Woman with Dragon

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. 172 posts (275 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 1 alias.


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Netflix still has the DVDs listed as upcoming in their catalog - no word yet on Watch Instantly. The movie is definitely licensed at this point, plus apparently all 4 past/planned seasons of the TV show.

Funi has failed to release licensed stuff before, but if Hetalia sells well into 2011, the movie and S1-3 should come out at least.

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JoelF847 wrote:
I did want to comment on the question that I see a lot of people asking, but no real answers to. "What should WOTC do if they don't make people pay a monthly subscription?" They could change the model from a subscription model entirely to a purchasing of individual data sets for each product. That would let the casual player to buy the core books, and a few supplements that they want to use in their game, without having to pay for everyting WOTC releases, and without having to pay a pricey monthly subscription.

Aside from the regular revenue stream from a subscription, there are two problems that are partially solved by the current "all content for one-login" system.

First, it lets users browse existing material before purchasing a hardcopy. While there are plenty of informal & official reviews available for nearly every RPG product, nothing beats flipping through a book at the store, or in this case, actually sampling the new options. If you had to buy software extensions to see/use each new supplement, you'll only pick up what you're already familiar with.

Second, I think maybe people are being a bit naive about how aggressive piracy is in the book/software market. Codes in printed books would immediately go online in giant lists. A fully off-line builder, with all updates/content embedded with the installer (rather than with a later authorized download), would go viral. Even something like a permanent web cookie or authorization file (or registration entry) could be emulated and/or copied from one client computer to another. (This last is still a potential problem with Silverlight, depending how they do the authorization.)

The current builder has a lot of easy-access loopholes that were probably willfully ignored until now to get people that initial "taste" that drug dealers are so noted for. Now everybody has to pay - annoying, arguably unexpected, but certainly not malicious. There are still free/cheap ways to roll up characters, so it's not like they've put all of 4e behind a pay wall.

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Yucale wrote:
Leading on to another question: do you think England's imaginary friends are invisible and real, or he's just a little crazy?

Couldn't say - I got just far enough in to be introduced to the Allies, but not get to know them. I'm hoping/waiting for Hetalia to show up on Netflix Watch Instantly - it's a good platform for marathoning, and Hetalia's a marathon kinda show.

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Freehold DM wrote:
That the negative connotations have to be filtered out and that Korea was missing only points out that this is a show that would not have worked at other points in Japan's/everyone else's history. It would have been interesting to see if the show would have lasted if Korea was kept in the first season, Axis' "cool" factor was pumped up, and it was less sanitized overall.

Hmm, I guess I'm just not sure what you mean that it wouldn't have worked at an earlier time. The mixed fanbase reaction to Hetalia makes me think that it doesn't entirely work well now either. There have always been aspects of some anime (esp. alternate-history or future-history war stories) that need a propaganda-filter to enjoy guilt-free.

We ran a Leiji Matsumoto marathon a couple months back, and included the first couple eps of the original Space Battleship Yamato (~1974-76). A classic, certainly, but the cultural/historical dissonance was a bit jarring. Maybe you mean that Hetalia has less of that dissonance, or maybe that the Western anime audience has developed a better filter? I'm curious to see how Hetalia is received in Europe...

Freehold DM wrote:
Meh. This is going to be an eternal sticking point for me and for many. Sure, dubs' star seems to be on the rise, but there will always be a significant portion (I would go as far as to say lion's share) of the population that will never have heard the dub track because they never turned it on- and probably never will because they simply don't have to.

Dual-language releases are great. I'm not trying to preach or change your worldview, just offering suggestions for good stuff to check out if you have the time/inclination. We've got a lot of folks at my club who stopped bothering with dubs years ago, but really enjoyed Beck when we showed it in English, and were happy to get the heads-up.

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w0nkothesane wrote:
I get that this is the kind of user that they're trying to get to commit to paying every month, but this is far too heavy-handed an approach. If they offered the web based AND the downloaded versions, this would be great news.

If they could keep up with the feature & content updates, I would agree. But they've been stagnant on features for like a year, and the update schedule has been lagging behind for several months. With the current info, and the linked response thread above, all those problems were probably because they split the dev team (poor resource management).

Much as it sucks to get a "more access-less features" product, I'd rather they put all their (resource-limited) efforts into one project rather than poorly support multiple initiatives.

w0nkothesane wrote:
Is D&DI a useful tool? Absolutely. I have to say, though, that I absolutely hate it when companies try to model their business after MMO subscriptions, especially when it's so ill-fitting to the product they provide.

To be fair, this isn't the "MMO model", it's the same model that print & cable subscriptions have had for decades. If you need a predictable revenue stream (and who doesn't!), it's a good business model.

People get into a routine - even when I'm not playing a game, I keep my Paizo/AP & DDI subscriptions going, so I have them ready. Both Paizo & Wizards pitch upcoming material to subscribers, so even when I start thinking, "Hmm, maybe I'll cut back this month/quarter", instead I get "Ooh, an interesting D&D World/Pathfinder AP is coming!". I'm *so* not alone in this kind of behavior - it's just good business to encourage and nurture it.

Edit: Ninja'ed...

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Lack of current iPad support aside, I'm wondering if the move to a web-based tool is partly an advance strategy to support mobile devices & tablets/netbooks? That would actually be pretty cool, *if* the new version runs properly on low-power devices.

I seriously lament the lack of offline support, but I'd keep an eye out for whatever export functionality they build in - the smart move would be to make a format that's import-compatible with the old Builder.

Is it currently possible to take a character built with an updated Builder and open it in a non-updated Builder? I keep a continuous subscription going, so I've never tried it, but for the intermittent-subscription folks, does this work?

