JP On Gaming

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Response to SRM: DND-flavored water

Stephen Radney-MacFarlane (SRM) has been blogging in his latest post about the impending announcement of "AD&D"... Now. Where have I heard this before? Some ranting and raving lunatic talking about and Advanced Dungeons and Dragons game. That's just silly.

Oh wait! It was in a PREDICTION OF DOOM!

Could I have magically influenced SRM into my way of thinking? In a 3.5 world, I could. In a 4e world, the effects would've stopped at the end of our encounter at the Paizo Banquet! The odd thing is, though 4e was discussed during the banquet as we all wanted to know some dirt from Stephen - he gave us enough to feed our ravenous appetites while staying very diplomatic. Kudos to him on that.

So Stephen's post (see above link and previous post) lets us hint at a few things. First, The name AD&D is spoken again. Also the "changing of the guard" at Wizards" where many people lost their jobs. I believe SRM is much more "on the pulse" as to what is going on in the Seattle area than I (high up in the mountains). I just rant and try to project the past into the future. Looking at Wizard's press release for Gencon 2011, I doubt 5e/AD&D will be coming this year, so my original prediction of AD&D for Gencon 2012 still holds.

The fact that the name AD&D is out there I find exhilarating, but not-so-surprising really. After all I said it first...

I agree with most of SRM's post. There is something to be said about being part of something exclusive or unique: from the cheerleader squad to fraternities to the football team to D&D groups to better schools to high-profile jobs, rarity creates a sense of belonging. Being able to learn then advance and finally master a system is part of the fun. It's the buy-in. 4e was designed to bring in new players and on that note I believe it succeeded. It did bring in new faces (and brought back old ones) to the hobby. But when something is so easy a caveman could do it... it does lose some of his mystique, some of its prestige, some of its draw. While it might be fun for a day... It may not be something you want to do.

Like SRM says, 4e expanded its audience by turning its back on a lot of traditional gamers. Those guys who have tirelessly GM'd and organized events for them. With LFR leading the pack, they flushed away many free volunteers running cons and event in favor of small time events. How many LG-only cons were they in 2007? How many LFR cons are there now? Heck, guys drive from Denver to Colorado Springs to play LFR because nothing happens up there! (it's a 50 mile drive I am well-accustomed to.)

I think they have done something right using old IP to generate knowledge of a product. The red box did bring in some people through sheer nostalgia (though many gamers quickly put it back when they discovered it was a 4e product). Their themed boardgames based on Castle Ravenloft gives players something to build on. Since they played a light version of the game, jumping into the full game isn't that far of a leap. Get people in the door with a simple game and go from there. I met a Pathfinder player or two who got into the hobby by that particular game! Gets the name out there, gets product out. And the old guys (like me) can tell you all about what they did in I6 Ravenloft... That should be a series of posts... I was 12 years old...

I personally enjoy DDO (D&D Online, since it gone free) and at least look at any D&D computer games out there. I did not get the 4e computer game after reading reviews of how terrible it was, but I did consider it. Why? Just because it said D&D on the cover. I would be okay with playing 4e on the PC since it seems designed for it. But again, this would be what I'd call "D&D-flavored water". Its not the real juice but it reminds me of it. I don't play DDO or D&D computer to replace my table top experience or to experience deep in-character debate or inner party conflict. Comes 11pm, I have an hour to go beat up on monsters. Beat up monsters I do!

Switch brain off. Kill kill kill. Sleep.

The future? The name Dungeons and Dragons still has a lot of commercial value and potential. Anything with the name immediately draws interest. Should WotC move to a board Game only release? I don't know. They won't get my money for that. Then again they aren't getting my money right now either.

I might fork out cash for 5e. Then again I might get a "free" PDF first, evaluate it and then decide. The guys might have a few surprises left in their think-tank and the new system may learn from the 4e/Pathfinder situation, take what I like from both or either. Let's hope they draw the right conclusions from their 4e adventure.

Stay tuned folks.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I'm a collaborator on Seekers of Secrets

If you already follow the new Pathfinder Society-oriented blog called Seekers of Secrets. The blog is a good idea and a place to share experiences between players. My first post is about how I came to love Pathfinder.

Check them/us out!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Farewell to a beloved character

I find it sad when a character you invested a lot into gets retired, whether this is because a campaign comes to a close, gets killed permanently or because you reach retirement level, it sucks. This is what happened to me a few Sundays ago. After a lot of adventuring, Naadhira al-Zawree, my oracle of bones and self-proclaimed Prophetess of Rovagug, reached the retirement level.

Naadhira’s abrasive personality really made an impact on many of my fellow players. I like to believe that her unique character inspired others to come up with unique and different characters and personalities. These very unique characters have lifted PFS over its competition and created a play experience that is really unique and fun. Base it on solid adventure, add interesting characters, some internal friction and you have some of the most unique elements of PFS, particularly here in the Rocky Mountains.

Naadhira may come out of retirement every once in a while for a Pathfinder Module or two. I really will miss her. This year I have said goodbye to two characters I player for a long time: Father Werner von Breshlow-Giersbergen and now Naadhira. Soon Katharan will join this group… And then I’ll be left with only my low-levels...

