JP On Gaming

Sunday, January 29, 2023

JP was wrong (again) and future plans #openDND

It seems like we've done it! As of yesterday afternoon, January 27th 2023, the SRD for the rules of 5e are now in Creative Commons 4.0. Yay!

I first thought they would try to weasel something, but this ends the debate. They lost. Lost big. The pressure from the community, by canceling D&D Beyond subs, speaking out, and sharing thoughts about it.

What does that mean for 6e?

6e will not have an OGL. Instead, it will have something akin to what they tried to ram down our throat with the OGL1.1/2.0. In short, they "gave" us 5e but will want to close 6e off.

Just like they did 4e.

And the old one among us remember what happened to 4e... It sunk, crashed, and burned. Not so much because of its flaws, but because they simply wanted to ignore everything before 4e and start the game anew. An issue they addressed with 5e by harking back to the roots of the game. And that is one of the reasons 5e was such a success.

Will 6e be a dud? No. It will have some success. Initially. But with many 3pp who push, support, and most importantly run the game, all not going to 6e. That bodes very poorly for 6e.

So 6e got torpedoed. From the inside. I like to say "They 4e'd their 6e." Basically making this new edition dead on arrival.

Unless it is of such majestic brilliance, of such imperial greatness, of such magnanimous perfection... Which cannot happen. Which is too bad because what we seen so far was mostly positive. A lot of good things. Interesting concepts. Nothing earth-shattering, but nothing game breaking either... II was happy with what I saw and was "cautiously optimistic."

What does that mean for FOE?

In the short term, nothing. Sleep, I guess. I spent a few weeks really stressed out. Now FOE products do not copy from the SRD, I leave those portions out on purpose so I don't have to update my products if there is an errata or a rules update.

However, the question remained: how can I publish my books without fear of WotC coming after me? FOE is a small-time operation: It's mostly me with the help of some of you. Could WotC decide to sue me for using "fighter" or making a reference to "magic missile"?

Uncertainty was the name of the game for those few weeks.

So... FOE?

I am going through the Ozaka book, trying to finish it using 5e rules.

At this time, I have no real plans for what to write next. I have a number of very vague ideas but nothing definite yet. I'll keep on reading and playing with things in my head.

I am working on a Planescape campaign for DM's Guild and on a Mythic Beastiary for both Akhamet and Olympia.

On the plus side, since having had that news, I was able to add about 10 pages to Ozaka, making it just shy of 200 pages! FOE's biggest product yet.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

My "Survey" #OpenDND

I'm sure I will be outvoted by the other 105%. But I'm putting it here for posterity. (You can click on each image for full-size view)

Friday, January 20, 2023

I have the WotC OGL Survey Results! #OpenDND #DNDBEGONE

I am happy to publish the results that was used, compiled, and the feedback that we read and understood. These have been confirmed by well-connected people in the industry, including the custodial staff at WotC and one guy who saw their offices back in 1994!


- 106% of the respondants think OGL 1.0a is outdated

- 105% of the respondants support our newest OGL (whatever it is).


Okay... That was a little humor to present my sentiment that I do *NOT* believe they will look at anything we will put in our response. The survey is a delaying tactic to ram what they want and give themselves the veneer of openness. I do not trust them. I do not believe them.

I expect no transparency from them about it. No total number of votes. No % of responses per answer. And definitely nothing of what we will write in their open field will ever be read by human eyes ever again.

Maybe when Skynet takes over the world, IT will read it and point to it as the reason for the downfall of mankind.

Like so many others, I can only encourage you to purchase from Third-Party Publishers (yes FOE, but anyone who is not WotC is cool). And especially, cancel your D&D Beyond subscription ASAP.

The FOE 66% sale is still going strong. Start or complete your FOE collection before they cut us off!

Thursday, January 19, 2023

All good things... Wednesday Night Campaign

Well... Last night, after four years of weekly running, my Wednesday night Akhamet game came to an end in its current form as life pulled away the group. The (sad) usual end to a fun campaign.

After a climax with a massive revelation, heroic sacrifice, planar travel, an eclipse, and renewed conflicts among the gods and their followers, I needed a break from running two high-level campaigns at the same time (as my Monday night also runs high-level) and I did not have a good concept for the campaign going forward. They gave me one that worked but I "didn't feel it."

