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Asimo
Sep 23, 2007


Nancy_Noxious posted:

stay mellow about Pathfinder
.... not sure which thread subforum you've been reading but it ain't this one. :raise:

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gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

HELL SERPENT
Lipstick Apathy
I mean, just about the only time I've seen Pathfinder described in a positive light would be because

A. at least it's not D&D 5th Edition's vague-as-gently caress rules
B. at least it's not D&D 5th Edition hiring some of the most toxic people in the industry as consultants (and its art/metaplot/setting is somewhat inclusive, if not outright inclusive)
C. Dreamscarred Press is good

Even the Pathfinder thread itself acknowledges Unchained as too-little-too-late-and-still-too-conservative, the new Occult classes as the designers just flailing to do something that's vaguely new while producing fiddly-as-poo poo rules, and Vigilantes as basically half of a class and drat-near-unplayable except in their one niche of "urban intrigue"

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015

Nancy_Noxious posted:

Someone said upthread that it's better to have people playing Pathfinder than playing no RPGs at all. I used to think like that. Today I disagree. After trying to sell 13th Age, Apocalypse World and 4E to a Pathfinder group I used to play boardgames (bad boardgames, like Zombicide) with, just to be rejected everytime because "not realistic enough", "this is too confusing, how come NPCs do not have defense numbers?!" and "this is not a real RPG, we play Pathfinder, D&D's true heir " respectively, I came to believe that Pathfinder is, at least for me, worse than no RPGs at all. It actively poisons people against the games I'd like to have a group to play with.

This is somewhat ironic considering the abstract nature of many of D&D's classic mechanics that lend themselves to silly complaints like "How come wearing heavy plate armor makes me harder to hit?" or "Why can my character take 10 crossbow bolts to the face without dying?". Or more reasonable complaints like "Why do shields suck so much?" or "Why is so much interesting combat stuff gated behind arbitrary Feats?"

On the other hand, I bet they must love Phoenix Command.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 16:18 on Jun 5, 2016

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.

Nancy_Noxious posted:

This thread is really great! Let us exacerbate 13th Age's flaws and stay mellow about Pathfinder's because

Someone said upthread that it's better to have people playing Pathfinder than playing no RPGs at all. I used to think like that. Today I disagree. After trying to sell 13th Age, Apocalypse World and 4E to a Pathfinder group I used to play boardgames (bad boardgames, like Zombicide) with, just to be rejected everytime because "not realistic enough", "this is too confusing, how come NPCs do not have defense numbers?!" and "this is not a real RPG, we play Pathfinder, D&D's true heir " respectively, I came to believe that Pathfinder is, at least for me, worse than no RPGs at all. It actively poisons people against the games I'd like to have a group to play with.

The fact that Beast's success makes this Pathfinder-loving thread mad makes me glad. Not that I like Beast, I find it worse than bad, I find it uninteresting (like Geist, or Awakening Mage), but the way you people react to it (and the way you put down games I like such as 13th Age) is making me warm up to it. Ripping MRAs to shreds is just icing to the cake.

(Kai - I agree that, design-wise both Strike and Spellbound are more sophisticated than 13th Age, and in an ideal world I should be wanting to get a group to play those. But as much as I enjoy 4e, the square grid is not my favourite part, the balance and variety of "buttons" (i.e. powers) to push during combat is. Also, I am not really married to DTAS. Furthermore, PDQ# is one is my fave systems, so 13th Age's backgrounds plus abstracted distances in combat is like PDQ and 4e lite had a baby, and it hits a sweet spot for me. Plus gorgeous books, I love the hand drawn feeling of the art and the CONSISTENCY you get by having only two illustrators doing the whole thing. Strike's art and layout, on the other hand, are both weak, and I like pretty things. Can you now imagine why would someone go for 13th Age instead of Strike?)
Not sure where you got the idea that people like Pathfinder all that much and are dogpiling 13A---this is a thread for discussing game design, including flaws! 13a's flaws are: it has some. People are talking about them. Take a deep breath and tell yourself it's okay. The fact that you're shaking your tiny fists in hollow glee that a game as lovely as Beast is doing well, just because it spites people you've misread completely on the internet, is the kind of pathetic that leads better people to rethink their life choices.

Also Strike!'s art is great, the layout's fine, and I think this may just be a case of the ol' "~It's okay to like different things~", which you seem to not have cottoned to?

PixelScum
Jan 21, 2009

I'M GOING BEARZERK

Nancy_Noxious posted:

This thread is really great! Let us exacerbate 13th Age's flaws and stay mellow about Pathfinder's because

Someone said upthread that it's better to have people playing Pathfinder than playing no RPGs at all. I used to think like that. Today I disagree. After trying to sell 13th Age, Apocalypse World and 4E to a Pathfinder group I used to play boardgames (bad boardgames, like Zombicide) with, just to be rejected everytime because "not realistic enough", "this is too confusing, how come NPCs do not have defense numbers?!" and "this is not a real RPG, we play Pathfinder, D&D's true heir " respectively, I came to believe that Pathfinder is, at least for me, worse than no RPGs at all. It actively poisons people against the games I'd like to have a group to play with.

The fact that Beast's success makes this Pathfinder-loving thread mad makes me glad. Not that I like Beast, I find it worse than bad, I find it uninteresting (like Geist, or Awakening Mage), but the way you people react to it (and the way you put down games I like such as 13th Age) is making me warm up to it. Ripping MRAs to shreds is just icing to the cake.

(Kai - I agree that, design-wise both Strike and Spellbound are more sophisticated than 13th Age, and in an ideal world I should be wanting to get a group to play those. But as much as I enjoy 4e, the square grid is not my favourite part, the balance and variety of "buttons" (i.e. powers) to push during combat is. Also, I am not really married to DTAS. Furthermore, PDQ# is one is my fave systems, so 13th Age's backgrounds plus abstracted distances in combat is like PDQ and 4e lite had a baby, and it hits a sweet spot for me. Plus gorgeous books, I love the hand drawn feeling of the art and the CONSISTENCY you get by having only two illustrators doing the whole thing. Strike's art and layout, on the other hand, are both weak, and I like pretty things. Can you now imagine why would someone go for 13th Age instead of Strike?)

