JP On Gaming

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

[ArcadiaQuest] Inferno

I am currently working on Will's collection of ArcadiaQuest - Inferno miniatures. Here are the first three.

The guy on the left is a type of Greco-Roman warrior, a Hercules of sort.

The guy in the middle could be one of several guys. Gandalf or Moses parting the Red Sea. I am particularly happy how the white of his tunic and the white of his hair and beard came out. One is really white/cotton and the other is gray. Nice effect on a simple paint job.

The last character is a Xena lookalike. She has a simple palette but a great sculpt.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

September Setting Sale means 33% off FOE products

DriveThru RPG is making a September Setting Sale. This means that all of FOE's setting books are 33% off! Great time to pick up the Rhym Campaign Setting or the Tyrants of Saggakar for Pathfinder or the Tyrants of Saggakar for 5e.

Or you can opt to expand your knowledge of the Tyrants of Saggakar setting with either the ArchDespotate of Faremh, or one of the location books, including the new Markelis: City in the Mists or Randy's awesome Onero: City of Sins.

Perhaps you are looking for something to spice up your own campaign? Check out Service is Eternal, a book on the First Ones or the many tomes and spells of A Shackled Mind is a Clear Mind.

Or maybe you just want to complete your collection of Saggakar by getting the Tyrants of Saggakar Bundle

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Paizo fails again

Paizo does many good products, but they do not get the message about one of their really very crappy product. I can safely say that I will not purchase any of Paizo's GM screens.

And I love GM Screens.

Why? Because they make them the "thin and high" rather than "long and wide". Their screen links the long edges together and this make it a product that loses all value to me.

Unlike Paizo, WotC has got it right (one of many things). WotC's GM Screen are linked by the small edge, making their screens lower and much wider.

A lower GM screen allows for the privacy a GM wants and needs when running a game: hide maps, art of what the PCs have yet to encounter, module notes, and a bunch of other things. A GM screen is not merely used to hide dice rolls (though that IS one of its function).

Another great benefit is that when the GM sits down, the low screen makes it so there can be a flow of discussion, it does not completely cover the GM's face. I feel like there is a feeling of community and shared experience rather than the ultimate tower of GMing. If you know me and my GMing style, I encourage discussion not just with the NPCs, but between the party as well and the low screen allows me to fade into the background yet hear everything that is happening.

A low screen makes it easier for me to reach and access miniatures or draw on the map without having to put an armpit in a player's face. Okay I don't do that, but you get the point that I have to reach over or around everything and invade someone else's personal space.

For some GMs and their style the high vs low screen does not matter, either because they simply do not use one or use one off to the side/ on a side table. But I use the screen on the table in front of me and I like to feel included with the players (if only to plot their later demise and backstab them at the right moment).

So although the screen is visually nice and filled with nice and useful information, it will remain on the shelf of my FLGS. I do have a 4e game screen AND a 5e one. Both of which are low and wide and have used both.

I will leave you with a repost of a picture of the Rhym one-shot to show you what I mean. You can see my bald head in the background. The screen is up, but the players can see me move my hands and I can easily reach over... And that is why I will not buy a Paizo screen until they make them useful. And mean low and wide.

Btw, I don't need them wide because I'm a big guy myself... But it helps.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

[Rhym] The Awakening a One-Shot Campaign


This past weekend, I ran my first home game in a very long time. I had an interesting idea to bring together a very hodge-podge group of characters. Both as characters and in-person.

After our original plan for Labor Day feel through, I was really bummed, but I bucked up and talking to my players, I visited some local groups and recruited new people. As with any such gathering, you never know who will show up and whether the party will gel together.

Well... Things went really well from the time they woke up in their cells... The players were awesome and they really got into the madness of the story (which married a dungeon crawl with more intrigue).

The characters were:
- Sister Atusa, A human life cleric (Order of the Eye)
- Belladonus/Belladona, A Haver bard
- Hyree, An Amazon Ranger
- Keevin, A Ptahn Monk
- Om-za, A Kynean sorcerer
- Togg, A Hareen (feral halfling) fighter

I created these characters to both showcase FOE products, but also cover a wide variety of character types. Each character had different abilities than the other iconics from either Saggakar or Rhym.


