Lonesome Rider (Gunslinger)


Round 2: Design an archetype

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8

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Lonesome Rider (Gunslinger)
Lonesome riders are vagabonds at heart. The call of the road is tempting, and they cannot deny it for long. Lonesome riders are at home on the desolate trails that snake through the River Kingdoms. When employed as hired guns, lonesome riders prefer to ride in fast, and keep their enemies scrambling for cover with their blazing shots.
Class Skills: A lonesome rider does not gain Knowledge (engineering) as a class skill; instead, she gains Knowledge (geography) as a class skill.
Deeds: A lonesome rider swaps a trio of deeds for the following.
Saddle Trick (Ex): At 1st level, when the lonesome rider is mounted, she can veer in the saddle to avoid an attack of opportunity by spending 1 grit point before the attack is resolved. This deed replaces the gunslinger’s dodge deed.
Calm Gait (Ex): At 3rd level, as long as the lonesome rider has at least 1 grit point, she can reduce the penalty she takes when using a ranged weapon while on a mount by her Wisdom modifier, to a minimum penalty of 0. This deed replaces the gunslinger initiative deed.
Scattering Hooves (Ex): At 7th level, as a standard action, the lonesome rider can make her mount rear by spending 1 grit point, and making a Ride check. This scatters each Medium or smaller creature adjacent to the mount. The creature must succeed on a Ref save or move 5 feet away from the mount. The DC for this save is equal to the result of the Ride check. This deed replaces the startling shot deed.
Natural Rider (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, a lonesome rider and her mount share a deeper connection. The lonesome rider adds her Wisdom modifier on Ride skill checks in addition to her Dexterity modifier. Skillful maneuvers, designed to keep her enemies off-balance, give the lonesome rider a +1 dodge bonus to AC against all melee attacks while mounted. Anything that causes the lonesome rider to lose her Dexterity bonus to AC also causes her to lose this dodge bonus. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels beyond 2nd level (to a maximum of +5). This ability replaces nimble.
Phantom Whistle (Sp): Starting at 9th level, a lonesome rider is attuned to the forlorn spirits that roam the roads. Once per day the lonesome rider can do an eerie whistle to summon a ghostly steed to serve as her mount. This functions as per the spell phantom steed, and the caster level is equal to the lonesome rider’s level. Every four levels thereafter, the lonesome rider may use phantom whistle one additional time per day. This ability replaces gun training 2, 3, and 4.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Initial Impression: So, is this Pale Rider or Ghost Rider? I think you got your concepts jumbled. It starts out the pretty cliche "lone ranger" kind of theme, witch competent if not very compelling, abilities. Then out of nowhere comes the Phantom Whistle. There is nothing about the name or the prior abilities that suggests this archetype is going to go there, into the ghostly realm. I don't think you found your big idea on this and it strikes me as a first draft.

Your gloves were very good, but I just don't think you found your concept here.

I DO NOT Recommend this archetype for advancement.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Kalervo, congrats on making the Top 32, and congrats on submitting the only gunslinger archetype this round! That alone is definitely points to you, as this is a class that really polarizes gamers, in that love-it-or-hate-it reaction we sometimes see around gunpowder, robots, and other themes in gaming.

That said, I'm not totally keen on the Lone Ranger element, which adds cavalier class issues to the gunslinger. I understand the theme, and it could be fun to play in some campaigns, but I think this is one that is not totally at home in the River Kingdoms and not necessarily a terrific theme for broad utility.

Sometimes taking a risk doesn't pay off. Not recommended for advancement.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Pretty gutsy choosing gunslinger as your class.

Though I have complained in other archetypes about mixing in class abilities from other classes, you haven't actually done that—you created new mount-themed abilities for your archetype rather than just using abilities from the cavalier class. That's smart and shows you're willing to put in some extra work.

However, the phantom whistle ability doesn't really have anything to do with the rest of the archetype's theme—it seems out of place.

I don't think this archetype really fits the River Kingdoms. I think the concept of it is fine (other than phantom whistle), it just doesn't feel right for this part of Golarion.

I'm on the fence on this one: I like your use of game mechanics, but I think you missed the mark on fitting the source material. But because I'd like to see more of your game mechanics design "chops," I say...

I DO recommend this archetype for advancement.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

A mounted gunslinger.

