JP On Gaming

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Yearly Retrospective 2023

Another year has ended and we are now in 2024. This one is late but better late than never!

Personal and Family Life

- My eldest daughter graduated from high school and she is off to the next step of her journey.

- I still work and enjoy working at 247 Sports/ CBS Sports.

- The passing of my good friend and FOE author JD Conrad. I took the opportunity to add some Rhym to our Gencon Specials as a thank you and farewell. Farewell my friend, keep that new adventure ready.

World Events

- The Continuation of the Russia-Ukraine War. For God's sakes people, enough of this mindless dying. Ukraine is done. Let's find a way to end this madness. The great defenders are dying for what will become useless soil. Stop it.

- The Gaza War. Again, that one group does something wrong does not allow another to go ape-shit. Let's work at a lasting peace. But our leaders don't seem to give a crap about that either.

Trips

2023 was a pretty tame year when it came to traveling. We spent most of our year at home. This year, we were lucky enough to have people come visit US at our new house in TN. It was great to see all those faces.

- The biggest trip of the year was our daughter Jojo leaving for Canada.

- Both parents and my sisters came from Canada for Jojo's graduation

Publishing/ FOE

This was a relatively tame year as far as publishing goes. I spent a lot of time on Chaos Tide Rising, which I decided not to publish, and coming up with the Ozaka Campaign Setting.

Amazon Releases
- Ozaka Campaign Setting inspired by Medieval Japan

DM's Guild Releases
- Drow of the Demonweb a product to help GMs create or expand drow-themed encounters.

DriveThruRPG Releases
- Ozaka Campaign Setting inspired by Medieval Japan

This year, many FOE products reached Best-Seller tiers. This is a great honor and sign that you guys enjoy and appreciate FOE products, and a great motivation to keep writing and creating more and better products.

Bestseller Milestones: Electrum
- Curse of Strahd II: Griffon Hill Manor
- Rahadin: Dread Knight of Ravenloft
- Ravenloft: Apple of a Mother's Eye

Bestseller Milestones: Silver
- Rhym Campaign Setting

Bestseller Milestones: Copper
- Graz'zt's Entourage Demonic goodies for the GM.

RPGing/ GMing

Akhamet Cover

I ran a hexcral for my home Ozaka group. It thought me much about this medium and let me know that I REALLY like running those. We played one month in-game for about eight months of real-time. If you know me, such a type of campaigns is so completely out of my personal comfort zone and usual style. Loved it.

I ran and completed "Tides of Chaos" but decided not to publish the campaign because it would requires too much material to be added to make it. I figure 400+ pages of material and on DM's Guild, the time and monetary investment. Still we got some good memories.

I played some "Monster of the Week" and had a good time. Thanks to my GM, Sarah.

I joined a local Westmarch-style campaign at the local Murfreesboro, TN. Here are a few action shots from games I ran there.

Conventions/ Special Games

2023, I returned
- Festival Draconis Online
- Huntsville Comic and Pop Culture Expo Huntsville, AL
- ICCC-V Lebanon, TN
- Gencon Indianapolis, IN (6 parts)
- FOE Day at the TEC Murfreesboro, TN

Blog

- I put up a variety of articles, mostly FOE-related, kinda book reports, and miniatures.

- I finished the year with 109 blog posts this year, a pace I rather like.

Other Media

I am one of the players in Die Inspired Season 1.

I participated in a discussion with DMPaulG on his Twitch/YouTube about my work with the Moonshae Isles

Books

Different things to read thing year. Again a variety of things, from fiction to comics. Looking at this list now, I found that the amount of books I read to be somewhat less than in previous years. Perhaps because of my great tired state. Damn you old(er) age!

Non-Fiction
- The Empires of Ancient Persia

Fiction
- Kwaidan by Lafcadio Hearn
- The Noise of War by Vernon B Davis
- Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
- Saracen Storm by JM Nunez
- Ulrich by James Walker
- Sixteen Ways to defend a walled city by KJ Parker

Comics
- Essential Hulk Vol 5 by Marvel Comics
- Essential Thor Vol 7 by Marvel Comics
- Essential Spider-man Vol 3 by Marvel Comics
- Murena Tomes 1-3 by Dufaux/Delaby
- Murena Tome 4: Ceux Qui Vont Mourir by Dufaux/Delaby
- Rat Queens vol 1: Sass and Sorcery

RPG and games Mini-Reviews

Posting some initial thoughts about new games I tried this year.
- Mothership RPG Survival Horror Sci-fi

TV and Film Reviews

I did not review anything.

