JP On Gaming

Friday, September 30, 2011

[Avatar of the Kaga] Why not Golarion?

I’ve been thinking about writing a blog series about NeoExodus that would serve as a way to introduce some specifics of the world to you, the readers. This series will include previews and design information about the NeoExodus setting. I hope to provide insight into the setting, some of the design decisions we did.

I named this series “Avatar with the Kaga” as the Kaga is one of the most unique aspects of NeoExodus. It is not a god, but it has clerics. It’s clerics are not divine, but arcane casters.

One of the first questions I’ve been asked when I first started working on NeoExodus was, Why not work on Golarion instead?

Golarion belongs to Paizo It’s their baby, their setting, their flagship. Without their approval, we could not simply start writing adventures set there and sell them. I have been trying to write material with and for Paizo for a while now, maybe one day I will. *Fingers crossed*

NeoExodus belongs to LPJDesign, so we can add to it, change things and create new material to our heart’s content. This gives us a lot of freedom about what we want to do.

Golarion is static Second Golarion is an awesome setting, but one that could be best described as “static”. A notion I had before, but that Erik Mona confirmed at this year’s PaizoCon. Golarion will never change from the baseline that has been provided in the two Campaign settings. Adventure Paths, Modules and Pathfinder Society adventures do not impact the world in a significant manner. Thus, Absalom will not sink into the sea, Qadira will not rightfully re-conquer Taldor, Andoran will not degenerate into barbarism (more), and the Worldwound will not expand to contract. In short, it will stay the way it is. Each GM is them free to expand and affect the world how he wants in his own game.

For NeoExodus, Louis and I decided the world would evolve, move and change with the time, allowing players to impact the setting. These big events would take place at cons throughout the world. (If you want to take part, contact me). This is a very different philosophy from the start. It requires additional work on our part to keep the setting coherent, to have the NPCs evolve, to make sure that PCs get to impact the setting.

Golarion is generic fantasy Golarion is based around “generic fantasy” with elves, dwarves and halflings. It has everything you can see in a fantasy setting, bundled together in a neat package. A very cool package if you ask me.

NeoExodus is non-generic fantasy. The Campaign book presents 9 new races, plus humans. Humans are given a special treatment with sub-races. Races of NeoExodus are not simple re-skin of the traditional races, they are extremely different. Cavians are psionic rat-men. Cyneans are arcane crystalline humanoids. Dalreans are plantlike humanoids. P’tans are feline-looking creatures that can conjure black lightning. I did say, different.

The history of NeoExodus is also unique. In that evil (in the form of the First Ones) used to dominate the land. The creation of the Kaga allowed man and the other slave races to defeat the First Ones. So far we have run two distinct adventures publically that move the storyline forward: PaizoCon’s Encounter at Ramat Bridge and its sequel The Sashenka Incident more are in the works.

Even the religions are different. I mentioned the Kaga earlier. He is a massive arcane intelligence created by the sacrifice of a thousand of the brilliant human minds.

What won’t change: it’s Pathfinder Paizo has rules brains that live and breathe rule-making. I am not. I much prefer to write about setting, adventures, and locations. One of the decisions we took was that we would not try to rival Paizo in the rules-making department. They have been doing an awesome thing so far. Why mess up a good thing?

What won’t change: the art Paizo’s artwork is awesome. LPJ Design has a unique look and a similar approach: high quality art really lifts and enhances a solid book.

So? In the end, we have two great settings, that are different at their core. The design philosophy is different, resulting in a different final product. The two offer different play paradigms, and both worlds give a unique play experience.

Next time: the (many) inspirations of NeoExodus.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

"My" Doctor Who Companions

A while back, I have painted a number of miscellaneous miniatures. When I completed them I decided to come up with a Doctor Who game. The eclectic nature of these miniatures made for an interesting mixture of characters and backgrounds for that game. I painted those miniatures earlier this year but have been slacking in putting miniatures. The dark pictures are on purpose.. Though I may want to change them down the line.

Now if I can get a number of Cybermen miniatures...


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Playtesters wanted for NeoExodus: A house divided

Here is a repost of a post from LPJDesign's blog regarding playtesters for NeoExodus. Contact the address in there if you are interested (yes, that's me!)

We at LPJ Design make no secret that I want to see NeoExodus become a household name. For that, I need to make sure what we have is great and could be picked up by GMs across the globe and run for their home group. Thus far, the reaction has been very positive, but I seek to get a wider range of groups.

We are looking for a few (two or three) groups of play-testers (GM plus 3-6 players) who would be willing to run a few sessions of NeoExodus for their home group and provide feedback to us about the experience.

How to apply:

Send an email to JP at Playtesters {at} and be sure to include the following information, and anything else you think you would be good for that

1) Who is part of your group? (Names, anything of interest about you)

2) Have you ever play-tested or reviewed anything? What? Were any recommendations you did added to the game?

3) Why do you think your group of best-suited to become play-testers for NeoExodus?

4) How often do you meet?

5) Where is your group located, geographically?


You will be given play-tester credits in the NeoExodus Campaign Book (and any future NeoExodus book you participate in testing). The GM will get a copy of the finalized PDF of the book.

