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New Castle, PA
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A Tale Of Two Bestiaries: Looking At The Fiend Folio And Creature Catalog In POD Wednesday, 30th May, 2018 03:04 PM


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Tuesday, 12th June, 2018

Wednesday, 1st November, 2017

  • 05:35 AM - Henry mentioned rknop in post Everybody Loves Lovecraft?
    I don't think it's so much the geography of the universe, as the vast, malevolent alien intelligences. To me, both are inextricably linked in Lovecraft's stories. Descriptions of things like Azathoth, Yog-Sothoth and Shub-niggurath make them not so much malevolent, as unfathomable, both us of them and them of us. The "speck on a speck in a speck" mentioned by rknop is very indicative of how the Old Ones and the Elder Gods are described as seeing humanity - S.T. Joshi has even stated his belief that Lovecraft's correspondence indicates a sort of "pseudo belief system" Lovecraft is knowingly inventing to personify or (for lack of better term) anthropomorphize that sense of unmeasurable infinity. To me Cosmicism (Lovecraft's selling point as it were) is defined in part by the geography of the universe.

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Tuesday, 31st October, 2017

  • 10:25 PM - pemerton quoted rknop in post Everybody Loves Lovecraft?
    I don't think it's so much the geography of the universe, as the vast, malevolent alien intelligences.HPL seems to think that relativity is, per se, horrific - eg all the references to alien geometry and impossible angles. Both from a cosmology/quantum point of view, and from a "things are controlling us, we don't have the Enlightenment self-determination we thought we did" point of view, we've gotten used to the ideas because they've been mainstream parts of culture for a long time. It's a cynical age. These things don't surprise us any more, so the cosmic terror of them is harder to grok.I'm not sure it was horrific even when HPL wrote it. Compare Brave New World - what you refer to as a "cynical age" had one of its masterpieces written around the same time as HPL's "cosmic horror".
  • 01:54 PM - Von Ether quoted rknop in post Everybody Loves Lovecraft?
    I think the appeal of the horror is all part of the same thing, though. The idea is that there are more things in heaven and in earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy. Yet, nowadays, we have natural philosophy (we've taken to calling it science) that makes highly accurate predictions about stuff that is, to the human mind, completely bizarre. Vast and hard-to-understand alien intelligences have also saturated the culture for a long time now. One could argue that the whole government conspiracy genre is sort of part of the same thing-- forces beyond our control that are running things in ways we can't hope to change. Both from a cosmology/quantum point of view, and from a "things are controlling us, we don't have the Enlightenment self-determination we thought we did" point of view, we've gotten used to the ideas because they've been mainstream parts of culture for a long time. It's a cynical age. These things don't surprise us any more, so the cosmic terror of them is harder t...
  • 12:34 PM - Morrus quoted rknop in post Everybody Loves Lovecraft?
    The problem with the existential dread is that we live in an era where the vastness of the Universe and our insignificance in comparison to it is widely appreciated. Even if you aren't fully up on the expanding Universe and so forth, you have some idea about lots of Galaxies out there and how we're but a speck on a speck in a speck. Also, lots of people are familiar with the idea that the Universe is bizarre in ways that are not intuitive to humans -- quantum mechanics on the small scale, general relativity on the large scale. We're used to this idea, so the bizarre and human incomprehensibility of the Universe is something that we're used to rather than something that might cause cosmic horror. My sister sort of got it; 20 or so years ago when I was actively working on cosmology, and I'd talk to my sister about the size of the Universe and the expansion and so forth, she'd get a bit creeped out and say "it reminds me of death". Too many of us are just used to it, though, so the cosmic ...

Wednesday, 11th October, 2017

  • 03:33 AM - Christopher Helton quoted rknop in post Delving Into Worlds Of Dungeon Fantasy With GURPS
    Perks are still there, it's just the name "Perks" that's not there. They're just 1-point advantages... which, really, is all they ever were. A number of the professions have a couple of 1-point advantages available to them. I mentioned that: "To a degree, perks and techniques are worked into the optional special abilities of character templates, so they are sort of there in the game."

Monday, 2nd October, 2017

  • 05:12 AM - Birmy quoted rknop in post I Spoke To Frank Mentzer About His Empyrea Setting For 10 RPG Systems!
    I love this attitude. Years and years ago, a buddy of mine made a documentary about RPGs. When he interviewed Gary Gygax, my friend asked him to introduce himself to the camera. Gygax said, "I'm Gary Gygax, and I'm a gamer," and half-smiled. He'd probably used that line a thousand times, but I thought it was just perfect.