And so goes the cycle of play… Which character will I create next? Difficult question really… I guess I’ll be GMing for a while as I think of another character idea. One can almost say unfortunately, Pathfinder has a LOT of good, fun classes. I have a great idea... I think "Paul Turtle Senior" from "Osirion Country Chariots" who makes custom-made wagons and got screwed by his son... I like that idea...(pron. I-dears)


Monday, June 27, 2011

Talking about Call of Cthulhu

It was the week before PaizoCon.

I was busy like crazy.

Preparing my adventure, helping my wife for her month-long trip to Montreal (aka Dad’s time off), packing my terrain into my luggage, thinking of everything I had to do and the usual work fires to put out. Then my Facebook chat popped up with a simple “Hey JP”. I had no idea where that inconspicuous instant message would lead…

For the record, I have Trillian hooked in to my Facebook so I can see who is on and chat with them without going on FB.

First off, let me introduce the man who sent that message, Oscar "Osk" Rios. If you ever purchased one of Chaosium’s Monograph dealing with olden days (I own like five or six monographs, at least three by Osk) OR if you ever navigated the forums at, you have heard of or met Great Cthulhu or Osk. At the time (late 2008), I was engrossed in my massive campaign for Cthulhu Invictus (Call of Cthulhu in Roman times). So Osk’s feedback and comments were invaluable.

Osk and his group agreed to playtest the first draft of my campaign. It was very rough. VERY rough. The feedback I got back really forced me to re-evaluate the whole idea – it was a train wreck. Not one to shy away, I got back to the drawing board, using Osk and his group’s feedback and re-drafted the whole thing. The final result was much more interesting, I think.

In case you wonder why I abandoned that project, the rewrite I did really added to the campaign. It made more sense, flowed much better, had a lot of ties and links together (much more than the version Osk got) and generally touched on the themes and topics better. However, after playing it for five months, I came to the conclusion that while fun and exciting, it would require a 300 pages book (at least). So I decided I should do other things. There were a few elements I had no idea how to have the players discover and I’m not one to write fifty pages of background if the players only have a realistic chance to know about two. So the project was shelved.

For the past few years, Osk and I kept touch through Facebook as he moved from being "just" a great Call of Cthulhu author and writer to being Vice President and RPG Director at Miskatonic River Press.

So "Hey JP" led to much more than a usual casual conversation. This whole post is to announce that I will be posting a Q&A with Oscar Rios from MRP on this blog during the month of July. I hope I can get him to reveal some of the things they are working on for this year! After my hugely successful Q&A with Peter from PCI, I will be posting one with Osk from MRP.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Warmachine: First Game with Rhulic (dwarves)

Last Wednesday, I set up a play date with local game celebrity Dale Kunz so he could teach me to play Warmachine. From previous posts, you know that I have been gradually amassing my collection of Rhulic Dwarves. With a small but growing collection, I contacted Dale (who kindly offered) to teach me the game.

So after his Warhammer Fantasy game, we threw down for a quick intro. What could be more classic than elves versus dwarves!

Ever the geek, I searched the internet for tactics on the army. It didn't look good. The small warjacks (which Dale kept referring to as gunbunnies) had a very bad rap. Same for my driller. My infantry did get some praise. At least.

After the quick demo, we then settled for a second game today (Sunday). For Sunday's game, we would use more than we did in the previous one. Now there would be infantry. In short, I would put everything I had on the table. A staggering 24 points (actually 31, but Gurten has a +7 modifier, so 24).

For those who are not used to Warmachine, every player has a mage, called a warcaster, killing the other warcaster is the goal of the game. Warcasters are tough and harder to kill then other units. Another element that really makes Warmachine stand out is the inclusion of warjacks. These warjacks are large constructs that you have to handle. There are a lot of combinations and although those minis are very cool, one can make an army without any warjacks at all! That did surprise me a little, but I like options.

The game is very... very fast and brutal! I did not expect that much to be honest. In one charge, he destroyed almost all of my infantry, pretty much nullified my driller and laid a major smackdown on my caster. Then with the four grundback gunners (gunbunnies) turned on his caster and shot him to bits.

Post-game talks, I had to admit that I was certain he had my a$$ wrapped, sealed and cooked on a nice plate. Then a lucky move and shoot and bang - pun intended - he was blown away. His caster biting the dust.

Dale is a great teacher and his insight was very pertinent. I strongly recommend any newbie to set up a game with him. I do not consider myself to be any good at the game yet, but enough that I can offer myself as a target to other players to beat up. Hopefully get better.

Thanks Dale.


Edit: Corrected Dale's last name to Kunz.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

JP slings hate across America

Oh…. It’s been a long time coming. But now I have to drop a lot of hate on people. I officially curse the following people with a chicken on their heads. Yes. A chicken! Not a duck or a pigeon. A clucking chicken!

