The raek is a creature I have been meaning to get for a long time. I like it's look that makes me think of a tiger. So I opted to give it an orange base on the hard chitin. The result is surprising... It is a clear contract with the rather drab rest of the army. I like the result.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Friday, November 29, 2013
Now that a brave turkey as come and gone, it is officially the cold season. What better way than to put together the Blackfrost Shard for the Legion of Everblight! These three fellows are full of character and would make good RPG characters for sure. I have been thinking of building an elf character...
Thursday, November 28, 2013
On this day of Thanksgiving, I want to thank you, my readers for faithfully reading this blog and providing me with insight and comments (on and off-board). Thank you.
My offering today includes three legion Solos (well 5, but). I never got to play any of them - yet.
The first picture has three spell martyrs. Next is Anyssa, the huntress on her elk-thing. Finally, a sorceress on hellion. All of them painted to match the rest of my army.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Dear fans and friends!
It is with great joy that just in time for Thanksgiving, that I announce the launch of the new series of products. GOSTOR: a Grumpy Old Schooler's Take On Rules. Thanks to my friends on Facebook for the name!
This first installment in this new series of products is "Skill Encounters" a light framework for more complex skill-based encounters. Those familiar with "Skill Challenges" in other games will find the basics to be known already. However, where skill challenges have a reputation for behind unwieldy and uninteresting, Skill Encounters focus on providing a fast, simple system aimed at rewarding creativity and engaging the whole party.
Check this new product out!
It was fun to design! And I can't wait to hear what people think!
As an added bonus, between now and December 3rd, the book will be available at the special introductory price of 2.49! Click here this special price! It is valid until December 3rd 2013.
I am looking for authors for a variety of products, just let me know!
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
One of the first things every gamer must do is fine and support their local store. I used to be a man who gave love to two stores in Colorado: Gamers' Haven and Petries, which I enjoyed for different reason. Now that I'm in Kentucky, I had to find a new place. This place is the Louisville Game Shop. I know, the name is not overly imaginative, but the place feels like an old-school store - but with tables to play in the back.
The first order for minis that I posted at my new game store was for two Deathstalkers for my Legion of Everblight. These hunters are pretty cool and will beef up my small band of striders - a unit I already love very much.
If you look closely you will notice the minor conversion I did to one of them.
I will be posting a number of Legion pictures in the next few days.
Monday, November 25, 2013
A while ago, I won a stash of Warmachine models on Ebay for the Protectorate of Menoth. Most of them we broken or horribly painted and in need of a Simple Green bath... They really were in a bad shape, even after stripping. A lot of pinning was required. For those models whose metal hadn't been twisted where drowned under some thick paint. I mean thick... They had to sit through 2 weeks in simple green AND get scraped twice. I won't try to guess what the minis were dunked in but it was like house paint.
PLEASE PEOPLE, don't do that.
Commander Stryker (alt pose) was one of the surprise addition to the lot. I had just recently sold my Cygnar before moving and I did not really wish to buy more. Still getting him was a nice surprise, so I painted him. I'm still not sure what to do with him: whether to sell him or give him away... I like how he came out.
It was one of the few models that did not require any special attention. So it was brushed/scraped of its inch of primer/house paint combination he had been dunked into. Leaving me with a blank canvas to paint. Finally.
I used a rather common paint scheme with some lightning bolts on his coat and sword.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Okay with the awesomeness of the 50th Anniversary, I found this posted on the BBC site. It is one of the funniest things ever. Warning - this is really for Whovians... There are a lot of great cameos...
I laughed SO hard! This is really clever and fun.
5 through 8 in the special? That would've been awesome! (well more awesome)
Saturday, November 23, 2013
With the Christmas season approaching, I am beginning to look at the Xmas season... Not only for myself, but for friends as well. So I have finally completed two of them.
The first of the minis is for me. It is an idea for a character that I've been toying with for the longest time but never got the minis. The perfect mini? The Limited edition Frankenstein's monster by Foundry! I gave away the copy I had years ago to my good friend Florent. Well after years of going through Ebay, I managed to get another copy for myself. Now all I need is to add some stats and gaming opportunities to play him...