Tuesday, 26th September, 2017

  • 04:47 PM - Ilbranteloth quoted rknop in post D&D Reader App Coming This Fall? [UPDATED]
    Yes... buy the physical books, or buy a non-DRMed ebook in an openly defined and widely supported format (such as PDF). If you buy something DRMed, or in a format that requires a proprietary app, then, even if "they'd never do that", your continued ability to legally read the book you bought depends on the continued permission of the company that controls the DRM scheme or the app. I'm not disagreeing with what you're saying. But that's only valid if they actually provide non-DRM PDFs, which they aren't. And my point is, that as a consumer, what you are saying is absolutely correct. You want to choose an option that will be available forever, and without limitations. But when there are multiple options, then the feature set is another factor. Each person then has to decide if the feature set is worth being tied into a proprietary system, or if they should spend their money elsewhere. But WotC, or any company, has other considerations. While they obviously want it to be the best experien...
  • 04:41 AM - Ilbranteloth quoted rknop in post D&D Reader App Coming This Fall? [UPDATED]
    It's always a mistake to buy content with proprietary locks on it, unless you're happy with the risk of not being able to access that content five or ten years in the future. DVDs are mostly OK, because the locks have been fully cracked. Of course, it's not legal to download the software necessary to watch a DVD you have legally purchased on hardware you own... but that's the US copyright regime for you. If you really want to *own* the RPG books you buy, if you want to be able to crack them open in 40 years (like I did the other day with my 1e PHB), you need them in an open format that is supported by lots of different readers. They can't be a format that's only viewable by a set of proprietary readers, or that's locked behind DRM. Track record shows that PDF is probably the best format to bet on. Well, mistake or not, you're limited to the options available. First, if you really want to own the RPG books you buy, then buy the books. As for being the "best format to bet on," ...

Monday, 25th September, 2017

  • 11:06 PM - Mistwell quoted rknop in post D&D Reader App Coming This Fall? [UPDATED]
    ...and if you still have Palm devices around to run those apps, then you are an outlier. First, I think wanting to use PDFs of a version of a game from many years ago already makes someone an outlier. Second, emulators are free. Nope. Devices don't last that long. They die. Their batteries go to hell. It's not worth keeping them going. Think about what you're suggesting here. Keep around a whole bunch of old devices so that you can run the old apps to get access to the books you bought back when those apps where the current thing. Compare that to just being able to move your whole collection to whatever your current computer is and use the reader of your choice. The latter is what PDF offers. The former is a huge pain in the butt, and not at all comparable to having DRM-free PDFs. Emulators are free. Or, sure, emulators. It's still a pain in the butt. It's not really more a pain in the butt than constantly updating to the new version of my PDF readers. Which seem...
  • 08:33 PM - Mistwell quoted rknop in post D&D Reader App Coming This Fall? [UPDATED]
    How much software on disks that you purchased 20 years ago can you still use? Just about all of it? Chances are the software came on 3.5" floppies. (Well, 25 years ago.) Many computers don't even have that format any more. I have 3.5 drives on all my computers still. They're really cheap, and the slot is tiny. I also move stuff from 3.5 to sticks sometimes. If you actually have a need for an old program, it's not that hard. Um. The iphone was first a thing in 2007 or thereabouts. I was writing PDFs in the late 1990s. PDF as a format is at least twice as old as apps are. Hahahaha that's cute that you think the iphone invented apps! Again, I have apps from my palm treo from 2002. Palm devices had apps going back much further than that (Pam Pilot was 1996 for example). The Psion Organiser was invented in the mid-1980s, though I never used one. Apple had nothing to do with inventing the concept of the app. They just improved on it - which accurately describes pretty mu...

