JP On Gaming

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

[Kinda Book Report] Glen Cook - Dread Empire: A Path to Coldness of Heart

Another audiobook. Now I have been pretty excited about the previous two: they were clever, especially the scenes replayed from different sides. This one... Pfff... I'll be honest and did not enjoy it as much. This story dragged on and on with little that was happening of interest. It felt more like a soap opera with bad quasi-romance elements, and a huge cast of characters that effectively accomplish nothing but wait together.

The "Last" of the Chronicles of the Dread Empire feels like nothing like an ending.

Just not great.

I did not enjoy this book.

Another book by Cook I read that I did not enjoy was Bleak Seasons. However, I did not enjoy that one because of the odd tone and darkness.

According to Wikipedia, the original manuscript was stolen. Perhaps that one may have been better.

The ending is a let down. Effectively saying "I'm done for now, but there are so many questions and plot hooks remaining that the story feels incomplete." It leaves everything in the air. The main characters do not achieve anything.

Soap opera.

Rating: 3/5

Monday, August 19, 2019

[Minion Monday] Bunch of pigs

I painted these guys almost two years ago from the Hordes Unleashed RPG. This is a small band of Farrow (boarmen). I do not really have a use for them in most of my game so I may just sell them. I don't know... I still like their sculpts.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Dungeon Decorations: A trio of treasures

A short post with a few small items that have been waiting for a post. There are a trio of random treasure/ objectives/ dungeon decoration. I do not remember where I got those. They came as part of a kickstarter.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Ancient Ship Gallery and Construction Guidelines

Two years ago now, I made a series of ships designed to be used in RPGs particularly Akhamet. These ships served me for years now. I now have more ship designs I want to build, which I will with the experience I gained from building these three guys.

Here is a short guide on how to create such ships for you:

1 - The bodies were made of corrugated cardboard with the corrugations at 90' angle. This makes them light but sturdy. Make sure to keep the amount of glue to a minimum to avoid warping.

2 - Once the body is done and dry, cover the top and sides with Popsicle sticks. This will strengthen the body. Now here you can be as loose or tight with the planking as you want. Again easy on the glue to avoid warping, not only for the body but also for the sticks themselves. A little stick warping will make it look more "realistic".

3 - For the mast, use a chopstick you will stick into the center of the ship. Stick it through wood - having drilled a hole then force it through the cardboard. Since these boats are based on ancient designs, I use a square sail, with the cross beam to form a T. I chip small notches that makes both fit in together better.

4 - Painting is simple: brown then drybrushing to make the grain of the wood pop and a few black lines to make the planking appear smaller than they are.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Gencon 2019 AAR Part 5 Fallout from the FOE Specials

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

FOE Special: Battle of Farelis

I mentionned the multi-table special quite a few times, along with a number of pictures.

The story started at Origins, in "Battle of Farelis, Part 1" where adventurers discover the dire situation in Farelis following the capture of the city by the forces of House Faremhi late last in-game year. The situation is not great with a strong rebellious streak. As the PCs travel across Farelis, things are in motion.

Now back to Part 2, which was played at Gencon...

They came through the Mists surrounding Farelis. They came from different worlds, some from the desert, some from the cold of the rain, and some from a tiny island... All of them came to investigate what happened and discovered a city unlike any in their own lands.

After witnessing the odd nature of this place, they witnessed the many strange sights: from the dried-up river port, the nobles estates, or the private quarters where they were attacked by crazed locals and saw ghostly appearances.

They met an odd man that seemed partially solid and partially ghostly. He claimed to be responsible for everything that happened and asked for help.

Taking the PCs to his temple at the Treeshadow Institute, he invited a few people inside as a large group of ghostly shapes huddled outside the entrance, interested in hearing what happened.

Inside the cramped office, a man encased in crystal focused eldritch energies against a wall through which a massive angel appeared frozen in time, an instant before striking a black adamantine gauntlet.

Each group left the Institute heading for the vault in the palace where they encountered a variety of strange people, each with its own view on current events.