Now for the hate… (which is why you all came here)

First, Louis Porter Jr… since I started talking to him last year, Louis has been a constant figure in my Facebook, Twitter and even everyday life. Heck even my rabidly anti-gamer wife, Julie, knows about him. Why the hate? Well because of him, I have dreams of NeoExodus monsters, I wake up with thoughts of Oh! That would make an awesome NeoExodus monster/NPC/adventure/sourcebook. The fact that my wife makes jokes about it makes me sling hate towards South Florida.

Second, Doug Daulton… if you have ever been anywhere in the gaming sphere you have met or heard about Doug. Doug is the mastermind behind Neoncon and an overall nice guy, except for me. Doug and I have been talking about Akos (which I commented about on this blog a few times) for a few years, and still do on a more irregular basis. I consider him a close friend. BUT THIS TIME HE’S GONE TOO FAR!

Imagine this… a few months ago, I was one of a thousand millions little bloggers without too much impact or reach. Pretty standard stuff. One night as we skyped, he recommended that I begin using Twitter more. "To add visibility", he said. He recommended that I use @JPOnGaming for my tweets. So I followed his advice and joined up not really thinking much would come of it. And now I have many Twitter friends, followees, followers and I have to keep up and post updates to keep everyone up to date. Through that I am now connected with actors, radio hosts, political figures, hockey players, fellow writers, misc gamers, other Venture Captains and a number of people I’ve had the pleasure to meet at various cons. So I’m sending hate to Las Vegas because now I have to make time to read and respond to those. ARGH!

What is @BrentSpiner up to now? What does @LPJDesign want me to write next? What is @DougDaulton recommending I buy next? What is the latest contest @SyFy is running? Will @MCammallery13 find a caddy? Where will @BrentSopel play next year? When will @WilW post pictures of his trip to Germany? So much to follow!


When I started writing this list, I had only a few people I planned to curse. But then I got on to Facebook chat (more hate towards Doug) and began talking to my fellow Venture Captain Russell Akred (from Cincinnati, OH). Although the conversation started out nicely, he began blabbing about the fact that my curses did not scare him. So I immediately moved to my Word document where I was writing this blog post (corrects a lot of my syntax) and added him to my list. For doubting the power of the chicken, you will get the thickest fattest one in the coop! So your neck will have chicken-holding-pains!

Closing this august list, I have to sling hate towards Paizo in Seattle, in particular for my Pathfinder Society bosses, Mark Moreland and Hyrum Savage. This one has been simmering since PaizoCon. In my previous post about the VC dinner (the one *YOU* weren’t supposed to read) and in my JP at PaizoCon series, I posted that they have announced some really super stuff coming down the pipe. Stuff that really made me super excited and increased my interest in the campaign. Then what do they do? They tell me not to talk about it! DAMN YOU NDA!!! And then yesterday, I sent an elaborate post about another wacky idea I had to them. What does Hyrum reply? Well I can’t say (NDA…), but he went on to add to my exciting-stuff-I-have-to-keep-secret!


So the southeast, the southwest, the east-ish, the northwest… Oh yeah! That leaves me with the northeast… There is a group of people who deserve a curse above all else. A group of people - that includes my brother-in-law Daniel – people who have deserted the path of righteousness, good and virtue. I am of course talking about those French Canadians who root for the dark and evil team that is the Boston Bruins and who now rub it in my face that their team won the Stanley Cup. Those guys won the Stanley Cup by going through the Montreal Canadiens (the only team of good, right and virtue in the league). You now get a chicken on your heads just for you!

Aaaaah! That actually felt good... I want to thank me teacher, Mr Palpatine (aka TheEmperor) for teaching me that I should let the hate flow THROUGH me (and onto you). You rock Palpy!

As Louis Porter says... JP... Making friends wherever he goes!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

NeoExodus: The Minis In Action!

I want to thank Anthony Rossi for the picture (and his great portrayal of Chenda the Prymidian bard). He took picture of the adventure as it happened. The first picture takes place as the PCs are exploring the Fort at Ramat Bridge. The second is when the PCs are fighting later on. Fighting? NAH... its just a misunderstanding... Notice the P'Tan that was knocked out and captured.

Click on the picture for full details.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

NeoExodus: The Minis!

Prior to PaizoCon, I posted the NeoExodus Iconics miniatures I would use for Encounter at Ramat Bridge. In a comment, Brutorz Bill asked me to provide the manufacturers of the miniatures I used. I promised him I would post them "After PaizoCon" and well... It's "After PaizoCon" now so I have no more excuses to give...


Karissa is the Cat Girl by Reaper Mini.

Hans by Black Tree Design (conversion).

Freja by Black Scorpion Miniatures.

Dema-ma by Crocodile Games.

Chenda by Wargames Foundry.

Nose-Cutter is a hobgoblin by Reaper Miniatures.

P'Tan warriors by Crocodile Games.

The "Beast" is a converted D&D Mini.

"The Villain" is a rogue by Reaper Miniatures.

Protectorate Mobile Cannons by Privateer Press.
Other miniatures I haven't posted pictures for are Wargames Foundry Vikings.