The paint job is fairly simple. I used my typical skin tones before using a sickly green color (pallid flesh)
This one is for a friend. As he could not provide me with a clear idea about what his character was like. I think the original mini was a Phoenix-Clan model from AEG's Clan War. So that's why I chose to paint him in that clan's colors: red/orange/yellow with a few gold highlights. I can see this guy as a samurai, as a ninja or as someone with th
This little-loved range has some great minis that I really like to paint. They are full of character and paint up really nice, they remind of Crocodile Games' ranges.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
I have been working on this list for a while. Each of the figures on this list should be household names. They are men (and a woman) of state.
As I built this list, I thought I could see good and bad points about all of them (except two). This duality is really what makes these historical figures so interesting. While they have not
Two should be considered "warnings to History".
These people I plan to present briefly and then how they can be used in setting or adventure design.
Like for the influence list, I ordered them randomly.
You should not be surprise that I put Caesar on this list. His book "The Gallic Wars" appeared on my list of major influences. And I painted a number of Caesarean roman armies and enemies (many of which I sold prior to moving to Kentucky). Without him, it is unlikely we would've seen the rise of Imperial Rome.
From the moment he enters politics on the side of the Marian, his life is interesting: fighting Spartacus, the conquest of Gaul, feuding with Pompey and Crassus, the Social Wars, his affair with Cleopatra, to his brutal murder.
What makes him so interesting is that we have writing generally attributed to him and thus can try and divine who he was, two millennium after his death. I would love for my own writings last that long!
Using him (new politician) This is Caesar before 60BC. As a young man, he served in a number of position: he was a priest then a criminal then a military man. Clearly able and ambitious, he rose to power by making judicious and strategic alliances.
Always looking for the next piece of action, he is a man of many talents.
It is easy to see him as a patron or opponent to the PCs.
Using him (general) This is the Caesar of 60-50BC No longer a young man, but an accomplished statesman and general, Caesar is now a warlord whose triumphant conquest win him the envy and hatred of many, but beloved by his troops. Here we find him as a man whose ambition is still intact and who now has the means to pull the strings. Caesar is methodical, ruthless and acutely aware of his reputation and the imprint he will leave on history.
As a ally, Caesar is the shining star in the political firmament, out shined only by equally powerful men. By forming a alliance or coalition, he could easily rule a nation.
Using him (final days) Here we find Caesar on top of the world. His rivals are dead or subdued. He controls a vast empire. He has a lovely 25 year old mistress in Cleopatra of Egypt. Really, he has nothing to fear. But behind closed doors, plots are hatching, and the spoils of his empire split amongst the conspirators.
Using him (aftermath of murder) Caesar's blood had yet to dry that things were moving at a great pace: Mark Anthony's pursuit of the conspirators, Octavian's rise to power, the second triumvirate and the civil war between them.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
When I posted my "I hate forums" post last week, I ended up with a number of things that drove me insane. Namely, the trolls. As I wrote and wrote, it became obvious that this Death to trolls post was required. They have to be outed, categorized and hung. Then stabbed. With a knife. To death.
Trolls come from many places and many backgrounds. Many grow their tusks only when they sit at their computers, away from others and
And the many types of trolls. All of which should be slain, their corpses and computers splashed with alchemist fire and flasks of acid.
- The Chain-poster. I will talk about one of the VLs at Paizo who lives on the forums and that chain replies to EVERYTHING (someone-A/ him/ someone-A/ him/ someone-B/ him/ someone-C/ him...). Worse thing: he sometimes replies to himself - often to correct his own mistake.
- The Self-Appointed Expert. One who usually gets things right, but who says it in such a parsimonious way that you just want to ignore them or want the info to come from someone else.
- That Guy with a story. Yes, THAT guy. His GM did scarred him for life and to this day, he just can't help telling it. He wants the world to tell him how right he is and that his GM was malicious and did not soften the blows when he targeted his character which resulted in a death.. He keeps posting or referring to "the story" all the time. Though he initially tries to cover peoples' identities, it often goes: "My GM" then "His name is B-Simpson" then "His name is Bart-S" then "that a-hole Bart Simpson"... You've heard the sob story.
