JP On Gaming

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Service is Eternal for 5e released!

You may have been wondering why I have been rather quiet on this blog for a while, and I have to say I missed it. I miss writing for it. However, with this crazy week I had, I did not have a lot of time to spend writing. I did however, take some time to write and complete work on a book I've been working on for quite a while. Of course, I mean the 5e version of "Service is Eternal", the book to the First Ones of Saggakar.

I always thought of this book as a "monster book", but one where you create and build serious enemies. So the balance in design that I value everywhere else here takes a backseat as I want to make the First Ones to be more than just monsters.

This new edition was an opportunity for me to not only review material for the setting, but also to add elements to it that were not in the original, Pathfinder version. So let's go over some of the changes that are in there.

First, a whole new section on First Ones Organizations. These organizations were mentioned in the original book, as feats and as prestige classes. I always felt these were not well defined enough in the original book. When I began thinking about them and how I had not used them much. I went back to my original material for them and expanded them. I did the Orders, but also redid the six schools, expanded and defined them. If you look at many of the main First One NPCs, you can already see where I was going with some of them, those secret background that have yet to appear in adventure and in material. I really like the simplicity of the 5e organization format. Although I initially wanted to expand the format, I opted against it, to let the GM on his own how powerful the school/organization is in his campaign.

The organizations are used for backgrounds, allowing for the creation of characters who attended the schools or trained with the orders and are either no longer members OR currently on leave.

The six races that were in the original book are still here: the half-elven Drovites, the commanding Exodites, the breeding Grexodites, the shadowy Harovites, the demonic Netherlings, and the halfling-driders: the spiderlings. But the coolest and most disgusting addition to the main races are the shapeshifting shogleths. I had these guys in adventures and when they transform from a humanoid into an ooze is always fun to describe and watch the players' reaction.

The new archetypes for the classes are based on what used to be prestige classes, such as the Dark Dancer (bard), the Kares'kor (fighter), the Jet Arrows (ranger), the Lords of the Whip (fighter), the Masters of the Veils (wizard), and the Shadow Blades (rogue).

Add new feats, new spells, new alchemical substances, new magic items, 5e version of the monsters, and sample First Ones.

You can get this book on DriveThru RPG and RPG Now. Check it out, leave a review.

Perhaps the biggest bonus is that it has a HeroLab extension! So get the book, and create First Ones through Herolab right away!

For those of you who enjoy Legacies, you get a special, "unique" LR that allows you to create a First One in the campaign!

Monday, October 16, 2017

No sunset this time

I just got the news that I was being cut for budgetary concerns from the job I occupied for the last 2.8 years. It had it ups and downs, but I enjoyed showing up to work and getting some really cool things done. While I am quite angry about this situation, I must focus on what is coming, on what I need to do next.

Over the last two years, I was able to really solidify the development situation, going from a house on fire to one of calm and peace. I set up a number of processes that made deployments simpler, quicker, and easier. I put in place code that simplified and streamlined the code, especially in the area of data access and unit testing. I am proud to say that under my watch (I'll give myself a 4 month grace period), there has been no major code issues. None that required a rollback or an emergency fix. Actually, I recall there was one... Still with 1.5 deployments a month, I'll take take.

I can't take it personal, because I know my performance was good and that I have nothing to be ashamed of. I did a great job. So good that they decided that I was not needed. A victim of my own success.

Still it sucks.

It provides me little solace to know I did nothing wrong.

I already contacted many of recruiters and have spent the day on the phone. I pray things will fall in place quickly.

I did find solace today in a few things. First, my wife is the most understanding and kind person I know. I mean, she is able to put up with me. Second, Since I posted the new on social media, I received a LOT of help and well-wishes from people all over the place.

Now enough wallowing in self-pity and let's get up and start getting my butt back to work.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Imaginarium After-Action Report

This past weekend was Imaginarium Convention in Louisville, Ky. I attended the cons last year as a guest, and this year, I went as there as support for JD, the man behind Rhym. JD was running panels and workshops.

The trip there took much longer than expected because I spent two hours trying to cross all of Nashville. For those who do not know, I both live and work in the south of Nashville. After a long time on the road, I got there. Since it was around 10pm local, I decided to make a stop at the convention hall to check in and see what was going on.