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Freehold DM wrote:
Yucale wrote:

Has anyone else seen it?

Do you like it, or find it downright offensive?
Subbed or dubbed?
Any news on the movie? I'd like to see it (I'm in the US), just not dubbed.
Who's your favorite character?

If you haven't seen it... you should.

I've only seen bits and pieces of it. I find it charming, but primarily now that we(meaning the world) is in the political state it is in. At almost any other time it would either have been in very poor taste or outright offensive.

I've seen maybe the first 5-6 episodes of season 1 when it was making the fansub rounds. Although I haven't checked out the dubs yet, I've heard that Funi did a good job with them, featuring the appropriately exaggerated country accents. Haven't seen enough of the ridiculously huge cast to have a favorite, but I do enjoy the shorts with chibi-Italia & Holy Roman Empire. *grin*

I don't think that the current political state makes the show any more/less palatable, since at heart it's chock-full of stereotypes and misrepresentation. I mean the Axis Powers, esp. Germany, should really not be portrayed as the cool guys...

The anime is somewhat sanitized from the original manga/4-comi strip - poor Korea was deemed such a racist stereotype that it/he was excluded from the anime version (1st season, anyway).

Based on the mixed reaction at my anime club, I think if you have enough actual historical knowledge to get the jokes/references, but also identify and disregard the racial/ethnic stereotypes, it can be an enjoyable show. I hope some fans will learn more history b/c of Hetalia (I met a history teacher using the show in class :) but I also hope people will be able to filter out the more negative connotations.

Freehold DM wrote:

As for dubbing....really? Is this even a question? Now that we have youtube and multi-language option DVDs, I'm surprised this format didn't bite the big one for all but television runs.

I suspect you haven't watched many modern/recent dubs - there are several really good ones from the last 5-7 years. IMO, Funimation tends to have the best success rate, with Beck, Mushi-shi, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Darker than Black among the recent "best dubs/best shows". Geneon and Bandai are/were hit-or-miss, but Cowboy Bebop, Read or Die TV, and Last Exile were excellently produced.

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JoelF847 wrote:
The established companies either want to use their own IP and not be tied to the issues of using someone elses, or want a much bigger name than Pathfinder is. [...] Also, it's a lot harder for a new, upcomming company to find funding now than it was a few years back due to the general economic conditions. If Paizo was willing and able to fund, that would be great, but I'm guessing that they don't want to take that kind of financial risk.

This. Gamers' wallets and game developers' capital are already pretty strained these days, and there's a lot of competition for what's available. And we're talking about the narrow Venn sliver of video gamers who like/play/buy Pathfinder and Pathfinder players who like/play/buy video games.

Add to that the fact that those "golden age RPGs" were mostly 2D and/or turn-based - two categories that Western game publishers on PC & console seem to be avoiding like the plague. Ironically, "old-school" RPGs are showing good results on handhelds and mobile phones in the States and worldwide, but since you can't get the same level of market-attention-grabbing eye-candy on a portable, most of the big names in Western RPG publishing aren't developing for it. (Unless you count localizations from Japan & ports of old DOS/Win games.)

Honestly I'd love a game that just featured Golarion and Paizo's sweet art design, but I don't see it happening outside of the indie market (not that that's necessarily a bad thing). For comparison, D&D has big-market developers for their licensed games, and plenty of marketing muscle, but those games still struggle to make a profit after big-market development costs. Maybe keeping it small & focused would be the best bet here.

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*checks Droid* The main store page is a bit cluttered on the small screen, but the inside store pages are all functional and well-done. The PFSRD is very plain-vanilla HTML, so after a variable-length chunk for the sidebar, it all flows very nicely.

About the only thing that might be annoying in a game-time situation was that the PFSRD search bar brings you tabbed results from all the site sections - but I'm guessing that's by design.

So maybe a mobile version of the PFSRD might swap the sidebar for a collapsible index, and keep the search bar restricted to PFSRD-results-only. I don't think it needs a whole app...

The game on the other hand could use some handy DM tools, I think. There are a lot of dice rollers & PDF viewers but not much else. *sadness*

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An app to do what, exactly? Game management, AP/module PDF folder, combat tracker? There are a lot of possibilities...

Edit: Should this be in the Tech thread? Unless you just mean put the website in an app.

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Set wrote:
but with Haven, every time you think you know what's going on, it's something completely different.

I like the genre-bending, too. It's nice to be led astray in creative ways - hopefully they can keep it up.

Set wrote:
The character of Duke is about the only part of the show I want to go away. The character annoys me, and the actors mutant chin needs more than that scraggly attempt at a beard to hide it.

*heh* I'm pretty interested in how the character's developed over the season, and looking forward to where they go with him. His "smarmy townie" routine was a bit grating at first, but I liked the "good cop, bad cop" thing he's got going with Nathan.

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ProfessorCirno wrote:

Yes, getting a product in a major store is a big deal. For the same reason having your product be on Amazon is a big deal. For the same reason people will pay money to try and ensure their product is in a certain place on an aisle in stores.

Having your product in Target means that people in Target will see it. Maybe they play D&D, maybe they don't. Maybe they used to play D&D long ago. What matters is that a potential customer has now seen your product.

I had a (pleasant) shock to the system couple weeks back when I saw the Pathfinder CRB in the gaming/RPG section at one of the bigger/prominent Barnes & Nobles in NYC (the one on 5th, near Rockefeller Ctr. - lots of tourist traffic).

Admittedly, that store has the largest gaming section of any of the Manhattan B&Ns, but I've never seen a Paizo book outside of the specialty shops (Neutral Ground before it closed, Compleat Strategist, *sometimes* at Forbidden Planet).