During this campaign, I tested many of the concepts and elements that made it into the Akhamet Player's Guide and its upcoming follow-up. Many monsters, locations were expanded during that campaign, really highlighting my design philosophy, which is to design at high level until something is needed for an adventure, then to expand and define.

The game had a lot of interesting moments. I had guest-stars, returning players who would participate in a session or three.

I feel... melancholic about it. Sadness mixed with fondness.

I must thank everyone who joined the campaign for one game or the whole thing from that first evening at Grand Adventure with Wild-Card Billy, Billy, and Marvin way back before the pandemic...

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

[Kinda Review] Mothership RPG: simple, quick, and deadly sci-fi

This past Sunday, ActionMan and I traveled "up north" to Clarksville TN for a game of Mothership.

Now let me preface this post by saying that I had COMPLETELY forgotten about the system, I believed we were going to play some 5e. But no.

I heard about this event from one of the local RPG group and got in contact with Joe (the GM) signaling my interest. The original event was scheduled to happen just before Xmas but that got canceled by the frost wave. Dang I'm still cold thinking about it.

Joe presented ActionMan and I with the system, a d100 system. Character creation took about 15 minutes with explanation. And we were off into space.

Mothership puts the players in the roles of sci-fi horror. VERY influenced by the two films in the Aliens franchise, (There are TWO films) and the Predator movies. It joins lovecraftian and survival horror with sci-fi. It is a great system to play through movie horror.

So you are not 40k-style space marines used to mowing down hundreds of monsters while chanting for the Emperor. This is average joe in space trying to survive. Very Movie-style characters having to deal with issues.

ActionMan (playing Q8T the android) and I (playing Dirk McGrit the teamster (think tech/ worker)) had to investigate what was happening in a moon base where the Company was sending us as replacements personel.

Survival horror was front and center. Not overly gory, but many "OH CRAP! moments that had us try and get out of this place.

That Joe... He managed to leave us hanging on a cliffhanger! GAH! I still don't know if we will survive!

The PDF for the game is free! My favorite price! You can check it out on MothershipRPG.com.

So some personal highlight:
- Character creation. Simple, elegant, quick
- Very story-game style where skills are not overly deterministic ("as long as you can justify using your skills, you can use it").
- The system is extremely simple: d100, doubles are crit success or fumbles.
- The stress system is an way to represent that your character is not as cool and collected when things begin going wrong.
- Gritty.

In the end, I have to say I really enjoyed this system. I personally see it more as ideal for one-shots or convention games. I will keep an eye for those whenever I attend an event.

Big thank you to Joe.

Monday, January 16, 2023

FOE OGL 66% sale and new bundle #OpenDND

Well... The past few days have been VERY interesting to say the least. With all this chaos, as I am trying to figure out what my next step will be, I decided to offer a 66% off ALL FOE's catalog on DriveThruRPG!

I also created a pair of new bundles I've been asked by a few people.

The first one is for a number of the systemless GM tools I created as part of the Gostor line. If you don't know, Gostor is "Grumpy Old Schooler Takes On Rules". These short documents provide some GM help to create interesting things: voyages, items (the base item, not their abilities or values), ruins, etc. Fun short little things.

I hadn't gone over many of those in a while. You know the grind of life, preparing Gencon, and just working on new products. But I was stuck in the middle of an Akhamet adventure where I could not figure out what to add... "Not Bolted Down" came to my rescue.

Somehow, I got overly excited about it.

I am, after all, highly and easily excitable...

OH GROW UP!

I also created a bundle for some of the Pathfinder v1 product written in the early days of FOE. They don't look as snazzy or as polished as our latest ones but they contain many good ideas.

From those early days, many great ideas saw the light of day, under Gostor or Tyrants of Saggakar.

Yes, I hope to one day return to Saggakar and make it the drea plane it should be. It's presence is not gone. It is still there. In the shadows. Lurking.

Waiting for the right time to strike.

It is there...

Here is a link to the System-Agnostic bundle. And one to the Pathfinder v1 bundle. Everything in them is at 50c.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

FOE Signing open letter to WotC #OpenDND

You may or may not know, but there is a new edition of D&D coming, called either 6e or OneD&D. There was much excitement about it with an active playtest of the new rules available online. Wizards of the Coast (WotC) promised a lot of things: backward compatibility, virtual table top, online support, etc.

