Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Minis for Charity: Part 2 Cowboys

Another group of miniatures for the charity event. This time we move to the Old West for a bunch of cowboys! These guys can be used for a number of conflict, from the Alamo to the Civil War, the French Mexican Adventure, or even as adventurers in distant places such as Africa or China.

And let's not forget the many steampunk or Victoriana adventures you can do with these guys!

These guys make a great start to a gang for Legend of the Old West or similar type of Western skirmish games, one band of Lawmen and perhaps one of cowboys. I will say, I really like the rugged look of the Indian/Woodsmen in this group. The leather of their coats came out really nice and full of depth.



Tomorrow, the final entry: with special characters!

JP

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Minis for Charity: Part 1 Conquistadores

In case you don't know, I am taking part in a charity event at Moonlite Comics, in Frankfort KY, this coming weekend. To help raise some funds, I will be donating a number of painted minis (around 40) to raise money! Everything goes to support the UK Children's Hospital (that's the University of Kentucky, not the United Kingdoms).

Today I unveil the first group of minis for this lot. I'm not 100% sure if/how we will split these, and it doesn't matter.

This group of Conquistadores/El Dorado is ready to travel throughout the world in this age of discovery. They are equally at home in the jungles of Brasil or the Yucatan, the foggy hills of Scotland, the wild woods of North America, the wonders of the Far East, or take on any number of fantasy locales. With a unit of arquebusiers and one of swordsman, these guys can do it all!

The painting on these guys was simple, but I think it makes them look darker and the contrasts are very effective, especially on the armor padding.

Moonlite Comics is proudly supporting the Extra Life charity to benefit the UK Children's Hospital with our 24 Hours of Gaming! From 10PM on Saturday to 10PM on Sunday, we'll have gaming all night and all day!

See the Facebook event for game schedule and events details.



More tomorrow!

JP

Saturday, October 18, 2014

FOE: More details about public design session

So tomorrow night, I will be hosting a design session for the campaign. While I will not say much just yet, I want to let you all know about the three topics I want to design with everyone.

We will be working on a town on the eastern coast of Exodus. It is currently in the hands of the Janus Horde but foreign forces are closing in.

The details are still fairly sketchy about it right now because, you guessed it, I want YOU to populate it and make it unique and awesome. Then I get to pull your own awesome ideas against you so its a win-win (for me).

We'll be working on NPCs, locations and character options. Here are some random notes to start getting your brain juice going...

Interesting NPC(s) The world is filled with characters, let's think two with an interesting background. Concept ideas: Cult leader, A Warlord. Things to talk about:
    -  Gender
    -  Race
    -  History
    -  Why is this character unique?

Interesting location(s) We will come up with a few interesting adventure locations. These could be a location that's unique because of a magic, religious, or natural phenomenon. Here are a list of the elements found nearby
    -  A large, fetid swamp
    -  A coastline

Character option(s) Ever thought there was a feat or other option that would make sense to add to the game? This is your chance to pitch it!
    -  A feat
    -  An archetype
    -  A spell

Join our Facebook Event or join us in our Hangout Sunday night 8pm EDT.

JP

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

FOE: Public design session

I am very happy to announce that First Ones Entertainment will be hosting a first open design session. Other than going over some things like the state of the campaign and where we want to take it this year, the big thing is going to be designing a session. Sunday the 18th at 8pm EDT.

For what?

Quite simply, we will be designing a location within NeoExodus specifically for the campaign.

Yes, we will be discussing about the place, its inhabitants, its unique locations, why should people adventure there.

We are not starting from nothing. I have a rough outline for the location, but it is filled with areas and places.

But JP, what should I prepare for this? you ask. Quite simply, think of the most exciting NPCs and locations that you can think of.

What can you tell us about the location? It is in Sametia, is controlled by the Janus Horde and is set in a coastal area. It does the ruins of a city. There. How can you make that cool? That's what we'll see on Sunday!

You can "register" on Our Event on Facebook or you can simply join us Sunday night in our Google Hangout!