Deed swaps are nice and fit swaps typical of other Gunslinger archetypes.

Natural rider goes along nicely with the man and his horse cowboy feel.

The summoning of the phantom steep fits in some ways, but feel wrong in others. The archetype is obviously mount based, but on of its abilities is all about how strong the rider/mount bond is.

This could fit in well with the River Kingdoms flavor wise but could work much more broadly. The tie in isn't strong. Bravo on even using gunslinger. I hope people vote on its merits as an archetype and not based on their personal feeling as a class. Good Luck.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

This is the first archetype that I read that really grabbed me. I think all the abilities are mechanically well executed. I agree that the phantom whistle ability feels a little out of place the way it is written currently, but another draft could tie it in better. I can definitely see these guys/girls in my Kingmaker campaign riding riding through the Tors of Levenies.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Phantom Whistle feels a little random. Now, it is a slightly higher level ability, so maybe this is a natural evolution of the concept as he becomes more powerful? I'd like to see more abilities that draw on something like that to balance it all out.

Otherwise, good work and good luck!

Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Lonesome Rider (Gunslinger)

Kalervo Oikarinen wrote:
When employed as hired guns, lonesome riders prefer to ride in fast, and keep their enemies scrambling for cover with their blazing shots.

A mounted spaghetti western-inspired archetype. I can see voters lining up to rip you on setting issues.

The lonesome rider merges the strengths of the gunslinger with the flavor of a mounted class--but without much of the cavalier's baggage. Phantom Whistle eventually solves some availability issues for the archetype's mount-reliant abilities.

The rider is a viable option for characters who want a ranged horseback character and are willing to pick the gunslinger's quirks over the cavalier's.

Daggermark is a great home for the Lonesome Rider--it's horse-friendly and full of suspicious townfolks and anarchic communities where might is right, shady assassins, outlaws and bandits chasing down wagon caravans, and a ruthless, corrupt military cavalry. A loner with a horse and gun fits right in; the larger question is whether gunslingers fit in at all, and that's a higher-level discussion than this archetype.

I certainly can't knock this archetype for making a case that gunslingers can fit, though I wish it had been made more explicitly--if only to help sway the judges and voters.

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Liked this a lot. Good use of abilities/mechanics to make this mounted gunman a bit different with nice cinematic flavour.
Only Phantom Whistle really doesn't seem to gel with the rest. I mean, I totally understand how it could work thematically - just doesn't seem to be necessary.

Gutsy design space, risky challenge. Very bravely, and, in my opinion, well done Kalervo.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Locke1520

I find myself wanting to echo a lot of the thoughts above.

  • Definitely a courageous design space choice.
  • This feels very western much less River Kingdoms.
  • I like the new abilities...
  • except for phantom whistle which is cool but comes out of left field.

    I'm on the fence here.

    Congratulations on making the Top 32 and good luck in the archetype round.

  • Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

    Garrett Guillotte wrote:


    A mounted spaghetti western-inspired archetype. I can see voters lining up to rip you on setting issues.

    ...

    I certainly can't knock this archetype for making a case that gunslingers can fit, though I wish it had been made more explicitly--if only to help sway the judges and voters.

    I'm with you on this one. I see what he was going for, but I wish he had made the connection more explicit.

    Phantom Steed probably had in mind the idea that a movie gunslinger's horse can often seem to come from nowhere when most needed. It's a good instinct to try to get that into this archetype, but the form it takes is maybe a little off.

    I'm probably going to vote for this one as a slightly flawed attempt at something awesome.

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

    In many ways, the River Kingdoms is "the frontier" region in Golarion. I think this archetype is very much a frontiersman; traveling lonely miles from settlement to another, avoiding ambushes by bandits, natives, etc.

    The River Kingdoms is the Wild West of Golarion, and this archetype fits.

    Congratulations on not picking one of the "obvious" (e.g. ranger) or "easy" character classes.

    This one's got one of my votes.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka GM_Solspiral

    Good: Taking risks is always appreciated, this also isn't water themed which at this point is also appreciated.
    Bad: I don't like guns in fantasy, allot of others don't as well.
    Ugly: Name is terrible, feels completely disconnected to the Riverlands.
    Overall, Not getting my vote.

    RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

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    I would probably vote for this if it actually included a scaling mount.


