JP On Gaming

Monday, February 29, 2016

The art keeps rolling in

Two more piece came in for our upcoming "Onero: City of Sins" book. They are two more senators: the Anuka is Duchess Krava and the haver is Lady Shinobel.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Art Update: Irena does it again!

As work continues on the next round of Saggakar products, I sent for some more art commissions (I have four more pieces to come, those two are the first Irene is sending to me. Man I cannot tell you how much I love her work. With the quality of her work, I plan on sending her a LOT more work. I love her work.

The old hajit woman is one of Onero's senators, Lady Beena. Full details on her will appear in the upcoming "Onero City of Sin" I am co-writing with Randy Price.

The First One woman is Lady Hellebora, the upcoming Queen of the ArchDespotate and the star of a few upcoming adventures that will be premiering at MidSouthCon in Memphis TN and Conglomeration in Louisville KY. More details about those conventions later...

But for now, let's get down to some ART!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Arcanis First Draft sent in

Well after submitting, hating, gripping, crying, and then axing it up, I finally got around to do it all, be it little by little, to finish a first draft of my Arcanis adventure. It is missing some pure system elements, but I think the core of the story is there. I sent it to Cody for review and discussion of a few points.

I don't mind writing the plot and leave some elements undefined, especially during these early draft. Then as I complete the adventure, these hole fill out.

I can't wait to see what Cody will come back with, what additional information he will provide to complete the story. I hope to finish quickly from here on...


Monday, February 22, 2016

[Tweaking Pathfinder] I want to kill Spellcraft

I have been thinking about Pathfinder (again) looking forward to a new half-edition... I have been thinking on some of the ways to streamline the game and make it easier. With a number of skills never getting any love or love that's so specific that players prefer to put points into things they will actually use on a more regular basis. Sure, it streamlines the game and reduce the number of skills.

Although I was a little concern that it might be a little too much trimming, after some thoughts, I began to think about skills that were underused. Why don't we use them? Can we provide means for characters to be able to do more without radically changing the system?

I think these changes would allow character more options in what they do: plans would include more disguises, etc.

Kill Spellcraft!

To be quite honest, I have been wondering more and more what the Spellcraft spell is for. Yeah, yeah I know I've seen what it is used for in the book, but really... I find it underwhelming. Why not roll it into Knowledge (arcana)? It would make identifying magic items simpler.

JP, what about counterspell? you ask? moving to Knowledge (arcana) does not alter this.

Athletics rides into town

Climb is sometimes used while Swim never appears unless the GM runs a very water-heavy campaign. I really think we could simplify the game by making an Athletics skill, that would include Climb and Swim, but could also be used for things like long-range running (think marathon). A lot of other games have gone to something like that, and that would not break the game.

Disguise, Escape Artist and Sleight of Hand go away

Disguise should be rolled under Bluff.

Escape Artist rolls into Acrobatics or Athletics (either could be used).

Sleight of Hand should be rolled into Stealth or Bluff (This one I'm not sure).

Trait-like bonuses

Feats and traits could grant PCs conditional bonuses, like we have for Combat Maneuvers.

Yeah, I like this a lot.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

After Action Report: Genghis Con 2016 Part 3

Part 1, Part 2

In the final installment of this series, I will go over what went well, what could be improved and random bits and notes. This is very much in touch with my approach to agile programming...

Things that went well

Registration Wow talk about an improvement! Gone are the endless, unmoving lines the DGA had for us. Instead, we have a fully computerized system that runs really quickly, and enough operators to make it all work. Big, big kudos on this one!

Buzz As I walked into the central lobby of the hotel, the place felt like it had a buzz, that something was happening there, even late into the evening. Though I'm not into cosplay, I like seeing the ladies in their outfits. They really add something to the con as a whole.

Organization One thing I liked was when I got to see the miniature players and the board gamers, things seem to really be rolling on. Things felt really tight.

Things to improve

Signage for RPGs As good as the overall was, the RPG section really needed a mustering area, somewhere people looking for games could gather. We used to have this when we were in the lower lobby.

Once on-site, the character

Move away from Radisson/Red Lion The Radisson feels cleaner and nicer than the Red Lion was. However, the Annex has its own list of problems. I know that next year, they will be moving (no word where just yet), so this is really a moot point.

