“”I work for Reuters. I’m a journalist in the media business. Back in 2008, I sat in a conference and reviewed some proposals to integrate news sources focused on electronic gaming into our RSS service as niche content providers. We considered IGN, Gamespot, and a few other syndicated online info feeds. Now, in order to white label a source as affiliated with Reuters, you need to run through a checklist of ~100 items that are necessary for journalistic integrity. The source and its organization has to score at least a 60 out of 100 for it to be considered fair and unbiased. These tests are carried out by senior journalists, editors, and investigators. NONE of the gaming publications scored higher than a 15. For reference, the National Enquirer scored a 38 and the MSNBC blogosphere scored 44. Some failures included: - Economic ties with publishers - Acceptance of favors - 0% of staff held journalism degree - Very small percentage worked in other major publications - No real editing process - No accountability tl;dr: Gaming “journalism” is a joke and the laughingstock of reporting media. Continue to read these publications if you want, but assume that everything you read is biased or an outright lie.””
— Gaming news is officially worse than supermarket tabloids folks. Let that sink in for a while. These people are are several steps below “IS BRAD PITT CHEATING ON ANGELINA???” (via bonglorio)
A friend of mine says frequently that videogame are a lost cause and will never rise above their base form of being a distraction with no redeeming value that is basically an engine to separate idiots from money.
I’m beginning to think he’s right.
Videogames and videogame fans that aren’t horrible shit babies are how I relax from a lot of things. All the news that I hear, all the day to day stresses, all the *everything terrible*, it’s all a lot to handle and not go crazy. Maybe sometimes I want to go home and be in a space where I play a blue collar worker, his angry dragon rival, and the girl they both have a crush on and they all zip around in little cars and throw produce at one another. Alternately, watch a thing where some funny guys talk while playing a game poorly, talk about how to make your monsters great, or what goes into completing a game. All good stuff.
I grew up with nintendo and loved pretty much anything they’ve brought to the table due to a combination of nostalgia and joy at the innocent fun that makes up part of the package. I like their art direction, the way they design their consoles (both for durability and form), and this feeling I get from them that they never really forgot that they were a toy company. With the combined assets of my wife and I, we have an unbroken chain of nintendo consoles that stretches back nearly 30 years from the NES to the WiiU. I personally own most of the handhelds with missing members being variants of the base hardware (such as the gameboy color).
I’ve never had a tall opinion of ‘hard core’ gamers since I started wading into the waters of adulthood. At the time I had guys I knew giving me shit for owning a GameCube instead of a “real man’s console” and I got sick of it. Now I still throw in a few playful jabs on behalf of Nintendo, but to think that anyone has such fierce brand loyalty to take it seriously is just absurd. Apparently this kind of shit is normal on videogame culture still! It’s like it’s still 1991 and people are arguing the merits of Mario vs Sonic.
I’m tired of the games as art thing, because it’s asinine. Of course people who have never interacted with a form of media outside of getting drunk and playing pacman in the early 80’s aren’t going to consider it art. You don’t need their validation. Just wait until they die and are replaced by pretentious assholes from our generation in their late middle age that won’t accept that polydimensional cyberkinetics are art. Easy!
But seeing the last few weeks? I’m reluctant to lump myself in with anything having to do with video gaming. First we have a funnyman who said something, someone was offended, and then he proceeded to follow that up by going down a path of non-repentance of spectacular proportions that is still unfolding at this moment and gladly spurred on by the gaming community. Then we had a game designer’s ex-boyfriend say a bunch of stuff involving people she may have cheated on him with, and that escalated quickly into all sorts of harassment swept under a rug with claims of ‘journalistic integrity’ in a field of journalism that has never had the ‘church and state’ separatism of real journalism. Then we have the continuing adventures of the lady who makes videos about how tropes in games are kinda crappy to women. Per usual she gets called all kinds of names, gets threatened, and in this case took a little sabbatical way from her house because of the level of threats and harassment.
In the case of both of these women, a lot of the gaming community said they were just making up stories for attention. I have a hard time believing that. I’ve been visiting gaming media since I could get on the internet. The advent of commenting systems just made it more fun, since there was a discussion! Except it wasn’t a lot of the time. Mostly it was angry people yelling a lot. The kinds of things I see routinely coming out of the mouths of vocal members of the gaming community is embarrassing. Seeing how they treat game designers of any gender or orientation is disheartening.
The sad part is we kind of expect this sort of behavior. It’s so normalized at this point and it’s moved so far beyond the childish ‘mario vs. sonic’ arguments. And all of this *just keeps getting worse*. People’s livelihoods are getting threatened. That’s not ok.
I can’t take the community seriously at all. I can’t listen to anyone who considers themselves a gamer talk about ‘games as art’ or ‘serious games journalism’ or anything like that because the community wants to both be taken seriously and to allow a vocal portion of itself to be not much better than a pack of animals. I have a lot of stuff I want to ask one of these guys who isn’t what I would consider sexist or particularly reactionary or crude. I want to know why they seem to side with this angry lump of dicks that violently lashes out at anyone who dares speak ill of video games.