When most of the adventurers reached the room where the angel stood frozen in time, its blade a breath away from striking the black gauntlet with a shower of eldritch sparks flying everywhere. Again most groups gathered and discussed what they wanted to do before placing their dimensional stabilizers.

No sooner did they place them that the Vault began to self-destruct, jettison itself out into the void of the Mists. As most of the PCs fled to escape the Mists, a few were swallowed by them and vanished forever.

Fallout The Hand of Saggakar was taken out of the Vault and taken to different places in the FOEniverse. Next year, I will have two adventures that deal with the fallout of this year. One will be set in Rhym and one will be set in Saggakar... The game left me with a HUGE amount of story material to sift through and order.

FOE Special: Sun Never Sets

I ran a second special, this one on Sunday Morning that saw a full table come to explore the yet-to-be-completed Greek setting. I'll let you know there is much interest in that one too.

Last year, the Peleset sent the inimitable Prince Diogenes to Akhamet. A man of many pleasures and interests, Diogenes made quite an impression upon the Akhameti.

This year, the Akhameti government sent back to them Princess Dedeneke. "Unlike him, she seems pretty normal" the party said.

After a week of sailing, they shipwrecked on an island where they were attacked by local monsters. Eventually, they discovered why the Princess wanted to come to the island. "I've made a terrible mistake!" She called out.

The PCs fought and defeated a horrible creature and allowed the portal to be closed. A dejected Princess ordered everyone to come back to Akhamet where she planned to discuss the situation with her father. And the saga continues...

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Gencon 2019 AAR Part 4 The Good The Bad The Random

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Conclusions

Good

- All four of my FOE GMs: Florence, Florent, Randy and Will made my work look - and play - awesome! A big thank you to each of them. My on-going elation and excitement about Gencon as a whole, I owe to these guys.

- A huge shout-out to the FOE players who bought tickets and spent their time with us. Many of them more than once! With so many choices at their disposal, this makes it even more special.

- I had most of my mods ready to hand out to my GMs, with only a few typos/corrections to do before giving them out.

- Running Slot zeroes for most of the adventures mitigated some of the panic regarding the special. This means next year, I will need to have all my adventures ready around Origins.

- Returning players from previous years and I'm not talking only of my friends like Derek and Steve, but people who played and returned. That really touched my heart and showed that we were doing something right and that I have a group of DM around me who are exciting and dynamic.

- I am a very lucky man for I know so many great people. In addition to my GMing crew and playuers, I got to meet (and I'll forget a lot of folks here) Josh-B who I haven't seen in years, Derek-M, Ken-W, and the rest of the Heroes of Rokugan.

- The FOE Polo Shirts really makes the GMs stand out.

Improvable

I searched for this one, before coming up with:

- Before Gencon, Double and triple check that each GM received, printed, and read their copies of the mods I need them to run.

- Do not do wait until the last minute to write an adventure.

- The blizzard of '19 will long be remembered. Bring long pants.

- Note to self: take pictures of the GM team.

Random

- ActionMan wants to attend. So I will have to find a way to get him to attend the con. He might have a part to play in the FOE special for next year...?

- When running a two-night special, have it be over two nights. Perhaps running what was the Origins special one night as a re-run.

No doubt, no hesitation. FOE is coming back to Gencon in 2020! With more new stuff.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Gencon 2019 AAR Part 3 Rokugan and Hatred

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Saturday

Saturday was my play-day. After waiting a whole year, I got to play another Heroes of Rokugan.

This campaign is in the middle of a big story arc, one I am enjoying quite a lot with my little crane. She has serious flaws, but she has worked hard to work around them. Doji Haruhime promotes peace and the benefits of civilization such as origami, cleanliness, floral arrangements (ikebana), and pursuits that encourages quiet time. Her quirks makes her interesting to play.

The second game slot left me two hours of free time. What to do... DEALER HALL!

I walked over, roamed almost randomly. Spoke with the PCI guys before moving on to a place I have to avoid... The Crocodile Games booth. Like a kid in a candy store, I wnet through their goodies, their many goodies. I will post later about this.