Whoa whoa whoa Mandy Morbid sock, you need to calm the gently caress down. You're taking this poo poo way too seriously. Plus, people don't like Beast because its literally about engaging in emotional, physical, and psychological abuse; not that its done on MRAs. The text itself really clearly comes from a place of not understanding why any of those things are bad and it's just deeply worrying from that angle, not even just because its bad but because its kind of sickening.

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case


one of the many many things I don't like about beast is that if you approach the setting from anything resembling a normal morality, the mra analogues are absolutely correct and heroic and the good guys. meanwhile the persecuted minority groups are evil monsters who deserve everything that's coming to them.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012
Fallen Rib
I think it's pretty fuckin lovely that the last three or four pages of this thread have been more about people complaining about how people post than people posting reviews of games and I would rather see More Rattus transcribe whatever he wants in whatever detail he feels sufficient than someone getting increasingly bent out of shape because somebody was insufficiently critical of Pathfinder for the tastes of the self-appointed F&F police. Seriously, I don't even like Pathfinder myself but gently caress off.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!

PixelScum posted:

Plus, people don't like Beast because its literally about engaging in emotional, physical, and psychological abuse; not that its done on MRAs.

I'd be surprised if there's anyone in this thread that has any love lost for MRA's, we just don't think they're brainwashed non-people and the proper response to them is to lock them in Jigsaw's magic basement.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:

gradenko_2000 posted:

I mean, just about the only time I've seen Pathfinder described in a positive light would be because

A. at least it's not D&D 5th Edition's vague-as-gently caress rules
B. at least it's not D&D 5th Edition hiring some of the most toxic people in the industry as consultants (and its art/metaplot/setting is somewhat inclusive, if not outright inclusive)
C. Dreamscarred Press is good

Even the Pathfinder thread itself acknowledges Unchained as too-little-too-late-and-still-too-conservative, the new Occult classes as the designers just flailing to do something that's vaguely new while producing fiddly-as-poo poo rules, and Vigilantes as basically half of a class and drat-near-unplayable except in their one niche of "urban intrigue"

Right. I still pick up the Pathfinder books because it's interesting to see what they do with the design space and it's at least good bathroom reading. I don't consider it an excellent system by any means but the design of classes like the Kineticist and Hunter do tick some "i would like to see this in play" boxes in the back of my head. Even as I acknowledge that LFQW is still a thing that would either need to be addressed or built around.

Nancy_Noxious posted:

The fact that Beast's success makes this Pathfinder-loving thread mad makes me glad. Not that I like Beast, I find it worse than bad, I find it uninteresting (like Geist, or Awakening Mage), but the way you people react to it (and the way you put down games I like such as 13th Age) is making me warm up to it. Ripping MRAs to shreds is just icing to the cake.

Beast is a game where a certain class of people are special only via their birth, and are empowered to inflict their social mores and beliefs on the rest of humanity only because of that fact and the fact that they're supernaturally "BEST FRIENDS" with some of the most powerful supernatural groups in the world.

Conversely it's also a game that reduces MRAs to subhuman scum fit only to die on the pyre of your glory, who's only real crime was being born with a gene that predisposed them to be egotistical narcissists. Unlike the real world hate groups that they're supposed to resemble, at no point along the line did they ever really make a choice to become what they are. Other than the fact that the game specifically instructs the storyteller, and players, that they aren't supposed to be relatable, or sympathetic. They're literally just there to be an unambiguous group of people who are eviler than you that you can feel justified in murdering to even out the karmic debt from terrorizing small children.

If Beast was a game about murdering people with downs syndrome or developmental psychopaths would you like it just as much?

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso

Maxwell Lord posted:

To be fair, it's not like best-selling authors or top filmmakers think in terms of "what do the critics think I should do?" But to be a good artist you have to have a level of self scrutiny and perfectionism that means you're not easily satisfied with your own stuff, so you refine and rework it just to meet your own standards before anyone else even gets a look at it.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

The big difference is that the TRPG industry is so small and incestuous that unlike novels or movies, you're more likely than not to run into a given creator at any given point if you regularly attend conventions.
That, and the fact that there's a longstanding tradition of expecting the customer to modify the product to their taste. RPG buyers are end-users as much or moreso than they are an audience.

Monathin posted:

Sometimes you want to run a game for friends who don't/rarely tabletop, and having more simple options is better for getting people -into- the game.
The immediate question in that circumstance is "Why are you running D&D?"

Count Chocula posted:

Overwatch has Soldier 76, who is a Call of Duty soldier in a game with a space monkey, a healer DJ, and a robot ninja. He's explicitly designed to teach new players the game, and I used him that way yesterday. Dark Souls has the pyromancer. Tons of games have starter characters or classes. Tons of games have starter warrior classes or whatever.
Thing is, there's a panoply of concepts there. Only in tabletop RPGs is there the persistent idea that the easy class must be the warrior and vice versa.

chaos rhames posted:

Wizards aren't hard anyway. You pick a thing from a list and do what it says. There's just some simple book-keeping.
Yeah, but there's an entire generation of gamers who think that keeping track of spellcaster bookkeeping is proof of their exceptional intelligence.

Ultiville posted:

They're not hard for people who are going to read a thread like this. But they heavily reward investment. If you aren't the kind of person who likes reading RPG books for fun, thinking about weird uses of spells, or at least researching them on the Internet, you lose a ton of the power of the class. People who just show up to play every day and don't think about the game much between sessions are going to take a long time to get the most out of a class like that.
It depends on what game you're playing. In D&D 3, knowing all those stories about how to defeat any enemy with grease is hardly necessary to dominating as a wizard. Getting the most out of it is surplus to requirements.

