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    Radiance Q&A

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    Robyo

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    Re: Radiance Q&A

    Post  Robyo on Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:27 am

    Chris, I will look into your Vitality questions. It's a dilemma and if anything, we'll come up with some fair and equatable houserule. But we should test it first... Part of the issue is that the system is gritty, so vitality is scarce and you are encouraged to spend it wisely.


    Alan, that is quite a tribe that is developing! Reminds me of the film The Outlaw Josey Wales.
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    whit10

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    Re: Radiance Q&A

    Post  whit10 on Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:02 am

    Are we actually trying to run this with one character per player or several? One was my original assumption...

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    navyik

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    Re: Radiance Q&A

    Post  navyik on Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:25 am

    Check the major awards such as revitalizing fun. It appears.that every theme can recover 4d6 vitality once per day. Cool
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    Robyo

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    Re: Radiance Q&A

    Post  Robyo on Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:04 am

    whit10 wrote:Are we actually trying to run this with one character per player or several? One was my original assumption...



    One, but you can make several if you wish.
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    Robyo

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    Re: Radiance Q&A

    Post  Robyo on Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:11 am

    As I was researching about Vitality, I realized that I should just cut&paste some stuff from some of the RPG forums I visit... The author or Radiance has been answering questions and has been quite accessible. He's a nice guy, too!

    so here it is...

    (D) is the author Dario Nardi


    ...On Monster Coversion...
    (D)
    "In Radiance RPG, a monster's hit points work like this:
    Vitality = level * 7 + Con modifier
    Wounds is based on monster size (Tiny=2, Small=5, Medium=10, Large=15, and Huge=20). Some monsters like trolls get more, but that's fairly irregular.
    Converting 4E monsters is pretty easy. Just adjust hit points, change AC to match Fortitude or Reflex (whichever is better), and remember that some energy types like "radiant" have different names in Radiance RPG. Since 4E uses passive saves and such, there's not much else to do!
    Converting 3.5/PF monsters is more work. I suggest this: Start with the creature's CR, not it's hit dice. The CR = the creature's level. Keep its attributes (Str, Con, etc). Then calculate its attack, saves, hit points, and DR based on its level, per the monster creation rules on page 246-247. Finally, map over its other abilities as-is, such as darkvision and special attacks and resistances."

    ...On Race and Class Creation...
    (D)
    "Races and classes each have their own build rules to debut in the Radiance Masters Guide. Races are fairly easy. You start with 5 points, typically 1 of which is for a +2 overall bonus on attributes. For example, +2 Con, -2 Dex, +2 Int would result in a net benefit of +2, using up 1 point of the 5. Then you spend the remaining points following the Behind the Math stuff on page 39. A basic ability such as darkvision is worth 1 point, etc. You can give 1/2 points for minor skill boosts (such as +2 Acrobatics, +2 Craft). That's pretty much it. Typically each race gets a couple of free languages, 3 multi-class options, and an average comeliness. But you can adjust some of that, such as humans getting unlimited multi-class, which actually costs a 1/2 point (if I recall). Comeliness doesn't cost or grant points. It's mainly for social role-play."

    ...On Vitaliy...
    (D)
    "Regarding vitality, generally, abilities have a vitality cost only if they are magical or reflect some kind of great heroic act. Actions like Cleave and Charge never require vitality. So we don't feel a disconnect. The system is balanced so that front-line characters like fighters rarely expend vitality on actions and thus can absorb hits while characters like wizards are expending vitality to cast spells, and thus should remain in the back-line, just like classic D&D. The exception is a character like the mageblade who has special defensive and movement abilities that hopefully reduce getting hit and thus allow him more magic options."

    ...On +1/+2 Mechanic and Background...
    (question)
    "Design question: Why did you choose to go with the +1/2 level to attack and defense? Seems like without that you'd have a nice "bounded accuracy" system?
    On the character sheet is a space for "Background", but there are no backgrounds described in the book. Is this meant to refer to a townie profession (if a PC takes one)? Or is it something in the expansion or GM's book?"
    (D)
    "I used the +1/2 rubric because
    -- It gave a familiar experience numerically. Creatures have saves, hit points, etc that feel similar to D&D and other d20 games.
    -- Also, I wanted to mute the power curve of high versus low level for a grittier feel rather than a heroes feel. I still has a heroic feel overall, but not as much as it would otherwise.
    The background is for pure flavor. As it sits in the "Theme" area, and the themes do suggest various backgrounds, a player could write in one of those backgrounds there."

    ...tip...
    (D)
    "In terms of running high level PCs, honestly, I suggest printing out pages of the PDF: the race page, 2 class pages, theme page, and deity page. Then highlight one's abilities and put a red dot (or whatever) by the action options. That's what our group does :-)."

    ...On GMing...
    (D)
    "As for GMing, here are some suggestions:
    -- Utilize townies/alders. They add a lot of variety and are easy to use.
    -- Note key pages numbers for breaking/entering, hazards, town encounters, etc. (And the Masters Guide with have a GM's screen with set of pages to print with all the essentials on them.)
    -- Traps are covered under the Mechanics skill. (And the Masters Guide will have a bunch of premade traps).
    -- Utilize the monster folio. And you're welcome to message me if you need a particular monster that isn't in there.
    -- Make a matrix that has the PCs' basic info including their saves. Since saves are passive like in 4E, you will be rolling the saves."

    ...On Success of RPG...
    (D)
    "About longterm success, at this point, I'm still shocked (in a good way) that so many folks are downloading it and even playing it. Fortunately, it comes with a lot of options and has a mathematical foundation that allows a lot of new and custom stuff. For example, in the Masters Guide, each monster entry comes with a line that modifies vitality and damage such that the monster is the same level but plays very different (quick play, but more more dangerous). And there are many ways to use faith points, to substitute out the themes for some other rewards such as troops in a military campaign, and so forth. I'm just starting to get my head around it all myself!"

    ...On Skills...
    (comment)
    "My only real critique is how skills work.
    While characters will certainly have the skills common to their class/profession it doesn't look like it's possible to be very good at skills outside your class focus.
    In 3.5 (and in Pathfinder) it was possible to specialize in skills outside the class's focus if you want to.
    I know this can mitigated a lot for Humans but what about other races?"

