JP On Gaming

Friday, June 22, 2018

Gostor: Titanborn release for 5e

Part of my series of books on ancient Greece, which includes (up to now) the following Gostor titles: Amazons, Olympians, Amazons, the magic item collection Gifts of the Gods, and the adventure A Question of Judgment.

The idea for this book came as I was working on Olympians wherein I thought about some enemies for the Olympians. The myths recorded in the Titanomachy, the war against the titans, they were defeated in the distant past by the gods. Many were imprisonned, locked away, or exiled in creative ways.

The titans themselves, unlike the gods of Olympus have a wide variety of appearances from human to monstrous. They are creatures close to the primordial Chaos and their appearance reflect that. So when I put down ideas, I did not want to have them be just Olympians with different spell abilities.

Instead, I decided to classify the titanborn into four basic categories: Cthonian (earth/underworld) which grow large, Oceanid (sea/water) which as creatures of the sea, Selenite (sky/stars), and a more "generic" one which I called simply called Primordial. Primordial weren't one of the original ones. As I created different types, I decided these should be made into feats. The Primordials get to select one Titanborn-specific feat at creation. This elegant solution allowed me to create on sub-race and give a variety of powers.

The result is a fun race that when you tell others that you play a titanborn, you have to explain and provide additional information.

Like all our Gostor products, this one is fully legal in the Legacies Organized Play Campaign.

So, check out this new addition to FOE's Mythic Greece series: Gostor: Titanborn.

Origins 2018 AAR, Part 3: Saturday and Sunday

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Saturday

Again, I wrote among the locomotives from 5am on. Made good progress on the story.

For the morning, I wanted to do something different, so I went to play Shadowrun, one of the Last Vegas adventure. It was a fun. We got into some complicated stuff without problems and used the typical solutions to fix them. This one used much fewer bullets than usual...

I showed up at Arcanis muster and prayed for a seat. I was told to find a table of 6 and see if they'd have me. Well... right as I entered the room, Paul-G's table (with Nicole-G and the G kids, Philip-T and his friend, reuniting the dream team from the night before, and adding Maria-R) was right there. I had a sign that read "Larissan Nun, single and available" (For those not in the Arcanis know, Larissan have a well-deserved reputation as being easy and "open to all"). Paul invited me and I gratefully and happily agreed to join the team. Adding another healer/ support helped.

The action for the battle interactive (BI) takes place just after the ending of the "unpleasant one" from yesterday afternoon. Paul sent us a lot of nastiness in the early round and we beat them up through effective teamwork. Everyone had a role and did their thing.

Perhaps the most memorable moment in the game, and one I hope the player will grow, was when we were fleeing this nightmare land, leading slaves away to "freedom". So we captured horses from our pursuers. I think I was the one who first mentioned "hey we can feed our army with the horses." Well Maria's character who is from a region where horses are sacred refused to give her new-found mount, which was fully in character. We told her "you decide, but if we decide, people are eating well." I must admit, I both wanted and expected her to say "I'm keeping the horse." But she did not decide, giving us the power of decision. Again, I really hope she will grow her character with that decision. Those points are what makes or breaks a character... I really hope she rides off with it and that it changes her character for the future. Knowing the other players, if she chose to keep the horse, we would have gone with it and altered how we played. It was intense and a great moment of roleplay.

I had two moments during the BI.

First, when we finally reached the border and the legionnaires were all on the wall and the centurion called "Who is in charge?" I stood up and in my best valley girl, I explained what was going on-ish. I thought it was awesome and I know my character will think herself that she was like, totally in charge!

Second, at the end game, we are fighting a slaver warlord who wants revenge for the death of his son (from the game I played on Thursday night). At that point, I am down most of my resources (Fate points, abilities, one-shot goodies), cannot cast spells for a while, so I begin to look through the book for something I can pull off. Spent a Fate point.