Ashe drew the following character, who plays Sister Atusa cleric of Knowledge. The awesome drawing depict Sister Atusa hiding behind the large Amazon, Hyree. It seems that she has a growing phobia of the written word. Whenever she hears "There is something written", she now hides... Or they send the illiterate hareen ahead of them. Funny what a few glyphs can do..

Here are a few action pics.




Friday, September 8, 2017

Markelis: City in the Mists released!

I just finished Markelis: City in the Mists for Tyrants of Saggakar, I am reminded of the amount of work that must be done on a product AFTER the writing is done. This include: layout and pagination, editing and correcting, and the art selection.

When I first started as a writer, I did not do much about that, but with time, I do it more and more. The editing in particular is time-consuming but makes the final product so much better. For that phase of the product I print the PDF and go about covering the page in red rewrites and tightening the text.

What is Markelis? It is the city swallowed in the Mists, former capital of the ArchDespotate. I had most of the details I would need for it written before the Origins special. From that skeleton, I grew the locations and clarified things. I mean the Origins version was very workable for an adventure, but not enough for a full book.

The product is one that will be a first for FOE. It is published for BOTH 5e and Pathfinder at the same time! It includes new magical items and artefacts to be found in Markelis and new monsters, including some NPCs (an anuka ghast called King-Of-Mists).

Markelis, City in the Mists

Twenty years ago the Mists came over the city and took more than half its population. The former capital of the ArchDespotate of Faremh was abandoned in a hurry, its treasures left behind.

This book contains:
- A history of the city of Markelis
- Detailed descriptions of its most important sites, such as the Spire of Skulls, the Temple of Man, and the cemetary.
- Adventure locations and plot hooks
- Three new monsters: Ethrereal Worms, the Tar Mummies and the Warrior Daemons.
- Two fully-statted out NPCs: the ghast King-of-Mists and the blind erinyes Rodwenza.
- A city that will be used extensively for the Legacies Organized Play Campaign

This book is a great addition to the Tyrants of Saggakar setting. I am really excited to see this one come out!

You can get this new book from the usual sources: DriveThruRPG or RpgNOW

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

New Art: The Monsters

I said it before, and I will say it again, every time I get new art, it is like a mini-Christmas. Opening the message and looking at what I will find inside. I have been blessed with working with so many great artists in my time at FOE. I never worked with artists before, so that was one of the many things I had to learn when I started working at FOE.

These new pieces are from Zamy Zam, a new artist I am working with. I really like her work. For her first commission, I asked her to draw my kids as adventurers.

Monday, September 4, 2017

[Review] Gundam F-91

Another one I got while in college.

This one takes place much in the future of the UC - to the point where it has nothing to do with it. A space colony is attacked by a group of... huh... I guess "space pirate" is the closest thing. This group, the Crossbone Vanguard has vague undertone of Zion or the Titans, but not really, but kinda. They are led by a poor imitation of Darth Vader.

Turns out one of the local kids was really a secret princess of this group and Vader's daughter. The Vanguard launch a major offensive where they retake the girl and take over the colony.

A group of kids manages to escape the colony with a Gundam they take in a museum (!) They go on to fight against the Vanguard, whom the girl above has since joined-ish. Guhhh.

Then there are many fights, culminating with Vader-Mobile-Suit-Of-Doom and its destruction. Awesome.

This movie bored me to tears. The adults are all so stupid, deciding to send kids to fight against MS. I mean this whole movie makes no sense in the Gundam UC timeline. The plot is a gathering of bad cliches from the series. And this movie dates back to 1991...

But perhaps the worse is the ending where it says "The End... or is it the beginning?" Trying to be cute, but it failed big time.