    (answer, not author)
    "A lot of other races have different amount of skills, look at Tengu, Slith or Rakasha for example. Classes have easy multiclass options to dabble in as multiclassing isn't all the difficult to get. Also many of the themes have many ways to gain skill points in something else. See Specialist and Dilettante in particular.
    Basically the main way to get skill points outside of your class is the themes, only a few don't have the option to gain skill points as awards.
    Also do remember for skills there is no such thing as being untrained and you may always take 10 unless you are combat. Not to mention Hard DCs begin at DC 30 so once you have a couple of abilities in your skill you become quite good at that already."

    (D)
    "As an aside, the skills set-up was something debated a lot as the game evolved. Eventually, they became so entwined into every class, race, etc, that changing the way skills work would be a monumental task.
    As for stepping outside one's class skills, my suggestions:
    1) Take a theme that is slightly off-kilter from your class. You can be an arcanist wizard, sure, or an explorer wizard, martialist wizard, guildsman wizard, etc. There will be even more theme options in the Expansion Kit.
    2) Take the dilettante theme. It's the one that says, "I don't want to decide on a theme, I just want access to stuff that fits as my character grows."
    3) Take on followers, start a business with some hired townies, and/or join a faction that has strong performance in skills that don't match yours. This isn't quite like building your character's own skill-set. It is more like expanding your circle of friends to include people who can do skills for you. Maybe not as exciting as options 1 and 2, but still very rewarding.
    Hope that helps :-)"

    ...On Comparison to Epic 6 or E8 Style Campaigns in PF...
    (D)
    "The biggest reward: Combats go much faster and remain fairly quick even as PCs level up.
    And if you've liked E6 and such (which I totally get, with such fond memories of low-level campaigns!), then level 8 is a great spot to stop in Radiance, because anyone gets advanced tier abilities.
    That said, I'd suggest level 10 as a stopping point. Every PC will be ONE advanced tier ability at 9th level as their crowning achievement, and will have 2 levels to play with it before retiring, giving them time to enjoy it and shine in a final adventure.
    Another tidbit that is a boon for GMs: TOWNIES. Visit the townie section starting on page 259. They will save you many hours of prep AND they are fairly potent as NPCs. A 10th level PC should rightly fear a half-dozen townies, which helps keep the game fun and a little gritty even at the higher level. This differs from 3.5 and PF, where the bulk of NPCs pose no threat and offer no benefits to higher level PCs.
    Finally, magic items play much less of a role in Radiance than in other fantasy d20 games. Yes, the magic item section is quite large, but in practice PCs don't have enough money or opportunities to get them. Very few folks will be selling magic items or upgrading them or such, even at 10th level."

    (response)
    "E6/E8 keeps things fairly quick too. Also I don't think you quite understand E6/E8. Characters don't retire when they hit max level, they just stop increasing in level and get feats instead.
    That said I don't actually see the need to stop at 10 in radiance. A lot of the issue in higher level 3.5/Pathfinder doesn't seem to exist in Radiance.
    For the most part if looks like classes top out with powers/spells/abilities roughly equivalent to level 9-12 3.5/pathfinder characters. So a lot of the highest level magic/issues simply doesn't exist.
    Radiance also mostly avoids the hit point issue. In 3.5/Pathfinder once a character is higher than 6-8th level they don't really feel human/real anymore. By not having a character's wounds increase much at all Radiance avoids this disconnect.
    Still though I don't really see the need for it over 3.5/Pathfinder but I am intrigued.
    Also your communication has been excellent, that alone has made me take a closer look."

    ...On Classes and Races...
    (question)
    "I also have a few other specific questions from just looking through things.
    Why are Dhampirs a class and not a race? Even in your description of the class it says they are the offspring of Humans/Vampires.
    This screams race not class. If I ever ran anything using Radiance I would not allow a Dhampir class.
    The Elementalist's Sudden Burial power should NOT be a Basic Tier ability. What 3.5/Pathfinder spell did you base it off of? It definitely seems like it should be Intermediate. (And Mass Burial should be advanced)
    Do you realize that your version of the Wizard makes magical colleges pointless? It really destroys the traditional idea of the WIzard. The class has no mechanical way to acquire more spells/power by simple study or by collaborating with other wizards. As a result several standard fantasy tropes regarding wizards (like the magical college) simply just don't work.
    Not sure if you're interested in a fix but it could be as simple as not letting spellbook access any ability but needing to colelct the abilities it has access too. This would require more book keeping though which seems to be against the spirit of the game."

    (response, not author)
    "I don't know much about the wizard thing, but I'm sure there are reasons for magic colleges still. Did you think the 4E wizard was also a destruction of the traditional idea of a wizard because it couldn't get other spells through study? I see it as a more from a balance standpoint. Allowing the wizard to draw spells from the same pool as skills, so if you devote your time to just studying spells as you level up, you gain just that, more spells. Though I think we'd just be arguing a matter of preference at the point.
    Though one thing I can comment on, sudden burial should still be a basic as should mass burial be an intermediate. As when you target something of level 5 or higher (Which can be easily done at level 2+) you have -5 to your attack roll, this does include mass burial as it only allows you to target more creatures not improve your attack. Not to mention it only works on soft ground. So ignore flying enemies, ignore using it cities, ignore using it in dungeons, ignore using it in glaciers, ignore mountains etc etc. The -5 is a huge hamper on your ability to hit anything past level 5 so at that point it might as well be an auto slow. Which is fine for a basic. (Be aware there is very little to raise the attack of a spell caster as compared to physical characters such as fighters or gunslingers.)"