Doresh posted:

And it's not like "D&D for dumb babies" classes like the Fighter don't ideally have you map out your Feat investment from start to finish in advance to be anything but a sub-optimal waste of space. At least the Wizard and Cleric let you "respec" your spells each day.
And that's the principal irony I experienced when playing D&D 3. When someone announced they were starting a new campaign, I geared up for hours and hours of studying books and forums so that I could make a martial build that would be effective. It was the more casual guys in our group who played primary spellcasters--their characters weren't optimized and drat sure didn't need to be.

Gazetteer
Nov 22, 2011

"You're talking to cats."
"And you eat ghosts, so shut the fuck up."

Kai Tave posted:

I think it's pretty fuckin lovely that the last three or four pages of this thread have been more about people complaining about how people post than people posting reviews of games and I would rather see More Rattus transcribe whatever he wants in whatever detail he feels sufficient than someone getting increasingly bent out of shape because somebody was insufficiently critical of Pathfinder for the tastes of the self-appointed F&F police. Seriously, I don't even like Pathfinder myself but gently caress off.

Yeah. Like... we do not really need to buy into edition wars bullshit to the point that it's a problem when someone comes across as liking Pathfinder. It's a popular game and lots of people have a lot of fun playing it; if you think it's poorly designed, that's cool, but ranting about how this thread is becoming bad because people are not making GBS threads on it enough is a thousand times more boring and insipid than anything Paizo's written.

Nancy_Noxious
Apr 10, 2013

by Smythe
Doresh, I know. It was poo poo like why does the escalation die applies to PCs but not to NPCs (i.e. I'm having trouble pretending this game rule is the fictional world's PHYSICS).

Gradenko, if Dreamscarred was actually any good, they wouldn't be enabling Pathinder.

See, Chernobyl Peace Prize, the problem to me is that people tend to ignore the stuff 13thAge does right. Like I said earlier, this forum likes to exacerbate its flaws. Someone reading this forums might come under the impression that the Pathfinder Beginner Box has better design than 13th Age because all you do is praise the drat box (or, at least, refrain from alerting people that under the pretty box is a toxic turd of a system that will forever warp a beginner's notion of how RPGs should be) while you lambast 13thAge for tiny flaws (if 13th Age's engine was actually used for Next, 90% of the Next thread would not exist since Next's worst defects, such as scaling, encounter building, opportunity attacks, gridless combat support, ARE ACTUALLY SOLVED in 13th Age). (Also, I'd rather have tiny fists than disgusting fat hands.)

Pixelscum, I get why Beast is bad. I quit reading the White Wolf thread because people won't shut up about it. But the thing is, I think Beasts, unlike vampires or werewolves, have nothing going for them, there is nothing cool or sexy about them. They are a fad and fortunately will soon come to pass. Pathfinder, on the other hand is an enduring thorn that continues to cause damage, and will keep on doing so, it seems.

Edit: okay, allright, sorry for the derail.

Nancy_Noxious fucked around with this message at 17:17 on Jun 5, 2016

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Pathfinder is a bad game and 13th age is an acceptable one with some disappointing bits that kinda drags on once you've been playing a campaign long enough, like most RPGs. 13A is just fine, just its two 'big' mechanics of 'Have a character concept' and 'Iunno roll some d6s to see which super NPC you're on the good side of today or whose influence hits the plot' are pretty hilariously pointless to its actual core of a decent resolution mechanic for lighter heroic fantasy.

This doesn't make the people who play either superior on a moral level, for god's sake.

Stormgale
Feb 27, 2010

Nancy_Noxious posted:

See, Chernobyl Peace Prize, the problem to me is that people tend to ignore the stuff 13thAge does right. Like I said earlier, this forum likes to exacerbate its flaws. Someone reading this forums might come under the impression that the Pathfinder Beginner Box has better design than 13th Age because all you do is praise the drat box (or, at least, refrain from alerting people that under the pretty box is a toxic turd of a system that will forever warp a beginner's notion of how RPGs should be) while you lambast 13thAge for tiny flaws (if 13th Age's engine was actually used for Next, 90% of the Next thread would not exist since Next's worst defects, such as scaling, encounter building, opportunity attacks, gridless combat support, ARE ACTUALLY SOLVED in 13th Age). (Also, I'd rather have tiny fists than disgusting fat hands.)

I dunno if I had to pick a game to play with my friends (you put a gun to my head) i'd probably pick pathfinder over 13th age, just all play part casters.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

Night10194 posted:

This doesn't make the people who play either superior on a moral level, for god's sake.
Let us please reflect on this fundamental truth and go back to discussing obscure games or games that are the regrettable products of their times.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015

Halloween Jack posted:

And that's the principal irony I experienced when playing D&D 3. When someone announced they were starting a new campaign, I geared up for hours and hours of studying books and forums so that I could make a martial build that would be effective. It was the more casual guys in our group who played primary spellcasters--their characters weren't optimized and drat sure didn't need to be.

True story: tinkering with a "standard axe-and-shield dwarf" build in Pathfinder broke me a little inside. Even after ditching my plans of having him using a crossbow as a backup ranged weapon because bows just feel wrong for dwarves.

Nancy_Noxious posted:

Doresh, I know. It was poo poo like why does the escalation die applies to PCs but not to NPCs (i.e. I'm having trouble pretending this game rule is the fictional world's PHYSICS).

It does apply to some NPCs, like dragons. I assume they have read the rules.

I don't really mind it as part of the setting's "physics". I've seen way worse in that regard, namely the Gambits of Final Fantasy 12. Intangible building blocks for you party's AI, and it is sold in shops dedicated to them? Full of customers talking about how awesome they are? That's like playing a D&D campaign where everyone was aware of their statblock and what its numbers mean, with spellcasters being shunned by ordinary people because they are too "quadratic".

MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo



Part One: Overview

As has been mentioned recently in discussion in the thread, Paizo didnít originally set out to create Pathfinder. Originally they were the company Wizards of the Coast hired to produce Dungeon and Dragon magazines during the period of D&D 3rd Edition. When WotC pulled the plug on the release of 4th edition, bringing those two magazines in-house, they left Paizo and a number of other 3.5 freelancers out of work, with the rules knowledge, experience, and publishing infrastructure to produce monthly release products. Rather than roll over and die, Paizo took that and ran with it, thanks to the OGL allowing them to essentially print their own version of the game.

