Ask Owen K.C. Stephens Anything


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Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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Tacticslion wrote:

Do you know The Protmen?

(I highly recommend Act II: Father of Death - I find it excellent.)

Nope! If I decided to check into it, is that where you would suggest I start?

Tacticslion wrote:
Also, have you ever seen Video Game High School? If so, what was your opinion?

ALSO nope. Now I look bad!

Tacticslion wrote:
Did you ever watch Farscape?

Yes... but I mostly wasn't a fan. After all the nonhuman the characters decided to allow one of their number to be maimed (and arguably tortured) for their benefit fairly early in season 1, I had trouble liking any of them.

Neat ideas in it... but not a story I enjoyed.

Tacticslion wrote:
Stargate?

The original movie and nearly all the TV shows. I lost connection with Atlantis at some point and was spotty on the last couple of years of SG-1, , but I am one of the people who thought Universe was brilliant.

Tacticslion wrote:
Babylon 5?

Yep. I loved the *middle* of that series.

Tacticslion wrote:
Cowboy Bebop?

Yes, but just once and it was years ago.

Tacticslion wrote:
Outlaw Star?

Nope.

Tacticslion wrote:
Firefly?

Yep, and I thought it was okay. There are things about it that caused me to think it was never going to be brilliant, and my research of the second season ideas leaves me still feeling like if it had run longer, it's fan base would be smaller.

Tacticslion wrote:
Galaxy Express 999 (and/or related works)?

Yep! I also extensively played the Freedom Fighter coin-op arcane game in the late 1980s which uses footage from two GE 999 movies to create a shooter.

Tacticslion wrote:
The Mote in God's Eye?

HUGE fan, though I have never read either sequel.

Tacticslion wrote:
C. J. Cherryh (Especially Foreigner, The Dreaming Tree, and The Faded Sun)? C. S. Friedman (especially the Braxi/Azea duology, the Coldfire Trilogy, the Magister Trilogy, The Madness Season, This Alien Shore)?

Yes (even had dinner with her once, and went to Disneyland with her once), and no.

Tacticslion wrote:
(I'm presuming heavy exposure to Spelljammer, Star Trek, Star Wars, Alien - and/or Predator - and a few other similar films. Let me know if I'm wrong!)

Yes (but maybe not *heavy* exposure), yes, Yes and worked on three RPG lines for it), yes, and yes. :)


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Will we see any new scalable magic items like in Pathfinder Unchained ?


Did you know that I saw you in your live interview about Starfinder?!

('Cause I did, and it was awesome!)


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Owen:
I just realized last night that I am running via Play by Post here on the boards an old module you authored with Jeff Grub for the dd20 Star Wars Roleplaying game "Tempest Feud". Really enjoying it so far as are the players. Just wanted to drop a line and say thanks! :-)

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

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I'm curious who authored Alter Summoned Monster, I'd like to get "author's intent" of the spell. You are listed on the credits of the book. Any chance you created the spell?


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Curiosity question: When you were putting together the Cogitator class from Anachronistic Adventures, did you have a certain resident of 221B Baker Street in mind? I was looking for a class to simulate Mr. Holmes, and this seems the closest I have found, almost as if it was made with him in mind.

Grand Lodge

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Owen,
One of my most favored of Paizo's work was the Guide to Absalom. How much work was based of of Erik's and how much of it was your material?

If you could go back and expand on one of the sections of the book, what would you choose and why?

The Varlokkur are listed as judges and ministers, but also investigators. This doesn't necessarily conflict each other, but is a little confusing. Am I to take it that the Varlokkur are more or less a "Magical Justice Department" where there is a division between the investigative side, the Prosecuting side and another side for judges, or are Varlokkur merely all in one, investigator and judge?

What is your favorite section of the book?

And finally (and thank you for your time.) what do you like writing the most, settings material or rules material?

Dark Archive

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Starfinder Superscriber

Hey Owen, how much would I have to throw at your Patreon to get some Horrifically Overpowered Character Classes?


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How should your Mythic Empower Spell and Mythic Maximize Spell interact?

Example, i have a spell that does exactly 1d6 damage and want to apply both metamagics on it, what should be the minimum and maximum result of this?

Shadow Lodge

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Petty Alchemy wrote:
If you had the executive decision of giving a core race slot to a featured/uncommon race, who would get it? Likewise for moving a currently core race to featured/uncommon.