So, Kermina stood on the drawbridge in just her cloak and shout at the general. "This, this is what you could'a had!" And I threw off my cloak. At the time, I was wearing a cloak-like hood and I threw it off. Then I made my seduction roll, blasted the DC, but I wanted this to be epic, so I threw my last full Fate point into the roll.

The General fell in love with me right then and there! When he died a short time later, after he tried to hit me and my defensive magic took him down, I know he has a single tear running down his cheek. Paul may deny it, but I saw that tear running down as he mouthed "I'm sorry".

*Sigh*

IT WAS AWESOME!!!

The event ended on a really positive note for me. Thanks Paul!

Following the game, I talked some more with Tom-C about the engagement and how we wanted to do a few things. As we talked, some adventure ideas came up and we told Cody-B, one of the campaign leaders. Who knows what can/will happen? That's all for another day.

I was lucky enough to sit and talk with Henry Lopez about the campaign. It was more a case of me listening to him talk about it and players asking him questions and clarifying him elements of the game lore. Great fun.

I talked with my bed-roomie, Jeff, about Arcanis and other campaigns before we turned each to our side and snored away.

Sunday

6am came early enough and I packed my stuff and rolled out. Unexpectedly, my game without a single ticket sold did not go off. I stayed for an hour, hoping to hit the dealer hall, but as I barely slept 4h in short chunks during the past 5 nights, I decided not to wait until 10 to leave. Origins was over and it was time to go home.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Origins 2018 AAR, Part 2: Thursday and Friday

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Thursday

I was around 5am when I gave up sleeping and opened my computer to go over a story I wrote at some point last year. The story features a lonely night for my Arcanis character. I wrote the story for me, to remind me of some of the elements of her story and background, why she is here and her motivations for doing some of the things she did.

The idea was not simply personal, but my good friend Tom-C approached me with the idea of having our two characters get married. Since we are both of high social status and our characters have a lot of synergy together. So we got to talking and I told him I had a short story for him. This was the story. I cleaned it up some and expanded a few passages, still needs a little work, but it works for the purpose of letting him know what is going on.

My morning table was of Exalted Pains for Tyrants of Saggakar. Great group, a lot of fun. The guys really got into the backstabbing element the houses of Faremh do to each other. Good stuff.

My afternoon table did not make, so I jumped on a table of Arcanis (again) this time. I joined a party of Peter-P, Eric-G, and Mary to play one of the adventures we missed earlier in the year. Investigation? Alcohol? Yes!

For the evening, my table did not go off, so it was the first of the adventures leading into the special two-round Saturday interactive. I was very curious because the adventure was set in a region that was considered mythical and where nothing was ever written for it. Psionics and other nastiness.

The adventure was very intriguing, with alien encounters and meeting cultures completely different to others on Arcanis. A fair amount of lore here and many things to do: find the missing legionnaires.

One thing I really loved about this one, and how my GM Ryan-W, from Colorado, allowed me to play it is that the adventure starts with a scene, then you jump back to the past. Since I have oracular powers, I was able to warn the party of what was coming. Really cool stuff, made me feel like a million bucks! Thanks Ryan!

I retired to the room and wrote a little before being kept awake by the multi-snoring machines...

Friday

I gave up on not being able to sleep again at 5am, when the snoring machines stopped their infernal racket... I wrote some more, starting a new story, one that followed the previous story, "when Kermina was told of her marriage." For that one, I had to go back and review my old 3.5 Arcanis characters, their special abilities, their histories. It was a trip down memory lane I thoroughly enjoyed!

Again, my morning slot went off. This time since I did not have all the handouts for the Saggakar adventure, I offered the guys to instead play the Akhamet intro: Lost Pyramid of Neferheket which was very fun. I really like that adventure. These guys did the adventure in the opposite order that all other groups have done so far. It was interesting to see how some encounters play with different information.

The afternoon, my table did not go off, so I jumped on a table of the second hard point for Arcanis.

This one was not as enjoyable.