Monday, June 20, 2011

I BE GOBLIN Online Campaign

If you have played and enjoyed the We Be Goblins adventure from Paizo, I invite you to put one of the following banners on your blog or website! Even if you have not played the madness of the adventure, but like goblins, join the campaign. Pathfinder goblins are some of the most iconic monsters. Their flavor and their quirks makes them easy to love/hate.

Thanks to D'Anne Rooney and Russell Akred for the awesome work!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Post Free RPG Day thoughts

If you missed it yesterday was Free RPG Day. This is a great idea I have been participating in for the last three or four years. Its a great way for a company to showcase or get their rule set out there. Over the years, I got some products to evaluate I KNOW I would not have purchased. Some I might, but only if I could join a game of it.

So I got there around 11:15 with my McNuggets ready to run and set up a lot of fun.

Gamers' Haven in Colorado Springs ran two tables of "We Be Goblins" (thanks to Todd and Zach for running). I'll be back next year to run more events!

I am also very happy to hear how event have gone over in Denver. Many tables were played, many goblins cackled and sung. Good times.

Now if there is one thing I would like would be to ask companies who offer games to have a PDF on their website with the character sheet. I don't want to destroy my book and I don't want to have to go to Kinko's a get them copied. Paizo did it (good job Paizo!)

Another fun and successful day!


Friday, June 17, 2011

JP at PaizoCon: For VC eyes only

Okay, this post contains material that was meant for VC-eyes only. So if you're not a Paizo Employee or a Venture Captain, get out. I could get sued for violating my NDA (or something).


This was not meant for you.

Press backspace, click "back" or go see one of my other websites (click somewhere on the page).


Good. I know you would not read this far if you did not have the clearance. So for those of you who missed the dinner, we talked about a lot of things: how things were in our regions, things we did to generate excitement about Pathfinder Society in particular and Paizo's products in general. A lot of good news from the front.

At the center of all those discussion was a document that made everything come together. This was the brain child of Erik Mona (another great idea Erik!). I took a secret copy with me and am posting it (secretly) so that my fellow VCs might know what we did and why VC dinners are linked to quality material.

Don't hate, this was not meant for *YOUR* eyes!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

JP at PaizoCon: The Flowers

Now that PaizoCon is behind us and we are returning to our normal daily grind, I think it’s time I post a few shout outs.

First the biggest shout I have goes to Hyrum Savage and Mark Moreland. These two guys are really class acts. I cannot send enough flowers their way.

Why you ask?

Let me start by PaizoCon. Throughout the weekend, I was able to sit at a table and wait patiently for my players to show up. And they would show up. Everything I needed was all ready to go. When I had to change mod, I walked to HQ and got my paperwork in a flash. Kudos to you! Thank you for putting on such a great con.

In a less public fashion, these guys have bore the non-stop bombarding of ideas, feedback, disagreement, suggestions, comments, thoughts that this strongly opinionated blogger has constantly been sending to both of these guys. So much so that sometime I was certain they were going to come to Denver and beat me up. But they have responded with kindness and a sympathetic ear. Now that does not mean that all of my suggestions were implemented, but I like to think that all were considered and debated internally. (Even if they were not, it makes me feel important to think so.)

Both these guys really make me proud to go to bat (or go to a beating depending on the news) before my local crowd of Denver PFS players. Thank you guys for the effort, the time and the guidance you are providing to this campaign. It is appreciated at all level of the organization.

That said, I am also writing another email of "ideas for them to ponder.

Next, I want to congratulate the two new five star GMs: Kyle and Jason-R for their accomplishments. I hope that one day I too would be counted among this elite club.

Although I had met a number of my fellow Venture Captains at NeonCon (Mike-A, Eric-B, Robyn-N, etc), there were even MORE VCs at NeonCon (no surprise), but I got to meet Dane from Seattle, Mr Doug "Five-Star" Miles from Detroit, Jason from Missouri, Michael from Tampa, Steve from Texas, and I’m forgetting half of them. Before the con started on Thursday evening, all the VCs got together with Hyrum, Mark, Erik and Jason for a dinner. There we talked about a lot of things, a lot of spoiler-things. Things I will post on this blog later this week. I WILL SECRETLY POST MATERIAL see only at that dinner! Without the express approval of Paizo! Stay tuned! Hehehe Secret info for you all! If you keep it secret, I won’t get in trouble.

So I was really fired up with this meeting. I came out of it with some great ideas. For once marketing people said things that made sense to me. Unlike the sales dept at my real job which simply piles on more and more work, the ideas here would help me advance my not-so-secret agenda here in Denver.

In this final kudos, I want to thank everyone who agreed to let ME buy the LAST of the Qadira shirt. Why? Because Qadira is the source of everything that is good in the world. The rest is just a cheap Taldoran knock off! Btw to those of you who have a Taldor shirt, I congratulate you on your employment at Burger King!

Hurray for me!

Next time: Secrets from the VC dinner OR Hate, hate and more hate!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

JP at PaizoCon, Day 4: The Final Day

Sunday wake up was like the others: early. Breakfast, pre-packing as today was the NeoExodus adventure I’ve been talking about for a while, Encounter at Ramat Bridge. I had a diaper box in my suitcase that held all of my terrain ready to be used. Large diaper boxes are awesome to carry stuff. However it is… Well it is hard to bring on a plane. But the only thing that was damaged was a base that came off. I placed that element behind another one and no one knew.

