JP On Gaming

Tuesday, July 23, 2024

[Ozaka Campaign] Facing the Dragon of Darkness

Opening the hostilities

Back to Ozaka after a week where everyone was sick... This time, the party decided to bypass the dungeon and head to the roof to tackle the Yaminoryu, the dragon of darkness.

Cornered!This dragon is a creature that corrupts everything that comes into contact with it. The party has been trying to track it down for quite a while now. They help defeat its army when it attacked the town of Aoshima and try to defeat it.

The dragon is inside its tower, forcing the PCs to cross the roof, climb the ichor-covered tower, and confront it there...

This is the climax of the Winter-Summer Campaign 2024. Our heroes are in the fight of their lives. Will they succeed? Tune in next time...

Friday, July 5, 2024

Gencon Writing update

There are a few tickets for the FOE Gencon Event: FOE events at Gencon.

With Gencon fast approaching, I feel it is time I put up a post about Gencon, the writing updates and a number of other oddities. At least pretend I'm not only painting minis in my troll cave.

I'm not.

What I've been doing is working on a crucial piece of work for my day job (247Sports). That work has been exhausting (and exhaustive), seriously draining my writing juices. Add to it that I was stuck in a writing funk for the specials. Namely that I knew WHAT story I wanted to tell but breaking them down into pieces. Into adventures. Then into encounters.

If staring at a blank page is terrifying, then looking at a logline and not have any idea what to do with that is perhaps worse.

So I drew.

And I painted.

And watched Youtube.

And I tortured myself.

And I made doodles in my writing book.

And I worked on my novel set in Olympia.

Yes, I did everything to try and break through that blank page.

Oh I can up with SOME things. Ideas for breakdown that would work. Things that could be made into adventure material. Very playable. With twists, different combats.

But I was not excited by any of it. So I worked and toiled on it. I knew there were something cool. Something memorable to find in there.

Then it happened. Doodles brought it together.

The same doodles that decorate this post. They came more-less at random.

In the case of the second Olympia special, my mind was on something extremely down-to-earth. I've not problem with that... but as a Special? Something I want to be the highlight of the convention?

For someone other than me?

Empathy? I must be growing older! Ha!

Seriously. I was completely stuck when that one doodle suddenly brought it together. Now I had everything I wanted AND something with a major fantasy element. Now all I had to do was write it.

And break it down further.

I believe these stories will be interesting, fun to both run and play.

Now to stop slacking.

Get off Blogger.

Put down the phone.

And finish writing.

Your GMs are asking for the works

There are a few tickets for the FOE Gencon Event: FOE events at Gencon.

Saturday, June 29, 2024

[Ozaka Campaign] Battle of Aoshima

With two players out tonight, I ran a one-off set in the campaign's main city while the party is away tackling another challenge.

Everything was peaceful before the Wakou opened on the town of Aoshima with their cannons. In no time, the docks were ablaze and the brave adventurers had to rise up to stop the onslaught. Galleon-born cannons quickly set buildings aflame as their barrage did not cease. The town's defenders held succeeded in slowing down the raiders.

As our brave heroes withdrew into the town, they rescued many people who took refuge in a warehouse only for the Wakou to chain the doors and set the place ablaze!

Finally, our heroes reached the House of the Sun, the Temple of Amaterasu in town where the Wakou were burning the Torii Arches and one of their witches performed a ritual against the building. Whatever she did, she succeeded partially when an uncontrolled yokai emerged from the portal and rampaged through town until stopped by our heroes.

They were relieved by the arrival of Tojo Hiroshi and his samurai. Their bravery was noted.

Battle of Aoshima Battle of Aoshima Battle of Aoshima Battle of Aoshima

Friday, June 28, 2024

[Ozaka Campaign] Haunted Bamboo Forest

Tonight, my ozaka party went through the Haunted Bamboo Forest on their way to meet the Keep of Shadows...