HQ had just closed for the night, but the gaming hall was still rockin', so I sad down at a 5e game for its finale. My introduction to the game featured all kinds of wrong, and the game delivered, laughs all around.

Then I check in to the hotel, only to discover that I booked the wrong weekend! The issue was quickly addressed and fixed quickly and I was shortly in my room ready for sleep, watching Guy Fieri on TV.

I got up early Saturday morning ready to rock. I did a quick stop at a local Starbucks for my morning joe and I was ready to rock. Everything was set up, with the looming shape of Fahran the tiefling cleric over me, I waited.

The first slot, I had only a single player show up. It was great to see Scott again, with whom I played last year. I could've joined either a game of Dread or a game of Wild Skies, but I did not really feel it. Rather, I was full of ideas. So I sat down and I wrote. I wrote up a storm at a writing convention!

Towards the planned end of the slot, Tom who I met at the very first Imaginarium and JD came around and we began to chat and talk about stuff. Yak Yak Yak. So much so that before I realize it, it was ten to two. I had not eaten yet!

The afternoon slot, I ran the newest Rhym adventure, Lord of the Desert. The ink on the adventure was still drying when I left for the con on Friday. A fun time for sure, though I did take a little too much time to get into the meat of the plot. It is a big adventure, with a lot to do. By the end, they were breathless and asking for more, always a good sign!

After that, Tom, JD and I headed to the Sichuan Gardens for a Korean-prepared Chinese feast. I was famished by then. I must say that I wolfed down anything that came within arm's reach. Over dinner, we talked about a lot of things as I ate and ate.

After that, I got into my car to see my hockey team was getting crushed. Sigh. The drive south was uneventful. Sleep. Sleep was good.

The con had moved from its previous location near the airport for the Ramada Inn in J-Town (next to my Kentucky home). The venue is fine even if there is nothing closeby to eat without taking your car.

I will send to the convention folk, that the gaming-related panels and the gaming programming should be made so that game slots and game panels do not clash with each other. I really think this would allow both GMs and players to have time to participate in as many events as possible. I think that could really help the gaming room. Attendance seemed low, but that is only from my own limited perception.

I am interested in going back next year. Though I will plan to have all my panels in the morning, then GM afternoon and evening. I would also like to plan my time better so I get to meet different writers and publishers.

That's it for this year!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

[ArcadiaQuest] The Jester

In my previous post, I posted about the Marillion jester from the band's early and quite hallowed days. Like many fan, I prefer their early stuff (with Fish).

I'm not fully satisfied with the picture, but not with the model itself, I really like.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Wonderpage is Moving

Way back in 1996, I opened a website on my university's servers to put content from my many World of Darkness. I called it quite simply, Pacman's Wonderpage. The name stuck and I used it to this day...

Before I left college, I moved the Wonderpage to Geocities. That was years before Yahoo got a hold of it. I built up my site so it would contain everything I wanted. It was great fun to built and experiment with html technologies. Before Geocities closed down, I moved to a GoDaddy hosted website, simply Chapleau.us.

When came time for the big redo and move to PHP in and around 2008-09, I setup everything I wanted.

Tonight, I am moving the Wonderpage once again, to a new hosting solution. I will be reviewing a lot of things on the Wonderpage, maybe updating parts of it to a different type of technologies. It remains to be seen... Should be fun for sure...

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

[ArcadiaQuest] Six Fun Ones

Six more from Will's Inferno collection.

The first group includes a witch, Baron Samedi, and a Tiefling. The witch came out really nice, her sculpt is very good and quite dynamic. She comes out as very anime-ish and the paint job really brought out all the character of the model. Baron Samedi has a similarly great sculpt. Finally, the third one is a demon-woman whose red color

The second group is also pretty cool. First is Kate Beckinsale's character in Van Helsing. I really like her hair. The next guy is Perseus as presented by Harry Hamlin in the original (and still best) Clash of the Titans.