On my way back, I met some of the lads from the Nashville PFS group. We chatted a little and I noticed they bought Arcanis. Cool! Maybe get to play more of it here in the area...

The final event of the day was a LARP/interactive event. Now I am not really super-excited about those because it always hinges on a few people and frankly, they just aren't my thing. But once a year...

The usual tropes happened: we argued over some foible. However, this time, there was a big change with an announcement that changed the face of the event, with the Crane claiming a big treasure. After that it returned to the same.

One player provided a side plot regarding poetry. Right up Haruhime's alley! Then as someone who seeks to mend fences and sponsor friendship, I joined forces with a pair of Lion Samurai.

Well... we won this competition after a very challenging playoff. Winning was fun, and I got to receive my winning, a massive fan painted by a Hantei painter. With me? The Daimyo of the Daidoji family. What a major honor for me!

I was pretty happy about my participation. So much so that next time, I believe I will propose participation in a side-quest like this for those who, like me, aren't too keen on the large-scale politics.

Sunday

Final day.

I survived thus far, still had a voice and was super excited to get things done. After my panicked writing, this was the time to see how it worked.

I was super happy that Derek-R was present at the table. He is the gaming overlord from Conglomeration in Louisville.

So, in spite of my great worries, the final version was pretty good and flowed naturally. It introduced the elements of the Greek setting-to-be without delving too deeply into it. This adventure was the sequel to Death in Anupolis, which some players did on Thursday!

The hatred of the product I felt for all five previous versions paid off as the final product played smoothly, particularly in parts where previous drafts died, namely during the ship and crew interaction and the ogre village. It was much smoother and less forced.

The adventure went well and everyone left happy. It also let me know that there was more work to be done.

I returned to the dealer hall with Will, returning to Crocodile Games where I talked with Chris some more. Again, at a later date.

Gencon for me and Will was over. It had been a great one. I was really excited. Tired, but excited.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Gencon 2019 AAR Part 2 Near Heart Attack And Rhym Cosplay

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Thursday

Our ride into the convention center on Thursday was made more interesting by a pair of events. First off, the closing of I-70 made for a detour through more of the inner streets of Indianapolis. The other was the reveal that Will did not have his copy of the special for the night. Remember last post?

We got in, met Randy who was already waiting for us and waited for our players to filter in. I went over the guys to make sure everything was good and ready to rock.

That time before we all sit down and set up my own table. I used the time and made a run to GM HQ, a mile or so away. I got the GM badges and got back on-time for our 8ish start time.

In spite of the crazy mile-long line, we managed to have most of our players show up on time and all three tables went off without issue.

Same went for the afternoon slot, for a while it seemed that Randy's table was at risk, but his table filtered in and he was able to run.

During the afternoon, we got hit by a blizzard, wherein we had to use many dice to keep paper from flying and the temperature dropped to the low teens. I had to run to the car to put on socks. It was COLD! Lucky for us, the manager came by and felt the howling wind and saw the icicles that dangled from our ears and noses.

Throughout the day, Will ran Desert Pearls, Randy ran Death in Anupulis and I ran Tomb of Prince Tsubeteb, all of which were set in Akhamet.

Now was time for the big panic moment... Will and I would each run our table using a single copy of the mod. Having run the adventure, it was not very difficult for me to wing it. Only a few boxed texts required the help of the pages. The game flowed smoothly enough through and people left with smiles on their faces.

Mega-crisis averted. The problem would rear itself tomorrow once more. But that was a tomorrow problem. Come to think of it, if I'd been bright I would've asked Randy for his copy...

Friday

Friday came too quick: that morning the team changed. Instead of Randy, Will and myself, Florent, Florence, Will and myself would run the FOE games. I was very excited, riding the wave of awesome that had been Thursday. We all loaded into Ilantra, my latina spitfire car, we made our way in - it did help that we were all at the Porn Hotel.

Pretty much the same story happened as yesterday. Florent and Will ran Desert Pearls, while Florence and I ran Tomb of Prince Tsubeteb.

