JP On Gaming

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Back in the saddle

After the sad events of October when I was suddenly without employment, I spent the last six weeks in a frantic dash for a new job.

Frantic is the word because i spent more time on the phone during that time than I did for the whole of the two years prior. I had to start up my outlook calendar just to keep track of who I talked to and interview appointments. On days I would wake up without any calls, I would end up doing a string of unexpected calls.

I am not complaining. I have, and have positioned myself to have a skill set that is in high demand in the Nashville market. Those of you who do not know, I am a software engineer. I write and think of code for a living.

He best part of this madness is the place I am in now: starting a new job. Who'd'a thunk that going back to work would be like a vacation? I knew. After the previous scramble in 2015, I knew.

This time, I had to choose between seven positions. Many of them really good ones, and turning them down was difficult. Decisions are not about making friends, but making the right choice for me, my family, and my employer. A place for that sweet spot... Where I believed I could grow my career the most. It was difficult indeed. Especially when salaries were all very good. I angsted and tossed and turned over many nights. It came up to a coin toss between two places.

But as usual, with a decision came peace.   I slept so well, snored for sure. I had a job again.

So I am currently sitting in a Waffle House waiting to meet my contact so that I can start... In just under 40 minutes. The routine returns...

I know Thanksgiving is behind us but I still feel the need to thank so many people. Every recruiter who gave me the chance to showcase what I could do, every employer who wanted to pick my brains and see if my skills could help them. My family in Montreal for their support from afar, my friends in Tennessee and Kentucky.

But the biggest thanks I have to give goes to my immediate family: my three kids: Jojo, Kitty, and ActionMan who fulfilled their part of the bargain I offered them, to do good in school while I found a new job. And my wife, Julie who supported me during this time, a real rock. I am sure she will be more than happy to see me leave the house and the Dr Phil marathon to end...

I almost forgot Dr Phil whose sixteen years on tv gave me a lot watch with from my sofa. I mean have you ever met a guy named Philip (and its many spellings) who wasn't a great guy? (There is one, the current premier of my native province of Quebec...)

Now enough blabbing let's get back to work!

Monday, November 27, 2017

[Akhamet] Insight into design of a new campaign setting

I have been working non-stop on Akhamet, my idea for a mini-setting with an adventure path linked to it.

So I put together a few bullet points that give insight into this latest idea.

Akhamet is NOT like Egypt

Akhamet is not Ancient Egypt. The presence of active magic, the presence of many different, intelligent races, the gods’ direct involvement in the affairs of the world, and the geography are all different.

Throughout the history of Ancient Egypt, it was a nation connected to the rest of the world. Akhamet is an insular nation without any neighbors.

The gods themselves are named and based on the gods of Egypt. However, their portfolios, domains, and attitudes are not the same.

Akhamet is like Egypt

Akhamet draws upon Ancient Egypt: the architecture, appearance of the people, the people’s view of the world, the desire for peace, and the ecology. These serve as great

Its gods, peoples, legends, cities and stories are quite different. While this setting is inspired and draws from Egyptian folklore, it is not.

Dead Rise

Dead bodies left unattended and without receiving proper funerary rites arise as undead creatures, typically ghasts, ghouls, or zombies. These creatures roam about, hunting for the living.

Priests of Anubis cannot mummify everyone using the full rites, so the gods provided their priests with spell to prevent this.

God among us

Pharaoh is a living god whose home is the palace in Ophara. As the god of the Sun, he is eternal and benevolent. Any word of His immediately becomes law.

The recent announcement of his illness and new state is highly unsettling for the people of Akhamet, for to doubt or wish ill of Pharaoh is to commit a major crime. Therefore his current status makes most people try to avoid talking about it.

No Heir

Much like the previous point, Pharaoh has over a thousand living children, the Retids. None of them ever dreamed or was ever groomed for the throne if Pharaoh were to die. The retids spend their lives trying to reconcile their divine nature with their common ancestries.