Haunted Bamboo Forest Haunted Bamboo Forest

Thursday, June 27, 2024

[Ozaka Campaign] Village in the Trees

Tonight in my ozaka campaign for dnd5e... The PCs try to open the way for their army to face the Yame no Ryu (the Dragon of Darkness)

On the way, they investigated a tree-borne village with a surprise...

Village in the trees Village in the trees Village in the trees Village in the trees

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

[Ozaka Campaign] The Ambush from the Trees

The beastmen ambush the party from a multi-level tree hideout!

Ambush from the trees

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

[Ozaka Campaign] Shipwreck channel

I will post the short AARs for my current Ozaka Campaign organized in a Westmarch-style campaign where the PCs have to deal with the many problems of the town of Aoshima.

Tonight, the heroes investigated Shipwreck Channel, the site of a battle between a Wakou wizard and a pair of white dragons...

Ship Graveyard

Thursday, May 9, 2024

What do I need to GM for FOE?

I've been asked this question a few times times over the years and think that a post here may help by tap the sign... (save myself from typing it over and over)

Material to bring

The following material is up to you to bring:
- Hard copies of your adventure (tablets are great but make sure you have a physical copy as a back up).
- Hard copy of the handouts (ideally 1 per table you will run). Giving the players something to look at/ play with gets them more involved in the game
- A physical Player's Handbook (if only to hand out at the table)
- A Monster Manual (some print out the monsters they will use to lighten their load)
- Dice
- Writing Implement
- Battle map & dry/wet erase
- Minis/Tokens (I do have minis for the iconics but can't provide for everyone). If you use Starbursts/ glass beads/ paper tokens/ wood tokens, all are fine. Other than the specials, doing it almost completely theater of the mind is fine too.
- Copies of the iconic sheet (FOE will have some, too)

At the Con

Here are things I ask of you on-site.
- Sleep. I need you on your A-game. I am trying to keep everyone's load as light as I can by assigning as few adventures as I can to people.
- Enthusiasm. I like to think our adventure are a fun experience and the GM is a big part of this.
- Be in the FOE room ahead of time because the goal is get you ready to roll on the hour, not 10-15 mins after the slot begins.
- For regular adventures, 5-10 mins is best to allow you to relax and set up
- For special adventure, be there 30 mins before so we can discuss and go over the adventure. Talk latest ideas, assign any special elements not yet assigned
- Wear a FOE shirt (smurf polo or black shirt)

What FOE provides

Goodies for you!
- A smurf outfit: Those are our blue polo shirts (now embroidered) with our logo. If you don't have one, JP should provide one for you at the con.
- All of the material above as a backup (I got you if you forgot something). Except sleep or a positive disposition
- PDF of the adventures
- PDF of the campaign settings (you are not expected to be a loremaster, but know at least the basics of it)
- Food: Okay this is sustenance food. I will have lunch meat, bread, cheese, and cookies. Plus more goodies are brought (Thanks Marissa for the coffee!)
- The FOE dice. Every year, FOE has a unique d6 made. GMs all get 1 as a thank you.
- Miniatures. I try to give you guys as many monster minis as I can physically print, paint, and carry. I cannot promise anything. Here as some examples from 2021

Unique FOE Stuff at the table

Some unique things we do.
- FOE Dice. Whenever a player rolls a natural '1' on a d20 and keeps the result, hand them a FOE Dice with the magic formula "Your dice suck, our don't."
- The Postal Card. FOE runs a not-organized play/organized play thing. We hand players a postcard that grants players goodies for each game they play with us. These are simple bennies like inspiration, an additional healing potion, or extra HP.
- Everything is linked together. Don't tell them how, let them figure it out... It's as if some crazy mastermind lost sleep over that...

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

[Four-Question Background] Example: Kassee Broon

Recently, I took part in my friend Randy-P's short-lived Star Wars D6 game. It had been so long since I played the game (did a little one-shot with the kids once) and looked forward to it. Unfortunately, the campaign ended too fast.

The campaign took place in the era of the Mandolorian/ Ahsoka.