Who I'd pick for a racial rank downgrades are easy. I'd downgrade half-elves. Don't get me wrong I *like* half elves, but I feel their niche is the least unique of the existing core races (unlike the half-orc, which has an important role no one else gets particularly close to), and they represent the smallest population of people so I'm fine with them being a featured race.

Half elves are my favorite race, in part because I think the struggles a half elf face growing up, being "out of phase" to the people around them, is very similar what I faced dealing with aspergers.

However, as a gamer, I felt that the 3.0-3.5 treatment was such an abortion both fluff-wise and mechanically that that "legacy hangover" has something to do why they are as you put it, the least "distinct" of the core races, with fewer writers and players being interested in creating interesting NPCs and PCs where "half-elven-ness" is key to who they are.

I was wondering, do you think there are races or classes whose treatment by developers has reduced interest in said races and classes or other aspect of the game?

Shadow Lodge

I asked anything and got no answer.


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(Considering he's not posted here since November, and I, too, asked anything and got no answer, my supposition is that he's super-busy.)

Shadow Lodge

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Tacticslion wrote:
(Considering he's not posted here since November, and I, too, asked anything and got no answer, my supposition is that he's super-busy.)

Ah!

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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Kerney wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
(Considering he's not posted here since November, and I, too, asked anything and got no answer, my supposition is that he's super-busy.)
Ah!

I am, in fact, super busy.

Whole new RPG lines will do that to you. :)

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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Kerney wrote:
I was wondering, do you think there are races or classes whose treatment by developers has reduced interest in said races and classes or other aspect of the game?

Undoubtably.

The tricky part of that question is WHICH races or classes, and there I'd feel much less informed on giving a solid answer.

For there not to be SOME race or class that lost interest a result of developer efforts, we'd have to be perfectly predicting interest, perfectly mapping how to increase (or at least maintain) interest, and perfectly follow through on those plans.

Since even the best developers make mistakes, that strikes me as unlikely.

But WHICH ones did we make less popular? No idea.

One reason I have no idea is that it can be very hard to determine what players actually want. For every group of players wanting more options, there are some saying they already feel overwhelmed. For every subset that wants to duplicate the feel of epic anime, there's a few that want everything to be gritty and as realistic as possible.

We have a vision for our game systems and game worlds. That isn't always homogenous, but there's institutional knowledge that helps maintain a house style.

We can't say for certain if we selected the most conceivably popular course style, though it wasn't;t selected out of a hat. But as long as there's lots of evidence that plenty of people like what we are doing overall, it's unlikely to be worthwhile to determine if some specific element could be more popular... since any effort to find out what, and adjust it, is fraught with the dangers of incomplete information and unintended consequences.


EDIT: for ninja-Owen's! They post so quick, it makes my post look entirely different!

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Kerney wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
(Considering he's not posted here since November, and I, too, asked anything and got no answer, my supposition is that he's super-busy.)
Ah!

I am, in fact, super busy.

Whole new RPG lines will do that to you. :)

I find this answer SUSPICIOUS!

... by which, of course, I mean I hope you're doing okay, and getting good rest/time off somehow during all of this! I'm super excited!

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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shadowkras wrote:

How should your Mythic Empower Spell and Mythic Maximize Spell interact?

Example, i have a spell that does exactly 1d6 damage and want to apply both metamagics on it, what should be the minimum and maximum result of this?

Just like Empower and Maximize, apply each separately to the base 1d6 damage.

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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DragoDorn wrote:
Hey Owen, how much would I have to throw at your Patreon to get some Horrifically Overpowered Character Classes?

Ah...

Well, that would best be handled outside the pattern I suspect. But let's be honest, if someone signed up for $100/month and said they'd like to see Horrifically Overpowered Classes, I would certainly start making powers that create such. Likely after seeing do you want Horrifically Overpowered versions of *existing* classes, or for there to be new classes, like Chosen One and MegaMage, that are themselves Horrifically Overpowered?)

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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Herald wrote:

Owen,

One of my most favored of Paizo's work was the Guide to Absalom. How much work was based of of Erik's and how much of it was your material?

First, thanks!

Secondly while I got an outline, it in large part was built off the old Campaign Setting book, and I wrote the Absalom entry for that. So while some broad strokes were determined by outline, nearly all the details are mine.

Herald wrote:
If you could go back and expand on one of the sections of the book, what would you choose and why?

Siege castles. because I think they are fascinated, not quite like anything else, and screaming to be more detailed adventure sites.