The second group is also pretty cool. First is Kate Beckinsale's character in Van Helsing. I really like her hair. The next guy is Perseus as presented by Harry Hamlin in the original (and still best) Clash of the Titans. The third and final one has is the jester. This jester was painted based on the jester imagery from the early Marillion, whom I learned that Will was also a fellow fan. All the best freaks are here, as they say!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

[ArcadiaQuest] Six more

Six more for Will's collection! The two I have a particular story for are in the second group.

The lady in the center looked very much like one of the characters in the Dark Crystal. I gave her a big white dot in her eye to represent the glow of the crystal she holds. The wings came out really nice I think and is another highlight of the mini.

The big guy... He game out MUCH darker than I wanted, and though I liked his skin color. I painted his beard using black, but was completely invisible over the skin. I was faced with a choice: do I repaint the model in a lighter color OR do something. I really liked the dark skin as he really popped when placed with the whole group. So I opted to repaint his beard and eyebrows. The end result is a rather unique-looking character.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

[ArcadiaQuest] Six Characters

More from the Inferno set!

The First pic has three character... none of which I have much to say about.

The second group has the two Drow and a mad alchemist. I really find interesting that the male drow's eyebrows and face-dot forms a big eye!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

FOE now on the OpenGamingStore!

I am really happy to report that FOE is now (finally) on the OpenGamingStore. John and Debra are both really super awesome with my procrastinating. I still have a LOT of work to enter all of the FOE catalog on the store.

This means that you now have four locations where you can get FOE products! DriveThruRPG.com, RPGNow.com and now the Open Gaming Store!

I will be adding more to their site over the coming days. Check them out!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

[ArcadiaQuest] Inferno

I am currently working on Will's collection of ArcadiaQuest - Inferno miniatures. Here are the first three.

The guy on the left is a type of Greco-Roman warrior, a Hercules of sort.

The guy in the middle could be one of several guys. Gandalf or Moses parting the Red Sea. I am particularly happy how the white of his tunic and the white of his hair and beard came out. One is really white/cotton and the other is gray. Nice effect on a simple paint job.

The last character is a Xena lookalike. She has a simple palette but a great sculpt.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

September Setting Sale means 33% off FOE products

DriveThru RPG is making a September Setting Sale. This means that all of FOE's setting books are 33% off! Great time to pick up the Rhym Campaign Setting or the Tyrants of Saggakar for Pathfinder or the Tyrants of Saggakar for 5e.

Or you can opt to expand your knowledge of the Tyrants of Saggakar setting with either the ArchDespotate of Faremh, or one of the location books, including the new Markelis: City in the Mists or Randy's awesome Onero: City of Sins.

Perhaps you are looking for something to spice up your own campaign? Check out Service is Eternal, a book on the First Ones or the many tomes and spells of A Shackled Mind is a Clear Mind.

Or maybe you just want to complete your collection of Saggakar by getting the Tyrants of Saggakar Bundle

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Paizo fails again

Paizo does many good products, but they do not get the message about one of their really very crappy product. I can safely say that I will not purchase any of Paizo's GM screens.

And I love GM Screens.

Why? Because they make them the "thin and high" rather than "long and wide". Their screen links the long edges together and this make it a product that loses all value to me.

Unlike Paizo, WotC has got it right (one of many things). WotC's GM Screen are linked by the small edge, making their screens lower and much wider.

A lower GM screen allows for the privacy a GM wants and needs when running a game: hide maps, art of what the PCs have yet to encounter, module notes, and a bunch of other things. A GM screen is not merely used to hide dice rolls (though that IS one of its function).

Another great benefit is that when the GM sits down, the low screen makes it so there can be a flow of discussion, it does not completely cover the GM's face. I feel like there is a feeling of community and shared experience rather than the ultimate tower of GMing. If you know me and my GMing style, I encourage discussion not just with the NPCs, but between the party as well and the low screen allows me to fade into the background yet hear everything that is happening.

A low screen makes it easier for me to reach and access miniatures or draw on the map without having to put an armpit in a player's face. Okay I don't do that, but you get the point that I have to reach over or around everything and invade someone else's personal space.