See you Sunday!

JP

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Commission: Three Stage Gnome Part 1

Another one of the StoneHaven Gnomes from their Kickstarter. This is their Ranger. A simple, solid mini overall, as usual, it paints up well and quickly. The job is very simple with leathers as a base.

Now why is this "Part 1" JP? You ask. Simply because this mini is part of a self-created set that takes this same mini from "low level" to high level. Something that's not new, but the is nevertheless pretty cool. So today is the first part of this "set"

JP

Commission: Kermina val'Borda mini

This mini is the one that made me fork out too much money for my own good as part of the Relic Knights kickstarter. Quite frankly, I would have paid for this mini on its own if I could've.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Funnies: The Origins of Mystique

This is an old one, but one that makes me laugh to this day.

JP

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

[Old Pro Tricks] 5-points to better roleplay online edition

In my previous post, I focused on face-to-face role-playing. While most of that article remains true, there are things that do not translate to the online media too well. Unless you use a webcam body gestures and postures are impossible to see.

So let's start by analyzing the three types of media that we have while online:

- Web Cam I'll admit I'm not much on the webcam for online play. I've used it, it's fine but it also shows how bad I slouch on my chair and when I'm not overly paying attention. Still as a tool, the webcam does help translate physical motion. It is not used uniformly.

- Voice Whether the voice tool is Roll20 (my personal favorite), D20Pro, MapTool, or others the voice element significantly speeds up communication vs typing it all.

- Online Chat Is usually where the dice roller is and where the GM will post handout, boxed text and other things. Since this usually has a history or that anyone can scroll back, this is great for elements that are not directly important

So we have three media to play with. Let's see how we can use them to create memorable characters and games, online...

1- The Philosophy is the same

Now it is important to note that the idea and philosophy in the previous article is still all valid: Imitate don't duplicate, Start small, Go Big, Keep it in character, and Keep it consistent are all still valid. However, HOW we use them will change because of the different medium in which we operate. I already tackled the three main avenues with which we can play.

2- Don't hog the channels

One of the common thing people often complain about in online game is the amount of traffic on the voice chat. That does become a problem, though usually not so much because of role-playing reasons. People chat and discuss rule elements and other. In itself, this is more an issue of Netiquette than gaming.

Still, in the interest on RP, some players constantly talk on the channel, drowning the GM and other players who have some game-mechanics question. During times of great chatter, step back and only intervene if it is important. Don't be afraid of sending private notes (tells) to the GM or to another player or post it in the chat log. That helps keeping down the chatter to the important stuff.

During combat, there is a lot of traffic as the GM needs to provide a lot of information quickly: who is attacked, does it hit, how much damage, spell effects, etc. Without these communication, the game bogs down. This is particularly important to keep the game on-point and moving. Such time is NOT the time to go off into a major in-character tirade.

Keep quiet until your turn comes here.

3- Voice for important stuff, Chat for secondary

Directly linked to the above, but really requires a double mention. The voice chat is for things that directly affects the game in an immediate fashion, or that requires an answer from the GM. "I go see the merchant to see if he has potions" would require a GM answer. Or interaction with NPCs.

Anything you do that's not immediately important to the game should go to the chat.

One thing that is great about online playing is that you CAN use the chat instead of voice to roleplay side-events. This can go from a simple look at someone, to something your character whispers to themselves, to a short aparté or sotto vocce. This allows the rest of the players to see what you are doing and perhaps respond to it.

One thing I noticed is that the more you do this, the more others also do it.

4- Do it in small bursts

I know, I know, this seems to go against a lot of what I posted before about consistency. But because the format somewhat restraints overall chatter, when you do find your character's schtick, make it so it can be done in small doses. Perhaps its an expression, something you can say on occasion.

A good thing is to have just a few catchphrases. Something that will keep you in character and remind others that you are still there. This may be something you type or say. But it should ideally be short enough not to slow the flow of the game.