    (D)
    "Think of the dhampir class as a "monster class" from the heyday of 3.5. Keep in mind a character can multiclass, switching into dhampir after being infected in some way by a vampire or by joining a vampiric faction (Blood Masquerade).
    So why do it? The class meets a mechanical need that a race cannot because vampires are so powerful. A player comes to me and says, "I want to play a vampire" just as he might say, "I want to play a dragon" or "a werewolf". He or she wants to play Blade or Selene. How do I accommodate that as a GM beyond taking the question literally or offering something puny? There is a Pathfinder race called dhampir, but as a race it's limited and its abilities don't live up to its flavor text.
    So, I interpreted the term "dhampir" loosely to mean "part human, part vampire, still alive but having some powers of (and against) the undead".
    Now, the dhampier text reads:
    "These charming night-dwellers harbor vampire blood. Dhampirs start their careers as living mortals, but as they embrace ancient, accursed urges and powers, they travel a path into undeath.
    Dhampirs tend to be loners, as they are the unwholesome, rare result of a mortal and vampire union."
    Perhaps it's too easy to read literally. "Union" can mean sex, or a ritual or some other activity that results in exchange in blood between the PC and a vampire, thus kick-starting vampiric life. It doesn't necessarily mean the character was birthed as a half-vampire. It could even mean the character's great grandfather was a half-vampire, and that small amount of vampire blood is enough to open up a path toward the undead, but as something studied and acquired.
    Narratively, film characters tend to start down the vampire path as adults. In many, the transition is very sudden, but even then the understanding is that the character will learn more powerful vampire abilities over the centuries or by drinking elder vampire blood, etc. Sometimes the transition is slower and characters can even remain alive as they transition, perhaps by using a drug or spell or such, as in "The Forsaken". With all the vampire movies out there, we don't need to say Blade is the only model for a dhampir.
    Anyway, this class is pretty popular. To ban it for flavor reasons in the setting makes sense of course, but I'd ask you consider other stories and ways the class might work.
    Sudden Burial: The inspiration was the Sleep spell, which is 1st level. It's a little harder for your friends to restore you compared to sleep, but then you're still conscious. It's situation, and the -5 really puts a damper on longterm use.
    Where I do agree there is a danger: A player who learns this and "fails to notice" the caveats (soft ground and -5) in the thick of play will produce a broken effect. It's important for the GM to know that the price for some of the more flavorful abilities is that one needs to remind players to use them as written :-)."

    (D, again)
    "I imagine that a "wizard" college will include sages, elementalists, shamans, sorcerers, witches, etc. In real life, colleges serve two purposes:
    -- Train new generations
    -- Conduct research amongst peers
    Maybe there's a third purpose too?
    Anyway, the college would still serve to train new generations.
    Also, since there is multiclassing, characters who are already spellcasters may mingle among their peers and learn new spells. A sage/wizard is a very nice combo, for example, as is a pathfinder/wizard.
    Members of the wizard class can add new spells to their repertoire outside of their class. They can take "Diverse Dweomer", which reads: "Select 4 basic magic abilities for which you qualify drawn from any classes. You now know these abilities."
    Just for this, higher level spellcasters would definitely wish to gather to learn from each other.
    Wizards can take the Arcanist theme -- which seems likely for a collegiate wizard -- and select Minor Arcana and Major Arcana multiple times to reach into other classes. The theme also offers abilities like Craft Magic Item, Mana Pool, and Student of the Weave.
    Perhaps an arcana college teaches and maybe even gate-keeps this theme. You might say in your campaign setting that in order to join and progress in the Arcanist theme, a character needs to join an arcane college, eldritch college, or whatnot.
    As for expanding one's spellbook options, there are magic items like the Necromnicon and Astral Codex. These are spellbook-like magic items that require you study them to use them, just like a spellbook, and offer spells within them.
    And of course, wizards can use scrolls, and scroll use is not limited to one's class (although reading a scroll from your class list is automatic rather than requiring an Arcana check).
    Taken together, if I were a wizard in this world and someone said, "come join me at a wizard college for a while", I'd say yes. There are so many options.
    All this said, it's true, it's not a 3.5/PF wizard in its extreme versatility. I would offer: A GM is free to reward a wizard character with a scroll of a new, custom-made spell, and then let the character study it and add it to his list of class spells (thus making it accessible via his Spellbook).
    A new theme for spellcasters that revolves around the use of a spellbook, familiars, etc -- that allows one to become a classic spellcaster -- is also in order at some point, perhaps in the Expansion Kit!"

    (D, again)
    "Just a quick thought, in case you didn't see this, as I rush off to lunch...
    On page 109, under Gaining Experience Points,
    3. Train Intensely: You stay home to study. You gain 1 XP for each 1 month of intense training and study. You can train for 3 consecutive months before needing a 1 month break, and you can benefit from up to 20 months total during your lifetime. You cannot adventure or even work a job while training.
    So using this rule, a PC gain move ahead a little, especially to earn those few extra XP needed to push him to a new level, where he gets access to new abilities.
    Anyway, I suspect the solution is a theme. The theme would allow the character to add scroll spells to his spellbook and/or consult/train with another spellcaster to add to his spellbook. These spells will JUST be available via Spellbook, though I'd allow the character to make scrolls of said spells too. There would also be an expanded Spellbook option that bridges the space between Spellbook and Mnemonic Enhancer.
    Great conversation!"

    ...On Saving Throws...
    (D)
    "Bottom of page 40.
    Pages 40-41 are your lifeline for the book!
    They work like 4E.
    ------------------------------------------------
    Defenses: The target of an ability may be able to defend himself to minimize harm. There are 3 defenses, also called “saves”.
    --Fortitude: Withstand physical assault, such as by an arrow’s poison.
    Strength or Constitution
    --Reflex: Dodge or look away, such as avoiding falling into a pit.
    Dexterity or Intelligence
    --Will: Resist mental assault, such as a witch’s charm spell.
    Wisdom or Charisma
    Each ability indicates which defense to use (if any). Compute the target’s defenses using the following formula:
    = 10 + ½ target’s level + target’s attribute
    modifier + other modifiers
    Use the most advantageous attribute modifiers. For example, a character with 8 Wisdom and 15 Charisma would use Charisma to improve his Will.
    The character using the ability makes an attack roll. If the result is above the target’s defense, then the target suffers the full effect. Otherwise, the target is okay or suffers a moderated effect such as ½ damage."

