JP On Gaming

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

[Old pro tricks] 5 ways to better roleplay

A few new players I have been playing with lately have been commenting they want to get more into the roleplay element of the game. So I decided I would make these occasional post to this series.

I spent some time thinking about how to help them get better. And if they have a better game experience, mine improves as well does it not? With this goal in mind here is my list.

1 - Imitate don't duplicate

When create a new character, imitate that person but noticing some of the most important thing that distinguishes this person from another: a pirate's speech pattern, an Italian's hand gestures, a woman playing with her hair, a woman constantly adjusting her jewelry, a nervous person playing with a cigarette, someone with bad hygiene scratching, the President's speech pattern (the last three are awesome for that), a flamboyantly gay person's attitude, the shifty eyes of a paranoid person. Yes these are stereotypes, but they really help you get in character, and it helps people either categorize you quickly as to the type of character you are and convey personality.

Seriously. Look around you in a public place. At a quick glance, you quickly make your mind about the TYPE of person you see.

Think of a moment in a game when you sat down with new people and one player describes himself as "highly aristocratic and snobbish" but slouches and laughs at fart joke, it doesn't work... But if he looks down at every one disdainfully, introduces himself curtly, and demands a bottle of wine for himself. Then yes.

2 - Start small

Very few great actors or writers started off that way. They had to work as understudy and rose through the ranks. That's why I recommend that you start small. Pick one quirk about your character, something you can do easily and that you can remind yourself. I used to place notes on my character sheet to remember about the character. Perhaps it's a keyword, or a hand gesture, or something to put you back in character.

These small things that remind you will eventually become second nature.

3 - Go Big

This may sound like the opposite of #2, but it is not. By go big, I mean that whatever you do, make it in a way that others can notice. It's what I sometimes refer as "the Steve McQueen," based on SMcQ's performance in the Magnificent Seven. If you don't know, throughout the movie, whenever SMcQ is on-screen but not the center of attention, he does something that draw your eye to him: he plays with his gun or hat, he dusts his coat, etc.

There is no point in role-playing something no one else will ever see. If your character has a tick and plays with his fingers, do it above the table where other see it. There is no point in doing it beneath the table away from everyone. Do it where the others can see it - or can pick up on it.

This doesn't mean that you necessarily do some wild, grand gestures all the time. You can wow people with a withdrawn character. Just make it so others can notice. That's what it means to "Go Big."

4 - Keep it In-Character

Perhaps the biggest thing... ask question of others in character and respond to them in character (IC). This has the double advantage of engaging someone else. After a time it becomes a reflex. It also helps others differentiating you the player vs you the character. If you-as-PC speak like Jerry Lewis, people pay attention to you because they quickly make the distinction.

Staying in character often draws other players into the game.

I won't lie that it's hard.

It is very hard to do in a consistent fashion.

But the rewards are awesome and worth the effort. Not only do you raise your game, but others will do it too.

5 - Consistency is important

This is the one that links all of the others and raises the bar. Without consistency, others never know how to approach you, and in doubt, they will not communicate with you as a

This one is something I've seen a lot of. A player comes up with a good shtick, does a grandiose show for the first 10 minutes then his character disappears, replaced by the same character the guy is. Players "default" to an out of character conversation if they have a choice. So Imitate, start small, go big and keep in character, but do it consistently.

Some of my characters

For a number of my own characters, I have small tricks I use to get into character quickly.

- Sir Azrel was an LG character of mine who was a demon hunter and something of a snob. At the start of every game, I would straighten myself and begin looking down my nose at people, knowing they would never meet the exacting standards I set for myself. In spite of this attitude, he was a kind and compassionate man.

Sir Alexite is a retired PFS character of mine who was a Hellknight. He spoke with a Cluzeau-French accent. At game time, I would make gestures like a classic actor would, and keep playing with my pretend puffy shirt and cravate.

Katharan Was my first character in PFS, and the first Colorado-based PC to reach retirement level. She was a complete Paris Hilton style shallow bitch that spoke with a Borat-like accent.