5- Use voice patterns

Since you cannot be seen by your fellow players, one trick I use is to change speech patterns. Think of characters like Yoda who are always recognizable just by their speech pattern. Another favorite of mine? The valley girl.

Even without doing a good imitation, just the tone and speed conveys of your speech can convey a lot about your character.

Of course, this only works when using voice and not so much through chat, but that's not impossible.

Examples

There are three of my characters and how I play them online.

Katja Alterborg Katja is a character I built for the Reign of Winter adventure path. She is a chubby, nerdy girl who is extremely passive aggressive, shy and quiet. To play Katja, I speak with a low, quiet voice, and rarely raise my voice. Similar to the little black woman from the Police Academy movie. I also created a number of macros that details some of the things that she frequently does. "Katja puts both hands over her mouth, horrified by what she heard" Usually after a sexual reference. She keeps telling people that they are "not being very nice".

Kermina val'Borda Known to almost everyone who plays Arcanis, Kermina is the ditzy patrician who adventures for reasons that are rather unclear. It has been said that she puts the "Val" in "Valley Girl". The inflections and frequent nonsensical epithets of Valley Speech make her very unique. Totally! Awesome! Like really? Duh!

Togo Togo is a primitive shaman I created for the Dragon's Demand adventure. As someone from a primitive culture, he speak without using the "I". Therefore "Togo likes music", "Togo loves women" and "Togo is a man of skills" are some of his catchphrases. He also frequently blows his antelope horn. PFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU! Yeah forget about stealth...

Finally

It is important to note that when playing online, you cannot have side conversation out loud. Those should be done through the chat. It is less obtrusive, but nonetheless allows you to interact with your party members without having to do strange voices.

JP

Monday, October 6, 2014

[Rant] PFS Season 6 vs Adventurer's League: Which is best?

I posted a few articles about the future of Pathfinder Society (PFS), especially in the days of 5e. I remember how, at the time, a number of people called me crazy, hater, naysayer, and a prophet of doom. I will admit to being quite partial to the latter.

But that's not it. That's very far from it.

I love the Pathfinder RPG and in spite of a couple of issues, it still supports and provides the framework for the type of fantasy games I like to run and participate in.

With 5e growing and drawing more and more people every day, it should come as little surprise, that players are flocking to the new game. I'm seeing a drop in attendance of PFS attendance across the board.

This lead me to ask myself. Why is that?

1 - Did the quality of PFS drop? It is worth to ask the underlying question of whether the product offered is worse than it was. From everything I've seen, this is a clear "NO". The addition of John Compton has made things better. I cannot tell you how I disliked the blandness his predecessor injected into everything. Season 5 had a good theme and it was presented in a consistent way. Individual adventures were hit or miss, but the overall was good.

I can't say I heard anything about 5e on this one. So until I can see for myself, I will keep giving the advantage on this to Paizo.

2 - Is the campaign simply "too old"? The campaign has been on-going for seven years now. In spite of a large number of changes, is it simply time for "something new?" Sure there were changes: more factions, then less faction, then factions becoming meaningless. The rules changed and added different elements but it's still essentially the same campaign. I believe, this is one of the key factor in this potential decline. While the campaign is changing, it is still the same campaign as it was when I started back in Sept of 2009.

It is very hard to fight Malibu Stacy's new hat. And this hat now has a feather in it! I mean how can we resist? This is a complete do-over and reinventing the character! Well done WotC! You win this round! What do I know? Don't ask me, I'm just a girl! *Giggles*

3 - Is there simply too much offer for the demand? There is something to be said about glut in the gaming industry. If one has too many opportunity to play, then the excitement about it dims. Don't agree? Imagine you have cake every night. The same cake, and not a crummy one, a perfect cake of that kind you love. I imagine a vanilla white cake... or a Queen Elizabeth... NICE... But after three or four days of it. Yup. I loses its appeal.

Now with 5e on-boarding, and more GMs and groups adopting the system. I must give the advantage to 5e. For now.