Story: The story is a bad re-hashing of Star Wars and Gundam, but coming on the weak side of both. You learn nothing here and the potential threads for the future lead nowhere. 2/5 Really just doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

Characters: The characters aren't very bright all around, other than Cecily (the girl) who shows some flashes of brilliance. I would not want to see any of them again, and guess what... I never did!

Animation: The animation is bad, even for something of that time. 1/5, there is nothing to write home about here.

Overall: Overall this is a 2/5. Watch this only if you are completionnist fan of the Gundam Universal Century. You won't miss a thing if you skip it.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Gencon 2017 AAR: What I learned from Gencon 50

Here are Part 1 and Part 2

This post is the third and final installment of my look back at Gencon 50. Here, I will focus on the lessons learned and what if anything I plan on doing going forward.

I am using a simplified format based on the retrospective of a sprint in Agile development. This makes the result more interesting to read.

What I learned:
- I have great friends It is always great to realize how many people I know and highly value, and how many of them I meet at Gencon. I got to spend a little time with my friend Florent and meet his girlfriend, he came to visit us before the con but this was great to see them both. I chanced upon both guys from Gamers Haven in CO, Rob and Troy, and got to spend a couple of minutes chatting with them. I also met a kid who I ran a game two years ago and he was really excited to speak with me. I said hello to the PCI/Arcanis folk but did not want to take too much of their time as they were busy selling books.
- I enjoyed running 5e more than Pathfinder Although I personally prefer to play Pathfinder, I find that the table of 5e have been more enjoyable to run and less filled with details and minutiae. Rather, the plot and the story flowed more naturally. I am thinking that my personal style of writing and GMing lends itself better to 5e.
- I need to bring more GMs For the past two years, I have been selling out games consistently. There is demand for what I offer. For next year, I want to become one of the Premiere Groups and get better locations to run my stuff. This means I will need another GM to run more events.
- I get little repeat business At Gencon, I run a lot of different people, with different faces at every slot. People either go to play one thing (such as PFS or Adventure League) OR go about playing a variety of systems and settings. Until they discover the awesomeness of FOE, I will draw mostly from the latter group.
- Gencon is HUGE If you haven't gone, it is. It defies reason. It is also part of its draw. This leads to me being forced to not being able to meet everyone I want to see. For example, this year I missed Chad-N and Jen-M who I wanted to meet.

What I will do:
- FOE is going back to Gencon in 2018
- Offer one adventure and perhaps a special This year, I rushed to complete three adventures when I could have just as easily ran just one. I like the idea of a special and Gencon is the perfect place to run this.
- I will ask for one or two other GMs Next year, FOE will offer multiple tables run with another GM or two. Perhaps have one set of adventures set in Tyrants of Saggakar and one set Rhym? That's something I still need to decide. I still have a few months to decide.
- I must look at my phones during the day Meeting Florent almost did not happen. He had free time when we could've met but I did not look at the phone until MUCH later.
- Focus on one system I think I will focus on 5e at public events going forward. I had more success running games of 5e than Pathfinder (but that is for a completely different post).

What YOU can do
- Let me know if you want to GM for FOE at Gencon. I have no idea of perks yet.
- Let me know if you have an idea. Whether for an adventure or anything else.

This is it. Gencon is in the books.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

New Release: Gostor Thirty 5e Feats with Herolab plugin

I had just finished with the Tyrants of Saggakar Player's Guide and I had to cut a few things out of it. Then I worked on Rhym and I had to trim some material that did not feel fully flavored. I still have a number of snippets of rule elements: feats, spells, random ideas, partial stat blocks.

Like many other writers, I keep a list of these on a cutting floor. These few files are filled with half-formed ideas: names, one-line ideas, and even a few entries that needs cleaning up but that I don't need immediately. So one day, I looked at the list and saw that it had grown beyond "just a few". So I decided to look into them and develop them.

That I wanted to use some of them for an upcoming adventure has nothing to do with it... So I spent many evenings refining, talking about them and running a few playtests. Because one thing I personally am quite conscious about is game balance. I do not want these feats to overpower the game.

With my list coalescing at thirty (it originally had 34 but some I decided to take out), I thought about using them... so I created a HeroLab file for them.