    (response)
    "Thanks. You know, using the term "saves" to refer to passive defenses is really confusing. Especially because in all other versions of D&D saves are an active check. Not to mention, it just makes no sense to have 2 competing terms for one concept."

    (D)
    "I agree there could be some confusion at first.
    I included "saves" as an alternative to "defenses" because it is such an iconic term. In my experience, even people who don't play D&D (but once did) recall "making your saving throw" with fondness. I didn't want to lose it.
    I use the term "save" when referring to bonuses that can be applied to one's defenses. You "apply it to your defense", which is something the PC/player actively does during the game. As in: "My dwarf frighter's Fortitude is 20, but with his +2 bonus against poison, I have 22, so I resisted the poison against your 21, hah!" Perhaps a stretch but I hear it used that way in games.
    So that's where it remained, as a sort of historical artifact with limited use."

    ...On Creating Class Ability (Invoker)...
    (question)
    "I gave my group a decent sales pitch for Radiance. They're skeptical about a new system (they like their 4e D&D), but are open to trying it out.
    The characters are 10th level versions of some of their favorite D&D characters from old campaigns. One of them was a 4e Invoker and as I'm doing a rough conversion to the Radiance Invoker, I noticed an odd core ability called "Divine Blood". It doesn't fit this character concept so I'm looking at swapping it out with some kind of "Preservation Mantle". Something like this...
    Preservation Mantle: Costs 2 vitality + 1 vitality per round maintained. Allies within 30 feet gain 2 temporary wound points at the start of their turn. Temporary wound points do not stack.
    What do you think? Broken, too weak, or feasible?"

    (D)
    "The short answer: Very close.
    The longer answer: The question is what tier you're going for. If you want to replace the invoker core ability Divine Bloodline, that heals 1d4+1 wounds for 1 person at a time. It's a wee bit more powerful than basic tier which would normally be 1d4 wound points. A similar ability might then heals 1 wound point for all allies within 15 ft for 1 vitality cost, as basic tier, or all allies within 30 ft for 2 wound points for 2 vitality cost, as intermediate tier. Or some variation like you have also works, with 2 vitality cost plus 1 per round as fair too. So yes it's balanced for intermediate tier. While this might be unusual for a core ability, there is a precident, as s rogue's Dodge core ability costs 2 vitality. I'd say the trick to make it work is how much time is needed to maintain it from round to round: a standard, move or immediate action. I think standard action is too limiting to the invoker and swift too cheap, so move action, and either shrink the area to within 15 ft or make it heal 2 wound points the first round plus 1 point thereafter."

    ...On Playtesting & Townies...
    (D)
    "In the play-test groups, about 1/3rd were 3.5/Pathfinder folks, 1/3rd also had experience with 4th edition (including the 2 other GMs, but not me), and 1/3rd were newbies to table top RPGs. Certainly, they all influenced the game's development. Some elements like the encumbrance system came purely from a post play-test discussion. One of the 4E GM's was particularly adept at crafting class abilities as he was used 4E's brevity. And so forth.
    An inspiration from 4E was one of the early adventures that had an NPC back in town who could raise the dead or something like that. That spurred a what-if. In modern societies, we're mostly pretty specialized. So why not have a bunch of specialized, pre-made NPCs: low level but still having one or two useful powers, albeit usually mundane but sometimes magical and helpful. That lead to 100 "townies". Townies are big time-savers for GMs."

    ...On Inspiration...
    (D)
    "Like a lot of folks, I have a huge collection of 3.5/d20 books. The main inspiration was the 3.5 Players Handbook. If an ability or spell was there, especially it it harkened back to AD&D, I wanted to include it. Inevitably, because another goal was to balance out the classes as in 4th Edition, this lead to dividing up the spellcasting classes. So the wizard became more focused as a classic adventuring/exploring wizard, the guy you or gal you typically want on a dungeon delving adventure; and there is also the witch, sage, necromancer, mageblade, shadowcaster, etc. And since a PC can multiclass (once) and take a deity and theme, that seemed to cover the various archetypes and combos folks like. There are some additions in a few places as homages to other editions of the game. The Pathfinder gunslinger certainly inspired the Radiance RPG gunslinger. Speaking of which, the pathfinder class was a product of a GM of our play-test group in San Diego. "Where is Indiana Jones?!" Finally, in some cases, there were small sets of spells (like the Prismatic spells) that didn't seem to lend themselves to a particular class and weren't numerous enough to constitute a new class, so they became part of a deity's offerings or a theme.
    If you are familiar with factor analysis in statistics, that's a great metaphor for the sorting process I used.
    I mapped spells and abilities to tiers *mostly* like this:
    Spell Lvl Radiance Tier
    0-1 basic
    2-3 intermediate
    4-5 advanced
    6-9 paragon
    Class Lvl Radiance Tier
    1-4 basic
    5-8 intermediate
    9-12 advanced
    13+ paragon
    There were exceptions. Like the 4th Edition designers, I was mindful of abilities like teleport, plane shift, and scry that tend to present PCs with easy work arounds. I bumped these up to paragon tier. Play testing quickly revealed more exceptions, like psionic blast should really be advanced tier.
    Converting feats and combat maneuvers was a little more challenging. I know a couple folks who are very adept in martial arts. The idea that I and they are even operating in the same universe of options insults their training. And I really wanted fighters, monks, etc to be special while still allowing everyone to *try* anything. So a PC can attempt to trip, grapple, etc as part of a skill check (Acrobatics, Athletics, etc), but the martial classes get de-facto abilities like grapple, sunder, trip, overrun, push back, etc that make them fun to play tactically without a grid. (ha HA!). The end result is that for a newbie player, the elementalist is easier to play than the fighter.
    And what to do about the infamous meta-magic feats? Originally, the themes gave abilities that were mostly meta-abilities. The Arcanist and Martialist are examples. Essentially, the themes silo feats, to discourage power-gaming. From there, I've started to make more themes that are setting specific, like the upcoming Telepath theme for a psionics-heavy campaign setting, or the Cyborg, Surge, and Metal-Urge themes for a more tech-oriented setting (post steam-punk Victorian, etc).
    The introduction of mechanics like wounds/vitality demanded I revisit some abilities or create new ones. For example, an ability that does wound damage might cause 1 wounds, 1d4 wounds, or 3d4 wounds depending on whether it's basic, intermediate, or advanced tier, respectively. The specter of wound damage, by the way, makes high level combat go much faster than in 3.5, and makes a 13th level PC just as wary as a 1st level PC. The higher-level creatures never do so much wound damage as to kill a PC outright, and wound damage is relatively easy to heal, but those monsters can smack down very well. "

