JP On Gaming

Friday, September 28, 2012

[Rant] At least the Monkey would keep its mouth shut

I heard one thing I was just horrific - and I'll paraphrase - "It's a good thing there is no score for painting... This game is not about painting, it's just about playing." His buddies around him nodded.


I mean as a wargamer, that is one of the stupidest things I ever heard. I firmly believe that wargaming is a "complete" hobby: it requires the player to spend time researching, collecting, painting the army, that is just the part BEFORE the game itself. Then there is playing time.

Really, there is something that annoys me greatly when someone gets to win a major tournament with an unpainted army. Now it is true that too many tournaments use an All-or-nothing scoring model for painting. Either you have the best army or you get nothing. If that is the case, that guy was right. Why waste time painting when you know you won't get any benefit from it? It's not good for the hobby in the long run

How many of us have been drawing into this hobby by looking at the nicely painted miniatures? I know I have... it was a big draw for me to see those nice armies and for me to imagine what my own army would be like. Yes, playing was a big part of it, but to say that a metal/plastic/resin/primed army is the same?

NO IT'S NOT. It's not as attractive to the eye. It's not as pleasing when you smash his model to bits (in the game, not real life). And there is something to be said about fielding a fully-painted army. A feeling of pride and joy, a sense of accomplishment, the idea that you did it. Even when your opponent deploys his army. A painted army LOOKS GOOD. It gets me in the game.

Its true most of us play with partially armies but only an idiot would feel content that his unpainted force provides him with the same pride as those who painted their forces.

I'm not saying that all of us are Golden Daemon-quality painters (I'm DEFINITELY NOT one of them). But giving an honest effort should be the bare minimum.

It's okay to field an unpainted force.

It's NOT okay to brag about the fact you do not have a painted army.Just means you have money to get models. A monkey could do the same thing you do. At least the monkey would be content with playing and not brag about it to the world.

I miss the monkey.

Man... Being proud of having an unpainted army... What an idiot...


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

JP in LA: SoCal Smackdown

In case you did not know, I spent this past weekeng in LA (Anaheim to be precise) participating in a convention called SoCal Smackdown.

Officially, I was there to run NeoExodus and play a little PFS. Practically, I was there to have a good time.

And Smackdown did not disappoint, on both aspect.


Friday morning, I got up at 4am, showered, loaded the car and off to the airport. Got into LAX at 8:21 (local) and got to see the famed "Encounter restaurant, which has been a landmark of the airport since the 1960s. I remember seeing it in James Bond's Diamonds are forever, the last "real" Bond with Sean Connery. Now I can say that I crossed off Los Angeles from my bucket list. But I have to add to that bucket list "see more of LA".

After a quick shuttle ride, I arrived at the Convention Center. It was 9:30 local, I thought the game started at noon. Having looked at nearby places to eat, I headed to a family restaurant that got good reviews. I did a little work on the NeoExodus Player's Guide as I pigged out. Good, good stuff!

Just before noon, I headed to the convention. SWEET ZOMBIE JESUS! That place is just huge! I mean it's scary how immense the place is. Oh! And for my Denver peeps: the AC was on and it was cold! I mean frikkin' cold! I expected to see my breath late on Saturday...

I sat down with the Warmachine guys.

Then Brian Darnell (whom I only met briefly at PaizoCon) arrived and got things set up. He and I chit-chatted. I knew that our high-level table had been cancelled. Nevertheless I had nowhere else to go.

Since he had a number of new players, I offered to run one of his We Be Goblins tables. The table was run, ran well. Much gobliny things... Fun.

Finally, the late slot! NeoExodus's first appearance at the Con. Encounter at Ramat Bridge... I love running that adventure. I will not spoil it, but Nose Cutter was left behind, his head found on a pike the next morning... Fun times.

You can see on the right a sneak peek at what the players at SoCal Smackdown received... Pre-released versions of our Adventure records! D'Anne did such an awesome job on them. These were well-received by the half-awake crowd (we finished around 1AM).

Then sleep.


Woke up, rearranged my equipment and headed out to Ihop for breakfast. Reading my emails, I realized the game started at 8, not 9 as I originally thought. So I got my food to go, then hustled to the convention center. Did I mention this place is big? Yeah... that means everything is far!

So I got there, and again my high-level game was cancelled. No worries, I had a backup in that slot... I played PFS4-02 In Wrath's Shadow with Viviana. Fun table, good GMing by Will Johnson.

