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TOPIC: Contemplating Gregor's Tome

Contemplating Gregor's Tome 1 year 10 months ago #37

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Matthew Hayward wrote: I have kept my powder dry on Gregor's Tome of Focus because I assume Jeff knew what he wanted in a remembrance token, and out of sensitivity for the feelings of Jeff and his family.

- Ray's Ring of Remembrance is unique and powerful.
- Stu's +3 is arguably the best UR weapon period, ignoring transmute path equity.


Frankly I cringe to see all the discussion on this, some of which is very critical. I wish we could have patted Jeff on the shoulder and said: "Nice one!" about this token and saved the acrimony for something else.


That being said, there are some things I have seen discussed here that I want to address:


1. If True Dungeon wishes to provide accommodation to be more inclusive to people of different capabilities, trying to address that on an ultra rare token, or in any way commercializing that accommodation is absolutely not the right way to go about it.

Based on all my interactions with Jeff and TD, I think there is a reasonable chance that such accommodations are already in place - I haven't had occasion to ask.

By all means: create policies for those who have difficulty with coordination, memory, or any other issue that impairs their participation of the game and can be accommodated.

These policies should not require any sort of token to use.

So, wherever we all come down on Auto-pass skill checks, if there is an inclusion element in consideration, it would be much better to just allow whatever the inclusion fix is for the appropriate people free of charge and without restriction.

If there is a reason why a TD player, who we should value as a sibling in arms, needs to skip skill checks, or slides, they shouldn't have to acquire tokens to play (IMO).


2. I believe the concerns over slotless power creep are very chicken little.

True Dungeon is heading into its 17th year. There are exactly 2 melee boosting slotless token that is not consumable: Rod of Seven Parts, and Rod of Seven Parts Segment 5. They can not both be used at the same time.

Gregor's Tome of Focus is the second slotless spell booster that effects the party card. The first was Druid's Mistletoe - which hasn't brought about the power creep apocalypse yet. (Carter's Tome is Slotless, +2 Staff of Power is effectively slotless, and both provide the benefit of one or a few consumable scrolls each adventure - thus are not power creep in any meaningful way).

Let me list you all the slots that have melee boosters in them... No, that would take too long, instead let me list you all the slots that do not have melee boosters in them: Earcuff, Back. (And Back has Rogue Sneak Attack boosters, and Gnomish Fizzy Lifting Pack is a melee enabler)

I agree that we don't want Slotless power creep to get away out of control, and it certainly could someday, but worrying about +1/2 focus in a slotless token when there are STR or Melee boosters in literally every single slot other than Earcuff and Back, and the STR cap is going up by 6 this year while giving +3 melee damage to one-handed weapons is picking out drapes while the house is on fire.

Melee players have been enjoying a slotless +1 to STR since 2012. Druids have been enjoying Mistletoe since 2009. Let Clerics and Wizards in on the fun. I'll join you in the next fight against slotless offense power creep, but having 1 ability boosting slotless token per class is not OP

3. Bards don't have any spell skill checks, so taking away the focus element of this token makes it useless to Bards.

4. I liked the first version of this token. If it has to change again I'd take it back to where it was:

Auto succeed at skill checks and +1 focus and +1 to polymorph damage, Cleric, Druid, and Wizard.


Agree with most of this. And well-reasoned too! Don’t like the original version because of the blanket skill check bypass without drawback or limitation... class limited bypass may not be necessary, but a drawback to using it should... and if you ad the +1 focus AND a drawback... then I think it gets a little convoluted.
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Contemplating Gregor's Tome 1 year 10 months ago #38

Grekel! wrote: Raven,
The Rod has a penalty.
The Bowl is a kind of limited or partial bypass.

If It is to be a bypass token, it should include a drawback.


Why?

Libram of Looting has no drawback.

Bowl of Spirit Sight has no drawback.

Ektdar's Tinkering Tool has no drawback.

~10 other slotless URs have no drawback.

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Contemplating Gregor's Tome 1 year 10 months ago #39

Thanks for teasing out the Tome conversation, Raven. I agree that much of the discussion gets lost in the big design threads.