With four tables, the special really flourished. I won't lie that with both Will and I having done it once before helped and Florent and Florence both followed us into the gap of crazy.

I had difficulty going to sleep so I high on excitement was I. I could've kept on running for six days straight. After many years of hard work, seeing something like this happen with such a level of excitement. OMG! Mega-Girly-Giggles! I still am in super-fan-girl-mode for the work all four of my GMs did.

A big thank you to Florence, Florent, Randy and Will (who also gave me near heart-attacks, but I forgive him).

We had our first ever Rhym cosplayer! Lady Hanalyr! She did not make it out of the Vault...

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Gencon 2019 AAR Part 1: Panic and Porn

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Gencon.

The Biggest gamer-event of the year. One that draws heavily from table-top, card, board, miniatures, and video games together. Every year, it is the event we all look for.

From my first Gencon in 2013 after I had just moved from Colorado to Kentucky. I attended for the weekend only, playing PFS and WitchHunter. That year, I only played.

2014 was the first time I participated and GM'd for the first time. Since that time, that year, I ran 3-4 tables, and it has slowly grown and grown.

Last year, Isabelle and JS did an awesome job, growing the FOE presence by doubling the previous number of tables, from 7 to 13.

So this year, I was lucky enough to have no less than four crazy people: Flo-M, Florent-F, Randy-P and Will-M who accepted my offer to run games for FOE, which would take our total number of tables to twenty one.

Ambitious and nerve-wracking but exhilarating.

So what happened?

Before Gencon: Repeated Panics

Monday came by, I had my mods done and sent. The slot zeroes revealed a few issues that got fixed before I sent them to the guys. In all, everything that I had to do was done, I had to pack and load the car, but I was in a good place.

Around 10AM on Monday, I get a chat from Will saying "I was just let go."

And there it was: the FIRST panic. Panic for Gencon. Worry for my good friend. I quickly sent him information about the good recruiters, and even some of those I like less. With the goal to get him all squared up again. We talked and found an arrangement that allowed him to attend the con.

He's a good man and a trooper. The crisis was averted. Now there is still much work for him to do, but for Gencon, crisis averted.

Tuesday came by, at lunch, I thought back over what I had, ran through my list of mods and went. "OH CRAP!"

I did not have any adventure for my Sunday slot! Oh! I had notes, stats, and no less than five intros to this adventure. I hated all of the elements I had. My main NPC was flat without any spark of interest. The combats had no real interest, they were overly simple and formulaic. The finale only led to more and more adventure, without any way for me to close the story.

So, guess what my Tuesday evening was spent doing?

Yup! You got it! I spent writing and blasting everything, forcing it all to come together. Now, I spent a number of hours tying everything together. Now that I am a week removed from this panic, I can see that I grew as a writer. The craft of writing, which I work on all the time, really came together in these short hours. Oddly enough, the result was a cannibalized version of all five version, with a final combat I came up with at the time when I said "OH Crap!"

Wednesday.

I got up and expected to find a 4 o'clock bug. But nope. Throughout the day, I kept getting updates from friends saying they were in Indy. Landed. Checked In. Badge obtained. GAH! The day just rolled on and on. From noon-ish onward, I did not do much. Everything I had was waiting for others to review or test.

Finally, I could not take anymore and my weekly hours were done. I was up I-65 headed to Will's place. The gamer blabbing started and went on for the next 5 or 6 hours. Dinner at Denny's where neither of us had been for a long time.

Thursday morning. We are driving into the con and I ask him if he has questions about the Special. Then he replied "Huh. I did not get that one." And there I went... Panic struck again. I had one copy of the mod. I had sent the mod to Randy and he acknowledged it. So... what to do... But later.

So there is was: three major panic moments. And I was yet to reach the Marriott!

Before Gencon: Porn!

Using Hotels.com, I booked myself a hotel way back in January-ish. Good price of 60$ a night. I was very happy with my bill. Sure, it was 15 miles from downtown, but that's like a 20 minute drive. Since I drive in at 7-7:30 AM and leave at midnight, traffic is not an issue.

We get to the hotel. I get in to check in.

