JP On Gaming

Saturday, October 24, 2020

FOE at GameholeCon Nov 5-7

On November 5-7, I will be attending GameHoleCon online this year and I have three events on the tickets. Two for Akhamet and one for Rhym. These adventures were originally scheduled for Gencon but... Well... Things happened. So I plan on offering these adventures at other cons, building up to Gencon 2021...

I put info about the games and the time slots in which they are running. The time slots are links to GHC's site.

Legacies: The Half-Crazed Mummy Everything was fine until a half-insane mummy walked out of the desert. A 3rd-level 5th edition adventure set in the Egypt-inspired setting of Akhamet. Part of the Legacies Campaign.

- Friday 8am-1pm
- Sunday 8am-1pm

Legacies: Royal Scepter of Alarian A rich aristocrat wants a scepter no one heard about for centuries, surely it will be easy to find. A 3rd-level 5th edition adventure set in the Rhym Campaign Setting. Part of the Legacies Campaign.

- Friday 2pm-7pm

Friday, October 23, 2020

Beast of Tawaret Defeated By Prince Diogenes

Yesterday, the Peleset Ambassador, Prince Diogenes, supported by heroes of Akhamet defeated a massive sea serpent that destroyed many villages and even an armada sent against it.

Brave Prince Diogenes brought his foreigner knowledge to bear as he guided the heroes into the belly of the beast itself after destroying a cult of Tawaret the Destroyer.

The triumphal return of his band of brave heroes was met with celebrations across Khemaphis. The Church of Seth is quick to remind everyone that Prince Diogenes came to Akhamet under their guidance and that he has become a well-adapted member of society thanks to their guidance.

Thank you to Prince Diogenes and his cohorts!

PS: Congrats to Amenheti, Lam, Neferhana, Prince Rytek, and Sha'do for escorting Diogenes in his adventure

Thursday, October 22, 2020

[Kinda Book Review] X-Men Blue Vol 2

At the same time as I bought Young Inhumans, I picked up this X-men title with both excitement and apprehension. By now, you must know that I've been a fan of the X-men from the time I picked up a comic at summer camp. Great characters, great storyline. My apprehension came from the fact that modern comics are not my thing.

So the story picks up with an intro/recap of the situation (good). Captain America leads Hydra and USA, California is a land for Mutants controlled by Hellfire Club. A lot of eyeroll, but fine, I'm still in.

The Team is composed of the original X-men/X-Factor with some alternate Wolverine. They seem to be some type of reincarnation of the originals. Since I missed the first volume, I did not get their origins and there were very little to allow me to figure it out.

The new dynamic is as follows: Jean is the leader, the reliable and powerful one while the others dance around her. Unlike the doubt and angst-ridden girl that would turn into a flawed woman that would become the most powerful creature in the universe (Phoenix). She has no flaws and is tough, decisive, and precise at all times. Even later when she and Cyclops get a full mental merge, she can read all of Cyclops' mind but she can close hers off. Pretty Mary-Sue-ish. Bad character design.

Now Cyclops is relegate to being the boytoy of all the women in the story. Jean, the White Queen (Ex), Miss Sinister (Ex, when did he become a lingerie gal?), Goblin Queen. Jean calls him out on it "Which evil gal did you not get with?" which was a fun bit. Other and mental-joining Jean, he has no personal development.

Iceman's stick is that he's gay. And is very much a token character otherwise. He has little-to-no interesting development. Limited development. I like his power tweak where he does get some enlarge into a massive snow golem is cool.

Angel has fire wings, which is cool. Even tho I much prefered Angel's original thing. The Fire and Ice thing looks good but is not really used through the volume.

The one character who has an interesting storyline is Beast. He learns some magic and that is interesting, could be a longer story but it pays off as it gets into a big event.

The Wolverine-like guy is the least interesting and he takes away from the plot overall by really only adding a not-Wolverine-Wolverine guy.

Now the villains are so packed in this and their motivation is nebulous at best or overly simplistic and boring. I cannot decide which. Those villains were the best part of the X-men. Magneto. The Hellfire Club. The Goblin Queen. They had motivation that were easy to understand and that were relatable. They appear here but most of them are just bad reflections of these originals. It's like the writer wants all the villains to be mysterious and unknown so they all just come about doing random things "because they are bad."