So it is with great pride that I announce the release of Gostor: Thirty 5e Feats through DriveThru RPG, RPGNow, and now DM's Guild. The price for the book includes the HeroLab extension!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

GENCON 2017 AAR PART 2

Continuing my series about my experience at Gencon 50. Catch up on Part 1.

Friday

Back to it, I set up my games and got ready for my first game of the day. It did not look good for it as I had only a single ticket sold for the event. At the appointed time, my one player, Milford was there and we spent most of the slot chatting about Saggakar, gaming and Starfinder. After a while, I offering him to run something and I ran him through Service and Reward: House Faremhi. A short adventure that did present the setting and the campaign. A fun game.

The afternoon slot was for the first run of The Sorrowful Lady using Pathfinder. This was the first game that would allow me a head-to-head of the two systems. Other than some of the combat, the final encounter plays REALLY differently, the flow was very similar. They understood the dilemma and the challenges of the decision. I really enjoyed running this one.

The evening slot was the one I was perhaps looking most forward to. Why? My good friends Brandon and Nate were participating.

So I start with my typical story, explaining the setting and how it affected the world. Off we went into a land of utter madness. I mean really.

Bluntly, the game did not go well. To players obviously did not understand the dangers and pitfalls of Saggakar. That going to evil is easy, but avoiding it requires strength. These two guys just went for it hook, line, sinker, fishing rod, boat, pier, and heck even the whole town. They used interesting tactics (to say the least). And finally up and left.

That always sucks... We finished the adventure, but their options and choices became much more limited.

Day 2 ended on a rather bad note because of it. It wasn't the great experience I always want to give the players. I did not sleep too well that night, though not because of excitement.

Saturday

I woke up with a stiff neck and not feeling as great as I wanted. But today, I got to sleep in 15 minutes more... I was not running anything that day.

I spent the day in Rokugan, fighting against gaijin wanting to take a city we liberated years ago. In the afternoon, I played in the LARP. I must say that while I enjoy these Larps, I just don't get as much enjoyment as I do from a regular game but it is still worth playing. I really enjoy my Crane shugenja.

I got to my hotel "early" and crashed. The day had gone well, I enjoyed myself and the poor ending to Friday had faded in the background.

Sunday

Last day of the con... Sundays are always an interesting times at cons because you never know who will show up and when. This year was no different. However, I had a family show up, ready for gaming. Black Sails is a perfect Sunday morning adventure: it is lighthearted, simple, and fun. I mean... pirate ships... PIRATES!!!

With a lot of YARRR and action, it was an awesome end to the weekend. From the high of Thursday to the low of Friday, Sunday brought it back up into a clear and definite positive. I turned in my paperwork and was on my way home in no time.

Gencon was over.

Next: The Lessons of Gencon 50

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Gencon 2017 AAR Part 1

With another Gencon in the books, it is now time to review its highlights.

Wednesday

Wednesday was perhaps the longest day of the year. With updates from Indy filtering through my phone, and the instant messages letting me know how awesome things were and were people were drinking. If you sent me or posted such an update on that day, then you managed to make my day go on and on...

4:30 rolled in and we discovered a bug in the code. Nothing new, something that has been there for a while, so I was able to leave in spite of it. We had a plan to address it when I'd return, so things were fine.

I go on the road around 5:30 CDT and drove up to Kentucky. I expected rain all the way through, but was only hit with a heavy downpour in the Nashville area.

I slept at the Motel 6 in Indianapolis East. I will simply say this: I didn't pay very much and I got what I paid for.

Sleep was difficult to come by, mostly because I was so excited and could not wait for the con to start.

Thursday

Morning came and I showered, checked everything once more. My heart raced in my chest as I drove to the JW Marriott. I got there really early (it was barely 7AM when I got to my room and table). I walked the miles to the GM HQ to get my badge, tickets, and all the paperwork I would need.