So I ran Encounter and as I really owe my play-testers a big THANK YOU. The play-test allowed the game to run in precisely the time allotted to it (5h), give a good play experience to all, take a 20 minute break (for hotel checkout as I set up my collection of terrain).

As I told Louis, the terrain really drew a lot of positive attention (I told you so). The display received praise from the players, passersby including Erik Mona himself. I was soaring with pride (as if I needed more of that). Having a terrain-filled gaming table really draws the eye. So thinking back on my initial article and announcement, let’s see if the objective was achieved.

1 - Four hour timeslot. Kinda complete. PaizoCon game me 5 and I filled the 5 hours.

2 - Introduction to NeoExodus. During both games, the players quickly understood what the story was about and got into the feel of NeoExodus.

3 - Showcase NeoExodus. The adventure uses a number of NeoExodus unique books, monsters, spells, feats and races. The players really seem to take to the new and unique races.

4 - Action and story. The adventure included moments of constant action and challenging fights. The story and background were also quickly presented to the players who seem to take to the story. With just the basic information provided on the character sheets and the one-pager, they quickly began to make links. Great! Players also understood the importance and shock of the revelation that appears in the module.

5 - Visual aspect The comments received and my own appreciation both converged. This one is very nice. The display looks very cool. Definitely draws the eye.

6 - Re-playability I am certain it can be offered again at later cons. The adventure really draws the PCs into the story. As we at LPJ Design are already looking into the second part of the series (which I think would be awesome to debut at NeonCon as a part 1-2 deal).

Okay. So Encounter at Ramat Bridge accomplished the six goals I had for it. Mission Accomplished I said. Now to buckle everything and move on!

Back to PaizoCon.

After that I attended the final conference about building and borrowing content by the Paizo creative staff. I was greatly interested and happy at the same time that what they were saying were things I have doing myself in projects like Akos and NeoExodus.

Things like:

- Focus on what the players will experience first. The rest can be ret-conned or explained later.

- Think of the game in realistic terms, not just magical terms. Just because people can cast wall of stone does not mean they want/ can build everything. Erik Mona gave a good example about Wish Economy (Google it).

- Think about resources: commerce, food and physics.

- Think about cultural exchanges. Neighbors don’t remain on their sides of the border, but learn from each other over time and a given advantage often blur on borders. Dress, combat styles, resources, etc. Also neighbors are not static, their relations evolve over time. They hate each other for a while, then something happens and they need each other, which fosters a new friendship, etc.

- Think of the game world not just as a static snapshot, but as the final evolution of years of history. What happens today is the direct result of events in the past. Why are these countries dominating/ on the rise/ in decline? Past events have led to this. What are they?

- Look to history and the real world, not as a resource and put a different spin to it. This allows you to approach subjects from different angles. For example, the dwarves and humans have always been allies in one area but then the dwarven mines dry up. So the dwarves decide to migrate through human territory. Though they always been friends, the dwarves now have little to offer the humans and are impoverished. How do the humans respond?

I really liked the seminar as it both validated what I had been doing and reassured me that I was not talking out of my ass about things I have been preaching about. Again, my ego was filled! Huzzah.

Went to do a round of goodbyes and thanks on site to the usual suspects spend a little time with people I know and do a farewell tour. That concluded my PaizoCon, but not my trip…

A few months back I got an email from a guy in Boise, Idaho asking for my help in setting up a PFS con in Boise. No worries, I sent him some feedback and shared some of my experience. He and I exchanged some ideas and news about how things were going in Boise. Simple stuff.

Turns out Clarence – his name – was also attending PaizoCon. A few emails later we resolved to meet there and chat about Fandemonium (the con he is helping to run). It was pretty early on Friday that he found me. That I wore my Phoenix Cardinals jersey with my name in big letters must have helped! It comes as no surprise to me that he and I hit it off immediately and got along real well. Our paths crossed throughout the con and I dare call him an instant friend.

In our last communication prior to leaving for PaizoCon, he kindly offer to drive to the airport after we’d share a meal. Long story short, while in Seattle I wanted to go for some seafood. It’s been a long time and Denver is not to be the place to go for such things. So using his GPS, we went to the Crab Pot. Oddly enough, the Crab Pot is where Alan Richman went for some massive munchies. It didn’t disappoint! We had a clam bake, serve by dumping it on the table. Just great. Yum. That filled a spot. It was delicious.

THAT is how I ended my stay in Seattle. Great games, good food, new friend, what more can a gamer want?

On the next and final install of JP at PaizoCon… Cheers and Jeers…


JP at PaizoCon, Day 3: 4e bigwigs beat up JP

Saturday morning brought another early morning. Bah... Nothing enthusiasm and coffee would not fix. Okay, maybe a lot of coffee. So, breakfast with Auke as we chatted with a number of others.

