 designers were revised, developed, and edited, I'd compile them into a PDF and publish it (for free), with full credit to the designers.

Benefits to the designers are:
* One-on-one interaction with a developer/designer/former RPG Superstar judge who's been in the D&D/Pathfinder game industry for nearly 20 years.
* Increased understanding of magic item and monster game design for Pathfinder (which hopefully will improve your chances in the next RPG Superstar competition).
* A published game design credit, developed and edited by professionals.

Benefits to me are:
* Continued interaction with new faces in the RPG industry.
* Free PDFs to encourage people to look at my other books.
* A small amount of income to make it worth my time.

Drawback for the designers is:
* You won't be able to use that item or monster as a submission for RPG Superstar (as it's no longer your solo work, and has been published).

Drawback for me is:
* I could no longer judge (or probably host) RPG Superstar because of possible conflicts of interest.
* Possible accusations of stealing others' work (because the designer is "paying me to publish it," when actually they're paying me to develop it; hopefully releasing it as a free PDF will assuage these concerns).

So, given all of the above:
* Would you be interested in this sort of class?
* Any suggestions as to how I can improve this idea?
* What do you think is a reasonable cost for a full session (steps 1–8) of this class?

And yes, if I decide to do this, I'd do it with plenty of lead time before RPG Superstar 2015 (which I assume will start in Nov or Dec this year).

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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I'm giving away something gaming-, Paizo-, or miniatures-related every day this week on my YouTube channel. The THING OF THE DAY for today (Monday) is a group of Pathfinder/WizKids minis. You should check it out. :)

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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The game designer position I'm vacating at the end of this week now has an official job posting!

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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Average R4 word count: 2,957.

Total word count of judge comments: 11,051.

Average judge word count per R4 entry: 920.

Number of entries using the stereotypical BLANK OF THE BLANK name format: 0

Number of entries that almost use that name format: 2

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

After one night of voting, the top 8 competitors had established themselves as front-runners in the vote totals.

The competitor with the #1 spot in the voting totals has held that spot throughout all of the R3 voting.

Only 17 votes separate the #5 spot from the #4 spot.

At least two of the Top 4 have a "K" in their first or last name.

At least one male competitor made it into the Top 4. ;)

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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We're enlisting the Know Direction podcast staff to arrange some short video interviews with the Top 16!

The plan is to record two "episodes" of 8 competitors, one "episode" on Tuesday, February 11th, and the other on Wednesday, February 12th. The start time for each episode is 5:30 pm PST and ending at about 7:30 pm PST. Each episode will focus on a particular competitor for about 10 minutes, with a few minutes transition time before the next competitor.

The questions will cover how they got into gaming, what it felt like to make Top 32 and Top 16, what they think their strengths are as a designer, and so on. Don't worry, they won't be asked anything that'll disqualify them. ;)

I expect Know Direction will post a recording of the "episodes" to their YouTube channel afterwards.

We should have more information in tomorrow's RPG Superstar blog. :)

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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... but it looks like everyone got their stuff submitted in time (even someone whose map arrived two minutes before the deadline). Congrats!

Chris says she'll have the Round 4 rules posted later today. To sum up:

• The Top 16 will receive an email about sending an adventure pitch email to Paizo Creative Director James Jacobs.

• This gives James the opportunity to adjust these pitches so they don't conflict with recent or upcoming adventures. (For example, a mummy-themed pitch would conceptually overlap with some of the Mummy's Mask adventure path, so he'd steer that person away from a mummy-themed adventure).

• Once James sends you feedback on your adventure pitch, you should start working on your Adventure Proposal entry for R4.

• Your Adventure Proposal should be for level 3 characters, in an urban setting, and (here's the "twist") using one of the following settlements: Bloodcove (Mwangi Expanse), Caliphas (Ustalav), Corentyn (Cheliax), Diobel (Absalom), Katapesh (the city), Nisroch (Nidal), Pezzack (Cheliax), Riddleport (Varisia), Solku (Katapesh), or Vigil (Lastwall).

Good luck, and we'll see you on Tuesday when the R3 entries are revealed!

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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I see constructs. I see dragons. I see fey. I see undead. I see some other types of creatures. (I can't be more specific about creature types without giving away too much info via omission or inclusion. Frex, if there's only one vermin monster entry, I couldn't say anything about vermin or you'll know if that one vermin is in or out.)

The most popular monster beat out the second-most popular monster by 8% of the vote.

The #16 monster beat out the #17 monster by two votes.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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Edit: The tech team has posted the R3 rules. Here's a summary.

• Overall it's very similar to the rules from last year's Location/Encounter/Map rules, with the following changes...
• Location and Encounter are limited to an urban location (i.e., not a forest, swamp, or other non-urban location)
• Does not have to fit on a Flip-Mat (so you can exceed 24 x 30 squares)
• You have to use someone else's R2 monster
• You can't use your own R2 monster
• No required Trap element (although you can include one if you want to)
• Encounter should be "suitable" for 3rd-level PCs (whether that's easy, average, challenging, hard, or epic is up to you)
• No playtesting period between the R3 reveal and the start of R3 voting

Be sure to read the R3 rules in their entirety and follow the requirements listed there (don't just go by this summary).