Target/Walmart are really big ponds to make a splash in, but it's nice to see a growing presence in other places too.

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Wrath wrote:
What I don't enjoy about 4th is the books seem really "hollow" when I read them. There doesn't seem as much depth or feeling to them as there is in Pathfinder, particularly the monster manuals. There's just something unsatisfying in the MM books since they rarely contain much detail about the creatures themselves, their behaviours, their habitats or history. It is this meat and bones that really gives a DM inspiration for great game building.

I feel like 4e as-published makes for a good rules-system foundation, but still needs an infusion of material from other sources - other RPGs, books/TV/movies, homebrew worlds - to make it shine.

The published fluff is okay, but most of it hasn't grabbed me enough to want to spend a lot of time in that world. That's the basic reason why I prefer a hybrid approach in games I DM or play in - 4e rules, mixed-source fluff.

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Creepy Puppet wrote:
You should feel bad! All those rich folk paying good money so other people can attend, and you didn't get in on that action!

Actually me and the SO were trying to get in on the HuffPost bus, but missed the unannounced Oct. 8 deadline *sadness*. Amtrak is viciously overpriced for the DC-NYC trip that weekend (unless you travel at 3am), and the Greyhound/dollar/Chinatown buses are all booked-up. So we'll be watching the Comedy Central simulcast, I think.

But a lot of folks in other regions/cities who can't make it to the rally are doing side rallies or viewing parties - rallymao.com. So if you're in the spirit, but can't make it, you could try that.

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Rauol_Duke wrote:
while some episodes were better than others

The writing was a little lopsided sometimes, and I didn't think we needed a recap episode (it's only 13eps - even if you missed a couple of "troubled-of-the-weeks", it wasn't a huge deal).

In posting the Wikipedia link I noted that most (maybe 7-8/13) of the episodes were penned by the series creators, especially including the plot-advancing ones. I'm guessing they kept a pretty firm hand on the first-season development, and I agree that the attention/quality shows overall. If they keep that up in S2, I'm looking forward to it.

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I'm still not convinced of the universal-ness of HTML5. Too many years of getting excited about W3C standards only to see those standards implemented differently (or not at all) by browsers makes me hesitant to trust HTML5 as the webdev Holy Grail it's touted as. My understanding of the non-standard platforms, like mobiles, tablets/PDAs, and now TVs/set-tops is that they also have widely varying adoption of standards. So I'm not sure if I would rely on that for something where layout and user-interface design are really important.

I have mixed feelings about standalone apps, since it goes against the grain of interface standardization (which I believe in as a developer & user), but I think a modular app-based model would be the best solution for something like this. Kind of like how Maptools is part of a larger suite, or how Wizards' Char. Builder is meant to be part of a modular suite (if they ever finish it), people could take or leave whichever parts work for them.

Dorje Sylas wrote wrote:
IMO the DDI programming was a joke. They seriously knee capped themselves by focusing purely on Windows executables and not Web 2.0.

While I empathize with the Mac/Linux users who get screwed out of the DDI app tools, I can see where the WotC devs figured they'd focus their efforts on the most widely-used platform. Cloud-based apps have a lot of issues, not least of which is that not everyone has internet access at the table. If they want their apps to be used both in prep and at game time, something that could work as a standalone, without the need for web access seems like the best way to go. And the DDI articles/compendium aren't platform-dependent, so there's still value/usefulness there.

If there's a walled-fortress complaint to be made, it's against Microsoft (as usual), for not offering better .NET support to virtual machines like Parallels and Wine. Or maybe Apple, too - I've never really known them as a very friendly company to 3rd-party developers connecting directly to consumers.

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After taking a chance on the show in the summer, I was pleasantly surprised to find the now-rare combo of good writing, good acting, and real sci-fi television - especially on the oft-disappointing Syfy Channel. Here's the Wiki link.

It's set in Stephen King's usual haunt of a sleepy Maine town, that of course has unspoken mysteries beneath the surface. In this case that's various townsfolk who break out with dangerous/tragic powers in times of hardship or stress/anxiety - the "Troubled". Apparently it's a generational thing & runs in families, which compounds the usual small-town issues of everyone knowing everyone's business & family history.

Enter a fiesty, competent(!) female FBI agent whose ties to the town become the main arc-plot, and her new townie partners - a "troubled" cop who can't physically feel anything, even injuries/lover's touch/etc, and the local get-anything smuggler guy. The show has kind of a sci-fi in-joke/genre-bending overlay, which livens up the troubled-person-of-the-week stories.

The series finished it's full season run this week, and thankfully got picked up for a 2nd run (unlike Dresden Files, the last good show SFC aired that I liked until they pulled the plug on it). Anybody else catch it?

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Dorje Sylas wrote:
Yes, very much so. We are at that point in the related technology that it really is going to come down to who makes total package first.

That seems to be the clincher. After posting, I poked around the tech and game blogs for awhile to get reacquainted (grad school eats your life), and found several DIY options that would work in a range of time/cost/equipment scenarios.

But then there's that issue of compatibility & ubiquity among the gaming community. It's hard enough to find people you're socially game-compatible with, much less adding the extra wrinkle of tech-incompatibility. (My last couple of 4E games got disjointed between Win/Mac users over the Character Builder.)

I think it could work at the level of a little mini-box you could plug into any TV, easily update & add custom/homebrew modules to via USB/internet, use on-line or off, and pocket easily for transport.

I've got a previous-gen little box from Western Digital that plays video like this for <$100 and it's running some flavor of Linux on a low-power chip. I think something similar could be done for tabletop games in general - PnP, card/board, etc.