Katja is my character in Reign of Winter (and PFS), she is very traditional and extremely shy around people. Before any game, I do two things: first I start avoiding eye contact and keeping my gaze down; second I lower my voice to a low pitch and say something simple often times "No" or "I'm Katja".

Viviana is Katja's older sister and something of a minion. When playing her, I wrack my body a few times with severe twitches then call out in a raspy voice "The Mistress is great!"


Monday, September 29, 2014

Cryx Monday: Satyxis Blood Witches

These models I won in a random EBay auction. I really love the flavor of these female demoness.

They're not demons at all.

No, they are partially draconic! Somehow the Satyxis have been infused with the power of the Cryx dragon. Their fluff really appeals to me. I really like them.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Stonehaven Gnome: The Cleric

Okay here is another StoneHaven gnome. This one is a polearm wielder, I think she is the cleric or the paladin. Another model that paints up nicely and so quickly.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Stonehaven gnome: The Barbarian

I love the Stonehaven gnomes, and I am working to finish the last of the gnomes I got from them. This Barbarian is definitely androgynous: no facial hair, but somewhat masculine. Can definitely be used as either! I think it was on purpose.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Relic Knights: The Librarian

Another from the Kickstarter, This large-sized cyborg thing is a Librarian. This guys can definitely serve for this latest season of PFS, and or as a large necrostruct for NeoExodus... I really don't like the sculpt of this guy. It is very flat. I have a second one still in its box... It might head straight to EBay...


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Imaginareum: Retrospective, Part 2

Now with WHAT I've done, is time to review and go over the good, the bad, and the easily fixed. The good is what the con did well. The bad is what really should improve. And the Easily Fixed describes well... what is easy to fix.

The Good

- The Venue The Crowne Plaza is a nice venue. Clean, nice and conveniently located. Big plus for the con.

- Panels entertaining It's always a challenge when attending panels with such a wide-range of topics as writing, GMing, publishing and everything in-between is challenging. But Imaginareum passed this with flying colors. Although I have to say I was not interested in a number of panels, but those I was lucky enough to sit on drew me in, and won me over.

- A lot of writers Its one thing to say you're gonna talk about something... But the con definitely delivered on this. There were so many writers. So many different styles and stories. Now I will admit I don't read as much as I'd like, but I was really entertained. There was something for pretty much anyone. Big big win

The Easily Fixed

- Each room to have its program on it One of the things I had difficulty with was the fact that the rooms themselves did not have a clear program attached to them. Thus between all of the meeting rooms it was rather difficult finding out where things were and required us to go back to HQ to know what was going on. A minor annoyance at best, but something that could very easily be addressed next time. It was difficult to find things on the fly.

- Overly large panels Not specific to this con, but I find that panel of more than three panelists are just too big. One of the panels I attended on urban fantasy was pretty good, but with 5 panelists, That said, I prefer smaller panels or moderators who ensure that everyone gets a chance to talk. And with 1h panels, I'd prefer to hear the perspective of more of the panelists. Personal thing.

- Attendance Well, this was the first year, so it was low. I'm really hoping to see more of you, my readers next year. This con can clearly be made better with the coming of more people - then again that's true of most events... Attend if you can!

The Bad

There really isn't anything overly bad. And most of it is easily

- Gaming Again something that seems to be systemic of Kentucky events. Gaming = board games. There needs to be a good gaming track that has a mix of playing slots and panels. I think this could really be an interesting "schtick" to have a play/ panels. I really would like to see the gaming grow here.

- Schedule changes One of my panels was moved... at the same time as another... A sad moment, but again minor inconvenience. It happens. Talking to Susan, she is already planning to doing things differently next year, so this is already "in the works". Good!

- Moderators didn't show Having alternate moderators would help direct the panels. I'm not quite sure how to cover for that, however... I fear this is a common thing.


The biggest, and most important question about Imaginareum: Do I want to go back next year?

Without hesitation, the answer is YES!

