JP On Gaming

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Relic Knights: Darkspace Candy

Hello gamers! Today's pictures are for the nice monk character for Relic Knights. I like the dynamism of the pose. I painted her a while ago.


[Rant] JP vs PFS Core Campaign

I cannot say that I am surprised at people’s reaction to the announcement from PFS-HQ that there will be a “parallel” campaign called “Core” where the players will only be allowed options from the Core Rulebook. There are a number of rules about starting in one campaign then changing to the cheesy one. Read all about it on the Paizo blog.

I spoke to a number venture officers and their belief that this is awesome is getting usual. However, the player base is much more divided on this. Speaking and reading their comments on facebook groups, I can see a very varied reactions and a lot of false deductions.

This is a good idea at a number of levels:
     -      It limits the number of books people need to “buy-in” to the campaign.
     -      It will allow GMs a new chance to run games without having to worry about too many things.
     -      This is NOT an open, free replay.

It will also have a number of negative effects:
     -      Mustering for smaller will become more complicated.
     -      It’s open replay season (kinda).
     -      The difference between the two will require policing, the simpler rules are easy to follow. This is not a simple change of rule. Be prepared for arguments and MORE campaign-rule-lawyering.

Overall, a lot more good than bad happens with this. I have been talking to other players, most of whom are quite excited about this change. As for me I think that a lot of their reasoning is simply fallacious, and outright wrong, one both sides of the coin.

We’ll finally be able to be challenged by the early PFS adventures. I laugh at you if you think this is true. There was a time when all we had was the CRB and we blasted through these adventures. Trust me, we did. The Year 0-3 adventures are still as simple and easy (there is something of a challenge bump around level 5+ but not much). What happened is that later products made the cheese so easy and took out the thinking out of character building with options that make everything super easy, spell options that make everything swift actions and the like. We just got lazy

Vanilla characters are boring. That is the farthest thing from the truth. A character is not “just” a series of feats and spells. There is a story behind, likes and dislikes. All these can be influenced or not by the stats. A character based on a bossy matron, or a warmish brown-noser can be any class and race. Good characters are based on interesting ideas, not on their math.

Now I can replay with my friends. While this is true, replay for no-credit has always been an option. Of course now you can request and push away a player who has never played.

This will bring in a large number of new players. No. It will not. It will make the step for those who are thinking about it MUCH easier, but I still think that right now, 5e/ Adventurer’s League with its “shiny/new” wrap will get the large piece of the new players coming in. Expect a lot of replayers at tables of CORE games. For the foreseeable future.

A number of people have commented on my own characters, I never give out my builds publicly, except to a GM who asks (in which case, I readily hand him my character sheet). Most are built off the CRB, with the occasional dip into other books. Whatever they are or do is not just a product of their math. In fact most of them start as ideas. If you read this blog, you know how much I try to play different characters with different wants, different goals and usually different accents.

For myself, I have seen a lot of people really enjoying their characters, regardless of their class or stats with the “more limited” options found in Legacies. Do I see that as a bad thing? No! Quite the opposite. Limiting options generally means that players use options that are better known by everyone. And *THAT* limits the amount of arguing. By a lot. By a HUGE lot.

As a conclusion, let’s not think this is the best thing since sliced bread, but neither is this a bad thing. I see a lot more positive in this than bad. But let’s not make this what it is not either. Let’s see how this rolls out and how it plays out in the end.

It’s odd to rant at players as a whole and not at a game.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Funnies: Ork Power Grab

There is one thing about 40k is that once you go green, all the other armies pale in comparison. So when I found this on the web, I just laughed.



Saturday, January 24, 2015

Battle For Gytha: Tracking battle progress and play-testing

So with the creation and writing of "Cities of NeoExodus: Gytha", I resolved to write a major story arc to accompany the book. And to this day, I have two adventures completed. They will both be released for Winter Fantasy (and I may have a surprise or two...).

Now what makes these two events different than all of the other adventures and how did play-testing changed one of the biggest concept I had? Read on.

I won't lie to you. The Battle for Gytha series is about a war between the Arman Protectorate and the Janus Horde, and more specifically, of the Protectorate campaign to take the port-city of Gytha. By the same token, this has to do with the Janus Horde defending its territory from the "Invaders". I have been trying very hard to represent both sides making serious and logical efforts to achieve victory. I really focus on mundane means for things like logistics, defenses and movement. Then use magic for the special cases. In short, just because they have clerics and druid doesn't mean their army crosses the Tyranius Straight. What is possible to a small unit (such as a group of adventurers), rarely applies to an

Next I have been reading a number of blogs and article on medieval warfare. Unlike today's wars, it is a lot more of a chess game than a speed game. That chess-like approach is the basis upon which the series is based on. Major battles will take place, usually as special, one-shot/interactive events. Expect adventures that include combat, supply runs, espionage, and a number of other dirty tricks one should use during war time.