The Adventure Paths are Paizoís bread and butter. They offer a subscription to most of their product lines, often including discounts from the cover price, free PDFs for subscribers released early, or both. Theyíve gone on record multiple times stating that the Adventure Paths are what allow them to stay in business as a company (with last time I saw something like 20 full time employees) and theyíre very careful about doing things that might compete with that. Reprinting old adventure paths is one of those things that they donít like to do - every AP volume is available in PDF, but they donít generally do collected editions (with certain specific exceptions, and those exceptions being specifically called out as such) and once they run out of print copies of the back-issues, theyíre very difficult to obtain. Secondary market prices for some of the out of print AP volumes have been observed in triple digits.

As a monthly product, the Adventure Paths are largely equivalent to Dungeon Magazine, albeit with somewhat higher production values in that these are trade paperback bound books rather than magazines. They have a page count of about 96 pages, which rounds out to 100 pages in the PDF editions once you include the inside and outer covers. About half of this page count is dedicated to the adventure in each volume, with the rest being filled with various supplementary materials--typically new magic items, new monsters, a six-page serial fiction that runs for the length of each adventure path and parallels the theme and setting (though not the actual story) and a different article each month ranging from monster ecologies to expanded descriptions of Golarionís deities to full gazetteers of important cities or towns that appear in the AP, among other things.

Reign of Winter is the twelfth Adventure Path--they release two a year (six issues, monthly)--and easily one of the strangest. The focus is on, as implied by the title, winter--the basic plot is that Baba Yaga, who normally shows up every 100 years to install a new ruler in Irrisen, has gone missing, and pockets of winter are showing up all throughout Golarion out of season. The PCs end up caught up in events, and must find Baba Yaga, a journey which will span continents, planets, and even bring them to Earth to face off with Rasputin in his magically and technologically defended Siberian fortress. So, itís pretty out there, which is a big part of why I chose this AP.

Now for the full disclosure part: I like Pathfinder. I like Paizo. Pathfinderís rules are not great, but the game and the company behind it have gone to great, even extreme lengths to be inclusive and positive in an industry that badly needs it.

Also anyone reading this should also be aware of Alien Rope Burnís previous review of the Pathfinder Core, available here.

Next time, Iíll get started on the adventure portion of the first chapter of Reign of Winter: The Snows of Summer.

MollyMetroid fucked around with this message at 21:10 on Jun 5, 2016

Bedlamdan
Apr 25, 2008

Nancy_Noxious posted:

The fact that Beast's success makes this Pathfinder-loving thread mad makes me glad. Not that I like Beast, I find it worse than bad, I find it uninteresting (like Geist, or Awakening Mage), but the way you people react to it (and the way you put down games I like such as 13th Age) is making me warm up to it. Ripping MRAs to shreds is just icing to the cake.

:agreed:

:yeah:

Bedlamdan
Apr 25, 2008

DAD LOST MY IPOD posted:

one of the many many things I don't like about beast is that if you approach the setting from anything resembling a normal morality, the mra analogues are absolutely correct and heroic and the good guys. meanwhile the persecuted minority groups are evil monsters who deserve everything that's coming to them.

While Beast has some writing issues and muddles its intended message badly, its core theme of heaping abuse upon the more privileged by the less is one that I think resonates deeply with us all.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015

Bedlamdan posted:

While Beast has some writing issues and muddles its intended message badly, its core theme of heaping abuse upon the more privileged by the less is one that I think resonates deeply with us all.

Except Beasts abuse privileged and ordinary people alike.

Bedlamdan
Apr 25, 2008

Doresh posted:

Except Beasts abuse privileged and ordinary people alike.

To understand Beast, one must first understand that all the filthy normies still stand higher on the privilege totem pole.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 18, 2013



Bedlamdan posted:

While Beast has some writing issues and muddles its intended message badly, its core theme of heaping abuse upon the more privileged by the less is one that I think resonates deeply with us all.
Except the theme is literally about people privileged by birth (in the form of magic powers) heaping abuse on those who have less privilege (also in teh form of magic powers) also by birth. You see Heros are inherently evil because of the Curse of Ham, whereas the Beasts are inherently good because they are the chosen of the Lord.

Bedlamdan
Apr 25, 2008

Terrible Opinions posted:

Except the theme is literally about people privileged by birth (in the form of magic powers) heaping abuse on those who have less privilege (also in teh form of magic powers) also by birth. You see Heros are inherently evil because of the Curse of Ham, whereas the Beasts are inherently good because they are the chosen of the Lord.

Again, I believe Beast is more a victim of bad writing rather than an overall bad message. Heroes are stand-ins for regressives who are pathologically incapable of acknowledging the Beast/minority's existence, possessing diseased values. It is not required for the Beast to gain a Hero's acceptance or tolerance, or even the acceptance and tolerance of the normie sheep who blindly follow Heroes, as such things are fundamentally unobtainable. Instead, Beasts must strive to undermine Heroes by any means necessary, while avoiding the possibility of turning more normies into Heroes, a good expression of there being "no bad tactics, just bad targets."

Beasts are a perfect metaphor for current-day identity politics, and while some may find this aspect of them 'extreme' or 'psychotic' it clearly has resonated with a lot of people.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:

Bedlamdan posted:

Again, I believe Beast is more a victim of bad writing rather than an overall bad message. Heroes are stand-ins for regressives who are pathologically incapable of acknowledging the Beast/minority's existence, possessing diseased values. It is not required for the Beast to gain a Hero's acceptance or tolerance, or even the acceptance and tolerance of the normie sheep who blindly follow Heroes, as such things are fundamentally unobtainable. Instead, Beasts must strive to undermine Heroes by any means necessary, while avoiding the possibility of turning more normies into Heroes, a good expression of there being "no bad tactics, just bad targets."