I hate to say, but there was very precious little making this one fun in any way. To avoid spoiler, I will say that three over-the-top climactic battles in a row is not climactic. I am not certain we would have survived. This was unpleasant, and not in a way that you remember fondly. This was the first Arcanis adventure in a VERY long time that I did not see a point for characters that were not uber-twinked out (which I am not one of them, I'm more of a toolbox). Attack rolls that only check for crit/crit fail. Now I don't care about my own character (I'm always surprised when I am NOT hit, but that was just going above and beyond).

We got saved by the marshal kicking us out of the room. Thanks Josh! Again... Not fun.

I heard a few people talking about quitting Arcanis, which I thought was over-the-top. I told them that "everyone can write a Star Trek VI once in a while". Not enjoyable. Not having tickets for the next day's mega battle interactive, I seriously wondered if I should instead try to find a seat for Shadowrun or something else...

Next up was the "interactive"... not a battle, but one made up of mini-missions. I met up with Nicole-G (who plays my BFF Dessa) and her kids and my good friend Paul-G ran us for two mini-missions and Paul-B ran us through two more.

The fun I had on this one soothed my doubts about the previous adventure. I resolved to be back for the BI, if I could find a seat.

Next up: 5h of interrupted sleep

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Origins 2018 AAR, Part 1: Tuesday and Wednesday

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Trip There

The trip started around 4:30 from the south of Nashville. I had a hotel just north of Cincinnati, roughly 4.5 hours away. The trip itself was pretty much without incident. Perhaps, the lack of significant weather, which I just managed to skirt to my left for most of the way between Nashville and Louisville KY was different than previous trips where I had to deal with storms for most of that route. Not in 2018. I stopped at the hotel and tried to sleep but failed. Not because it was dirty, not because of noisy neighbors, not because I was hungry, not because I drank a coffee five hours before, and especially not because I was watching "Expeditions Unknown" on TV, no.

MEGA-NERD ALERTBefore I left, a coworker and I were discussing a way we could make some data in our Entity Framework for a Dot Net Core application perform some validation and throw errors when that would happen. We had a basic idea, but I did not like it. It was too heavy, intrusive and required us to drop the pattern and basically re-write the framework. Not something I enjoy doing.

Inspiration, usually for writing material, comes during these long solo drives. This time, I got nothing for any of my gaming stuff. Nada.

However, I did figure out a way I thought was elegant and would not force us to rewrite everything if the framework changed.

Since some of you wonder what it was (in real short): I overloaded the .SaveChanges and .SaveChangesAsync method of my context to look for a given interface (also new) and throw an exception if found. This made that readonly. Whipped up a few unit tests to validate and verify, checked it in and sent that to my coworker for his input...

Then I managed to sleep.

It was 3am my time.

Wednesday

Without any games before 1pm, I was able to get up at a leisurely 7am. I got up and drove an hour to the outskirts of Columbus to a Walmart. There, my plan was to buy a cooler (I had forgotten mine) and some food for the con. Later, I had a styrofoam cooler filled with lunch meats, fig newtons, chips, pretzels, and more than I really needed, and a bag of ice to keep everything cool. But at under 40$ that would allow me to live the epicurian lifestyle of mine.

MEGA-NERD ALERT Epicurus was a Greek philosopher who encourage taking pleasure in the small things in life. By making and simplifying expectations, one would live a life of felicity. Therefore for food, one does not need to eat a sumptuous feast to satisfy the desire for food, when a lunch meat sandwich would suffice. He did not discourage the partaking of feasts, just that they were not needed.

It was around 11am when I rolled into the parking lot beneath the Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC) and searched for a spot where I could leave my car all weekend. Creating a base of operation for myself. Done.

I acquired my GM badge and went to meet with the Gathering folks with whom I was running events.

It is always great to see everyone, many faces I see but once a year. It also reminds me that I have to get my rear end into gear to write something for Arcanis. It has been a year since I did anything on it...