Standing at the check-in counter is a scantily-clad lady. Somewhat pretty and chatting with the lady behind the counter. Throughout my check in process, she tries to chat me up. The lady at the counter told me about the open porn channels. It wasn't until she heard that "my buddy's in the car, it's just the two of us," that she walked away.

That's when everything clicked: The Lingerie shop, The toys behind the glass, The large-breasted mannequin, and the decor of the room. That's when I recognized the room: it was the set of everyone's favorite porn movie!

I could not stop laughing!

Well, I did, I was exhausted.

Monday, July 29, 2019

SEND JP TO GENCON MEGA-SALE!!! 50% off everything

Well where you are going to Gencon or not, FOE is having its massive "Send JP to Gencon Sale". This year, like previous ones, everything is on-sale for an additional 33%. That's on TOP of DriveThruRPG's Christmas in July. In short, everything is about 50%! (rounding is odd)

This is your chance to get a super-cheap version of the Akhamet campaign setting, Rhym Campaign Setting, or Tyrants of Saggakar and related products.

Link to Sale on DTRPG.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Akhamet Iconic miniatures Part 3

Part 1 | Part 2

Princess Akat, retid paladin

Osaphis, sethru bard

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Akhamet Iconic miniatures Part 2

Part 1 | Part 3

Tetsora, gebite rogue

Hapatset, ubasti sorceress and pharaoh's wife

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Akhamet Iconic miniatures Part 1

Part 2 | Part 3

I worked on additional miniatures for the Akhamet iconic minis.

Amenheti, horite cleric of Pharaoh

Neferhana, anubian hunter of the dead

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

New Fiction on the FOE Patreon

Just so you know, I have been writing short mini-chapters of a big story set in Saggakar on the FOE Patreon. They are currently grouped into three sub-stories that each introduce different characters.

Welcome to Saggakar brings in people through the Mists into the savage horror that is Saggakar.

Into the Light is set in the brutal training gladiatorial pits of Spiderfen.

At the Arena takes you into the stands of the grand arena on a day of games.

Standing in the light introduces someone who arrives in Saggakar with the means NOT to be a slave.

These short story parts form a greater tapestry of a story I have been thinking about for quite a while and patrons get to read it all from the start, in short installments as the story grows.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

FOE artist at Merida Comic Con in the Yucatan

Just a quick word to you all... One of the regular artist working on FOE products is out there, you can meet the inimitable Britishark at Merida Comic Con in Merida, Yucatan in Mexico on the 13 and 14th of July! Man, I would LOVE to attend in the jungles of Yucatan... Another place on my bucket list!

I think this is pretty cool and I wanted to boost the signal for someone who has been doing awesome work for the past few months. Illustrated a number of new characters for the coming books. You can get full details on the Tsunami Medida website. Stop by and say hello! You can find Britishark in the artist alley over there.

Okay, as a total nerd, I put in the address of the Convention in Google Maps and I might make the beginning of the con if I left right now. It is a "mere" 43h's drive from Nashville and 10h of flying. If I'd known I would've loved to have attempted... practiced my Spanish! That would've been terrible for the attendee.

Hola! Si, escribo mucho pero no en español. Juegamos a Akhamet. Es como Egipcia pero fantastica. Hay muchos zombies... Muhahaha.

That would be horrible for those who paid good money to attend. Instead go see Britishark, you will not regret it. He's got some great work for sale.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Hypericon 2009 After Action Report Part 2

Part 1

Good

Despite my initial worries, there were a lot of great things, many of which turned out to be awesome.

- The Location is awesome for me. I loved playing and being home 15 minutes later. For those who do not live in the 'Boro, the hotel is just off I-24.

- On-Site location, the gaming area was on an overlook that was literally at the center of the con, which no doubt helped traffic. Good thing.

- Access to food is great, you can walk to many places in less than 10 minutes. True, many of these places are junk food, but still. Close availability of food is a great thing.

- The participants were very interested in playing and taking part in what was happening. It was great to see people want to participate return to the game table over and over.