Kassee Broon was a young jedi from Naboo: Female human, auburn hair, 20s, Junker's outfit

Her story was: Illegitimate daughter of a jedi master killed during the Rebellion. She was her father's padawan when he was killed. To avoid getting caught, she fled with her father's possessions, which included a holocron. She trained with the holocron (but no longer has it, she stashed it in a safe place).

Now the four questions I sent to Randy:
- Important NPC: My mother, current whereabouts unknown.
- Important Place: Ruined Jedi temple on Naboo where her father first trained her.
- Important Event: The Force warning her to flee for my life. She doesn't know from who or why.
- Unresolved Thread: Kassee feels through the Force that her father was set up and murdered and someone is after her.

As you can see, I could (and very well may) re-use Kassee in another campaign by changing setting-specific information. The game didn't run long enough for my thread to come into play but I thought it left quite a lot of room to rope that in the game.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

[Old Pro Tricks] Character Backgrounds: A fourth question!

If you watch D&D Youtubers or even many other bloggers, they tell GMs to have players write them extensive backgrounds. That sounds awesome but when I am given a four-page novella, I often go, "Huh... that's not quite how I figured things would go."

Katharan al-ZawreeSo you end up stimying the players' creativity with characters who know nothing of their background, have no family, and no love affairs. Other than ladies of ill-repute they don't care about.

If you have been around this blog long enough, you will notice I changed my mind multiple times. Like when I thought about a good background length (where I recommended keeping it short), and especially the One Person, One Place, One Event technique. Both of those emphasize simplicity and brevity. They serve to get both player and GM to discuss.

The 1P1P1E technique in particular makes for simple obvious hooks. Effectively, the player gives the GM three hooks and reason for your character to adventure.

As a forever GM, I like to have as few notes as possible. No (just) because I'm lazy, but especially so I can easily and quickly find this information when my players are in front of my without having to point to one players and go "Who's that NPCs of yours? Oh yeah, your dad!".

The fourth question, is Tell me one mystery/questions you'd like to see in the game.

Fine, fine, it's not a question.

Jim HawkinsIt's a thread I can weave into the narrative. This could be a monster, a magic item, or a mystery about the setting or the character's background. This allows me to weave or use some of these into the different adventures. Give the player a simple nod during the game.

So 2p1e1q (or Spleeq) is the new style of character backstory I use from here on.

The great thing about it is that it can be used with any game system and any type of game without difficulty. It's a simple, highly portable way to create ways to have your character tied into the world.

Monday, April 8, 2024

[Kinda Book Report] Essential Astonishing Ant-man 1

Well... Most Marvel comics of that period with Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are usually pretty good. Then there is Ant-Man.

Hank Pym and (later in the story) Janet van Dyne can become small. Then later, Ant-Man becomes Giant-man as he can only become big. I don't know why they changed because Giant-Man is much crappier than Ant-Man.

These stories feel much more like the DC stories of the era than those of Marvel. Especially when you compare to Spider-man or Iron-man. In short, they are just so bland and forgettable. Ant-Man and Wasp are NOT characters who can hold a series by their own. They make great characters as part of the Avengers, but on their own... *yawn*

The art is fine and is perhaps the best thing about it. But the plots are simply not interesting. The villain uninspired. And the resolutions...

This book is a 2/5 and I'm generous. I was bored out of my mind.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

[After Action Report] MidSouthCon 2024

A little late for this one... Ahh life...

After a pause of one year, MidSouthCon returned, this time in a new location, in Olive Branch Mississippi. In case you don't know I have a total geek's dream of playing one game of either RPG, LARP, or miniature wargame in every state in the continental United States. Mississippi was one of the states I never been (much less played in).


Friday night, I had a panel about world building in fiction and gaming. Which was at 10pm. Perfect! As it allowed me to drive to Memphis, check in to the hotel, and the con...

One fun fact: After checking in, as we drove back to the con site, I swerved to avoid coming the wrong way on the road!!! I must have succeeded in my driving check because I am here, but ActionMan did not even wake up!

We sat down to a panel about horror tropes. Now I'm much more of an horror than ActionMan who seems more "fine" with it.

