JP On Gaming

Sunday, April 5, 2020

ArcadiaQuest: Lost pix

Cleaning up the ancient articles, I found these guys from WAY back in 2017! They belong to my good friend Will. These guys were some of the final ones I did for him.

Oddly enough, I never took him up on his offer to actually TRY the game. One day, but not THESE days of quarantine and isolation!

Blast from the past!

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Citizens of Akhamet: Khemites

Khemites are humans, descendants of the goddess Khem and the most numerous race in Akhamet. These models are a mix of Akhameti with foreign visitors...

The blonde guy will be the Prince Diogenes mini. Everyone's favorite foreign Prince! He is, after all, the son of a god!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Citizens of Akhamet: Sethru and Numru

More Great Minis from Crocodile Games. I will use them in Akhamet

Monday, March 30, 2020

Frankenstein's Monster

I read Mary Shelley's book when I was sixteen years old. And to be frank, I did not like it. However, as I grew older, the concepts behind the story make more sense to me and I really enjoy it. It is a theme I approached quite a few times in my writing.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

[Kinda Book Review] Caesar's Civil Wars

Now the dying days of the Roman Republic is a time that calls to my heart. I read many material on that time period. The case of characters is fascinating as each of them can be interpreted in so many different ways. Caesar, Pompey, Cicero, Crassus, to name but a few.

The book itself is separated into four parts, of which only the first one - the Civil War - is believed to be written by Caesar himself. The three other parts, the Alexandrian War, the African War, and the Spanish War.

If you go into this book trying to learn more about the period by reading this you will find yourself wanting. These books are dry and limited to military actions, particularly for the last two parts. The Spanish War in particular is written by someone who has a limited strategic view as we are presented with a complicated series of minor engagements. The result of these actions is hard to understand.

Like the Gallic Wars, this book is very much a pro-Caesar propaganda. His enemies are always overconfident and prone to panic while he acts with poise.

There is little mention of anything happening that is not a military matter. For example, little to nothing is mentioned of his affair with Queen Cleopatra or any of his actions while in Rome. This is a straight up after action report on four wars.

From a wargamer's perspective, this is a great book as it shows how the legions were used and we get extensive deployment details: placement of the cavalry, use of light infantry and auxillia.

So for a rating of this one... The narrative and its quality drops the more time advances. I will put it on an average of 3/5. The narrative starts with a 4 and ends with a 2 because some of the most interesting passages are missing.

Which leaves me with a 3/5 when it comes to the final score. I can live with that rating.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

[Kinda Book Review] Clive Barker - In the Flesh

I never read any Clive Barker. I watched a number of horror movies based on his work and thought they were pretty good. Hellraiser was good (I watched them all the way to #50. I know I know there aren't that many but that's fine. I saw almost all of them) and even the Candyman series was entertaining. I did not quite know what was in that anthology of short stories when I put it on in the car as I made my way to (and from) St Louis.

I won't go into too much detail about the individual stories. However, one stood out: The Forbidden from which the Candyman movie was taken stood out and is easily my favorite tale. The rest left me unimpressed or uninterested in reading more. And ever The Forbidden was enough. The Children of Babel was one that got me wondering where it was going but the denouement drew a groan from me. The Madonna was interesting but I felt it go nowhere. In the Flesh was Lovecraftian that kept me going until the end. The end was just odd and I had to go online to find out what the whole thing was about.

Now as an author, I must say that he is a MASTER WORDSMITH and storyteller. How he crafts his sentences and wording is just superb. Really drove me to better myself in that department so that was a big win.

So this leaves me in a pickle. I would rate the stories 3/5 but the writing a 5/5. Thinking about it, a 4/5 seems at once low and high but seems to be about right for my thoughts. A 4.25 may be closer to what I would be happy with, which rounds down to 4.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Weekend in Rokugan 2020: After Action Report

Legend of the Five Rings is a game I discovered when it first came out around 1997. The card game did nothing for me. I tried it but meh. I just cannot bring myself to enjoy a CCG. Yeah... Still... that was during my "decade without D&D" (93-03). Over the years, I met some great friends around an L5R table. (Shout-out to Florent-F, Darryl-T, Tammy-T, Kristian-I, and Oliver-E to name a few)

I have been playing the Heroes of Rokugan organized play for about five years, ever since I reconnected with the game at Origins years ago.

Last year, I could not attend WiR because it fell on the same weekend as MidSouthCon. A difficult choice but seeing how I was a guest of MidSouthCon, I made the choice to go there (and did not regret it as a ActionMan and I had a blast! Check out last year's After Action Report).