4 - Did the campaign simply not give the players any buy-ins? That is something that's been bothering me about it for the longest time. What do *I*, a player, have invested in the campaign? How does *MY* taking part in the campaign affects anything? It doesn't. Or it doesn't in a time frame where I can see the impact that I have. Frankly, I don't see it. Players are allowed to be spectators and witnesses and not movers and shakers of the campaign. Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing bad about that. Sure, they gave us the post-adventure checkboxes, but I have seen nothing that tells me which option has been retained. Where is the unique con-only content? Why should I play at a large event rather than at home with my own group?

By contrast, the Adventurer's League has checkboxes, designated premiere events where results are tabulated, and special items can be handed out. Players get to impact what happens!

Hands down 5e.

5 - Is the theme not exciting? This is a big one for me... super-science of year 6. I personally didn't like the idea or the adventure "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks" itself. That's just... well not my cup of tea. I was only partially surprised that many people, like myself, really dislike the theme. Seems to be a mixed bag.

However, what I find is that there were so many much more thematic and interesting options. Between the Iron Gods AP, they would did an AP about Osirion (Mummy's Mask) and the next one is about Orcs and Giants. Let's see... Ancient Egypt, or Orcs, or robots and lasers? I realize that without PFS going the Star Wars route, a number of books would not sell...

Again comparing to the Adventurer's League where we are presented with the most iconic of plots with dragons and Tiamat. Again the advantage here, I have to give to 5e.

So

By my own factors, I will give 3 to 1 advantage to 5e. The theme really split people so its pretty much a toss-up, so I chose no to assign it.

I think Paizo is phoning it in with PFS this season, letting people go to 5e . I really hope the robots and star ship aspect goes away for good in season 7 and that we get a fun theme that will rally players to Pathfinder and PFS.

You know the funny thing? I have no desire to play 5e. It's sad.

JP

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Menoth: Reznik

Reznik... that evil, evil git. I first faced him when he was played by my good buddy Tim before his move to Maryland. Every game would go very well for me: I would massacre large swaths of my opponent's army, but then he would see his chance seize it, and kill me.

You guess it, I never won against this horrible combat monster!

Again, fairly simple paint job. With a few flashy highlights. The sword appear way more purple on the picture than it is in real life where it has a purple sheen. The paper he is holding reads "Death Warrant".

He is on the tail end of the many models I have for Menoth.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Relic Knights: Doctrine Novitiates - Minis with Panties!

When I asked for those models, I expected them to be somewhat Anime-ish. And I was looking forward to them. Then I received the minis...

OTAKU PANTY SHOT!

My wife made comments about "I know why you wanted these minis..." I found them funny and quirky. The green haired girl looks very much like Harley Quinn, and the redhead like Poison Ivy.

Oh yeah! There is a dude too.



JP

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

[Old pro tricks] 5 ways to better roleplay

A few new players I have been playing with lately have been commenting they want to get more into the roleplay element of the game. So I decided I would make these occasional post to this series.

I spent some time thinking about how to help them get better. And if they have a better game experience, mine improves as well does it not? With this goal in mind here is my list.

1 - Imitate don't duplicate

When create a new character, imitate that person but noticing some of the most important thing that distinguishes this person from another: a pirate's speech pattern, an Italian's hand gestures, a woman playing with her hair, a woman constantly adjusting her jewelry, a nervous person playing with a cigarette, someone with bad hygiene scratching, the President's speech pattern (the last three are awesome for that), a flamboyantly gay person's attitude, the shifty eyes of a paranoid person. Yes these are stereotypes, but they really help you get in character, and it helps people either categorize you quickly as to the type of character you are and convey personality.

Seriously. Look around you in a public place. At a quick glance, you quickly make your mind about the TYPE of person you see.

Think of a moment in a game when you sat down with new people and one player describes himself as "highly aristocratic and snobbish" but slouches and laughs at fart joke, it doesn't work... But if he looks down at every one disdainfully, introduces himself curtly, and demands a bottle of wine for himself. Then yes.