A few princes begin to think of themselves as potential successors to their father. More than a few are gathering loyal forces in case of an eventual civil war.

Priestly Administration

The civil service is composed of priests dedicated to one of the many gods of Akhamet. In any areas, priests rule over the populace. They serve as barristers, magistrates, professionals, scribes, and local rulers. Priests touch every aspect of life.

While not all priests are altruistic or moved by the plights of the locals, this arrangement brought stability, peace and prosperity to life.

There is no idea of a separation of church and state, or a lay administration. Saying such things, could be considered seditious.

Akhamet is yours

The idea of this mini-setting is to provide a basic framework to create adventures with an Egyptian-them. The content of this book is to support the adventure path.

How can I help with Akhamet

I am looking for people wanting to write for Akhamet: I want land, desert, island settlements written, sidetrek-style adventures (like a one-page dungeon). If you are interested in helping out and getting yourselves some writing credits - and a little cash, contact me directly at JP@chapleau.us.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

[Starfinder] Sailor Scouts... for adults

With Starfinder released, I bought a number of futuristic miniatures, from Foundry's Near Future range. I sold quite a few already and I kept a few to myself. However, my mix feelings towards Starfinder mean that I will not need to keep them.

These scantily-clad ladies I got the idea of painting them in an updated/ adult version of the the Sailor Scouts... They were definitely fun and a challenge to paint right. So little clothing is rare these days and well...

I do love me some bikini babes.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

YARRR! Pirates Gallore!

This group I won as part of a reward from a Kickstarter I took part in. A full crew of Halflings pirates! Can you say "Yarr" in a high-pitched voice?

The sculpt is good and simple, but very effective, reminding me a little big of Old Glory miniatures, but with MUCH better faces.

These guys paint up really well, and so quickly. My main complaint was when I was done, I wanted to paint more.

I added the Reaper cook to the crew because... well having a cook is always awesome.

Friday, November 24, 2017

[Undercity] City Guards

Here is a mob of city guards. These guys are from Croe's Cutthroat set, but I got this mob from the Undercity game. I am not overly impressed with the crispness of the details, so I opted to paint them in three groups of six.

These guys will serve as guards and all-purpose soldiers.

Friday, November 17, 2017

New Art for Akhamet

As I keep working on Akhamet, Zam keeps sending me these awesome pieces of art, completing the iconic characters (the others were posted in the previous post). I will be posting additional info on the races.

Monday, November 13, 2017

[ArcadiaQuest] No more pets

The final batch of Pets for Will's ArcadiaQuest. I am quite fond of the Mogwai and the turtle!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Akhamet: A new mini-setting/adventure path from FOE

All this quiet time... I miss you guys, my reader.

Since becoming unemployed, I have not been idle. Between the interviews and work-related training, I came up with a wacky idea. As I churned the idea in my mind, I kept liking what I had. So here goes....

This is a setting inspired by ancient Egypt. Here, Pharaoh (not "the Pharaoh" but "Pharaoh") has ruled the land as a god-king for millennia. Just recently, the priest announced that He is dying. Speaking of Pharaoh dying, or not being king anymore is heresy...

Hand in hand with that, I have been thinking of a short adventure path to accompany the setting. I have the first adventure mostly done. I have two encounters to do. So I should soon be able to run this for people.

At first, I planned to do this for both Pathfinder AND 5e, but as I began to get into it, I decided to focus on 5e. Why? Simplicity of design, speed of design, and well I am much more in a 5e frame of mind. Doing only one system allows me to go faster. Plus who knows, I may decide to make a Pathfinder version later!

My idea for this is to have the adventure be allowed as part of Legacies, so you can play the adventure and get rewarded for it in the campaign, much like the Pathfinder Modules or the big adventures from the Adventure League. AL do it quite interesting...

Without burning too much yet, as a lot of stuff is still in the works, I leave you with some of Zam's art for the project. She has been doing awesome work for me and I'm very excited. There will be more coming. The following are going to be used as pregens for Akhamet games!