I was on-time for my morning slot (Heresy of Man pt 2) and waited and waited and waited "Tampa" Mike and I talked as we waited on our table. Finally Hyrum walks in with a surprised look You don’t have a table [of players]? We both say no. So he asks me to run one of the Shadow’s Last Stand (which I had not played). So I quickly with an offer for the Midnight Mauler, an offer he quickly accepted.

So I get the paperwork, set up, start looking at my minis. Four players show up and sit at my table. I give them a cursory glance (as I praktiss my aksent under my brett). They look somehow familiar. Someone asks me Is that Chris Tulach? to which I respond No, Chris Tulach is a short fat guy!

Well, it turns out my observant player was right! Chris lost a lot of weight. My table consisted of Chris Tulach, Mike Mearls, Rob Watkins and Chris Perkins. All the big-wigs of 4e! Pressure to give them a good game experience was on! After running my mouth about 3.5 > 4 all this time, now I had to bring my A-1 SUPER AWESOME TOP-LEVEL GAME. Lucky for me, I had a good module. Midnight Mauler is my favorite (no surprise I ran it about 15 times).

The game went very well, lots of role-play, jib-jab between them, but from my perspective and from their feedback to me and to my bosses (Hyrum and Mark) they also had a blast. I now have that anecdote for my memoirs… I would not have believed it.


Okay… now to complain… I can now say that I got my butt kicked by the big names of 4e, as they all jumped me together!

The afternoon saw me running Shades of Ice III. Fun times. Love the story but the final battle is a tad weak.

Then came the banquet. I sat at Stephen Radney-McFarland’s table (aka SRM) and enjoyed some very fun conversation with a table of nice guys. Learned more about SRM and his story with Wizards, his time Paizo, work environments, changes over time, the TSR/Wizard takeover, in short a lot of fun things I didn’t know. Some I heard from other sources but none from SRM’s own perspective. Very informative.

The Previews were very nice. I am particularly interested in the Ultimates Races scheduled for the late spring of 2012. The Beginner box is not targeted at me (a veteran Pathfinder player), but it is a very nice product with a lightened version of the rules, about 80 cardboard tokens. In short all you need in a box. And the price tag is nice: 35$. Good stuff. I think this will sell VERY well.

The Wizkids prepainted minis really surprised me. I knew they would be nice, but they poses are very dynamic. I was blown away… now to buy and repaint.

Now come on.

You didn’t expect me to use or show up with the same mini as everyone else, did you???

Those are very nice, the Valeros especially. Valeros is the two-weapon fighter and all the minis I seen of him so far did not seem as nice. That one really got me excited. Really cool. Another product I am sure will do well. Very very nice minis.

Came the Quiz, my table disappeared on me as I was fetching a coffee to remain active. So I sat at another table and served as a Paizo employee for the quiz. My table scored 30/50 and came up in the top 5. Nice.

Sleep was good.


Monday, June 13, 2011

JP at PaizoCon, Day 2

Friday morning came really early. I mean…


Auke, my roommate had like 12h of jetlag (the Netherlands are quite a ways away) and me, like a dumbass, I went and drank two coffees at the VC dinner.

So we were up WELL before 6 am when the breakfast buffet opened and were in line before the ladies there were ready to have us… We got to talk about "our" players, some of the challenges and goals we have in our regions and generally chatted about this, that and gaming. Mostly gaming. Then we just walked around as registration was being set up. Lucky for us we hung out at what became the front of the line! So we were quickly squared away. HUGE Goody-bag filled with Paizo Goodies. HUZZAH!

I got to play in Ambush in Absalom, the KQ17 Society Quest. Fun times. Simple encounter, nothing fancy, fun table. Looking forward to more of those mini-quests. I have a few ideas I would really like to get to write as a Pathfinder Quest. Now to find time, to formalize the idea and to submit to Mark.

But you are not here to read about things I think would be cool.

You want to know about PaizoCon.

My afternoon was spent running Shades of Ice, Part 1. Fun table, good play level. Very enjoyable.

Then I ran a table for the Grand Melee. I can now admit that I initially had reservations about it. Reservations as certain things did not feel right to me. I got a tad worried, voiced my concerns – when do I keep silent on such things? Really? Have you been reading this blog? OH COURSE I SPOKE OUT!

Those concerns were lifted when I saw the final draft of the event. I need to retrain myself and my old habits. This is Pathfinder. This is Paizo. This is a whole new ballgame. Seriously, I am not used to giving praise but after this weekend.That’s all I have. I try to be critical, but (one of) my Paizo Bosses Mark Moreland… What a class act and top quality individual he is. Like a beaten dog, I have to trust again and this guy goes above and beyond the call of duty to deliver top-quality products.

I’ll leave the big kudos post to later.

The grand melee was a BLAST to run. I got to hurt people, beat them up. They really played well and fought intelligently. So much so, I was unable to kill any of them (though I came real close to many of them). I did not pull any punch any punches (when do I ever???) and they did very well.

Another trip to the bar and a short chat with old friends and new one, including my good friend Doug NeonCon Daulton, Robyn Nixon (LA-VC) and Chris Harris from Phoenix and I was on my way to bed. I was beat.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

JP at PaizoCon, Day 1

Whenever it comes to travel, I am definitely a worrywart. I walk everywhere, triple check that I have everything I need again and again. Then I leave and realize I forgot something important. By now I call that life. I guess this is the tale of my PaizoCon trip.