Gaming Politics It is impossible to separate people from the politics. He said-she said. And people butting in here and there. This is not unique to gaming, but it is something that I try to stay out of. I really hope people will see how much things have improved and return to play. Playing is what makes us gamers. Staying home and bitching about the organization/ organizer/ venue does not provide us and others with additional means of playing.

Random Bits

How the unplanned turns out better Although I thoroughly enjoyed running slots, those slots I kept open turned out SO MUCH BETTER than I expected and really increased my enjoyment of the event.

So many friends I saw I was so lucky to get to meet and chat with a lot of people I sincerely missed. Homer-H, Ryan-J, Lawrence-T, Darrel-H, Matt-M, Lenny-L, Jeff-E, Everett-M, Chris-F, Russ-B, Wes-R, all the gang from the Haven, Murry-M, Matt-R, Bruce and Michelle, Neil and Amy, the Arcanis folk: Gregg, Ryan, Bill, Jim. I know I'm forgetting more than half the folks. Even if my memory blanks out right now, don't worry, I am still super happy we got to chat, as brief as it may have been.

So many friends I didn't see Well there are a course a lot of people I did not get to see, I will name D'Anne, Jon, Linda, Kenton, but also most of my old NeoExodus group: Tom, Brian, Jacob.

Next Steps

I was very happy to receive another invitation to another con, Tacticon which will be held in Colorado Springs this year. I have yet to see how my schedule will turn out for that time of year, but I am definitely interested in going back.

I like the idea of having a con in the Springs... Really like it.

There is no doubt that this GenghisCon is one of the best I attended. For the first time in years, I was not actively organizing, I just ran and enjoyed my slots. I will do whatever I can to come back.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

After Action Report: Genghis Con 2016 Part 2


Friday morning I woke up somewhat early and began going through the Onero book. A lot of moving of stuff around really and expanding some of what Randy bad in there. I sent him a few things we needed to add. Really just beefing up of a few sections.

That done I went and had breakfast with Matt Rowles, the owner of the con. I pointed out a few issues I had (which I will point out later). Great guy.

My first slot of the day was "And everything nice" a personal favorite of mine. I was stoked until two minutes before the slot, players dropped out, leaving me with two. I was bummed but still determined to give a good show. Homer cries of "JP you are evil" and Ryan's look of despair let me know I was doing it right.

Next slot was "Doud where's my cart" a rather interesting trip. For this one, I had to turn away a player whose other table didn't make. As usual, I received quite a few glares and wtf looks. Finally by the end everything was resolved and I think my players did not want to lynch me anymore... Definitely a fun table.

Then the evening... I had not planned anything firmly. I was thinking of playing the 5e epic, but with a 1st level character, I'd rather not do that. So instead, I tried to get in on some Savage Worlds. After some searching, I found a seat at a table of East Texas University. Think Buffy meet Texas in College. I played Travis Wayne McGrit, the local Jesus, country music, and NASCAR loving local outsider. That group was awesome. Frat boys,  party animals, we didn't need a plot. I laughed so hard throughout. Highlight of the game is when I reached the finale and used a benny to ask divine Inspiration from "Dale" who is now in the winner's circle in heaven. Then proceeded to "turn left" around the desk until I reached the checkered flag... Awesome.

This was also the first time I got to sit with Chris Fuchs. Now if you don't know Chris, he is the name that made Savage Worlds a household name in Colorado. Over the years, I participated in events he helped with and we worked side by side at con games for years, but we never played together...

This was an experience I really enjoyed, and will seek to repeat. If you ever get a chance to play one of Chris's games. DO IT!


I got up in the morning and worked on Onero some more (again sending Randy additional things to work on) before heading down for breakfast.

My first - and only slot - of running today was a second go-round for "Doud where's my cart" again. However, talking to the players, two of whom had already played it, so I offered them to run "House of Mirrors". James' adventure is SO fun to play and to run. I will run it again some other time.

The afternoon, I planned on going to the miniatures room, participating in Gamers' Haven's demo game. However, the guys weren't running any demos, other than a starship game. Their tables were usurped by some of the tournaments. Now that place was filled with players of Malifaux, 40k, and Bolt Action (I tihnk it was Bolt Action). It was good to see so many players in one place. Ed and Troy were running around super busy, which is always good to see at a con.

So I was stuck. A half-hour into the slot, what was I to do?