For some GMs and their style the high vs low screen does not matter, either because they simply do not use one or use one off to the side/ on a side table. But I use the screen on the table in front of me and I like to feel included with the players (if only to plot their later demise and backstab them at the right moment).

So although the screen is visually nice and filled with nice and useful information, it will remain on the shelf of my FLGS. I do have a 4e game screen AND a 5e one. Both of which are low and wide and have used both.

I will leave you with a repost of a picture of the Rhym one-shot to show you what I mean. You can see my bald head in the background. The screen is up, but the players can see me move my hands and I can easily reach over... And that is why I will not buy a Paizo screen until they make them useful. And mean low and wide.

Btw, I don't need them wide because I'm a big guy myself... But it helps.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

[Rhym] The Awakening a One-Shot Campaign


This past weekend, I ran my first home game in a very long time. I had an interesting idea to bring together a very hodge-podge group of characters. Both as characters and in-person.

After our original plan for Labor Day feel through, I was really bummed, but I bucked up and talking to my players, I visited some local groups and recruited new people. As with any such gathering, you never know who will show up and whether the party will gel together.

Well... Things went really well from the time they woke up in their cells... The players were awesome and they really got into the madness of the story (which married a dungeon crawl with more intrigue).

The characters were:
- Sister Atusa, A human life cleric (Order of the Eye)
- Belladonus/Belladona, A Haver bard
- Hyree, An Amazon Ranger
- Keevin, A Ptahn Monk
- Om-za, A Kynean sorcerer
- Togg, A Hareen (feral halfling) fighter

I created these characters to both showcase FOE products, but also cover a wide variety of character types. Each character had different abilities than the other iconics from either Saggakar or Rhym.


Ashe drew the following character, who plays Sister Atusa cleric of Knowledge. The awesome drawing depict Sister Atusa hiding behind the large Amazon, Hyree. It seems that she has a growing phobia of the written word. Whenever she hears "There is something written", she now hides... Or they send the illiterate hareen ahead of them. Funny what a few glyphs can do..

Here are a few action pics.




Friday, September 8, 2017

Markelis: City in the Mists released!

I just finished Markelis: City in the Mists for Tyrants of Saggakar, I am reminded of the amount of work that must be done on a product AFTER the writing is done. This include: layout and pagination, editing and correcting, and the art selection.

When I first started as a writer, I did not do much about that, but with time, I do it more and more. The editing in particular is time-consuming but makes the final product so much better. For that phase of the product I print the PDF and go about covering the page in red rewrites and tightening the text.

What is Markelis? It is the city swallowed in the Mists, former capital of the ArchDespotate. I had most of the details I would need for it written before the Origins special. From that skeleton, I grew the locations and clarified things. I mean the Origins version was very workable for an adventure, but not enough for a full book.

The product is one that will be a first for FOE. It is published for BOTH 5e and Pathfinder at the same time! It includes new magical items and artefacts to be found in Markelis and new monsters, including some NPCs (an anuka ghast called King-Of-Mists).

Markelis, City in the Mists

Twenty years ago the Mists came over the city and took more than half its population. The former capital of the ArchDespotate of Faremh was abandoned in a hurry, its treasures left behind.

This book contains:
- A history of the city of Markelis
- Detailed descriptions of its most important sites, such as the Spire of Skulls, the Temple of Man, and the cemetary.
- Adventure locations and plot hooks
- Three new monsters: Ethrereal Worms, the Tar Mummies and the Warrior Daemons.
- Two fully-statted out NPCs: the ghast King-of-Mists and the blind erinyes Rodwenza.
- A city that will be used extensively for the Legacies Organized Play Campaign

This book is a great addition to the Tyrants of Saggakar setting. I am really excited to see this one come out!

You can get this new book from the usual sources: DriveThruRPG or RpgNOW

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

New Art: The Monsters

I said it before, and I will say it again, every time I get new art, it is like a mini-Christmas. Opening the message and looking at what I will find inside. I have been blessed with working with so many great artists in my time at FOE. I never worked with artists before, so that was one of the many things I had to learn when I started working at FOE.

These new pieces are from Zamy Zam, a new artist I am working with. I really like her work. For her first commission, I asked her to draw my kids as adventurers.