2 - Start small

Very few great actors or writers started off that way. They had to work as understudy and rose through the ranks. That's why I recommend that you start small. Pick one quirk about your character, something you can do easily and that you can remind yourself. I used to place notes on my character sheet to remember about the character. Perhaps it's a keyword, or a hand gesture, or something to put you back in character.

These small things that remind you will eventually become second nature.

3 - Go Big

This may sound like the opposite of #2, but it is not. By go big, I mean that whatever you do, make it in a way that others can notice. It's what I sometimes refer as "the Steve McQueen," based on SMcQ's performance in the Magnificent Seven. If you don't know, throughout the movie, whenever SMcQ is on-screen but not the center of attention, he does something that draw your eye to him: he plays with his gun or hat, he dusts his coat, etc.

There is no point in role-playing something no one else will ever see. If your character has a tick and plays with his fingers, do it above the table where other see it. There is no point in doing it beneath the table away from everyone. Do it where the others can see it - or can pick up on it.

This doesn't mean that you necessarily do some wild, grand gestures all the time. You can wow people with a withdrawn character. Just make it so others can notice. That's what it means to "Go Big."

4 - Keep it In-Character

Perhaps the biggest thing... ask question of others in character and respond to them in character (IC). This has the double advantage of engaging someone else. After a time it becomes a reflex. It also helps others differentiating you the player vs you the character. If you-as-PC speak like Jerry Lewis, people pay attention to you because they quickly make the distinction.

Staying in character often draws other players into the game.

I won't lie that it's hard.

It is very hard to do in a consistent fashion.

But the rewards are awesome and worth the effort. Not only do you raise your game, but others will do it too.

5 - Consistency is important

This is the one that links all of the others and raises the bar. Without consistency, others never know how to approach you, and in doubt, they will not communicate with you as a

This one is something I've seen a lot of. A player comes up with a good shtick, does a grandiose show for the first 10 minutes then his character disappears, replaced by the same character the guy is. Players "default" to an out of character conversation if they have a choice. So Imitate, start small, go big and keep in character, but do it consistently.

Some of my characters

For a number of my own characters, I have small tricks I use to get into character quickly.

- Sir Azrel was an LG character of mine who was a demon hunter and something of a snob. At the start of every game, I would straighten myself and begin looking down my nose at people, knowing they would never meet the exacting standards I set for myself. In spite of this attitude, he was a kind and compassionate man.

Sir Alexite is a retired PFS character of mine who was a Hellknight. He spoke with a Cluzeau-French accent. At game time, I would make gestures like a classic actor would, and keep playing with my pretend puffy shirt and cravate.

Katharan Was my first character in PFS, and the first Colorado-based PC to reach retirement level. She was a complete Paris Hilton style shallow bitch that spoke with a Borat-like accent.

Katja is my character in Reign of Winter (and PFS), she is very traditional and extremely shy around people. Before any game, I do two things: first I start avoiding eye contact and keeping my gaze down; second I lower my voice to a low pitch and say something simple often times "No" or "I'm Katja".

Viviana is Katja's older sister and something of a minion. When playing her, I wrack my body a few times with severe twitches then call out in a raspy voice "The Mistress is great!"

JP

Monday, September 29, 2014

Cryx Monday: Satyxis Blood Witches

These models I won in a random EBay auction. I really love the flavor of these female demoness.

They're not demons at all.

No, they are partially draconic! Somehow the Satyxis have been infused with the power of the Cryx dragon. Their fluff really appeals to me. I really like them.

JP

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Stonehaven Gnome: The Cleric

Okay here is another StoneHaven gnome. This one is a polearm wielder, I think she is the cleric or the paladin. Another model that paints up nicely and so quickly.

JP

Friday, September 26, 2014

Stonehaven gnome: The Barbarian

I love the Stonehaven gnomes, and I am working to finish the last of the gnomes I got from them. This Barbarian is definitely androgynous: no facial hair, but somewhat masculine. Can definitely be used as either! I think it was on purpose.

JP