I was back and set up all my stuff to run my game. It was House Cleaning an adventure that is simple, well at least that's what I thought... However, the players quickly understood the complexities presented to them and why what seemed at first very simple turned out not to be so... I really enjoyed running it.

The second adventure was The Sorrowful Lady. An adventure I wrote with more than a little humor, which when placed into Saggakar becomes a dark farce. Part tragedy, part comedy. It has some highly memorable NPCs therein.

My third and final slot of the day was the special, The Assar Gambit that took the PCs back to the Wastelands - a region a few people visited at Lexicon. I was very anxious to write more about it. I had to strip out some of material out of the Lexicon adventure and used it as the base for this one. The group that came really played into the story. And even went wild on some elements, with PCs playing dirty tricks on each other, with results that will have to be written in the campaign.

One down. I survived and rode high into the second day.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Four new adventures!

I just released four adventures for Legacies. Now you may ask "why only some in one game and not the other". Simple: Time. I have to prioritize one over the other.

Pathfinder RPG

These two adventures are "short" adventures usable a introductory adventures meant to be played in about two hours.

ToS2-04A - Service and Rewards - House Faremhi A slave-hunting adventure.

ToS2-04B - Family Treasure A test of truth and family relations.

5th Edition

These two adventures are "short" adventures usable a introductory adventures meant to be played in about two hours.

ToS2-54B - Family Treasure A test of truth and family relations.

ToS2-55 - As Oracles and as Warnings A full-length adventure set in Spiderfen.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Revamped FOELegacies.com

First Ones Entertainment

It's been a long time coming... I am currently putting the finishing touches on a revamped FOELegacies.com. For a few years now, the site lay partially completed, in a state I really did not enjoy much. But I did not have the time or the inspiration to complete the re-work.

Fast forward to July 2017.

As I stared at the blank page of one of my Gencon adventures, I began to draw on a spare piece of paper some squares. Just simple shapes. As I stacked together more and more boxes, inspiration struck and I immediately knew how I wanted the site to look like.

I put down a few things, such as ideas how to use the awesome art Irene and others produced for me. I giggled and laughed like a madman as the whole thing began to take shape.

Then the laughing stopped abruptly. I knew how I wanted it to look... Now I had to actually make it. I spent a few evenings trying to fix the site as it was, with JQuery and Javascript only... but it did not look as I wanted. I just could not get it exactly as I wanted.

So I dropped everything. Literally. I decided I would use a different type of technology, one I was not very familiar with. Oh yes, I've done and worked on a number of ASP.NET sites over the years, but this one was the first one I would build FOR ME. To fulfill my vision.

Many sleepless nights followed before I published my project to FOELegacies.com and began to testing it, making sure the links worked as I expected. And I liked what I see... It is simple, usable and quick... Just like my vision.

TLDR New look for FOELegacies.com

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Eeeeek! A Spider!

This one is my daughter's favorite... as we can make her scream every time we show her... A Reaper Bones spider...

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Fellowship Of The Ring (ish)

I happened on this lot of minis by pure accident, one of the many "cheap bids" I often do on Ebay.

It was a joy to paint them.











Saturday, July 22, 2017

New year, New Logo, New Map

For the past three weeks on the Legacies Facebook group I have conducted a poll over what you guys wanted to see next. But in the end, you (yes I'm pointing at YOU) have chosen to go with a civil war! I cannot quite blame you as such a thing has been brewing in the ArchDespotate pretty much from the moment Hellebora ascended to the throne.

So I went ahead and created a new logo for this coming year.

And while I was at it, I updated the Faremh map some.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

[Terrain Thursday] Tents

These rocks/ tents/ troglodyte homes were made originally for Lexicon. I used paper maché and pieces of a drink carrier from a fast food place.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Reaper Drow

I originally painted this guy with a Prince Larome from Tyrants of Saggakar as my original idea had him be a villain the PCs could fight. However, as I wrote on (and on), the scenario where he became an immediate adversary became less and less likely. It is still there, not completely gone.

So when Will needed a drow character, I immediately thought of this guy! I think he will be great on a gaming table.