    ...On Vitality...
    (question)
    "I have a game design question - vitality points are recovered at (Level * Con bonus) per day, minimum (Level * 1). Some of the more powerful class abilities are fueled by vitality points.
    In a long campaign, does that give a moderate advantage to PC classes that have Con as their primary attribute? It's reasonable to expect those to have Con 20 by mid levels, and then they recover all of their vitality points every night they rest. Lots of other characters will need two to five days to get back their full vitality."

    (D)
    "In theory, this is an issue. Notably, 4 classes rely on Constitution as their prime attribute. In practice, what happens is this:
    -- PCs chew calfrass root before bedding down for the night (page 166). Thus, they heal at 2x their normal rate.
    -- PCs rarely drop to 0 vitality at higher levels and retire for the day if they feel themselves getting low. Because advanced and paragon abilities may require 5 to 25 vitality, they may freak out about falling too low.
    -- PCs rely on each other and NPC townies (sometimes as followers) to regain vitality more quickly, namely through courtesan and paramour townies (who restore vitality), a once daily surge ability from a cleric or witch or such, etc. (It didn't take long for a newbie player in the San Diego group to discover hiring a strumpet (courtesan) was a great idea.) Of course, townies cost, even as followers.
    -- PCs can nap or use the revitalize option under the Heal skill.
    -- PCs can take a day off, which combined with the other options has always been enough.
    -- The high Con PCs expend more vitality every day and thus have a deficit to make up compared to the other PCs.
    -- PCs at higher levels feel it is okay to adventure at somewhat less than full vitality, though obviously that is not a preference.
    We had a lizardfolk sorcerer in our longest running campaign. The advantage: He would remain "on guard" to deal with surprises during the night etc while the others recovered, and also he was much more likely to wade directly into melee combat and use up all he had. In fact, he remained standing after a difficult combat more often than the other PCs, who considered him their "last hope". "

    ...On Monster Abilities & Townies...
    (question)
    "Some of the monster abilities seem rather lethal by more recent standards. Save or broken back, lost eye, or lost limb seem pretty potent, especially if regeneration magic isn't easily available."

    (D)
    "Some of these attacks just require *magical healing* to be ended, so a broken back can be fixed by a 1st-level cleric, druid, witch, etc.
    Some other attacks require Heal, Fast Healing or Regenerate. These are all advanced or paragon tier. So yeah, the PCs might lack the means to fix these. But NPCs work differently in Radiance RPG than in most 3.5/d20 games. Many NPCs are "townies" (2nd-level characters). Some townies like the Life-Giver have an advanced or paragon ability that they can use to aid others (for a price, from 5 gp to 1,000 gp). And when all else fails, one can hire a thaumaturge townie to summon an angel to heal a character (angels will be in the Masters Guide). Since everyone (PCs, monsters, NPCs, etc) is built with the same point system, a 2nd-level townie isn't necessary weak: she might just be highly specialized with a couple key abilities (that are useful to the community or in the marketplace of services), and that's how the townie makes her living. This is modeled after the industrial concept of specialization rather than the medieval concept of serfs with only a few sets of trade skills. Of course, a GM might choose to make particular NPCs uncommon or picky. (Sorry, the guy who raises the dead only aids members of his church--or people his paladin pal vouches for--or he is away on a pilgrimage at the moment... d'oh!) But then that's the GM deciding the story flow.
    The way townies work also applies to other higher-tier abilities like teleport, scry, and divination. The GM decides when that townie profession is present, as the situation or story suggests, and the PCs can get the aid they need even at low levels.
    Finally, this approach allows townies to be quite challenging even to high level characters. A half-dozen sniper townies, or a half-dozen zembic townies, can waste a 10th-level character is a few rounds if that PC hasn't the sense to know his limits. This also encourages PCs to obey the law and behave in urban settings even at the higher levels. :-)
    The end result is that PCs are sometimes very afraid of monsters. Ogres and orcs are actually very nasty, especially in large numbers. But the horrid damage that some deliver can be fixed back in town, or after a short journey, making for a session or two where a PC is missing an eye, but that gets healed and is part of a bard's story rather than a death warrant. :-)
    Thank you for asking this question. This is one of the ways the game players differently than the usual 3.5/d20 experience.

    ...On Force Blade...
    (D)
    "The item is not a light saber. It's an electrotech weapon. It pops up a rod and the user concentrates psychically to apply his own vitality to the weapon; then the text reads:
    "When attacking, an adjacent foe must resist using Will or suffer...".
    So if the target manages to resist or disrupt the wielder's mental focus, he can avoid the weapon. Otherwise, by force of concentration, the weapon strikes true.
    And that's it. No rewording.
    There might be some confusion because defenses are passive in this game (the wielder must make an attack roll on his turn to count as "attacking" against a single adjacent target's defense score).
    Now, Stacie_GmGrl rightly would like a REAL light saber. :-)
    I'd suggest that item should be far more effective, and far more expensive. I'd model it directly after the warlock's Lash ability: "An adjacent foe suffers 3d4 wound damage. Costs 5 vitality." It's horrid. Run Away! (Notice, no save.) Such an item would also carry the price tag of an advanced tier item: 10,000 gp to make and 20,000 gp price tag.
    The upcoming Lightbringer, which is is many ways the opposite of both the shadowcaster and the warlock, will have the same ability, but luminous rather than dark. Thus it will be a "jedi" weapon not a "sith" weapon (to briefly borrow some copyprotected terms for this dialog).