Beasts are a perfect metaphor for current-day identity politics, and while some may find this aspect of them 'extreme' or 'psychotic' it clearly has resonated with a lot of people.

This is no longer true. Heroes are born as heroes. This alone completely undermines the message and removes the one bit of Beast that had any single level of nuance.

Bedlamdan
Apr 25, 2008

Kurieg posted:

This is no longer true. Heroes are born as heroes. This alone completely undermines the message and removes the one bit of Beast that had any single level of nuance.

Damnation.

I thought I had something going for a while there.

Just Dan Again
Dec 16, 2012

Adventure!

Kai Tave posted:

I think it's pretty fuckin lovely that the last three or four pages of this thread have been more about people complaining about how people post than people posting reviews of games and I would rather see More Rattus transcribe whatever he wants in whatever detail he feels sufficient than someone getting increasingly bent out of shape because somebody was insufficiently critical of Pathfinder for the tastes of the self-appointed F&F police. Seriously, I don't even like Pathfinder myself but gently caress off.

Please come back, Mors :ohdear:

Terrible Opinions
Oct 18, 2013



Bedlamdan posted:

Again, I believe Beast is more a victim of bad writing rather than an overall bad message. Heroes are stand-ins for regressives who are pathologically incapable of acknowledging the Beast/minority's existence, possessing diseased values. It is not required for the Beast to gain a Hero's acceptance or tolerance, or even the acceptance and tolerance of the normie sheep who blindly follow Heroes, as such things are fundamentally unobtainable. Instead, Beasts must strive to undermine Heroes by any means necessary, while avoiding the possibility of turning more normies into Heroes, a good expression of there being "no bad tactics, just bad targets."

Beasts are a perfect metaphor for current-day identity politics, and while some may find this aspect of them 'extreme' or 'psychotic' it clearly has resonated with a lot of people.
I take it that you really liked Bellum Maga

MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo

Just Dan Again posted:

Please come back, Mors :ohdear:

Mors is just busy with some stuff away from the forums, I am assured that he is fine, just way busier than he'd like.

I assume once he clears all that he'll be back in full form.

Bedlamdan
Apr 25, 2008

Terrible Opinions posted:

I take it that you really liked Bellum Maga

It was almost everything I could ask for in a game I would never play.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

HELL SERPENT
Lipstick Apathy
I think someone asked about retroclones and OSR games. I'd like to offer quick blurbs on at least the ones that have caught my eye, and feel free to ask away about anything that catches your attention. This is by no means intended to be an exhaustive list.

Most OSR games can be categorized by which old D&D ruleset they're based off of, and I'll be using that here as well.

Games based on Original D&D

Blueholme Prentice Rules - a direct clone of the Holmes Basic Set, or the first three levels of Original D&D.

Colonial Troopers - an attempt to do a militaristic sci-fi, Starship-Troopers game using the OD&D framework.

Crypts and Things - uses OD&D and Swords and Wizardry to create a Conan-esque, swords-and-sorcery kind of game, with especially punishing magic rules and more warrior-type classes.

Delving Deeper - a direct clone of OD&D, specifically just the first "three brown books"

Guardians - an attempt to do a superheroes game using the OD&D framework

Iron Falcon - a direct clone of OD&D plus the Greyhawk supplement

Swords and Wizardry - a direct clone of OD&D. There are actually multiple versions of S&W, each including a different set of OD&D's supplements to create varying levels of content and complexity. "White Box" Swords and Wizardry is just the first three brown books, while S&W Complete includes things like Monks and Druids. Also notable is that it supports ascending AC.

The Black Hack - restructures the OD&D framework to only ever use a roll-under-attribute mechanic

Warriors of the Red Planet - an attempt to do a John-Carter-esque, Sword-and-Planet game using the OD&D framework

White Star - an attempt to do a generic sci-fi game using the OD&D framework

Games based on Basic/Expert D&D, or also known as BECMI, or also known as the Rules Cyclopedia

Adventurer Conqueror King - previously F&F'd. Its gimmick is that it has extensive rules on handling domain/kingdom-level play. Also has a novel mechanic for processing attack rolls.

Basic Fantasy - a near-one-to-one clone of Basic/Expert D&D, except it uses ascending AC. AFAIK, it was also written at a time before retrocloning was a legally acceptable practice, so it's gone through some lengths to be distinguishable from the original.

Beyond the Wall - I couldn't possibly do this justice, so I will just point you back towards the previously done F&F. The most I will say is that it has a very well-put-together character creation system and uses a number of contemporary storytelling concepts.

Dark Dungeons - a direct clone of the Rules Cyclopedia, but also shifts to an ascenting AC system, as well as including an optional novel mechanic for skill checks

Darker Dungeons - a "director's cut" of Dark Dungeons, with rules changes and additions made by the author based on how they wanted to do it.

Exemplars and Eidolons - previously F&F'd. Originally written as purely an example of how to imitate TSR book layouts in inDesign, this is actually a completely playable game that tries to escalate the base power level of a player-character into something like Dynasty Warriors. The author would escalate this further into the kickstarted game Godbound, which tries to emulate the tone and theme of Exalted within the OSR design space.

Labyrinth Lord - a direct clone of the Basic and Expert sets. Another of the first big retroclones.

Labyrinth Lord, An Echo Resounding - previously F&F'd. This is a supplement to the base Labyrinth Lord game that adds a number of rules to allow it to handle domain/kingdom-level play. Full disclosure: I mention this specifically as an alternative to the Adventurer Conqueror King System for anyone looking for domain-level rules, as ACKS has a less-than-scrupulous designers behind it.

Mutant Future - an attempt to do a Gamma World clone; a post-apocalyptic game using the Labyrinth Lord framework

Other Dust - previously F&F'd. Another post-apocalyptic game, but one with a more "realistic" or "hard sci-fi" bent, compared to Mutant Future inheriting Gamma-World random whackiness.

Scarlet Heroes - uses an Oriental/Asian-inspired setting, but notably restructures the Basic/Expert framework to form a game that's specifically designed to be played by just one player-character and the DM, or even a single player as themselves and then using extensive random generation.

Silent Legions - previously F&F'd. An attempt to do a Lovecraftian mystery/investigative game using the Basic/Expert framework. Also notable for having extensive random generation that allows a DM to create their very own original mythology, for when Lovecraft specifically is too well-known or too old-hat.

Spears of the Dawn - previously F&F'd. Largely based on Labyrinth Lord, this was written on a dare to write an African-inspired setting that dealt with the subject matter tastefully. That's exactly what it is.

Stars Without Number - previously F&F'd. Essentially recreates Traveller within the Basic/Expert framework, or a sci-fi trading/military game with extensive random generation rules for everything, including entire planets and star systems.

Starships and Spacemen - uses the Labyrinth Lord framework to try and create Star Trek The Original Series-era adventures.

There's Always a Chance - restructures the Basic/Expert framework into only ever using a roll-under-attribute mechanic.

Games based on Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, 1st Edition

Castles and Crusades - one of the first big retroclones, this was a spiritual successor, but not a direct clone, of AD&D, with the big change of using ascending AC, using a novel mechanic for skill checks, and having the direct endorsement of Gary Gygax.

HackMaster "4th Edition" - this was a retroclone before retroclones were ever even a thing. It was essentially a way to reprint/clone AD&D, but heavily couching the game in humor and deliberate rules arcana as a way to dodge the legal ramifications. It's actually a completely playable work despite its reputation as a "joke game", but it requires a bit of reading between the lines if it's to be played seriously.

Labyrinth Lord Advanced Edition Companion - this is a supplement to the base Labyrinth Lord game to layer on a number of rules that make it play more like AD&D, instead of Basic D&D.

OSRIC - perhaps the game that started the OSR, at least from a legal/publishing standpoint. A direct clone of AD&D 1st Edition.

Games based on Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, 2nd Edition

For Gold and Glory - a direct clone of AD&D 2nd Edition

Others

Dungeon Crawl Classics - technically the mechanical base of this game is D&D 3rd Edition. Much like Paizo, the publisher of this game used to make lots of supplements for 3.5; WOTC cut off their supply, and they ended up making DCC as a way to be able to keep their publishing model afloat. It's considered an OSR game because it captures the theme of pure dungeon delving, in an often Tome-of-Horrors adversarial DM kind of way. The key gimmick is the Character Funnel, or each player controlling a half-dozen level 0 characters into a Gygaxian dungeon, and leveling up to 1 anyone that manages to survive.






Disclaimer: These are probably oversimplifications and/or are heavily tinged with my personal taste. Again, not intended to be an exhaustive list, and I'll probably have to stand corrected on a fair number of these.

gradenko_2000 fucked around with this message at 18:50 on Jun 5, 2016

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:

Bedlamdan posted:

It was almost everything I could ask for in a game I would never play.

You realize you're saying that no matter how depraved the actual subject matter of the game, that it's okay as long as the villain faction is composed of people you dislike personally?

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015

gradenko_2000 posted:

Other Dust - another post-apocalyptic game, but one with a more "realistic" or "hard sci-fi" bent, compared to Mutant Future inheriting Gamma-World random whackiness.

...

Silent Legions - an attempt to do a Lovecraftian mystery/investigative game using the Basic/Expert framework. Also notable for having extensive random generation that allows a DM to create their very own original mythology, for when Lovecraft specifically is too well-known or too old-hat.

Those two have also been F&F'd by yours truly. Other Dust adds a more reasonable and creepy factor to mutations by them being not derived from radiation (which just slowly kills you), but by malfunctioning swarms of still active nanobots that will mess you up something fierce to "treat" your radiation.
Silent Legions naturally comes with rules to convert stuff from Call of Cthulhu, and it has some funny random charts to create unpronounceable Eldritch names or just create a family of alien syllables to tie your mythos critter closer together.

The solo play rules from Scarlet Heroes are also easily adapted to other OSR games.

Another candidate for the "Others" category would be Mazes & Minotaurs. A sort of alternate universe D&D inspired exclusively by Greek mythology instead of your typical Western fantasy. The actual mechanics are noticably different from D&D however, with character advancement being tied to stat bonuses instead of a level-based modifier chart.. There's also a supplement for Norse mythology.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 18:53 on Jun 5, 2016

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case


one thing I like about beast is that people who act the way beasts do are broken to such an extent that they deserve the abuse that beasts get

it's neat that the very actions beasts take to deserve righteous extermination supernaturally summon that righteous extermination down on their heads. it's a closed loop. i would much rather play as a hero than a beast, and i think any reasonable person reading the setting would come to the same conclusion.

beasts aren't "punching up," they're supernaturally endowed with enormous powers they did nothing to earn and there is no force compelling them to use these powers responsibly at all. it's hard to take them seriously as avatars of the underprivileged when they are phenomenally privileged compared to everyone else who's not an immortal magical monster.

the idea that there are no bad tactics, only bad targets, is sociopathic and i don't think we need a game line reinforcing that idea to a generation of bitter grogs resentful that they're not the cool kids.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 18, 2013



It's nice that Onyx Path tried to make another long-form enemy for Hunters, but Beast just isn't as good at making compelling believable characters as Slasher.

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso

Nancy_Noxious posted:

This thread is really great! Let us exacerbate 13th Age's flaws and stay mellow about Pathfinder's because
13th Age is being criticized at length because it is an essentially good, but flawed game. Pathfinder is not being criticized at length because it's like serving me a turd for lunch. I could write a five-page restaurant review listing all the ways in which a turd is different from the bacon cheeseburger I ordered, and all the reasons why, whereas eating a bacon cheeseburger is normally a pleasant experience, literally eating poo poo is, by contrast, not a fun meal to eat for lunch. But that would be tedious and absurd, much like Pathfinder. Its ruleset was roundly condemned when Alien Rope Burn reviewed the corebook, so we're only criticizing the Beginner Box currently being reviewed as an introductory set.

Hypnobeard
Sep 15, 2004

Obey the Beard



Here's a fairly complete list of OSR clones with a short description of each. It's a good starting point for exploring the retroclone space, at any rate, even if some of the games aren't actually available as such.

http://taxidermicowlbear.weebly.com/dd-retroclones.html

MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo
I finished the Beginner Box review and have moved on to reviewing the Reign of Winter Adventure Path, Halloween Jack. Accuracy is important.

Bedlamdan
Apr 25, 2008

Kurieg posted:

You realize you're saying that no matter how depraved the actual subject matter of the game, that it's okay as long as the villain faction is composed of people you dislike personally?

yup :ssh:

Poltergrift
Feb 16, 2014



"When I grow up, I'm gonna be a proper swordsman. One with clothes."
I know it's been done many times, and everyone has pretty much come to the conclusion that it's pointless, but just to get it off my chest, here's another instance of "how I would fix Beast."

Scapegoating in its original form -- the practice of expelling a community's sins, forcing them into the body of a goat and then either sending the goat into exile or killing it -- still works. What's more, in modern days, it can be done unconsciously -- "sin," however a community defines it, slowly accumulates in people who are Other to said community for whatever reason. These reasons don't have to be good or bad -- maybe it's the only non-Christian in the parish, and the priest needs some reason to explain the recent drought that doesn't alienate his flock; maybe it's that creepy guy in the woods who may or may not have killed half a dozen people, and people are terrified of him because he stands out back of his shed sharpening a stained cleaver all day.

Whatever it is, sometimes things hit a tipping point: the church itself is destroyed by lightning or a local beauty queen is found dead in a gutter. The Other is charged with all the blame for the incident, and the combination of the explicit condemnation ("you're a monster who's made us suffer") and the implicit scapegoating and expulsion of sins ("if I say God hates you and that's why it hasn't rained I don't have to reconsider my worldview or question God's benevolence," "if I use slurs to address you I don't have to think about my own imperfect fit in gender roles," "if I assume you're a murderer I don't have to consider the idea that any of my friends or neighbors could have killed someone") turns the victim into a Beast -- sharp claws, big luminescent bug eyes, green blood, etc., a representation of the fear and hatred of the Other that the community has projected onto the Beast. This is explicitly a physical transformation, too -- Beasts can wear their old bodies' skin to blend in with the crowd, but it's a literal skin-suit that people can rip apart and it takes effort to repair it.

(By the way, heavily implying scare quotes around all instances of the word "sin" -- it doesn't matter whether "sins" are actually harmful or just perfectly innocent characteristics that a given community can't tolerate for whatever awful reason, if a Beast gets scapegoated into containing them, there's enough fear and hatred associated to turn the Beast into a monster.)

Of course, the scapegoating ritual doesn't end with the creation of a sin repository -- it has to be driven out or destroyed in order to expel the sin, which is where the whole Hero part comes in. The community, freshly purified of their previous sins -- and thus a lot less tolerant of those who aren't "pure" -- elect a leader, generally the most sinless among them (often the one who contributed the most to the Beast's creation, which is where the whole "a monster represents an aspect of the protagonist" element comes in), form a mob and attack, sometimes literally (i.e. pitchforks and torches) and sometimes figuratively (constant harassment, getting fired from jobs, etc.) to either drive out the Beast, so the sin is gone, or kill them and send it to Hell. If the Beast is banished or destroyed, everyone lives with smug moral certitude for a while until the sin builds up again and they need another scapegoat.

If the Beast survives, they have to deal with being monsters powered by accumulated hatred -- and the fact that, in addition to the community that originally spawned them (which may still be hunting them in order to expel their own sins from the world), anyone who fears and loathes the "sin" that empowers/twists the Beast can sense its presence and unconsciously start scapegoating away their own sin, until they turn on the Beast in the same way as the original community.

Beasts can become more powerful by acting monstrous and amplifying the hatred and sin inherent in them, as well as drawing from a larger pool of hatred -- devouring flesh, killing innocents and destroying buildings for no reason are things everyone can hate, after all, so more and more people will invest a monstrous Beast with their sins, which makes them stronger. On the other hand, it means more people, and nobler people, are likely to become Heroes -- it's not just the militant preacher who hates you for skipping church, it's everyone you meet, with the exception of people inured to murder, who can tell that you're an unrepentant murder-beast and are genuinely willing to kill you to protect your victims. So it's basically the story of "this society fears and hates me; how much vengeance can I take before I become genuinely worse than them," I guess?

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MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo



Part Two: The Snows of Summer

The Snows of Summer is the first part of the Reign of Winter Adventure Path. (Maybe I should have titled the overview Part Zero? Oh well, itís going to get out of publication numbering anyway pretty quick.) The introduction of the adventure informs us that it is designed for four players and uses the medium experience track. (Pathfinder has three experience tracks, for people who like different speeds of advancement; each adventure path specifies which track it uses.) By the end of this first chapter, the expectation is that PCs will be well into level 4, and specific milestones are listed for around where the party should level up. I like this, it allows groups that want to track the numbers to do so while letting GMs who just want to hand out the levels when appropriate to do so as well with a rough idea of where itís appropriate.

Another detail here: Not every adventure path runs all the way to level 20. In fact, most donít--of the APs I have read through, only one springs to mind as hitting the level cap, and thatís Wrath of the Righteous, which additionally includes the Mythic rules and puts the PCs at the level of demigods by the end (including the ability to grant spells to cleric worshippers, if the right mythic path is selected to do so.) Reign of Winter finishes around level 17. Most of the APs also have suggestions on how to follow up or continue the campaign further if so inclined.

It should go without saying that the remainder of this update will contain major spoilers for both the Snows of Summer adventure and the Reign of Winter Adventure Path. If you want to play this, ever, without foreknowledge, skim on by. Iím also going to note that I have no intention of listing every single encounter in depth--Iíll provide highlights and generalized summaries of specific encounters, more than complete breakdowns of the adventures. There are about 300 pages of just adventure to cover through this AP, without even touching on the supplementary material, so for the sake of my own sanity if nothing else I wonít be exhaustive about this.

