JP On Gaming

Thursday, June 22, 2017

I am breaking the rules for PFS

If you did not already know, I have a personal rule for creating characters that goes as follows:

Create a male character, then a female character.

I am currently fast-approaching a point where I need to create a new starter-level character for Pathfinder Society. Since the last character I created was "Igor" (based on the Marty Feldman character in Young Frankenstein), the next character I should build would be a female.

However, I do not have a good concept for a female character, but I do have one for a male character! Invoking rule 63 would make the idea not as fun to play.

So I'm breaking the rule!

What's the idea you ask?

Idea Number 1 A druid/priest who is a weather master. But unlike my other druids, this guy has a cleric domain. He would be one of Captain Flint's crew. Either that or he is his brother, Smolett Flint.

Idea Number 2 Zayeed Al-Zawree, a human ranger who is the brother of the al-Zawree sisters: Naadhira the Prophetess of Rovagug, Sahba the slave-warrior, and Katharan the spoiled princess. The family of oil merchants are people I want to revisit. I had this idea for a long time but never actually built it.

After some thought, I really like the idea of Zayeed.

I'll do it!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Origins AAR Part 2

Continuing my report about Origins. Read Part 1

Lessons from Saggakar

- Make sure the name "Saggakar" is on the name of the adventure for the program
- Players like to screw their employers, even when they are straightforward with them.
- The evil system put in place by the First Ones in Saggakar is propped up by the many slaves who support it.

Ideas For Products

- I love Markelis! It is even more interesting than I imagined when I began to write about it. It was a very interesting write for me as I wanted it to make something that was scary in something that is not scary in itself: A Mists-wrapped city. Expect a source book for the city in the coming months.
- I love Spiderfen and the forest of the same name. The more I write about it, the more ideas seem to come out of it. I now have two and maybe three adventures I want to do there. Of those, two idea came from running "As Oracles and as Warnings".
- Expand the ArchDespotate book. It's been two years since the "ArchDespotate" book was made available.
- I already mentioned it above, but I am writing a short piece of fiction linked to my deeds in Arcanis. I have already been writing a number of short pieces for my characters. I like to keep them short and mostly personal. Maybe eventually, it will turn into a collection of short stories. Maybe.
- Also on the topic of Arcanis, I got a new idea that might salvage my adventure. You know the one I was working on back in 2015... I abandoned it because it did not have sufficient conflict. Inspiration finally hit and I can now create the type of conflict I needed to get this done.

Other Lessons

- After Gencon, going fully to 5e for convention play since my sales are so much better. I still plan to produce content for Pathfinder (because I like the game).
- I am thinking of bringing (some) of the kids to Origins next year. But I am not sure which of them yet.
- Starfinder. I am definitely curious about it. Chad-N speaks very highly on it and his enthusiasm is somewhat contagious. While I have a number of reservations about it, I will anxiously look at what comes of it. I'll talk about those at a later time.

So, next year, I definitely plan to return. Origins is one of my favorite convention of the year. There is something about it that makes it so worthwhile and fun to attend. I am definitely going back.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Origins After-Action Report

This year's Origins is done. My Origins started way back in April as I was writing the Legacies plots for the summer, which includes both Origins and Gencon. So for the past two months, I have been focused on it.

When the 13th came around, I could not wait for the day to be over and for me to get on the road. It was a scorcher in Nashville that day and lucky for me, I arranged for a very light workload for myself. And for once, it worked! I made my way through storms and sunshine before finally going to sleep north of Cincinnati.

Wednesday

I arrived in Columbus around 9 AM and went to set up immediately: put up the Tyrants of Saggakar banner and arrange my table. I got to pick a good one near the door. I helped my fellow Gathering people (the folks for Arcanis and WitchHunter) get set up.

That's when the nerves hit me. I was not worried or nervous about the con until that moment. Once everything is set up begins the final countdown. I get very stressed out about a variety of things: how will players like what I have to offer, are my adventures too long, are they too short, could they be better. This is the one time where I cannot channel this energy into anything but wait. And that kills me every time.

My first game was at 1 PM, I ran "As Oracles and as Warnings" using 5e. Second slot was the special "Encounter in the Mists" which sent the PCs to the former capital of the ArchDespotate, Markelis.

Both game went off well, and the players left happy, if more than a little bloody. Music to my ears.

This year, my room was in the Renaissance Hotel some four blocks to the south. I got a good walk in the morning and in the evening.

Thursday

The morning, I ran two entries of the Service and Rewards series. Namely House Faremhi and Family Treasure. As some players who had ticket did not show, my good buddy Tom-C got to play.

The afternoon, I switched from 5e to Pathfinder. It was interesting to compare how the adventures ran in different system (so you know: pretty similar). Once more As Oracles and as dreams followed by the special Encounter in the Mists.

