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Psychotime

Tabletop Games

3,800 posts in this topic

I've been playing a battle Oracle with a focus on using a polearm to trip people, which has been a hoot. I've also been buffing the party and healing as needed. Mechanically he works quite well, and it's not really that hard to make characters that are strong if you do some research. Even strange concepts can work out well as long as you plan the character's build out. It's making something that works from a roleplaying perspective that's more fun, although sadly our DM hasn't really let our characters shine at all. He just likes to push us forward into the next fight... :(
Anyway, my guy used to be a bartender in a little village. Blah blah generic bandits invade and he winds up getting slashed in the face with an axe and left for dead behind the tavern. He crawls into the woods and passes out. Wakes up years later, oddly feeling better than ever somehow. He walks back into the village and finds that it's been rebuilt and the bandit leader is the mayor now. So he finds himself very surprised to discover how easily he's able to disarm a guard and murder the mayor in the middle of town. Having essentially done what he wanted to do, he yields and they take him to prison (which is where our DM started us out). Turns out his flesh is rotting off slowly but he's been blessed with peak physical capabilities in return. Keeping in line with an oracle, he has no idea why any of this happened to him. I started off playing him very stoic and whatnot, but as soon as we realized that our DM is doing nothing but trying to railroad us, I decided to fuck with his mind and let him start to become more and more unhinged over time just to justify our attempts at busting out of the hallway of a game we're being forced down. He's developed the ridiculous personality of a boisterous Southern gentleman with a thirst for combat.

Anyway, good luck with your Cleric! 

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Have you talked to your GM about your desire for a more open story, Jay? Because it sounds like you've all been pretty darn bored of it. A lot of people forget that communication is important for a collaborative story game like most tabletops are, and that sometimes if you speak up with good intentions that you can get what it is you really want.

It may be possible that your GM is just new and doesn't quite know how to make an open story, or afraid of what might happen if you deviate from the path. But, they should know one of the first laws of tabletop RPGs: The PCs will invariably do something you didn't plan for.

 

EDIT: Oh yeah, and I just remembered. Speaking of character options, there is literally a talent for the Vigilante that gives you bonuses when you fuck somebody. It says "share intimate physical pleasure with someone for at least one hour", but we all know what they really mean. And it's really super powerful. And normally I wouldn't take advantage of something like this, but in my group everyone else has super OP characters because the GM lets them get away with a lot, so my friend and I decided our characters would fuck to get the benefit. lol.

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I have and that really is pretty much it. He's new to this and while I've told him he shouldn't plan things out too terribly much because we will inevitably wind up going off in some other direction, he still has decided to force us into these "chosen one" roles from the getgo and our attempts at doing something else have been met with him making all outside areas into impassable canyons. It's pretty lame. I think he's gotten slightly better, I'll admit. I told him to maybe at least try easing us into something where we have multiple methods of accomplishing our goal at least. We had to help a forest nymph because a bunch of poachers were capturing all the animals in the forest to sell. We got her to give us an animal to take with us that could tell the others not to attack us when we released them and we infiltrated the camp by tying up a fellow party member (a ratfolk) and bringing him in to be sold. Killed the guards outside then we had our rogue go in to sneak around and release all the animals. So that was pretty cool. Of all the things we've done that's been the most enjoyable. He wasn't able to make it earlier this week so we just continued our CoC campaign I'm running (which I'd honestly like us to just go back to full-time but hey whatever).

That sounds like a fun Vigilante talent, haha. I once had a druid seduce someone by turning into a horse and I found this system for using dice rolls for sex. He rolled really well and so they had a pretty good tumble. I basically just used the chart from this page. Not sure if that's kind of how your Vigilante talent works or not.

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No, it wasn't quite like that. Just a flat benefit from doing it.