I remember when videogames used to be fun. And, you know, they still are provided that I don’t talk about them or see people talk about them. I really like videogames. I like what can be done with the medium that can’t be done with anything else. I like that we have a medium that can have the pacing of a film but have the mechanics of a game.
I just want things to focus back on why we picked up this hobby to begin with. We’re here to play a game and have fun, experience something someone else made, maybe have a little power fantasy along the way by being an idealized version of ourselves, and at the end of the day nobody has to get hurt.
Except that guy Steve when he’d pick Dhalsem in Street Fighter 2. He got punched in the arm a lot for being cheap.
a good reason to hang out with me is i couldn’t stop laughing while painting this & i’m 9 years old
i reblogged this before but i can’t stop thinking about it so HERE IT IS AGAIN
For specific questions and the voicing of game balance concerns, I’d strongly encourage you to post on the Pathfinder RPG General Discussion message board over on paizo.com. Our rules team frequents those boards and might be able to answer your questions directly, explain their design decisions, or help pinpoint anything that might be errata worthy.
That said, it sounds to me that you’ve got pretty effective group of hardcore players—experience with summoners and swashbucklers (a week after that class’s debut) sure makes me think you guys aren’t playing the Beginner Box. Sometimes PCs totally thrash an encounter, and that’s totally okay. Sometimes groups, by luck or skill, prove almost custom suited to destroy certain types of battles. And sometimes, groups that have been playing together for a while and have shared system mastery have a leg up on what might be considered the average group. Assumptions about the average group, is what our encounters and CRs cue off. If you’re finding that your group is operating more effectively than what the CR system and published encounters seem to account for, that’s totally cool. In fact, that’s one of the big reasons Pathfinder and games like it have Game Masters: to customize the experience to the group at the table.
I’d suggest three things to help with this.
Experiment with Higher CRs: It sounds like you’ve done that at least once. Try again. That last CR 10 fight could have just been a fluke. Try another with different creatures with different abilities and defenses. If that also goes south too fast for your liking, try again. Then try CR 11 and see how that goes. If your party needs more powerful threats, you have the ability to provide them.
Diagnose their Strengths and Counter: Figure out why your PCs are being so effective and make sure you’re challenging or circumventing their strengths. For example, it sounds like precision damage vexing you. You know what’s immune to precision damage: every single elemental, ooze, swarm, and incorporeal creature in the game (to name just a few). It might be time to get a few of those guys off the shelf. There are also spells that can grant creatures similar defenses. Flying monsters can also be super helpful.
This is another place where posting on the paizo message boards can also really help. Doubtlessly you’re not the first or only GM to run into challenges like this. Seeking out the advice of the greater GMing zeitgeist can lead to all sorts of helpful/diabolical suggestions. Don’t ever feel like you have to figure out your game’s roadblocks alone.
GM Fiat: Finding your PCs exploiting a rule? Well, maybe it’s time for you to exploit your ability to create new rules elements and customize your game however you please. Try creating a new simple template, lets call it the Aberrant Anatomy template. Creatures with this template gain +2 hit points for every Hit Die they possess, gain a +2 bonus on saves against poison, don’t slow down when they have to squeeze through a space smaller then their size, and only take half damage from precision damage and critical hits, it increases a creature’s CR by +1. You can go a direction like that, but you don’t even half to make things that complicated. It is entirely within your power and right to give a creature damage reduction or any immunity you want (and when the players ask why, you can either be mysterious or tell them “because I @#$%in’ said so!”). So long as the encounters prove challenging but also fair, you can do whatever you like!
Be wary not to over do it though. It’s okay to experiment, but if you went too far and your creation is trashing the PCs, the last thing you want to do is TPK the group because you tinkered too much. Better to have an experimental monster flee or conveniently drop dead then kill the party with an over-amped beastie.
Ultimately, the biggest part of a GM’s job is to assure that everyone at the table has a good time—not to be a parser for every rulebook and errata. A game that’s not challenging is fun for a bit, but then gets boring. If you have to make adjustments to customize your game to your players strengths and weaknesses, that’s just part of the job. It’s not cheating, it’s not deviating from some sacred incarnation of the rules, it’s doing what needs to be done to make the game right for you and your players. The more you do it, the easier it gets. And if you ever need a hand, between the paizo boards and other GMs out there, there’s tons of resources. So just yell.
Best of luck. I’m sure you’ll have them running in terror from swarms of giant elemental fire bats in no time! :D
Pathfinder combat is very hard to keep truly balanced, for a number of little reasons that combine into one big one.