Good luck!

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

It's 2pm PT, the deadline is here!

Good luck to the competitors and judges! I'm looking forward to seeing your monsters and judge comments at the Round 2 reveal on Tuesday!

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge


Now that this item is no longer anonymous to me, I see that its author, Adam Donald, is a Top 8 finalist from RPG Superstar 2012.

Unfortunately, section 1 of the official RPG Superstar rules page states, "The top eight finalists of all previous RPG Superstar contests are ineligible."

(If our Friday power outage hadn't caused web site problems over the weekend, which delayed completing the R1 judging, I think we would have caught this before it went live.)

The intent of this rule is to prevent finalists from dominating later RPG Superstar competitions. Obviously Adam is talented, as he made it all the way to Round 4 in 2012, but it's not fair (and not allowed under the competition rules) to have him competing against "undiscovered" authors.

So, regretfully, we have to disqualify Adam Donald's entry from RPG Superstar 2014 and promote one of the alternates to the Top 32.

However, this does mean Paizo should take another look at Adam and see if he's available for freelance...

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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Chris says she's been hitting snags in the database, but we should have the Top 32 posted within 10 minutes. Stay tuned!

(I'm excited, I want to know who the Top 32 authors are! We do have some repeats!)

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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Here (in alphabetical order) are the top 100 items submitted this year, as determined by public vote:

Amber Robe
Amulet of Reverse Incantation
Ashen Ka Shabti
Baldric of Revealing Mists
Bear-Skin Rug
Beastmaster's Barbute
Bitter Widow's Veil
Black Rings of the Master
Bog Boots
Bonedancer Bodhrán
Bosun's Call
Boulder Thrower's Kit
Bowstring of Specter's Strike
Bracer of Forceful Restraint
Breach Master's Epaulets
Charlatan's Symbol
Choker of the Siphoning Scorpion
Chrysalis Vial
Cleats of Unsubtle Entrance
Cloak of a Thousand Daggers
Cloak of Ettinkind
Cloak of Inversion
Cloak of the Shadow Twin
Cloak of Woven Mists
Copper Squirrels
Cowl of Whispering Shadows
Crest of the Fallen
Crown of the Murder King
Crown of Webs
Death Mask
Deck of Falling Houses
Deck of the Hellwasp's Sting
Driftwood Token
Dwarven Songwood
Earthbind Boots
Echoing Stone
Evergreen Seed Pouch
Familiar's Soulstone
Fetish of the Frog Queen
Fleshless Shroud
Footpad's Lantern
Forgettable Fedora
Gauntlet of Earth Shattering and Elevating
Ghost Hunter's Gi
Gloves of Suspended Arcana
Gloves of the Artful Gardener
Gloves of the Dread Viper
Goblet of Liquefied Cognition
Gossiper's Gourd
Groundbreaker Cloak
Harbinger's Knock
Hedgewall Seed Pouch
Horned Helm of the Wild Stag
Hushing Sphere
Hymnbook of Life’s Laments
Ice Rime Gloves
Insulated Gloves of the Blacksmith
Ironmorph Dust
Jar of Mottled Clay
Keffiyeh of Pure Breath
Lightning Leapers
Linebreaker's Sabatons
Mantle of Butterflies
Mantle of the Manticore
Mask of the Wayang
Moonstrider's Cloak
Murktouch Cloak
Nightsbane Quiver
Patternward Spectacles
Planar Rift Spike
Poltergeist Knot
Quicksilver Gloves
Quicksilver Scabbard
Resonant Tines
Robe of Resonance
Sandstone Sirocco
Scourge Vial
Screeching Fiddle
Shadow Archer's Gage
Skysilk Thread
Slaying Shroud
Specter Net
Spellmason's Mallet
Spellsnaring Canvas
Spirit Flask
Spirit Window
Sporebane Brooch
Star Cinder
Stormcrusher Gauntlets
Sugegasa of the Beloved Child
Summoner’s Skirl
Sun Wukong's Puzzle Box
Swift-Hook Gauntlets
The Akene Amulet
Treads of Momentum
Treestrider’s Satchel
Voidspun Lenses
Wardstone Bracers

If you had a favorite item that didn't make it into the above list... take it up with your fellow voters! :)

All of the above items had at least a +200 positive vote count. In other words, each was upvoted at least 200 more times than they were downvoted (for example, the lowest-ranked item on this list had 625 votes for and 404 votes against). Overall, this is a very strong showing in the top items (especially considering that last year, anything below #89 was no better than a tie between upvotes and downvotes).

If you didn't make it into the Top 32, but your item is on this list, my most sincere congratulations to you. Why? Because hundreds of people thought your item was pretty cool and worth considering for the Top 32. That's pretty awesome.