Companion  to  the  Lonely  (Ex):
Whether  religiously  motivated, as are followers of Arshea, Calistria, or Shelyn, or for purely carnal reasons, physical intimacy helps the vigilante cope with the loneliness of his double life. Once per day, the vigilante can spend at least 1 hour engaged in acts of physical pleasure with a willing partner to gain a pool of morale points equal to his Charisma bonus or his  partner’s  Charisma  bonus,  whichever  is  higher.  For  the next 24 hours, the vigilante can spend a morale point as  an  immediate  action  to  reroll  a  Charisma-based  skill check or a Will saving throw again after rolling the die but before learning the consequences; he must take the second result even if it is lower.

It's powerful because it's a Social Talent and not a Vigilante Talent, and Social Talents are typically only good for skills and not combat.

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Okay, cool. I like it. I'm a fan of anything that lets me reroll. My battle oracle can just roll for initiative twice no matter what so I've pretty much consistently gone first and it's a hoot.

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I have been thinking about RPGs a lot lately.  I think I would enjoy being a player for once instead of being a Game Master. From a player perspective, I love all RPGs and would especially be interested in Vampire Requiem or D&D 5th edition or Dread one shot adventures.  All of that sounds fun. But as a game master, I find most RPG rules and mechanics to be overwhelming.  Like to go from never playing an RPG to running D&D 3.5 with a campaign I made from scratch took countless hours and a ton of effort and I still fucked up a good chunk of the time on combat rules and such.  Because they are needlessly complicated.

 D&D 5e is so much more streamlined than 3.5 it's ridiculous. I get that there are hardcore RPG gamers who prefer 3.5 or pathfinder but I hate that shit. Like I recently got the Pathfinder book and I was excited to play it but then I opened it up and realized it's full of so much bullshit like positioning in combat and stats that are completely unnecessary and alienating to new players.  I want to run RPGs with people who haven't played before without having them feel completely lost.  

D&D 5e isn't too bad but as a DM with some experience I still have no fucking clue if I'm giving my party a challenging enemy until they fight it because there are too many stats and players have way too much freedom in character creation.

Character creation shouldn't empower players to look at 100 spells and all this equiptment and shit that I as a DM can't possibly keep track of.  The best combat I've ever played was a Power Rangers game I made because I gave the premade characters to the players and I knew exactly what they could do and how to craft enemies that challenged them just the right amount without breaking them.  

'But Grease' you say.  'RPGs aren't about the Game master, they are about the players you railroading son of a bitch!  It's not their fault you suck at math and smoke too much pot to pay attention to the god damn source book.'

Well I say you're wrong. RPGs are games but they should focus more on the roleplaying than combat. If you want combat oriented games there are these things called Videogames that do it was more efficiently and with way better graphics than your withering imagination.  RPGs shouldn't have positioning or miniatures. I get it. You like the fucking miniatures because they are cute or neato. Well stfu because that shit ruins RPGs. If you're close you can hit it and if you're far away you can't unless you have ranged shit or you move up to it and hit it. That's as complicated as movement in RPG combat should be. No spaces = feet shit.  Theater of the mind is much more efficient for everyone involved.  

The draw of RPGs is the roleplaying and the interaction between the GM and the players as they work together to breathe life into the game in ways that surprise them both. It's not a fucking dungeon crawler with action figures. Sure, it can be but I don't think that's what the focus of RPGs should be about. But now we are at a point where D&D is trying too hard to please both sides of the isle in terms of theater of the mind combat vs lame ass grids and miniatures. 

The best RPG game out there right now might be Dread because it's so simple to run and to play that it attracts non-RPG gamers. My fucking mom can play Dread.  You think I could get her to play Pathfinder?  I can't even understand that shit.  Why the fuck is your magic level different from your character level?  Why the fuck do we need games to have intelligence and Wisdom as different skills?  Why the fuck do we need a billion weapons to choose from. Nobody wants a scimitar. They want a fucking sword.  Warlock vs Mage? Fuck you just give me like 5 spells and tell me how many times I can use them a day and I'm good. 