So what classes do you think they should be? What class would be fun to play with these guys?

[ArcadiaQuest] More pets!

Monday, November 6, 2017

[ArcadiaQuest] Pets gallore

Here are a few ArcadiaQuest pets I have been holding to for quite a while now. These are more of Will's collection.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Service is Eternal for 5e released!

You may have been wondering why I have been rather quiet on this blog for a while, and I have to say I missed it. I miss writing for it. However, with this crazy week I had, I did not have a lot of time to spend writing. I did however, take some time to write and complete work on a book I've been working on for quite a while. Of course, I mean the 5e version of "Service is Eternal", the book to the First Ones of Saggakar.

I always thought of this book as a "monster book", but one where you create and build serious enemies. So the balance in design that I value everywhere else here takes a backseat as I want to make the First Ones to be more than just monsters.

This new edition was an opportunity for me to not only review material for the setting, but also to add elements to it that were not in the original, Pathfinder version. So let's go over some of the changes that are in there.

First, a whole new section on First Ones Organizations. These organizations were mentioned in the original book, as feats and as prestige classes. I always felt these were not well defined enough in the original book. When I began thinking about them and how I had not used them much. I went back to my original material for them and expanded them. I did the Orders, but also redid the six schools, expanded and defined them. If you look at many of the main First One NPCs, you can already see where I was going with some of them, those secret background that have yet to appear in adventure and in material. I really like the simplicity of the 5e organization format. Although I initially wanted to expand the format, I opted against it, to let the GM on his own how powerful the school/organization is in his campaign.

The organizations are used for backgrounds, allowing for the creation of characters who attended the schools or trained with the orders and are either no longer members OR currently on leave.

The six races that were in the original book are still here: the half-elven Drovites, the commanding Exodites, the breeding Grexodites, the shadowy Harovites, the demonic Netherlings, and the halfling-driders: the spiderlings. But the coolest and most disgusting addition to the main races are the shapeshifting shogleths. I had these guys in adventures and when they transform from a humanoid into an ooze is always fun to describe and watch the players' reaction.

The new archetypes for the classes are based on what used to be prestige classes, such as the Dark Dancer (bard), the Kares'kor (fighter), the Jet Arrows (ranger), the Lords of the Whip (fighter), the Masters of the Veils (wizard), and the Shadow Blades (rogue).

Add new feats, new spells, new alchemical substances, new magic items, 5e version of the monsters, and sample First Ones.

You can get this book on DriveThru RPG and RPG Now. Check it out, leave a review.

Perhaps the biggest bonus is that it has a HeroLab extension! So get the book, and create First Ones through Herolab right away!

For those of you who enjoy Legacies, you get a special, "unique" LR that allows you to create a First One in the campaign!

Monday, October 16, 2017

No sunset this time

I just got the news that I was being cut for budgetary concerns from the job I occupied for the last 2.8 years. It had it ups and downs, but I enjoyed showing up to work and getting some really cool things done. While I am quite angry about this situation, I must focus on what is coming, on what I need to do next.

Over the last two years, I was able to really solidify the development situation, going from a house on fire to one of calm and peace. I set up a number of processes that made deployments simpler, quicker, and easier. I put in place code that simplified and streamlined the code, especially in the area of data access and unit testing. I am proud to say that under my watch (I'll give myself a 4 month grace period), there has been no major code issues. None that required a rollback or an emergency fix. Actually, I recall there was one... Still with 1.5 deployments a month, I'll take take.

I can't take it personal, because I know my performance was good and that I have nothing to be ashamed of. I did a great job. So good that they decided that I was not needed. A victim of my own success.

Still it sucks.

It provides me little solace to know I did nothing wrong.

I already contacted many of recruiters and have spent the day on the phone. I pray things will fall in place quickly.

I did find solace today in a few things. First, my wife is the most understanding and kind person I know. I mean, she is able to put up with me. Second, Since I posted the new on social media, I received a LOT of help and well-wishes from people all over the place.