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This Maximum PC article on internet television (specifically Google TV) mentions a "Poker Night" concept by the folks at Intel that is basically a webcam-enhanced virtual tabletop on the television. There's a picture (about 1/3 down) that basically features a scenario that could easily be MapTools-on-TV, enhanced by headsets, webcams, and linked-in tablet computers (or smartphones) to show player-specific information.

The article has the folks at Intel and Google gushing about how this could be the future, with their upcoming proprietary hardware/software. But it seems to me like most of the technology exists already:
- internet-connected home-theater PCs (or app-running set-tops like Boxee)
- headsets w/ optional webcams
- and either a port of current VTT software (MapTools, but there are others) or an as-yet-unwritten mobile/TV app.

Honestly, it looked to me like a ramped-up version of co-op games on Xbox Live (or a private LAN server).

Anybody else think this is feasible with current tech? And if so, could the software be cobbled together from existing sources, or is this something to watch out for on the horizon?

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Without actually looking through your code, it sounds like you need to check your CSS stylesheet (for the indent - maybe there's a problem in your use of tags/classes) and you'll have to read the documentation on your lightbox. There are so many available that the answer isn't universal, but it's probably worth just taking a second look at your code and the docs. HtH.

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Completely depends who I'm talking to/writing for. Americans not familiar with English/European folk stories or medieval studies/fantasy/D&D usually register with "fey" or "fey folk" or even plain-old "fairy". All others get "fae" or "faerie".

I think older folks/books in the States (so that would include the earlier Oz editions) do use "fay", but somewhere along the way that got associated with homosexuals, and then became derogatory in that respect. So since more people know it that way rather than "pointy-eared people who have an alternative moral scheme", it's become pretty anti-PC in current usage.

Kajehase wrote:

Fey, although being Swedish, the one I use most of all wouls be "trolsk." ;)

That's interesting - anybody know any other non-English-usage terms? Might add some "local color" to my NPCs.

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I think the different gender experiences in gaming have a lot to do with identity/self-identification. From adolescence to adulthood, boys/men are more likely than girls/women to (publicly) call themselves geeks, and openly talk about geeky hobbies. Growing up in the 80s/90s, a guy might talk about hitting the arcade, playing consoles/LAN games at somebody's house, or hanging out at the FL comic/RPG shop, and probably all their friends (likely to also be geeks) would dig it.

A girl who enjoyed or was interested in the same activities generally wouldn't bring it up with a group of other girls, except/unless it's already established that they share those interests and there's no worry about social isolation/ostracism (like at a sci-fi or gaming club). Certainly there are exceptions, but I still find a lot of young women into sci-fi/anime/role-playing who claim they can't find any other girls who share their interests - there's clearly a communications error somewhere.

It's interesting to note that even though more girls/women are actively involved in geeky pursuits (as both hobbies & careers), very few girls/women actually call themselves geeks. (Trust me, I've been asking for years.)

Another aspect of it may be the not-so-girl-friendly local gaming/comic shop itself. My to-be-hubby & I frequent several of the comic & gaming shops here in New York, and the atmosphere & customer service at some places gives off a distinctly "ugh/ooh, a girl!" vibe. I'm far more likely to spend time & money at the places that just treat me like a knowledgeable comic/gamer-geek like everybody else (our squishy bits are just arranged a little differently).

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This was somewhat less of an angel story as a classic random people at the Apocalypse play. The character interaction & development was pretty much the whole attraction, and the actors are all quite talented/experienced (except the LA family, although they looked a bit familiar). If there were cliches in the progression of relationships, and a slight lack of surprise in the "look out!" moments, it's probably more due to familiarity with this kind of story. (It's been used since forever...)

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Miphon wrote:
With respect to the "standard" non-human races (dwarves, elves, gnomes), I concede that there are issues with the rarity of these races outside of their "traditional" areas, but it seems to me that this isn't necessarily exclusive to 4E as any 3.x/PF player of one of these races would also face similar issues. Perhaps 4E magnifies this due to the (anecdotally) higher prevelance of non-human PCs over previous editions. I think the explanation that adventurers/PCs are more cosmopolitan/diverse than the average population helps smooth over a lot potential issues in the area however.

The timing of the releases of Pathfinder setting info & 4E (and the OP) sets up the comparison - certainly 3.x had its own difficulties cross-pollinating races across different settings. I suspect the relatively greater appeal of non-traditional PC races in 4E is due to the removal of level adjustment/hit dice/spell resistance as mechanical considerations. Any race can be made playable, for good or ill, constrained only by the setting & the GM.

Miphon wrote:
Mandisa wrote:

I agree, you can pretty much shape the cosmology to suit your purposes. However, depending on your game, the First World and the Cataclysm kind of key directly into the backgrounds/mysteries all of the elf-derived races (elves, eladrin, drow - I have a pretty nifty 4E/Golarion hybrid explanation for them, if you're interested) as well as gnomes, dwarves, and various gods/cosmic horrors.

I would definitely be interested in seeing what you have come up with. I'm still trying to nail down the cosmology in my game although it may be a while before it becomes directly relevant to my players.

I have a personal love of triplets as a narrative & graphical concept (3 Fates, 3 Witches, 3 stages of man, triptychs, etc.), and I wanted to keep the parallel of the First World and the Feywild. So in my homebrew-Golarion history, when faced with the Cataclysm of First Darkness, the proto-elves violently disagreed on how best to deal with the situation.

The majority opted to leave Golarion entirely and return to the Feywild/First World, while a determined minority opted to weather out the catastrophe, using their magic to forge a new life underground (drow). After a comparatively short while, a group of those who had left Golarion chose to return and restore their cities/kingdoms, only to find various nasty things (and humans!) had largely claimed whatever wasn't destroyed (elves/Mierani Forest elves). Much more recently, by Golarion reckoning, a small ambassadorial mission of those who remained in the First World arrive, hopefully for diplomatic purposes (eladrin/Mordant Spire elves).