Sooooooo. To come to a rating... The story/character development is a 2 or 3 due to the holes and nebulousness of some of the villains' goal but the action scenes are cool. The art is a solid 4: the characters are well-drawn and the action is clear and enjoyable. That said, I will settle on a strong 3/5. I expected to rate this much like Young Inhumans but this was a much better story. Heck, there were things happening that weren't just someone being a b*tch.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

[Kinda Book Review] Young Inhumans 1-12

A few weeks ago, I went to Z's Comic Lair, my FLGS. I had a stash of old trade books I wanted to sell. I sold them and took a bunch of new ones in exchange. One of these books was "Young Inhumans".

I always liked the Inhumans, dating back to the early days of the Fantastic Four where Medusa and Crystal replaced the blander Invisible Girl. I expected a tale involving them or Black Bolt. But no. Young Inhumans is about a group of Inhumans chosen to come to Earth as part of an exchange program. So they go to the University of Wisconsin.

The premise is as flimsy as the story itself. Once they get there, they are the target of unrealistic random racism reminiscient of the 1950s. With characters that border between interesting and boring. The pace is so slow that effectively nothing happens most issues. I can sum it up here: They get chosen, Nahrees is a bitch, Plant-guy is "dark and mysterious" Oh and he's played by Tom Huddlestone, Alaris is manic-happy, San is present.

I mean, what you have is a collection of scenes that rarely build up to much more than eye-rolling.

The Villain? Racism. What do they do against it? Nothing. Some characters get love interest as bland and predictable as the premise. Oh yeah. There is the "villain" who is this black industrialist (Sam L Jackson) who is "really not evil."

Nothing happens. No villains face them. Characters without development. They accomplish nothing in twelve issues. Slow-ass pace that lead nowhere. No wonder why I dislike most modern comics.

Even Medusa's cameos do not help the story. She just appears as a "strict mom who won't tell you what to do but criticize when you don't do it."

The rating would be an easy 1/5 but the art is pretty good, so I will give it a 2/5. Nothing to see here, folks. Just move along. There is more story, and a more compelling one with character evolution and development, in a 1980s Ron Jeremy film.

Monday, October 12, 2020

FOE Patreon: Free Adventure for All Patron Lord and Above

As a special gift this month all Patrons level Lord and above will receive a copy of Curse of Strahd II: Griffon Hill Manor. This adventure clocks in at 120 pages!

It features new art for this adventure drawn by the British Shark. This is a complete retelling of the Classic Ravenloft II adventure.

Perhaps the most ambitious FOE adventure yet! This is a huge one full of surprises that completes and expand upon the Ravenloft lore.

You can check this post on the FOE Patreon

Adventure Creation 101 Friday Oct 16th

This Friday evening, I will be running a short seminar with the kids of my Friday group. However, if a few starter GMs want to join, I would be fine with a few join in.

The event will run from 18:30-21h CDT on Friday night using Skype.

We will go over the basics of writing/ preparing your own adventures. From the original idea to the production. We will cover encounter creation, overall adventure creation, polishing, and running.

The theme will be Halloween monsters. I asked everyone to think of a monster typically associated with Halloween. This can be skeletons, ghouls, vampires, witches, whatever, anything you want.

Next preparatory step: think of a short way to use the monster in an adventure in a few sentences.

The vampire lives in a dark castle and feeds on maiden from the village

Bring a few pieces of scrap paper, a pen/pencil/sharpie and your ideas.

If you are interested, contact me directly through email, Facebook, one of the many ways in the internet.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

"Stealth Missions" are not all about Stealth!

I was lurking on Reddit about how to run "Stealth" adventure. He was thinking ofrunning a game in the style of Assassin's Creed: mostly moving around, avoiding detection, and fighting the least amount possible.

I thought this was worth cross-posting here. This is the answer I wrote:


The thing about "stealth missions" and how to run them successfully and in an interesting way, is to NOT be "just about Stealth". True, the goal is to not be detected but unlike in computer games where you just have to move from mob to mob and hide, TTRPG require "more".

This include:

- Using Deception to disguise yourself as guards or servants
- Find out what a password is
- Prevent the enemy from raising the alarm
- Climb around obstacles/well-guarded areas
- Parcour

Notice that I avoided to give specific checks because the players may have a variety of spells/ feats/ abilities to mitigate the challenge. Spells like alter self, disguise self, invisibility, spider climb, or even sleep may be used. And those are just BEFORE the action.

There is something to be said for Before the action: obtain duplicate of keys, passwords, outfits, and plans.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Rahadin becomes latest FOE Copper Best-Seller!

Rahadin, Dread Knight of Ravenloft is the latest FOE product to reach best seller level. This idea of mine as an avenue for expansion of Ravenloft for this character who terrorized my players more than Strahd did I think. They pitied and understood Strahd but he repulsed and disgusted them. They feared his emotionless and flawlessly calm demeanor and had planned to send every remaining dusk elves against him.

