Monday, December 31, 2012

Reflecting back on 2012

As another year draws to a close, it is time to start reflecting on what happened in 2012. Last year, I posted a similar post and I found it fun to write as it forced me to think over things I did, things I liked and things I didn't like.

The Mayans

First, all those who placed any faith in the Mayans... Really? I mean. Really? I can't wait for the next whacky theory. I'm sure we'll have a few years to wait for... 2020! Or will it be 2018? Doomsday prophecies are funny.

Home Front

There are a number of things that happened this past year. However, I don't feel right to post it here.

My two daughters are growing and becoming girls indeed.

Josiane attended two cons for the first time this year, something she really enjoys. She's not much of a gamer yet, but I'm sure she'll grow into one.

Kitty attended her first RPG session earlier in December. Unlike Josiane she is very imaginative in these things and really impressed me. Now if only she'd talk a little louder...

Action Man grows all the time. He is a big fan of superheroes, particularly Batman and Superman. I'm proud to say he can name about 10 members of the Justice League and most Avengers (except Thor, which he never remembers). Because of him, I've been revisiting a number of animated series (Batman, Superman, Justice League) with him.

NeoExodus

This year, NeoExodus has gone big. FINALLY! We now have our Setting book out and available. Not just that, but it should start appearing in your local game stores! We have more than one book, right now we have three available: The Campaign Setting, the Folding Circle and the First Ones.

Not only has NeoExodus seen the release of "core" material, but we also released a number of adventures (with a lot more to come). We started working on a number of small products: Treasures of Exodus, Cities of Exodus, and a few more still in development.

It's a very interesting time at LPJ Design. (As a side note, we are looking for more authors to produce more material, contact me or LPJ if you are interested).

Although perhaps the biggest bit of news is the launching of the NeoExodus Legacies with two great gals: D'Anne Nelson and Linda Weygant-Robison. We are frantically working on getting more products out all the time for it. The campaign is gearing up. More and more material is coming.

In the dying days of the year, some local stores have begun carrying NeoExodus! You can find them at Enchanted Grounds, Gamer's Haven and Petrie's Family Games, with more locations to follow. Ask your local game store for NeoExodus and I'll get it to them!

After many years without running my own home game, I finally started a home campaign for NeoExodus! My campaign, which I call "The Mark", deals with the PCs having "lost" three months of memory and finding out all the bad things that happened during that time. I currently do not have any plans to publish it, but never say never.

To add to all this, this year saw two successful Kickstarters for NeoExodus: One that led to "Undying Legacy of the First Ones" and another that led to the expansion of "Origin of Man".

Pathfinder Society

The big news here was my parting ways with PFS after Gencon. I'm not really interested in going over it. I'm very proud of the community I helped build. Although I am much less involved these days - I prefer to spend my time GMing/playing NeoExodus - but I do enjoy playing with many people playing PFS. I found that I *MUCH* prefer to play the Pathfinder Modules as they provide a wider scope and makes me feel more important and impactful.

Miniatures

This year was the first year I did not play a single game of Warhammer 40k. I received the new edition with what so many said they would do: I did not have anything to do with it! I did not buy the starter set. I did not buy any GW's overpriced models. I can say that I have no interest in playing it anymore. Oh! And I did not play.

I did, however get into a few new things. First I am participating in the latest Batman HeroClix campaign as one of the Joker's boys... I am enjoying playing heroclix more than I expected. The one thing I dislike about them is the flat maps. I like watching terrain and 3d effects. Heroclix does not have that...

But the gameplay is simple to understand but hard to master: a great combination! Even better: Action man likes the models and Julie enjoyed playing the game. Isn't that all a man wants?

I played in my first Warmachine tournament - using my Legion of Everblight - and had a good time. There is a very active community for WM/H here in the Front Range of Colorado. Too active for me actually. But I do enjoy friendly games of it. And the models. Though in all honesty, I get to paint more than play.

Real Work

2012 started on some rocky grounds here after I - unwittingly - created a major bug in the code. Stressful few months to start the year. Things have calmed down as I put my nose to the grindstone and worked it off. I really do not want to repeat that experience.

Non-Gaming Books

This year I got into comic books a lot.

Shield of Three Lions by Pamela Kaufman, the story of a young girl disguised as a boy going off on Crusade with Richard the Lionheart.
Les Mensonges de l'Histoire by Pierre Miquel, a somewhat philosophical examination of the use of lies throughout history.
Azure Bonds by Kate Novak and Jeff Grubbs, definitely one of the classics of D&D litterature. I love this one because it was a one-shot deal. The story starts, evolves and end. It is not written as a series.
Winter Witch Over the course of a number of plane trips, I finally finished this one. It was enjoyable, but not something I really cared for. Big plus: story was a one-shot.
Wolves of the North a tale of Vikings and Saxons
Captain America Essentials #1 Collected comics from the 60s
Daredevil Essentials #1 Collected comics from the 60s
Spider-Man Essentials #1 Collected comics from the 60s
Thor Essentials #1 Collected comics from the 60s. This is the one I liked the least of the lot. Then again I was never a fan of Thor.
Superman: Our worlds at war This collection was disjointed and hard to follow in many places. I really wanted to like it, but the story didn't flow. A crossover that was poorly executed.

Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher, I gave up. It was laborious, boring and well I gave up on it after a few chapters.

Other RPGs

Dark Trenches This year I wrote a new Call of Cthulhu adventure called "Dark Trenches" about which I posted this, this, and this. This descent into madness set in World War I really sparked my interest in this almost-century old war. I am debating about what to do about it. I think I might publish it in a CoC Monograph or even self-publish. However before I do so, I want to have at least two more adventures with a similar theme to make the ensemble more attractive.