- That Guy with a fake story. Pretty much like the previous guy, but his story is just BS. His character didn't die, wasn't serious incapacitated, and after some digging, he's often bitching for his friend who WOULD have a story, OR for what he thinks people did not give him the respect he (thinks he) deserved.
- The Perpetual Noob This guys was new in 2006 and he keeps asking the same questions today. These questions are always asked in a slightly different manner. Sometimes these guys use the "I only play once a year," excuse but they have four 10+ level characters.
- The Dude Who Does Not Get The Answer He Wants Sometimes misinterpreted as the Perpetual Noob. He just has one thing in mind "*MY* synthesists isn't broken, so why can't *I* play it" Or "Can I play a warforged in Pathfinder?" or (yes I saw this once) "I rolled my character for Pathfinder Society and got three 18s, two 16s and a 5! My friend saw me! Why can't I play my character?"
- The Opinionator this guy often appears like one of the other, but his underlying goal is different. The opinionator wishes for everyone to listen to his opinion and generate as many replies as he can. Some are motivated by the sheer challenge of riling others up. This guy is the one that generates a lot of traffic.
- The Orthodox this guy is a "reactive troll". He lurks and prowls until he sees something that allows him to go on the offensive and feel righteous rage and disgust at something. At that point, they attack whoever dares to raise an opinion divergent (I won't go so far as to say contrary) from his own and/or that of the establishment. Obviously without a life of his own, the Orthodox ensures that everyone is as mediocre as he is (few people of this type are creative, would ever encourage creativity or even understand the concept of creativity...)
You will remember my post about If you don't like it, don't play it back in June. I really received a lot of flak for trying to promote an openness, and avoid surprising the players with a play style that is far from the norm. You will be happy to know that one of the now-VL (who I referenced as the "Whiny Bitch" in the article) has banned me from attending any of his games, even though they are all "public and open". My point of "the GM has final say" holds true, and I was defending his right even if he opposed me. Meh. He proves my point. No, I will not post his name in spite of your asking, while I know he is a troll, it would give him even more power. And he must be slain and flayed, not elevated...
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
“You enter the room, bladed wheels spin at eye and shin level throughout the room and the floor moves up and down 5 to 6 inches as though on a wave. At the end of the hall, you see the villain disappear as the opposite door begins to close with the grinding of stone on stone.”
Then your rogue says “I take ten” and obliterates the DC and the group goes on. The encounter sucks. No one remembers it, other than the GM who spent 5h coming up with it. OR the party remembers how they saw you cry in frustration. They remember that they make their GM cry.
Now that we have established that players are jerk, we can proceed.
Have we become that lazy that we remiss all thought and idea of defeating a trap to “we don’t have a rogue” or “I have trapfinding”? I definitely include myself in that group because I have fostered that stereotype, both as a writer and a player/GM.
I make no secret that I really like the idea of skill challenges, perhaps the one thing I will take from 4e into other games. I like the fact that players have to think with things other than combat and a few spells. Pretty much like chases (both as presented by Paizo in the GameMastery Guide and the revised version I posted on this blog).
I am currently working on a new adventure for Legacies and I have come to a place where I would like to create an encounter similar to a skill challenge. Something the players have to overcome that should not end with a single dice roll.
In the dying days of 3.5, we were presented with something similar, but I never thought it was particularly well-thought out. It was clearly a precursor to the better 4e version. Still the idea of an encounter-as-a-challenge has always intrigued me and for the longest time, I have been thinking about a way to put together a simple set of rules to use with Pathfinder/3.X. Clearly a first step towards 4e's skill challenges.
This morning inspiration struck me - smack-dab in the middle of a meeting. What if a system could be devised where the encounter had a number of "points" the PCs have to do in order to complete the challenge?