    ...On Pygmies...
    (D)
    "The pygmy is a blend from Homer (they appear in the Iliad), the vegepygmy D&D plant race, gremlins and jermlaine, and Victorian notions. Also, I had the savage Athasian halflings in mind, through the halfling entry is already quite full so the pygmy came as a distinct entry.
    I taught anthropology for 7 years and know the potential misinterpretation. But flavor-wise they fit the Victorian setting and world-experience quite well. In play-testing, they were a marvelously fun addition. Also, only 2 optional abilities relate to pejorative activities like eating fingers. These folks are otherwise smarter, wiser, and more agile than an average human. And they don't even look like the real-world ethnic groups referred to as pygmies.
    There is a fine line when crafting a generic setting between making up new words and using what's familiar to readers to paint a compelling picture. I made a judgment call, and among the play-test folks, including 2 anthropology graduates, no one felt concerned, so I felt safe going ahead with it."

    ...On Role-Playing Game Design...
    (question)
    "I have a couple RPG-creation questions as someone working on my own material:
    What software did you use to format the book?
    How did you find artists affordable enough you can give PDFs away for free?
    Radiance looks great and it oddly shares many of the design ideas I have for what I'm working on."

    (D)
    "Great questions!
    --I used Adobe InDesign to format the book.
    --The better the artist, the more expensive their creations! I have a friend who acts as the art director and helps with background layout. For the illustrations, including the cover illustrations, I make plenty from my larger (non-RPG) publishing business and decided to invest in some quality artwork. Ultimately, it's not horridly expensive. I think the illustrations cost the same as a typical new iMac. Expect $20 or so for each 1/4 page grayscale image.
    --Be prepared to have an editor, a style guide, and play-testing groups!"

    ...On Powergaming...
    (comment)
    "I know that the game does not approach "balance" (always a controversial topic) the same way that many OGL games do, and especially not the same way Dungeons and Dragons 4 does.
    That said, I have been playing around with combat-oriented classes and I have two comments. I'm just interested in any feedback from AncientSpirits or anyone else on them, or corrections if I'm misreading them:
    1. It seems like Sorceror with Flight + Greater Breath Weapon is the clear best "when you must kill every m____f____ in the room" option. It does as much damage as any other good area affect attack and either has the widest area (60 foot cone) or longest range (120 foot line). There are plenty of other interesting options for other character classes to more effectively take out a single opponent, but for area attacks this looks like the best in the game - and it lets the Sorceror take on serious opponents from a distance where many can't retaliate.
    2. It also seems like multiclassing between two melee combat classes makes for a deadlier combatant than having just one single melee class. The Barbarian gets attack and damage bonuses from Rage and its improvements, the Fighter gets attack and damage bonuses from Weapon Focus and its improvements, the Mageblade gets attack and damage bonuses from Arcane Weapon and its improvements, and the Paladin gets attack and damage bonuses from Holy Weapon and its improvements. Combine any two of those classes, and you can stack those bonuses, right? Fighter/Mageblade 6, for example, can have Duskblade from Mageblade (can effectively never be disarmed of his or her preferred weapon), Rapid Strike, Ace, Weapon Specialization, and Improved Arcane Strike (from Mageblade), for +4 to hit and +10 to damage for two attacks per round. For power and a relatively unusual combination, a Neutral Good Barbarian/Paladin 14 with Mighty Rage (+5/+15), Favorite Weapon (+2/+5), Blessed Weapon (Paladin, +2/+5), Rapid Attack, Ace, for +9 to hit and +25 to damage for two attacks per round.

    (D)
    "1. These abilities don't work together. Flit is a standard action that lasts the rest of your turn and requires you land. The breath weapon is also a standard action. Now, a sorcerer could invest in Swift Flight, to use it as a swift action; but then he'd also need Fly-By Attack (an advanced tier ability) to use the breath weapon while flying before he lands, assuming there is some place safe to land within 30 ft. And all this assumes he's outdoors or something. If a sorcerer actually wants to use a breathe weapon while actively flying, he needs Winged Flight and perhaps Hover, both of which are advanced tier. And then he misses out on other goodies. So overall: To do this trick, the sorcerer needs to be 12th level, with Greater Breath Weapon, Winged Flight, and either Hover or Fly-By Attack, to produce the equivalent of a wizard using Fly and Cone of Cold... which sounds pretty familiar for 12th level! (The vitality cost is even roughly the same.)
    2. Multiclassing between 2 melee classes is a great idea. But in practice the PC sacrifices versatility for a single shtick. All PCs get the same number of abilities. Multi-classing just gives more options. And yes, stacking can occur. That's the desired effect for attacks, damage, DR, etc. The goal was for melee classes to remain on par with spellcasters. A 14th level wizard can zap a bunch of foes with a 14d6 cone of cold (average 49 damage to each target, or 24 to each that saves). A 14th level barbarian/paladin could deliver about 60 damage to a single target, or 30 damage to 2 adjacent targets, assuming he hits. So I think it's fair. Personally, I might hesitate to do barbarian/paladin because of armor restrictions around some of the barbarian's abilities (gotta love Dodge!) compared to the benefits a paladin may get from wearing armor (love Armor Specialization). On the other hand, a barbarian/paladin with the Hunter theme is probably the most anti-spellcaster, spell-resistant character in the game. So something is lost as well as gained for defenses when multi-classing.
    BTW, as I hear from the two playtesters who have GM's 4E, Radiance RPG *is* like 4E in some key ways: the class levels progress more linearly than in 3.5/Pathfinder and martial characters are just as potent as spellcasters."

    (D, again)
    "As the game got refined, our resident power gamer discovered that many of the power-combos he put together didn't actually work. The reasons were either technical (like the Flit-Greater Breath Weapon example I responded to) or situational (with sufficiently varied environments, many tricks can't be put to use often enough).
    I recall one pvp scenario where Dan (our resident p.g.) went on and on about his amazing build. And then he died right away because his trick was totally useless against a flying invisible witch (played by the game book's editor, who certainly knows the book well since she's read it through several times!) Keeping in mind the witch class has NO damage causing spells, Dan was shocked. But the witch took full advantage of the cave-like terrain against him.
    As many more people start playing, some very savvy folks may pick up on combos that we didn't catch and I understand that's a part of the agony and fun of it all. Hopefully, enough walls and mechanisms are built in to help delay and minimize those."

    ...On Modularity...
    (comment)
    "Did anybody else notice just how much of a toolkit this game is?
    I can totally see many options in campaign/character design. If we want all the bells and whistles we could have it all... Race, Class, Theme, Deity (for boons), all the different types of technology, and Even the four cultural packages near the back of the book... But if I wanted to run a game with just Race and Class I can... or maybe make everybody human and just go with Human and Theme, which would also be viable, or just Culture and Class...
    This game is very versatile and I hope the GM guide touches on this toolkit nature somewhat.
    it does seem that Alignment is somewhat hardcoded into some of the classes and I am wondering if taking out Alignment would cause any problems."

    (D)
    "You can take out alignment with some impact, but not huge. It *looks* like its strongly present, but it's hardly in the abilities. I really meant it for flavor. Even "Detect Evil" is about detecting fiends and undead, not evil people. The 4E system with 5 alignments would work well too. If you said no alignment at all, then a simple "code of conduct" would be suitable for the cases where being good seems to matter (like clerics and paladins).
    As for the modularly, the book's set up in a way to mimic what d20/OGL folks are fairly used to (races, classes, thematic tracks that silo feats, etc). But yes, it's possible for example to just play townies! Unlike commoners, nobles, etc in 3.5, townies are pretty dynamic and useful, and one could add a theme to them or whatever, and play a fun game with limited advancement.
    Now, when eliminating themes or deities or whatnot, you'd want to reconsider encounter difficulty.
    With deities, you can just drop them because monsters and PCs both have faith points.
    In contrast, a character's theme contributes only 1 point at level 0, but by 20th level contributes a whopping 15 points (nearly equal to 2 paragon abilities). So either you'd replace those with a mechanic like action points or give the PCs more class abilities or more gold to spend on magic items or more vitality per level or.... Or conversely, don't compensate PCs, and just move monsters from having 7 vitality per level to just 5 vitality per level. Doing that simple downshift is almost exactly equal to eliminating themes. :-)
    BTW, this is the way you can vary grittiness or cinematic style or whatnot. If you want combats to go ever faster and feel more dangerous, just downshift the monsters to 5 vitality per level but also grant them +1 damage per level under the "Damage" entry. All of a sudden, they're nastier but have shorter lives. :-) The current arrangement is meant to mimic the traditional fantasy experience, but we ran adventures early on that used this grittier approach and the combats felt a lot more dangerous even through hardly anything changed mechanically.
    Though it might seem weird, I'm thinking of adding alternate vitality and damage in parentheses for each monster to make the "gritty" option more plain. Or maybe that would just be the "Type A Personality" version of the monsters! "

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    Re: Radiance Q&A

    Post  Chris on Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:29 am

    navyik wrote:Check the major awards such as revitalizing fun. It appears.that every theme can recover 4d6 vitality once per day. Cool

    cheers good find Mr. Beaman! I actually hadn't looked at the higher level theme awards that much, my oversight for sure.

    Robyo wrote:Chris, I will look into your Vitality questions. It's a dilemma and if anything, we'll come up with some fair and equatable houserule. But we should test it first... Part of the issue is that the system is gritty, so vitality is scarce and you are encouraged to spend it wisely.

    Sure, like I said, I wanted to see how it played out too. I like a gritty system, which I think SW tried to make too with its Wounds\Vitality system. A couple of differences, just for book-worm comparison:

    study

    Wounds in SW - once you were wounded, you suffered a -2 to ALL rolls and couldn't run anymore. Taking Wound damage meant you were actually WOUNDED, not just out of energy. Wounds only healed 1 pt per night (like Radiance) but healing abilities at best healed something like 1d4 wounds + abil mod. Whereas healing could heal a lot of vitality and you were fully rested after 1 night's sleep. You had your CON in wound pts, so you could take a little more wound damage, but if you got nailed for 10 wound points, it was really hard to get rid of the Wounded status for a couple days.

    Vitality in SW - Jedi used Vitality to power their force abilities, just like in Rad.

    Radiance - no penalty for being wounded and wounds are very easy to heal, especially since we have <10 depending on race. Vitality is hard to fully recover.


    I was just honestly mentioning it to raise the awareness in the group. This is a different mechanic than I think we are all used to - where typically you can be fully healed\rested after 1 night's sleep. I am not suggesting that was even a realistic way to play, just what the norm was for the last 25 years. This will take a bit more resource management and perhaps care that we don't take damage carelessly. So I wanted to point it out ahead of playing, since it was new to me.

    I want to play Radiance as close to the written rules as possible, at least for a while, to really get a feel for the system before we start tweaking it.
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    Re: Radiance Q&A

    Post  Chris on Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:30 am

    Good post Rob! That basically addressed many of the things I was thinking while reading Radiance. Here is the Vitality bit - so a couple options, the root and hiring townies

    ...On Vitality...
    (question)
    "I have a game design question - vitality points are recovered at (Level * Con bonus) per day, minimum (Level * 1). Some of the more powerful class abilities are fueled by vitality points.
    In a long campaign, does that give a moderate advantage to PC classes that have Con as their primary attribute? It's reasonable to expect those to have Con 20 by mid levels, and then they recover all of their vitality points every night they rest. Lots of other characters will need two to five days to get back their full vitality."