The Lion sleeps tonight This year, Petrie's put up a Halloween-theme all-night game event. During that time, I dusted off "The Lion Sleep Tonight", the first Call of Cthulhu adventure I wrote and produced for a convention (Gaelcon 2000). Since that time I ran it at numerous events in at least 4 countries: Canada, France, Ireland and now the USA. Almost on cue, I received a message from a German Call of Cthulhu magazine asking me if they could publish the adventure in German. I immediately agreed - though I could not provide the German translation.

DC Universe This year, I really got into a super hero phase (see the list of things I read). And DC Universe RPG was a natural choice. I got the book but never really got a chance to play it. Well this year I have. I played under Bruce in his all-night game event and had a blast. I also ran two slots at MicroCon.

Doctor Who I ran a few Doctor Who events this year again. Fun game, easy to learn and very story-oriented.

Obsidian Apocalypse LPJ ran a kickstarter for his reboot of Obsidian Twilight - now Obsidian Apocalypse - and I got in and wrote a few sections of it. I am looking forward to the final product as this has the potential for a lot of coolness.

Wargames Illustrated Three years ago, I wrote an article for Wargames Foundry about the Illyrian Rebellion of 6-9AD. After years of not hearing back from them, I approached Wargames Illustrated to get it published. And it was! I may be doing it more often in the coming year(s).

Traveling

In 2012, I did a fair bit of traveling from my home in Colorado Springs. Most of these featured NeoExodus.

Denver Cons This year, I ran Pathfinder Society at Genghis Con and Taction. At both, I offered NeoExodus adventures. These adventures were received positively by the player base and encouraged me to write more. Obviously I will be back in 2013 to both. This year, both of my daughters will be attending the con and I cannot wait! (Neither can they) The feel like "big "

PaizoCon PaizoCon exploded this year. From a small con, it became huge. I am very glad to see it grow. After going there for two years, PaizoCon 2012 might've been my last one for a while. Next year, LPJ & I talked about attending GenCon and offer a lineup of NeoExodus events. I cannot wait! This is a very exciting time.

Fandemonium I returned to Boise for another year. Man I really like the people there! CA is an awesome host and a dear friend. This is a small con (compared to all the others on this list), but one that is dear to my heart. I will try to return again in 2013!

SoCal Smackdown In 2012, I went to the Los Angeles area for the first time to attend SoCal Smackdown. What a fun time. Sure it may have been a little smaller (RPG-wise) than I expected, but I had loads of fun. Robyn, Brian and Will are awesome and definitely doing a great job! I am trying to see if I can squeeze a trip to Los Angeles again in 2013.

There are so many places I want to see in 2013... LPJ and I talked about GenCon, DragonCon in Atlanta and I want to attend KublaCon in San Francisco. I have to travel to Montreal in the spring, so that's one more thing to do! I hope to run some NeoExodus in all of these locations. It would certainly be great!

Blog Milestones

The blog saw more traffic every month this year than the highest number reached last year.

  • Posts This is #453.
  • Most Prolific Month August with 19 posts
  • Most Visits in a Month November with 5,446 visits
  • Most Popular Post Microcon’s Doctor Who RPG Marathon with 3,203 views
  • Top 3 Readers Origins USA, UK, Canada

Real Life

This year was the year of the Waldo Canyon Fire that destroyed parts of Colorado Springs. I remembered watching the column of smoke over the house that turned the sky orange. Then when the fire reached the houses I could only watch in horror on TV. I have to give a HUGE thanks to the men and women firefighters and public service people who worked together to save the town. I believe our mayor, police chief, fire chief, news networks and the US Forest Service did a great job keeping us informed and reassured. My work was near ground zero and it was evacuated.

How can I skip the horror I felt when I heard of the two massacres this year? I'm talking of the Aurora shootings and the Sandy Hook massacre. Really mankind? I mean really? I'm not sure what to do or think on that one. While some people call for severe gun control laws to be put in place, Sandy Hook in particular was done with registered and controlled weapons. I'm of two minds here. I saw how useless the Canadian gun laws were: a total waste of money. I heard from friends who are gun enthusiasts (I'm not one) and their arguments make sense to me. But I also see the need for increased security, particularly for our children.

Unlike foreign attacks (like 9-11), these domestic terror attacks do not have someone clear to focus anger and hatred... I pray the families find peace and that, as a society, we find a solution that can make all of us better. But frankly I doubt it will happen.

Which leads me to the third real-life event... I am a center-right person, a libertarian (my wallet dictates where I go). The 2012 election, I found had a terrible outcome. I am not a fan of President Obama, mostly for what I see is his failure to bring any consensus together, like other presidents I admire: Reagan and Clinton who DID managed to work with people across the party line and accomplished good things. That is my biggest beef with him.

The election led to 2 years of the same dead inertia with both sides slinging the blame at each other and accomplishing very little. Oh well! That's the cycle of politics... I look forward to seeing what will happen in the new year.

LPJ leans center-left (which I jokingly call liberal-tarian), which leads to many good things in NeoExodus, forcing both to confront our ideas with the others'. Since NeoExodus is a very political setting, this clash of real-life ideas results - from my part at least - in creating a "no good guys" and "no bad guys" situation. Where every nation on Exodus can be the villains in any adventure and the good guys the next moment. It is a dynamic I really enjoy as it keeps me on my toes and keeps NeoExodus fresh and exciting.

Finally

I wish all of you health, fun, and plenty of gaming opportunities in the new year.

I have a lot to post.

JP

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