Like in 4e, there must also be penalties for failing, something that endeared me to the original system. I am a strong proponent of the system where the whole party had to do something rather than watch the guy with the good skill do his thing. Standing around and doing nothing should not be what anyone in these situations do. I can imagine these challenges to have an environmental element, something that cannot easily be compelled or controlled.
Like in my previous breakdown of the chase, a good description of what his happening is crucial to allow the PCs to be creative and evolve. Not just to make the encounter exciting, but also to make them know and understand the difficulties and plant the seeds of idea of how they can resolve or help the challenge. Nothing is worse than an endless stream of dice rolling, taking 1d6 damage, and then more dice rolling. I get angry just thinking about such things.
Also, unlike chases, at higher level especially, they may have magical support – through spell or item – that allows them to bypass your trap. Personally, I believe that traps work best at lower level. To make them work are higher level requires too much nerfing (no teleport, no summoning, no this, no that, no dog, no ninjas, no nothing) that the traps becomes either ridiculous, meaningless, or they fall in the category of “typical traps”.
A willingness to allow the PCs to use their skills in unconventional ways will also go a long way to encourage players to be creative. That is true of everywhere in the game, not just here. The GM’s role is to make the world come to life. It is not (just) to slay and beat up the players.
Similar to my chase rules, the DC must represent and challenge the party. Therein lies the difficulty of balancing everything...
More on this topic tomorrow!
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Friday, November 8, 2013
It is with a proud sadness that I see that the Rocky Mountain Pathfinders is abandoning the secret of its early success for a forum. This rant is not really directed at them, but at the industry in general.
What is it with people wanting to have their own forums everywhere?
I cannot state enough how much I hate forums. I hate them with a passion. Rather than being able to peacefully sort through the emails that I get, I now have to go to your website (usually have to endure the ads and other junk). And constantly troll your lists to make sure I miss nothing.
Not to mention the typical forum behavior:
- First 5 (I usually say first 2) replies on a thread are generally related before they degenerate into inane idiocies of inside jokes that run from thread to thread, usually by the same people.
- Any thread with more than 20 replies is usually completely useless (especially when the useful answer is at post 114, 3 pages further).
- I don't know why but every forums that is "cool" and "enjoyable" always has a transformation at one point where you don't want to participate. It is rarely attributable to a single event or person - such as "when Bob became admin" or "when they moved to the new version."
Personal Code of Conduct
Personally, I chose to adopt the following code of conduct with regards to forums. These are loose guidelines I hold myself to.
- Don't use 'em if I don't have to.
- Never reply more than once on a thread, unless a question *I* asked warrants a response.
- Avoid any and all rules discussion
- Assume that anything important will be communicated some other way. No, Forum rulings are not binding unless you compile in a clear document.
- I cannot spend 5 hours a day looking at forums, so those that do not contact me through email I drift away from very quickly.
- To a company: If its not worth mentioning in the news section of your website, its really not that important!
- Don't use the forums.
I don't know how alone I am with this opinion, but seeing the amount of forums growing every day, I must say that I am in a minoritywho understands how to put an email filter.
Oh well... less information I get to delete from my inbox.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
For most of October, most of my writing time was split between this blog and generally doing nothing useful - playing Star Wars: The Old Republic mostly. Not overly exciting is it?
Well actually it was... I also did a number of small things that got me fired up to do more, different things. As a means of recharging my batteries, I have been working on adventures for other settings/ campaigns.
I have been initiating my two princesses (the ones on the left) and their friend to Pathfinder. I ran them through 1-35 Voice in the Void and they had a good time with it. They followed more than I expected them to follow, which is good.
I use the game as an opportunity to dress them as Princesses (hence the hats). They really like the dressing-up part in addition to the playing. Because of that, I have been GMing PFS for the first time in months and having fun with it. No politics, no argument, just running the adventure for fun. If it helps Chad (my VC) at the same time, then great!
So what have I been writing? I have been working on the next adventure for Legacies, called "Sugar and Spice". I really like the idea but I am currently "stuck" with it. I am missing one encounter to make it come together, and I don't like the ones I come up with...
|In the Dominion, one never finds a cool day. The flames of anger and hatred are never far behind when the fate of a little girl is at stake.|
An adventure written for APLs 3, 5 and 7 (character levels 3-8).