I went to registration and got 2 generic tickets and I made my way towards the Adventure League because they had games starting every two hours.

I got there with limited hope, I had been told everything was sold out. I entered their HQ just as they were looking for a 4th to start a new table. Even better, my good friend Lenny would be the GM! So I got to play a fun game of AL with Lenny as GM! My little first level kept getting his butt kicked and going down. Somehow, I survived and made it to level 2! Woohoo!

For the evening, I decided to play some Shadowrun Missions. For once, I sat on the other side of the screen with Homer and Ryan. Fun times, fun indeed.

The game over, I headed to the bar where I met with Everett, but also Chris, Bruce, Michelle, and Jodi Black from PEG. It was great to chat and exchange with gamers talking about so many things. Great fun.


After the alarm, I headed down to breakfast where I got to catch up with Wes. Wow it's been so long since we almost met at PaizoCon 2013! Everett and TJ came down to join us later. After that, I was on my way back to Tennessee. I was sad, but also very happy to have experienced GenghisCon. Wow. Great time.

This ends my action report. Next time, evaluating what went well, what can be improved...


Edit: Corrected the spelling of Chris Fuchs

Sunday, February 14, 2016

After Action Report: Genghis Con 2016 part 1

This past weekend, I was a guest at GenghisCon in Denver. What a con! What a trip down memory lane, but also so many new memories made.


After working a half-day and thinking everything was going to hold together for two and a half day. What a fool I am. But from the moment I left the building, it was time for gaming. Time for GenghisCon!

I got home, packed the kids in the car and we drove together to the airport. Initially, I was planning to only go with Julie, but the kids were having a snow day. You know, two days after a snowfall you have to keep kids at home when the roads are all dry and clear... But that's crazy talk!

Plane trip and within three hours, I was back in Colorado. Now my plan was to drive down to Colorado Springs and sit and play some D&D Encounters with my good friend Lenny. However, my flight got in too late, and when I finally rode into town, It was well past time where I could be added to the game, plus he had like eight players so I would not have joined.

But this unexpected twist meant that I got to just hang around Gamers' Haven, catch up with Rob and Stu, but also old friends I hadn't seen in forever, such as Murray (shout out to all). I was also refered to as "New Guy", which I thought was quite funny. I chatted with Rob for about an hour in the

Man I do have to say that I was like coming home. The place was buzzing with people playing all types of games. It was great!

Once Lenny was done, we chatted about how things went, what was happening, the gaming world, changing faces, in short everything two gamers talk about when they get together. Only sad point: Rob would not attend GenghisCon himself. I discovered with glee that I still had some store credit so I used it to get a 5e Monster Manual.

After leaving, I made a detour to a small Mexican place (whose name escapes me) but where I got some food I wolfed down while driving... It was delicious.

Checked into the hotel to find I had a room all to myself! Oh the joys of snoring and not worrying about waking someone else... I didn't sleep too well: the excitement of everything kept me awake.


I woke up early but stayed in bed writing and going over elements of the city book for Onero, then snoozing a little. I thus spent a lazy morning waiting for the con to start... not knowing that events started around 2pm. Or I would've hurried myself and perhaps even scheduled something to play!

I drove to a local Walmart and bought myself (and the kids) some Denver Broncos gear. I now have my Superbowl 50 Champions shirt! Go Broncos!

Coming back to the hotel to drop off my loot I headed to the airport to drop off the car. Coming back on the hotel shuttle I met up with Homer and Ryan. It was great to see them both, and so knowing we'd be playing a fair number of games together we sat together to talk about games, and Saggakar and PFS, and his job and.. and. I had hoped that we could've gotten a game together before the con, but that didn't happen. Almost but not.

Finally seven pm rolled in and it was game time! Matt McConnell joined us and we were off to the races.

I ran a game of Randy Price's Path to Ambition. The adventure went well and I put out a few notes to add to the Onero book, which I sent to Randy at the earliest opportunity.

After the game, I made a quick stop at the bar where I sat down with Troy, Ed and Jose from Gamers' Haven. A quick drink and I went up to snore like a chainsaw.

Let's continue tomorrow!


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

My Little Pony: The Wise Cleric

Continuing my ponies from Impact Miniatures, this time with a cleric. Unlike the others, I chose to paint this one in rather toned-down colors and make the barding be what popped the most. I like how this little guy comes out looking very proud and ready for adventure. I used a cross on the tabards, again something simple that gives it a lot of impact.