- I was really worried about it, but nearly all the table happened with many times we had two tables with 5-6 players every time. I did not expect that and was one of the best part of the con. It's always good to see games happening and the gaming area of a con growing.

Improvable

A few things could be improved:

- No ramp to the overlook. We had a great location, but it was not very accessible as there were stairs but no ramp.

- There was a con suite which was cool. However, it seemed to me that it was closed most of the time. Improvable.

- My Badge did not survive through Sunday. By then, it was two leaf of plastic and a paper on my lanyard. Minor, but annoying.

Next Time

For next time:

- I plan to update the Akhamet Iconics to be single-classed characters. Tetsora will be a rogue and Osaphis a fighter. This will make it easier for people to hop in.

- I have to plan more panels/workshops. There seems to be a thirst for gaming-oriented content.

Final Thoughts

Okay, so there should be no surprised that I was greatly impressed and I loved my time at Hypericon. I will definitely be back next year, make this con better. It is, after all, the one that is my Home Con and I want it to become even bigger and better.

I got to meet and chat with a lot of great people. Some friends I hadn't seen in forever: Buddy-B, Kveld-B, and Jacob. I met a lot of new cool people and talked a lot about Akhamet, 5e, and gaming in general.

Yiiiiiiiiiiiiii! I met Glenn Cook! Yiiiiiiiiiiiiii!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Hypericon 2019 After Action Report Part 1

Part 2

This past weekend, was Hypericon in my home town of Murfreesboro, TN. Last year, I took Jojo and ActionMan, and they had a real blast of it all. Read all about Hypericon 2018 Part 1 and Part 2.

2019 was going to be very different: the kids are in Canada so I would head out to the con by myself.

There were a few things to be concerned about:

- The move moved from the Nashville airport area to Murfreesboro, I know, it is "only" 20 miles down the road, but you never know. Murfreesboro is the sixth biggest city in Tennessee, and growing like CRAZY.

- Last year's participation in the gaming was uneven. I worried that I would sit by myself a lot working on my social skills.

- I was worried.

But then, a week before the con, I got my finalized schedule and my fear evaporated for the most part. I was really stoked to see there were two GMs who would be running D&D. Kathleen and I, this would make for a constant flow of people coming in. This would ensure there would be games starting every hour. The problem with that is that there is no or limited cross-polinating of the players.

Friday came around and after a great day involving a lot of writing and lunch with my friend Bojan at Big Shakes (love them chicken tacos!) I debated whether I should have steak and decided not to. Mistake. I should have.

I came into the Clarion Inn and quickly got myself oriented, got my badge and then ran into the first snag... The gaming was on the overlook, a nice, open area next to the con suite. The problem? It had no ramps and no direct elevator access to it. Well, I picked up my box and my trolley and powered through. I was all set up for my 7pm game.

I ran an Akhamet short featuring a lost tomb with traps and illusions. I play-tested two traps I had thought of but never placed in an adventure. It is a good one I will have to add... Two short hours later and many players stepped out to other pastures. That left me with no one for my late slot, so I got to head on home early. Not a loss. I got to put together some more writing in.

Saturday, my con day started at noon. I spent the morning watching TV and writing some more and painting minis.

I got there a little early, brought all my stuff up the stairs and got ready to give my workshop: creating an adventure. I was really excited about it, and I had seven very curious participants as we talked about how to break down an adventure, how to determine the antagonist, and how to make it exciting. There was so much I could've said, but I kept it short, flowing, and interesting if I do say so myself. My buddy Kveld joined the workshop, which was cool.

I had time before dinner so I hit the dealer hall. It was smaller than last year. I stopped by a table covered with books. "Oh wow! This guy has a lot of Glenn Cook books" I thought. Then I looked at the gentleman sitting behind the table and his badge read... Glenn Cook. Wow! I got to meet the man.

Glenn is a man of few words who gave short yes/no questions to my queries. I told him how I loved his works and the many I read, which I was sure he did not really care, but by then I was in full fangirl mode, so I did not care. I had to tell him.