TL;DR: I would prefer not to have an auto pass feature on the Tome, unless there is some negative consequence (like Rod of Persuasion) or 1x per game limitation (like the Bowls of Spirit Sight or FOP: Raven). That said, I think this is a great remembrance token, and I think Jeff should honor is brother in whatever way Jeff thinks best. I don’t want to water it down under these circumstances. It should be a glorious tribute.

Here is my (lengthy) rationale for disliking auto pass:

First, the human element is one of the things I love most about this game, and I think that we should be very slow to minimize it. Taking the memorization challenge out of casting is like taking sliding out of physical combat. I think there would be riots if we designed a token that said fighters, etc. don’t have to slide anymore to be maximally effective. In fact, I think that’s part of the reason people disliked the original design of the UR crossbow in the 2019 set.

Second, I like that the existing skill checks reward human proficiency. I like that casters who have managed to master their skill checks get a little (not a lot) of a bonus. Good sliders generally hit more and do more damage. Why shouldn’t the game similarly reward good memorizers? Allowing an auto pass with every spell and without consequence devalues the class skill proficiency.

Third, skill tests are one of the few areas in the game where you can get a better result regardless of the tokens in your kit. In that sense, they democratize the game a bit. I love the notion that someone with a very basic token set can potentially earn a tiny bonus that has nothing to do with spendy tokens. Allowing an auto pass token allows the big token spenders to neutralize that tiny advantage with cash. Fuels the “pay to play” critique of TD.

Fourth, I love that casters currently have to struggle with the decision about whether to take time for the skill test or forego it in hopes of allowing the party to get in more rounds. It is a VERY interesting decision for casters, and removing it from the game with an auto pass on every spell would remove some excellent tension and depth from the caster classes.

Fifth, without at all intending to be insensitive, I don’t think the memorization challenge deters people from playing caster classes anymore than sliding deters people from playing physical combat classes. I avoid sliding at all costs because I’m always worried about leaving a puck short and blocking other sliders or, worse, knocking someone off the crit zone. Oh, and because fighters are smelly. :silly: Seriously, though, avoidance of sliding is a big reason why I play wizard. And that’s okay. And I wouldn’t even dream of asking for a token that takes sliding out of the game to let me more comfortably play a physical combat class. (I confess I’ve thought about suggesting a token that lets wizards cast the second level Ray spells without sliding, but that doesn’t feel quite right to me either. We can swap them out for less powerful spells with the Charm of Spell Swapping, and I think that is an appropriately balanced trade off.)

Sixth, I think most coaches do a really good job of mitigating memorization concerns by telling new players that memorization does not impact success or failure of a spell. Spells always do damage; you just get a small bonus if you pass. And most coaches also do a good job of reminding new players that only half the 4th level wizard spells even require the skill test, so those who are concerned about memorizing can still have plenty to do as a wizard without having to take memorization tests.

Seventh, we already have lots of tokens that help less proficient casters with their skill tests, so we don’t really need a token to fully bypass the skill tests. For example, Bowls, FOP: Raven, Pearl of the Planes, Bard Inspiration Spell, etc. Adding auto pass to the Tome de-values those other tokens.

Finally, for those who say casters who want to do the skill check can still choose to do it even if an auto pass token exists, sure. I get it. But it still cheapens the human element of the game and marginalizes those who have developed expertise at their class skills. The same way a token that allows people to skip sliding would cheapen sliding and marginalize the expert sliders among us.

Bottom line: IMHO, we should keep the auto pass feature off the Tome. But if it gets added back, let’s at least add some negative consequence (like the RoP) or some 1x per game limitation (like the Bowls and FOP: Raven).

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Contemplating Gregor's Tome 1 year 10 months ago #40

Raven wrote: You know what? Next year, I'd like to see separate threads for discussing each contentious token (or set, or transmute path) because things get swallowed up in mammoth threads like "2019 UR Token Images."
Those threads should be for comments on the set as a whole, or the images specifically {"needs hands" ... "misspelled" "Please clarify wording" etc.)

I say this because I've kinda skipped over all the excellent comments on Gregor's Tome while looking for feedback on other tokens. Now, even if I posted there, I'm afraid it would be washed away in the flood. So, here goes, in its own thread:

I think this token is a fantastic way to honor someone who was vital to Jeff's history, and without whom we might not have this game we love, today.

In its first incarnation (on the L&L forum) the token read, "Auto-succeed at skill checks & +1 to healing, damage spells, & polymorph attacks."

There was quite a lot of feedback about how tokens shouldn't bypass the classes' core challenge (despite the fact that the Bowl of Spirit Sight already does this, and so does the Rod of Persuasion)

It was updated to say: "+2 to healing, damage spells & polymorph attacks."

From a mechanical standpoint, I am generally against slotless tokens, because they are automatically BIS, provide no "interesting choices" and contribute directly to power-creep. For this token, however, I can see an exception being made in honour of its namesake. (Much the same way as Carter's tome.)

One of the things I really liked, tho, was how the "Auto-succeed" didn't actually introduce any power creep by itself. It just brought newer players (or players with anxiety about skill tests) up to the level of players who've memorized their skill tests. For those who skip challenges because they prioritize time in the dungeon, this gives them a chance to spend a little cash to put them back on the level of others. Very cool.

I think that, even without the +1, An auto-succeed token would make a pretty solid UR.

Think of it this way:

The odds of a newbie getting one in their 10-pack is .0005% (It's 1 in 20 URs, and 1 in 100 chance for a "00" pack) ... in other words, it's probably not going to take away a new player's fun. And any fun which it takes away is probably mitigated by the thrill of a cool new UR, and the fact that they can use it later to play a different class which they don't know the skill test for.

For long-term players who've memorized the skill check, this is a way to squeeze a few more seconds out of a dungeon room if they want to. it provides flexibility, if they choose to buy one, or are lucky enough to get one as a "00."

For players who avoid specific classes due to the skill check: this opens up a whole new side of TD! I think that's fantastic!

But apparently others didn't think so... so the token was changed. It's now adding to power creep twice as much as it did before, without adding anything cool or different to the game.

I would love to see it return to its original form... or even to a simple "Auto-succeed" with no +1 bonus.

I'd like it because it has minimal impact on power-creep that way, and is still a great token for so many different groups of players.

Thoughts?


Raven, I agree with you 100%. :)

That said, since this is Jeff's tribute to his Brother, I'll still support it 100% if it's a Tome of Focus without Auto-Succeed. I just hope that it does have the auto-succeed put back in, but I'll buy it either way.

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Last edit: by Mike Steele.

Contemplating Gregor's Tome 1 year 10 months ago #41

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Matthew Hayward wrote:

Grekel! wrote: I 100% agree that this token should be what Jeff wants, but to an extent, the discussion from the group is a part of what Jeff wants - right? I don’t want to convey disrespect... it just seems that the original token design skipped a bit of precedent... ultimately Jeff will choose how the token should be... but while we discuss, I have to be true to my own thoughts on the subject...


I'm basing my attitude on this off some of the discussion around Stu's which went:

Players: This is too good!
Jeff: I like it where it is.
Players: No, dammint! It's too good, compare to X/Y/Z.
Jeff: I like it where it is.
Players: But in these scenarios, it's even better than A/B/C.
Jeff: I intend this token to be a memorial token for Stu, I hope to see a lot of players using it, keeping the memory alive.
Players: ... Er... well done.

True. I think Jeff knows what he wants on this. I also think that the discussion we’re having ow is good and healthy... including the parts I disagree with, because it expands all of our awareness of what is meaningful to the rest of our “TD family”.
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Contemplating Gregor's Tome 1 year 10 months ago #42

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Boilerplate wrote: Thanks for teasing out the Tome conversation, Raven. I agree that much of the discussion gets lost in the big design threads.

TL;DR: I would prefer not to have an auto pass feature on the Tome, unless there is some negative consequence (like Rod of Persuasion) or 1x per game limitation (like the Bowls of Spirit Sight or FOP: Raven). That said, I think this is a great remembrance token, and I think Jeff should honor is brother in whatever way Jeff thinks best. I don’t want to water it down under these circumstances. It should be a glorious tribute.

Here is my (lengthy) rationale for disliking auto pass:

First, the human element is one of the things I love most about this game, and I think that we should be very slow to minimize it. Taking the memorization challenge out of casting is like taking sliding out of physical combat. I think there would be riots if we designed a token that said fighters, etc. don’t have to slide anymore to be maximally effective. In fact, I think that’s part of the reason people disliked the original design of the UR crossbow in the 2019 set.

Second, I like that the existing skill checks reward human proficiency. I like that casters who have managed to master their skill checks get a little (not a lot) of a bonus. Good sliders generally hit more and do more damage. Why shouldn’t the game similarly reward good memorizers? Allowing an auto pass with every spell and without consequence devalues the class skill proficiency.

Third, skill tests are one of the few areas in the game where you can get a better result regardless of the tokens in your kit. In that sense, they democratize the game a bit. I love the notion that someone with a very basic token set can potentially earn a tiny bonus that has nothing to do with spendy tokens. Allowing an auto pass token allows the big token spenders to neutralize that tiny advantage with cash. Fuels the “pay to play” critique of TD.

Fourth, I love that casters currently have to struggle with the decision about whether to take time for the skill test or forego it in hopes of allowing the party to get in more rounds. It is a VERY interesting decision for casters, and removing it from the game with an auto pass on every spell would remove some excellent tension and depth from the caster classes.

Fifth, without at all intending to be insensitive, I don’t think the memorization challenge deters people from playing caster classes anymore than sliding deters people from playing physical combat classes. I avoid sliding at all costs because I’m always worried about leaving a puck short and blocking other sliders or, worse, knocking someone off the crit zone. Oh, and because fighters are smelly. :silly: Seriously, though, avoidance of sliding is a big reason why I play wizard. And that’s okay. And I wouldn’t even dream of asking for a token that takes sliding out of the game to let me more comfortably play a physical combat class. (I confess I’ve thought about suggesting a token that lets wizards cast the second level Ray spells without sliding, but that doesn’t feel quite right to me either. We can swap them out for less powerful spells with the Charm of Spell Swapping, and I think that is an appropriately balanced trade off.)

Sixth, I think most coaches do a really good job of mitigating memorization concerns by telling new players that memorization does not impact success or failure of a spell. Spells always do damage; you just get a small bonus if you pass. And most coaches also do a good job of reminding new players that only half the 4th level wizard spells even require the skill test, so those who are concerned about memorizing can still have plenty to do as a wizard without having to take memorization tests.

Seventh, we already have lots of tokens that help less proficient casters with their skill tests, so we don’t really need a token to fully bypass the skill tests. For example, Bowls, FOP: Raven, Pearl of the Planes, Bard Inspiration Spell, etc. Adding auto pass to the Tome de-values those other tokens.

Finally, for those who say casters who want to do the skill check can still choose to do it even if an auto pass token exists, sure. I get it. But it still cheapens the human element of the game and marginalizes those who have developed expertise at their class skills. The same way a token that allows people to skip sliding would cheapen sliding and marginalize the expert sliders among us.

Bottom line: IMHO, we should keep the auto pass feature off the Tome. But if it gets added back, let’s at least add some negative consequence (like the RoP) or some 1x per game limitation (like the Bowls and FOP: Raven).


+1
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They say that the best weapon is the one you never have to use. I respectfully disagree. I prefer the weapon you only have to use once! Oh - and if you really need to think about whether you're going to use the fireball or the + umpty staff of butt-whooping - you're likely to find yourself full of arrows, or fangs, or nasty knives & swords and such. Don't think - just shoot!

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Contemplating Gregor's Tome 1 year 10 months ago #43

Phrash wrote: I do not like the auto-succeed concept when arguing for "saving time". Taking too long to do skill checks is systematic issue of the game that should not be solved or addressed by having players pay extra money to circumvent it.


+1

The caster’s time dilemma is one of the most interesting parts of playing these classes. There is cool tension between “should I go for the extra three points of damage” or “should I skip it to give the party more time.” Yes, time is the biggest enemy in the dungeon, and I think we should preserve that tension. Especially at the higher difficulty levels.

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Contemplating Gregor's Tome 1 year 10 months ago #44

Boilerplate wrote: Thanks for teasing out the Tome conversation, Raven. I agree that much of the discussion gets lost in the big design threads.

TL;DR: I would prefer not to have an auto pass feature on the Tome, unless there is some negative consequence (like Rod of Persuasion) or 1x per game limitation (like the Bowls of Spirit Sight or FOP: Raven). That said, I think this is a great remembrance token, and I think Jeff should honor is brother in whatever way Jeff thinks best. I don’t want to water it down under these circumstances. It should be a glorious tribute.

Here is my (lengthy) rationale for disliking auto pass:

First, the human element is one of the things I love most about this game, and I think that we should be very slow to minimize it. Taking the memorization challenge out of casting is like taking sliding out of physical combat. I think there would be riots if we designed a token that said fighters, etc. don’t have to slide anymore to be maximally effective. In fact, I think that’s part of the reason people disliked the original design of the UR crossbow in the 2019 set.

Second, I like that the existing skill checks reward human proficiency. I like that casters who have managed to master their skill checks get a little (not a lot) of a bonus. Good sliders generally hit more and do more damage. Why shouldn’t the game similarly reward good memorizers? Allowing an auto pass with every spell and without consequence devalues the class skill proficiency.

Third, skill tests are one of the few areas in the game where you can get a better result regardless of the tokens in your kit. In that sense, they democratize the game a bit. I love the notion that someone with a very basic token set can potentially earn a tiny bonus that has nothing to do with spendy tokens. Allowing an auto pass token allows the big token spenders to neutralize that tiny advantage with cash. Fuels the “pay to play” critique of TD.

Fourth, I love that casters currently have to struggle with the decision about whether to take time for the skill test or forego it in hopes of allowing the party to get in more rounds. It is a VERY interesting decision for casters, and removing it from the game with an auto pass on every spell would remove some excellent tension and depth from the caster classes.

Fifth, without at all intending to be insensitive, I don’t think the memorization challenge deters people from playing caster classes anymore than sliding deters people from playing physical combat classes. I avoid sliding at all costs because I’m always worried about leaving a puck short and blocking other sliders or, worse, knocking someone off the crit zone. Oh, and because fighters are smelly. :silly: Seriously, though, avoidance of sliding is a big reason why I play wizard. And that’s okay. And I wouldn’t even dream of asking for a token that takes sliding out of the game to let me more comfortably play a physical combat class. (I confess I’ve thought about suggesting a token that lets wizards cast the second level Ray spells without sliding, but that doesn’t feel quite right to me either. We can swap them out for less powerful spells with the Charm of Spell Swapping, and I think that is an appropriately balanced trade off.)

Sixth, I think most coaches do a really good job of mitigating memorization concerns by telling new players that memorization does not impact success or failure of a spell. Spells always do damage; you just get a small bonus if you pass. And most coaches also do a good job of reminding new players that only half the 4th level wizard spells even require the skill test, so those who are concerned about memorizing can still have plenty to do as a wizard without having to take memorization tests.

Seventh, we already have lots of tokens that help less proficient casters with their skill tests, so we don’t really need a token to fully bypass the skill tests. For example, Bowls, FOP: Raven, Pearl of the Planes, Bard Inspiration Spell, etc. Adding auto pass to the Tome de-values those other tokens.

Finally, for those who say casters who want to do the skill check can still choose to do it even if an auto pass token exists, sure. I get it. But it still cheapens the human element of the game and marginalizes those who have developed expertise at their class skills. The same way a token that allows people to skip sliding would cheapen sliding and marginalize the expert sliders among us.

Bottom line: IMHO, we should keep the auto pass feature off the Tome. But if it gets added back, let’s at least add some negative consequence (like the RoP) or some 1x per game limitation (like the Bowls and FOP: Raven).


Crap I hate to say this but after reading this I'm changing my vote to no auto pass. +1 to this, very well written and convincing.

Regards,

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Last edit: by Rob F.

Contemplating Gregor's Tome 1 year 10 months ago #45

Still -1
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Contemplating Gregor's Tome 1 year 10 months ago #46

Rob F wrote:

Boilerplate wrote: Thanks for teasing out the Tome conversation, Raven. I agree that much of the discussion gets lost in the big design threads.

TL;DR: I would prefer not to have an auto pass feature on the Tome, unless there is some negative consequence (like Rod of Persuasion) or 1x per game limitation (like the Bowls of Spirit Sight or FOP: Raven). That said, I think this is a great remembrance token, and I think Jeff should honor is brother in whatever way Jeff thinks best. I don’t want to water it down under these circumstances. It should be a glorious tribute.

Here is my (lengthy) rationale for disliking auto pass:

First, the human element is one of the things I love most about this game, and I think that we should be very slow to minimize it. Taking the memorization challenge out of casting is like taking sliding out of physical combat. I think there would be riots if we designed a token that said fighters, etc. don’t have to slide anymore to be maximally effective. In fact, I think that’s part of the reason people disliked the original design of the UR crossbow in the 2019 set.

Second, I like that the existing skill checks reward human proficiency. I like that casters who have managed to master their skill checks get a little (not a lot) of a bonus. Good sliders generally hit more and do more damage. Why shouldn’t the game similarly reward good memorizers? Allowing an auto pass with every spell and without consequence devalues the class skill proficiency.

Third, skill tests are one of the few areas in the game where you can get a better result regardless of the tokens in your kit. In that sense, they democratize the game a bit. I love the notion that someone with a very basic token set can potentially earn a tiny bonus that has nothing to do with spendy tokens. Allowing an auto pass token allows the big token spenders to neutralize that tiny advantage with cash. Fuels the “pay to play” critique of TD.

Fourth, I love that casters currently have to struggle with the decision about whether to take time for the skill test or forego it in hopes of allowing the party to get in more rounds. It is a VERY interesting decision for casters, and removing it from the game with an auto pass on every spell would remove some excellent tension and depth from the caster classes.

Fifth, without at all intending to be insensitive, I don’t think the memorization challenge deters people from playing caster classes anymore than sliding deters people from playing physical combat classes. I avoid sliding at all costs because I’m always worried about leaving a puck short and blocking other sliders or, worse, knocking someone off the crit zone. Oh, and because fighters are smelly. :silly: Seriously, though, avoidance of sliding is a big reason why I play wizard. And that’s okay. And I wouldn’t even dream of asking for a token that takes sliding out of the game to let me more comfortably play a physical combat class. (I confess I’ve thought about suggesting a token that lets wizards cast the second level Ray spells without sliding, but that doesn’t feel quite right to me either. We can swap them out for less powerful spells with the Charm of Spell Swapping, and I think that is an appropriately balanced trade off.)

Sixth, I think most coaches do a really good job of mitigating memorization concerns by telling new players that memorization does not impact success or failure of a spell. Spells always do damage; you just get a small bonus if you pass. And most coaches also do a good job of reminding new players that only half the 4th level wizard spells even require the skill test, so those who are concerned about memorizing can still have plenty to do as a wizard without having to take memorization tests.

Seventh, we already have lots of tokens that help less proficient casters with their skill tests, so we don’t really need a token to fully bypass the skill tests. For example, Bowls, FOP: Raven, Pearl of the Planes, Bard Inspiration Spell, etc. Adding auto pass to the Tome de-values those other tokens.

Finally, for those who say casters who want to do the skill check can still choose to do it even if an auto pass token exists, sure. I get it. But it still cheapens the human element of the game and marginalizes those who have developed expertise at their class skills. The same way a token that allows people to skip sliding would cheapen sliding and marginalize the expert sliders among us.

Bottom line: IMHO, we should keep the auto pass feature off the Tome. But if it gets added back, let’s at least add some negative consequence (like the RoP) or some 1x per game limitation (like the Bowls and FOP: Raven).


Crap I hate to say this but after reading this I'm changing my vote to no auto pass. +1 to this, very well written and convincing.

Regards,

Back on the Other Side of the Fence (for now..)



Boiler's argument is indeed a strong one.

I think Matthew's point on accommodations was a big factor as well. Nobody should have to pay their way into having a good time.

I can see it going either way.

If kept as a Focus item, I'd love to see polymorph on there. If not, I can worry about one less PYP.
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Last edit: by Arnold.

Contemplating Gregor's Tome 1 year 10 months ago #47

I am also sure that Jeff has the tokens ready to go, overpowers them for the debates, just to have everyone argue back to his original thoughts :)

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Contemplating Gregor's Tome 1 year 10 months ago #48

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Lordoftherealm wrote: I am also sure that Jeff has the tokens ready to go, overpowers them for the debates, just to have everyone argue back to his original thoughts :)


Lol
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They say that the best weapon is the one you never have to use. I respectfully disagree. I prefer the weapon you only have to use once! Oh - and if you really need to think about whether you're going to use the fireball or the + umpty staff of butt-whooping - you're likely to find yourself full of arrows, or fangs, or nasty knives & swords and such. Don't think - just shoot!

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