    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Yeah I want to like it -- it's not bad at all... but if you are going to be a rider you got to have a mount in my opinion, and that mount in this game needs to be a class feature companion not an everyday horse that you'll have to replace each time a monster sneezes at you.

    RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8 aka nate lange

    template use is good; writing isn't bad but you wrote "lonesome rider" 3 times in the first 3 sentences... go ahead and use a pronoun. i'm not familiar enough with the setting to see how this fits like some of the other commenters have been.

    from a game balance perspective, it looks pretty good to me. i'm not a gunslinger expert (i don't think i've ever had someone play one in any campaign i've been in or run) but it looks like your inline with their power level. i understand the desire to deal with the lack of mount issue with phantom whistle, but it does seem out of place and, frankly, extra movement benefits may make it a bit too much to gain in exchange for just a wider selection of guns for gun training (honestly, while still sort of disconnected, the mount spell probably would have been a better choice).

    Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

    Isaac, that was my biggest thing, too. It's all well and good to make a mounted-combat focused gunslinger, but this character has to bring his own horse (until 9th level, at least). That turns what was an alright concept and execution on it's head.

    You shouldn't have gone with a deeper connection at 2nd level, you should have gone mount. I could wait until second level to get a mount if I'm a gunslinger. As-is, you have to wait until you're 9 - or cross-class.

    Good luck this round, you're going to need it.

    Shadow Lodge Star Voter Season 6

    I really wanted to see a new gunslinger archetype when this round came out, but I'm really not feeling it with this one.

    The problem isn't just with the mechanics (which I can't really say are terrible in and of themselves), but I feel like it just went in the wrong direction from the concept with the mount. It might have worked if it was spectacularly built, but now we're reaching.

    I think the deed swaps were the strongest part of it; I especially like that you didn't swap out Quick Clear, which is far too important for a non-multiclassing gunslinger.

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

    A stronger mount would indeed be useful for this archetype, but I think giving a mount comparable to a druid's animal companion or a cavalier's mount would be too much. You'd have to swap out several abilities to balance it out, and you'd end up with something more like a cavalier than a gunslinger.

    Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    I will give general impressions, but with 3 areas of particular focus that suit my personal interests. Archetype and ability names: do they show flair? How closely tied to the River Kingdom is the archetype? And last but certainly not least, do I want to play this archetype?

    Archetype and ability names: Average. The names are hit and miss. The deeds, however, are all well-named.

    River Kingdom tie: Average. This certainly works in the RK, but could be from several other areas as well.

    Desire to play: Above average. This is a misfire as written, but the target was a very good one. I'm not a fan of firearms in my fantasy games, but this makes a reasonable case for it. It would certainly be fun. I think Phantom Whistle might have played better if it magically summoned your actual mount to where ever you are. I agree that the archetype needed to do something with the mount at an early level.

    Still, as I mentioned earlier, this is a missed attempt at something awesome. I'm going to vote for it over mediocre attempts at things much less interesting.

    Star Voter Season 6

    I'm just wondering how many times the mount will die out from underneath you before you get made that its stats don't scale and give up on the class.

    I like the abilities though.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka theheadkase

    I don't have any experience with the Gunslinger class, so I can't really do as in depth of a review as I'd like (or as you deserve).

    You've got grit...for choosing a class that is so contested between players. Guns, no guns...people are very attached to their personal fantasy world. You get points for being gutsy, but just be cognizant that elements that are very polarizing to a community can also create backlash.

    You've got a theme here, well, a couple of themes. And not tightly integrated. But what it overall comes down to is a gunslinger and a horse. On the open road. It's pretty...blah. What was an exciting choice in development space didn't translate to an exciting developed space.

    I understand gaining Knowledge(Geography) but I really detest the fact that a gunslinger...and one who is supposed to be by himself, loses Knowledge(Engineering). Just doesn't fit thematically with a person who is guaranteed to be repairing or building their own gun.

    In fact, you might have been better served if you had a couple of abilities that relates to building their own gun.

    Overall, I'm not excited for this and I'll have to keep waiting for a reason to make a gunslinger.

    I do NOT recommend.