If your item is in this list and you didn't make it into the Top 32, your goal for next year is to figure out what made the judges select the other items instead of yours. Talk to the voters. Talk to the judges. Ask for opinions and critiques. Learn. Do better. Remember, the voters often look just at items, but the judges are also looking for who has the potential to be a good designer overall. Submit another, better item next year, one that really shows your talent, your moxie, your mojo. We've had some competitors take two or three tries to make it in. You can do it!

And if your item isn't on the above list, don't despair--yours might have been #101. Keep trying!

(And thanks again to Judy, Morrus, and Patrick for judging Round 1!)

(And there is some helpful advice in a similar thread from RPG Superstar 2013.)

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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1) This thread is locked until 2pm PT on January 22nd (24 hours after the Top 32 are revealed). EDIT: Now with Improved Unlocking! :)
2) It's locked because we don't want people posting their items until the Top 32 are revealed (we don't want to bias the judges or break anonymity).
3) It's locked until the day after that because we want the Top 32 to have a day of congratulations before everyone else starts posting their items.
4) All of this applies to the 4 alternates (who we contact privately) as well as the other people who submitted wondrous items.


Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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1) Chris Lambertz says she should be posting the R2 rules before this weekend. That'll include the specifications for CR and so on.

2) Adam "master of the Adventure Path monsters" Daigle is going to post some monster-design advice once the R2 rules are ready. Similar to my "auto-reject" rules for wondrous items, the intent of his advice posts are to help you design better monsters and avoid pitfalls that might make your R2 submission fare poorly with the judges and voters.

{the more you know...}

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

1) Send an email to or a private message to myself.
2) Include the item name in the message.
3) Gimme a reason why you think it should be DQ'd (such as "it's a ring," or "this was published in book such-and-such," or "over word count").


Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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FYI, we received many submissions that use the updated magic item format presented in Ultimate Equipment (which has since appeared in other books). Although the RPG Superstar Round 1 rules say to use the Core Rulebook format, we decided to not disqualify items which used the UE format.

After all, it is a valid magic format we use in our products, and we feel we shouldn't punish (disqualify) people who use the magic item format presented in our most recent products.

So, when voting, if you see a wondrous item using the new format from Ultimate Equipment, please accept that as a valid format and don't let it influence your voting.

(Items that omit important parts of either format, such as leaving out the entire construction requirements, are still disqualified.)

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Make room! Make room! Make room for more minis!

link to my etsy store

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

I backed the Base Stampers kickstarter earlier this year, and I posted a video review of their Graveyard Set I got for being a backer.

And (because this is what I do), I'm having a giveaway of these pieces; details are in the video.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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English is a very fluid language.

In some ways that is helpful because it allows us to express a rule in a natural way in one sentence and in another natural way in another sentence. For example, we can say "if the creature fails its save, it gains the blinded condition," or "this spell blinds the target if it fails its save." Even though "blinds" isn't a condition, you know what that second statement means because you understand that "blindness" and "blind" mean the same thing in the real world and you know that "blindness" and "blind" aren't two different game terms.

However, not all game terms have equivalents in the real world, and it leads people to try to parse specific meaning out of game terms that are used one way in one sentence and another way in another sentence. Furthermore, given that we inherited the 3.5 game rules, have added or subtracted terminology from those rules, and have writers and editors who have worked on 3.5 and the Pathfinder RPG, sometimes natural writing means we end up with two phrases that seem very similar but could be interpreted as meaning the same thing or different things.

Specifically for this conversation, we're talking about the term "full attack." Some rule elements such as haste say "when making a full attack action." Other rule elements such as pounce say "it can make a full attack." And in some cases it's even less specific, such as the magus spell combat ability which says "he can make all of his attacks with his melee weapon," which was later clarified in an FAQ to mean "as many weapon attacks as you would normally be able to make with a full attack."

We on the design team aren't sure that treating those three terms differently helps the game or makes it easier to learn or play. We also think that allowing martial characters to benefit more often from haste is a good thing.

So, in the interest of having the rules be less confusing, we're going to make some changes to recent rulings and see how it plays out.

The general intent is: if an ability implies that you're making a full attack (whether or not you're specifically using the full attack action), then haste should work with that ability. This has three specific consequences we'd like to call out:

One, spell combat does get the extra attack from haste (because spell combat is basically a full attack plus casting a standard action spell).
Two, charge does not get the extra attack from haste (because charge only allows you to make a single melee attack). Even if a full attack for you is just a single melee attack, charging doesn't get the extra attack from haste.
Three, pounce does get the extra attack from haste (because pounce allows you to make a full attack when you charge).

If there are any unexpected game-breaking combinations as a consequence of this ruling, we'll address them when they occur (which may require reversing this decision).

We'll be updating the relevant FAQ answers to reflect this change.

(FYI, I posted this with my own name rather than from the Pathfinder Design Team account because we prefer to use the PDT account just for making FAQs.)

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