My first slot was for the latest Rhym adventure, Come to the Hills and it went off. It was a fun time. That adventure is a rather simple, very traditional D&D one, something I rarely do for Saggakar, which makes Rhym so fun to write for.

My evening slot was one of the previews for Akhamet and did not go off. I had the pleasure of sitting a Sean-E's table. It was great fun and I was particularly happy to see Arcanis dig back into an adventure some 15+ years old as a hook. I will have to re-read the adventure because I ran that for Homer, Ryan, Jim, Matt and Kenton way back when... Around 2010-11.

Night was interesting. I will keep it down to the following: I will bring earplugs at future conventions where I share a room. In addition to food, earplugs will be obtained.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Monday, June 18, 2018

New art for FOE!

I am happy to preview some of of the art for an upcoming FOE project.

I can't reveal the full detail, so I will leave you guessing. This is the mock-up for the cover of something I've been working on... I've actually given Zammy options and see where inspiration takes her...

You can see my skills have greatly improved to now include letters AND smiles on the faces of the characters!

This is high-quality stuff!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Origins Sale: 30% off everything on DrivethruRPG

While JP is off to Origins, the gremlins decided to offer a sale! Everything FOE is 30%.

With the current Pathfinder sale week, that's TWO stacking sales!

This sale will run until Monday the 18th, when JP returns home!

Follow this link for the full FOE catalog DriveThruRPG.

Enjoy Origins!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

[ArcadiaQuest] Four Angels

More ArcadiaQuest from Will's stash of minis! This is the last big batch of models from the Kickstarters he participated in. It is from the Inferno set, I believe.

For this batch of models, since they are angels, he wanted them to have them be on a cloud-like effect. So I painted the base blue with some light blue locations where I added two or three layers of snow-flock to create a cloud-like effect. I think it finally came out pretty nice.

Gostor: Ethereal Horrors released for 5e

Way back in 2016, I put out a very successful book called Gostor: Ethereal Horrors which presents a series of monsters from the Ethereal Plane, presented in such a way as to can be easily added to any campaign or setting. That first book was for the Pathfinder RPG. I had someone working with me at the time who wanted to perform the conversion from PF to 5e, so I let him work on it.

As you can see, that work was never done and the porting of the Ethereal Horrors to 5e was never done. So while in Montreal at the end of May, I took time to look at the book and see what it would take to review and alter the creatures to make it to 5e. Less than two weeks later, it was done. The text had been reviewed, cleaned and clarified, the sample encounters had been updated and presented for 5th edition.

In short, it was done.

Therefore, after two long years of procrastination, I am please to announce the release of Gostor: Ethereal Horrors for 5th edition! It is available now on DriveThru RPG and RPGNow, and shortly, on the Open Gaming Store.

Let me know what you think of it! I am really excited to unleash those monsters on unsuspecting players...

Monday, June 4, 2018

June Writing Update

With the latest FOE releases: Gostor: Medusans and Gostor: Gifts of the Gods this past month, there are now more and more FOE products coming out. This post is to update you with what is coming up in the pipeline at some point this summer. For those who follow, Medusans are now fully legal in the Legacies Organized Play Campaign.

Tyrants of Saggakar

Tyrants will see at least two adventures, and hopefully one source book. The exact content is unclear because I keep flip-flopping. I have enough material for a book on the Houses of Faremh, but could split it into two: one book for the major and one book for the minor houses. All with the clear intent of completing my "Tyrants of Saggakar - Campaign Setting" by bringing together all those sourcebooks into one massive book. But I have a few other pieces to complete before that one can be ready... Farelis, and the Markhem Hills...

Rhym

We have not forgotten about Rhym. JD is working on a book of allies and adversaries. I have nearly completed a location book, set in the country of Therland. I completed the third adventure of my Rhym series, which premiered at Conglomeration earlier this year. I will be running this one at a few events this summer, shall I say "Origins" and "Gencon"?