JP, signing off Imaginareum 2014. See you in 2015!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Imaginareum: Retrospective, Part 1

The Imaginareum is over. A new convention has seen the light of day here in Louisville and


I arrived a few hours before my first panel and I decided to scope out the place. I parked on the wrong side of the Crowne Plaza Airport, conveniently located off I-264 by I-65 near... the airport!

As it was "Talk like a Pirate Day I wore my pirate coat and hat. I always enjoy dressing up like a pirate and Yarr-ing through the day. One thing I noticed over the years: when you dress like a pirate, people smile and come to talk to you. I try to make them smile and give 'em a little pirate talk. I love pirates so...


I attended a panel about documentaries and the making to documentaries. On both count, not my thing: I don't think you will ever see a JP-made movie... However, as the two panelists talked about their experience.There was a lady in the audience who was very interested in the topic and so I spent my time listening to the exchange. I will honestly say that I learned a lot and that the work and trials of a documentary worker is much like that of an RPG designer... I could safely say that I went to bed having learned something.

My first panel was "Epic Adventure Awaits" with Corpse. Our moderator failed to show so we waited before we finally decided to start. Corpse and I chatted back and forth on the topic: what is "Epic"? Best example? Where do you go from there?

We involved the audience and tried to share our experience. Richard, a new GM asked about how to address the game looked very shocked when our advice was "Cheat". Not "Modify", "Fudge", "Adjust", no... flat and simple: CHEAT.

After that, I roamed a little before returning home. I was tired and feel asleep at the computer.


I only had a single panel that day, and two online games of L5R. My 3pm panel, "The Art of Improv" was with TammyJo Eckart. The two of us had conspired together with our planned moderator (who had to cancel). I thought it was funny that in a panel for improv, we would plan ahead.

TammyJo is a very versatile writer and she has a LOT of experience GMing and talking to her: It shows. Again we involved the audience and talked about tricks, how to improve your style, examples. It was again quite exciting. I will definitely look for her events in the future.

One thing we disagree on: chocolate. She loves, I don't like.

After that, I roamed around, chatting with a GM-to-be, Karen, and gave her advice and tricks. I really look forward to hearing from her, and how her games ran.

Then I took my wife out (she had her hair done and looked so good I had to take her out.


I attended the tail end of a panel on newsletters. I walked in simply because I had nothing else to do and it was the closest room with a panel - I was the only attendee. I was asked "what do you want in a newsletter?" Quite frankly, I don't know because I read very few of them. Plus, most newsletters don't include anything I really want to read... For companies I like, I usually visit their site or their blog.

The ladies on the panel were entertaining and we discussed blogs, newletters, and even yahoo group. I posed the question: Are newsletter a thing of the past, like yahoogroups and fan clubs? There were no definitive answers, but the question was definitely asked.

My morning's panel was "The GM's guide to the perfect campaign". This was the only panel I had with a moderator, it was much less freeform and better structured. There I met Logan-M, Scott and Randy-R. I had already spotted Randy's Dreadmire (Cajun Halflings) and was looking at it as inspiration for a project I'm looking at doing. He offered his hardbound book for 5$ so I literally threw money at him. I wouldn't have bought it for 30$, but at 5$, I threw my money at him. I just HAD to!

Once again, this panel turned to be as interesting for me just be listening to the other panelists. With such a diverse set of experiences and GMing style, I was once more reminded of the wide variety of play styles, and likes, from the gaming community. Just because *I* like or dislike something doesn't mean it is not what others want/like.

After the panel, I attended an ABC of mythological creatures, with a nice PowerPoint presentation. The lady was quite interesting and I really liked her stories about how she and her son discussed stories. One of my big takeaways was that she encouraged writers to look at "alternate" mythology than the typical English/ Western cultures. Her examples included a number of monsters from the Polynesian mythos to the Inuit, and yes a few classic ones too.

I can't say I *learned* anything, but its more when you know something, but hearing about it again just brings it front and center.