Alternatively, you can go for a darker interpretation. In this version, the drow were the underclass of a strict social hierarchy, and were so little thought of that they were left behind when the portals were used. They did not have the greater magics that enabled their brethren to leave, and thus were forced to eke out a life underground, retaining the haughtiness of their former masters, but gaining newfound strength/power in their exile.

Similarly, the elves were purposely modified to be more human-seeming (shorter lifespans, hardier bodies, more "normal" appearance) and sent back to Golarion as an advance infiltration and recovery group ahead of a larger invasion/restoration force. The handful of eladrin that we see now on Golarion are either here to observe and report back why the elves have not made more progress, (maybe the elves have "gone native") or are the leading edge of the invasion force, with nefarious schemes of their own.

Second Darkness had an explanation for the elf-drow connection that I couldn't quite swallow, but I did like the idea that magic and fey nature made such creatures susceptible to ridiculously fast/pronounced versions of normal evolution (especially if they purposely shaped their development to suit hostile environments - advanced polymorphing/fleshwarping).

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Miphon wrote:
mandisaw wrote:
4E & Golarion differ in their attitudes toward the "monstrous" races, and also in the rarity of non-humans outside of race-specific homelands.
Would you care to elaborate on this? I'm running a 4E Golarion game and it seems to me that the differences are fairly minimal, but maybe I'm not seeing what you're seeing.

Well, Golarion dwarves and elves seem to mostly be found/mentioned in the vicinity of their homeland mountain ranges or forests (respectively), or in defined compounds within trading centers (cities, towns on trade routes). (IIRC from the Campaign Setting & the Elves of Golarion booklet) The 4E PHB description implies that while dwarves & elves have homelands, they do mix in other settlements, and are less rare/unusual than their Golarion counterparts.

Newly-promoted-to-core (but not proprietary) 4E races like eladrin, tieflings, and drow are pretty rare on Golarion-as-written, and are generally considered untrustworthy/mysterious/evil if known of at all. I don't think dragonborn exist at all on Golarion (never read mention of them). I've tried to avoid dragonborn entirely at my table, even when I've found a home for genasi and warforged (arcane-created imperial soldier-races from Kelesh & Tian Xia respectively, but unusual outside of those regions & Absalom).

Adventurers/PCs are always more cosmopolitan than the average rube, so maybe your players take everybody in stride, but even so, I think there's definitely a different human to non-human ratio assumed on Golarion than in the various 4E settings/descriptions.

Miphon wrote:
Nothing about 4E requires you to stick with the standard 4E cosmology (with the possible exception of the Feywild/Eladrin connection), so you can easily use the default Golarion cosmology IMO. In my game, I'm looking at some kind of hybrid between the two because I like the Feywild/Shadowfell parts of 4E's cosmology, but YMMV.

I agree, you can pretty much shape the cosmology to suit your purposes. However, depending on your game, the First World and the Cataclysm kind of key directly into the backgrounds/mysteries all of the elf-derived races (elves, eladrin, drow - I have a pretty nifty 4E/Golarion hybrid explanation for them, if you're interested) as well as gnomes, dwarves, and various gods/cosmic horrors.

I think the flexibility is there to hybridize the 4E "default" cosmology to any setting. You can chuck it and go with a native cosmology, but it probably saves some DM headaches or hand-waving later on if you have some idea of how the major 4E concepts *might* fit in your universe.

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Haven't seen the movie yet - 3D gives me headaches, not to mention the glasses x2 issue... I don't think this is VR addiction, maybe it's just the low that comes after the high of a really great story. People got all jazzed up and into Avatar, and now they figure it's all downhill from here. Or at least this movie-year... only thing I'm seriously eager for is Voyage of the Dawn Treader (aka Narnia 3).

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Uzzy wrote:

Leaks are good.

But still, isn't the purpose of a pilot to show it to people and see how they react, then commission the show? Or is this just going to be an internal pilot?

HBO only does internal pilots. They release teaser-tidbits to the press & on their website/channel in the months leading up to the show (so maybe Fall/Winter of this year for a Spring '11 airdate). IIRC, we saw "Making of" stuff for Deadwood, Rome & most-recently, Ladies' Detective Agency, as far back as 5-6 months before air.

HBO's not like broadcast networks, they don't have to justify their expenses to outside advertisers, just to in-house management & their production partners (often the BBC nowadays). And they usually give their shows at least a 6-episode run to gauge audience response, so all-told, they don't really need on-air pilots. (I think the only show in the last 5yrs they actually canceled in-season was "John from Cincinnati" after ~7-8eps - everything else ran a full first season.)

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trellian wrote:
1. Races. 4. Cosmology.

These are the main problems/issues I've encountered. 4E & Golarion differ in their attitudes toward the "monstrous" races, and also in the rarity of non-humans outside of race-specific homelands. So you've got to decide where on the spectrum your version of the setting would fall (this can vary depending on where in the world you set it, of course).

As for cosmology, I've found no problem equating the First World with the Feywild, and the Shadowfell with Golarion's version of the Underdark (detailed a lot in the Second Darkness AP). YMMV of course, and there's nothing saying you couldn't just keep the flavor/origins and ignore the labels.

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Just looked up Dragonstar - sounds like a cool space opera setting, which may be just the thing to wean my fiance off of EVE Online and back to PnP - so thanks for the heads-up.

