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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:56 am 
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Okay just a couple of softballs (mostly since you yourself asked them);

1. In Pathfinder what is your favourite class to play (or indeed just your favourite class in general) and why?

2. Discounting Pathfinder what it your favourite RPG system you have played/worked with (assuming there is one)?

3. Favourite monster to spring on unsuspecting parties?

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:24 am 
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Ohhh, I like softball questions!

Okay just a couple of softballs (mostly since you yourself asked them);

1. In Pathfinder what is your favourite class to play (or indeed just your favourite class in general) and why?


Even going back to OD&D, I've always loved the thief / rogue. I liked the way it evolved in 3e to be more than just the greedy guy who steals from the party. And Pathfinder found even more ways to grow the class.

In Pathfinder terms, I love skills and you can't get a better skill monkey than a high-Int rogue. Sneak attack gives them a bit of that tactical feel I talked about with your last question, where you need to work get your best attacks off.

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2. Discounting Pathfinder what it your favourite RPG system you have played/worked with (assuming there is one)?


3.5 would be too easy of an answer. ;)

Favorite other system I've played is Mutants and Masterminds. (Keep in mind, I played 1st edition not long after it came out. I haven't seen it since, so some of this might no longer apply.) For me, it was a real eye-opener as to what you can do with the d20 system. The "point" system in place of levels was interesting to me, and the book was just great quality on it's own.

Favorite system that I worked on was the World of Warcraft RPG. Part of that is nostalgia - it was the first work I ever got outside of Dragon magazine. (Unfortunately, stuff happened and the line stopped.) I thought it did some interesting things, too. For example, it was the first place I saw racial levels that weren't required. So, for example, there was a base Tauren that was (more or less) balanced against a typical PC race. Then there were racial levels you could take that added racial Hit Dice and made you more Tauren-y. It was a clever way to resolve the issue in WoW of different races that had different power levels.

For two that could move up the list, so to speak:

I've only played Mage once, in a game that lasted two sessions. Being a D&D guy, it was a little weird adjusting to it; but once I got the hang of it, I found it interesting. So if an opportunity to play came up, there's a chance it could move up over Mutants and masterminds.

Also, a few years ago at GenCon I bought a copy of Shadowrun, just to read it. And I think that could be a fun game, if the opportunity ever arose.

And then one final game I'd like to try, though I don't think it'd be a "favorite." Right at the end of the 3.5 / d20 lifecycle, White Wolf hired Monte Cook to write a d20 version of World of Darkness. At the very least, it was a cool read, but I'd like a chance to play some time...

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3. Favourite monster to spring on unsuspecting parties?


Every campaign I play in, the players get "accosted' by Mortimer, a curious, child-like faerie dragon. Mortimer giggles constantly, asks, "Why" incessantly, pouts if he doesn't get his way, and just wants to play and doesn't really understand that the PCs have "work" to do. My players, of course, know to expect him at some point now - though one player in my current group will be experiencing Morty for the first time. Players groan when they realize what's happening (usually because their armor turns pink with purple polka dots) but then have a grand time roleplaying with him. Often, Mortimer will give them some piece of information they can use - even if they don't realize it at the time.

(I'll need to be careful this campaign; the half-orc witch is likely to just grab him and try to eat him...)

For an actual adversary, I've noticed myself using the Totenmaske from Bestiary 2 quite a bit recently. They're creepy, they rely on stealth and tactics (I sense a theme growing), they can cause all sorts of issues with their drain ability, but generally don't have any surprises when it comes to defense so a party can handle them easy enough with a bit of care and/or luck.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:33 am 
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Your answers are fine, I don't need a thesis. I'm not that curious or anything, I'm more or less treating this like a chat.

Favorite d20 subsystem? Meaning stuff like incarnum, maneuvers, binding, shadow magic, psionics, vancian magic, truenaming, invocations and whatnot else.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:09 pm 
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So my answer has to be tempered with a caveat: I don't own many of the books where the subsystems come from. So my answer isn't an indictment on, for example, maneuvers or truenaming; I just don't know 'em to be able to judge.

So, that said...

I've always liked vancian spell casting. I like the thinking and preparation it requires to make sure you have the correct spells ready to rock each day. I've certainly seen plenty of people complain about vancian, and beg for (most often) a spell point system - whether like the psionic model, or different. But the tactical implications of vancian have always interested me.

For systems outside of core, I really like the marshal's auras. I love the implications it has on being a secondary "support" character to a group. I also like that it offers a buffer role without relying on spells to perform the task.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 11:49 am 
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Do you mostly find yourself as a player or a DM ?

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 2:05 pm 
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Well, that's a shame. I don't have much experience with them either, but a lot of them look really fantastic. Binders and Soulmelders in particular. I considered playing a Binder in PF, but settled on a Soulknife instead. The conversion looks pretty solid.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:31 am 
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What is your favorite character you're played as?