Friday

I checked and re-checked and had zero tickets sold for my first event of the morning, Service and Rewards using Pathfinder. So I would get to play! I chose to join an Arcanis adventure and I am so glad that I did. I assassinated an NPC and one of the other PC looked at me and said "I don't think the bimbo could do that, so it has to be [pointing to other PC]." Said other PC saw me do it, but everyone believe she is only trying to divert attention.

A big shout-out to Ken-W who rolled with the shenanigans and to Adam who took it in the chin with grace. We had a great table and my enjoyment was taken directly from there.

The next slot, I played the second of the Hard Points. This time, I sat with the Colorado gang: Gregg, Bill, Michelle and Curt. Always nice to play with these guys as they are solid players.

For the evening Arcanis "interactive" adventure, we had to accomplish mini-missions around the First City. Kermina got a new power "In Wine There is Truth" so she double-fisted drinks throughout the slot (don't worry you crazy fools, it was cups of water. Although I was offered a few samples of many unique flavors, which I accepted a finger of each).

I had a great time as I went around the room running through a series of personal subplots. I can easily say that I won the interactive because I managed to get a date with the most eligible bachelor there! I just hope I get to play some more Arcanis before Arcanicon next year - if there is an Arcanicon!

Saturday

More Arcanis in the morning. I did an adventure that featured a number of ladies of the nights (people related to my own in-game faith). I enjoyed this adventure so much more because the GM, Ken rolled with the story. With a table of four, the final combat was rather difficult but it was well worth it.

The afternoon and the evening I spent at the Arcanis Battle Interactive. Like at Arcanicon, I joined Melinda, Nicole, and Paul. These people are very patient with the amount of crap I can generate. My character was not very good and it took a lot of time before she managed to become decent.

I left happy and satisfied. While I am not overly interested in that particular story line, it is solid and I am definitely looking forward to seeing what comes next.

The adventure left me with an idea for a short piece of fiction (I am aiming for 2,500-3,000 words or so). Unlike the rather farcical story I wrote after Arcanicon, this one is more introspective, serious in many ways.

Sunday

Final day, I had no tickets sold and no one showed up so I drove home. I enjoyed the company of my wife and kids on father's day.

Next time: Lessons and new plans

Monday, June 19, 2017

RPGs are about Superman and the Teen Titans

I was lurking on RPG StackExchange where I happened upon a post asking how to integrate high-powered NPCs with groups of lower-level PCs. There were a number of good answers already, but I thought of an example that I personally use when trying to do just that.

Comic books provide a great answer to your question with an example.

When Brainiac invaded the Earth, Superman and the Justice League went off to fight him. Meanwhile, the Teen Titans go around town saving people, preventing other villains from escaping the asylum, prevent the dam from breaking, and making their high school exams.

Your high powered NPCs are the "Justice League": Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc., and the PCs are the Teen Titans. Both are engaged in the same event (Brainiac attack) yet they deal with completely different elements.

Then as they gain XP, your party will join the Justice League while some of the "kids" stay back and deal with the "small stuff"...

Simple but an example I used myself.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Rhym Iconics from Reaper

A pair of adventurers from the Reaper Bones II.

The first is a Paladin (Lady Hanalyr, the iconic from Rhym) and the archer is Kormac (the iconic ranger, also from Rhym).

Saturday, June 10, 2017

More Japanese terrain

More small pieces on a budget featuring chopsticks! The first piece is a small torii arch that the other three form a classic Samurai tent. These were used in the Gundam game at Nashcon.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Terrain Friday: Ancient homes

I have been building some terrain recently using cans of Pringle crisps. These were covered with paper-mache and painted. Simple and easy. And very light too!

The first structure is a granary and the other two are houses or yurts. They seem to be covered with leather or clay.

You may have already seen them already, hidden among the terrain during the Lexicon Special

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Medieval Forces

These guys I painted for the conquistadors game. However, I did not use them. The first pic is of three ladies from a pack I got years ago. I really like how they came out. Their dresses seem like something out of a technicolor movie.

The second group is a band of commoners. I added the two armored figures to the group to complete the unit for Lion Rampant. I still need a few to complete the unit. One of the guy in the back comes from a pack of looters and carries a pig!

Mecha Battle Objectives

Now that you have seen the full battle report of our Mecha Battle at Nashcon, here are the casualty markers I made. ActionMan brought me two plastic mobile suit that he found at the bottom of the toy chest, possibly from when I was young. Since they were a little different size from the rest of the MS we were to use, I decided to chop them up and create these objectives/ markers. I painted them as a zaku or as Gundam.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Nashcon Part 2: Mobile Suit Madness

Gundam

For the afternoon, I planned a game of Mecha Battles using my 1/400 Gundam models. As I said in my Nashcon 2017 Part 1 post, this game is the one ActionMan was really getting excited about. Ever since I bought the Gundam Dynasty game for the Xbox, he has been very interested in the series. While I doubt that he understands all the subtleties of its universe, he loves the big mechas fighting each other to a pulp.