Afternoon slot: NeoExodus. This time was Slavers of the Dominion, an adventure I enjoy running because it is so... Funny, tragic and nasty at the same time. There was a fair amount of enthusiasm for it and I ran a 7 player table. It played well and I believe everyone at the table enjoyed themselves. I certainly did!

My evening game was PFS4-04 King of Korval Stairs using Sahba. Another greatly enjoyable game run by Will. Our group was effective... perhaps a little so much so. Too good for our own good! But we laughed our way through the game, so it was well worth it. Even Will who tried to be serious had to smirk and chuckle...

Although I was dead tired after the game, I walked to Ihop for my second meal of the day (I munched on a few things, but nothing solid).

2AM. Sleep time.


Sunday morning, I woke up, looked at the clock, when HOLY CRAP! It was 7:22 (and we had an 8am slot!). I packed my luggage and was off to run Undying Legacy of the First Ones. However, like Sunday mornings across the world, there wasn't enough people... so the table folded. I was put in a position between playing Cyphermage Dilemma (a module which has neither a Cyphermage nor a Dilemma (as written)). I really did this as a "nothing better to do slot" but Brian Darnell did a great job of making it come to life.

I did drift off at one point and go into a conversation with a wargame rules designer. I will be reviewing and posting in the coming months. I was quickly called back in line by Robyn and finished the adventure. A fun time. As everyone changed the adventure, it is much more palatable than what's written.

The minutes between the end of the slot and when I had to grab the shuttle were spent with Robyn, Will and the vendors... Robyn and I went shopping. I was lucky enough to get my hands on some of the plastic puppets that Wyrd Miniatures (of Malifaux fame) gave away. I can't wait to paint them. I also met Dan Weber, one of Wyrd's developer. I got to listen in on a Malifaux introduction. I love the minis, but I'm not sure that is for me... I may buy a few minis first, then decide.

Then shuttle, LAX, a 15$ burger, flight, CoS, Home.

My trip was over. I was home and ready for more NeoExodus.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

NeoExodus Legacies: First Interactive Announced!

I've been talking about it for such a long time now... Finally we are going live! Perhaps the first official event (at least I'm hoping it will be), will be at this year's ThanksGaming event.

I can't give the full details just yet (such as times or where to register). But I can tell you it is planned for November 3rd at Total Escape Games in Broomfield, Colorado.

The event we'll be running is an interactive, with storyline impact (meaning that what happens there happens for everyone on Exodus). Should be a very fun event... I can't wait to springs some goodies on those poor unsuspecting souls...

Here are the blurbs I submitted to Justin (the organizer) and to my fellow First Ones.

92-LI-01 Depths of Exodus, Part 1

By JP Chapleau

The Black Mountains form an impassable barrier between the Caneus Empire and the Dominion. They are also home to many of the greatest dragons in the history of Exodus. You managed to get your hands on a map that should take you to the lair of a long-dead red wyrm. However the depths of Exodus hide much more than a dragon's hoard. An adventure for APL 3 (characters level 3-4).

92-LI-02 Depths of Exodus, Part 2

By JP Chapleau

The Black Mountains form an impassable barrier between the Caneus Empire and the Dominion. They are also home to many of the greatest dragons in the history of Exodus. You managed to get your hands on a map that should take you to the lair of a long-dead red wyrm. However the depths of Exodus hide much more than a dragon's hoard. An adventure for APL 3 (characters level 3-4).


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

NeoExodus and Ultimate Psionics

I hate kickstarter because I keep finding some great things I would like to own: from minis to RPGs, there is always something I want to have. This includes LPJ Design's latest offerings: Obsidian Apocalypse and NeoExodus adventures.

I won't go into all the reasons why I like this and why I think it's awesome, I'll let you make up your own mind.

After working behind the scene for a few days, Dreamscarred Press and LPJ Design announced today that every one who supported the Kickstarter for 30$ or more would receive a copy of a psionic-based adventure set in NeoExodus.

That's right! Not only do you get the Ultimate Psionic book (which contains the psionic rules we use in NeoExodus), and a lot of goodies (there is like 5-6 PDF and more good stuff). For 30$ you cannot go wrong with this.

I'll admit I expected Paizo to bring out such a psionic handbook this year. Having my hands on a copy of the original book. It's very good! Some recent NeoExodus use it!

