JP On Gaming

Monday, October 31, 2011

250th post, New stuff for Neoncon and Commission

This is the 250th post to this blog! Thanks to all of my readers!

But you did not come here for that. This past weekend, I completed a number paint jobs I needed to do. First the new miniatures I painted for the new NeoExodus adventures. They are historicals I will use as a members of the Janus Horde. The first four miniatures are from Old Glory's "Horse Archers" range. These were extras I have from my Parthian army. The final one is an ancient Egyptian from Foundry.

This one will be a leader, wielding a lance, which I modeled as a xyston.

This one is a Hordes' spell caster.

The next series of miniatures are also for the Janus Hordes. These miniatures are Sea People from Foundry. The Sea People were a confederation of people coming from the Black Sea and/or Aegean Sea area. They both served and fought against ancient Egypt. (Wikipedia's entry on the Sea People, which is pretty decent). These minis I painted with the white skin of Kalisans. Three of them have swords and one has a misc bladed weapon.

All of the minis above will be used as NeonCon for the first time as part of "Ruins of Trovaska". I am very excited.

Finally, last week I posted some of my latest commissions and I hinted at a "third" commission. This one is an interesting one. The shield with the huge tongue is a focal point. Steve asked me to have an "armor colored" armor, with a blue tint to it. The base was electric blue, then three different washes and silver highlights to create a very crisp-looking armor. I kept the The picture makes the armor appear much bluer than it appears. The red sash was used to add extra highlight. The final miniature is very interesting.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

[Avatar of the Kaga] The Reis Confederacy

The Reis Confederacy occupies the northern parts of Exodus, an area frequently called by its original name, the Wyldlands of Bal. Its lands are covered in sweltering jungles whose northern border vanished into thick permanent fog that swallows men’s souls. The land is overrun by feral tribes of Caliban and Enuka. Massive monsters roam and threaten its inhabitants.

The Confederacy is the least unified of all the major empires and the one whose leader has the least control over her subjects. The Confederacy is exactly that: a confederation. It is composed of a number of city-states that control the land around them and that fiercely vie for additional power. This constant in-fighting has been one of the hallmarks of the Wyldlands since the days of the First Ones’ Empire. Life in the Wyldlands is a struggle and those who come from there are known as fatalistic, dour tough, rugged and self-reliant nature. They are frequently considered backward and unsophisticated by natives of the other great empires.

The Wyldlands were never fully conquered by the First Ones. Still the First Ones built many of the towns that rise today. The balites rose to support the Kaga to overthrow the First Ones. During the Arman migration, new cities were founded on the east coast. The original Arman have since integrated into balite society. The Confederacy was the last of the great nations to be formed. In the 4th century BC, Euhudi high priestess of Khayne went on a massive campaign of conquest, imposing the worship of her dark lord. She organized her fellow worshipers into a strong brotherhood called simply "the Brotherhood of Khayne". She conquered most of the Wyldlands until she was stopped by a confederation of free cities and foreign mercenaries at the Battle of the River of Blood. The battle crushed the Brotherhood's power. Victorious, the leader of the free people's army, the Panther Warrior Ataulpa was crowned the Imperator of the Reis Confederacy. The Imperator and his successors led their troops into Sametia and Koryth to expand their own power.

The Twilight War began in the Confederacy when a Dominion ambassador was murdered by a member of the Protectorate embassy. The crisis that followed led to the Protectorate declaring war but being unprepared. The Imperatrix was ready. Her troops advanced through Sametia, annexing Arman and Dominions holdings, all the way to the Abaddon River. The Confederacy has the dubious honor of having fielded they only undead army in the history of Exodus. Confederate General Xon was a powerful necromancer whose actions horrified the jaded balites. The Confederacy had to destroy the general and his undead army. The Battle of Aremyhk ended the Twilight War after the janissaries routed a large army of Confederate.

The Confederacy was a founding member of the Imperial Alliance, grudgingly agreeing to the establishment of the Sanguine Covenant as the official religion. To this day few Confederate cities have abandoned their ancient worship for this "new faith". Sanguine missionaries are increasing and their work is reaching the populace. Religion in the Confederacy like everything, is simple and brutal. Although the sacrifices of intelligent being is rare, it still occurs, particularly in Caliban-dominated areas. The worship of Khayne is widespread here and the Brotherhood still exists, though it must hide its activities.

Confederates are a very diverse bunch. Indeed, the Confederacy is the only land of Exodus where humans do not form the majority. Calibans, dalrean, enuka, humans and Sasori form 95% of the population. In spite of this mix, the rulers of the Confederacy have been overwhelmingly human, including the current dynasty. This diversity has not created a homogenous culture. Each culture (racial, geographical and regional) firmly defends its own and integration is rare.

Since the murder of Empress Mercy by Prince Bial, she has troops searching for Prince Bial, but they have so far come up empty. It is no secret that the Imperatrix and the Prince are in love with each other. Empress Cassandra has accused the Imperatrix of hiding the prince in her palace at Awanesa, something that is vehemently denied by Lolani. It would be a major crime to harbor a regicide. Tensions between the two nations has escalated and although war is not imminent, both sides have deployed troops and reinforced border garrisons. Tensions are high on both sides of the border.

The Imperatrix

Imperatrix Lolani is the current ruler, following the death of her mother, the albino khymerion recently ascended to the throne. Her mother's top advisor and personal astrologer, a mysterious figure known as "the Bronze Sage" prophetized a number of calamities including a star fall and a terrible plague coming in its wake. He also prophetized that from the Gaszi dynasty, an albino child would be born that would lead to the the destruction of the Confederacy. As fate would have it, Imperatrix Sepatha's firstborn was the albino Lolani.

Lolani's childhood was one of isolation. Few wanted to associate with the one who would destroy the Confederacy. She was a pariah in a gilded cage. She spent her time in the library learning about the history, lands and people of her future domain. Lolani was a dark and sad child until Prince Bial of the Caneus Empire arrived for his trials. The two became fast friends: two solitudes are better than one. She nursed him back to health after his terrible mauling.

Imperators in the Confederacy hold power only to the extent of their own will and charisma. Weak rulers hold no power while strong ones can do what they please. Lolani's rule is still young so it is unclear how she will turn out to be. Thus far, she has ruled with a just and steady hand, one that many attribute to the quiet guidance of the Bronze Sage.

The Flavor

The Confederacy has two major influences, that initially seem completely opposite one another. First, the city-states of the Confederacy are organized and look much like the empires of the Aztecs and Maya: tall stepped pyramids where ritual sacrifices are held at the top for all to see. Cities in the Confederacy are built to impress travelers more than functionality. Grand open streets, parks and plazas are common.

The second influence is that of African tribal realms such as the Kongo, the Zulu and the Mutapa kingdoms and famous tribes such as the Masai and the Ngoni. These groups established a complex system of allegiance through trade, conquest and influence. Many tribes (all races together) are dressed in manner of the these warriors.

The more urban the Balite, the more likely he is to be dressed in an Aztec/Mayan style. The more rural ones are more commonly dressed much more in an African style. Whatever their origins: feathers, headdresses, face and body paints, and monstrous masks are at home here. Add to them brightly colored animal skins for clothing (leopards and lion skins are particularly sought after for their bright, vibrant colors).

Dancing holds a special place in the Confederacy. Not only for entertainment, but dancing is also part of the warrior culture. Dances mimic the ebb and flow of battle, teaches young ones the traditional attacks and defenses. Much like Tai Chi is for martial arts.

The Confederacy is a dangerous land of contrasts, colors and mystery.