I must say I like this too. I love it when big mechas beat each other up!

In a previous post about the development of Mecha Battles, I commented that the game runs too fast. It still does. I was caught in a cunnundrum: how to speed up a game whose best element is the speed.

I decided NOT to go through with my suggestions and embrace the speed of the game.

How did I managed to run a 4-hour game you asked?

A great question indeed. What I did was I split the slot into five "episode". This would allow me to show the game without making too complex too quickly.

So I came up with the idea of the "Battle of Winnipeg". This little town in Canada would serve as the background for the duel of the fates. Actionman took the side of the Principality of Zeon and Nick the Federation. I'm not too sure why he prefers Zeon (as I do). I like Char.

ActionMan once told me he liked Char because he doesn't talk all the time for no reason, like other characters.

"You have been patroling this peaceful section of Central Canada, at the start of what would be known as the Battle of Winnipeg. The enemy is near, so say military intelligence. However, they remain hidden so far. Your orders are simple: find and destroy any enemy mobile suits you encounter."
Both forces spot each other and move in for the kill.


ActionMan checks the distance for his burst gun as he tries to help his axe-wielding zaku is involved in a life and death struggle with a Federation GM.


Zeon zakus move forward to take out the enemy GM.


A firefight between the GMs and the zakus.

In the end, the Zeon won, having cleared the Federation from the field.

"The battle rages on in the woods around Winnipeg. Having scored an early victory the Principality of Zeon consolidates its gains but at that time Amuro Rey arrives leading a small force of mobile suits."
Reinforced, the Zeon had one of the new Dom, three zakus, and two mobs of infantry. Meanwhile, the Federation had Amuro in the Gundam, a Guncannon and two GMs. The Federation moved in and took advantage of the cover.


The Zeons took a lot of damage, but kept up the firefight.


This lone zaku took on the might of the Federation, but he was eventually take out, forcing the Zeon to withdraw.

Victorious, the Federation left the woods for the outer limits of Winnipeg itself.

"It is time for the big push against the city itself. Zeon High Command has a plan: take out one of the city's electrical generators. They hope to disrupt the military efficiency of the enemy. A surprise: two of the world's top aces: Amuro Rey of the Earth Federation and Char Aznable of the Principality of Zeon face off. "
The Federation forms a strong defensive line to protect the two generators.

Here, Zeon took on heavy casualties but ended up destroying the generator, allowing them an opening to take on the city without some of its defenses. This was done in a kamikaze-style attack as the last zaku rocket-boosted to the objective and won on initiative.

"During the previous battle, one of the destroyed mobile suit is reported to have possessed a new prototype computer that could greatly increase combat effectiveness. Both sides move in to seize the computer and gain its valuable information for themselves! Once again Amuro and Char face each other.
Zeon moves in and finds a lot of destroyed technology! Char himself found not one, but TWO special tech.


Zeon keep up the pressure on the Federation. The two large rockets are part of the city's defense system.

This episode ended as soon as every tech elements were examined and the next episode started.

"As the fighting continues, the people of Winnipeg have banded together and built an enormous mobile suit. Their hope was to use it to destroy both enemy forces and prevent the military takeover. "
The massive mecha is destroyed as both the sides fired a massive barrage at it.


A huge firefight breaks out as char and Amuro traded shots. Amuro eventually shot down Char.


Amuro moving in to support his allies, who were in a good position.

Zeon's relentless pressure managed to take down Amuro and the rest of the Federation forces. ActionMan was quite happy and Nick, his opponent left with a smile on his face, seeing how his opponent had taken the victory from the jaws of defeat, at least three times.

Winnipeg was thereafter occupied by Zeonist forces.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Nashcon: A haven of thieves and looters

For the record, the title is misleading. The Nashcon folks are great and good people.

Nashcon has come and gone this year and it was an awesome experience once again. This year, I opted to offer more games than in the previous years.

Conquistadors

This year, my conquistadors returned and this year, rather than take on an African chief, they invaded an island occupied by an Aztec king. For this game, I had 4 registered players, along with ActionMan. These four guys had all played The Sword and the Flame before and were from Mississippi. There was John, Lee, Mike and Austin/Howard - I can't remember.

The scenario was simple: it was a free for all, with every conquistador leader seeking to take treasures from the Aztec lord trying to defend his village. A simple recipe that has usually yielded good results.


Here is the original setup before every one on the table. In the center is the King's village.


Actionman as his troops face the Aztec warriors.


A little later as Lee and his Cardinal moves into the village. To the southeast, Mike's men are engaged in a life and death struggle against the Aztec king and his retinue.