Now enough wallowing in self-pity and let's get up and start getting my butt back to work.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Imaginarium After-Action Report

This past weekend was Imaginarium Convention in Louisville, Ky. I attended the cons last year as a guest, and this year, I went as there as support for JD, the man behind Rhym. JD was running panels and workshops.

The trip there took much longer than expected because I spent two hours trying to cross all of Nashville. For those who do not know, I both live and work in the south of Nashville. After a long time on the road, I got there. Since it was around 10pm local, I decided to make a stop at the convention hall to check in and see what was going on.

HQ had just closed for the night, but the gaming hall was still rockin', so I sad down at a 5e game for its finale. My introduction to the game featured all kinds of wrong, and the game delivered, laughs all around.

Then I check in to the hotel, only to discover that I booked the wrong weekend! The issue was quickly addressed and fixed quickly and I was shortly in my room ready for sleep, watching Guy Fieri on TV.

I got up early Saturday morning ready to rock. I did a quick stop at a local Starbucks for my morning joe and I was ready to rock. Everything was set up, with the looming shape of Fahran the tiefling cleric over me, I waited.

The first slot, I had only a single player show up. It was great to see Scott again, with whom I played last year. I could've joined either a game of Dread or a game of Wild Skies, but I did not really feel it. Rather, I was full of ideas. So I sat down and I wrote. I wrote up a storm at a writing convention!

Towards the planned end of the slot, Tom who I met at the very first Imaginarium and JD came around and we began to chat and talk about stuff. Yak Yak Yak. So much so that before I realize it, it was ten to two. I had not eaten yet!

The afternoon slot, I ran the newest Rhym adventure, Lord of the Desert. The ink on the adventure was still drying when I left for the con on Friday. A fun time for sure, though I did take a little too much time to get into the meat of the plot. It is a big adventure, with a lot to do. By the end, they were breathless and asking for more, always a good sign!

After that, Tom, JD and I headed to the Sichuan Gardens for a Korean-prepared Chinese feast. I was famished by then. I must say that I wolfed down anything that came within arm's reach. Over dinner, we talked about a lot of things as I ate and ate.

After that, I got into my car to see my hockey team was getting crushed. Sigh. The drive south was uneventful. Sleep. Sleep was good.

The con had moved from its previous location near the airport for the Ramada Inn in J-Town (next to my Kentucky home). The venue is fine even if there is nothing closeby to eat without taking your car.

I will send to the convention folk, that the gaming-related panels and the gaming programming should be made so that game slots and game panels do not clash with each other. I really think this would allow both GMs and players to have time to participate in as many events as possible. I think that could really help the gaming room. Attendance seemed low, but that is only from my own limited perception.

I am interested in going back next year. Though I will plan to have all my panels in the morning, then GM afternoon and evening. I would also like to plan my time better so I get to meet different writers and publishers.

That's it for this year!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

[ArcadiaQuest] The Jester

In my previous post, I posted about the Marillion jester from the band's early and quite hallowed days. Like many fan, I prefer their early stuff (with Fish).

I'm not fully satisfied with the picture, but not with the model itself, I really like.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Wonderpage is Moving

Way back in 1996, I opened a website on my university's servers to put content from my many World of Darkness. I called it quite simply, Pacman's Wonderpage. The name stuck and I used it to this day...

Before I left college, I moved the Wonderpage to Geocities. That was years before Yahoo got a hold of it. I built up my site so it would contain everything I wanted. It was great fun to built and experiment with html technologies. Before Geocities closed down, I moved to a GoDaddy hosted website, simply Chapleau.us.

When came time for the big redo and move to PHP in and around 2008-09, I setup everything I wanted.

Tonight, I am moving the Wonderpage once again, to a new hosting solution. I will be reviewing a lot of things on the Wonderpage, maybe updating parts of it to a different type of technologies. It remains to be seen... Should be fun for sure...