Akhamet

After talking about it since last November and playing with it since the winter, Akhamet is moving forward. So you know, I have just two comments left. This one really grew on me, the definition of scope creep! My latest idea and what I have left? So the bestiary section has more than stat blocks, I have tried to put a short adventure with every one of the creatures. That way you get more than just a stat block. I thought it was pretty cool.

Gostor

Gostor will see a number of releases. Already you have seen the addition of the Mythical Greece products, including new character races just came out Gostor: Medusans and Olympians will be followed by at least two more Ancient Greece-inspired races: coming up next will be the titanborn and the nymphs.

Titanborn as primordial humanoids related to... the titans of course. I worked to make them very different from the Olympians, and I think they are. The book will have four very different sub-types that will allow you to make a truly unique character, whether you play for the uber-specialized character or the generalist.

Nymphs are still in production, but they will allow you play a minor deity.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Pink Carnivean

Here is a metal carnivean I got as part of a job lot. It has a minor conversion with one of its lower legs on a piece of Retribution jack. I went with a lighter shade than my others, which are all dark purple. Not much more to say...

Sunday, May 27, 2018

[Commissions] Going to Asia?

When I got my Reaper Bones III last year, I went through and was really very excited to find some of the Asian-inspired creatures therein. Among them, the large samurai-oni lady. Painting these guys was a blast I was able to complete them so quickly. Fun miniatures all around. The "set" of characters includes a Kenku, two Kitsune(fox-people), and a masked human woman.

At first, I had the idea of creating an adventure set in a fantasy Asia. Something akin to Akhamet, but now I am unsure. The idea is still there, still marinating in the back of my mind, but I need additional time to sit down and get it done. So this is one of the things currently on the backburner for FOE. Something you can look forward to find at your gaming tables.

I too am pretty excited about it... but it will wait until Akhamet is out and done.



Friday, May 25, 2018

[Commission] Freeblade miniatures

From the Vault of minis I painted long ago, but am only posting them now.

Last year, I bought myself these miniatures from the FreeBlades range. Putting them together proved to be somewhat of a challenge, but the finished product are very nice. The sculpts are solid and they paint well.

The first two characters are a Dryad and a sorceress/druid. I am particularly fond of the dryad character. She is a surprisingly simple but very effective character. The sorceress was one of my inspiration for the Medusan "iconic". As she holds a snake in hand she is perfect for that role. Expect to see her on the gaming table...

The next pair is an eagle knight and a lion knight. With the recent work I've been doing, the lion-woman will make her way into a game I started putting ideas together...





Friday, May 18, 2018

[5e] Two books on Ancient Greece released

I have been hard at work getting those two book done and out. With my recent sidetracks into the world of Ancient Greece, a multitude of side plots, items, characters, races and stories. These were placed into one of the many, many text files. Eventually, these ideas were grew and grew until I had to make something out of them. That my kids are interested certainly had something to do with this Ancient Greece thing... The other products of the sub-range include: Gostor Olympians, and the adventure A Question of Judgment.

So the first one is Gostor Medusan, presenting a new player-character race of half-medusas. The idea came one day when I was thinking of an adventure for "Greek Villains". And who is one of the top Greek Villainess? Medusa!

This train of thought led me to think of ways to mae a race that could turn people to stone with just a gaze... Then how to make it not so powerful. When I floated the idea to my team, many immediately went "oh no, that's too powerful" but after I explained how it worked they went "it's pretty cool".

Check it out yourself! Worse case scenario, you spring a surprise monster on your players!

The other product also comes from the Gostor line, Gostor Gifts of the Gods is a collection of twenty five new magic items taken from Greek Myths. These includes such classics as Zeus' Thunderbolts, the Caduceus, Hera's Cloak, and the Golden Fleece.

Big shout-out to my good buddy Wesley-O who served as a sounding board for these items and who offered valuable insight that made these items so much better.