This is something that I realized for the first time when I attended a class on Agile development methodology. None of it was NEW, but how it was organized and how its elements were brought front and center.

My last panel had been moved to Saturday, 3pm - same time as the Improv panel.

I was hungry by then so I decided to head to the Waffle House (where every good con should end...). I got to sleep the afternoon and wake up to see my Denver Broncos lose to Seattle - again.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Cryx Mondays: Another year, another Skarre

For the third year in a row, I got to paint the Queen of Pirates... This one was much like the previous one: with dark colors. She too may end up in someone's Xmas stocking... The pictures came in a little dark, but you can see the blood-drenched effect on the cloak which is really the highlight of the mini.

As my two previous Skarre were blonde, this one went red-head.

The one on the left is from 2012 and the other one from 2013.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Funnies: Horsey Ride


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Relic Knight: Doctrine Delphyne

Over two years ago, I backed a Kickstarter for a new game called Relic Knight. The project was almost two years late. Late enough for me to declare it a loss. However, as I was at Gencon this year, I received this package with my miniatures! FINALLY!

I quickly opened the package, built up the minis and placed them on my painting table.

And... that's where the love I had kinda died. These models are such a different painting style to my own that I have difficulty figuring out how to do them right... The models are nice, but I wonder about many of them surviving table usage.

This one is one of the bulkier models and one I liked but could not get inspired to do anything with... I hesitated then gave her a "simple" red riding hood paint job. She might end up in one of my daughters' Christmas stocking. We'll see.

The wolf? Oh don't worry its coming... Patience, young Padawan...


Monday, September 15, 2014

Cryx Monday: Reaper

Another goodies from the CincyCon Mega-lot. This time a reaper warjack. Again, I used the same rusted-up technique I used for the rest of this lot's jacks. I am not a fan of the pose, either he's too hunched to stand on his base or - as I built him - he is looking up for flyers. Too bad.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

Genderbending or How I became a woman

Genderbending is something that some players really enjoy while other shy away from it. Some are uncomfortable playing someone of the opposite sex or dealing with players of another gender. Some use it just for laughs and crude jokes, and that can be off-putting.

There are so many movies about this theme: from Robin Williams' Mrs. Doubtfire to Dustin Hoffman's Tootsie, Martin Lawrence's Big Momma's House, and the old Julie Andrews' Victor-Victoria. Tyler Perry do not count. These movies make me laugh because of the strange situation the characters always end up in. In an RPG, this is pretty much the same.

A few quick points:
- Keep it appropriate for the audience not all women are wanton whores and not all men are willing to hop into bed with anything in a skirt... Hummm let me rephrase that. Not all women are whores. Men. Well... we're pigs. But I'm good with that. Play a character that COULD exist.
- We think alike more often than not Okay I'm gonna get in trouble here, but in most situations, men and women think alike. At least the type of people who become adventurers. Yes adventurers are stupid: instead of running away at the mention of dragon, they run towards it thinking of mounds of treasure. Male and female adventurers ARE a dumb breed!
- Approach this as a character If you ever did theater, this is just the same. Visualize yourself as that character, become the character, but you always know in the back of your mind that you are not the character. Have fun and explore the character.
- Have fun with it There are number of situations where a character of a different gender can be fun to play. Go with the flow.
- Don't make it weird I placed this at the end because it is the most important one. Not specific to this, but always worth mentioning. If you feel weird or creeped out by "that guy" who tries to do things in the game he most likely does not do out of game or his FanFic. Don't be afraid to ask him to stop or tone it down.. Have fun but don't make it weird (for yourself or others).

Personally? I try to play believable characters, whether they be male of female. Their gender may affect how they react to some situations, usually romantic interests, but that is not the only thing that defines them. I have no issue playing a female or male character - years ago, I started doing the following: I build a male then a female character, regardless of the game.

Thus I sometimes stack concepts I believe would be better for a male or a female character. Sometimes concepts are based on a miniature I have or would like. Other times I built them on ideas.