Long story short, Pathfinder is bullshit and I'm returning these Pathfinder books I got immediately.  I'm also developing my own RPG system that is a reflection of my philosophy on roleplaying. There is no health, just a jenga tower that players share and when someone takes damage they have to pull from the tower.  Whoever knocks it over dies in the game. This is from dread. But I'm adding in dice rolling and some light stats and a manageable amount of spells.   I want a game that only takes up like 2-3 pages and character sheets that I can give players where they can make a few tweaks to their character without going overboard or getting overwhelmed.  So it's basically Dread D&D Lite.

Once I'm done, I will make a Vampire Version as well.

Sorry for ranting but I wish everyone played RPGs because they are wonderful but designers get it wrong and they teach players to expect something that is wrong when there is a better way.  Someday there will be more balanced RPGs between player customization and empowerment without fucking ruining the game for GMs. But until then I will have to homebrew that shit myself. 

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I can agree with a lot of what you said, but I feel you are going a tad too far. It is perfectly fine if you prefer light rules, but there is something to be said of more rules-heavy systems. And you say that video games should replace tabletop combat, but in fact a lot of games used to, and some still do, use those very same mechanics you can find in those tabletop books. People enjoy turn-based games a lot, the strategy involved, and the nitty-gritty of building something entirely from scratch to fill out a concept which you have.

Some people also just want to have a simple structure, and to let their imagination fill in the gaps. There's nothing wrong with either one. If you don't like in-depth systems, then Pathfinder and D&D is probably not your thing, though there are ways to balance which you learn about as you gain experience with the system.

You brought up a thing about premade characters, which is possible for any system. As long as you preface it with players, you can always give them pregenerated characters. The 5th Edition adventure Mines of Phandelver is a box set built for new players with an easy-to-run adventure and pre-generated characters. I believe it comes with suggested spells for the wizard and the cleric even, so you don't have to worry about what they get at higher levels.

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Thanks for the input kind sir. I was being overdramatic about what I was saying but you have some good points. I've never tried to run a premade adventure because I assume they are too rigid but I'm sure if I got one I could just use it as inspiration. I guess I would have trouble letting go of my control as the DM with a premade game.  I assume they would be too railroady but that doesn't have to be the case.

For premade characters, I think players should have a little control outside of picking a class. Like give them a few skill points to put where they want and maybe give their character a few more combat options than just attack.  The trick is to give them just enough to make choices but not enough to make the game overcomplicated.  

But yeah, Pathfinder is definitely not for me and the only D&D I would like to play is 5th edition. I've noticed most games that you can join in at gameshops for D&D seem to be 'league play' where they run through the premade adventures and stuff. That doesn't seem to entice me too much compared to playing in a homebrew campaign but as a DM I understand how much work has to go into a good homebrew D&D game.

Also, I watch a lot of RPG videos online.  I recently started watching a group play Vampire Requiem. It seems like none of them have played it before and it becomes painfully clear early on that the system is too complicated because they are over an hour into the video and they haven't started playing. They had several discussions about certain rules that they were all unsure of (even the gm). I also like to pay attention to what the GM is doing so I can learn what to do/not do in a game.  

But my favorite video series right now is the Gentleman gamer. He is just a nice dude who reviews a bunch of RPGs and does a bunch of vampire videos explaining the world of vampire and all the clans.

Another of my favorites is Dungeon Bastard. His videos are more funny but also insightful to his interesting perspective on roleplaying. For him, RPGs are all about the combat which is like the opposite of the way I feel but he has very specific ideas about how combat should go.  

To be honest, I would enjoy a dungeon crawl D&D game if someone else ran it for me even though I feel combat is the weakest part of RPGs and the easiest part to mess up.  And of course everyone is entitled to play their own games and to have their own opinions on RPGs. You are correct that most good video games dungeon crawlers are heavily inspired by D&D combat. I just feel like most any videogame now and days can do all the work of combat much more efficiently and in a more fun way than D&D.  Like D&D was heavily inspired by war game/strategy board games that relied a lot on complicated rules. But back in those days videogames didn't exist so they had no choice but to do that shit if they were nerds like us. But now that nerds have so many options for entertainment I just feel like Tabletop RPGs need to play to their strengths and drop that dead weight of complex position oriented combat and character creation that takes several chapters of reading to figure out.  

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In my experience, most people I've played tabletop RPGs with have focused more on the combat for sure. Or being sticklers about how you're supposed to navigate a dangerous bit of terrain or evading traps. I do think that combat can be utilized for good roleplaying however, if people do it right. It's boring as shit to just aimlessly fight things with no real reason for it. I'm not about to do that all night. I like it when people describe what they're doing to enemies when they attack or when they miss on a roll and the DM tells them a more vivid explanation of how the enemy avoided it instead of just saying, "ya missed--NEXT!" I can definitely see what you mean about games being too rules heavy in a lot of cases, and sometimes that'll depend on who you're playing with. But ultimately, nothing is stopping you from taking Pathfinder and throwing rules out that you don't really like or replacing them with rules you think will work better. It might throw things off balance, but if you're up to the task of experimenting with designing an entirely new system anyway, you're probably fine with the idea of that to a degree. I know I talk about Call of Cthulhu way too fucking much, but it's been the most fun RPG I've played in my opinion. I think it's got a good balance of rules and combat is absolutely not the main emphasis in it. In fact, fighting is very much a horrible idea in that game so players tend to avoid combat, which naturally leads to a lot more roleplaying and heavy use of skills. We've had some fun times with it.

I definitely can agree with you on preferring to have a little more control over the game as a DM. I think some premade campaigns do a better job than others of giving you a world that your players can interact with outside of just railroading them through the main quest. A good campaign is going to give you incentives to keep the players on track with the story it has planned out, but it'll also give you a lot of information about the world you're playing in so if they are stubborn and want to do other stuff, you can make something up for them. Or just make something up anyway. It is definitely hard to keep track of what players are going to do, but I think that's half the fun. I'd just go easy on the party until you know their characters really well and then start trying to set up encounters with enemies that allow them to shine in some fashion. At least that's what I like to do anyway.

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Been playing Gamma World 7th Edition with friends, which is basically D&D 4e even more simplified, with a post-apocalyptic setting where multiverses collide and people are constantly mutating. We went with a cheesy 80's/90's theme just for fun, with lots of pop culture references (with names changed "to avoid copyright"). Our goal was to defeat president Ronald Raygun who was trying to start a civil war against Sabrehand Lincoln, aided by a clone of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Anyways, my character, Super Rad who was basically a living, irradiated action figure finally went down in the final assault after taking dozens of hits for the team.

I randomly rolled up my new character (you have to roll randomly in this system) and rolled Mythic as one of my origins, which means I descended from the gods themselves, and Saurian, which meant I was part dinosaur or other lizard... So, now I'm playing raptor jesus under the name Godsilla.

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So I've got myself into an agreement to DM a 5th edition game after familiarizing myself with the rules and whatnot. I love it already just from reading over the fundamental rules and I don't have a problem running it because I generally learn games better that way anyway. I'm definitely running a published adventure, but I'm not completely sure what I want to do. Common sense tells me to start with Lost Mines of Phandelver, but I looked into Storm King's Thunder and it looks like a blast so I'm probably doing that since I want something that will last us a little while.

In other news, I think our DM for Pathfinder is finally getting a little bored with running his railroad, which may wind up collapsing in on itself soon anyway because after he forced us to become drug dealers, we've basically turned into an evil party. And rule #1 of evil parties is that they will inevitably destroy one another. I have no idea how he went from blatantly telling us we were chosen ones destined to save the world to getting us involved in shady underground stuff, lol. We're also getting to a point where we're poor as fuck for being nearly level 5 because we have accumulated about 150g per character and that's not going to work well in such a gear-heavy game system if we ever actually go into a dungeon or something for whatever reason.

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Lost Mines and Storm King's Thunder would be the best to run. The other APs that I've tried from 5e were all pretty bad down the line, though they generally started good. No staying power, however. Some of them give very little guidance to new DMs, as well.

And yeah, in Pathfinder you are pretty reliant on gear. If you're not getting any of the magical stuff by level 8, you're pretty fucked in what would otherwise be a fair fight.

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I actually wound up convincing myself to just run my own setting and campaign after fiddling around with fleshing out a cool continent with a lot of potential story hooks scattered around it should they decide to start wandering off. I'm kind of starting them off in more of a frontier land where there's plenty of opportunities to explore or get work from the people living there and I'm pretty certain they'll go for the initial hook to get them into a nearby dungeon since most of the players are more inclined to just want to go where they know they can fight things. Beyond that, I'm planning on leaving it pretty open; maybe making sure the party members who are from the area have a working knowledge of current events in the region or playing into any personal goals the characters have.

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Ran my first game in about 7 months. I kinda fumbled and broke some of the rules of storytelling, but I realized last minute I hadn't written down any of the stuff I wanted to say and had to recite it by memory. lol. My friend uploaded the first session, and he has all of the games I play with him on his channel too.

 

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Hell yeah, that seems like a cool concept. I'll have to watch/listen to it in its entirety when I've got a little more time. I've never really done any sci-fi stuff but I'd really like to at some point.

In other news, we started my 5e campaign and it's been a blast so far. I was very pleasantly surprised when the group who is normally a lot more of a "let's just skip to combat mostly" kinda group wound up roleplaying a ton in the town they started in. I hadn't really expected that, but I had plenty of lore figured out for the area and was able to just wing it pretty decently. One of their characters has successfully conned half the village and one other hilariously gullible party member into buying this cure-all potion that's essentially just colored water. Eventually they all got settled in and now we're getting into the gritty details of the first little dungeon I have for them. There's about five things of interest to come out of it at the end and they're likely to find at least two or three of them without much effort and I've got a rough plan of what to do next depending on which hook they decide to pursue, if any. I'm also really enjoying 5e in general. My Pathfinder group met a few days later and just realizing how restrictive it is now already makes me want to just ease into fully playing 5e. I've had fun with PF, don't get me wrong, but it just seems like the whole system completely falls apart if you try to use house rules for anything, and there's a lot of shit in it that's extremely dull to deal with; not to mention it's way too easy to either make useless characters or horribly overpowered ones. Our party pretty much has two characters who regularly accomplish things, one that is useful out of combat and not much in it, and then two more that haven't really done anything at all since we started and are just kinda there for no reason. Some of this is the DM, but a lot of it is just that their characters took skills we haven't needed at all or are about as useful in a fight as a wet rag.

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Basically, the concept is a sci-fi fantasy mix, with space travel, but technology is all based on magic and alchemy. Fantasy races all exist in the setting, along with some slightly more sci-fi like ones but that are still rooted in fantasy. The solar system is ruled over by a powerful overlord known as Great Emperor Zel, who has pretty much all of the known gold in the solar system (hence why they use a new form of currency). There's a ton of stuff that is going to be layered in, but I am holding back for now, and hoping to feed it to the players over time.

 

And I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying 5e so far. Sounds like there may have been some confusion during character creation due to new players, and maybe even a bit of difficulty due to the larger party? Either way, nobody's first character is perfect.

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Nah, I think everyone got it pretty much. We have one experienced player in the group who's kind of guiding everyone (including myself) and everyone is grasping it pretty well, especially the combat and skills. Any of the issues I mentioned up there have to do with my Pathfinder group, haha. The 5e group is actually doing extraordinarily well at everything they've tried to do aside from some unlucky rolls here and there.

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In case anyone was interested in seeing more of the game I'm running

 

 

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5e campaign update:

Spoiler

Party just finished up the first dungeon they went into, which mostly served as a tool to get them up to level 3 to give them a little more power to go out and really do what they want to do. We actually left off right after they went back to town (they went into some ruins that were thought to be a burial site for ancestors of the human kingdom they're a part of. Turns out, it was an ancient dwarven ruin, which is odd because it's quite far away from the one mountain in the region where dwarves live. They discovered the burial site of a legendary dwarf king along with his royal crown, which they took. Note that there's already a huge amount of tension between the extremely xenophobic dwarves of this setting and the humans whose lands are getting closer and closer to the dwarf mountain) so there's kind of a lot of potential paths they can take from this point. In addition to discovering that the dwarves did at some point occupy and potentially have claim to lands that humans are currently trying to settle and obtaining an artifact that the party might (possibly naively) believe they dwarves would be willing to pay them a great sum of money for, they also happened upon a relatively large group of goblins that had busted their way into the tomb that were being led by a pair of human sorcerers. I'd sort of hoped they would interrogate the humans, but they kind of killed them in a manner which caused them to basically splatter upon death, so that didn't work out. Still, they might choose to pursue it on their own and should they choose to journey to another town that sits on the edge of the massive forest, they'll very likely come across more of these goblins and go down that path. Alternately, if they wind up going to the dwarves, that can go all kinds of ways, depending on how diplomatic they are and out of everything, it would probably be the choice that sets a lot more in motion down the line. Or they could just head back to a larger human city and find something to do there; all the places I have in the region have something significant going on there. I'll probably have them see some news from the surrounding lands posted in the tavern where they're at just to give them some ideas of where they can go, because I'm leaving it up to them to decide. The next session is going to be pretty improvised because I'm basically using the night to have them decide what they're doing next/why they would stay together at all.

I like running open-ended games because I know one half of my players just kind of like to do whatever as long as they get to fight some stuff and then the other half really enjoys it when they want to do something, whether it's silly or not, and I just let them try to do it regardless. As I said before, the bard is pretty much a snake-oil saleswoman on the side, and is making a pretty good profit from selling useless colored water to people who believe it to be a magical potion, including the party's fighter. That said, this kind of makes her need to keep on the move before the town figures out that she's full of shit and returning to a town she's scammed would probably have some nasty repercussions. Everyone has actually fleshed their characters out really well aside from the monk; I'm still trying to figure out exactly what his motive is, but otherwise, the party seems pretty content to adventure for either the sake of obtaining wealth or for simply defeating evil forces in general, and those are general enough that they can more or less do whatever. The rogue has a backstory that we could play with at some point and I think the rest of the party would probably be happy to help him out with it if we go down that route at some point.

 

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Reaching 1 Million Chewbucks For staying strike free for 5 years. For having a blog entry featured. Chewbot gives congrats for not getting any warnings for over 3 years Posting after Dopply

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Things have been going well for the campaign I've been running. Last session the group was on the tail of Joey Twoshoes, a ratfolk wanted for 147+ counts of illegal gambling and for "stealing" a Wand of Wonder that he actually won in a bet. It ended up that they gambled for almost the entire session, including some amazing blackjack moments where they hit on a 19 and drew a 2 to win. The party ended up in the negative throughout the entire thing, but they got information of Joey from the owner for having spent so much money at his place.

I also joined a campaign my friend who plays in that one is running, and it's pretty awesome. The premise is that it's modern day, but all mythology and all modern day conspiracy is true. So all of the gods exist, including the Norse gods, Egyptian gods, and even the Christian one. I've been playing a backwoods conspiracy theorist named Maurice who's a Ranger and has actually acquired Odin's bow in the campaign, and I have a backup character I play sometimes by the name of Mary who is essentially a catholic priestess Monk/Cleric who uses a cross like a quarterstaff if people prove to be beyond reason, or if fighting a demon/undead.

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For staying strike free for 7 years. Hosting the 2015 YouChew Secret Santa Art Exchange God the Hedgehog For having a blog entry featured. Chewbot gives congrats for not getting any warnings for over 5 years Halloween Festival awards. Participating in Chew-Or-Treat 2013 For participating in the 2013 Ghostly Art Halloween contest Apparently I was eligible for this all along. Chewbot gives congrats for being strike free for over 3 years Certainly quite a few pictures you've made there. For his 2011 Festival contribution

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