    (D)
    "In theory, this is an issue. Notably, 4 classes rely on Constitution as their prime attribute. In practice, what happens is this:
    -- PCs chew calfrass root before bedding down for the night (page 166). Thus, they heal at 2x their normal rate.
    -- PCs rarely drop to 0 vitality at higher levels and retire for the day if they feel themselves getting low. Because advanced and paragon abilities may require 5 to 25 vitality, they may freak out about falling too low.
    -- PCs rely on each other and NPC townies (sometimes as followers) to regain vitality more quickly, namely through courtesan and paramour townies (who restore vitality), a once daily surge ability from a cleric or witch or such, etc. (It didn't take long for a newbie player in the San Diego group to discover hiring a strumpet (courtesan) was a great idea.) Of course, townies cost, even as followers.
    -- PCs can nap or use the revitalize option under the Heal skill.
    -- PCs can take a day off, which combined with the other options has always been enough.
    -- The high Con PCs expend more vitality every day and thus have a deficit to make up compared to the other PCs.
    -- PCs at higher levels feel it is okay to adventure at somewhat less than full vitality, though obviously that is not a preference.
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    Re: Radiance Q&A

    Post  Chris on Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:37 pm

    While the adolescent in me finds this highly entertaining and amusing, the adult finds it.... well.... childish that the only townies that can restore vitality are whores. I mean really, why can't they have other townies with the same abilities?

    Even the townie called "healer" can't restore vitality. nor can Entertainer.

    56. Paramour (Cha)
    A paramour is a beautiful maiden or handsome youth who lives for
    romance, can reinvigorate others, and makes a fine spouse.
    Many Kisses: Up to 4x daily, after 1 minute kissing an adjacent
    ally, the ally heals 2d6 vitality. Each use costs 1 vitality

    15. Courtesan (Cha)
    Courtesans provide public and personal entertainment. They are usually
    attractive, seductive, and artistic.
    Interlude: After 1 hour of uninterrupted romantic intimacy
    with a person, that person regains 1d4+1 vitality. A particular person
    can benefit only once daily from this ability. Costs 1 vitality.


    So besides chewing the root, which will cover the overnight heals, we have to drag around a bunch of whores? That just seems ridiculous. Why can't a Bard do the same thing by entertaining the party with songs? (or some such) Or a personal Healer who can brew restoring tea? Or even call your favorite pet dog a townie and let him lick your face while you play with him (like the paramour ability)?

    I guess it fits the Wild West theme.... "wow, that was a tough fight. I think we better get a quick lap dance and have a bang our whores before we continue on the dusty trail." Rolling Eyes
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    Re: Radiance Q&A

    Post  navyik on Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:46 pm

    I suppose thre is nothing saying a paramour cant be a dog... Embarassed
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    Re: Radiance Q&A

    Post  whit10 on Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:08 pm

    know how I can tell that you two never played Grand Theft Auto?..... (I'm willing to bet they took that idea from the video game... hookers gave you life back during the game when you enlisted their services)

    I tend to agree though... if there's magic in the world, why not just have some average citizens that know a thing or two... ya know, good 'ole frontier medicine. Yikes Wink


    Rob, I assume that we can change Themes as it says in the book up to twice?
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    Re: Radiance Q&A

    Post  Robyo on Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:34 pm

    Chris, as a house-rule, any townies with heal or first aid skill can heal both wounds and vitality. I also like the idea of bards and entertainers lending vitality, thus they can transfer vitality equal to their Charisma (minimum 1).

    Josh, yes you can change themes (up to twice), but I would prefer that happens when you level up.
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    Re: Radiance Q&A

    Post  whit10 on Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:49 pm

    I'm sorta confused, you can't change Themes until you level anyway... or do you just mean that you don't want anyone to have more than one Theme to start the game with?
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    Re: Radiance Q&A

    Post  Robyo on Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:45 pm

    whit10 wrote:I'm sorta confused, you can't change Themes until you level anyway... or do you just mean that you don't want anyone to have more than one Theme to start the game with?

    Start with one theme, por favor.
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    Re: Radiance Q&A

    Post  Chris on Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:30 pm

    whit10 wrote:know how I can tell that you two never played Grand Theft Auto?..... (I'm willing to bet they took that idea from the video game... hookers gave you life back during the game when you enlisted their services)

    I tend to agree though... if there's magic in the world, why not just have some average citizens that know a thing or two... ya know, good 'ole frontier medicine. Yikes Wink


    That is funny! No, I never played GTA, but I heard there were strippers in it.

    I know I am making a fuss over nothing, but it just seems like it goes contrary to having a grittier system where vitality is hard to restore and at the same time have hot chicks be able to kiss you up to 4 times per day and restore 8d6 vitaltiy. like that game designer said, you basically figure out quickly that everyone has a whore on a leash while they adventure.

    It should either be hard to restore or make it so there are lots of options (bards, healers, poets, musicians, meditation, monks doing tai chi, etc) so it is a non-issue for everyone to restore that same 8d6 per day.

    Rob - I am fine with going grittier, just nix the lap dance kisses and say that only resting, napping and heal skill restore VPs. But I am fine either way!
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    Re: Radiance Q&A

    Post  navyik on Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:50 pm

    I personally took the fertility potions and condoms as a tongue-in cheek tangent: not intended for use in actual gaming... more remenicient of our adolescence? Hey, remember the ol' girdle of feminity/masculinity? Maybe somebody should take townie levels as a male stripper and this can be broke-back weird west lol!
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    Re: Radiance Q&A

    Post  Chris on Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:19 pm

    navyik wrote:I personally took the fertility potions and condoms as a tongue-in cheek tangent: not intended for use in actual gaming... more remenicient of our adolescence? Hey, remember the ol' girdle of feminity/masculinity? Maybe somebody should take townie levels as a male stripper and this can be broke-back weird west lol!

    I guess taking it as a joke makes more sense than an actual game mechanic, good suggestion.
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    Re: Radiance Q&A

    Post  Robyo on Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:47 pm

    Since the player list is continuing to expand (a good thing), I want to remind everyon how important it is for the flow of the story, and the continued enjoyment of all those involved, that people take their turn in a timely manner.

    So, if your turn is up, and it's been 2 days/48 hours since your last post, you effectively hold your action. You can't spring your action as an immediate, either (unless it's a special circumstance). If the combat round is up and you still haven't used your action, then you lose your turn. Sorry folks, but things have to keep rolling, not stagnating. I'll also try to post reminders about who needs to go or what we're waiting on. Sometimes it's just a skill check result or an answer in a role-playing situation. Either way, I'd like to keep it flowing. Thanks!

    *And yes, I realize that real life gets in the way sometimes. It's just a game, that much is certain. Enjoy.


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