About the adventure? Here is the Blurb:

NeoExodus: The Silvered Skull

Nestled high in the Grit Mountains the village of Oldenhaffen is famed for the quality of its wool. Passing through, the town elder runs to you imploring your assistance. Ever since a local shepherd brought back a silvered Cavian skull, things have gone... Insane. Anyone who touched the skull is now frozen in place, unmoving. A psionic-based NeoExodus adventure for 3rd-level characters.

Want to know more? Head on to Ultimate Psionics Kickstarter page... and make this a reality!

And I hear a number of you asking "will this be allowed/adapted in NeoExodus:Legacies?" Yes! Yes! It will! Details still TBA (CURSE YOU NDA), but if you get your hands on The Silvered Skull, you will bet able to play it for credit with your NeoExodus Legacies characters!

Hang on, I've got a lot more cool stuff to announce!


Monday, September 17, 2012

NeoExodus Legacies: Talking about experience

One of the big changes I saw in Organized Play which both surprised and pleased me was Pathfinder Society's super-simple experience system. You play 3 games, you gain a level. There is no "I'm 5xp from my next level", which happened to me to many times in LG and both Arcanis campaigns (yes I'm grumbling about it). This simplified math is great, simple and clean.

But, its not flexible.

That's right... It lacks flexibility and nowhere do can you see this than with the "Quest" system, like Ambush in Absalom. That has been a problem I've been thinking about for the longest time. How can we offer short adventures, keep the math simple AND reward the players for it? I wanted to offer rewards for adventures that were roughly 1/3 or 1/4 of a one-round adventure (1 round = ~4h of play).

I have to say the answer I proposed to the First Ones did not happen overnight, it took a long time to germinate and form into something more concrete and solid. Many of the previous versions I managed to find holes in and break with relative ease.

In the end, pure math came to my assistance.

Assuming every one of the "shorts" were about 1-1:30 run time, I settled on a 1/3 ratio. Keeping PFS 3XP/level, I needed to fit 3, 1/3 adventures into a 4h slot? What if instead of giving players a 1/3 xp, I made the small adventure the single unit of measurement. So to gain a level, a character needed to gain 9 experience points instead of 3. And the math all fell into place!

Like PFS, by using a base 9/level, we would be able to give XP based on the adventure itself. Most adventures would give 3 but some of the bigger ones, such as B1-Cold Visitor and C2-Origin of Man have a MUCH bigger scope and should be approached as such! Pathfinder Society gives players a reward of 3xp (a full level) to those who play these modules (and I have to say that I really love them). I'm not saying we would do anything different, but we have flexibility.

One of the great things about this is that it offers us a lot of versatility in creating larger adventures and integrate them into the Campaign. Not EVERY adventure would grant the same amount of XP. We would be able to offer adventures with optional or bonus encounters and reward the players who played through those.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Patrons in NeoExodus Legacies

One of the things that I really liked in Living Greyhawk was the system of Meta-Organization (Meta-orgs for short). These meant that a character could, by fulfilling the needed requirements become part of an in-game organization, such as the King's Knights, a spy network, the army or the retinue of a specific individual.

Every campaign since has tried something like it, to both add to a players feeling of belonging to the setting or to tell different stories. They are one of the things that I personally enjoy about organized play. It makes me delve into the campaign's lore and often gives my characters added motivations to get involved in all these strange and wacky adventures.

Looking briefly at other campaigns, here is a brief description (and massive simplification) of how there are (were) implemented.

Living Greyhawk Metaorgs
- Regional-based, so each would impact play at a local level.
- Not equally implemented some region spent a lot of time integrating and expanding their orgs while others did not
- Rules constantly in flux: I remember every year or so, we had to overhaul all the orgs to conform to new imperatives
- Some were secret, some were public

Living Forgotten Realms Adventuring Company
- Fit well into the Realm's cannon/background
- Was administered by players, with slightly clunky rules. Hard to have clear oversight.
- Provided a direct and simple in-game benefit when a number of the company were at the table.

Arcanis Secret Societies
- Completely optional
- Joining one meant a choice on a character's part
- Each Society had its own goals that did not always go hand in hand with the task at hand (I remember being asked NOT to bring back an item).
- Meant to be kept secret
- Secret societies do not appear in every adventure.