I got to talk to Glenn Cook... Yiiiiiiiiiiiiii!

Today, I had my giant pyramid, which is an adventure in itself. It is not a strong story, but you get to move and explore a large dungeon. I then had slots at 2, 4, 7, and 9. One of the the fun things about running this is that you see the different group dynamics when faced with the same decision points.

Again, my 9pm did not run, so I decided to hop on Kathleen's 10pm game where I played Grim the Brown, dwarven fighter as we relived a D&D version of the Hangover. Many laughs later, I was back home, sleeping.

Sunday my first slot was at 10AM, so I showed up a early to a mostly empty room. "This day will suck" I try to keep out my mind when my early slot did not happen. Still, the gaming area filled up with people playing board games.

During that time, I returned to the dealer hall where I purchased a book from Glenn Cook himself - and got it signed! FULL FANGIRL MODE!!! I also bought a collection of short stories from a local author, Matt Hall. Okay, I used the "Last Day Sale" to buy it.

At noon, I ran a short pirate-themed game where the fight ran longer. Combat and talking... We had to cut it short, but it was fun.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Where to go in Nashville after 4th of July

Just a quick note, if you are in the Nashville area for the weekend after Fourth of July.

Why? Because it's Hypericon!

I really liked it last year and this year, I'm coming back. Imagine my surprise when I realized it was in my backyard, the Clarion Inn on Old Fort here in Murfreesboro! I will be running Akhamet adventures throughout the con and give a panel on how to build an adventure, Saturday at noon.

Come say hello, there will be a lot of time to play some D&D!

Check out the full details on the Hypericon Website.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

[Origins 2018] Origins After Action Report Part 3

Part 1 | Part 2

Highs and Lows

So... what was good and what can be improved of Origins 2019?

Good

- One of the best things about this year was the attendance numbers for my games. With quite a few repeat customers from previous years. I always thought of Origins as a convention where people attend specific events year in year out. Building a following is something I want to see more of.

- Last year, I posted that I did not enjoy one of the Arcanis adventures. It was not the case this year. I enjoyed myself at all the tables I played (all 5 slots). Some stories pleased me more than others but overall, it was a good.

- Seeing my kids at Origins was a high point. Maybe in the future, I don't think the girls will want to come, especially not for 5 days. ActionMan on the other hand will want to come. Five, ten, forty day...

- Friends. I have so many of them I get to meet at the con.

      My Arcanis buddies: Sean-E, Paul & Nicole-G and the kids, Dave-M, Jacquie, and the PCI gang: Henry, Jimmy, Pedro.

      Dave-M, Matt-M from Rogue Cthulhu,

I'm forgetting a lot of people here.

Bad

- Well... The biggest disappointment was that neither of my Wednesday games went off. Oh well. Maybe next time. Then again, Wednesday is slow all around the convention.

- I was shocked, and unhappily so, by the price increase of Shadowrun games. Eight bucks for 4 hours at a table of 8. NOPE. If the experience was good, I could console myself. But it was not. What happened was that everyone had a backup and a backup to the backup: four faces, two hackers, three adepts, four gun-totting goons. Surprisingly, I was the only one who was a magic infiltrator. Large tables and price hikes mean that I am OUT from future Shadowrun events at Origins.

- When people complain to the head of a department, as I did to the RPG HQ, I don't want to hear that "we can't do anything because of [politics]". That's lame. Take it seriously.

- Again, their website is just plain crap. People claimed issues with it - which I lucked out and did not experience myself. One problem I have is with the difficulty in getting to important things: number of tickets available, access to what to see. I showed my wife and even she thought it was pretty craptacular. I have little hope by now that they will change this.

Improvable

- I already complained about this and people spoke to me about it. With the spread of the convention, generic tickets should be easily available. If you have an RPG HQ, they should sell generics. They do at Gencon. I don't care about your inner politics: make it easy for me, the attendee. This is something that can be improved easily.

Conclusion

This year's Origins left me thinking and seriously re-think whether I wanted to attend again. Perhaps bring ActionMan...