The Army

Unlike the other major empires, the Confederacy is not a unified nation, joined by a major ethnic group. It should come as no surprise then that the Confederacy's army is composed of a number of autonomous regiments under regional commanders assigned by their home city. This makes the Confederate army the most diverse in all of Exodus. It makes them the largest, but also the one with the most complex command structure. This complex structure is based on promises made by the general to the city-states or tribes that agree to participate. Like for the imperators, Confederate generals have to lead through force of will, threats and personal charisma to get the army functioning correctly.

The Confederacy uses a lot of large creatures, such as dire animals, dinosaurs, elephants, giants, trolls and whatever else they can wrangle from the jungles. These creatures are frequently sent to the front of the army before hordes of screaming tribesmen. "Horde tactics" best describe the tactics of the Confederacy (when in doubt, send more troops).

One military unit is tied to Confederate power above all else: the panther warriors. These warriors are the only ones allowed to wear panther armor, armor made of a panther skin. These warriors are famed for their solo fighting prowess. They fight with and as panthers or tigers. They commonly serve as generals or war lords. (Panther Warriors are a Prestige class found in the NeoExodus Campaign Book).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Commissions October 2011

It has been a while since I posted an update on painted minis I have done. Mostly because I forgot to put up the pics...

The first mini was commissioned by my friend Steve (for whom I painted an Amiri the Pathfinder barbarian some time ago). He liked what I did for him (and I'm not shy to admit that I like it too). So he commissioned me for three more pieces. Here are the first two.

The Human Assassin

The first one he commissioned for his brother. It is an rogue/assassin characters who skulks around a lot. So dark, green-based colors. However, when he moves in for the kill, he flicks his cloak open revealing a much more visible color on the inside. He asked if it would be possible to model a rapier in place of one of the knives. Piece of cake (to do), trick (to do right).

I found this an interesting challenge to paint up a "drab" character. If you follow my blog and painting works, you know that I like to use strong accent colors. But I could not here. I really like the final result. It's drab, but in a colorful way. The greens and the brown play well together. The inside of the cloak, I did a much lighter shade of green, this serves as an accent for the mini without looking out of place.

The Dwarf with bad teeth

The second mini would challenge my sculpting skills and one I didn't tell him but I was a tad apprehensive. The original is a orc archer. A nice Reaper mini. Steve wants to use it as a dwarf. "I have a 5 Charisma, so an orc mini is perfect! All he needs is a beard". You can't beat that kind of logic. He wanted a nature-type, so again, muted, earthy colors: browns and greens

So I took the mini, brought out the green stuff, and began sculpting. I did the lower beard first then added a thick mustache. The skull cap I turned into hair. The result is a nasty, dirty dwarf with VERY bad teeth and a big beard. I did some extra detail on the tunic with two-tone red lines that give it the appearance of a near-plaid. Interesting piece. I look forward to playing with Steve's character again...

The Third Mini...

I did mention a 3rd mini... that one will have to wait for another day... I did not like how the shield came out. So I will have to re-detail it.

I was asked about commission work: I take them. Contact me directly JP at and we'll talk.


Death of 4e announced on Twitter?

From time to time, the world of Twitter (follow me @jpon) brings me something that I just HAVE to respond to.

This morning I got up on the wrong side of the bed. I'm grumpy today (okay stop the wise cracks about me being constantly grumpy). When I got to the office, grumbling about not having coffee, I went through my backlog twitter feedback and I came across the following tweets by Stan! (@stannex) which somehow caught me by surprise. I was not only surprised but hopeful at the same time... Odd feeling for a cynic like myself.

Here are the two tweets that caught my eye (hashtags removed).

I'm told it's OK to tell you that today I went to work AT Wizards of the Coast for the first time since 2002. Pretty cool for a Monday.
Just so rumors don't fly, I'm NOT at WotC in a design capacity. I'm there as a Producer, shepherding projects thru the creation process.

Okay... so let's recap what happened recently from WotC... First they get Monte Cook, then they get Stan! as a publisher to lead creation process. That really looks like a changing of the (new) guard and a return of the many heads that allowed Wizards to reach the summit of their control of the industry: the early 2000s. Stan's (even if temporary) work at Wizards adds even more weight to my Predictions of doomTM. I have had the chance to sit and talk to him a little at PaizoCon... Stan has to be one of the most creative person there is. Unless the WotC designers are complete idiots (which I do not believe they are), they will take advantage of this great resource.

Since Stan makes sure to let us know that he is not working as a developer but someone who "shepherds the creation process". This seems to me like they have a number of half-formed or incomplete projects they want to hammer out, complete and get off the plate. He can direct and expand projects that have been lying around for a while. This would allow WotC to have a number of products "almost ready" they could release over a time period while they put their designers and developers' brain to work on what we all know is coming sooner rather than later... This would allow WotC to have a revenue stream while they work through the chinks of their next big thing.

I frequently do that when I write. I jot down an idea. A block or two. A feat. A plot hook. An encounter design. Then I leave it be. It allows me to focus on the project at hand while keeping track of other ideas. After the current project is done, I go back, expand and develop. For example, while I was writing the NeoExodus Campaign Book. I have created no less than five other files with elements I thought should not go in there. This included a file full of feats, one of spells, one of monsters and one with some miscellaneous adventure ideas. Of these, Louis and I are planning an "NeoExodus Players' Guide" and a monster book called "Scions of the First Ones" for much later down the road. The names are VERY LIKELY to change, but elements for both already exist.

But back to the topic at hand...

The WotC guys have been VERY active on the twitterverse trying to get people to send them ideas and hints about what people want to see in their game. Its interesting to see the change of tone coming from them. From the early 4e day "everything else is crap but 4e" to the more community minded "what elements do you like in your game?" I see this shift as a positive sign. Good. They seem to have learned their lesson from the 4e PR debacle. Hopefully, they don't just listen to people who like what they do, but to some of the naysayers too. Naysayers frequently tell you more about your product (or force you to rethink your position, moreso than the "it's cool"s and "I like"s). Like when you go to Ebay, how many times do you read the positive comments vs. the negatives ones? I never read the positive reviews. Never. With this shift in approach, the guys may be changing the perception of the community towards WotC (or maybe that's just me) and getting ready for a big announcement.

The only thing they could be gearing up toward is... 5e.

The pieces are falling into place... What was a rant a few month ago is now becoming a road map of what we are seeing... One could almost say predictions of doom are seeing the stars align.

Maybe my mad rantings were not so wrong.

I would say... so right?


Monday, October 24, 2011

[Avatar of the Kaga] The Janus Horde

Perhaps one of the most complex and unique society in all of Exodus is the one nation that really is not one… Let me explain. The Janus Horde is not a nation that is the result of a series of invasions, long wars or epic struggle for independence.

The lands of Sametia have seen war on a near constant basis since the dawn of time. Its flat grassy plains lend themselves to the passages of armies and the maneuvering of large forces. Many of the greatest battles between the Kaga and the First Ones took place here. When the Arman left their homeland, they landed here before migrating south. When the nascent empires sought to expand their borders, they did so here. Most of the Twilight War was fought here. The plains of Sametia have grown fertile by the blood of soldiers.

The end of the Twilight War and subsequent Unification of the major empires established the borders, leaving Sametia as a neutral buffer zone. It was not long before the Sametians organized themselves and petitioned for membership into the Imperial Alliance. But their petition was ignored and laughed at by the major empires all of whom still looked to Sametia as a potential conquest. The rebellion that followed was brutally crushed by the Imperial Alliance, making a show to ensure that rebellion would not be tolerated.

Fifteen years later, Sametian leaders gathered in a secret location and jointly decided that since civilization turned its back on them, they would turn its back on it. Declaring themselves sons of Janus – a war hero from the War of Mind and Magic – they turned on foreigners and slaughtered them. They slaughtered priest of the Sanguine Covenant. They slaughtered any opponent to their revolution. They burned their own palaces. They plundered their own cities. They packed everything they could on their horses and left their old lives behind. They embraced barbarism by turning their back on civilization and actively pursuing their inner beast. They burned books and scholars (usually together). Priceless magical items were smashed and smelted into jewelry for the hordesmen or their horses.

The action took the major empires by surprise. Under Janissary command, punitive expeditions were sent into Sametia. They found the cities already plundered and burned by the vengeful horde. The small hordes used hit and run tactics on supply chains and focused their attention on anyone they consider representatives of civilization first (priests and scholars are prime targets). The Alliance offered assistance to anyone seeking asylum from the vengeful Horde. The expeditions withdrew from Sametia as the Senate squabbled and debated about what to do with the rebels. Politics locked the Senate as none of the major empires wanted to take on the the war on their own.

Or rather, none wanted to give the other the chance to expand into Sametia.

Power struggles within the Janus Horde quickly broke out as warlords conquered and betrayed each other. This led to a long civil war within the horde. Finally, the Warrior-Queen Thais whose origins are unclear at best emerged victorious. Through her sheer will, she organized and created the Horde as it is today. She named loyal generals to command smaller hordes under her leadership, binding them to her through complex ceremonies. This system has worked well and allowed the Horde to defeat armies sent against them.

The people of the Horde are of extremely diverse origin. The Imperial Alliance does not have clear numbers and estimates the composition of the Horde based on warriors. These numbers are over-simplistic because they do not take into account the large number of serfs that accompanies the hordes. Humans are just over half the population (ethnic origin is extremely varied) with Dalreans in the jungles of eastern and coastal Sametia. Calibans (and Kalisans) form the third official group within the Horde. The bestial culture and harshness of caliban culture are valued highly among the horde. Cannibalism, while not encouraged, is accepted on one's enemies. Many calibans have moved to Sametia from other lands. Their numbers have swelled the Hordes' numbers.

Anyone who does not ride a horse or own a weapon is a serf, the lowest class. Serfs are expected to be subservient to any warrior. Foreigners are considered serfs. Unless the foreigner owns a weapons and horse, in which case he becomes a warrior. He just has to take them.

In the lands of the Horde, might makes right.

The Flavor

The Janus Horde is inspired by the Mongol Hordes that swept Europe and Asia in the 11th-14th centuries. Elements are also drawn from the Huns, later plains nomads (such as the Tatars and the Bulgars) and who could really say barbarian without thinking of Robert Howard's Conan. Like the mongols under Genghis Khan and later leaders, the Horde seeks plunder and conquest. They obtain the former by conducting raids across they borders onto enemy nations. Conquest is something they had limited success with. So far.

One of the major aspect of the Horde is that they do not want the life of their enemies, who they consider fat, weak and worthless. They actively seek barbarism and "un-civility". Few in the major empires understand them (or want to understand ), instead calling them savages, animals or barbarians. This simplification makes it much easier to demonize them.

I will expand on those later, but the Horde has turned to a series of new religions: the doom-saying followers of the Lawgiver and the bestial worshipers of the Cult of the Dragon. Both cults promote that a warrior should better himself by defeating the greatest challenges they can find. As such, Sametia large monsters are extremely rare in Sametia (or extremely well-fed).

The Army

The Horde's warrior caste is its army. Sametians favor hit and runs with lances or other two-handed weapons (such as great axes or great swords). The often use wolf pack tactics where they focus on a single target, then leaving before the enemy reacts. Some warriors, particularly Kalisans prefer to move about on foot. These serve as scouts and vanguard for the hordes. Horde attacks are rarely well-coordinated but extremely fast and brutal.

Hordesmen have trained animals and other magical beasts to fight with them. Bears, wolves, hawks, hyenas and large cats (tigers, cheetahs and lion) are common in Horde armies.

Warriors generally favor simple cloth to elaborate ones. Simple colors such as greens and red are most common, though many Hordesmen favor natural-colored leathers. Any elaborate fabric worn by Hordesmen is almost exclusively plundered. Armor is frequently patchwork, taken from fallen enemies and refitted. Repaired armor are common. Heavy armor is extremely rare.

Serfs wear simpler clothing, frequently discarded by warriors and it is common to see them dressed in a hodge podge of outfits, making males and females difficult to distinguish solely based on dress.

Friday, October 21, 2011

[Avatar of the Kaga] The Dominion

Easily the oldest of the states of Exodus is without doubt the Dominion. Forged in the aftermath of the War of Mind and Magic, the Dominion’s human population intermarried with gevet and foreign colonists from the lands of the Sorcerer-Kings of Abaddon to create a distinct sub-race. The Dominion was formed ten centuries ago when the First Khagan – whose name is unknown to this day – led his people in rebellion against the crumbling empire of the Sorcerer-Kings in a series of surprise raids that showed his military genius. At his death, he left the Dominion with its own alphabet, a clear caste system, a strong military tradition and a people who valued and encouraged their own innate magical talents.

His title of Khagan means Khan among Khans, marking him as the highest leader of the land.

The lands of the Dominion are mostly composed of burning desert lands. Ancient scrolls lead us to believe that the lands were once mostly tundra and massive pine forest. But today’s Dominion is a land that is supernaturally warm. Most believe this to be the result of one of the apocalyptic battles between the Kaga and the First Ones. Others think it is the result of a time-forgotten experiment that led to the creation of the gevet race. The sands keep their secrets well.

Over the last decade, the Dominion has mend ties with both its neighbors. First, all four of the Caneus Emperor’s children were educated in Qijom, this made as a gesture of good faith from both sides. The now-Khagan developed a love affair with now-former Empress Mercy. His brother was sent to the Dominion’s traditional enemy, the Protectorate where he and the Tsarina have developed loving ties. However, the murder of Empress Mercy has made the Khagan

Innate magically ability and magical aptitude is more common in the Dominion that it is anywhere on Exodus. At the founding of the Dominion, this magical aptitude is what created the Khans, magical-filled beings. The Khans controlled vast magical powers. Today, most nobles do possess arcane powers, but many members of the lower castes have also demonstrated the ability. Those who possess innate talents are valued and thought how to master their gift. Certain Dominion spell casters have developed a unique methods to magic they call Wyrdcasting. Wyrdcasters can tap into powers not known or understood by others.

Alone on Exodus, the Dominion have raised a full city into the sky. The floating city of Anidem was fought over many times. Unable to take the city, the Protectorate decided to blast the city to rubble. Today, only the Khan and the rich live in the floating city while the poor live in the rebuilt sections of what was once the rubble.

The Ruling Family

The current Khagan is Malick Al’Adim. He is a renowned scholar, swordsman and magic wielder. Malick is loved by his subjects as a fair, an even-tempered and patient man. However, since the death of Empress Mercy, he has grown increasingly paranoid and has begun re-arming the Dominion for war. People blame the Khagan’s erratic behavior on the pressure of running such a country.

The Grey Eminence behind the Khagan is his brother, Sultan Nasser. Nasser is a scholar and a famous diviner who does not have his brother’s charisma or strength. Nasser is an ardent patriot who works for the betterment of the Dominion above all. He has close ties with the Sasoris and their information network. It is said that no one can speak the Khagan’s name without Nasser knowing about it. He does have one flaw… He is madly in love with Tsarina Anayanka of the Arman Protectorate. Rumors of marriage between the two were high until the murder of Empress Mercy. Such plans are now on-hold.