Pathfinder Society Factions
- Every player must belong to a Faction
- Factions used to be secret and wage a war between them.
- Factions are the way one gets access to gear and items (no one ever buys the potion of cure moderate wounds)
- Factions require the PCs to perform tasks that do not impact or change the adventure (no one ever asks you to fail)

NeoExodus Legacies' Patrons

What we sought to do with NeoExodus is take the best from all models into something we wanted to use. Here are some of the points we agreed upon after much discussion.

- You can play Legacies without a patron.
- Joining a patron should not be automatic, you have to work at it.
- Not every patron appears every adventure.
- Patrons are not buddy-buddy with each other, but are not always inimical to each other. Each has goals and motivation.
- In-game, patrons are there to promote role play and intra party discussion. Following a patron is a choice and one that should not be made lightly.
- Patrons do not always want what's best for the current mission. (remember the "goals and motivation...")
- Although patrons may be adversarial with each other, their goal is to make the game more dynamic and generate Player-on-Player roleplay instead of "just" Player-GM.
- Patrons may come and go, depending on their in-game fortune. These NPCs are not static, and they will evolve with the campaign.

Although we are still talking about patrons and how to integrate them into an adventure, we have started to name and define them a little more. Some of them are pretty much locked and done while others require some work still. Most of them are nation-based, but one is not. I think they will add a new twist to some of the tropes we can find in organized play.

Do you have any favorite things about the meta-organizations that you like? Which element would you like to see in NeoExodus Legacies?


Monday, September 10, 2012

Free RPG Day 2013, NeoExodus and Legacies

I hope I will not shock and surprise you by saying that our involvement in the 2012 Free RPG Day was big for us: it put NeoExodus in the hands of many people who never would've known about us.

With the event being offered again in 2013 (June 15th), LPJ and I have begun to throw down ideas together about what we want to do. There are a number of small stipulations and conditions (coming from my end more than LPJ to be really honest).

- The adventure must be for 3rd level characters (this is our "intro" level).
- The adventure must be playable in 2-4 hours.
- The adventure must serve as an introduction to NeoExodus
- The adventure showing off how and why it is different from other settings.
- The adventure must be "time neutral" as in: it is not part of any of our major story lines.
- The adventure must be adaptable for play as part of NeoExodus: Legacies.

Now, if you ask LPJ, he's gonna tell you something like "it must be cool". OF COURSE the adventure must be cool! That is so obvious,that it's not in my base assumptions... Just like "must have combats".

So while I have not put any ideas down just yet, I am toying with a number of different ideas and villains to use. And it's not like NeoExodus lacks villains! So I am putting some of the ideas out there for you guys to comment and help me decide what I should approach LPJ with. Also, if you have any ideas on WHERE the adventure should be. (you can also email me if you want).

-Explore the lair of a big monster: maybe not a dragon, but you get the idea.
-Explore a wilderness area: Think "land of the lost".
-Travel to the islands of Unthara, a ship trek.
- Similar to above, but set on a Dominion sailing ship
- Get embroiled in the tribal lands of Gavea... A lot of Cynean tribesmen!

The problem: all of the above would be pretty interesting to explore, but so little time! We still have a few months to go, keep those ideas coming.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sunday Funnies: Australian Road Sign

I find the Aussies so funny and straight-talking!


Friday, September 7, 2012

400 posts: Looking back on 3 years of blogging

How much has my life changed since the July 14th 2009. That was the day I finally set up this blog and started blogging. I like to think that my writing has improved, and how the many projects I was involved with have either died, stopped or keep going.

When I started this blog, I really had no idea what I wanted to do with it, no firm direction. I had opinions, thoughts and a desire to share those. So I started writing and quickly got into it...

First off, the biggest change in my life that happened since was the happy addition of our only son, Jean-Patrick (aka Pat, Papou, The Boy or Action-Man). With him, my wife and I now have three great kids together: Josiane, Kitty and Pat. They really get me going in the morning and give me a reason to keep writing, especially when I'm feeling blue.

At the time I started, I did not have any idea I would be posting 400 posts in just a little over three years.


Through most of 2009, I was involved in Living Forgotten Realms as a writing director for the Moonshae Isles. Many of my posts reflect that period.

It was also the time I discovered Pathfinder Society and what a great discovery! I took to it with a gusto I hadn't felt since the heyday of LG, some two years before.

During that time I started working on a Cthulhu Invictus (in Roman times) campaign, I abandoned because the idea was too ambitious and too complex to have a relatively simple resolution. Everything I did simply led to more and more work with no end in sight... The idea is on a backburner, waithing for


In 2010, I quit LFR and focused on Pathfinder. I began organizing more and creating a community of players here in the Denver/ Colorado Springs area.