What is the longest running campaign you've been a part of?

What is the most common screw up you've seen among new players?

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:51 pm 
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Whats the highest level you've made it to starting from level one and how long did it take you to get there?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:26 pm 
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Do you have a homebrew world that you DM in? And if so have any aspects of it ever bled over into your professional work or vice versa?

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:59 pm 
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Do you mostly find yourself as a player or a DM ?


I'm mostly a GM. I enjoy being on the player side of the screen, I just don't get the chance.

Mown wrote:
Well, that's a shame. I don't have much experience with them either, but a lot of them look really fantastic. Binders and Soulmelders in particular. I considered playing a Binder in PF, but settled on a Soulknife instead. The conversion looks pretty solid.


Dreamscarred Press's conversion, or a different psionic system? I've not had a chance to look at what Dreamscarred has done, but I've heard nothing but good about it.

What is your favorite character you're played as?


Favorite character? I can't decide between two.

"Zherog" is pretty special to me, because he was the character I played right when 3e came out, which was my first gaming action in almost a decade.

I also had an aasimar (house ruled to +0 level adjustment) Vow of Poverty monk named Drusai that was a ton of fun to play. The DM did a fantastic job with roleplay opportunities, and she gave all sorts of moral quandaries for him without being "that DM" that puts the player in the damned if you do and damned if you don't position. The other players, too, were awesome to play with and helped make the experience memorable. Plus, there's something oddly cathartic about walking up to the bad guy and punching him in the face. ;)

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What is the longest running campaign you've been a part of?


I've been in a few long-running ones. It would be hard to call it a campaign - more a series of dungeon crawls strung together with very little plot - but I played the same character from 1981 until 1992 or so - a human fighter / magic-user. (Yes, I know that wasn't a legal multiclass in 1e.)

The game with Zherog as a character lasted long enough to get to level 20; probably until 2004 or 2005, playing almost every week.

And I ran game - via AOL instant messenger, actually - that ran for a bit over 3 years. That one is the longest I've ever run.

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What is the most common screw up you've seen among new players?

~SE++


I haven't seen consistent problems, really. I guess if I had to say something, it would be the "fire and forget" nature of Vancian casting.

Claptrap wrote:
Whats the highest level you've made it to starting from level one and how long did it take you to get there?


In "modern" gaming - as in, when I played by most of the rules and had an actual story behind the game - that would be Zherog. That game went to level 21 or 22 before it ended. And took about 5 years or so.

If we're considering anything, then my 1e fighter-magic user. He was somewhere high 30s or low 40s for both classes. It was a very "Monty Haul" style of game. ;)

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Do you have a homebrew world that you DM in? And if so have any aspects of it ever bled over into your professional work or vice versa?


I generally always use an existing world, even if it's just as a starting basis. For example, the game I ran over AIM used Greyhawk, mostly for geography and some over-arching themes around deities. I've also use Forgotten Realms the same way. My current game is set in Razor Coast.

My home stuff does make it into print. for example, because I'm an idiot WotC actually now owns the name to one of my wife's characters. I used it as an example for a Dragon magazine article, without thinking that the terms of the contract result in signing over all ownership to WotC. There have been several instances of characters or NPCs making an appearance in stuff I wrote. A few of the NPCs in Unusual Suspects were from my home game; the blabber-mouth dwarven smith, the on-the-take city guard, and the goblin ranger/assassin that stalks the woods are three that come to mind.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:57 am 
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This may be a bit of a silly question but is there a list of books yourve written or worked on sonewhere?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:14 am 
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This is all I could find.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:52 pm 
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Hmmmm.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:33 am 
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Whoa! I have a wiki page? Neat!

Makes sense to me it would have only Magical Marketplace. That, to date, is my only credit for Paizo (though another will be out this Spring - I also worked on Inner Sea Gods).

This has stuff missing but isn't too far off. Guess I'll have to sit and add stuff to the database, once I figure out what's missing. Scrolling through, I know there are Dragon magazine articles missing; I had a total of 13 articles in, I believe, 10 issues. I think there might be some Monday Monsters for KQ missing as well.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:43 pm 
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What advice would you give new players to tabletop RPGs in general?

What advice would you give new DM/GMs in general?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:00 pm 
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* blows the dust of the thread; starts sneezing and choking *

:gross:

Sorry...

Got way too busy, then got way too lazy, then got way too busy again. Let's see if we can get this engine to run...

*

What advice would you give new players to tabletop RPGs in general?


Dive in, have fun, don't sweat the details in the rules. Start small - don't add 30 splat books at the beginning, just keep it simple with whatever system's core rules and maybe one main book you need for your concept.

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What advice would you give new DM/GMs in general?

~SE++


Aside from the above applying to GMs, the best advice I can think of for a GM is to learn to say yes rather than saying no. If you planned on your players doing X but they want to do Y instead, it's often tempting to put on your conductor's hat and book the players a ticket on the "You're doing X" railroad. Instead, find your own way of having options at your disposal so the players can do Y if that's what they want. Some GMs are just crazy good at making stuff up on the fly; if that's you, go for it. I'm not. I tend to keep "scenarios" on hand - NPCs, monster lairs, real short adventures, etc. - that I can plug in where I need them. Those scenarios fill time while I figure out the actual plot, consequences, etc.

On a more micro level, saying yes when a player says, "I really want to play an alchemist. Can we work that into the game somehow?" is a good idea. If you loathe the alchemist class for whatever reason - maybe you just can't stand the idea of somebody chucking granades around - see if there's some sort of alternative. (plug: I wrote a class called the Urbanist that can be found in 0one Games' Great City Players Guide. That book came out about the same time as Paizo's Advanced Players Guide; somewhere in the discussion, there's a comment or two that the urbanist is what the "alchemist should've been.") But even beyond plugging something I worked on previously, find out what it is about the alchemist that grabs the player's interest, and work from there. Maybe you and she can work to tweak the wizard or sorcerer or even rogue to get what the player wants. Don't just say no without digging into it a bit; maybe there's a solution that fits your world and has that something-something the player was interested in.

Finding ways to say yes - without getting steamrolled - goes a long way to increasing the "fun quotient" at the table. In my opinion.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 12:55 pm 
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As far as getting into homebrewing goes, what sort of steps would you recommend taking? (Aimed more at 3.5 / PF)

Start with the core books and make a class from scratch? Take all books into consideration and try to strive for balance? Take an existing class(es) and tweak them to your liking?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 1:59 pm 
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Start small and simple. Make a new wondrous item, or a new weapon property. Make a new spell for your players to discover on a scroll or in an enemy's spellbook.

For me, it started with forum-based design games on GitP, Nifty, and WotC. From there, I moved on to prestige classes. I had two players who I tweaked classes for, One because I didn't like the class (the Warmaster, from Sword and Fist) and the other because the player wanted a slightly different flavor of Arcane Trickster. That all lead a friend of mine to talk me into sending queries to Dragon, and that's how the professional side of it started.

During your design, if you're not sure about something, err on the side of the weaker choice. If a player has your Super Item of Doom, it's easy to say to him, "Hey, I think it's a bit underpowered. How about we add X to it to try and fix that?" Most players will say, "Um, sure! More power!" On the other hand, if the conversation goes something like, "Hey, uh. That item is kinda broken. I want to nerf it a bit." You're likely to have a player going onto a message board somewhere and whining about how you always hit him with the nerf stick.

After your homebrew is in play, listen to your players when they give feedback. They'll let you know if it's fun, or if it's wildly unbalanced. You can adjust as needed for the specific, but it'll also give you an idea where you are overall with your basic design philosophy. If you're regularly weak, you know that maybe you need to pump a little more oomph into your ideas; if you're regularly over the top, you know you need to dial it back a bit.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 3:11 pm 
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What ideas of your have been rejected?

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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 11:26 am 
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Most of them! :D

Every idea I ever sent to Dungeon was rejected, whether it was an adventure idea or was a shorter article intended to slide into the back section of the magazine.

(OK, not completely true. After WotC took Dungeon back, everybody who had stuff that was pending - whether written manuscripts or pending queries - had to re-query with WotC. I know writers who actually had completed manuscripts that were accepted by Paizo and sitting in a "to be used" pile that ended up having them tossed during the re-query process. I was lucky and had the opposite. I had a query get accepted after WotC took the magazines back. I wrote the adventure, submitted the adventure, and then waited. Eventually I heard back, and was told I had a choice. I could keep the adventure in the 3.5 rules; WotC would accept it, but they couldn't guarantee it would get published before 4e came out. Or, I could hold on to it and re-write it for 4e. I tried to get a "playtest" version of 4e out of them, but that didn't work. Ultimately, I decided I'd go the route of rewriting for 4e. And then... never did. I should see if I can dig that adventure out of my archives, actually...)

In some ways, RPG queries are a lot like books. You hear stories all the time of successful books that were rejected by publishers 50 gajillion times before somebody took a chance and accepted it. For example, Unusual Suspects was rejected two or three times before Frog God Games agreed to publish it the way I wanted to do the product. Similarly, when Kobold Quarterly came on the scene, quite a few of my articles - written or otherwise - from Dragon were re-queried there. Some were accepted (like A Kingdom for my Horse, which featured alternate paladin abilities to replace the mount class feature). some were rejected again.

If you add up everything, I've almost certainly had more queries rejected than published. You sort of get used to hearing the words, "No thanks" a lot. Fortunaely for me, the past 2-3 years I've been in a position where work actually comes to me.

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