But how can I come up with a system that is easy, elegant and that will allow me to track the PCs' progress and allows me, as a designer to reward them for their progress?

Taking a page from a Pathfinder Society adventure I really like, PFS2-01 The Bloodcove Disguise, I decide to track the PCs' progress through the series and affect certain encounters and events in-game. PFS2-01 tracks a number of successes/failures in a skill-encounter like way, making later encounters more or less difficult based on results. It's pretty effective and makes a fairly drab adventure into a good one.

Unlike PFS 2-01, I wanted to assume that PCs actions against the Janus Horde in previous adventures mattered. In short, if you've been there and killed a lot of them, then they would know who you are and start to notice. Eventually, act against you. So we now have one thing to track: How much NOTICE you have gathered thus far.

Next, I need to track how much the PCs' actions have impacted the Janus Horde. This is a war, and hurting the enemy's ability to wage war is important. So I have my second indicator: How much DAMAGE have you done?

Next, I counted a number of factors such as improving one side vs the other, or betrayal potential, but in the end, all of these other elements could easily be folded into Notice or Damage. So I went with those two.

Then I made a big mistake...

Yup. Major.

I had initially assumed that PCs would get just "a few" points of notice and could impose that number as a penalty on their social rolls. However, play-testing with veteran players (we played the APL9 version of "94-LC-05 Knee Deep")... the numbers just spiraled out of control. So I had to adjust the modifiers, or the system.

But how?

How could I use the system I had already without massively affecting the game, allow the PCs a chance to do their thing, but still make them pay for their previous meddling against the Janus Horde. Then I wanted to make it so higher-level PCs are affected more and lower-level PCs are affected LESS.

I must admit that I spent a few days thinking about how to do that.

So Notice will work the following ways.
   -  First: On certain encounters, the GM will take Notice average of the party and multiply it by the APL. This will give a percentage chance for the Janus Horde to have additional forces available. In other words, "they know you are there and they are acting against YOU".
   -  Second: Whenever the PCs are trying to be nice to a member of the Janus Horde, they will add their level to their notice and divide the result by 5. This will be the penalty players get when they try to talk to members of the enemy. That is, if they know who the PCs are and this can be mitigated by the PCs judicious use of Bluff or Disguise. In other words, "They are wary of you and don't want to say too much."

What do you think?


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

An honest shot: JP tries 5e

For years now I have been talking about it. For months I have been avoiding it. But now that I am here in Nashville by my lonesome self, I decided that I was going to say "ah shucks!" a give the game an honest go.

While I must admit that I set my expectations very low, I kinda hope to be pleasantly surprised. It has been years since I picked up a WotC product. I read and heard a lot about them but nothing thus far makes me think 5e will make me drop Pathfinder.

Not to mention the lackof an OGL or any official word on what that will be like... Many of you don't care and shouldn't. But as a 3PP this is important to me. I would hate to have to pull products because suddenly Wizards dont like us anymore.

I have always seen us 3PP as the free marketing branch of Wizards then Paizo. We write material. We run games. We talk about both to all of our friends all the time. Encourage play. Promote events. As I said: free marketing.

And knowing more than a few 3pp guys. They work hard at producing better and beutter material all the time. Especially as an edition grows more mature.

So I did not want to turn this into a rant... I just wanted to say that I was going to try 5e.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

New adventure: Need of the Many

It is with great pride and joy that First Ones Entertainment announces the release of 94-LC-03 Need of the Many, the first Legacies adventure by James McTeague. James is best known as one of Pathfinder Society's Venture Lieutenant for the Philadelphia area and one of the online community leaders.

This adventure is a marked departure from our traditional adventure style, in that it is a location-based adventure. But not quite a dungeoncrawl!

This adventure is the largest one every written for Legacies so far! With a final page count of 45! Yes! This includes a full details on Castle Midsanborg and its inhabitants.

The Classes of NeoExodus: Machinesmith book by LPJ Design can greatly enhance your experience but is not necessary.

The Sanguine Covenant seeks a minor artifact to protect towns from massive attacks. However, not all is as it seems at Midsanborg Castle, and choices will have to be made. Does the need of the many...?
An adventure written for APLs 3, 5 and 7 (character levels 3-8).

As a personal investment into this one, I got to playtest it! Use one of our iconics, I was the lovely Zara, party healer.