The real problem boils down to Pathfinder combat usually amounting to little more than rocket tag. Damage capacities and player/monster abilities skyrocket so quickly compared to player/monster defenses that whoever goes first either wins immediately or cripples their opponent enough to bring about an endgame immediately. After level 3, 6, 10, and 14 at very least, you need to address and re-address your party’s newfound power because the game will not do that for you by itself.
First and foremost, just a gentle suggestion that your job is not to kill your players. As a DM your job is to throw obstacles in your players’ paths and watch those obstacles be overcome. This is no mean feat in Pathfinder because the monster math and CR systems are often fudgy and wonky at best. Sometimes PCs die because of that. The system has ways to deal with PC death. Don’t worry about it.
To actually challenge your players in combat, the first thing you should be doing is using multiple monsters, tailored to what your party can actually do. If you have a bruiser, give him multiple enemies to crush. If you have a long range player, add in somebody to return fire. You shouldn’t be hard-countering your players but class-based games with different strengths demand that you engage those strengths or their strengths eventually become disappointments.
Unfortunately, Pathfinder/3.5 is at its heart a tactical minis wargame with a veneer of storygaming and not Final Fantasy. It does not easily support single super-powerful units as written, and rewards the use of multiple units. Actions are as good as gold in Pathfinder combat, and if you have fewer actions between your NPCs than you have PCs, your encounter is likely just a speedbump. If you truly must have a big villain, give them double or even triple sets of actions, and include minions. The more terrain you include, the faster your players will have to improvise and be forced to be clever, and the happier they will be with you.
The system has a recommended schedule for treasure and item improvements to be handed out. Try to stick as closely to this as you reasonably can, because the monster math is calculated with the assumption that certain buffs are in place. If you ignore magic items, your players and especially noncasters will begin to suffer. Casters have most of their progression math built into their classes, and don’t truly need as much attention.
Speaking of casters as a special note, keep a damn close eye on any caster. They’re designed almost universally to be more flexible than any noncaster, and in certain cases that flexibility translates directly to power over the game. I’m not advocating killer DM tactics, but don’t feel guilty for keeping pressure on them.
Even though you might feel like you’re robbing your players at first, do not award experience per monster. If you give them the experience the monsters they kill are “worth” it will create an upward death spiral where their power level grows exponentially, and frankly, its easier to challenge lower level characters than high. Instead, I suggest levelling characters whenever dramatically appropriate, which also means you can completely break your encounter budget by hitting them with far more and far more difficult enemies. This is a good thing, because you can get much closer to that sweet spot.
Finally, if you can’t seem to keep your players challenged, maybe try a game where the underlying mathematics are a little more transparent. 13th Age, Dungeon World, D&D 4e, and to a lesser extent Fate make no secret of how their monsters are balanced against a group in combat. I’m certainly not saying they’re “better” systems but they’re certainly easier to build encounters for, which is what the entire CR inquiry thing is all about.
DM/GMing is one of the hardest and most rewarding creative enterprises I can think of, and everyone can use as much advice as they can get. If you don’t happen to find mine useful, that’s OK, its really just advice in the end. Good luck with everything!
I started puberty when this image was a meme
It is a good internet jpg
Tumblr tells you every day you are “a special snowflake.” While this is technically accurate, it does not quite capture the whole truth.
You are unique.
No. Not like that. Other people are unique like that.
You are unique, because a second being like you existing would only end in a battle for supremacy that would destroy civilization underfoot. Nothing will ever be like you again, and for that, future generations are eternally grateful.
You do not fully recognize the impact of your actions. The doomsday comet that killed the dinosaurs didn’t either. This is fine. Nobody will fully recognize what remains of your foes either, save archeologists puzzling over their ancient, shattered bones.
You are a great, poisonous beast of legend. Your existance is proof that there is no divine plan, for what loving God would draw a blueprint with parts as dangerous and powerful as you are? Both Heaven and Hell study your progress with worried, furtive gazes. “Are they coming for us next?” they wonder. Even a shaky alliance between angel and demon would mean nothing in the wake of your wrath, and they know.
Free of law, morality, and limitation, you do as you please. If you see something you desire you take it, even if you desire only to crush it into splinters. If you wish to build a tower, it will stand for one thousand years, unless you choose to smash it.
The brave men and women of this world secretly band together against you, and in the end even if the forces marshalled against you numbered the stars in the sky, the end would never truly be in question.
You are Leviathan, who rules the sea. You are Behemoth, who rules the earth. Were there a mighty bird of terror who ruled the air, it would bear your name, bow to you, and call you “sensei”. Should you choose to walk into the stars, you will bear their crown and be called “Ruler of Stars.” It is your right, and should you claim it, your people will bend their knees and never rise, paralyzed by their love for you and fear of you.
Your legend will live forever.
Be particular and choosy about what you do with your legend, O great one, for it will be inscribed on the stone tablets of history and on the hearts of every frightened, sleepless child. It is your ancient, awe-inspiring gift to history.