Saturday, 23rd September, 2017

  • 03:04 PM - Mistwell quoted rknop in post D&D Reader App Coming This Fall? [UPDATED]
    OK, then answer this question. Suppose a hardcover physical book only came in a version chained to a specific chair with a specific desk lamp. You were only allowed to read the book while sitting in THAT chair and using THAT lamp. What would you want to DO with a hardcover that didn't come so encumbered that you couldn't do with the one that came with its own required chair and lamp? (Also, cutting the chain requires not only specialized equipment and skills, but is explicitly illegal. Hiring somebody else to cut the chain is even more illegal.) If you can show me how "releasing digital content for an new app usable on literally millions of devices across the world" is the same as "chained to a specific chair with a specific desk lamp"? Because they're nothing alike. One is an extreme exaggeration for effect in typical Internet attention-seeking over the top hysteria, and the other is just a new friggin app you can either buy or not like the thousands of other apps on the marke...
  • 02:26 AM - Mistwell quoted rknop in post D&D Reader App Coming This Fall? [UPDATED]
    Seriously? Read them on my Linux machine, to start. You should be able to do that. Probably not on day one, but someone will port the app to Linux in all likelihood. Or you should do that! Use the reader I want to use. That's not really something you can "do" though. What is it you want to DO with it that cannot be done using this app? Still be able to read them even when the app is no longer supported and doesn't run on newer versions of Android. Speculative. Doesn't sound like there are a whole lot of obvious reasons. One you should be able to do, one seems to have no purpose beyond vague preference (you may like the new platform better), and one is speculative. Is that really what you thought "seriously" would convey things like "use on Linux"?

Friday, 22nd September, 2017

  • 11:43 PM - Mistwell quoted rknop in post D&D Reader App Coming This Fall? [UPDATED]
    I agree that things I do not want have a right to exist. And that it's no skin off my teeth if it does exist. My problem is the suggestion that this product at all addresses the problem of a lack of PDFs available for 5e. A proprietary format that runs on a proprietary ap that you have get just for this one thing you want to read does not cut the bill. It would be similar to a a physical book that came chained to a chair and a desk lamp which were the only chair and desk lamp that you're allowed to use while reading the book. Saying that that product offering would at all address the desires of those who want a physical book would be dubious at best. What did you plan on doing with a legal PDF on a regular basis that is made impossible in this format?

Monday, 11th September, 2017

  • 10:12 PM - Sunsword quoted rknop in post Starfinder's Sutter Leaves Paizo; Butler Joins (In A Different Role)
    I do not believe the "always". This was true until the 4e/Pathfinder years, but it hasn't always been true since then. For a couple of years in there, Pathfinder was the top-selling RPG. There will have been transition periods, at the end when 4e was on its way down and Pathfinder was on its way up, when the two were not an order of magnitude apart from each other. Also, I am not convinced we know enough right now to absolutely know that D&D is selling an order of magnitude better than Pathfinder. Does anybody have data or a source that would shed light on this? You can believe what you want. I base my information from working 20 years running 2 game stores. Pathfinder became the top RPG when 4E was shelved and WotC was developing 5E. While 4E was actively published it was the top RPG. And even 4E sold lights out better than Pathfinder. Again though, Paizo does a remarkable job of selling direct to it's customers, something WotC doesn't do. 5E is selling an order of magnitude ...

Friday, 25th August, 2017

  • 10:21 PM - jimtillman quoted rknop in post Talking With Starfinder Creative Director At Gen Con
    They did want to use some things from Golarion -- Iomedae, Hellknights, Absalom (after which the stationed is named), the starstone, the planets from Distant Worlds, memories of the Pathfinder Society after which the Starfinder Society patterned itself, etc. All of these things would make much less sense 10^5, 10^6, or 10^7 years into the future. (Or more.) They also wouldn't make sense if it were set in a distant sector of space. They wanted a future version of the same setting, but they wanted to do it in such a way that GMs and players wouldn't see that the future was "set" in the metaplot, so nothing they did in the Pathfinder era mattered. The Gap solves that problem. It's also a pretty cool memory. (Think about what happens if you fly FTL to 300+ light-years away from the Golarion system, and look back. What do you see? If you build a big enough telescope with a sufficiently precise coronagraph, you should be able to resolve the planet Golarion, and watch as it disappears. So...
  • 01:38 PM - Abstruse quoted rknop in post News Digest: Gen Con, ENnies, Diana Jones, Star Wars, Starfinder, and more!
    The special edition of Starfinder was sold out in less than hours. In fact, it may have been sold out before the dealer room opened. I know somebody who wanted to get it, and was there right as the dealer room opened... but there were none left. The VIG folks who had early access to the dealer room snapped all of them out. The regular Starfinder CRB sold out in 6 or 7 hours. I heard reports of four or even two hours. I just know for a fact it was sold out by 4PM because that was when the first Paizo employee posted it on social media.