It was the adventure that prompted my November post "When Playtest Go Wrong". Because it did! However failure was good thing. Why? Because we went back to our drawing board and had to work at it, the final product became... BETTER. I mean a lot! A second playtest confirmed it. Enhancement included re-doing two full encounters to make their set up easier and have a better flow. Such things are why I really appreciate and value playtests. James and I thought things would go one way, but the flow did not. Our playtest team provided great feedback.

Maybe it's just my software engineer self saying but I'd rather find all these issue BEFORE releasing the product. Not maybe, it IS the software nerd in me...

I am very excited to finally release this one.

A big thanks and shout-out to James for this awesome adventure! Find it on


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Legacies: Adding new races?

A big thing I've found in fantasy games is that a lot of people want to play evil races. Back in 2e, it was drow. Came 3e (then 3.5 & PF) this tendency has changed someone to some "less offensive races." 4e gave us tieflings as a core race. Still goblins, kobolds, and orcs find their ways into our games.

Yet few games allow them to be as cool as their parent race. Instead they become pussified versions of the race. Such as a whiny little dual-scimitar wielding ranger with his cat. Or they become just "humans with different abilities". Unfortunately the background for some of these creatures is such that to include them in a regular game without creating unbalanced situations... Like when the party discovers they have a drow among them.

I remember back in 2007 when Wizards announced that kobolds would become a player race. It created a lot of turmoil. Not only were kobolds well-established villains across Greyhawk, we had a big storyline that put them as villains for the County, but they were a mortal enemy to one of the major PC race (gnomes). That really annoyed me at the time.

During my tenure as a Venture Captain, I maintained the experience of LG. Do not allow evil races or races who are natural enemies of core races. To their credit, leadership listened and provided great player options through boons and later open play. The races they allowed, though I have issue with their power level (Aasimar and tiefling), but they were nevertheless neither direct opponents of a core race so they worked.

SO why am I thinking of this?

Because I am planning on using such a race in Legacies. Think about which such race you would like to see? Is there one race that could be added to the campaign?


Monday, January 12, 2015

Cryx Monday: Commissioned Harrower

Brandon asked me for two pieces of mini: his Aiakos and a harrower. This model I did the "standard Cryx job" on. Seeing how I sold my Cryx to Brandon, this was not much of a stretch.

I used a number of washes, including and most apparent of them is the copper "rust" on the metal surface. Now that I think of it, this may be a little heavier than on the other jacks... But the final product looks good nonetheless.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

WIP: Primidian Knight Model

One of my favorite races in NeoExodus are the Primidians... they have an uncanny ability to speak with anyone they encounter. However, people know them best for their tentacle arms... I mean who doesn't like tentacles? They create hentai situations all by themselves!

I try to avoid posting WIP pictures but this model was such an interesting conversion work that I had to share...

First was the making of the tentacles... they had to be swirly and not straight. Next they had to meet somewhere so it could hold a sword. I spent many long minutes getting this arrangement to work.

Next, I had to build the sword. I wanted a large/greatsword type of weapon. I used random pieces to make one. These are very old pieces of GW models.

Next cut off the model's hands and drill holes for the tentacles. Glue one. Place. Wait for it to be dry. Glue sword. Place and glue other tentacle. Wait. Take a picture.



Friday, January 9, 2015

Real Life: No longer the Kentuckian... Kinda... Ish

After a short stay in Kentucky, I have decided it was time to move on. I remember when in 2013, I posted "I am the Kentuckian!" from my super suite room. I did not get the tassled jacket or the coon hat. I should've.

It was not an easy decision as during my time here, I have met a lot of very awesome, funny, and interesting people I will cherish for the rest of my days.

During my time here, I expanded my professional horizons significantly, started and established First Ones Entertainment. Created a mostly regular game of NeoExodus. I turned 40. I attended Gencon, Origins. ActionMan is no longer in pre-school. I nearly died. I discovered bourbon. Got to see my Montreal Canadiens in action. It is a chapter of my life I cannot turn without some tears, which is not all bad. It means that you, my fellow Kentuckians have conquered my heart.

I know many of my readers are laughing at "Kentucky!? Its just a derby and fried chicken!" Well... you aren't quite wrong. It is THAT, but there is so much more to this place and its people!

If you like it so much, why are you leaving, JP? I hear you asking. There are number of reasons, but the biggest one has to do with my health, both physical and mental.

Physical because I have to change things and become more active. The wake up call I got in November literally threw everything I love and do out the window with two exceptions: my marriage and my family. Everything else was re-hashed, re-evaluated, and the subject of long reflections.