[Interview] Andreas Walters on Baby Bestiary 2

Last time I had a long conversation with Andreas Walters (AW) was in July of 2014 when I interviewed him for his NPC Cards - which I know quite a few of you guys got behind. Since then, we keep in touch through social media (G+ mostly). He has gone from an obscure game designer to something of a crowdfunding darling.

I was intrigued by his original Baby Bestiary however and kinda kick myself for not backing that one up (bad financial schedule). However, it was completed and he is now back for a second one. Then a few days ago, he pinged me on G+ about his new project, the Baby Bestiary 2 and I was immediately intrigued.

So I sent him a series of questions!

JP So what have you been up to since the NPC deck?

AW Well, a lot of time has passed since then, proejct-wise I've released a few Numenera supplements, Kickstartered the Baby Bestiary, Scavengers RPG, and the Baby Bestiary 2016 Calendar. Personally, the company I worked for went under, I was unemployed for 5 months and moved to Philadelphia from San Francisco, it's been an action-packed 1.5 years.

JP Where did the original idea for the Baby Bestiary came from?

AW Well, it all started right on this post, where a friend of mine had realized that the Displacer Beast was classified as an Abberation rather than a magical beast, and there was a comment about rust kittens just not being as threatening as a rust monster abberation, then from there it just popped into my head on the potential cuteness of the monster manual and it's play on the 'kill a baby goblin, are you being evil by killing a baby or preventing future evils to" come problem.

JP Why a second one?

AW Well, at the end of the 1st Kickstarter, there were too many other creatures that haven't been able to be depicted, so naturally I really wanted to give those the justice they deserved.

In addition, during the success of the first one, I began to envision an entire brand-line of the Baby Bestiary, of which I am working towards, which would feature plushies, miniatures, children's books and adventure modules.

JP What made you select one monster over another? Say why the bulette over a sphynx? Can you explain your monster selection process?

AW So really, in Volume 1, I had only firmly decided that a few beasts were required to be included, they were the Owlbear, Phoenix, Chimera, Rust monster, and probably two others. The rest were actually voted on by the backers, so I had no involvement in what volume 1 finally ended up being.

JP The art I've seen is AWESOME! I mean the babies look cuddly and cute as heck! Even for monsters like a harpy or a chimera! Tell me who are your artists!

AW Thank you, I too wish I could draw with such skill. The artist company responsible is Conceptopolis (, you actually may recognize them for a lot of the work they had done on the new D&D 5e books. I knew that in order to make this project work I had to go to the pros, and that's what I exactly did.

JP How did you go about building a team of designer?

AW During the NPC Kickstarter I joined an organization called the IGDN (Indie Game Developer Network), here we have a large number publishers and writers of the indie RPG community, so naturally looking for writers I put out a post to the IGDN membership and also emailed the Evil Hat writing team to grab some talent. I hadn't checked any of their past work, so it was kinda a leap of faith. I asked all of the writers to give me their top picks of which beasts they wanted to write, and I divided up the work that way. Also, I set up a 'standard format' which explained the tone of the writing, in addition I would write out a few notes for the particular beasts that I felt needed to have a few clarifications on their lore, like the immortality of phoenixes, and have it makes sense. That aside, I gave a lot of freedom to my writers, which I think they really enjoyed (as they're back for volume 2) and they also got to write about the beasts they love.

JP What would you are the biggest challenges to making a project like this, while in a systemless environment?

AW Biggest challenge in reality was the budget, but that probably wasn't the answer you wanted for this question. I actually had a lot of fun time figuring out ways to portray the baby beasts, we took a lot of inspiration from the monster manual, but for others we wanted to go back to their historical roots, or even reinvented them (like the cockatrice). The systemless was actually probably the easiest part, we could use ambiguous locations and directions, to the north, in the highlands, to the east, as we place value in these directional descriptions locations

The decision to go systemless was actually an easy choice, it opened up the potential market and without stats, it kept the book focused on the imagery rather than the stats.

JP Any lessons you learned by working on so many successful Kickstarters? What would you recommend/counsel to someone wanting to try his hand at it?