It was around that time that I got involved with Akos, a project I was really into, but that never saw the light of day beyond a few playtests, before being abandoned completely in mid-2011. Akos was a project I really liked with ideas that were very novel. Oh well.

Later in the year, I answered a seemingly random Facebook post by this guy call "Louis Porter". From that simple Facebook post I would go on to write for NeoExodus.

Just around Tacticon, I was named Venture Captain for Denver and I threw my full support behind PFS, organizing running, GMing and getting things done.

I also participated in another one of Chaosium's adventure contests, this time for the release of Cthulhu Invictus. My submission, Shadow on the Vesuvius was taken directly from the campaign I was writing in 2009, where I stripped the campaign elements to focus only on the adventure. It is a solid and

It was a good year.


The year saw me do more and more work on NeoExodus, culminating in my work on the NeoExodus Campaign Book. I spent most of the spring and summer working on that. But the results are there! I ran my first public event at PaizoCon that year (Encounter at Ramat Bridge), which I subsequently ran at a number of other venues since: Fandemonium in Boise, here in the Springs, and at NeonCon. I really like that adventure as it sets the theme and the mood for NeoExodus. And the best news? We will finally release it to you all. That adventure is STILL a personal favorite.

As I said before, my involvement with Akos also ended at that time, the project was put on the backburner indefinitely. Still I believe it may reappear at some point in the future...

I continued to work as Venture Captain through the year as we went from win to win, until finally at Tacticon, Pathfinder Society became the biggest event at the con (a few we repeated at both events since).

Another good year.


The year of the Mayan end began with a few bumps in the road. An event happened at work and for a few weeks, I seriously worried about losing my job. To make things worse, I was to write the PaizoCon Grand Convocation. Needless to say that such a writing project falls off-track when faced with "real" issues. I asked to be removed and was. Too bad. Well the fun thing is that what was run is pretty much what I had. The gang did a great job pulling it off.

PaizoCon was a blast overall. It was also a year where I offered more and more adventures for NeoExodus with a program that offered two adventures and Genghis, two more at Tacticon and an storyline interactive that determined a number of things.

More recently, the end of my tenure as Venture Captain leading to the forming of the First Ones and moving forward with NeoExodus Legacies.

Things are on the up.

Some Statistics

Traffic: As of August of 2012, every month, there has been more traffic each month and the best month until then.

Number of hits: This year, I hit 50,000 then 60,000 page views as logged by blogger

My Audience Readers of this blog are from (in order): the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

Most Read posts

So this is it! 400 post and still blogging!

Thank you to all my readers!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

NeoExodus Legacies Leadership Announced!

If you missed the Tacticon closing ceremonies this past Sunday, you missed the official announcement about NeoExodus Legacies. Yes, I hinted at it for a long time, but now it is official. I am extremely lucky to be working with two awesome ladies on setting this up. We will be spending a few weeks getting everything together, so keep watching.

Joining me in heading this mad enterprise are D'Anne Nelson and Linda Weygant-Robison. Both are well organized and bring a great skill set to the team.

D'Anne served with me as a Living Greyhawk triad from 2006-08 here in Colorado. As I talked to her about my plans for a campaign, she offered herself right away. I was a little shocked and extremely happy.

Linda has been with NeoExodus for a long time, going over my many grammatical mistakes. She too volunteered and wanted to come on-board. Linda is an organizer extraordinaire, as her masterful running of a number of cons has made them reaches records.

The three of us, with LPJ have talked about a number of topics, but with Tacticon "in the way" we postponed our first official meeting. So other than the announcement, there is little to say. We want to put the players in the middle of the action and allow them to influence the direction of our meta-plot, rather than being simple spectators in the events. We have a few ideas on how to accomplish this, but the how is still unclear... at least until we meet together.

One of the few decisions we made is to give ourselves a name as organizers of the campaign. We are the FIRST ONES.

I can't wait to publish details about the campaign as we have a number of ideas we want to put forward.

This also opens a big opportunity for *YOU*. This is a good time to provide us with feedback on organized play campaigns. We're not looking for bashing others, just evaluation.

- What do you like about other OP campaigns?

- What do you dislike about other OP campaigns?

- What do you not see in OP campaigns that you would like to see?

- Anything you think we should do or not do.

You can send all of those to our campaign leadership email address: