JP On Gaming

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Slavery in NeoExodus: an extensive post!

I have been asked a lot of questions about slavery in NeoExodus. Often enough that I had to sit back and think about it. LPJ and I talked about this delicate subject.

There are two types of "main" types of slavery and both must be differentiated. The first is indentured servitude where someone willingly - or is compelled through legal ways - surrenders his liberty to another. The second is institutionalized slavery where a person belongs to another. These two types are known across Exodus. These two types are extremely different but for simplicity in this document, the term "slave" will be used to designate both type of servitude. In places where indentured servitude exists slavery does not exist, and vice-versa.

Across every nation, the three most common reasons why a person may become enslaved - no matter what form it takes - are debt, punishment for crimes and as prisoners of war.

Is it legal? Yes. Slavery is legal on all nations of Exodus.

Is it accepted? For the most part, although owning slaves is fine and accepted, the slave trade and slave traders are usually reviled - much like the tax collectors. Slave captured in wartime are a different story. Their capture is seen as a positive thing, something of mercy.

Can I buy slaves in NeoExodus Legacies? Yes, you can.

Is there a group of anti-slavery? Not as an organized "Andoran League". Many individuals take it upon themselves to free slaves - or destroy slaving rings. However there is - as yet - no major anti-slavery league.

What form does it take? Like the nations of Exodus itself, slavery varies from one place to the next. However, slavery resembles more the "Roman model". Slaves are not kept in cages - most slave owners consider their slaves to be valuable property, and treat them accordingly.

How are slaves treated? Again, it depends heavily upon the nation where they are enslaved.
    Arman Protectorate: The Protectorate officially does not condone slavery. However, its laws are, at best, nebulous about slavery. In the Protectorate, richer nobles lord over serfs in slave-like conditions. Serfs are officially freemen, but they are not allowed to leave their lord's lands without approval. Enslaving citizens is expressly forbidden and carries a heavy penalty (usually death).
    Caneus Empire: Officially, slavery does not exist in the Caneus Empire. The Caneus Empire however supports and recognizes indentured serfdom. A serf is legally a freeman however, their lives are heavily regimented. They are forced to work three days a week for their owner. Disobedience and rebellious behavior is heavily repressed, but even that is clearly codified by a hefty set of laws. Serfdom is never a life-long affair with the maximum sentence being around 10 years. Rebellious or constant misbehaving may lengthen the duration. Although the law allows for the servitude of nobles, such service is exceedingly rare, Reserved as a humiliation method.
    Dominion: In the Dominion, slavery is part of the institution. The very rich own slaves who are part of the casteless. The Dominion practices and recognizes chattel slavery where generational slavery exists. Because they are at the bottom of the caste system, slaves generally do the worse tasks. In spite of all this, the Dominion has strict rules regarding the humane treatment of slaves. Slaves who can prove inhumane treatment are frequently freed from bondage by the many magistrates. Owners must ensure his slaves are well-fed, sheltered, protected from danger and received medical care. Slaves are allowed to marry, have children (who cannot be sold or split from their parent until they reach the age of 13), own property, and may purchase their freedom at any time.
    Slaves taken by the gevet tribes are the exception. They are used in the deadly games the matrons often engage in. Gevet barely respect and follow the laws in general. Female slaves taken by the gevet often live in luxury with the matrons.
    Gavea: In Gavea, slavery is rare. Captive taken in times of war are called "bonded" and are kept as hostage to ensure peace. These "slaves" are owned by the community rather than an individual. They are free to move, free to marry, have children, own property. They must remain within the confines of the village, unless accompanied by villagers. They are "bonded" and forced to wear a metal collar to identify themselves. In times of war, many a hostage earned his freedom - often by siding with the village than enslaved them against outside threats.
    Imperial Alliance: The Imperial Alliance has no official stand on slavery. However, a number of Senators have begun talking about abolishing it throughout Exodus. The lands of Koryth harbor escaped slaves from every other nation. Some have formed small communities or live away from others in the wilds of Koryth.
    Janus Horde: The Horde is too new to have any form of institutional slavery. However, it takes and maintains many slaves. Slavery to the Horde is usually a lifelong affair. The Horde treats its slaves harshly: those who show rebellious attitudes receive any number of punishment from lashing, branding (often in the face), maiming (hands or feet), to summary execution. Slaves must do what they are told without question or face whatever punishment the warriors have for them. The lowest class, the villeins - or non-warriors - are effectively slaves. Those who can carry a weapon and chose to side with the Horde often take their freedom back.
    Reis Confederacy: Like most things in the Confederacy, things are heavily dependent on the individual slave-owner. Treatment goes from horrible to quite humane. Making any kind of blanket statement other than "slavery is legal in the Confederacy" is impossible.
    First Ones: The First Ones treat everyone like their slaves and property. No good things can ever involve the First Ones.

Where can I get slaves? Most slaves come from one of the following sources. First from the captured villeins of the Janus Horde (only the Dominion practices this on any scale). Horde warriors are too dangerous to enslave. Second in Gavea, where the Brotherhood of Khayne and mainland slavers occasionally raid settlements for slaves. Finally, in the Reis Confederacy, many slavers have deals with warring city-states to buy prisoners from the many intestine wars the constantly rock the Confederacy.

In short, slave markets operate openly in the Dominion, the lands of the Horde (if you can pass yourself off as one of them) and parts of the Confederacy. They are quite reviled in the Protectorate and Koryth. In the Caneus Empire, some bondsmen often "pay off the debts" of commoners in return for servitude, and nobles in return for favors.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Malifaux: My own warband!

A while ago, I painted a few armies worth of Malifaux models for my friend Steve-B's Malifaux addiction. I really liked the models as they were very dynamic, well-sculpted (esp when one compares with GW's FineCast) and painted up very nicely. Wyrd has done a great job and I really fought for the longest time before breaking down and getting some models for myself.

I chose the models simply based on looks. Not on tactica, tournament reports. No, just LOOKS. With a secret side-goal of re-using the models for NeoExodus or other RP projects.

I chose Rasputina because she looked good. I have yet to play with them as I refuse to play with unpainted models. Yes I am THAT guy.

Making a big push this past weekend, I finished Rasputina. I chose a snow/blue pattern rather than the pure white. I think it gives her depth. The final effect makes her look as those she were in a snowstorm. Which is really cool! I like it a lot.

The Gamins and Golem were finished a while ago... For the effects on the creatures, I used 3 layers of floor polish... Making these guys: SHINY!

Monday, March 18, 2013

[Rant] Finecast Eidolon Commission

A while ago, Brian-B came to me and asked me to paint his eidolon for his Home Game summoner. He has a summoner with a monstrous eidolon (aren't they all?).

Brian wanted a creature that looked very "nature-y" so he bought himself one of GW's new Finecast treants. Now I have to admit that when I saw the model, I was excited for a few reasons. First, this was going to be my first direct contact with GW's new Finecast models. Like many others, I had read a number of reviews about them. Second, I was really excited about trying my have at a large model like the treant. I wanted to paint one for myself for the longest time.

For those two reasons, I was really happy about painting this model for him.

Building the model

One of the things one cannot help but notice is how lightweight it is. I mean really. I *knew* resin models were light, but this is lighter than metal 28mm ones.

The resin itself is very easy to file and trim the flash from, even though some of it was difficult to differentiate from the actual mini. The sprues were full of bizarre casting bubbles and flash that at first looked like part of the mini. Only when I tried to put it together did I manage to figure it out.

Now this is where I started to hate this resin. There are many people who have already mentioned the bad casting, the bubbles in the mold and the odd flash. The bigger the model, the bigger the issues. Using my carpenter's glue & Zap-a-gap combination, the pieces held together fairly easily. I had to score the resin a little (which was easy). However the creature's arms feel very weak.

I have been working with hard plastic and metal, both of these have their problem, but this resin just beats them all.

By a mile.

At this time, I really am happy to have completely dropped GW games and their models. Everything about this Finecast crap makes me want to stay away. The model feels very weak. The casting bubbles turn some of the detail into "mushroom blowout". I am very worried about the model holding together - and I had to warn Brian about my concerns.

Because of all of these issues, the price hike really broke the camel's back. They went from a quality models company to... THAT? If the moved to this cheaper quality mold, they should've lowered their prices - if only on a temporary measure, they jack the prices.

"We will give you cheaper material models with many casting problems at a higher price!" That's exactly what they did. Really? Really?

Really justifies my move to Warmachine/Horde and Malifaux (I'll post my own warband tomorrow).

Painting the model

Once cleaned, built and primed, the painting was fairly easy. I did a number of inks and dry-brushing to make it look like a tree. The resulting look is pretty cool.

Touching up the model with a few highlight on the model: the mushrooms, the little imps, and the skulls hidden in the creature's body. These added a number of colorful highlights to a relatively "dull" model.

Yup, I spent a lot of time making the model look "dull". Achieving that look was far from easy.

Remember those "mushroom blowouts" I mention as I ranted earlier? Well I "hid" the worse of them by using foliage. Thus the final model looks good, very "nature-y". Brian could use it either as his eidolon, a tree (as terrain) OR as the treant it was intended to be.

My final concern was for transport... I don't know how that will be achieved... I don't know how to bring it to Brian, and I know even less how he will take it to his regular game...

The model

The finished product is nice - but fragile.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday Funnies: Ork Themes

I'm JP and I approve this message.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

NeoExodus Commission: Kalisan Druid

Here is a mini I painted for my buddy Jacob-M. Jacob is a regular of both my home game AND NeoExodus Legacies. He gave me this mini to paint for him. His character is a Kalisan druid (bear shaman).

Teltana the Druid I asked you to paint is very much into nature. Bear shaman arch type and will usually have barkskin active on her. She uses a dark wood shield and a plain looking club. (will be getting her a spear for thrown weapons)
Brownish hair, if you could incorporate some barklike skin that would be awesome. If not its cool.

The original model comes with a spear. Though he didn't say, Jacob plans to use the shillelagh spell on his club. So I cut the top of the spear and replaced it with a large axe haft (removing the axe head). This gave her the right weapon. There wasn't much more to convert, so it was on to painting.

Here I did a simple paint job: natural/ tame colors for the clothes. I chose green for the half-skirt because it is very druid-y. Her skin was painted all-white (since Kalisan are white). Then, I added a light brown wash with bark lines to simulate the barkskin spell. This had a unique effect of turning the white skin to a Caucasian-looking effect! I expected her to turn a light brown, but this is pretty cool.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

NeoExodus Kickstarter Plea! It's ending!

Despite being very close to the NeoExodus Free RPG Day Kickstarter project, I try not to inundate your inboxes with pleas about it, but now that it is about to end, I allow myself to make one last plea to you.

We have reached funding level but there are a number great things left to unlock. If you can, please give, you will receive and bring the fun of the game to a lot of people around the world.

Plus, as a secret goal, I plan on running a For-Backers only playtest of the adventure (available only in Colorado, Montreal/Ottawa and Phoenix, Az at this time), where YOU will be able to provide me with your thoughts, insights and get to influence the adventure. Playtests are very important to me as they provide a dynamic model of the game in play. If I can entice you that way, I'm willing to do it.

If you can, please back our project, the core is written (so we're not gonna flake out). It needs play-testing, art and editing. So there is little to no risk for you! There are great stretch goals left to attain: Lee Hammock (from Goblinworks) and Richard Farrese (now from Ubisoft/Assassin's Creed 3) could add to the adventure!

