JP On Gaming

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Delights

Two weeks ago, I went to Gamers' Haven here in Colorado Springs with my eldest daughter. During that time, she found a pumpkin monster in the Reaper Miniatures rack. Like most fathers, I'm a sucker for little girls' blue eyes. (I'm whipped)

Here is the monster, once painted.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I have the power!!!

Back in July, Josh Frost, head honcho for the Pathfinder Society campaign posted a call for volunteers. The task: serving the campaign as a Regional Coordinator for various regions (one of which was Denver, Co). There was never any doubt in my mind that I would apply for the position, even though there were many qualified locals who could easily have served as regional coordinator.

I want to thank the many people who sent Paizo emails in support of my application (there are a few of you).

I have a number of ideas I would like to see in Pathfinder Society adventures (the application form asked for 2, I provided 5).

What will happen next? I am as anxious to know as you are!

Now, enough of this talk stuff... Let's get back to gaming.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Mindless Undead

As you enter the crypt’s main chamber, the ghoul you followed stands in front of a makeshift altar. The thing turns to you, its raspy voice echoing the following command. “Kill them.” All around you, skeletons emerge from their coffins, ready to fight.

The scene above happened to all of us. An intelligent undead creature commanding a horde of mindless ones makes for a fun and typical encounter. Undead make great opponents, PCs generally don’t have to think too closely about what they do with them, and only rarely does their destruction cause consternation in the party.

Still, something gnawed at me regarding that encounter. How can a normal, basic ghast (or ghoul or wight) command skeletons/zombies that surround it? Why does the zombie obey the undead? Why would it not obey a living creature that does not control then through magic such as a necromancer would use spells like command undead or control undead ? As a computer engineer my natural instinct is to devise a finite state machine to determine the undead’s behavior. But I can see where that could confuse some people, and really… to account for everything… well that could be problematic.

How can I simplify the model to make it easy and universal? Let’s set some basis.

1. Intelligent undead should have some measure of power over the mindless ones.

2. A mindless undead’s natural instinct is to kill and destroy the living.

3. The changes must not impact the CR of the intelligent undead

4. The changes must not impact the CR of the mindless undead

5. The changes must not change existing spells or abilities (such as channel energy, the Command Undead feat, the command undead spell).

Putting a little thought into it, I would propose the following.

The necromantic energies found in all undead creatures are more powerful in intelligent undead. When a mindless undead comes into close proximity with one such creature, their necromantic energy align. This alignment makes the mindless undead extremely suggestible to the intelligent undead’s wishes.

This alignment only works on mindless undead who are not commanded or controlled through other means. Thus a skeleton commanded to attack an intelligent undead would do so without hesitation. A commanded mindless undead who orders could be open to interpretations or vague such as patrol the walls, could influenced by an intelligent undead. In the example, a zombie could be suggested by the intelligent undead to focus its patrol the west wall.

While not perfect, this mini-rule can explain and justify the scene above, without changing the creature, without changing any spells of magic usage. Thus accomplishing the 5 goals mentioned above.


Secret Project X: Quick Reveal

Louis Porter mentions Secret Project X and shows you the outline mentioned in the Secret Project X: Now an outline article. It's quick so you have to watch attentively.

Funny story is, from seeing the pile, I think I must have called Louis literally a minute after he recording this (see his blog entry).


Friday, October 15, 2010

Secret Project X: Now an outline

Secret Project X finally has a basic story outline, something to launch it! I finalized my proposal into something I liked. Based on a basic idea by Louis, the style is a marked departure from my own usual style. I found writing with a twist to be very exciting. In this case, the adventures have a common theme and story elements I tried to capture. What is it? I’m waiting on feedback before any announcements are made.

I initially started working on another storyline but I scrapped it because it didn’t fit the setting. I could not find myself excited about it. It did not bring the flavor of the setting right. So practicing my own methods, I threw the idea into an idea for the future document and went back to the writing board. I did some research and came up with something I felt was more fitting.

On the first try, I came up with an adventure idea first. What will the PCs do? approach. As a change, I looked through the campaign book to see what would inspire me, if anything stuck. There was one element that did and this time I tried a different approach. Instead of designing an adventure, I worked on the adventure site, my point of light. As I jotted down small ideas here and there: a tavern, the market, a few individuals with interesting stories, things took shape on their own.

I now had a focal location, a cast of characters and a rough idea of the types of stories I would like to write. The merging process began and after some three days of brainstorming, formatting and reformatting ideas until they took the shape I wanted, I had a proposal. I had something tangible I could submit.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Halloween Season Woes!

Am I the only one who, comes Halloween finds himself staring at a blank page, or a page the fills up with material that is either bland, without relevance or just terrible? The time of year that should be most inspiring to a big horror and fear-fan like me. Yet, that is not the case. While I thoroughly enjoy the event and the celebration - I don’t consider it a holiday; I’m not druid or ancient celt-revivalist. I mean TV movies become interesting or at least worth looking over. Horror and scary things are all around us, the getting’s good.

Yet I am faced with a serious lack of good ideas for Halloween. Could it be a case of too much of a good thing?

Well not really since the movies on Syfy, AMC and even TCM are not as awesome as I’d like them to be. I mean, the most interesting movie I saw thus far this October was Meet the Spartans which was funny… but nothing to put me into the Halloween spirit OR help me coming up with an Halloween-theme or good horror-themed offering. No sudden spark.

Perhaps it is the Big-Guy-Upstairs’ way of telling me that I should come up with something different, if only for one month out of the year.

So what is a guy to do in that case? I have obligations and deadlines I need to meet.



Monday, October 4, 2010

The cat is out

Last week a number of announcements were made, and I spent a lazy weekend doing very little. Okay, I ran a Pathfinder Society adventure on-line, took my daughter to her a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese’s, watched my fantasy football team get crushed, took my Orkland Rayderz to the championship game in Blood Bowl and I made level 13 in D&D Online.

So, I’ve been talking to Louis Porter Jr of LPJ Design about something publicly dubbed Secret Project X. Okay, okay, the title isn’t great but, trust me, the real one is better. This adds a lot of work to my plate, which I always like…

What can I say about Secret Project X ? I will be writing adventures for it and the project is very exciting.