The panel was interesting and fun with a good flow with diverse influences and perspectives. One older lady was strongly on the fiction side of things and had absolutely fantastic stories to tell about meeting classical authors. I had published gaming material while the other two members were experienced GMs who ran events.

I used to stay away from these panels, but more and more I find myself drawn to them. Perhaps as a way to share experience.

ActionMan took a few pictures during the panel.


Saturday, I offered one game, which would serve as the first playtest for Gencon. I ran the Olympia adventure Mud Slingers. Playtesting is absolutely fantastic because it gives me invaluable insight. I was worried the adventure would run quick, jokingly saying "we'll be done in 2 hours".

But it took a solid 4h to complete. On-time!

Shocked ActionMan
Action shot Action shot

After finishing my game, I joined a Delta Green adventure. ActionMan went to play a Pathfinder/ TV cartoon game. Unfortunately, the adventure ran too long and the final confrontation was handwaved. Too bad because the plot was pretty horrific. The theme was perhaps overly sexual for a public game, but the GM did a good job.

The premise, of us having to go into a place during a snowstorm, really added to the urgency and made the situation very interesting. I may very well steal that hook but I will use a different denouement.

After a quick walk to the nearby Taco Bell, we sat to play a Savage World game. ActionMan's first attempt with SW. The adventure could have been run using Mothership or another similar system. It was effectively a re-inventing of Jonh Carpenter's 'The Thing', a film both of us enjoy. We did fine and managed to survive, even if the world is doomed because we consistently failed perception-based checks...


After breakfast at Waffle House, we returned to the con shortly before 9am. There was something rather odd about the almost empty halls.

We both thought it felt like the Backrooms. (If you don't know what the Backrooms are, look at Kane Pixel's work on Youtube, I also wrote an adventure using them called Cthulhu Modern: Beyond the Door). Empty hotel halls feel blank and devoid of anything. Yeah, we cringed and had a fun time laughing (nervously) about it.

Since the only event going on was the Anime showcase, we went there. What sucked was that the feed cut every 30-45 seconds with a big clunk sound and the screen going dark. We chuckled but after a short time, it lost its interest and we left.

We split and I went to attend a panel about "Valuing your books" I expected this would be about pricing books, but no. The lady talked about getting books priced and evaluated. It really made me think of "The Ninth Gate" movie with Johnny Depp. Interesting to know and something I may used in an adventure later.

Meanwhile, ActionMan hit the board game room and played games.

I attended another this time about Drafting Military SciFi. I'm no military man myself but it was the panel I was most interested in. A pilot, a marine, and a navyman... It was interesting and gave me a few things to think about for SpaceFOE.

Next I gave my final panel, this one about improvisation and how to use and leverage. Again, the panel was interesting because I was the D&D guy while the others favored more freeform storytelling systems and/or LARPs. The difference in experiences added to the discussion, highlighting the difference (why system is important) and the similarities in techniques, styles, and tricks used regardless of the system.

I had a blast but it was time to drive back home.


This was the first time under the new administration and overall, I thought it was a pretty good one. There were a few bumps in the road, but I think these issues will be resolved next year. We still had a good time and definitely plan on going back next year.
- Attendance Low: Perhaps it was the new layout but it seemed like the attendance was lighter. I believe this was linked to the skip of a year.
- Nice venue: The new venue was comfortable and nice. My main issue is that everything is on different floors so things seemed quite separated.
- Good to be back! Both ActionMan and I enjoyed going back to the Memphis area.

I said it multiple times but I always believe Midsouthcon to be the official kick off of the con season that peaks at Gencon. It allowed me to test an adventure.

We'll be back in Memphis next year!

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Tau Stealth Suits

These tau stealth suits I got from a miniature trading event at the Game Keep. They were printed using a transparent resin, perfect for these guys. However, leaving them unpainted is not something I can do...

So I used a number of ink-like techniques to make one unit in blue and one in green and painted the based to match the color.

The result is unique among the minis I painted. I have no use for them so they will likely end up on Ebay.