Here is the link.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Video: Adventure edits of Temple

Giving you an update on my work on the Kickstarter.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Kickstarter home stretch and NeoExodus play opportunities

We are now in the home stretch of the Kickstarter for the Free RPG Day adventure, Temple of the Forbidden God. It's been a wild ride, and one I am rather happy with. But allow me to make this plea to you once more: if you can pledge, please do!

As I posted last week, the base adventure is written (so the risks to you as a backer drops significantly, we have a pre-edit manuscript you will get as a backer). Thus you will see how the adventure goes from initial to finished product.

With that said, I will also be creating a Legacy Record to allow you to play the adventure and get rewarded for it in our organized play campaign. This will give you even more playing opportunities to discover NeoExodus with us!

Speaking of NeoExodus play opportunities... Nimon has a PBP up on that seems very interesting! He could use a few more players for sure! Check it out.

Petries' Family Games are hosting a day of Introduction to NeoExodus this coming Saturday. Cam and I have been speaking about it for almost two months now and I can't wait for the event to happen! If you are in Colorado... you really should come and check it out!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

And now for something completely... the same!

With the big push for Temple of the Forbidden done for me, I had originally planned to take a break and do little more than bask in my own glory, play some DC Online and paint some miniatures.

But that's not how it went down.

Instead, I came up with a new idea... One that actually came to me last year at Denver ComicCon. My initial idea was for Pathfinder Society. But obviously now that will not happen now. But the idea is still good and definitely applicable to NeoExodus Legacies... The format was really was dictated to me by what I saw there. The attendees are not there for "long", 4h sessions. They come to the game room to kill an hour or two. It is the only time I saw people up and leave in the middle of a game, and not because the hated the GMs or because the GM was doing a horrible job. They just up and left.

First, the constraints:

- The adventure must run in 2h TOPS. This includes the briefing, the intro to NeoExodus and any paperwork.
- The adventure must showcase the storylines or aspects of the NeoExodus Legacies campaign
- The adventure must be easy to pick and run
- It must be fun and exciting to run and play.

So I have been playing with the ideas for a while and in a lull I began to put down idea to a page (remember this post about writer's block?). From those, I spent my lunch time looking at them and thinking how to expand them without become a long series of presentation of NPCs. I prefer to write MORE than make them boring...

With the versatility of the XP format in Legacies, these can give 1 or 2 XP, giving us the opportunity to make them longer or shorter and more or less difficult. This 9XP per level system is something I am starting to love more and more. It is extremely versatile and gives me the opportunity to play and change things.

So the first one I started working on will deal with the Protectorate and the conquests in Sametia. So far this year, the topic was discussed in adventures, but many PCs have yet to experience Sametia. Plus it gives me an opportunity to advance the timeline of Sametia, from what players saw last yet in A1 - Encounter at Ramat Bridge and its sequel A2 - Ruins of Trovaska. That is one of the element of running a dynamic campaign such as Legacies I like the most: revisiting old favorites and updating them. "When you came it looked like that, but not anymore!" This is something that makes me squeal with delight when it happens in games I play.

So this is my current short-term writing project as I go over "Temple".


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Inspirations for our Free RPG Day Adventure

If you followed my tweets the past two weeks, you know that I am hard at work trying to finish the "Temple of the Forbidden God", our Free RPG Day 2013 Kickstarter (as a shameless plea, if you haven't given, now would be a good time to do so while there is still time!). And finally last night I tweeted an "I'M DONE!"

Well mostly done. I have completed the first draft - the toughest of all drafts to finish - and am currently playing around with it, tweaking, changing and overall making better.

I will soon be contacting (me and/or LPJ will) our backers in Colorado to run a play-test of the adventure! Talk about a chance to get MORE than "your name in the book" but "to be part of the writing too!!!" So there I said it. Extra opportunity for goodies! Contact me and/or LPJ if you have a group of backers near where you live so you can play-test it for us.

Though these are not strictly part of the adventure, the following illustrations were more than instrumental in the writing of "Temple of the Forbidden God". For those of you familiar with NeoExodus, images of the wild Reis Confederacy should quickly come to mind. And you would be correct... Part of the adventure takes place in the Confederacy.