A full summary of the adventure background is printed next. Basically, Baba Yaga comes to Irrisen every 100 years, installs one of her daughters on the throne, and takes the previously reigning daughter off to parts unknown. In fact, she consumes their lifeforce to retain her own vitality and power, but they donít know this--but Elvanna, the current reigning queen of Irrisen suspects something like this, and has made arrangements with her half-brother, Grigori Rasputin, to trap Baba Yaga and now plans to plunge all of Golarion into the same kind of endless winter that plagues Irrisen and rule over it as the Witch Queen. Sheís shackled Baba Yagaís famous hut and hunted the Three Riders who appear in Irrisen to herald Baba Yagaís return. Thatís all deep background stuff that will come up more later on.

More immediately relevant are the winter portals. Opened by Winter Witches in service to Elvanna, they are causing pockets of winter to appear elsewhere in the world. The village of Heldren, far from Irrisen, is near one such portal, opened by a Winter Witch named Nazhena, and maintained by her apprentice and lover Radosek. Radosek, for his part, sent agents through the portal to scout and seize control of the region, specifically an ice mephit named Izoze and a moss troll named Teb Knotten. These agents ran across a group of bandits operating in the area who quickly realized they couldnít hope to stand against the fey, and now act as servants. They kidnapped a noblewoman who was passing through the area, and are currently holding her with plans to either ransom her or bring in someone capable of impersonating her to use in furthering their scheme somehow.

In this case, the adventure is split into four segments. The first involves investigating the disappearance of the noblewoman who was passing through the area as well as the reports of mysteriously cold weather in the middle of summer. A bodyguard of the noblewoman, beat up and badly injured, staggered into town reporting that creatures from the far north (heís a native of northern lands, so he recognized them as what they were) assaulted the caravan and took the lady captive. If thatís not enough on its own to get the PCs moving, the town council can come ask them for help investigating it.

The weather in the cold pocket is cold enough that characters are going to want to prepare for it or have to worry about environmental damage. The rules for cold weather are referenced here for that purpose. The first stop on the journey is to investigate the site of the caravan attack. Thereís a lot of bodies here, covered in ice and while the carriage and bodies have been looted thereís a bit of treasure to be had all the same. The bandits left a trail. A couple of the bodies were reanimated as zombies by the leader of the bandits, who is an evil cleric, and shoved into the carriage, presumably to deter any pursuit. Whatever. The bandits also left a trap nearby, beneath which they buried most of their haul from the caravan for later retrieval.

Then thereís a couple of encounters that are arguably both skippable (if youíre not bean-countering the XP, at least) and also possibly tougher than they should be for level one PCs. The Adventure Paths, as a general rule, are designed to be possible to complete for any group of roughly balanced PCs--the expected party makeup for this could easily be the pregenerated characters we saw in the Beginner Box. This particular adventure frontloads a nasty ambush that donít feel entirely in keeping with that design philosophy--and there are a couple of other encounters later on that I will point out that are also somewhat rough, though those at least have the benefit of being encounters designed to be boss-like fights, not, yíknow, literally the second encounter in the adventure.

So, an arctic tatzlwyrm (CR2) is hiding in a snowbank. It takes a Perception roll of 26 to spot it. Remember, these are first level characters--a cleric with 18 wis and a rank in perception gets a +8 to perception checks, meaning that they have to hit 16 or better, for a 25% chance at detecting this before it strikes, and thatís about as good as itís going to get. It waits till itís noticed, or until itís ready, to strike, preferably at the lightest armored member of the group so itís easier to chew on, attacking at +5 versus AC for 1d8+3 damage. So in our group of pregens from the Beginner Box, this is Ezren the Wizard, who has 7 hit points total, taking at least half of his HP if he is hit. From ambush. The tatzlwyrm also has the ability to inflict Strength damage with its poison breath. It has 22 HP, so itís not likely to go down in a single round, especially since itís possibly taken out the wizard entirely if it got a lucky damage roll. Iím not particularly enamored of this particular encounter, especially since it offers no treasure and no development of the plot, just a really tough fight really early on for no real reason.

The next fight is...also a bit odd. Three (named) sprites are hanging around, guarding the path. They can do 1d2-2 damage on a successful attack and inflict the numbing cold condition, which staggers targets for one round. They can also cast, once each, color spray, which will knock out heroes for a round, then have them stunned and blinded for a couple more. Effectively these sprites canít do more than 1 damage per attack, but can be very annoying. Unlike the tatzlwyrm, which can be spotted by a starting group of heroes, these sprites require a DC30 perception check to make out, and once theyíre spotted (by getting a -20 to that when they start attacking) theyíll cast Dancing Lights to make sure that the party thinks their numbers are significantly more than they actually are. Once they start taking attrition or someone pulls out a fire based attack, they flee to warn the others.

Further encounters with ice fey and a couple of nasty traps later, the PCs start running into bandits, starting with a few set to act as sentries. Theyíve largely occupied a lodge, which the PCs, being big drat heroes, can clear out without too terribly much trouble - the only really tough bandits are the leader himself, a cleric of Norgorber (god of murder) who pretends to be a necromancer so that his men will be less creeped out, and Ten-Penny Tacey, a half-orc burglar who will fight the PCs purely defensively--sheís a down on her luck burglar who owes little loyalty to the bandits despite the leaderís efforts to get her to join on, and will not fight to the death. Once the PCs have cleared the bandits, they find the missing noblewoman, and can either bring her back or press on up the rope bridge that leads beyond the banditís camp--and has the tracks indicating that further ice fey and bandit traffic was occurring there, implying the source of the winter weather in the middle of summer.

This is getting a bit lengthy, so Iíll chop it off here and pick up with that in the next post.

Remember, you can read the Pathfinder Core review in the F&F archive.

Next time: Snows of Summer, part two.
maybe I really should have rethought this title thing

MollyMetroid fucked around with this message at 21:11 on Jun 5, 2016

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