I had only poked around a few adventures since last Gencon and caught up with the storyline in the weeks leading up to WiR. An interesting time for all involved. I really love to see other campaigns and what they do, see how I can use their methods for Legacies.

Onward

I woke up with everyone Friday morning and drove to the St Louis area but not in STL itself. Thankfully, the convention was in O'Fallon, a small town some 15 miles in Illinois. Closer for me!

I got to my hotel and realized I had a reservation for Germantown, TN - which is for MidSouthCon! Gah! After a little bit of scrolling, I realized I ALSO took a reservation there! The weekend and my wallet was saved! I cancelled the other reservation and headed to the con!

For the first slot on Friday, I played a game with Ken and Heather-W with who I played a lot of Arcanis, and Phil-C who is the unofficial-official photographer of every Heroes of Rokugan event. It was a fun time! The adventure was tough! The monsters used a variety of abilities they rarely used before to make a very interesting game. At the climax, I fell on my back in the throes of an epileptic fit! The team really needed me but hey... I took a major flaw!

The second slot was again with Phil-C and the 2 Brians. This adventure was very long and featured even more unpleasantness (from the plot perspective). In short, we got our butts kicked by a godlike figure. The party decided to tap out and I got to read one of Isawa's Black Scrolls. An object of legend!

Then sleep.

Saturday morning, I sat down to a table with three Phoenix characters all brother (the characters) for an adventure. Now the GM ask "This is Part 2 of Shadows of the Shinomen". None of us had played it, so I asked the GM if it would be possible to run Part 1 instead. After a bit of shuffling, a new GM appeared and we headed out to kill bandits in that cursed forest!

This adventure featured a large-scale battles rarely seen in HoR. Our group: three shugenja and a bushi (3 wizards and a fighter) turned out to be surprisingly well-organized for this. We did some good planning and our mixed spells did pretty good. I am an Asahina which is mostly defensive/protective in nature while the Phoenix had one utility caster and one fire-blaster. In all, we did pretty well and succeeded at our mission. Fun times!

For the Afternoon, I did Part 2! This time with the 2 Brians and Heather-W who completed the table. This one was investigative. Turns out there is a MASSIVE battle at the end. We only succeeded in part so we made the ending more difficult for us. Still, we managed a partial success and all lived which was good.

At some time during the adventure, I told Heather that I was thinking of joining the lion clan as my character would get married off. We laughed then she said "You should become a Matsu and have to boss people around". The Matsu women are some of the fiercest warriors in the empire. I was thinking of Ikoma (bards) or Kitsu (ancestor-priests).

I did not laugh as my character is reserved and quiet - as she tries to avoid epileptic fits. But the idea struck home. What a bit of character development! I tried to argue against it but I knew the decision was made.

The Saturday night slot was a LARP. I donned my Nashville Predators' jersey with its sabertooth tiger on the from and its bright gold color - perfect for the lion clan. Quite a few people jumped as "Matsu Haruhime" when they knew me as "Doji Haruhime". It was a fun challenge to "act Matsu".

Then sleep.

Sunday they ran a "for those who can" slot but it started at 10AM and was self-muster. Not wanting to drive the 5h in the dark, I chose to drive home early. I make it here before 1PM.

My head filled with exciting development for Haruhime and Gencon. Couldn't wait to play some more L5R!

So yes, I am planning on going back next year!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Real Housewives of Ravenloft Silver Best Seller!

When I released this book earlier this month, I did not expect the excitement this product would generate. This week, it became a Silver Best Seller! FOE's first one on the DM's Guild!

Thank you SO much

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

[Doctor Who Review] 12.8 The Haunting of Villa Diodati

Angry Old Man

Part Two of the Marathon that started with Can You Hear Me?. I was pretty sour when this one started and I expected this one to suck.

For most of the episode, we are plunged in a rather interesting mystery with the expected ending: Mary Shelley getting inspired to write Frankenstein.

The cast of NPCs is interesting. Heck the cast that was at the Villa in 1816 make for a great cast and they are presented here as we know them today. Byron is a promiscuous self-centered jerk and Mary is a hedonist.

The appearance of the Cyberman made me happy and excited to see returning. I love them because they have been a major threat since the 60s.

- This half-made Cyberman left me with many questions about what he is, who he is, where is he from, etc. This is something that will move on to the next episode(s).

- The crew is too big and each character vies for screentime when half their number would suffice

- Dumb moment when the Cyberman saves the baby. Why? Wtf? That just did not make any sense and pussified the Cybermen. I mean really. They are supposed to be cold and logical not emotional. In fact the whole side-plot with the baby served NO PURPOSE other than to take away time. If at least the Doctor used the TARDIS to save the baby OR SOMETHING. But instead all we get is a bunch of women running around the house for reason.

- When faced with the Cyberman, we are presented with a redo of the "Need of the Many". But again, this cowardly Doctor gives in. She has no boldness and gives in to the Cyberman's demand.

So the episode had a few problems but still this one was the most interesting and compelling one to watch. A good historical setting and the involvement of a classic monster. I gave it a 3.5 rounded up to a 4. Best episode of the season.

Would I re-watch? Yes.

Rating: 4/5

Monday, February 24, 2020

[Doctor Who Review] 12.7 Can you hear me?

Angry Old Man

I waited two weeks to see this one and give myself a mini-marathon.

This one starts with a scene in a hospital in Medieval Syria where the place is attacked by some werewolf-like creature. Made me think a little about the Van Gogh episode of the 11th Doctor. Intriguing start that got me to pay attention.

Then we move to "today" where the Doctor is bringing the crew for some appointments with their friends. Of course, all of them have some odd problem with a dude that appears in their room. Once again we end up with a bunch of extra NPCs crowding the plot particularly the now-distracting Syrian girl and Ryan's buddy.

The Dude is some god-like figure linked to previous villains. They are defeated by some "reason" and locked into some over-complicated plot device.

The Syria thing really served no purpose in the end... It could've been resolved with someone "today". The excitement of the opening turned out to be just fluff.

This episode is about isolation and mental illness. But as with the previous episode, the solving of the problem was done very quickly as if to move on for the moral of the story. The moral at the end fell flat.

Well let me expand on that. At the end, we see Yaz meet the cop that set her on the path to become a cop in a nice moment. Then Ryan's buddy speaks about his problem for like a minute to group therapy in something that really adds nothing to the episode.

But the worse of was the talk between the Doctor and Graham. In a genuinely good moment when Graham expresses to the Doctor that he is worried about his cancer coming back. He really hit it on the head and I felt for him really wanted for something to happen with that. In the cringiest scene I've yet to see on TV, the Doctor dismisses him completely. Telling him "this is where I say something nice." This shows how little the 13th Doctor cares about the crew and particularly Graham. So while the other two companions get a decent resolution, she dismisses him.

Weak.

Very Weak.

Until the final moments of the episode and the Graham scene, I was overall pretty excited and positive. Sure there were problem but comparing this to Orphan 55, this was pretty good. I was gonna go with a 3.5 (or 4) but that scene soured me immensely on this episode. It dropped down to a 2.

Would I re-watch? No (I was thinking "yes" until the moral section).

Rating: 2/5

Friday, February 14, 2020

[Doctor Who Review] 12.6 Praxeus

I sat down for this episode expecting a Gallifrey. What did I get? Something about Earth... Guh! I thought to myself "Hey! Maybe I will get to sleep for an hour". Then after two scenes, I was rolling my eyes and saying out loud "Oh no! Not another global warming episode this is gonna suck as bad as Orphan 55". But to my (very pleasant) surprise, the show moved on to a mystery that was way more than "just" a pollution episode. I kept watching, trying to guess where this was going and being surprised more than once. The episode starting with the companions and the Doctor starting separated from each other and looking into a mystery across the globe.

This episode has a few highlights

Splitting the companions was a good idea and it allowed each to interact with other characters. Of course that everyone of these subgroup end with more travelers into the Tardis makes travelling in the blue box less interesting.

For the first fifteen minutes of this episode, I felt I was watching an episode of Torchwood with humans investigating a mystery - like Miracle Day (before it went to crap). It was interesting to see and made me look into what is going on.

Now this episode suffers from a few things:

First, the massive cast crowds the episode. More added NPCs coming from each location. This gives us Doctor and 3 companions plus Brazilian girl, Aramu and Suki, the Astronaut and his husband = 9 characters each with something to do. Just crowded the plot.

When this group all gets together, they are all suddenly great friends. Making jokes with each other as if they knew each other. For example, Ryan meets the Brazilian gal and have an interesting interaction. Then later, they meet Yaz. The two girls head off together without any more than a passing introduction and enter a dangerous area. Makes sense for Yaz but not for the girl.

Second, one man's sacrifice rendered effectively meaningless due to just-in-time rescue. I get it, it is a time-travel show, but allowing one character to sacrifice himself saving the world in an action that provides him with a big bout of character development. The fallout of his death could've sparked changes in the gang and the Doctor, but NO. She saves him last minute making his character arc meaningless so he can live happily forever.

So an astronaut takes his cellphone into space...

I was relieved to hear the moral of the story at the end! At least this one was delivered - like everything in this episode - at breakneck speed in Jodie's girly babbletalk.

When the episode was done, I was left unfulfilled, as if there was something missing. To my surprise, the core issue of the episode: pollution, an issue that needs our attention, is rushed and almost dismissive. I felt they had much more material to investigate and deal with. This could easily have become a two-parter.

- A submarine disappearing: that should get the world governments accuse each other, create tension and a reason for all this to come together. Bring in UNIT (even if only as a phone call with Kate Stewart keeping the Doctor and us informed of what the outside world does/thinks)

- An astronaut disappears: sparking a search, conspiracy theories about aliens among us.

- Crazy bird attacking people and people just vanishing.

The elements are all there, if only you let these subplot grow and explore them. Even have a first part without any aliens! You can show people throwing out trash throughout the episode, bringing attention to what is going on and what you want to say.

When I thought back to the episode, I found that in spite of these issues, I enjoyed this more than I thought I would and that this one had surprised me in a positive way. Having to give it a review, I agreed on a 2.5 (okay) which I have to round up to 3.

Would I re-watch? Maybe (not a definite no).

Rating: 3/5

Monday, February 10, 2020

The Real Housewives are HOT!

Wow! The Real Housewives of Ravenloft have caught fire! They are trending on the DM's Guild. So much so that they have now been certified Copper! This is the first FOE title on the DM's Guild to reach that level (although Dreams of Dust is really close).

We even reached #12 on there (I think it is now "down" to #17).

I cannot thank everyone enough for this. A big thanks to TrustyPeaches on reddit, to the British Shark and James-W (Check out his Patreon James RPG Art).

Saturday, February 8, 2020

[Release] Real Housewives of Ravenloft on DM's Guild

It is with great pride and joy that I announce the official release of my next DM's Guild release.

Real Housewives of Ravenloft is an expansion for Curse of Strahd where the PCs actually have dinner in Ravenloft and Strahd has a proposal for them. One that could benefit everyone involved.

The art by the British Shark really makes it all come alive and James' RPG art really makes it all come to life! Beautiful work!

The Master of Ravenloft is having guests for dinner – and you are invited. He has a proposal for you, one that could be highly beneficial for all involved. Even if this puts you in the center of the drama of the Real Housewives of Ravenloft?
Investigation, intrigue, and mystery with over 160 combinations of culprit. 
Each of the four named bride receives a new stat block with legendary actions - everything to create a memorable night in Ravenloft.
This 4-12 hours adventure of travel is best played with a group of 4-6 characters of level 3-11.

Available now on the DM's Guild

Thursday, February 6, 2020

[Doctor Who Review] 12.05 Fugitive of the Judoon

This one I was looking forward to seeing. I liked the Judoon as they appeared in "Smith and Jones" way back when. This trigger-happy mercenary police force made for an intriguing set up.

So the episode begins with an embargo of earth with the Judoon looking for a fugitive. But without providing us with much details about the fugitive, as one would expect from the judoon.

The let down is the big reveal of the show where they try to re-write the Doctor's own history. It was bad. Not every actor should be used as action stars and seeing them go kungfu on a bunch of people really broke believability. From that point on, I just could not care and rolled my eyes. It would've been SO MUCH BETTER to provide us with a different character, perhaps the parent of Susan (from the first 1963 season)...

Again this episode suffered from too many characters. Captain Jack's appearance was a welcomed addition but his appearance in the blinking FORESHADOW HERE scene was made less impactful by the repetition of the scene "Oh! You are not that Doctor... Either!" made me smile but really did not work because of the cheap decor...

Again, the rest of the world remains completely still and takes no action as these aliens take over earth. The governments go "okay, we'll wait until you are done" and wait.

The Moral at the end was about the Companion telling the Doctor they were her friends and family. It would've been powerful if spoken by just one person - Graham was the right one to say this - but with three people standing there, it looked and felt more like an intervention. Then she promises to take the crew to Gallifrey and we end up...

Would I re-watch? No.

Rating: 2/5 (Started as a 3 then plummeted to a 1, so average of 2)