You might be able to use some of the advice in this Enworld thread on giving 4E the space adventure treatment. The key issue seems to be how much you want ship-to-ship combat to be a part of the game, versus planetary adventures. Sounds like Dragonstar was more of a planetary empire, political/social-oriented setting, so some of the advice on building sci-fi skill challenges may be of some use. Hope that helps.

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James Jacobs wrote:
That said, a relatively important set of sub plots in "Council of Thieves" explores what happens when the devils DO get the upper hand, and when the Tieflings DO get fed up with the unfariness of it all.

Got it! Well, I'll just "stay tuned" then. It may make for an interesting play-variant to run the AP from a fiend/tiefling perspective, like some folks ran Second Darkness from an elf/drow perspective. Curious.

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Hmm, interesting setup for a "rude awakening" there - I assumed the major houses were savvy enough to realize that devils always come out on top of such arrangements, but that might've been my own "genre savvy" imposing on the country as-written. I also sort of interpreted that tieflings weren't exactly mob-on-sight material because of their presence in Riddleport & Korvosa (at least within the Acadamae).

But what then of the Church's stance on tieflings?

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Brandon Tomlinson wrote:
Honestly Cheliax struct me more as LN than LE. Slightly evil, but the focus is the lawful.

So they're more interested in the rigid hierarchy of hell, and the whole "victory through strength" aspect (read: fascism), rather than the arcane corrupting evil aspect. I suppose that would make sense as taking a brutally logical step from the former imperial model. Sort of a supernatural realpolitik taken to its ultimate conclusion.

Now I'm starting to think of all kinds of questions about Chelish society - is there class movement, what do the "gentry"-types think, how do they treat fiendish "ambassadors", what is the measure of "success" among Chelish PCs, etc. Already planned to eventually, but now I'm really feeling the need to buy/read the book, and get a better feel for the whole society.

Still think Chelish-born tieflings would want their piece of the jack-booted, blood-soaked pie too though.

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Brandon Tomlinson wrote:
A tiefling represents loss of control. Carnal relations with a servant is looked down upon due to the slave/master relationship as Chels see it.

Hadn't thought of that... But even if the child is an embarrassment to the birth parents/family, what of the grown adult in the world? Would tieflings be more accepted by groups that typically accept social outsiders - criminals, rebels, drafted/enlisted military, etc?

I haven't read the Cheliax PC book yet - are devils revered as avatars of the divine, or are all infernals perceived as useful servants at best and sentient tools at worst?

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Kevin Mack wrote:
Keep in mind that In Cheliax the vast majority of people are paranoid and distrusting to begin with.

Quite true, but paranoia and distrust of one's social "equals" can lead to a weird relationship with people below you on the caste ladder. I could see a Citizen Kane/Hearst scenario where some crazed noble distrusts all his/her would-be allies except some trusted servant. Not that such a servant would have to be a tiefling, it could be a halfling or some other downtrodden "invisible servant" type.

Besides, why shouldn't Chelaxian tieflings share in the same widespread scheming for power and ambitious unpleasantness as (apparently) everybody else of note in Cheliax? Really, in-game, we're not generally talking about the people who "accept their lot" and live the common or generally-expected life. We're often talking about the folks who strive for something better/different than the norm.

I sort of expected the article to mention something along the lines of, "Tieflings live/are treated like outcaste dogs in general in Golarion, but Chelaxian tieflings are raised with an unbridled passion for world domination" or some-such. Kind of melodramatic, but you get the point.

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Certainly there's a good deal of social space between liking tieflings & and creating a tiefling "untouchable" caste. It's because tieflings are closer to the corridors of power, either by birth, family/House, or association that I think they would have a weird place in society. It's as though they were a group born to be used as a tool - for wielding arcane magic, for creating a bridge between worlds, even for showing loyalty (however false) to the Thrune-dictated party-line.

Half-elves at least are described as filling roles as liaisons and ambassadors between and among human & elven cultures which can gain them some level of acceptance and prestige (however begrudging or patronizing that might be). Tieflings are described/perceived as similar ambassadors between humans/mortals and devils/fiends/infernals, so in a land where that function is necessary or valued, the people doing the job would gain some kind of perfunctory authority or value.

Heck, even in the outlying/rebellious states of former-Cheliax, there's always some faction that supports "rejoining the motherland", or some traitor who seeks glory/wealth/revenge by betraying the rebels to their "imperial masters". Giving tieflings greater, but not entirely unconstrained, social mobility could make such characters an interesting element of those sorts of plots. [EDIT: And how can one dismiss the potential of the tiefling rebel spy, automatically accepted by the haughty & powerful and yet fatally ignored because of his/her race/status?]

I know this may be one of those, "that's how it works/worked in the real world" arguments, but I think this is more a product of fundamental "human behavior" rather than any particular social/cultural practice. If somebody is uniquely good at a socially-desirable function, yet is also considered repulsive for whatever reason, that's bound to create some kind of social-weirdness, whether on an individual or a group level. (And of course, weirdness -> drama *heh*)

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I enjoyed the article on tieflings in Bastards of Erebus, and will certainly refer to it for guidance on tiefling characters born or traveling through the various lands beyond Chelish influence. However, the anti-tiefling hatred and second-class citizen status doesn't ring true IMO with the state-mandated devil-worshiping, "all-things-fiendish are a-okay with us" Chelaxians.

I mean it doesn't seem like a stretch to think that some noble family hard on its luck would try to get a social boost by way of an infusion of fiendish blood. Or to get tricked into it by way of a Faustian bargain, or as a result of a foolhardy indiscretion. And the children of those circumstances probably wouldn't just accept an oppressed lot in life, at least not the interesting ones we're concerned with - prominent NPCs & PC-adventurers.