A little later as Lee moves in for the treasures while the melee continues. ActionMan's shot troops are moving towards the village. A force comes up from the north to take everyone from behind.


The backstabbing reaches insane levels! ActionMan moves in. Lee is sandwiched in the village. Michael has to fight off Actionman's Inca Allies. CHAOS!


The situation at the end: chaos continues.

In the end, the game was MUCH closer than we all expected.

Michael: 2 treasures (take off the board), Howard: 2 unclaimed treasures (defender), ActionMan and Lee had 1 treasure. A very close game, filled with surprises, twists and turns.

I simplified the original game to run for multiple players and I think it played well. The guys seemed happy and ActionMan thought it was a great game.

The miniatures looked great! The colorful Aztecs really popped, the conquistadors looked "right". I mean if you put those on a table of historical gamers and no one says anything... they look right.

Lunch

These big, crazy battles make for a lot of fun, but after it was done, I was tired. ActionMan and I had a plan for lunch: we went to the Indian Buffet! We both love Indian food so it was on the cards.

We had to return for a game of Gundam at 2. That was the game he was most excited about and throughout lunch he talked to me about Gundam and which of the Mobile suit he likes and which one he dislikes.

But that will be a tale for another post.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Mecha Battle Space Infantry

When I started working on Mecha Battles, I needed to get some type of infantry. I looked at many of the great stuff available out there, asking my good buddy Rob from Gamers' Haven in Colorado Springs (Shout-out to Rob, Troy and Ed, miss you guys). He provided me with a number of great options and I went through and began shopping.

A day later, I happened on a number of Battletech elementals (armored infantry) in a clearance bin at a local store. For less than 5$ (incl tax) I got all the infantry I needed. I did a simple paint job on these guys: a primary color, a few highlights and a moon rock base. Simple, quick and effective.

One unit was painted in green (for the Zeon) and one unit in white (for the Federation) but they are effectively both the same.

I will tell you that I have yet to make up good rules in Mecha Battles. These guys still suck too badly. I will have to keep working on them.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

[Humor] Recommendations from Amazon

This one has a fair bit of humor attached to it. Earlier this week, I received an email from Amazon listing a number of products I might be interested in. Guess which is the only one that came in as part of that List?

This is the link to the Rhym Campaign Setting.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Writing and project updates

The May Sale went really well. Thanks to everyone who made this month a great success. Always great to see how many people support FOE with their hard-earned cash and it drives me to make sure you have value for your money.

I think it is important for me, and for you to give you an idea of what you can expect from us in the coming months. There is a lot going on and I am spinning a million plates at once, which definitely keeps me busy

Races: I have two race books currently in the work riding on the back of the great success of Gostor: Amazon and Gostor: Amazon for 5e.

Feats: I have two books of feats in the works: one for 5e and one for Pathfinder. These are not simple "mirrors" of each other, but rather a series of new character options for the game itself.

Adventures: More adventures for ToS are in the works.

Setting Material: Building on Onero: City of Sins, I am trying to complete at least one more setting book, this one will be for the Spiderfen Forest. However, the Legacies campaign is expanding the world a lot this year, with forays into the neighboring nations of the Assar Wastelands and the country of Brumis. I have always maintained that Saggakar will grow with you, and so it does...

Adventures: Rhym adventures are coming soon. It will include my own "Black Sails", and adventure filled with, as you can guess, the sounds of "YARRR!" and "AHOY MATEYS!" I love pirates.

Setting Material: The Rhym Campaign Setting may just be out, but there is already work done on Rhym.

Other books

I am trying to release some HeroLab extensions for some of FOE's material. This is something many of you have asked me in the past. Both Gostor: Amazon and Gostor: Amazon for 5e have a herolab extension I plan to give out to those who buy these products. I am waiting on WolfLair to get back to me.

Peter-S provided me with awesome superhero art for a project of mine I've been kicking around for a while now. I will no doubt spend some time on this project during the fall.

There is also Mecha Battles whose rules set I've been working on for a while now, having frequent battles with the kids. The game has evolved into something that is very quick and that plays fast and furious.

With the release of Starfinder, I will have to spend some time looking into it. I'll admit to not being too hot to it, but as information filters out of PaizoCon, I am warming up to the idea. Now, if only I can play some of it, and not at Gencon or Origins... I'm sure there will be some events in the Nashville area.

I have a bunch of ideas floating around, but nothing that is formed enough to be workable.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Inca Army

Long ago, I bought a series of miniatures on EBay, labelled as "Aztecs". However, turns out these boys are Incas! I painted these guys into three different units.

The Purples are the king and his immediate command.

The Whites and the Yellows are a base unit.

The Reds are halberdiers, taken from the Spaniards.

The Greens represent a low-quality or levee unit with children pressed into service.

These guys will do serve as Aztec allies for Nashcon.