I followed the development and did not make any official comment other than being optimistic by what I saw. The rule tweaks presented so far are interesting and are, overall a matter of personal preference: bonus feat at level 1, aid action requiring training, and redux of exhaustion being but a few. I think they were doing the right thing and were heading for a massive win. Those new changes could easily be home ruled.

Then, the new OGL 1.1 was leaked out...

... and the internet went NUTS.

If you do not know what the OGL is, it is a license that allows publishers to use and copy parts of the game rules and use them in their own publications. For over 20 years, the previous OGL 1.0a made the game thrive and expand from the sole domain of nerds to something almost mainstream.

You can read the Open Letter co-signed by many industry leaders (which I am happy to attach to my name and FOE's).

The Ogl 1.0a was about 900 words and was included in most all products using it. The new one balloons to 9,000 words and includes provisions for paying royalties to WotC and giving them full access to anything created.

So what does this mean to FOE?

In short, I either write and maybe get a few dollars here and there until WotC come and take it all away. I like what I do and being able to use these gains to feed my addiction for more product.

FOE is not a money-making venture, I pay for too much art... I am revenue-neutral and I appreciate being able to have artists make my crazy ideas come to life. FOE pays for my Gencon hotel and most of the trip.

So what does this mean to you?

Today, most of these third party publishers (3pp) offer games to showcase their products and ideas at local conventions and in their local areas. I expect many will either close shop, stop running D&D in public, or either move to their own system or to another one with a true open license.

So this decision will affect more than just the publishers. It will affect YOU, too.

But JP, I have the same group since 1982 Okay, you might be safe from this change. But if your groups breaks apart or changes or anything happen...

So the #OpenDND is trending. Make sure WotC sees it.

#OpenDnD

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

[From the Vault] Oathsworn Adventurers

These minis are from Oathsworn's "Heroines in Sensible Armor" kickstarter from years back. Over the years, this party was given as gifts. I really like their sculpts and while they remain feminine, they are overly sexualized.

Okay, I like those too, but having variety of poses and characters is best because characters are not one-size fits all.

Cool thing about them, only the dwarf does not carry a torch of lantern during exploration...

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

GM Gifts 2023

So... with my 3d printer, I printed a lot of things. Some of them are random pieces of terrain. I practiced with some terrain elements.

You will ask me But JP... Why do you call this a GM gift? The idea is simple. If you take one of the GM gifts, you must use it at some point during the year in a game/ encounter AND tell me how you used it.

I think I may keep a few of these and hand them out throughout the year. Get a stream of surprises as I try to make this challenge ever more complicated... This one should be the easiest of them all.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

[From the Vault] Lost Canon of the Conquistadores

These minis I painted back in 2017 and never got to put them up here. These canons should have been posted with the rest of the Conquistadores Army back in 2016... In fact, they are part of the group pic!

Monday, January 2, 2023

[Tau] Objectives for Will

With the new 3d printer, I was looking for a number of things to do that were not actually miniatures that I could print. When my feed on Cult3d showed me these Tau-generators and immediately I knew I had to make those. I printed them in two sizes, large (40mm wide) and small (25mm wide).

Those would be a Christmas gift for Will whose Tau I painted back in 2021. If there is one thing I learned is that having a few objectives that go with your army makes it really come together. I used a color scheme based the one I used for his drones. Did some fake-writing on the viewscreens, but kept the whole thing in line with the rest of the army.

It was a fun little side project and I was able to practice and learn how to use my printer better, so wins all around.



Sunday, January 1, 2023

Yearly Restrospective 2022

Another year has ended and we are now in 2023.

Personal and Family Life

- I still work and enjoy working at 247 Sports/ CBS Sports. And this year the team and I worked on several big projects including a revamped homepage for ALL our sites and we launched a new live streaming show pages I was heavily involved with. As we move forward, we will be working on eliminating some of the older applications more and more, which will be awesome, a lot of exciting stuff for 2023.

- I received a promotion to the position I thought I occupied for years! Yay!

World Events

- The Passing of Queen Elizabeth II. The longest-reigning British monarch of recorded history and the one who has been in power my entire life. Although she has little direct impact on my life, she was an interesting person who oversaw the end of the transition of the British Empire to the Commonwealth. Like many of her predecessors, she wisely stayed out of direct involvement in politics, allowing her to be "everyone's grandma". A beloved figure, she will be missed. The Queen is dead. Long live the King.