Monday, July 3, 2017

New art and Rhym surprises

I teased you all about Irene's latest work for a while now... but here it is!

You will recognize two of Rhym's iconic characters: Nightshade the Darkling Monk and Fahran the Tiefling cleric.

In other great news, JD was invited as a guest to the Imaginareum convention in Louisville, KY! I will be there running some Rhym material, including some new adventures. If you are in the Louisville area, stop by and say hello to us!.

You can get the Rhym Campaign Setting through Amazon.Com (softcover) or the PDF at DriveThruRPG or RPGNow

Gencon nearly sold out

Today is the last day to pre-register for Gencon. I still have Pathfinder tickets left for Friday morning and afternoon.

Everything else is SOLD OUT! All the 5e Saggakar, All the Rhym, and one slot of Pathfinder-Saggakar.

A huge thank you to everyone who made FOE one of your stops during Gencon. We appreciate it very much.

If you want to sign up, here are the Saggakar slots available Click here to go to Gencon.com

Saturday, July 1, 2017

I need YOUR help

Year Three is nearly upon us, seeing how Gencon is just around the corner, I wanted to ask a few questions of you all.

Having tabulated the results of the tables from Origins, I am left with a few decisions to make... Namely what will be the central event of 786IC in the ArchDespotate. I have a number of ideas but think input is important. Here are short versions of where the main story line will build up:
- Civil War House Faremi has still not accepted ArchDespot Hellebora and have been building their army for over a year now. In 786 they would make their claim public, with the strength of their armies.
- External War Last year, you visited two foreign nations: Brumis and the Assar Wastelands. In 786, the ArchDespotate would fight against one of these nations.
- Invasion Similar to the External war, but this time, the ArchDespotate is attacked by an external force: perhaps the Fleshburners in the south or the Assar barbarians.
- Ongoing old war This effectively maintains the situation as it is, as everyone tries to place their pawns in the inevitable struggle for the crown.

Do you have a preference? Any other ideas?

I will be running a poll on the Legacies Facebook group for the next two weeks. .

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Writing Update: Before Gencon

I mentioned when I came back from Origins that I was filled with ideas... well I am. I am nearing completion of the next expansion book for Tyrants of Saggakar. I planned on writing a small book, somewhere around four to five thousand words.

This is not to be... As I started putting ideas down and down.

And down.

And down.

The book has almost doubled my initial estimation and may be up to ten thousand words! I am waiting to get in touch with one of my authors who will likely add even more material to the book (if she wants).

Following that, I need to complete my adventures for Gencon.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Commissions Will's Adventuring Party

I was talking to Will and he mentioned he planned on buying a bunch of miniatures for his newest 5e party. I mentioned that I most likely had whatever he needed. The only thing I did not have was a male halfling sorcerer. So I painting him one from the StoneHaven collection!

I Like how the crystal came out with a flat shine. His hair came out in a classic black and blue, like classic Superman...

And thus here is the assembled party I built for him. It is a mix of Reaper, StoneHaven and Oathsworn.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Cryx Monday: A Monstruosity

This is a guy I got from the Undercity game. I am not interested in the game itself, but it was well-worth the minis! I will be posting more of them in the coming days.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Commission: Throne of the Dwarven King

A few weeks ago, my buddy Bjorn asked me if I wanted to paint something for him. We met at a local restaurant and he handed me this wonderful piece from his Reaper Bones. At the time I suffered from major jealousy because my own box was still days before it shipped.

He had a single request: to give the dwarf a silver right arm. It's hard to see from the picture but it is there.

Personal highlight include the silver piece behind the throne. I wanted a metallic piece that was tarnished... Like a piece of silver that hasn't been fully cleaned. My mother used to have silver cutlery and should have to clean them every few years or they would turn black. That is the effect I was going for and it looks pretty good to me... Hope he's as thrilled about it as I am.

Update: I finally got my Bones.

Friday, June 23, 2017

[Terrain] Log works

Here are some small pieces of terrain I did for the specials at Lexicon.

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).