    Star Voter Season 8

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    I think all the people who say that the whistle up a horse trick does not fit in with the archtype need to watch more westerns, especially the cheesy ones. A lot of times the hero whistles, and his horse comes out of nowhere to be there when he needs it. Somebody above hit on it, that the "phantom steed" should resemble the gunslingers own steed, or somehow summon his own horse, or perhaps even the ghost of a former steed come back to help its rider.

    Really liked this one, and I'm voting for it.

    Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka JoelF847

    To start, gunslingers don't have any strong ties to the RKs, and for that matter, neither does mounted combat (which is harder in a heavily forested area with lots of rivers - more of a plains or desert thing), which is why other archetypes actually swapped out a mount for a boat.

    That being said, I think you a) did something that isn't already out there - a mounted gunslinger archetype, so that's good that you broke new ground, and b) have a pretty good set of interesting abilities.

    However - not only is the phantom steed out of nowhere, but I also think the combination of the scattering hooves using the ride check as the DC and natural rider, which gives a big boost to the ride skill by layering on Wisdom in addition to Dexterity to the ability bonus for it - probably makes the DC too high.

    Also, since you don't have a scaling mount (which I think is appropriate since that's the cavalier's thing (or ranger or druid if they pick a ridable animal), it would have been smart to have the dodge bonus to AC from natural rider apply not only to the lonesome rider, but also to her mount. I would have not given the Wis bonus to ride skill in exchange, fixing two issues at once.

    I may vote for this despite these flaws, but the lack of RK tie in is my biggest concern - I'm on the fence on this one.


    The non-scaling mount can be solved with a cavalier dip and the Horse Master feat. But that's expecting a lot of system mastery from players, just to make it work like how it sounds. I can't really recommend it.

    Star Voter Season 6

    I love it! This one gets my vote.

    Sczarni

    I'm so surprised that there isn't a mounted gunslinger archetype already. Wow.

    Cool deeds and bonuses.

    That said, I can see a PC of this archetype going though a herd of horses per adventure if they're up against enemies with any sense. 15 hp, and AC 11. That horse is going to end up in an Italian stewpot mighty quick.

    I'm pretty sure that Phantom Whistle is an attempt to remedy this problem. But Level 9 is pretty late for this to kick in. Phantom Steed still has crappy hitpoints, but at least it has a halfway okay AC (and doesn't require another visit to Harry's Wholesale Stable for another dozen head every week).

    Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

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    Joel Flank wrote:
    To start, gunslingers don't have any strong ties to the RKs, and for that matter, neither does mounted combat (which is harder in a heavily forested area with lots of rivers - more of a plains or desert thing), which is why other archetypes actually swapped out a mount for a boat.

    Horses and mounted combat are appropriate in the RK, as written in both the RK and Inner Sea World guides.

    Daggermark has a cavalry. Tymon has a cavalry. Touvette is patrolled by knights. The Guide to the River Kingdoms gives up paragraphs to the lineage of horses in Saad; Daggermark's Martro Livondar is the "Lord Captain of Horse".

    One of Tymon's adventure hooks involves rallying Lambreth's cavalry; Lord Arnefax backs his rule over Lambreth with the Black Eagle horsemen--the Inner Sea World Guide defines them as heavy cavalry, no less--and one of Lambreth's exports is breeding stock for horses.

    Artume's ranchers "boast a reputation for excellent horsemanship and well-trained steeds".

    Herds of remarkable, sought-after wild horses, "reputed for their vigor and surefootedness", roam parts of the Stolen Lands.

    I'm not sure how "heavily forested" the RKs are when Tymon, Lambreth, and Touvette have no forests, and Daggermark, Gralton, Pitax, and Mivon are mostly unforested.

    Gunslingers don't have strong ties to any part of Golarion outside of Alkenstar. The Lonesome Rider is depicted--in the archetype title and two sentences of flavor--as alone, rare, and a vagrant who's found a home in the RKs.

    Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8

    Needed to answer almost immediately the question "Where the heck?" and doesn't.

    RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8

    I’d like to thank everyone for their comments. Even if I didn’t agree with all of them, they all made me think about the design of my archetype, and will surely help me in the future. Also thanks to everyone who liked my archetype enough to vote for it.

    Below is a revised version of the lonesome rider. It’s a combination of my thoughts after submitting, issues raised, and suggestions made in the comments. I wrote the original in two days, after taking wednesday to decide what archetype idea I was going to go with. I could have used a few more days to iron things out, but overall I’m happy with it. Especially since it was the first archetype I have ever designed. Getting to the top 32 came as a bit of a surprise, so I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been. Next round will be different in this regard, if I make it.