I've only skimmed the adventure summary for CoT 1, but it seems like the background for the AP basically fits this assessment.

Shouldn't there be a different attitude about and among tieflings in Cheliax from the rest of the world? Sure, any tiefling, accidental or intended, should have a seriously tragic, "David Copperfield" childhood everywhere else, but in Cheliax they should be different. Perhaps some kind of "favored servant" class status, where they could at best attain "power behind the powerful" positions, or where human-flavored tieflings would be preferred over presumably "less trustworthy" non-human outsiders. [EDIT: I mean outsiders as in other races, not specifically planar outsiders.]

I plan to play it that way in my sandbox, but I wanted to see what others thought on the matter.

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In trying to get a good progression for charm/dominate person, these two WotC articles maybe useful: Dead Levels I & Dead Levels II.

They basically analyze the feat/skill/class ability progression and offer advice on tweaking existing classes (or understanding their development). The first article focuses on core PHB classes, and the second (published a few months later) focuses on a survey of expansion-book classes. Might be helpful in building your Confessor as different from a "charm"-ing cleric, but not the ungodly dominator of the stories.

Also, just based on the TV show, it looks like Kahlen's ability was not only limited in how many people/how powerfully persuaded early-on, but also that it seemed to take more out of her. At first it was laughable (and unplayable), in that confessing a mook made her pass out for like 5-10 mins, but she clearly had some kind of psychic backlash or exhaustion after using it that diminished over time. Maybe you could balance out ability duration with her attack potential/bonus, or forcibly space it out over time (hours? days?). Hope that helps.

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If Sony-Columbia's willing to do some kind of profit-sharing deal with Fox, my money's solidly on the Kingpin. Heck, they could even still cast Michael Clarke Duncan for it - brilliant piece of casting, and he/his work was utterly wasted in Daredevil.

Dr. Connors/the Lizard would be a suitably bittersweet touch, especially if they make it a really gut-wrenching discovery on Peter's part (or partially involve him in the research that leads up to the change).

Weirdly, a lot of villains that seem perfectly reasonable on paper or in animation just don't make any sense in live-action. I really like Chameleon, Kraven the Hunter, and Mysterio - they're fun to watch - but I'm not sure they would "track" well on-screen without a serious visual makeover. Certainly if a dude with a fishbowl-head or malleable-face showed up on-screen, the audience shaking would not be from fear.

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Whimsy Chris wrote:
There seems to be a strange trend in 4e races: many of them seek some form of abstract enlightenment, kind of like a Buddhist or Hindi style consciousness. The three examples I'm thinking of are devas (PH2), Kalashtar(Eberron PG), and now githzerai (PH3). Have other people noticed this?

Warforged are kind of looking for deeper meaning to their existence as well. Maybe it's just a useful class-generic adventure/quest hook. Once you get tired of common looting & glory-seeking, your character gets more introspective about their adventuring (or they might've started out that way). PCs have always had a variety of worldviews at their disposal, so maybe they're just retconning the game canon to reflect that.

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Mac Boyce wrote:
Does anyone know where I can get a ruleset for this world? My wife wants to play a Confessor. For some reason I think she'll excel at this PC more than any other she has played.

Sword of Truth RPG seems to be an ongoing shared-world game set in the SoT universe. Even if you don't want to join their game, someone on those forums ought to have some pointers.

And also, making a class is fun - this point-based system is designed to help you build a balanced 3.5e class. GURPS probably has a supplement that would give you some ideas as well, but I'm not up-to-date on that system. As for a 4e class, I'd wager that the DMG2 (out in Sept.) will have some info/instructions along those lines. Good luck!

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Just a thought, but it's probably more of an issue of different social groupings.

Watching my brother and sister grow up (twins make excellent case studies ;) my brother's friends often gamed as a unit - whether it was at-home video games, heading out to the Chinatown arcade, or playing D&D at school. My sister's friends all had different one-on-one interests - watching TV, doing homework, hanging out in Times Sq., and of course the perennial IM'ing while talking on the phone.

Both equally prioritized spending time with their friends, but pairs of girl-friends have different activities at their disposal than a gaggle of 4-5 guy-buddies, or even one guy alone. I've known *a lot* of geek guys who spent considerable lonely childhood afternoons/evenings/weekends vegging out on TV and video games (PC or console, depending on wealth & generation...). Lonely geek girls seem to have spent the time reading books or writing fanfic/drawing fanart...

Sociology studies on geek culture never seem to have a large/diverse enough sample pool to consider different axes than what they're looking at specifically (like neighborhood/race/class/family size/etc.). 267 Midwestern undergrads is a pretty small size (even for sociology), and probably not very broad.

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LazarX wrote:

I assume we're generating first level characters for this? And luckily I'll still be on vacation so we're good.

Later: sent you a PDF from Character Builder with the above assumptions

Actually, we're running from level 4 up to 7 - I've got character-specs & campaign info on my web host... which just started having issues today, including probably eating your email. Can you update & resend your sheet, but to earthlink.net (same username)?

Abilities are by point-buy: 20 pts total, starting with everything at 10, plus an add'l +1 for two abilities (b/c of starting at level 4).

If you want to do your equipment shopping, everyone gets 3 magic items, one each of lvls 3, 4, and 5, and 680gp to shop for equipment with. The magic enhancements are "free", but you have to pay for the base equipment (weapon/armor/implement/etc.) out of your available money.

Any questions, ask away.

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We finally get a proper introductory article, with explanations & more screenshots. The custom monster/power features are elaborated upon, but it's still not clear (to me, at least) whether you can distribute your creations independently of the builder.