- The War in Ukraine came as something of a surprise to me as I do not believe such a conflict would start and even less how much we would get involved in that conflict, not when there are more pressing and worrying issues here at home. Ending the suffering should be our first goal, but it seems our leaders do not care for the lives of the people there. None of them seek to find a way for a lasting peace. Instead we send money into a black hole that covers... I don't know. To provide... I don't know. I see no point in continuing this conflict, not when our home economies are in shambles and so many people here need our immediate help.

One good thing (if good there is), is that I researched the fascinating history of Ukraine, Russia, and the Soviet Union. I learned and brushed up on my local geography. And even took a tour of some of the pre-war cities by using Google Earth. Both are places I would like to visit one day (in the summer ONLY).

This whole situation plays very much like the situation of Athens' Invasion of Melos and the discussion reported by Thucydides. A large bully on the block demands something of a "neutral" power. In the end, it loses prestige. A sad day for mankind.

All I can do is pray for everyone's safety (on both sides) and for our leaders to learn the wisdom to seek a peaceful resolution quickly. For all our sakes. Literally.

To be clear: I don't see either side as the "good guy". We have a brutish, thuggish regime on one side and a kleptocratically-installed regime on the other. In short, I dislike both sides.

- The Trucker Convoy that rolled into Ottawa, Canada at the begining of the year. I am not a fan of Trudeau, and his mismanagement and lack of simple leadership proved to me how feckless he is. I will say no more on this because this is not a political site.

Trips

2022 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.

- My Parents & sister came from Ottawa to see us after the 4th of July. It was great to see them after three years apart.

- My childhood friend Francois-M and his daughter came from Montreal for a whirlwind tour of Tennessee in late August. We hadn't met in person in almost three decades! Thanks Facebook.

- Florent, Florence, & Frederic came from France to see us just after Francois left. It was great to see all three as we hadn't seen them in a year. (We still talked through Social Media). That little guy is growing up so fast.

Publishing/ FOE

This year, I took on bigger but fewer projects to work on. But the big release was a redo of my book about the First Ones, which I worked on for two years.

My next big project is going to be based on ancient Japan. What I have currently is not historical at all, but is greatly inspired by it, like a Japan-flavored tea. My own experiences when I traveled there were an integral part of its creation. Add to that too many Kurosawa movies. Other jidaigeki movies. And many documentaries... and the First Ones. The resulting product will be a unique take that will expand and link the FOE-niverse together.

DM's Guild Releases
- Campaign Event a GM product to breathe life into a campaign
- Courtier: Envoys and Peacemakers a full 20-level class for 5e.
- Races of the Planes: Githzerai a new playable race for 5e
- Races of the Planes: Rogue Modron a new playable race for 5e
- Shugenja: Voice of the Kami a full 20-level class for 5e.
- Witches of Pikemaster a levels 3-10 Campaign

DriveThruRPG Releases
- Power is Fickle a book about villains
- The Marauding Titan and Best Served Cold two adventures set in Olympia - Greek-style adventuring
- Dead and Buried an adventure set in Akhamet - Egyptian-style adventuring
- Races of Akhamet: Mesaru a new character race of fennec foxes

Miskatonic Repository Releases
For the first time in years, I spent time writing Call of Cthulhu material, to be released
- Cthulhu Modern: Beyond the Door CoC meets the Backrooms.

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: Silver
- Crypts of Ravenloft
- Dark Gifts of Ravenloft
- Ravenloft: The Vanishing Ziggurat

Bestseller Milestones: Copper
- Princesses a Race book co-written with Ibsen-Z
- Dying of the Day Akhamet Adventure
- Tomb of Prince Tsubeteb Akhamet Adventure
- Desert Pearl Akhamet Adventure
- Panacea Akhamet Adventure