Wednesday, 23rd August, 2017

  • 05:45 PM - JeffB quoted rknop in post Talking With Starfinder Creative Director At Gen Con
    If they wanted Starfinder to be in the same setting as Pathfinder, but they didn't want to commit to saying what major world changes happened after 4708, they had to do something to make that history either go away, or become unimportant. This is where I am at, as regards "The Gap". I don't think it was Paizo being "lazy", but finding the best work around so as not to create massive headaches/design problems in the fiction for both PF and SF now, and down the road. I'm also a big proponent of "Questions" and not "Answers" when it comes to Campaign Settings/"The Fiction", so I also like "the gap". I wish WOTC would approach things this way with their settings on a regular basis.

Saturday, 8th July, 2017

  • 10:58 PM - lyle.spade quoted rknop in post Star Trek Adventures: Core Rulebook Released in PDF!
    Just bought the book, and skimming it reminds me how long it's been since I saw either TNG or DS9. (Or anything, really.... I've seen the Abrams reboot movies because they're recent, but but for one or two TOS episodes, it's been since Nemesis that I've really watched any Star Trek. Enterprise lost me after about five episodes.) I saw all of TNG, DS9, and Voyager. But, when I read in the Modiphius book that there is something called the Tzenkethi Coalition, and that there is a border war, I realize, I should probably know what that is. So, I look it up on the Memory Alpha wiki, see there were a couple of DS9 episodes... that I completely don't remember. (Except for bits; I remember the bit about Lt. Commander Eddington congratulating Sisko upon Sisko's promotion to Captain.) It strikes me that the amount of time since the first episode of ST:TNG and now is 30 years. The amount of time between the first episode of ST:TOS and the first episode of ST:TNG was 20 (21?) years. And yet I ...

Sunday, 11th June, 2017

  • 05:19 PM - Jay Verkuilen quoted rknop in post Let's Not Save The World...Again
    I remember after seeing "Casino Royale", the first Bond movie featuring Daniel Craig, that I liked that the whole main plot was over some large sum of money. It wasn't about saving the world. Now, granted, yes, the villain was going to do things like crash some planes to make that money, and early on there was an epic stop-the-plane-from-taking-off action sequence. But the main plot was not about saving the whole world. The author of this article is actually wrong about Bond novels as written by Fleming not involving "save the world" plots. There are a number of them. The novel Casino Royale is about saving France from a Communist infiltrator, though, so it's a "saving France, and Western Europe from Communism". Perhaps not the world, but very much something that was considered very fearful and real to likely readers. The novel is set right after World War II, when many people were very afraid of a Communist takeover of Western Europe. The villain Le Chiffre is funneling huge amounts o...

Saturday, 20th May, 2017

  • 11:01 PM - Henry quoted rknop in post Ernie Gygax Shares A Little of Tenser's History
    I wonder how many of the fiddly (and seemingly bizarre) rules from AD&D 1e are to try to limit Ernie from being the ultimate powergamer? E.g. the chances of an elemental turning on you (which, by the way, came out to something close to 100% during the duration of the spell) in Summon Elemental? I think you just described the legal code for every civilization ever. :) (Cue list of "bizarre law" websites)

Saturday, 23rd January, 2016

  • 04:25 PM - Cap'n Kobold quoted rknop in post A Million Answers From Mearls & Lindsay About DM's Guild, DDAL, and the OGL (Compiled AMA)
    The question I really want answered is only tangentially related: "Is WotC going to release PDF versions of the core books any time soon?" (If the answer is "no", then a follow-up question, "What year do you think it is?") I'm not aware of any other RPG product for which you can't get both PDF and print. For a lot of them (a lot of indie ones), if you buy the print in a FLGS, you can get a free PDF to go with it. Bear in mind that they're specifically not going to be releasing lots and lots of splatbooks. Sales of the core books are going to remain a major factor in supporting themselves. Thus they're understandably cautious about releasing a high-quality PDF that will end up being illegally copied and used by a lot of people to replace having to buy a hardcopy of the PHB. Its 2015. There aren't many methods of copy-protecting your work that people can't bypass now. They are likely aware of this, have a good idea how badly this will impact their sales, and so far have chosen not...

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