Mental because of the typical stresses of the job. I worried over the summer A LOT about my physical health and I came to the conclusion that staying would mean more of the same. While I love what I do (I'm pretty much changing jobs for the same thing different industry), I could not do it in a way that pleased me here and that allowed me the peace of mind to get it done.

Sounds melodramatic? Yes. A little for literary excitement.

Seems like a good reason, what is sad about it? Well after 18 months of pushing forward solutions and trying to get them approved, it was recently announced that we would be moving to most of the solutions I was championing! Yup. I "win" and then decide to leave...

So where are you going? Not very far... I'm heading south to Nashville, TN. A nice drive really. I'll be coming back almost every weekend to be with the family and perhaps sneak out to Moonlite for some Legacies... I'm gone but not fully.

The family is not yet moving to my new haunt of Nashville, TN. They will finish out the school year and we'll take it from there. There are still many months to go!

Console yourselves, I already have join a PFS game there tomorrow! (Shout-out to Thea!) I will be taking the kiddos there and we'll have a family table. Both girls are pretty excited about going to Nashville, and ActionMan expects some hockey... Which there isn't. Not this weekend.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Razor Coast Minis: Weresharks

Gencon 2013, I was trolling the dealers' room towards the end of the con. A pair of pack drew my eye: Razor Coast "official" minis featuring two weresharks and a pirate lady.

On a whim, I decided to paint these two. Once assembled, I didn't really like the sculpts. They seems unnatural... Well after a little paint, I had to recant. These minis paint up real nice, quickly and they look pretty good! I planned on using them as Cryx models, but having sold all of my Cryx, they are back to being aquatic menaces... perhaps sahuagin?


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Commission: Torch and pitchfork... Rabble! Rabble! Rabble!

This model I got at Origins as part of the painting tests. I did a base job on-site and must say I ended up wiping everything with my finger. Their paintbrushes were just horrible. So I left with the mini.

It stayed in my suitcase for the summer months. Until I pulled it out before my trip to Arkansas... Then I painted it with the latest batch of models.

This guy will join a growing army of peasants. As a tall guy, he will be a general or some type of leader for sure.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

NeoExodus Sasori miniature

One of the most exotic races of NeoExodus are the scorpion-men known as the Sasori. They have great flavor but as a miniature enthusiast... They are a horrible nightmare. The cool artwork in the book does not match any company's models. Really. Really not. I have been meaning to create an Iconic with them I just cannot find myself a good model.

So... in the face of a good match... I had to improvise.

In a random lot of Dark Ages models, I found a number of these things that are not QUITE that, but "close enough" that I will use them. This test model is the results of this experimentation. (I'm pretty certain LPJ will leave a "I hate you forever" comment upon seeing this mini).

My alternative was to use a GW Kroot mini. I mean. Does anyone use Kroot?


Monday, January 5, 2015

Cryx Monday: (Another) Aiakos Commission

Another Aiakos! This time for my friend Brandon. Unlike Chad's which I painted back in September (which appears on the right of this), Brandon plans to use it to play Warmachine. So this minis needs to fit into a theme yet still serve as an accent piece.

I got inspired by a concept of waves and water. So green and blue shiny became the basis for the armor. I used some of GW's old metallic green and blue (from a paint pot that was ancient when I got my hands on it in at the only Irish Grand Tournament in 2001). Most of the armor is a jade-ish green with blue highlights. I like the final effect.

For Chad's mini, I use the head tassels/hair as an accent here, but here I decided to go more muted and have the skin itself serve as and accent to the darker greens and blues. With a few inks, I tried to make it look "somewhat unhealthy".

I must say that the color play works for me. I like the contrasts. Now that I can look at the pix of both, I think of Chad mostly as a "mundane" gladiator-type character while Brandon's seems to be coming from the briny deep. I can smell his reeking of algae... It's like both of them tell a different story.

Maybe I'm reading too much into this...


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Commission: A Kalisan and Short-Pig

One of the most iconic races in NeoExodus are the calibans/kalisans. These milky white-skin cannibalistic marauders travel the world in search of wealth... and food. They have black shark eyes and often file their teeth.

Bryan-S's character is a member of that race. He's something of an iconic in his own right. His many-times hated rangers machine guns down my brave and heroic Janus Hordesmen with surprising speed. Oh how my awesome plans for destroying the PCs were foiled by his arrows...

For the mini, I used one of the bottom-bin minis of a Persian Archer. I thought it went well with him. Very utilitarian and with a HUGE quiver...

But seriously, the coolest aspect of his character is his pig companion "Short Pig" (as all the other PCs are "Long Pigs"). Did I mention he is a cannibal? With the feat? Well he is! I have a few pigs minis I bought way back in Ireland... So I painted one up and here it is.