RPGing/ GMing

Akhamet Cover

One thing I did this year was to try and branch out, to try different things. Like many, and have tried multiple things to try and renew and expand my GMing skills.
- My Akhamet home game reached a climax with a massive reveal. This game ran for close to three years, moving from in-person through Covid to an online staple of my Wednesday night. I don't know what is next... Have to shuffle my ideas a little.
- My Friday night Ozaka campaign ran through the year... it has now been running for over a year as we explore Ozaka together. As I write this, they are now in a hexcrawl as they try to map an area of wilderness in the Yoshi Mountains.
- The Monday/Tuesday group saw major changes this year. With our usual venue-man moving away (shout-out to Marvin) and high school bands causing changes, the group finished Witches of Pikemaster and then Sarah took us on a wild planar ride that dealt with the aftermath of the Pikemaster events. I got to play! YAY! We are now playtesting my "sequel" to "Witches" which is a Planescape event. I am excited to get them into this high-level playing madness more. After a few sessions of wondering, they now have a better understanding of the trouble they (and the multiverse) finds itself in.
- I have been listening to GM channels to explore different styles and ways of running the game. Some of my favorite channels include: The Dungeon Coach, Dungeon Dudes, The DM Lair.
- I have been toying with the idea of running a West-march campaign for FOE campaigns for a while. There is some interest in it. In short, West March is a campaign where the players explore an area to discover and uncover ancient secret on the edge of a wilderness area. Again another idea...

Conventions/ Special Games

As the world returns to normal, I attended a few conventions this year: some on-line and some in-person. Time constraints, day job, and real life makes it so I cannot attend. Restrictions on some conventions are easing and I really hope they will be a thing of the past going into 2023.
- Festival Draconis Online
- Midsouthcon (and Part 2) Memphis, TN
- Seven-part report on Gencon 2022 Indianapolis, IN

Although I cannot describe this as a convention, I took part in Die Inspired's first ever campaign-season and I reported from the field whatever I could. Read the final report here: Jim Hawkins. I am not a professional D&D player!

It was an awesome, and VERY unique approach to playing the game - heck it would've been unique regardless of the setting used. 5e was awesome because of the simplicity and speed of execution it provides both GM and player. A good mix I must say. There are both lighter and crunchier systems that could be used, but 5e provides a good medium.

Now I must admit that there is something about a chest-full of cash that is both awesome and hypnotic! 5,000$ in there. I don't think I ever saw that much in cash in one place. Wooo!

Blog

Hades

- I gave the blog a little bit of a facelift/ reshuffle with a new header and a new organization

- I put up a variety of articles, from reviews of TV shows and book critiques, to gaming material.

- I finished the year with 132 blog posts this year.

- 2022 was the year where I published the most articles since 2017.

Patreon

- Truth be told, the Patreon is not doing as good as I want. I will have to tweak it some more to provide more content on there.

- I have been focusing more game-system material there and keeping this blog mostly for opinion pieces, miniature pictures and over material.

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.

Non-Fiction
- Ancient Japan by Captivating History

Fiction
- Soldiers Live by Glen Cook
- Bloody Rose by Nicolas Eames
- Port of Shadows by Glen Cook

Comics
- Le Troisieme Testament: Julius Vol 5 by Alice/ Montaigne
- Hulk Essential Vol 1 by Marvel Comics
- IronMan Essential Vol 3 by Marvel Comics
- Captain America Essential Vol 2 by Marvel Comics
- IronMan Essential Vol 4 by Marvel Comics
- Crisis on Infinite Earth by DC Comics
- Showcase Elongated Man vol 1 by DC Comics
- Avengers Essential Vol 4 by Marvel Comics
- Marvel Secret Wars by Marvel Comics

TV and Film Reviews

This year, I reviewed the latest season of Doctor Who for this blog.
- Doctor Who - Eve Of the Dalek
- Mobile Suit Gundam - Zeta Gundam

Miniature Painting

JP and the Titans

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. Including the massive Hades and many different titans.
- Will's Grey Knight army.
- Will's Yeti army.
- I bought myself a 3d printer in a Black Friday sale and have a new pile of models that I plan to use during the year! I should not have done so...

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

JP

Saturday, December 31, 2022

[Commission] Will's Yeti army

During the fall, Will asked me the following seemingly innocuous question: "Hey would you mind painting and getting paid in product?" My answer was a tentative yes, not sure what he meant. In effect, he offered me a pile of L5R/ Clan War miniatures to paint his Yeti army by Crocodile Games.

I stated many times how much I love painting Crocodile Games (makers of Wargods of Aegyptus, Olympus, and Hyperborea) because paint jobs come together quickly and just look good.

"Yep," I ended up answering. A quick trip to a Waffle House (another blogpost of an adventure if there ever was one) and I returned home with a case of mini and a huge bag of models for me. YAY! Of course, that meant painting. Which was a good thing since I was in a painting funk for a while. But no more.

One thing Will asked was to have bases as though they were on ice or a glacier, not the easier "just snow." An interesting challenge. I would have to make a test or two.