A good idea that did not play out that way, but a good idea nonetheless.

Big Thanks to the British Shark for his drawings of the murderous dusk elf. (Yes, there is another piece of art inside...)

It is currently available on the DM's Guild.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

[Kinda Book Report] Showcase Green Lantern Vol 2

Another omnibus from DC comics, this time Green Lantern Vol 2. Following my previous reading and review of volume 1, I was interested in reading more about early GL.

I must say that the schemes in this second one are not as good as the previous one. There were one or two new villains that had interest, I think of Evil Star. We see some Sinestro, Purple Sapphire, and Eduard Hammond (the paraplegic super mind-master), the Guardians take an active role in a few stories. The rest were against random minor criminals who would be underpowered fighting Robin and very meh.

As you can guess, this volume was not as interesting as its predecessor but I still found myself enjoying it throughout. Very "episode of the week" like a TV show or a cartoon. I read this slowly before talking naps, and the lightness of the material really hit the nail on the head. It helped me relax and fall asleep.

So I thought about how I would rate this one and I settled on a 2.5 out of 5, which rounds up to 3/5. Its predecessor was strong 3, this one is a weak 3. Yeah, that seem appropriate.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Le Troisieme Testament - First Part Review

Since I learned earlier this year that a new series for "Le Troisieme Testament", I bought all five albums and have just been trying to pace myself to make this delight go on and on and on. I remember when I bought the first, then second, then third and forth installment of this series. Wow. I loved it. The clues are there all along but they are well-hidden in the fast-paced story.

A story that is well-paced yet gives the impression of going at breakneck speed but the characters have plenty of time for some internal character development. This development happens particularly on the main character of the story, Elizabeth d'Elsenor, a orphaned raised by the Bishop of Paris. She goes from being something of a damsel in distress to a competent person who understands that the events of the series will never be known by the world at large, that they will be swallowed and hidden by other narratives.

I really did this sort of historical fiction where were are told stories contiguous to major events. And the supernatural is there, or maybe there, and can easily be denied or explained away.

Le Troisieme Testament does that masterfully. Who is the bad guy is and remains difficult to ascertain.

Tie-in biblical events with the Grand Inquisitor Conrad de Marbourgh (who was stripped or all his inquisitorial powers for accusing an elector of the Holy Roman Empire), the knight templar, tongue-less monks, money-hungry mercenaries, a secret occult branch of the Church, with odd raven-like knights. This story goes across Europe: Bohemia, France, Scotland, Spain, Viking lands, each land beautifully illustrated. Their involvement includes elements of that country.

The final denouement comes as a shock every time I read it. Every. Time. There is a feeling of solemnity and "OH CRAP" at the same time.

In case you want to know, they avert the Apocalypse atop a mountain lost somewhere. And everything makes sense for it.

Like The Ninth Gate movie, we are presented with a philosophical question whose answer is more difficult than it initially appears:

Yes. You start seeing... there may be a Third Testament, one after the New Testament... So the story says.

So this is a review of a re-read of this tale. You will no doubt guess my rating.
- Tome 1: Marc ou le réveil du Lion The series starts with a bang 5/5.
- Tome 2: Matthieu ou le visage de l'ange The action slows down here, and the mystery expands to near-confusing point. 4/5
- Tome 3: Luc ou le souffle du taureau Here we (think we) start to understand what is happening and the pace speeds up. 5/5
- Tome 4: Jean ou le jour du corbeau For parts of this tome, the story is a little confused. But the art just carried this to the final few pages where you jaw dropped and everything suddenly makes sense with a simple "I was wrong about everything".

Giving the whole series a 5/5 is one of the easiest scores I've had to give in all my reviews.

[Review] Pathfinder v2 thoughts

Back on Black Friday (Nov 29th), my good friend Florent ran an intro game of Pathfinder version 2 (PF2) for the kids and I. I was excited and intrigued about the game as I received a LOT of varying feedback. Feedback that spanned the spectrum from "good" to "worse thing ever". I tried to step back and just focus on my own experience.

The adventure he ran was one of the Pathfinder Society v2 intros. It was fine as an introduction and showcased the system which was what I was most interested in. PF2 will not change my thoughts on Golarion (I dislike it). However, would I spend time investing in this game as a publisher to publish material for it.

I have little to say about the adventure itself.

Now my thoughts on the system.

Good

The action economy system is simple, clean and after a few rounds, it flows well.

I got to play with my kids and my friends Flo & Flo.

Improvable

I am not sold on this "origins" thing. I expect there are two or three that are so good you must take them and hundreds of other ones.

Your level is everything Attack, saves, skills, and even Armor Class. I hated that about 4th Edition. As we discussed about it, telling a story becomes level-specific. I think 5e did it right here: that number is limited.

Here is the example: Your campaign starts with the PCs fighting orcs. These orcs are tough. Then you get a few levels and those same orcs must either: level-up or become meaningless after two or three levels. So when the game reaches level 10, the party only faces against orc generals, the average mook could take on an entire city.

In contrast, in 5th edition, you can send the same basic orc against the PCs. True, the orcs will not be much of a threat to the PCs, but in mob, they will soak a few attack and may force the PCs to expend a few resources.

Verdict

I will put this down as "fine". 3/5. Like Starfinder, I do not see this game taking over the landscape. People who still play Pathfinder nearly all went back to PF1 and dropped PF2. People who currently play 5e or other games seem to have no interest in it.

Paizo has their fans and PF2 will keep them relevant for a few more years but I see them fading from the forefront. They will remain a major name in RPGs. Someone I spoke to about it used a phrase I thought was appropriate. "There is nothing new here that is not available elsewhere." True, if you don't like or care about Golarion... Then what will bring you here?

What should they have done? I don't know. If I did, I would be rich and selling my own book.

The biggest question that lingers: Would I play Pathfinder 2 again? I am not closed to the idea, yes. Yes I would though I would not go out of my way to run this, especially if I can play other systems that do the same thing.

I could even see FOE creating PF2 products.

Monday, September 7, 2020

DragonCon 2020: After Action Report

So for the second time, I attended DragonCon this past Labor Day weekend. Now my regular job would not allow me to do so but this year was a clear exception because the College Football season does not have a full-time kick-off this weekend, just a few games. In case you do not know I work in college sports for 247 Sports.

Now I was reminded of the event through a rather odd way. I received an email from the organizer who reminded me how to log into my account to be ready to run games. I suddenly panicked. I did not recall offering any games there!

Turns out I did not, so it was good.

I looked at the list of game offerings and settled for a few Adventure League modules. Though there were not many different adventures, there were enough for me to play a variety of characters, of every tier. I played 2 adventures with Igor (my 10th-level servant of Strahd), 1 with Israel Hands (4th level pirate), and 1 with Corfell (my 13th level cleric who I only play once every 6 months... So I never level him up to 17th...)

The GMs were well-prepared and ran tight games I really tought were high-quality events. This is something I think builds community. What I call the game experience. It's not that you just win. I did voice my disagreement with one decision to call it because things got really bad and we were on the fast-track to a quick death. Well that's why we have boons and rewards, and bonuses. Wussing out when thing get tough does annoy me, but fine.

I left my Sunday game with a positive vibe about it and really give a big kudos to the AL people.

So thanks to my GMs: Brett, Krishna, and Rebecca, who GM'd for me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Great Idea, Amazon!

This morning, Amazon sent me a recommendation for a product I might like.

They were right, I love that product!

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Akhamet Player's Guide Released

After many months of writing, refining, and reviewing, it is with great pride that I announce the release of the Akhamet Player's Guide, the second book for the setting.

ActionMan has been reading the book from cover to cover and he's been really been enjoying it and learning a lot of new things.

The book includes and expands on the following:
- Expands on the Akhameti Pantheon by adding four new deities, from the beautiful Hathor, to Thoth the scribe, to the vengeful snake-headed Meretseger.
- Ten new races, including the cow-headed Hathorians, to the vulture-headed Nefru and living mummies!
- Six new class options, from the hoplite fighter to the divine agent rogue, to the divine sorcerer.
- New backgrounds including the fake priest, the former cultist, the prophet, or the palace brat.
- New feats, equipment, and magic items.
- Learn about Akhameti society, new cities, and locations.
- Explore the universe of the lands beyond Akhamet, the lands beyond death.
- Discover the ancient states and kingdoms that existed within Akhamet and the lasting impression they left behind.

The book is available right now through DriveThru RPG.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Apple of a Mother's Eye reached Copper Best-seller!

It took a little more time than I wanted it to, but earlier this week, Apple of a Mother's Eye reached the first threshold into eternal posterity... It reached the level of a Copper Best seller on the DM's Guild.

That adventure was written on the heels of Real Housewives of Ravenloft as an expansion of Curse of Strahd and from talking to the players, was one of the highlights of the campaign. It provided insight into the many NPCs and their backstory. You know how experiencing something gives you insight and perspective.

The adventure is available on the DM's Guild.