Also, the matter of a when a demo version will be released is still in debate - whether it'll be a full DDI version first, then the demo release later, or whether the demo & full version will get a simultaneous release (from the same thread as earlier).

I'd think the latter would be better to entice potential new subscribers, but the developers may just not be ready for that yet.

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LazarX wrote:

So this would be my Manhattan arrival scenario.

Tuesdays: Any time no problem that is my off day during the week.

Other weekdays, likely arrival time in the City via Path would be around 6:30 at the earliest, plus any further travel to the site in question.

Fair enough, that works. In fact we could use an Arcane PC - right now we've got a fighter (Pathfinder-retooled warforged), druid (elf), avenger (drow), and a paladin (human). We're doing a pre-game meetup this Wed. ~6:30-7pm at the Citicorp Atrium (betw. 53rd & 54th Sts. & Lexington & 3rd Aves.). Drop me an email (see first post) with your character info/sheet, and I'll mail you the game info packet.

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Poking around this thread I found out some useful tidbits - looks like powers are fully customizable whether created from scratch or modified-from-existing. Templates are slated for a future build, and won't be in the first version. Info on whether a free demo will be available, and what form it would take (only monsters up to Lvl 3, for example) is pending, hopefully available early next week.

As expected, the builder will be a standalone app with monthly updates (like the Character Builder, instead of web-based), and will ultimately be compatible/modular with the later DM Tools/Adventure Tools/Campaign Tools as they come out. No word yet on what input/output formats the new app will support, but hopefully that'll be available next week as well.

Somewhat less expected, you can use the new app to build complex NPCs as well as monsters. I'm not sure how it would handle rituals/items though - maybe just a quick "equipment" list or included as part of the NPC/monster description? If it's viable though, it would be handy for NPC allies and such (bigger than "local cleric" and smaller than "DM's pet PC").

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The 8th Dwarf wrote:
The British had a golden age of comedy - Dads Army, It ain't half hot mum, Porridge, The Goodies, Love thy neighbour, The Good life, On the buses, The two Ronnie's, Benny Hill......

Benny Hill was absolutely classic, but I think the '90s had some good comedies too - Red Dwarf & Waiting for God were my local PBS favorites, but Brittas Empire & Keeping up Appearances were IMO top-quality screwball comedy of the "despicable social-climbing twit" genre. Stephanie Cole (Diana fr. Waiting for God) & Patricia Routledge (Hyacinth Bucket (or *Bouquet* ;) fr. Appearances) are definitely cut from the same comedienne mold as Sugden.

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Ah. Well, it's planned to be an offline/online hybrid, but I think we're going to meet in-person at least 2-3 times a month on weeknights - it's just more convenient since most of the folks work in Manhattan. I'd be okay if you arrived a bit later (6:30-7ish), if that worked out better for you. It might just put a bit more burden on you to keep up with notes. Send me an email if that option works for you, otherwise, I guess it won't work out for now.

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It's definitely quite sad. Now there's no one to (humorously) sell ladies' undergarments... The NYTimes had a very nice bio on Sugden and referenced a British interview from a few years back. Apparently the interviewer asked for her opinion on the modern comedies, and by implication, why she wasn't in any of them. She said that, "I find it a bit, well, sordid, and it’s not my scene — bad language and who’s in whose bed."

I loved how she could whip off double-entendres (just what kind of pussycat did she have??), so I guess the in-your-face-ness of today's stuff would seem a bit off-kilter. Hats off to a real Queen of Comedy.

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Blazej wrote:
XML is a good start, but I also would like (although this does fall outside what I said for file formats, but is closer to what I meant) for it to be able to take in and interpret just text off of a website. For example, I would enjoy just being able to copy a monster description off of a forum (or a list of monsters from a text file), place it in the program, and have the program be able to interpret it correctly into the proper chucks.

Hmm, MasterPlan (link above) claims to do that for monster descriptions from the Wizards Compendium or from the MM PDFs - although I think it's doing some kind of regular expression/pattern-matching text parsing and I haven't got the knack of what text-markers it's looking for to make it import everything cleanly. (Only started tooling around with it recently.)

As for characters, as of the May or June update, the Char. Bldr. actually can import from text (via Copy/Paste/Windows clipboard). The import format is the same as the plain text format it uses to export for human-readable character summaries (for quick-reference, online posts, wiki's, etc.). I think powers/proprietary descriptions are simply listed by name, w/o description, so I don't know how it handles custom powers/items, but people made some noise and they put in the base functionality at least.

(sort of a rant) I think Wizards development team ought to put together a proper Help/Features document. (Un)Fortunately the program keeps adding/changing functionality, though, so it would take some effort to constantly update to stay in sync. (I'm guessing this is why they haven't done one yet.) It's pretty straightforward to use, and they do an Updates list every month, but those aren't really substitutes for a well-designed manual.

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Blazej wrote:
A bit more interesting if it comes with the ability to export and import files in other formats.

Which formats? The Char. Bldr. has its own XML schema files that can be traded freely, and some folks have been tinkering with using that output for use with custom character sheets/power cards & the like. I've customized the built-in sheets mostly to my liking, but I'm hoping someone will come up with more customizations for the power cards. What are you looking for?

Amelia wrote:
It does look cool - but I'd rather they do the Character Viewer first, so we can make custom pictures for the Character Builder.

Not sure I ever saw the real need for the Char. Viewer. I mean I agree it would be cool to eventually have, but there's so much artwork around already (fr. Wizards & Paizo, plus other 3PPs & "amateur" stuff) I feel like it's not that hard to come up with a suitable headshot/medium-shot. Now if you want full-body, 3D visualization, I don't see how they could offer that with as much customization as folks would want. (I doubt they're dealing with say, Blizzard's art budget...)

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