Herald wrote:
The Varlokkur are listed as judges and ministers, but also investigators. This doesn't necessarily conflict each other, but is a little confusing. Am I to take it that the Varlokkur are more or less a "Magical Justice Department" where there is a division between the investigative side, the Prosecuting side and another side for judges, or are Varlokkur merely all in one, investigator and judge?

The latter. Imagine if a judge had an accusation brought before him, and then went out and did all the legwork herself to get to the truth of the matter, and then passed a sentence. That's a varlokkur.

Herald wrote:


What is your favorite section of the book?

The quotes by Danica Mycelene Ia-Tep

Herald wrote:
And finally (and thank you for your time.) what do you like writing the most, settings material or rules material?

That depends on the day, to be honest, but I get the greatest satisfaction when I write a rule that supports some cool element of setting material.

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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Patrick Curtin wrote:
Curiosity question: When you were putting together the Cogitator class from Anachronistic Adventures, did you have a certain resident of 221B Baker Street in mind? I was looking for a class to simulate Mr. Holmes, and this seems the closest I have found, almost as if it was made with him in mind.

He was on the list of inspiration (and was one of the folks I had firmly in mind for the Great Detective archetype). But there's also a broad pulp tradition of super-thinkers that I liked the idea of being able to be SO CLEVER they could compete with those who were stronger, tougher, or more likable.

Professor Challenger, Jillian Samms, Constance Kurridge, Franke Reade Jr, and so on, were all characters who made me want to write the cogitator class.

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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James Risner wrote:
I'm curious who authored Alter Summoned Monster, I'd like to get "author's intent" of the spell. You are listed on the credits of the book. Any chance you created the spell?

Even more importantly than being the author of the spell, I am the development lead for that book. Authorial intent is fine, but Paizo asks its developers to make sure the things we publish match our style and needs, and developers often make changes to freelance turnovers, so it's generally the developer you should talk to if you have an intent question (though we don't give in any way "official" answers, since that's handled by different processes.)

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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Jonas Seaborn wrote:
Will we see any new scalable magic items like in Pathfinder Unchained ?

I'm not the person to ask, at this point. :)

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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Tacticslion wrote:

Did you know that I saw you in your live interview about Starfinder?!

('Cause I did, and it was awesome!)

I did not, but I am glad you enjoyed it!

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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A month with no knew questions. See, this is why I get out of the habit of checking this thread. :)


Does that make you happy or sad? Or something else?

Dark Archive

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It was... to give you a break for the cons... yea...

So on to questions, is it unreasonable to expect Kaijus in Starfinder?

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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Tacticslion wrote:
Does that make you happy or sad? Or something else?

I think "chagrinned" is the closest to describing my reaction. I always assumed that if this thread existed, I'd just be in the habit of checking it 3 times a week, and once it's quiet for a month, I forget all about it. :P

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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ulgulanoth wrote:

It was... to give you a break for the cons... yea...

So on to questions, is it unreasonable to expect Kaijus in Starfinder?

Not conceptually, but do give us time to get to the game rules. Kaiju didn't show up in the first few Pathfinder books, either. :)

But we'll get there!


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I liked your Guide to Absalom. Do you think we'll see more content on the city in the future?


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I, for one, am glad when you post here!


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Another quick question, since I saw some activity on the G+ list:

Warlords of the Apocalypse. Has its status changed because of Starfinder?

I'm just guessing that putting it out at this late date might be a bit Anti-climatic. Could it be reconfigured to fit the new ruleset? I'd love to see something similar to the D20 Apocalypse come out for Pathfinder.

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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Hoga the half orc wrote:
I liked your Guide to Absalom. Do you think we'll see more content on the city in the future?

First, thanks!

Second, almost certainly. Not soon, perhaps, but definitely when the timing and needs of the company are right for it, there will be more.

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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Patrick Curtin wrote:

Another quick question, since I saw some activity on the G+ list:

Warlords of the Apocalypse. Has its status changed because of Starfinder?

I'm just guessing that putting it out at this late date might be a bit Anti-climatic. Could it be reconfigured to fit the new ruleset? I'd love to see something similar to the D20 Apocalypse come out for Pathfinder.

Last time I asked folks if they wanted WotA to be 100% Pathfinder-compatible (as advertised originally) or Starfinder-compatible (which would then have some Starfinder compatibility, since Starfinder does), there was an overwhelming sentiment that it should remain 100% Pathfinder compatible.

Obviously I remain way, way behind on that project, butler reasons largely unconnected to Starfinder.