This new season of Doctor Woke is not on TV and I won't pay for it.

Miniature Painting

For most of this year, I painted sporadically. Most of the painted characters were for tabletop gaming. Throughout the summer, I painted many models as GM gifts for Gencon.
- SpaceFoe characters

So with all this, I wish you all a very happy new year.

JP

Friday, January 12, 2024

[Terrain] Ancient Ship Graveyard

During the Christmas holidays, I began working on something for Gencon... It is an ancient ship's graveyard inspired by the remains of ships at Purton in England. These remains jut out of the ground.

What will I use them for? I won't reveal too much but one of the Gencon adventure has a working title of "Re-leash the Kraken"...

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Hormagaunts/ Gnashers

These are hormagaunts, the melee troops of the tyranids.

For SpaceFOE, they are called gnashers part of the Ticks. The ticks are creatures who are insect-like and spread out into the cosmos. They fight by swarming targets mindlessly. I have some Small (CR 1/8), Large (CR 1), and Huge (CR 2) versions.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

[SpaceFOE NPCs] Group shot

And finally a group picture of all the SpaceFOE NPCs.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

[Kinda Book Report] Rat Queen Vol1 Sass and Sorcery

I have been distantly involved with the folks at Lurking Fears who produce some really good gaming stuff, particularly with Call of Cthulhu. Recently, I saw a post from them asking for volunteers to play a streamed game of Rat Queens, with the PCs taking on the roles of the titular Queens.

Therefore, reading the first trade paperback was required for the game. It's been a long time since I did something with required reading. In fact, I think it was an interview... I did not get that job (thank God!)

So on to the story. The Rat Queens are one of many adventuring/ mercenary parties in the town of Palisade and well... like most young people with a lot of money and not much to spend it on, they get drunk, fight each other, and cause a lot of damage.

Yep, they are pretty much the typical D&D party. They talk trash. Curse. Sex. A lot. Then booze. And drugs. In short, they are the stereotypical 20-something college crowd with money and power!

Now the good points: I like the four Queens. They each have their personalities and the conflicts generated by these personalities are interesting and really sells the whole piece. I've a feeling you could put these four into whatever situation/ adventure and they would play out with similar hilarious results.

The main villain of the piece is also efficient (though I've a feeling he will suddenly become completely incompetent so the Queens can prevent him from doing his nefarious deeds).

The art is topnotch and really effective. The writing is competent. The characters are good. The story has some interesting twists. The world has some consistency in a gaming sort of way.

So why do I not like this? Why do I get the feeling this book is "not for me." The in-your-face, over-the-top rowdiness turns me off. Now I don't "hate-hate" it... But I don't think I would read much more of it either.

So... what do I rate this? If you like this sort of thing, you may go as high as 4/5. But I can't go that high. I thought about giving it a 2/5 but there are a lot of things here that I liked that don't warrant that. So, I have to settle on 3/5 but with severe warnings. This has an MA rating (or should).

Monday, December 18, 2023

[Kinda Book Report] Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City

I picked up this book prior to a work trip to Florida earlier this year. I always prefer to have a physical book when I travel and unable to find one that tickled my fancy on Amazon, I went to my local Barnes & Nobles to pick up a book by its cover.

After much browsing, I settled on this one.

Why? Because it seemed like a one-off. I have endless series because it typically means the author has no idea where the story is going. Give me a start-middle-end where I can then decide to continue.

Without spoiling... the story is that of siege. Sieges make for interesting stories.

The story has its moments, with a devious main character out of his league trying to sell lies to a Constantinople-style city. Many of the inventions/ ideas he uses are reasonable. The cast around him are competent and interesting with diverse perspectives that each highlighting different areas of concern. The characters are a high point.

Where do I start with the issues with this book? No messages of any kind can leave the city unless the main character does it. It just felt like a D&D game. A 100,000+ army sits outside a city for months without attacking. Airtight naval blockade (okay, that one made sense). The time passing is unclear at best. The whiffs of racism are unequally applied, feeling tacked on and not addressed more than in random scenes.

The worse of it all: the epilogue. I was waffling between "this is cool" and "this isn't great" but that epilogue... Basically, it said "none of this really happened and it does not matter." Telling me the reader that this was a work of fiction IN THE FICTIONAL WORLD. That sold it.

When I put the book down, I was not interested in reading the first chapters of other books. I just left them and closed the book.

What would you rate it, JP? I hear you asking. I waffled between a 2/5 and a 3/5 throughout my reading. The epilogue brought it down to a clear 1.5/5, rounding it out to a 2/5. A weak 2.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Tyranid Hive Tyrant/ TIck Queen

A classic Tyranid Hive Tyrant to lead an army.

In SpaceFOE, the Tick Queens are the generals who lead their brethren into battle. They evolved from the greatest of the Tick warriors. This thing is massive and it lords over all other creatures of the range. The third photo shows how the Queen lords over the huge gnashers

Friday, December 15, 2023

[SpaceFOE NPCs] Black Cohort and a Commissar

This Praetorian soldier belong to the Black Cohort. I hate painting large sections of black and used a little highlights not to hide the shiny black color.

This Commissar is ready to take command of an army of Local Defense Force (LDF). She could also be used as a boss for the Red Gang.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Graz'zt's Entourage Reaches Copper!

I remember reading about the demon lords from my Monster Manual II back in the 80s. His entry was pretty lackluster. He fought Demogorgon and Orcus, and troglodytes... I wrote him off as uninteresting in favor of other bigger, badder dudes. The picture made him look like he had a single arm.

It was not until I played and ran Expedition to the Demonweb Pits that my interest in him as a viable bad guy really picked up. He became a major character in the original and the remade Witches of Pikemaster.

This product takes new creatures from the expanded "Witches" and collects them into a small document. You get a number of new demons. Many of these demons proved to be quite a unique challenge to high level (8-12) because of their unique powers.

The art within by The British Shark, Blehc, and MedievalKyte really highlight everything.

A big thank you goes to my victims players: ActionMan, Billy, Corey, JP2, Marvin, and Sarah who suffered at the hands of the monsters.

"Witches" was written with Graz'zt as an opponent but one who is more than a demon monster out to rampage and destroy (but his goals are not good).

You can get it on the DM's Guild by itself.

The product is also half-price through the FOE Avernus Bundle, also on the 'Guild.

A big thank you for your continued support.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

[Kinda Book Report] Defenders Vol. 1

I finally got my hands on the first Defenders omnibus. I was looking forward to it.

The Defenders are the non-team superhero team, and it shows. Doctor Strange, Hulk, and Namor form the core of the group. Most of the stories lose time by bringing together these characters. Namor in particular provides very little that Hulk does not. When the Silver Surfer joins, it's even worse. Bunch of over powered characters who need Doctor Strange to solve what's happening while they punch stuff.

There are some highlights here.

First, the origin of the Valkyrie is given and her transformation over the issue is interesting. She starts off as a bad stereotype of a feminist, complete with predictable catchphrases. It took her a long time to grow into a full-on character (beyond this issue.)

Another highlight was the Defenders/Avengers cross-over where they deal with a plot from Dormammu and Loki. As the Defenders tried to free the Black Knight from being petrified. This was a six-issue plot. The worse part was the 6th "epilogue" when they travel in time to medieval Middle-East.

I think this one waffles between a low three and a high two. 2.5/5, which rounds out to 3/5.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

[SpaceFOE NPCs] Hunters and Bounty Hunters

These two girls were initially destined to become Necromunda Escher gangers, but I decided to go a different route and use a simple scheme. One has an ice scheme and the other a more forest-y.

This is a random off-brand Delaque juve from Necromunda I think would make a great bounty hunter with that long duster. The odd angle is because I had to fix him after his foot broke off.

Monday, December 11, 2023

[SpaceFOE NPCs] Two Nobles

A nobleman for SpaceFOE. His clothes look like crushed velvet. I really like the sculpt of his pistol.

This noblewoman resembles Helen Miren. She had a pistol that broke off, leaving her with something that resembles a deadman's switch or a communication

Saturday, December 9, 2023

[SpaceFOE NPCs] Scream-killer and a Mech-priest

Perhaps the most random character of all, this is a model of the killer from the Scream franchise. Although he has a black robe in the series, I went for a blue scheme - because I prefer not to paint too much black.

This was a low-polygon Mech-priest painted in classic colors. I like his drill arm. The arm broke when I took it off the printing supports. I glued it back in its current position.

Friday, December 8, 2023

[SpaceFOE NPCs] Sheila and the Sniper

I painted this generic adventuress based on Sheila from the classic D&D cartoon, giving her a cammo cloak using a color scheme similar to the Spy.

This sniper I did with two different types color cammo schemes. The cloak with brown and green for his pants.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Tyranid/ Tick Warriors

I built my tyranid warriors to carry a variety of weapons and use them in Grimdark Future. I like the ecclectic armament.

In SpaceFOE, they are elite Tick warriors who serve a local commanders. Unlike the gnashers and spitters, warriors are rather intelligent and have a sense of self-preservation.