So, now to the bases... this elusive glacier...

I watched a few tutorials and how-to on youtube, but I did not like what they ended up with. The ones I saw were overly complex and I had one big issue: unlike them, the minis were already glued to their base, and well-glued too... However, these videos gave me many different ideas on how to accomplish what I could do.

Now, there is nothing like experience, doing it, and trying things to see how they play out. So I made a large base using a zombie and some stone/sand and a lot of open area to paint. I had a fun time with this one. The body was done quickly to focus on the ice. Despite this, I was able to find something that would work on the smaller bases.

The final result works nicely, the area is perhaps a tad overly blue for "real" ice, but the effect works. I gave this to Will as an objective marker.

Looking at the models, they are fairly basic: fur and abs. So I wanted to add some highlights, something that would be interesting. So the leather straps were simple, as were the wood on their weapons. No, I settled on the stones of their weapon. My first thought was to go black or red but after a quick test, it just didn't do it for me. The black just vanished and had no pop while the red was just the opposite: it popped too much and drew the eye from the rest of the model.

So I thought about about an effect I did earlier on my Hordes Trollbloods: a green with yellowy highlights. But again, a test proved this was not right.Close but not what I wanted.

So I simplified the work and focused on more basic elements: the dark green base with only minor highlights of bright green for the rock. I loved the outcome. It was subdued but enough to draw the eye without drawing too much attention from the rest of the model.





Wednesday, December 28, 2022

DND Holidays Game Day After Action Report

Akhamet GebiteOn Dec 27th, was the first Holiday D&D Game Day where I hosted a small game day where we played D&D all day.

The format was simple: three GMs, three adventures, three hours each. Sitting back, I believe that without consulting each other, each of us ran an adventure that focused on one of the three pillars the game: combat, exploration, and social.

The first adventure was run by young up-and-comer GM ActionMan who presented our team of adventurers with a heist-style job in a tale of revenge and plunder. Many choices were presented and we succeeded in leaving with money in our pockets and our hirer happy, her revenge fulfilled.

The second adventure was Will's season-appropiate tale that put us face to face with many favorites of the holidays. Filled with Will's very unique humor style, we laughed while trembling in fear.

The final adventure was mine and the PCs had to go up into the mountain to find a rare flower to cure a young woman from a strange curse or disease. A tale of travel and exploration... They made it and only realized what it was... They played the adventure without a single combat! The traps took care of them really well and sank their resources and hurt them.

As I write this, I realize that I have not taken a single picture of the event. Oh No!

So, it was great to see faces I haven't seen in months, if not longer, and meeting new faces. I think this event may become a yearly tradition! I had a lot of fun and I saw smiles all around, after the painful frowns.

Again thanks to everyone who participated as a player and as a GM.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Dark Gifts of Ravenloft goes Silver Bestseller

First off, Merry Christmas!

CoverJust as the year ends, another FOE product hits a benchmark!

This time it is Dark Gifts of Ravenloft made from a collection of handouts I made for my players as we went through Curse of Strahd during 2019-20.

These handouts allow the GM to secretly pass notes to the players as they go through the Amber Temple.

Best part of those handouts? Remembering what happened as we played through. That was where two party members got lost to insanity having accepted too many things in there. One flew away on his new wings (Ragdoll, the tiefling warlock), and the other told off the party and disappeared amidst the snows (Billy Bonescrusher). The pair had been very often used as comedic relief for their hijinx and boister that they would take over Barovia.

Billy and RagdollNeither of them would have made things much better for the populace. They would have exchanged a tyrant for another. Still it was fun smack talking each other about how once Strahd was taken down, they would have a death match to determine who would rule.

This death match took place later, as the PCs entered Castle Ravenloft for the final showdown, Billy and Ragdoll had their final clash. The party almost bit the dust on this one... A lucky counterspell prevented Ragdoll from burning half the party in a fireball that would have killed most of the group.

Good times... We all knew it would end up that way...

With the party having to take out these two.

But few things rest easy in Ravenloft...

Including Billy and Ragdoll...

Bundle Cover Dark Gifts of Ravenloft itself is Pay-what-you-want product but to reach this bestseller level, many of you thought it was good enough to pay for it and that is always something that warms my heart.

This product is part of the FOE Ravenloft Bundle. Where you can get this and many other Ravenloft products at 50% off!