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Owen could you describe with any specificity the differences between Light armor and Heavy armor...OR rather an example of what could be considered Light armor or Heavy armor in Starfinder?

Just to give an example would "Power armor" fall under Heavy armor or would it be a special category?

(I joined this site today after lurking for years because I wanted to ask you this question.)


I'm not Owen, but welcome! XD

Always glad to see a new poster!


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Owen has his own 'Ask thread' and I only just found it!! LOL :)

What's the status on new talented books?

And possibly a talented compilation kickstarter, now that Talented Bestiary is in peoples hands(more or less)?


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Also are Bio-Armors in Starfinder?

((some clarifications about my earlier question; non in game examples would also be acceptable...I'm just trying to get a general idea of where the lines of the two categories are so I can make a better mental image))

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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Xa'sha wrote:

Owen could you describe with any specificity the differences between Light armor and Heavy armor...OR rather an example of what could be considered Light armor or Heavy armor in Starfinder?

Just to give an example would "Power armor" fall under Heavy armor or would it be a special category?

(I joined this site today after lurking for years because I wanted to ask you this question.)

Powered armor, which is defined as armor that requires its own power source to function normally (and locks up without it), it it's own category of armor. No class gets it automatically, but some do gain it through class options, and you can take it as a feat.

Light armor and heavy armor don't have that kind of mechanical built-in definition. Light armor has much less restriction on movement (an armor check penalty of 0 or occasionally -1, and normally no speed adjustment), and a bulk of 1 or light bulk. Heavy armor normally has a bulk of 2 or 3, a speed adjustment of -2 or -3, and a lower maximum Dexterity bonus. Heavy armor generally offers more etc and sac bonuses, and more armor upgrade slots.

those are trends, however, because as you could build adamantine plate in previous editions of the game rules, inS tar finder you can at higher levels buy armors that have similar benefits built-in, so virtue plate has no armor check penalty or speed reduction, being made of advanced lighter materials, but if offers less protection that other 18th item level armor suits, and is still designed and maneuvered in as heavy armor is.

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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Monkeygod wrote:

Owen has his own 'Ask thread' and I only just found it!! LOL :)

What's the status on new talented books?

And possibly a talented compilation kickstarter, now that Talented Bestiary is in peoples hands(more or less)?

I have some drafts to get to, but it's not going to happen until after Gen Con, and maybe not until Winter.

Any compilation is going to be after that, even.

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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Xa'sha wrote:
Also are Bio-Armors in Starfinder?

Not yet.


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Thank you for answering me! I appreciate it!

I plan to roleplay an armor technician mechanic character so here's to hoping that it isn't too difficult for mechanics to get the feat for powered armor.


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That's pretty awesome Owen! I look forward to whatever happens to be next, even if its not till 2018 :)

Dark Archive

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So speaking of Guide to books, how likely is Janderhoff or Riddleport focused campaign setting book eventually? They are odd man out of the Varisia city state related books.

Come to think about it, how likely is Varisia in general campaign setting book?


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Is there a mappack or flipmap you think would be appropriate for use of the Throne card from a Deck of many things ?


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Have you checked your RGG emails lately? I sent you a message on something you may be interested in.


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Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
shadowkras wrote:

How should your Mythic Empower Spell and Mythic Maximize Spell interact?

Example, i have a spell that does exactly 1d6 damage and want to apply both metamagics on it, what should be the minimum and maximum result of this?

Just like Empower and Maximize, apply each separately to the base 1d6 damage.

That is why I asked, non-mythic empower and maximize have a special behavior, you apply the maximize feat, then roll half the original dice on top of it. The text for mythic empower and maximize lack that ruling. But thanks for the answer!


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Owen -- Did you happen to catch this page in your honor on EN World?


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We have no questions, we just wanted to thank you for all your hard work and creativity in ushering Starfinder out into the world.

Thank you.

Causing avatar confusion was for us.


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What the doctors said.

Except for the confusion part - I was never confused!


As you answered a question about hybrids with dogs, you've made yourself a target for a really weird questio . I apologize in advance.

Owen: I am curious, and have long had a question, and never had the temerity to look it up on the Internet. Can a Chihuahua breed, hypothetically, with a great Dane? Or any other similar extremity of the species? I would tend to presume, that the mother, at least, would have to be the larger of the two species. It also might not be possible without artificial means. But, I was curious about such extreme differences. I have no idea if you have any expertise on the matter, but, I mean, hey, you just answered that question right up there!

(This partially related to giant/hunanoid specization and twisted social experiments/hybridization.

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