    Lonesome Rider (Gunslinger)
    Lonesome riders are vagabonds at heart. The call of the road is tempting, and they cannot deny it for long. They are at home in frontier regions, and on desolate trails that snake between settlements. Lonesome riders forgo some of their talent with guns for a potent connection to their mount. In battle, they gallop past their enemies guns blazing.
    Class Skills: A lonesome rider does not gain Knowledge (engineering) as a class skill; instead, she gains Knowledge (geography) as a class skill.
    Deeds: A lonesome rider swaps a trio of deeds for the following.
    Saddle Trick (Ex): At 1st level, when the lonesome rider is mounted, she can veer in the saddle to avoid an attack of opportunity by spending 1 grit point before the attack is resolved. This deed replaces the gunslinger’s dodge deed.
    Calm Gait (Ex): At 3rd level, as long as the lonesome rider has at least 1 grit point, she can reduce the penalty she takes when using a ranged weapon while on a mount by her Wisdom modifier, to a minimum penalty of 0. This deed replaces the gunslinger initiative deed.
    Scattering Hooves (Ex): At 7th level, as a standard action, the lonesome rider can make her mount rear by spending 1 grit point, and making a Ride check. This scatters each Medium or smaller creature adjacent to the mount. The creature must succeed on a Ref save or move 5 feet away from the mount. The DC for this save is equal to the result of the Ride check. This deed replaces the startling shot deed.
    Equitation (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, a lonesome rider has deeper connection to her mount. This allows her to perform maneuvers while mounted, designed to keep her enemies off-balance. The lonesome rider and her mount gain a +1 dodge bonus to AC against all melee attacks. Anything that causes them to lose their Dexterity bonus to AC also causes them to lose this dodge bonus. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels beyond 2nd level (to a maximum of +5). This ability replaces nimble.
    Phantom Whistle (Su): Starting at 5th level, a lonesome rider has a connection to her mount that transcends death. If she has a mount that has died, she can do an eerie whistle to summon its spirit to her side, as a full-round action. This works as the spell phantom steed, except the steed’s hit points are 7 + Wisdom modifier (minimum 1) per caster level, and caster level is equal to lonesome rider's level. She can use this ability once per day at 5th level, and twice at 13th level. This ability replaces gun training 1 and 3.


    It's about time someone makes a mounted gunslinger!

    RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8

    Urist The Unstoppable: I thought so too. :)

    Tweaking the caster level might also be in order, for example lonesome rider's level -2. It would probably take a bit of playtesting, to see if the spirit mount feels too powerful or not.

    Star Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8

    I really like the updated one, you did a good job of making the phantom steed tie in better.

    Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

    Voters love the gunslinger!

    RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8

    Many thanks to everyone who voted for the lonesome rider! I'm really excited to be in the top 16. Now it's time to start finishing up my next entry for Friday.

    RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Phloid

    I was pulling for this archetype and am very pleased to see that it made it. I agreed with the judges' thoughts about the last ability being a out of theme, but your revised version does help this some. It is too bad it now does nothing useless unless your steed has died.

    The main reason I wanted this archetype to make the cut is that I also created a mounted gunslinger for the competition. I decided against submitting the Range War Wrangler because I thought the gunslinger might be an unpopular class. I'm not sure if I'm glad to see if that I was wrong or not. You took the risk and it paid off, where my risky archetype did not. It would have been interesting to have seen our gunslingers have a showdown in the competition.

    Anyway, great job and good luck in the monster round.

    RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8

    Thank you, Nickolas.

    Mount not dying would pose a problem, even if it might be unlikely. The wording could be changed to summoning a spirit of a past mount or one of its ancestors, or something along those lines.

    A different option would be changing the ability to bolster a normal mount with its ancestor spirits, in effect making it more viable in combat. Giving it higher AC, temporary hit points etc. The upcoming Animal Archive book might have content that would mesh well with this.

    RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 aka Flak

    You could always just kill your own horse to get the phantom steed, though from a roleplaying standpoint that might be a bit funky ;P

    RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8

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    Heh, the horse might not be feeling all that helpful after that.

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