The trip started the night before, around 10pm in Colorado when Louis gets on Skype as I’m in the middle of a DDO dungeon. No worries, I immediately drop my DDO friends and get on Skype. Louis is all What’s wrong? And generally grumpy (this is not unusual). So I tell him that nothing’s wrong and that I need the final version of Encounter at Ramat Bridge, the one with all the fancy lettering and the standard NeoExodus cover. An hour later (which makes it 1AM in Florida), Louis goes to bed, I have my mod, the universe is at peace, everything is good.

5:44AM in Colorado. I wake up nervous as all hell. I finish packing (medicine and moved some gear in the suitcase). Then watch some TV (Swamp People) and wait for 8AM to leave.

8AM, I leave head to Kinko’s again to print NeoExodus world maps and the mod. Long story short (can be resumed by not enough sleep, no coffee makes JP go crazy) I have the NE maps, but not the mod. I will have to print that at the con or (horror) run off my laptop...

I get to Denver early so I stop for a fast-food breakfast stop. Find a parking spot in a FULL eastern lot. I mean I in zone ‘Z’, a good 20mins walk from the terminal. That should take care of SOME of the nastiness I had earlier.

Get a nice seating upgrade, and then off to security.



If you ever flew out of Denver airport, there are two main checkpoints. Both of those: FULL. Line at a standstill. I overhear a TSA agent recommending we go through the land bridge to concourse A (where I was leaving from.) SWEET ZOMBIE JEEBUS! The line is only marginally shorter there! Oh well, you stiil have over two hours before my flight so it’ll give me something to do (proof: I am blogging about it right now!)

As I get to the front of the line, I take a look at my boarding pass. WTF? I am not Tracy Cunningham! WTH!? Needless to say, I was told to return back to the Frontier Airlines counter. GRRR. Again, Over an hour before boarding… A nice lady corrected my boarding pass (to the back of the plane, Tracy!).


Blog about it.

So I get to the hotel on Thursday. Nothing special to write about… It will suit its purpose just fine. Quickly I see other Venture Captains sitting in the lobby: Ryan B from Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Eric B from San Diego, Auke T from the Netherlands. Check in, then GAME TIME!

The four of us took on the Goblins of the Free RPG module We Be Goblins. I admit I had reservations about the whole idea of it. But when quality roleplayers get together and throw down, goblin-style… It creates a truly unique experience! Thanks to Aaron, our GM who put up with our cackling and a lot of super bright ideas. It will definitely make for a unique play experience. I’m looking forward to running it.

That night the VCs (our number had increased as we played) were invited to dinner by Paizo, and so we broke bread with Erik Mona, Jason Bulmahn and our immediate bosses, Mark Moreland and Hyrum Savage. The information exchanged made me extremely happy as I cannot wait to tell you about [NDA] and [NDA]. OH! But the most awesome of all has to be when they showed us the advanced copy of [NDA]. The book went around the table with some new art, a new expanded format on things that were missing, details on the new factions. I mean just awesome! Definitely, this next year will be a transformative one for the Society.

If I could describe in one word the Society-related products changes, news and internal goals that were shared with us, I would have to say ABSOLUTELY AWESOME, EXCITING AND REALLY FUN. I took from this a lot of ideas from the other VCs to help promote PFS in the Front Range. The dialog was very open, frank and extremely positive. Had it been just a meal it would’ve been a very good time. But the whole experience really blew it out of the ballpark. It was simply a delight.

Folks, if you believe that Society is going away any time soon, we (the VCs) have it on high authority that it is here to stay. Paizo’s dedication to it was really matched by our own. Such a great breath of fresh air. I mean I left the dinner ready to do a cheerleading routine. I was on top of the world. This is gonna be an even bigger success than previously.

With the feedback, comments, laments and opinion VCs provided, I think that even more and better changes may be on the horizon. Mark and Hyrum (especially) ARE listening and they steer this ship. Sure, not EVERYTHING I wanted to see made some headway, but I saw that many of the points I had presented, supported or commented will be expanded and implemented in one form or another.

Such a breath of fresh air.

I cannot give the Paizo staff enough credit and kudos. Really star-quality personnel.

Then back to the hotel for drinks and chat with, among many, Adam Daigle, Doug Daulton, Brandon Hodges, Matt Forbeck and a lot of others. Good times.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

JP vs. Food: Seattle

I don't know if you have ever seen the Travel Channel's Man Vs Food show where the host (Adam Richman) takes on all the weirdest food challenges one can find across the US. Now if you have never seen it, the show has two parts: first Adam goes to local joints and tries out some house specialties.

The last ten minutes is spent watching Adam tries all sort of stunts: Seven pounds burritos, 30+inches pizzas, the world's spiciest wings or a 72-once steak. It hurts watching him. And also makes you hungry.

What does that have to do with gaming you ask?

Rightfully so?

Today, at real work (yes I do something other than rolling dice), I reminded my bosses that I would be away to Seattle for the weekend. Readers know I am heading to PaizoCon for a full weekend of AWESOME! So in the meeting, as I announced where I was heading. To which jokes of "Microsoft Interviews" and similar began to fly.

I dislike making work and job-related jokes (bad experiences... makes me level 2!) so what do I say to a stunned crowd?

I am going to take on the Seattle Man vs. Food challenge!

They believed me! I should've ridden that wave as it seemed more interesting to them than "I'm going to play games all weekend."


JP vs Food would be more interesting... I'm in the wrong business.

Talk to you all after PaizoCon (maybe during, but don't hold your breath).


Monday, June 6, 2011

Cramming Four days of work in two nights

This weekend was a big one. Very busy.

Let’s see what I had on my plate. I had a handout to do for NeoExodus at Paizocon. An introduction to NeoExodus I would give to every player before the game, so they could refer to it throughout the adventure. This is one of the biggest inputs I got from my play-testers last Memorial Day.

I was asked by Paizo to help work on something for PaizoCon. Okay, the dumb-ass volunteered! Yep. That assignment is one I am very excited about, and what I came up with should (hopefully provide a nasty surprise to the PCs). Good times.

I wanted to draw an overland map for the adventure. The overall NeoExodus map was not complete enough it is just too… well it’s like looking at a map of the US to find out how to get from Albany, NY to Burlington, VT. It should get you there, but it might cause some trouble.

Those who follow me on twitter (@JPOnGaming) know that I was contacted to help with a new writing project I’m very excited about. The funny thing about this is that it came completely out of the blue. The guys who contacted me are guys I wanted to work with for a very long time. It took me by surprise. I just had to put together some ideas and send them for approval. If you never wrote anything, this approval system is a common step.

Next, I had a few bad guys for the adventure left to do. One of them I had already converted, but had not painted. I converted him using an old plastic D&D monster… I think the result is… I can’t say it’s nice. But it looks… like I wanted it to look. Yeah that’s good. I’ll post a picture after PaizoCon of all of them.

I was hoping to get to play a high-level PFS adventure on Sunday, part 3 of the Everwar series with our wacky happy party.

My wife birthday is next week (she is turning Old - 4), I wanted to take her out to a nice restaurant. Not exactly a romantic night out… Something with the kids.

Finally, I was planning to paint my battle map for Ramat Bridge. I don’t want to leave it with a white sheet, so I have to paint it.

So now comes the weekend

If you have any sort of family, you know that plans *NEVER* go as expected.

First, let me tell you what I was able to complete. My work for Paizo was done (I will want to tweak it some more but will be sending it in this morning). I did come up with a few things to send for approval. I did play the PFS. The wife was treated to a nice dinner. The minis had their first set of color and then magic-dipped. So that’s good.

In all, I really enjoyed my weekend. I was able to play with the kids, host a dinner party for 2 neighborettes (their hubby were not there) and seven kids. Yes, SEVEN KIDS, and the eldest was Josiane who is six years old! The Horde effect was on. Good times still. Also, I had to buy a new laptop for my overlordess who had just broken her previous one.

Also, Louis got in an adventure summary and asked my input on. Good stuff, I am really looking forward to seeing the final version. I think this will greatly add to the NeoExodus "Mythos" I have been meaning to create and expand upon.

What I didn’t get to complete? Pretty much anything I had planned for NeoExodus! And I really needed to complete those. Oh well. I can forego sleep (again)!

Oh! And when the brick comes in… I talked with my contact on Secret Project Y this morning. He green-lighted my entry, but I have a super-tight deadline. So that’s even more stuff to do!

ARGH! And that says nothing about my real work situation, a lot to do there too! Busy busy busy time, which I am not exactly unhappy about. Now to get to do it all.



Friday, June 3, 2011

My Next Goal for PFS in Denver

I want to go on record and officially challenge the entire RMPathfinder community in helping me achieve my not-so-secret goal of becoming the biggest RPG event at Tacticon. No offense intended to the other RPG events, , but I really think that Pathfinder Society is going through massive changes and the changes implemented for year three really will really shake things up. The end of Year Two with the Shadow Lodge has been brewing for over a year and we'll have the finale at Tacticon.

- This means running more tables than we did at Genghis

- This means running more tables than Savage Tacticon

- This means running more tables than LFR

- This means really shining in quality and quantity of events!

I know it was suggested that I run many simultaneous tables by flying real fast around the Earth, I would rather NOT do that. My powers must be used for evil and destruction, not as a gaming opportunity...

Now to reach my goal, I need to call upon you, the Rocky Mountains gaming community. To be able to blow everyone out of the water and put up a show that will top GenghisCon, I will need volunteers and GMs. Already, many of you have contacted me with you offers of assistance. I will definitely take you up on that offer.

So there you have it... My personally state goal for Tacticon.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Old Commission

This is a mini I did for my friend Homer sometime in 2009. This is his Pathfinder society character, the pawnbroker (and capitalist venture specialist and cleric of Abadar) Zebulon Byalot. As an added bit of fun, I made a banner for him too!