The one exception to the above is MMO. There I only play female characters. Why? Because I prefer looking at a woman's butt for hours than that of a man!

Try it out for yourself. Try a funny voice. Try wild movement.

But be entertaining!


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

FOE updates, conventions, and a wedding!

This post is a quick update on a number of projects I'm working on.

I am working with a new author on an upcoming Legacies adventure. I must say his offering is great. It will be something that is a fun challenge to run and play. And the choices are... not trivial. Just the way I like them. This one will be available during the fall.

I am also working on another one, one that may branch off into a special, multi-slot event similar to "The Battle of Durwich" I ran in the County of Urnst. After four years of campaign, I'm itching to run a large-scale battle event. Something I haven't run in a long time, and that I always thought was fun. So that's in the works.

I will be trying out a new editor, someone local (I'll be posting an interview with him in the near future). So expect more word coming on that front!

Our website FoeLegacies.Com has been updated to include more information for new and returning players. I also updated the event page to let everyone know where you can play Legacies face to face.

Finally, I want to congratulate my partner in crime, D'Anne on her recent wedding.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Cryx Mondays: More Nightwretches

More from the CincyCon mega lot, a pair of nightwretches. I included one of those I painted back in 2012. Very similar!


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Funnies: The Kami of Kookies

So in case you did not know, I have been re-acquainting myself with Legend of the Five Rings by way of the Heroes of Rokugan organized play campaign.

As I was trolling Facebook, I happened upon this image my friend Lawrence-T (shout-out Pueblo!) when I saw it, I could not stop laughing. It was so funny! Imagine trying to commune with that spirit?

This also made me laugh, thinking about my February 16th post about googly eyes. And they STILL make everything better.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Menoth: Vanquisher warjack

This Warjack was part of one of a random lot I won through Ebay. As an all-metal model, I chose to paint without conversion - though I thought about adding banners to it. Again, I used that simple and clean paint job, no flames, no strange designs. Yet I think it looks real nice when placed next to the rest of the army, specifically because of that.


Friday, September 5, 2014

A new FOE Banner and Legacies at Aethercon III

I will be premiering a new adventure at Aethercon. I haven't published the name and blurbs yet, but I have two adventures in the works, one that's really awesome by a new author I'm really excited about.

The Legacies game will be Friday night at 6pm.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Commission: Priest of Menoth

A loosey from a mixed bag of minis I got. This guy will be turned into a gift for someone who's been nice this year... or is it someone who is naughty? I'm not saying. The poor fellow came without the rest of his unit. So he'll be a one-off!

Definitely a unique guy.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Rant: Attend games you sign up for

This post grew out of the many posts about Gencon. I mulled over it a lot to keep it both polite, to the point, without completely roasting anyone, and with some type of path or recommendations. Something that's doable and that could help the community as a whole.

I was able to console myself by burning effigies...

Burning gamers at the stake

One thing I never understood is people’s acceptance of it’s only Sunday morning as an excuse and the annoying tendency to accept that not showing up is acceptable. I personally hold myself accountable to such events. If I say I will be there, I am. There are, of course, circumstances that dictate otherwise, and I’m tired or I stayed up playing until 5am is not a valid excuse in my book. This is GenCon (or any other con). You’ve paid to enjoy your time, so enjoy it!

You don't just ruin the fun of the GM, but you may ruin that of others who did get up who will not get to enjoy their hours of sleep.

Although I am talking about players, a close second is a Sunday morning GM who uses these same excuses to put up a crummy game – as happened to me last year, and why I avoided playing Pathfinder Society this year.

If you commit to running or participating in an event, BE ON YOUR GAME.

But more importantly, be AT your game!


Monday, September 1, 2014

Cryx Monday: The Necrotech

Another goodies from the Cincycon mega-lot. This necrotech is an interesting figure. The sculpt is good and it paints up real nice.


Sunday Funnies: Hockey imitates life

It's been so hot here in Kentucky, that I find myself thinking about the cooler days... and HOCKEY! This closes out August.