Part of my design, included a way to seamlessly integrate the awesome stretch goals we hoped to reach (Owen KC Stevens reached YEAH!). I can only hope that we reach Lee Hammock and Richard Farrese, two of the guys who did a LOT of work on NeoExodus in its initial incarnation. I would just LOVE to work with them and make "Temple" into something just MASSIVE.

*Girlish giggle*


Monday, March 4, 2013

Happy GM Day!

It's not Sunday anymore... but Oh-so a-propos!


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sunday Funnies: Larp Trek

I don't know if you've ever read Larp Trek but it is a hilarious take on Star Trek: The Next Generation. A lot of these are flat-out funny (some less so) and I recommend it. I put the first one here...

Friday, March 1, 2013

NeoExodus Legacies Commissions for March!

NeoExodus is growing and I am getting more and more requests for minis for people. I am working on a "NeoExodus Miniatures' guide" which I plan on posting soon. Give everyone a chance to pick the minis I believe are as close as it gets to LPJ's art.

The first mini is for Tom-C (for whom I painted the bubblegum gnome). This one is his prymidian bard for my NeoExodus Home Game. Prymidians are red-skinned humanoids with a magical ability to speak with anyone using a language.

Tom asked for "Prymidian Bard: crimson red skin, white hair, eyes that burn like fire". Pretty "standard" for a Prymidian... Now on to execution... Tom's character is an archeologist and a knowledge-monkey - always useful in a JP game. Looking at the model, I found there was little exposed skin: the face and his right hand... So that would be "simple" (good red skin is hard to do).

For some totally random reason, I kept thinking about a crusty philosophy professor... So I opted to go with the idea. Brown pants and blue dress shirt was the base inspiration. Another thing that adds to the "crustiness" is the use of many different pattern, each of them different and without a clear unifying theme.

With that in mind, I started painting.

The belt/skirt and the cloak, did not quite fit into my original concept, but I adapted them. The cloak was simple: Tom's character is a traveler so I chose a "Wilderness green" subdued scheme - I did not want it to be the main draw of the model. The cloak became the only part of the model that would be functional in color. The belt I added to the base idea: another pattern that doesn't match the others.

The face came out AWESOME! The skin is vibrant and alive, the eyes look great and the hair has depth. The many patterns together give the professor look! I can't wait to beat up the poor guy on Tuesday!

The second model is a p'tan Barbarian for Jacob-M's NeoExodus Legacies character. He got himself one of Crocodile Games' Basti heroes... Definitely my go-to choice for p'tan characters. This one was fairly simple as far as paint jobs go. The model as a LOT of "skin" with minimal armor.

Jacob had two requests: dark skin and remove the original symbol on the chest plate (which had a feather I believe). One of the things I *HATE* and I mean *HATE*. Yes I hate it so much that I put a blink tag around it! It is painting black. Try as I might, it never comes out right. OH! I do some black accents: hair/ beards/ eyes but I do not think I have a single model painted black (come to think of it, I think I have *ONE*). So I went with a very dark blue as the base for the skin. Dark blue on white primer comes out with a lot of depth... Almost like a wash. I thought about dark brown hair, but I settled on black in the end (brown looked real bad).

The breastplate I trimmed the symbol and used white glue as filler. That done, I painted it, scarring the plate to show that it has been damaged. Then I topped it off with a lion rampant - since the character is from the Caneus Empire.

For the pants, I went with something more subdued: my "typical" traveler's green. A few patterns on there to make them interesting,but still not to make them the real center of attention.

The sword started as an error on my part. I had some red paint on my thumb and unknowingly spread it across the front of the sword. When I realized the mistake, I smeared it off. But little dots of color remained. After swearing a little, I looked the mini at a distance (I went to wash my hands) and the effect looked like a dirty, blood-covered sword. I retouched it in a few places and did the backside with a similar effect and I liked what I saw.

Two more models done!