This is the first time I am releasing two non-adventure products at the same time. It is also great to release them both on DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, AND the Open Gaming Store.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

State of FOE and some of my Yearly Resolution

I have not shared this with a lot of people, but one of my goals for 2018 is to increase both my throughput in terms of products and my sales in number of units and gross. This will allow me to grow, get more art and writing done, offer better pay to both my writers and my artists. I pay my artists and my writers. Granted, I doubt any of them will grow rich on this, but I like to think it helps.

If you don't know: FOE is in the black, everything is currently paid for (minus the final payments for pieces of art currently in the works). Everything else is up to date. Meaning that should I stop producing any content today, I would not lose anything. This is one reason I have kept my operation small and growing organically. Producing content for first the Tyrants of Saggakar, and now for Rhym, Akhamet, and my Ancient Greek side-project is something I do for fun, something I enjoy.

Back to the topic, after years of "just doing it," I looked at my sales and profits and began to wonder how to increase them, how to make more money. So for the first part of this year, I looked at a number of things to achieve my goals.

- Better content This means refining the writing, sharpening and improving my own style. This is one thing I have been working at doing, from polishing the writing, to the editing, to the look of FOE's products. I have been reading, watching and trying quite a few things. From the first products I put out back in 2013 to today, there is a world of difference.

- Better art When I started, I could not care less about the art. I am a writer and the art was little more than "eye candy" to illustrate a character. I have come around on that, going so far as to invest all of FOE's profits into commissioning more and new art. Akhamet is already funded and paid for (minus the cover page, one of the pieces I mention previously). All the unique races of Akhamet will have their own new unique piece of art just for them. I work mostly with two great artists: Irene and Zammy, both of which as great and provide my products with a look that I like. One great thing about it, I had to dust-off my Espanol because Zammy speaks very basic English. Small win. No. Do not expect a spanish version of Tyrants of Saggakar... I began talking to a local artist for some collaboration work.

- More content On the back of better content, I am trying to push out one product a month. These products cover a variety of subjects and settings: from races (such as Olympians, the Medusans), to settings books (Spiderfen) to adventures for Legacies and Setting-less, to magic items collections. I have even more ideas than time to complete them.

- More varied content I have been thinking about creating different products to complement products I am already making. A few random things include: NPC cards, and other media products.

- More revenu streams You may have noticed already that some FOE products have shown up on more platforms, such as DM's Guild, and the Open Gaming Store.

- More Appearances I've always been a firm believer that I can talk to people about why I think my setting is awesome, but nothing beats playing. So I plan on attending more events in and around Middle Tennessee. I am having a lot of fun doing so with ActionMan as the two of us get to travel and spend some time doing guy stuff.

Those are just some of what I am trying to make FOE more successful than ever, with an eye on breaking even on my con trips, so I can attend more events in the area. As I write this, I have three products that should be coming out within the next three weeks: Gostor Medusan, Gostor Gifts of the Gods, and a DM's Guild adventure: A Rose By Any Name, which is an update and rework of the classic Legacies Adventure of the same name, now setting-less to conform to the guidelines of the Guild. I will post when they come out...

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Question of Judgment: a Greek adventure for 5e released

I am very happy to announce the release of FOE's latest adventure on DM's Guild, A question of judgment, and adventure set in mythical Greece where the PCs rub elbows with the gods and their brood. This is a simple adventure with the typical twists you now associate with FOE and our products.

I am very happy to publish this adventure. The kids served as play-testers for it and we had a great afternoon together. Dad knows of the many myths, while the kids know of them through young adult literature, such as Percy Jackson. Whatever the case, I was able to run this adventure with them knowing who the major players were. This adventure does not demand copious knowledge of mythology.

I also added the Olympian pre-gens.

Check it out! Let us know what you think. It is available on Drivethru Rpg and RPGNow.

Edit: This was way too setting-specific for DM's Guild so instead of dealing with an endless string of re-writes that would not satisfy them (I've been down that path before, and there is no pleasing them).