AW I could probably write a short book about this, but essentially it comes down to,

  • share often (even before you launch, this pre-exposure helps)
  • be open to feedback, share your project url to get criticism, there are a lot of Facebook groups for RPG creators and Kickstarters, find them and use them.
  • When you launch, you should have a very defined concept of what you are doing, we should see mockups, sample text and art, maybe even some specific mechanics so that we can see your vision of the project, backers expect that you have made samples/prototype .
  • what is the minimum viable product, and how much money + contingency do you need to make that happen. I actually have been kinda bad at this, because I have been setting my goals to what I wanted (rather to what I needed), because once you're funded it can snowball, but otherwise you're working hard advertising to a goal
  • Avoid addons (unless they're digital), fufillment is a tricky beast and only gets worse when you start to segment your shipments.
  • Advertising and self promotion suck, so far Facebook, g+ and twitter are obviously the big ones, but don't be afraid to research bloggers and other influentials and have something to give them to report on, prototype, art ect, oh and don't try Kickstarter cross-promotion.
  • Paid ads? only thing I've ever seen make a marginal impact is Facebook ads, and even then I've had mixed results between projects, any other paid service I would avoid as our industry is (relatively) very small and niche.

JP What would you say is the biggest key to your crowdfunding success?

AW I actually think a lot of my success is actually the visual aesthetic of my projects, in addition to a solid concept, they all have a large emphasis on art. Its odd to say this but art really does sell, but you still have to have a solid underlying concept.

Marketing is a mixed bag, but really in the end I have drastically expanded my RPG social circles by making friends with various bloggers, designers, artists and participating in various groups across the industry.

JP Can you tease us with some upcoming projects? Anything else you have in the works?

AW There may be a book about how to cook and prepare various beasts, probably titled The Adventurers Cookbook: From Dangerous to Delicious.

So be prepared to see dining in your dungeons improve, this will include tandem rpg crunch.

JP Any links of interest?

AW We have our current Kickstarter that we would love to share

In addition we have our (constantly evolving) website

Thanks again for having me, it was a pleasure.

Check out his stuff. I certainly will.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

GenghisCon in Denver

With mid-February fast approaching, I feel I must post my travel plans. Yes after a two year absence, I am going back to Colorado to take part in GenghisCon in Denver on Feb 11-14. For those who don't know, Genghis Con is the longest-running gaming convention in the front range (it is almost forty years old).

A few months back, I received a phone call from Rob at Gamer's Haven asking me if I wanted to come to Colorado for Genghis. Pfff what a question: OF COURSE I wanted to go! So the guys from Gamers' Haven will be running the miniature events (awesome!). So with that simple phone call, I will be off to Denver.

Now since I left, there have been a lot of changes in the running of GenghisCon and Tacticon. The old DGA is gone and a new one rose in its place. This has ruffled quite a few feathers. However, having talked to Matt (who now runs the show - literally), I am quite encouraged by this development. Sure things are very different and some long-time volunteers will no longer be involved. However, from what I heard some of the issues I had with the con have been addressed. Which makes me very interested in finding out how everything works now.

I fly into Denver International Wednesday around 6pm and will be heading to the Springs to say hello to the folks from the 'Haven. I had initially planned on playing the Encounters, but I don't think the time frame will allow that. So I'll just stop on by (some may say "Shop on by") and say hello.

During the day on Thursday, I'll be "around" I'm not too sure what I will do yet. Here is my schedule for the con.

Thursday EveningLegacies: Path to AmbitionGMing
Friday MorningLegacies: And Everything NiceGMing
Friday AfternoonLegacies: Doud Where's My Cart?GMing
Friday EveningD&D Epic battle (maybe)Playing
Saturday MorningLegacies: Doud Where's My Cart?GMing
Saturday AfternoonMiniature gamesPlaying
Saturday EveningSavage Saturday NightPlaying

I had originally planned on running games on Sunday, but my flight back to Nashville prevents me from doing that, so I had to cancel those events. There are still a few tickets available for the Friday and the Saturday game.

For those who wonder, YES, GenghisCon will be a premiere event for all three of the adventures meaning these tables count of the follow-up.

Now I need to print out a few things.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My Little Pony: Raging Barbarian

Continuing my ponies from Impact Miniatures. At Christmas, I gave the kids their ponies, now those ponies belong to dad (for use with the kids). This fellow has a lot of character and really feels like an enraged barbarian. I was inspired by the Pathfinder iconic, Valeros for his armor. I like how it came out.