The Flavor

The Dominion has a definite Arabic feel: men wear turbans and long robes. Women wear long, shape-hiding clothes. The clothes are generally plain in color or with simple diamond or striped patterns. These are then enhanced with jewelry. Important buildings have minarets, onion-shaped domes, narrow, white-washed buildings. The heat in the Dominion - with few exceptions - is unbearable. Although outfits that are definitely out of place: heavy armor, fur coats, foreign clothing adapted to other climates are not all that uncommon because ready availability of magic and the endure elements spell, many rich or fanciful wear these clothes when they want to.

Though taking from Arabic influences, the Dominion is not united by religion. The Sanguine Covenant, the official religion teaches that evil arcane casters must be destroyed, it leaves extremely vague the notion of what constitutes "evil". Thus many nobles do not actively believe in the teachings of the Covenant. However, the freemen and lower classes actively and strongly support the Convenant as the church protects them from the possible depredations of depraved or degenerate nobles.

Eastern Cavalry, Influenced by the ProtectoratePeople of the Dominion have dark skin, dark hair and dark-colored eyes. However, on the northern borders, straw and sandy hair is not uncommon. Skin tones lighten near the Caneus Empire and the Arman Protectorate. The intermingling of the Cordelian stock (the Dominion's major human group) with its neighbors over the centuries was caused by constant invasions and warfare. Mixed in with this – and especially closer to the borders, the dress codes changes and introduces foreign elements to the traditional elements.

For example, I see Dominion dress becoming more like that of Seljuk Turks or Cumans the closer one gets to the Protectorate. Armor becomes more Arman in design and form, so does equipment and weaponry. Since the Abaddon River basin was fought over until Unification (91 year ago), the two groups have cross-breed a lot. Men wear brightly-patterned long shirts over pants. Women keep their hair in long braids with dressed of a pattern similar to their husbands.

In the north, although not as prevalent, the mingling of the Dominion people and those of the Caneus Empire produces a dress and military than resembles mid-era Byzantines. The dress style is based on long tunics, usually of white with the edges died a contrasting color: red, green and purple are the most common. These colorful bands are then embroidered with gold or silver treads. Women carry their hair in up-dos with intricate braids and tiaras.

The Gevet

The Dominion has the biggest population of gevet (or tieflings) in all of Exodus. Unwelcomed in most part of the world, these part-fiends part-humans have heavily influenced Dominion society. Their influence in the arts (particularly music and dance) is undeniable. Few Khans resist taking a gevet concubine whose promiscuity and libido are legendary. The trick is to woo one and get her away from her family. Gevet are extremely protective of their females and matrons rule entire tribes with an iron fist.

Male gevet are generally seen as nuisance and criminals. Most of them are. They are found running all types of criminal organizations. Few male gevet are considered useful or active members of society.

The Sasori

An integral part of Dominion society are the sasori. These man-scorpions have served the Khagans since the days of the First Khagan. Dominion authorities have many sasoris in positions of power and part of the military. Indeed, whenever something is deemed extremely valuable, the Sasori are asked to watch over it. Though not every sasori work for the government, few actively work against it. The Khagan is said those be the leader of a secret police made up of sasori.

The Army

The Dominion army is overall based on the old tribal system. Khans gather to form an army. The core of the army is made up of light cavalry and designed for rapid movement. Its numbers are actually quite small as the Dominion wins its battle through the use of magic. To supplement that, the Dominion employs specialist units, such as Sasori infantry, heavy cavalry fighting (from the the northern Dominion) and gevet assassins. Fighting the Dominion means one should be ready to fight a number of summoned elementals.

Because of the large number of spell casters in the Dominion, the Khagan employs a small group of specially-trained assassins known as the Khalid Asad. The Khalid Asad specialize in slaying spell casters.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

[Avatar of the Kaga] The Caneus Empire

Born from the ashes of the Cavian empire, the Caneus Empire went from a lawless land where petty warlord fought each other for scraps of lands to a feudal society. The Kaga’s hand in the establishment of such a system is unclear, however it is recorded in the ancient chronicles that the Kaga provide some warlords knowledge that led to the establishment of the Empire.

The lands of Nas are cold and mountainous. The people hailing from there are strong, proud and brave, likening themselves to the mountains. Like many other locations on Exodus, the climate and the mountains are the result of ancient magic used that forever altered the landscape. Ancient tales dating back to the days of the First Ones’ Empire describe Nas as a pleasant and temperate land of rolling hills and wild hordes of horses and cattle.

The Caneus Empire, like most empires, was forged in blood. Baron Gregory Eland rose up against his lord in protest to the forced suicide of his betrothed. In a campaign that was both surprising and spectacular, the Baron smashed his opponents and crowned himself Emperor of the Caneus Empire. Following the conquest, a country priest appeared preaching the word of what was until then a fringe cult, the Sanguine Church.

Over the next centuries, the Empire consolidated itself to include all of Nas, most of Koryth and vast tracts of Sametia. The feudal system of the Caneus Empire allowed it to expand its borders and maintain them by rewarding members who pleased the Emperors.

Late entrants in the Twilight War, the Caneus Empire and the Reis Confederacy ground each other down. The highly-trained, well-armed, disciplined knights and soldiers of the empire fought and routed many of the hordes of unwashed, untrained, and ill-equipped Confederates. Yet, the final battle of the Twilight War, the Battle of Aremyhk where Imperial forces were blindsided by the janissaries and forced to sign the truce to end the decades-long war.

Six decades ago, the cavians, the rat-men who used to rule Nas, returned from a centuries-long exile to lands unknown. Their return caused consternation and many nations at first tried to exterminate them, but Emperor Desmond Eland made a deal with them, obtaining the loyalty of the cavians in return for citizenship. Though many still think this deal is more than it seems, the cavians have thus far served the Empire’s purpose as well as increase its armies and population.

The Ruling Family

The current ruler of the Caneus Empire is Empress Cassandra Eland. Third child (of four imperial siblings), she was destined to be married off to some duke or a foreign noble in return for political considerations. But fate has a strange way of changing the best laid plans. The ambitious princess made sure to help fate along the way.

Emperor Desmond II had four children: Prince Bial and Princesses Mercy, Cassandra and Sienna. Bial took his trials in the Confederacy where he became violently ill. Then the Emperor and his wife died suddenly. So the dukes crowned Princess Mercy as Empress. Then Empress Mercy was poisoned, with the blame pointing to Prince Bial. So the dukes crowned Empress Cassandra.

Prince Bial escaped the new Empress’s searches and is believed to be hiding in the Confederacy where he shares a love affair with the Imperatrix. Princess Sienna’ now serve as the executor of the Empire. She has proved to be a capable administrator and advisor to the Empress. The body of Empress Mercy is missing. Rumors abound about what happened (the book actually tells you what happened to Mercy’s body, its not pleasant).

The Flavor

The Caneus Empire is a feudal society that I like to think as something resembling 12th through 15th century Europe. It mixes elements of the Hundred-Year War (England and France) with some High Chivalry elements. These elements mix in a climate that is rugged, mountainous and cold, this reminds me of what I would expect in Finland, Norway, or Sweden.

Members of the lower classes, live in poverty in the harsh weather. The nobles frequently live among their people, sharing a common lot with them. Few nobles spend much time away from their people as bandits, wolves and other dangers constantly demand their attention.

The Trials

While not given to the romantic ideas that led to the myths surrounding the Knights of the Round Table, the idea of quest and trials is one that permeates the entire society. Everyone, from slave to emperor, is expected participate in a number of trials throughout their lives. These trials vary depending on the position.

Young Canean nobles frequently leave their homes to test themselves, to explore the world and return with a wider world view. Many do not return.

The Army

The Empire has a long tradition of militarism. Every noble is expected to provide military service at the call of the Empress. There is a fair amount of competition in doing so and few nobles would refuse to serve if called upon, their honor demands it.Younger nobles, both male and female proudly serve the empire. As they grow older and have obligations to their lands and people many leave imperial service to retire to their lands. Many still have fond memories of service and frequently regale others with war stories by the fire.

Peasants are formed in large, undisciplined units who are frequently only expected to stand there and fly their lord’s banner. They are engaged in battle only to sweep the enemy off the field, once the knights have secured victory.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

[Avatar of the Kaga] The Arman Protectorate

A nation that immediately caught my eye and filled me within inspiration was the Arman Protectorate. Proof of which: a number of adventures are set in the Protectorate OR deal with them. The Protectorate has a long history of bloody conflict. From the days when Abaddon – the lands now occupied by the Protectorate – was ruled by the First Ones to the days to the Sorcerer-Kings to the Arman to the Twilight War and onto today, Abaddon has been shaped by war.

The current Tsarina is the descendant of a family that has ruled the Protectorate for five centuries, the Kryszkas. Under the Kryszkas dynasty, the Protectorate underwent massive changes. From a land ruled by barbarians, they have forged a nation that share a common faith (the Sanguine Covenant), they have fought and repelled many Dominion attacks, and they ruled over the transition of the Protectorate military from a raider-based force to a well-organized machine backed by the power of the ironforged.

Not as powerful magically as their neighbor and usual opponent, the Dominion to the west, the Protectorate instead chose to create massive constructs and a technology unique to Exodus: firearms. This gives the Armans an advantage their opponents do not have.

It is a secret that is closely guarded by the Forgers’ Guild. One they keep a number of assassins on the payroll to make sure the secrets stay within the Protectorate. Anyone who is not from the Protectorate who learns to use those weapons is targeted for elimination. The Forgers’ Guild and the crown both offer substantial rewards (in the 1,000s of silver pieces) for any such information and even more money (in the 10s of thousands of silver) as bounties for the heads of those guilty. The Arman have been extremely forthcoming with their money and few ignore that real information leads to real money. In short unless you are an Arman or working for the Tsarina, do not touch firearms.

The Tsarina

The beautiful Tsarina Anayanka Kryszkas has ruled the Protectorate for five years now. She is loved by her subjects as a shrewd diplomat, a liberal sovereign who holds the Arman traditions in high regard. Her policy leads towards expansion of the Protectorate, and Arman senators lobby strongly for the Imperial Alliance to allow her the right to send a massive force through the Ice Crags to conquer the primitive tribes that live beyond.

Currently unmarried, who the Tsarina will take as her husband is subject to a lot of speculation. Rumor has it that the Tsarina is involved in a secret love affair with Nasser ibn al’Aadim, brother of the Dominion’s Khagan. If such a wedding happen, the political dynamic of southern Exodus would be forever changed.

The Flavor

The flavor of the Protectorate is an interesting mixture of medieval Eastern Europe (Russian, Poland, Hungary, Kievan Rus) with elements of the XVIth and XVIIth centuries (firearms). This mix really creates an interesting flavor. The guns and more technologically advanced elements mix in with a traditionally barbaric origins. Oh I would love to know how to draw!

The nation itself is built around a central, autocratic ruler. However, the many provinces of the nation are controlled by powerful dynastic families who control vast tracts of land. This separation is not feudal in nature as each prince owns and controls his own lands. Thus although the Tsars have the power of life and death over all, family dynasties and power plays are not to be underestimated. Neither can they remove land from a family's control as it is possible in a feudal society.

Again... unique and interesting clash of classic elements

The Army

The Protectorate army may be the one army that includes the fewest number of spell casters. However, its military boasts some of the most unique and colorful specialists of every army. The Protectorate's army is mostly "conventional" in its composition: its main forces are composed of infantry with cavalry used for support.

However, it also includes a number of powerful specialists that augments the fighting power of its armed forces. These includes the Peacekeepers (a unit of fanatically devoted warrior raised from childhood to serve the Arman crown), the Artillerists (masters of artillery and able to control constructs) and the ironforged the hulking arcane constructs. The combination makes the Protectorate army quick, numerous and hard to defeat in a single battle.

This creates a very unique mixture of miniatures to use for the modeler (and the artist, but I paint minis...) I see their basic outfits being similar to that of ancient Rus (the viking that established themselves between the Baltic and Constantinople).

Next: The Caneus Empire!


Friday, October 14, 2011

Multi-Media JP!

This installment is based around a number of multimedia things I have done.

A few weeks back, Bill Woods asked me to go on the Enchanted Grounds podcast. Topics to include gaming, writing, and NeoExodus. However, we got off-track and talked about gaming in a number of ways. The resulting chat is very interesting. Check it out! You can find the podcast on the Enchanted Grounds website

The second multimedia offering I have today is the result of a unique situation. Last night, as my wife was at her night classes, I had just put The Boy down for the night. That was the time that I have to myself. So I went downstairs, got online and thought about not doing what I should've - such as completing my stat blocks for NeoExodus. Then I see a tweet that went like this:

Oh well I guess no one wants free artwork by yours truly. Not even enough to just hangout in a chat with me

Free artwork?! My interest was piqued.

So I replied and got onto Google Hangout with Kaitlyn Peavler (@thedandmom on twitter). She and I chatted a little for a while as I procrastinated. She shared her screen upon which I could watch her draw. I do not know why, but I like to watch people draw or paint. So I watched as she drew... Suddenly, I went "Are you drawing ME??? Turns out she was! We kept talking as I saw a cartoon version of myself appear on the screen - talk about hypnotized.

A few short minutes later, she send me the following drawing. I really look nice and thin! Thanks Kaitlynn! Check her out and follow her on Twitter (@thedandmom)!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

[Avatar of the Kaga] Races of NeoExodus, Part 3

Last post as the Avatar, completed the tour of the new races found in the NeoExodus book. If you missed any part of it, you can find Part 1 and Part 2 on this blog.

So having gone through the nine new races of NeoExodus, we came to a crossroads. A point where we had to decide what to do about two things: Humans and the Core Pathfinder Races (Elves and Dwarves).

Humans of Exodus

I will not lie and say one of the things that really drew me into Greyhawk and later into Golarion was the distinction and variety of human races. Their background and their history, along with their looks. I still want to play a caster from the Mwangi Expanse just because a caster with a shamanistic mask really appeals to me. Though the Dungeon Bastard says: Playing human is like choosing vanilla when you go to Baskin Robbins, I believe the flavor of vanilla matters, silky French and Italian delight have a common taste, but do not taste the same. Love to the Bastard, but he has a narrow view of the race.

The NeoExodus Campaign Book does not merely present “humans” as an entry. It presents six human subtypes, with details about their appearance, origin, common favored classes and alignments.

The human subraces are Arman (from Abaddon/Sametia), Cardosians (from the Abaddon River basin), Cordelian (from the deserts of Cordel), Khymerion (from northern Exodus), Nasian (from Nas) and the mongrels Sametians (from Sametia). Three races are also included: the jao, the original sametian and the sorceran who are either based on dead cultures or who live beyond Exodus. NPC entries for humans do not say “Human”, but use the correct subrace. Humans are the most numerous of all the races on Exodus and thus form the majority in almost every nation. Most of the human subraces are strongly tied to the nations they inhabit, that is by design. Going back to medieval times, You would find people with common ethnicity in one area.

Other Races

The short answer about those: they have been removed from NeoExodus.

But JP, I want to play an elf! I hear some of you whining to me. Where are the elves? Where are the dwarves? Halflings? Gnomes? Half-Orcs? Those are all cool.

We thought about that. Should we include or exclude them? A lot of positive on both sides…

On the plus side, adding those races meant that players immediately knew them, no need to re-introduce them. They appear in many different books and products and are well defined.

On the con side, the races of NeoExodus are very unique and are a definite selling point. We did not want to have to re-invent the elves or the dwarves for NeoExodus. Including them meant we would have to support them: include leaders, assign lands and a history to them. They would have to appear somewhat regularly in adventure and other products.

Louis and I angst much over the decision: should we cut them or include them? I was in favor of cutting them out and focus on the NeoExodus races. Louis was not so sure (and neither of us had an argument to resolve this). So we kept on working, leaving them behind, but not really dropping them. We pushed the decision to a later time.

In the end it was an adventure that had already been published than decided the matter. Since one of the NPC was a half-elf, we needed to include them. If you do not know me, I consider published material to be set in stone. Once some element of background is published, then we cannot change it without justifying it to the players. My strong preference towards dropping them took a blow. I could not drop them and forget about them.

I had to include them. I spent quite a while avoiding the issue, trying to come up with a way that would satisfy everyone. Explain that rare NPC, and give us an “out” to include further races.

Then inspiration struck (as I was working on the adventure).

A major element of NeoExodus is the Nexus Gateways. These gateways, as Louis explained to me are ancient magical portals that function well like Stargates (but don’t tell the studios). These are generally known and can be activated to and from given points. But like the teleport spell, sometime they malfunction. Or rather, they operate on their own. They activate and poof, a number of things appear. Often times those things are monsters, but sometimes refugees or surprised spell casters appear. These exiles from other worlds would thus have moved into ghettos and small isolated communities. Among these refugees we would find the elves, the dwarves and all the races a GM wants to include in his NeoExodus campaign.

Next: Nations of NeoExodus


The Gods Hate Me

A while ago, I reported that I had sent in an entry for Chaosium's Adventure Writing Contest for Cthulhu Invictus (the Roman era CoC). Well it's been a long time. A very long time indeed... I sent my submission sometime in June or July of 2010! That was a long time coming... But better late than never! I have not yet received my copy of the monograph (and have sent a query to the good folk at Chaosium about it).

I am very happy to be counted among the list of winners, among which is my good friend Osk. I did not participate in 2011's contest, but plan to do so if Chaosium again hold an adventure contest in the summer of 2012.

My own submission used to be the first chapter in my Invictus Campaign. Yes, the one I abandoned. Why? It would've required 300 pages to explain what I planned to do and 500 to write the adventures themselves. However, there are a number of bright points in there. So I went through the original adventure, trimmed all the campaign-specific information and ended up with the final version. I was lucky enough to have play-tested that adventure twice. I really like it.

You can buy the monograph from Chaosium directly. Monographs are only available through them, not through your FLGS.

This monograph is the second Chaosium publication that features some of my own material (the other being 2009's BRP Adventures).

Check it out and let me know...


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

[Avatar of the Kaga] Races of NeoExodus, Part 2

You can find the first part of this entry here. That first part covers the Cavians through the Gevet.


Like the Gevet, the Kalisans are a new race that arrives with the Setting Book. Like with the gevet, Louis and I talked a lot about this race and its potential inclusion. In the end, they were just too cool to leave out. Here’s why…

The kalisans are an offshoot of the calibans (see Monsters of NeoExodus: Caliban). Now the calibans are a race of cannibalistic humanoids (they eat any living things, not just other calibans). The kalisans are the more civilized members of that race. They are nomadic and travel throughout Exodus. Kalisans relish in battle and the thrill of combat. They have served as mercenaries for every nation in Exodus. Today, they are common in the jungles of north and western Exodus.

However, other races dislike them because of their cannibalistic ways (though they are omnivorous, kalisans can eat almost anything). A kalisan who eats the flesh of another might gain a number of bonuses, including skill bonuses to ability bonuses (there are a number of feats). Kalisans are definitely a unique race that presents a type of role-playing challenge not found elsewhere. They can gain power by consuming fallen foes… but will they do it? Is there a darker – yet unrevealed purposed to this? Does this power have a price?

Kalisans are medium creatures. They frequently fight beyond normal means and can run and keep force marching for extended periods.

Recommended classes: Fighters, barbarians, rangers and rogues.

Non-Recommended classes: Arcane spell casters.


The Prymidian are a race of red-skinned humanoids that have a supernatural mastery of language. Whether this ability is based in some innate magical ability OR in some form of minor psionic power is not clear. What is clear is that prymidians are able to speak with most intelligent creatures they encounter.

Their affinity with words is not the main thing they are known for. Prymidians have long tentacles that grow out of their forearms that can extend roughly another arm’s length. This ability gives the Prymidian some limited additional reach (some of the new feats in the book further modifies or enhance these tentacles). Prymidians value reason, research and scholarly pursuits above all. They frequently come across as aloof, arrogant and long-winded. Most prefer long words and intricately crafted sentences to simple words.

Prymidians are medium creatures with an ability to speak with any creature that has a language (but they do not gain or retain knowledge of the language beyond immediate interaction). They can also cast read magic at will.

Recommended classes: Bards, monks.

Non-Recommended classes: Barbarians, Divine spell casters.


I have to admit that the first time I saw the P’Tan, I rolled my eyes and went *groan* another catfolk race. But after I began to look at them a little deeper, I began to see there was more than meets the eye. They are not “just” catfolk, but they have a history that makes them unique and abilities that truly take them to a whole other level.

The p’tan were one of the slave races that fought under the First Ones, although not very numerous, the First Ones experimented on them and vastly increased their numbers by infusing them with energy from the shadow plane. Later in the history of Exodus, the P’Tan broke free from the First Ones and made their way back to Exodus. This late departure mixed with a healthy distrust of anything related to the First Ones, makes the P’Tan seen as untrustworthy and still linked with their former masters.

P’Tan are medium creatures with the natural ability to generate black lightning – they call shadowspark. Their otherworldly origin means they are outsiders with the native subtype. They see in the dark and have a natural affinity to fight against the First Ones. That close proximity with shadows and darkness make the P’Tans dazzled in bright lights. Feats in the book allow the P’Tan to modify their shadowspark ability from being a ranged touch attack to a number of forms, such as making them area of effect.

Recommended classes: Rogues, Clerics or Rangers

Non-Recommended classes: Wizards, Summoners, or Witches


Sasori are a races of humanoid with scorpion features. Sasori occupy a niche that is very unique in all of Exodus… Though demand for other resources such as money, weapons, and influence wax and wane, the only resources in constant, ravenous demand is information. Sasoris are information peddlers, passing information back and forth through an unseen web. This makes them very powerful. Because of that power, other races both fear and need the Sasori.

Sasori are medium-sized creatures with a natural affinity towards vermin of all types. They have poisonous blood that makes most creatures unwilling to eat them. They are also great at skulking around.

Recommended classes: Monks, Rogues, Clerics

Non-Recommended classes: Bards, Sorcerers, Oracles, and Summoners

Next: The final installment in the series, including the dilemma over elves and dwarves!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I have a minion!

In the weekly blog post for Pathfinder Society - which came a day late because Paizo had a day off on "made-up day" Monday (Canadian Thanksgiving). Lucky them. At least I got to watch my Montreal Alouettes qualify for the Grey Cup playoffs while here at work. (Check it out)

I have to say that the decision was not an easy one. With so many great volunteers, the field was vast. I needed someone who was known in the community. I needed someone who was in the Denver-Metro area. I needed someone who was a quality GM. I needed someone who had played a lot. I needed someone who was "store-neutral" (meaning someone not tied to a specific store who could move between them without creating tension). I needed someone with whom I could work to push forward my many insane ideas.

I have to admit that after putting down all those criteria, I was able to narrow down the field to three. In the end, approached Scott to me my left-hand man. Scott initially refused, but after I explained all my reasons and expanded upon why I chose him, he saw that he was the right man for the job. So to all I offer to you, Scott Crosson, my Venture-Lieutenant!

So Scott, as of today you can say:


More NeoExodus News...

NeoExodus is coming... Finally... Here are some news...

First, you may pre-order your copy from Paizo. The info there should give you most hints as to what we have put in there: spells, feats, races, world gazetteer and more.

Second, Louis posted the WIP for the campaign book. I really like the composition and the style of the characters. They are going to be NICE. Especially the roaring enuka just seems massive. The characters on the cover are based on our Iconics: Nose-Cutter the enuka fighter, Freja the human Protectorate gunslinger and Karissa the P'Tan rogue. This is a work in progress.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Organized Play People: Kitty Curtis [Arcanis, Living Arcanis]

The person who, at the time was really the face of Arcanis in the Denver area was Kitty Curtis. I met Kitty at my first Bencon where she wore those kitty ears – which I always thought funny. At the time, she was the RPG Coordinator.

Then LG was killed and I started to look for something else (Pathfinder was still a long way away) and so I showed up at one of the Thursday nights in Arcanis on a dark November evening. Yadda yadda yadda; I was hooked! Kitty and her crew (Gregg, Ryan, Calvin and many others) kept feeding me my monthly dose of 3.5… We kept playing until we finally called it quits this past September. A number of reasons are involved (which is not the goal of this post).

JP: Hi Kitty and thank you again for participating in this interview.

KC: You're welcome JP! Always glad to do an interview that doesn't involve me on camera.

JP: I had a long chat with Peter from PCI about the new Arcanis system [link]. I wanted to do this interview with you is to focus on the organized play aspect of the new Arcanis system, not so much the system (cursed be ye d12).

KC: Just a note - I personally don't like using a d12 to track what tick you act on next. A decent d12 doesn't have the numbers next to each other, which makes it really awkward. Pen and paper works great for me, and there are a few different versions of the Action Dial running around, although my favorite is to use one of those little clocks that teach grade school kids how to tell time. (The hour hand can even be used to track strain/recovery.) I'm loving the GM Master Clock I have - I'll show you next game.

JP: If you allow me, can we talk a little about the old Living Arcanis (LA)?

KC: Sure!

JP: Can you give us a history of LA?

KC: The old Living Arcanis had a couple of different phases. We started with the 3.0 OGL, and the main difference between Living Arcanis (LA) and Living Greyhawk (LG) was that there were no regions. Sure, there were different geographical areas that events took place in, but every adventure was available to every player without having to travel in the real world.

Then Wizards of the Coast (WotC) upgraded to 3.5 LA held on to 3.0 for quite a while - Paradigm Concepts Inc (PCI) had put out new crunch products and wanted to continue to let players use them without having to pay for an "upgrade". The existing Campaign Staff started to get a little bogged down, and sought to share the wealth, so they introduced the Invisible Kings program. Groups of players and writers were invited to apply. We were to choose a region or secret society and flesh it out, and provide 1-2 years’ worth of outlines for adventures. To take the load off of campaign staff, each group of 3 or more also edited and play-tested our own adventures before sending them to another group for review, and then to campaign staff. In addition, as the campaign ramped up towards its grand finale of high-level play, the Invisible Kings were tasked with continuing to provide adventures for low-level play so that new players would still have adventures available to them, as well as having more localized plot lines for new players to wrap their heads around while learning about this amazing setting.

JP: Then 4e came along…

KC: Then WotC officially announced that 4e was forthcoming. The new 3.5 supplements were once again made obsolete, and it was clear that PCI needed their own rules set if they wanted to be in control of their campaign. Now, I was initially in the camp of not wanting to learn *another* rules system, but I have to tell you, once I started experimenting with the new system, I saw just how much of the old rules system was dedicated to squeezing Arcanis into d20 rules. (At the end of the last arc, our rules document was 79 pages. 79 pages! In the new campaign, we argued for a week whether we *really* wanted to move from 7 pages to 8 pages, including the cover page.)

JP: What other elements did Living Arcanis introduce that were unique to it? I assume those are still in “Chronicles”…

KC: There are two things that I first saw in LA (and haven't seen in any other campaigns, but then again, I don't play them all). One was separating adventures into what we call Hard Points and Soft Points. Hard Points are essentially the core storyline of each arc, and we recommend they be played in order if at all possible. Soft Points are adventures that take place around the central storyline, and we try to label whether the events in that adventure take place after any other adventures. The first story line was a 6-year arc (which stretched across 10 years of real time), so it was really important for players to be able to see whether a particular adventure would make a good "pick-up" game, or whether they would be lost without back story.

JP: [Interrupting] I really like the Hard/Soft point system. So much so that we are introducing something similar in NeoExodus, a campaign setting I am working on… But continue.

KC: The second was the introduction of secret societies – organizations that characters could be a member of - and they might have additional information or goals that the rest of the party didn't have. Sometimes this was just to give the society an item that ended up in party treasure at the end, sometimes it would be a side mission, and occasionally it would put one or more characters in conflict with the rest of the group, which led to some really rich role-playing. They were a "love them or hate them" element, but those that loved them were devoted, and the campaign really played to that. A fair number of players joined a particular legion in the campaign, so they started to get more and more mention at the major events (Roleplaying Interactives and Battle Interactives). There's a large contingent that still has the very snazzy shirts they had made. (Hat tip to Legio Lex!)

JP: Can you give us your RPG-Pedigree?

KC: Well, I don't know that anyone really needs to care who I am, but if you want my gamer history: There are plenty out there that will always see me as a baby gamer. I was kept out of the boys' D&D games in high school, no matter how much I wanted in. Shortly after high school (1999-ish), a friend heard I was interested in playing and put me in touch with a group. We started with AD&D, (darned "rouge" skills!).

After a year or two of playing, when we started to lose players to attrition (in our case, marriage to non-gamers), a friend mentioned Living Greyhawk. A way to get more D&D time AND a way for shy awkward me to actually meet people I had something in common with? Score! I stayed up and read the 3.0 rulebook from page 1 through to spells and attended my first public game day (October Rebellion, in Valhalla's back room, where I met many of my close friends.)

Two weeks later I coordinated my first game day and two months after that I judged my first game. I picked a doozy Fright at Tristor, for those that know it. I was hooked. Over the next two years I judged 2-4 adventures a week, and when I worked the night shift, ran some midnight madness games to get more gaming in. I was furious when they got rid of the points system for GMs less than a week before my Paragon status would have kicked in. I started editing for LG (local, then core and ADPs), and considered Triad, but just couldn't fit it into my life. I started helping at conventions and running more game days.