Another project I am working on involves Finland and World War II. I had to do a fair amount of research for this mostly-historical adventure. However like a lot of things about WWII, as you begin digging factoids and interesting things keep appearing everywhere. I knew little about Finland of that era, a glossy overview really, but this has expanded my horizons and I would really like to do a wargames scenario set there.
When I first talked about this adventure, I asked what type of adventure my editor was looking for, whether he wanted something very war-filled or more along the lines of a spy movie. I will admit that I was quite happy when he said "a spy story would be cool." Though a war story would've been awesome, it would've taken the story a different direction.
I think I can share the blurb with you (it should go live soon enough).
|Blow blow, thou winter wind|
October 1939. A new battlefield may begin in Europe as Finland’s ambassador visits Moscow for talks that could lead to war or peace in the North. Helsinki is now a hotbed of activity as people from every nation and allegiance flock to the Finnish capital to advance their cause.
The title is taken from one of Shakespeare's work ("As you like it") I think fits quite well. The main theme of the poem is human thanklessness, comparing people ingratitude with the harshness of winter.
I will let you know once the full details are out and available, which should be soon.
The other project is the one I am writing most of the time now - while watching my backlog of October horror movies. This is another historical setting, this time England (well Cornwall) in 1690. The setting is fine, but I'm having difficulty with the rule set, mostly how to manage game balance in a system I am not very familiar with. Lucky for me, I have a good editor so I trust him on that.
It has been such a long time since I wrote something in a style that was not "D&D"-esque that I find myself wondering questions such as: Will this be too long? Will it be too short? Is there enough action in the story? Is the plot too difficult? Are the clues too obvious?
You might've guessed this is an investigative adventure using a system that feels rather old-school. I'll let you guess which one...
Sunday, November 3, 2013
It's movember again and though I thought about growing a big, thick mustache, it doesn't grow that way. It just grows unmanageable in many directions... So I decided to grow a musketeer's beard.
Though it also makes me look like a southern gentleman... A sort of wider, more French Canadian Colonel Sanders! I'm the Kentucky Fried Chicken dude!
Seriously, I am currently debating whether I like it.
My wife doesn't.
Friday, November 1, 2013
As every computer geek, I decided to put together a series of reports on the information I posted during October. Mostly I wanted to know three things for myself: Which countries were the most influential on me, What type of media was most influential and what years had the greatest influence.
A few trends appeared that I did not expect.
If you'd ask me what would be the medium that most influenced me for gaming, I would've answered "Books and Music", with those two far ahead of the pack.
But that is not the case. Books + Music total 12 while trips and people total 13! That the many trips I was lucky to make throughout my life have influenced me make a lot of sense. But they would not have been my first answer!
Here, the answer would've been Canada and France. And well... They are the top 2!
To make things simple here are the top 4 5-year block that were the most influential to me. The 1989-93 period is no surprise as it corresponds to my late teen years.
I am a little surprised to find the 79-83 period to rate that high - the same as the 1999-2003 period... I did not expect that.
October of 2013 was the biggest month ever on this blog for viewership. Literally, the number of views doubled my usual average. This tells me that there is a demand and an interest in these types of posts, so I will have to think of more series. That said I may to for "Top 10" rather than 31. That was quite an undertaking!
I really enjoyed focusing on a given topic for a while. It was fun and different.
So there might be more series coming to the blog in the future!
This whole exercise was fun. It forced me to think back on a number of things and figure out what made me the gamer I am today. I got to re-watch some animes I hadn't watched since the 80s - only to remind myself how great they were. Compared to the crap kids have today...
Funny how I sound like the cranky old man I am...
I also re-watched (or building myself up to re-watch) movies and shows on that list (thank you, Youtube). Song from the albums mentioned never left my playlist and a few of the books are on my re-read list. Similarly the people on the list are still in my Facebook and regurlar "people I keep in touch with" list.
I have been blessed by so many great people and influences in my life.