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I'm new to RPGs and I'm interested in having a discussion of some game design topics I need help with. I've learned that subjective discussion questions are off topic here. I'm willing to join a forum, but there are so many and I really don't want to join a bunch that are inactive or not really maintained.

So, can anyone recommend a forum that is active that I might join to discuss such things as mass combat, multiple combined spell casting, underwater adventuring, and aerial adventuring? This is all for Pathfinder and 3.5, so if the discussion board does not include Pathfinder, I'm not interested.

UPDATE: I've added just a bit of additional text to clarify that I'm looking for game design discussion, not a discussion of how to play or optimize said play.

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Aside, we do field design questions, they just have to be about fairly well-defined problems (rather than idea-gathering or brainstorming invitations). A forum is definitely good to have in the toolbox for the discussion kinds of issues. :) –  SevenSidedDie Dec 15 '13 at 21:15
    
@SevenSidedDie Certainly, and I sat staring at a question I'd formulated about one of the subjects above. After wringing my hands over whether it was subjective or not, I bailed and decided to ask this instead. –  high bandwidth Dec 16 '13 at 20:25
    
If you can accept the possibility of having a question put on hold, it's worth asking anyway! Though if you really want to avoid posting when you're unsure it's topical, talking about it in chat can clear it up for a specific question you have in mind. –  SevenSidedDie Dec 16 '13 at 20:31
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3 Answers

I'm a longtime member at RPG.net, and they have a board dedicated to discussion of D&D/fantasy d20 games. The moderation is pretty heavy to keep edition warring out, but the people there are knowledgable and thoughtful. It's my favorite forum. (Someone else will surely tell you about ENWorld.)

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I have not found RPG.net’s very-general Design boards to be very useful when attempting to get critique specifically for 3.x, because there is an awful lot of other stuff going on and most of the specialists in 3.x design are not found there for the same reason. Is this answer up-to-date with the changed question? –  KRyan Dec 16 '13 at 15:29
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By far the people most knowledgeable of 3.x, most capable of judging balance, and most active in homebrewing, are found on Giant in the Playground and Min/Max Boards. Both forums have substantial homebrew communities, and are they are the forums that most design-oriented 3.x players call home. In my experience, most other RPG forums do not stand up to the caliber that they have, and do not provide nearly as useful constructive criticism.

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Paizo has huge thriving forums, which are the best place for Pathfinder specific discussion (and there's some 3.5e as well). For 3.5e, the Giant in the Playground forums are the most notable.

The largest general purpose RPG forums are RPG.net and ENWorld, both of which cater to trad games heavily, including D&D subsets like 3.5 and Pathfinder. There's design questions mixed in with the large amount of noise (which is why if you are able to use your words enough to ask a coherent non-open-ended question, you should ask it here instead).

Sites like Dragonsfoot cater more to older D&D versions and Story Games to new type games but have people there very interested in homebrew (Dragonsfoot) and game design (Story Games) topics.

Most publishers have a good forum for their game specifically (WotC and 3.5e being the biggest sad exception) but those often aren't "design" oriented.

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