Meanwhile a friend had been trying to pitch a new setting at me: Arcanis. I kicked and screamed and fought. I didn't have time to learn a new setting, I was too busy coordinating. Then he hit me where it hurt - he told me he needed me to fill a seat at a slot 0 (allowing judges to play an adventure before they run it), or the table wouldn't go off. So I put together a dummy character and decided I would just warm the seat outside of combats. That's where I made my fatal mistake – I listened to the plot, and it was all downhill from there. He loaned me his rule book and I devoured it that night. I judged Arcanis at the first convention in Denver during the first year of the campaign, then coordinated gamedays and the local mailing list, eventually became an Invisible King (or Queen, as the case may be), then Assistant Campaign Director, and now Campaign Director.

JP: Yep… The setting in Arcanis is why we play it… What other games have you played?

KC: As far as my laundry list of games I've played, there's AD&D, d20 3.0 (variety of genres), 3.5 (variety of genres), a little 4.0, ShadowRun, Tales from the Floating Vagabond, The Window, Big Eyes Small Mouth, Vampire, GURPS, Primetime Adventures, Deadlands, Spycraft, a little RoleMaster and of course a couple of complete homebrews from when our groups got cocky and decided we'd make our own from scratch. I'll play just about anything so long as I have a pre-generated character and time, although I particularly want to try out Dread, Grimm, A Faery's Tale, Monsters and Other Childish Things, Savage Worlds, Veggie Patch, Pathfinder, Dogs in the Vineyard, Changeling and Spirit of the Century. I know I left some off of both lists. If I haven't tried, it, I'm game, once I have the free time. :D Oh, and board games, and video games when I had the time. But no CCGs or battle miniatures-I don't have the cash, much less the time.

More with Kitty next week.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Why I should not be allowed to draw anything

In case you did not know, I think my gaming expertise lies in the realm of writing and what I like to call scenaristic (how to make a good adventure). I would like to present you with an example of my computer-based drawing skills. As you all know, Louis Porter and I are in the process of completing the layout for the NeoExodus Campaign book.

Louis posted a trial cover for us to see the contrast and get an idea of the colorization effect. Here is what he posted:

I like the simplicity of the composition and the shades of grey really makes the logo pop. Many have commented on Louis's Facebook. About the boobs... Okay, the model is fine... as in <Ebonic>DANG GIRL! You FINE!</Ebonic> No worries. She is not gonna be the final cover girl. No, I'm not turning away from my love affair with female breasts. Those mysterious and glorious orbs are the two things that have prevented me from become a priest.

I gave Louis a series of ideas for the composition of the cover, to try and see how they would come out. So I tried to explain, but I got a feeling that he did not understand what I meant. So I opened MS-Paint and went ahead and created the following composition. (click on the pic to get a better view...)

Now you understand why Louis does not call upon me as an artist... The elements are three of the top villains of the setting: Makesh, Haru Anon and Nysska from the Folding Circle (major terror organization) and the Sphere, is nothing other than the Annihilation Sphere... A nice apocalypse device I wrote the background for... And now you know who controls it... I don't think my idea will make the final cut... But then again... it might be because of the art...


Thursday, October 6, 2011

More on NeoExodus Races with Paizo's Advanced Races

Louis Porter posted his comments on the P'Tan using the Advanced Races guide from Paizo. Check it out on his blog

[Avatar of the Kaga] Races of NeoExodus

I’ve been talking about the unique races for NeoExodus to you for a while. Well, they are. As I write this, I am looking (on my other screen) at the finalized format of the Races of Exodus chapter of the book. NICE. (But don’t tell LPJ, it’ll go to his head.)


The Cavians are a race of psionic rat-men. After the fall of the First Ones, they rose to prominence in what is not frigid Nas. The Cavian race opted to explore the field of the mind and create what is now a hive mind. The goals of the Hive Mind are nebulous and unclear to most, creating fear and mistrust. This led to the War of Mind and Magic where the Sorcerer-Kings of Abaddon and the Cavians clashed in the biggest conflict since the defeat of the first ones. In defeat, the cavian retreated to parts unknown. Where they disappeared to is the topic of hot debate. About six decades ago, the Cavians returned to Exodus. They have since spread throughout Exodus where many see them with mistrust.

Cavians are medium creatures with a bite and a natural ability to detect thoughts. Cavians may be part of the Hive Mind or Severed. Their mere presence makes people extremely nervous, making cavians unwelcome in high society.

Recommended classes: Any psionic class, rogues and ninja (anything stealthy)

Non-Recommended classes: Divine casters (Cavians are not very spiritual)


The Cyneans are a race of crystalline humanoids with a strong fascination with all things arcane. They are eager seekers of knowledge and arcane mysteries. They are stoic and calm. Cyneans hail from the non-Alliance island of Gavea but have migrated throughout southern Exodus.

Cyneans are medium creatures with crystalline bodies. Their bodies naturally manipulate arcane energies around their bodies to provide them with further protection. Some Cynean may manipulate the arcane energies to various ways.

Recommended classes: Any arcane casters

Non-Recommended classes: Divine casters (Cynean abilities focus around arcane power)


The Dalrean are plant humanoids, drawing from both heritage. They live in patches in the thickest and most remote forests of Exodus. Theirs is an extremely complex social structure that is incomprehensible to other races. Each patch is a nation in itself. Some dalreans sometimes leave their patch to travel the world, a concept they have difficulty explaining to others. Another unique feature about them is that they do not actually speak, sending spores that allow them to communicate with other life forms.

Dalrean are part humanoid and part plant, counting as both of the purpose of being targeted by spells or effects. They can make parts of their body glow and live only on sunlight and water, but are vulnerable to the environment.

Recommended classes: Druid, ranger or barbarian

Non-Recommended classes: Clerics, and classes that require a lot of study


The Enuka are big, loud and powerful. Hailing from the jungles of northern Exodus, an enuka sees the world in terms of predator and prey. They seek to be the apex predator at all times. Enuka appearances vary wildly from one to the next due to the many mutations common to the race. Enukas themselves consider these mutations natural and do not have any prejudices. Some mutations develop later in an enuka’s life.

Enukas are medium-sized humanoids (but on the bigger side). Unlike other races, enukas benefit from different mutations that help them. Some are very big, others have tough furs, others can swim very well, and others have an oversize jaw. Creating an enuka character gives you a LOT of options to customize the character to your taste. No two enukas are the same.

Recommended classes: Fighter, barbarian, or ranger

Non-Recommended classes: Arcane spell casting classes.


The gevet are a race that were excluded from the original “Races of NeoExodus” book for a number of reasons. After reviewing them, I gave them a partial re-do from the original 3.5 document and added them to the campaign book. They really add another dimension to the world. You know when sometimes you are missing something you don’t know you are missing? The gevet are that race. The more I read and thought about them, the more I could see the adding to NeoExodus.

The gevet are a race of human/outsider hybrids hailing from the burning Cordelian Desert in the Dominion. Gevet are a type of tiefling native to Exodus. They have a reputation as being devious, aloof and distant from all others while females are seen as promiscuous and sex-crazed. Gevet consider family to be extremely important and females especially so. Women are held in great reverence and fertility is the greatest gift they can give the tribe. They are commonly involved in crime syndicates, kidnapping, slave trading and other similar activities.

Gevet are medium-sized outsiders and humans for any effect related to race. All gevet are resistant to fire.

Recommended classes: Males tend to be rogues, bards, or rangers. Females tend towards being clerics, oracles or bards.

Non-Recommended classes: Males avoid becoming clerics.

Next: More races of Exodus!