I will be debating it some more. However, there were a lot of good things this year that makes me think I want to return: That most of my games went off mostly.

As a bonus, the Arcanis games were great, with my character being oddly effective in combat situation for once. I was still a face that serves as a morale office.

More than a week after Origins, I am leaning towards going back next year. With most of my tables happening AND my fun time playing Arcanis, I think I'm going back next year. Whether I will plan a full schedule like this year remains to be seen.

I'm going back!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

[Origins 2018] Origins After Action Report Part 2

Part 1 Part 3

Friday

Friday morning, was another run of Battle of Farelis, Part 1. I am really digging this story more and more. I can't wait to run the Gencon element.

That was the last of my running slots until Sunday. Next up: PLAY.

I had tickets to play Arcanis, leading up to the big battle interactive on Saturday. My character, Kermina Gallia val'Borda who is an oracular nun. I will not go into details of the adventures but I will say that my character, after a retool two years ago, is now effective at more than using her tongue. Because she is a face character, at least she was but with time, she became much more of a caster. And now she can tweak Fate. This was a flavor character that is now surprisingly effective. She is fun to play because she is a devoted to her goddess who is also promiscuous.

She now says classic lines like "Can't spell housewife without hoe!" or that she prays hard and fervently on her knees, every night. I keep it PG-13 but nearly everything I say has a racy connotation.

I will commend my GM who allowed me to use my gift of sight during the adventure to make them special to me... Since we players so rarely have divination power, getting to use them is awesome.

Saturday

This was the big day. One last Arcanis Hard Point adventure. This one led us straight into the Big Battle Interactive. Again, I got to see things which gave me some insight. Fun stuff.

Before the game, I walk the mile-or-so to go to Tim Horton's to get my coffee. It was everything I wanted. It was good. Now for those who do not know what Tim Horton's is, I can tell that you are 1- not from Canada and 2- you do not know what the best donut shop coffee is. TH is a Canadian coffee/donut shop that focuses on making the best coffee. Not only that but not selling it at the extortion price Starbucks sell their burnt sewer water. Yes, Tim was a hockey player who is best known for his coffee!

So the first game had an interesting "time travel/dream" quality to it. When I took this picture, I wondered one thing: "WHAT ARE THOSE!?" A meme my children are very fond of.

This year, we got to participate in a silent auction where they offered a few items from the Forged in Magic book. I participated and, thank to my future in-game husband, Sestius/Comma/Tom (remember the joke about the Hoe in every housewife?) By getting some of his money, I won the bidding for the Sacred Holy Symbol of the Larissa the Harlot. I will need to get something to represent it.

The Battle Interactive was the big event of the Saturday... 10 hours of awesome. This year, I again was sat with Nicole and her boys. Completing our wacky team, was Paul's niece and Amanda-C. This meant that my Kermina had her two BFFs at the table: Magda (played by Amanda) and Tessa (played by Nicole). There was not a lot of time for us to gossip and blab, even though I'm pretty sure there were.

Kermina's new power as a caster really shined during this battle. I was able to do some battlefield control using my enveloping ward (the Arcanis version of Otiluke's Resilient Sphere). I was pleased with my performance. One thing I can do now that is pretty good is the summoning of Stig, my celestial belly dancer! A minor angel that served us as both a live-in girlfriend.

The best thing we did was a dance party when we survived one of the scene. Woop Woop! Go go Larissa!

One very odd thing I received this year: compliments for my outfit. Huh... okay... That's new. I thought I was inflicting massive Cthulhu-type horror on the world, but people complimented me! I guess my ear dangles (I'm not gonna pierce my ears), my pink sword or my head covering is making me look good. Yeah! FA-BU-LOUS!

Sunday

Sundays morning slots are always interesting and something of a roll of the dice. I showed up ready to roll and I was very pleased to have five players to play in Akhamet's Desert Pearls. That adventure is a sharp contrast to the "Tomb" which I ran earlier in the con. Desert Pearls is more of a story-based adventure. It is better IMO to run on our sleep-deprived Sunday brains.

I then drove back to Tennessee where an empty house waited for me...