Thanks for your help!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Organized Play People: Cory Mills, Part 1 [Heroes of Rokugan, L5R]]

I first came into contact with AEG’s Legend of the Five Rings in 1997 or 1998 when I was still in college (at Sherbrooke University). The guys from Le Griffon recommended the game and I gave it a go. I was quite enamored with the setting: the idea of an empire that did not change (at least officially). The setting I like. What I didn’t like was when they used to push the storyline forward with the card game. L5R allowed me to meet close friends like Darryl and Tammy, Christophe, Oliver, Marie and Kristian. The most international gaming group ever (not one of us was from the same country!). Came 2003, my gaming time moved to Living Greyhawk and I focused on that for the most part. So my L5R time stopped.

Still, I wanted to play some, and looked at Living Rokugan which was active at the time. Finding no one, I focused on LG. I saw them play a few events at CavalierCon/ Weekend in Dyvers in the days and was curious but again saw no games in Denver.

JP: Who are you? How long have you been involved with L5R?

CM: I’ve been role-playing for very nearly thirty years now, having started with the old D&D Blue Book and a group of older friends at school. I’ve played a large number of games, like a lot of other players, and have become something of a collector – I’m at that odd place now where I own more games than I get a chance to play!

I’ve been playing the L5R roleplaying game since it first came out, having played the CCG a few times; I got hooked principally by the fact that there were multiple ways to explore the setting, and eventually gravitated more and more toward the RPG. I was fortunate enough to be a play-tester for the third edition, and I did start out on the playtest team for fourth edition, though the living campaign has taken up my attention of late and I have bowed out [of play-testing].

I also was a GM on an online L5R game for a few years, so having a few hundred players is something I have a bit of experience with.

JP: What is your official title in the campaign?

CM: Head Campaign Admin. I write the overall plot, approve rulings, edit and prepare the modules, and coordinate the efforts of the rest of the campaign staff.

JP: What draws you to L5R? What particularly attracts you to that game?

CM: Legend of the Five Rings is inspired by tales of the samurai of ancient Japan, with a healthy infusion of fantasy and a number of other Eastern cultures. While it does not attempt to match all historical or cultural details, it is a fun game that gives the players a chance to explore some of the aspects of living within (or flouting) the constraints of a strict code of honor. The setting has a complex culture and rich history that a GM can use to develop their campaign, and the rules for the fourth edition are generally presented more as options they can use to customize their game.

JP: What is your favorite RPG game of all times?

CM: I have played a lot of different RPGs over the years, and picking just one “favorite” is very difficult. L5R is good for intense roleplaying in a complex culture with a lethal combat system. Exalted and Scion are fun for over-the-top action with little regard for the laws of physics. Overall, Mutants and Masterminds is probably my favorite core system, as it allows me to do a lot of different styles of game with minimal modifications to the rules.

JP: What is your favorite supplement/ adventure, all games and genre together?

As far as supplements go, I think the old City of Lies boxed set from the first edition of L5R is my favorite. The production quality was very impressive. I really liked the fact that the player books were all written from an in-character perspective, and the maps were really well-done. I’ve run more than one group through adventures or campaigns based off that boxed set through the years, and pretty much have always had a blast with it.

JP shudders sat the simple mention of City of Lies. JP’s personal preference for supplement is The Complete Masks of Nyarlathotep. ‘City’ is not far behind. It could very well be the most intricate and one might say impossible to ‘succeed’, unless leaving with one’s head is considered a success.

JP: What are the high points of a home game you run? What elements do you particularly enjoy in a campaign?

CM: My home games tend toward relatively personal plots, but that’s a luxury I have when I’m writing material for players and characters I know fairly well. Most of my games involve moderately complex intrigues, and I have a great fondness for antagonists that have multiple conflicts, including amongst themselves. I like to spring surprises on my players, and they generally enjoy the situations they find themselves in. Especially the challenging ones (though I suppose that is more of a commentary on how fortunate I am in my playgroup…).

JP: What would you say are elements that define your writing style? What elements would I expect to find in one of your adventures?

CM: I tend to emphasize character decisions over character capabilities when I write; the things that the players choose to have their characters do are often more important than their stats or powers. Getting a chance to use their skills is important to the enjoyment of the game, but I usually prefer to utilize those to get the characters to the point where they have to make decisions that are not represented by mechanics.

Also, I’ve been a fan of L5R for a very long time, so I tend to pepper my works with obscure or minor references to things from early editions. Old canon characters, places, or strange concepts (like the Tsu fish) that aren’t really in the game much anymore pop up regularly when I’m putting things together.

JP: In an average week, roughly how much time do you devote to campaign-related duties?

CM: Lately, it’s been about thirty, but that’s the press of preparations for GenCon (our biggest event of the year). On average, it’s closer to fifteen or twenty, between writing, playtesting, and editing. I have a full-time (plus) job, and this is the biggest hurdle I have to face on a regular basis.

[Note: I conducted part of this interview shortly before GenCon when Cory and a number of others were busy with their preparations.]

JP: A difficult one: I give you a magic wand and you can only use it to make your campaign better… What do you do?

CM: I would publish a campaign sourcebook with all the relevant information in it that the players would have access to, and possibly another one for the GMs. And since we’re talking magic, it would be free! I’d also like to have more time to devote to the game; writing mods is fairly time-consuming for me, and I’d like more opportunity to communicate with the players.

JP: Play, GM or write? Which do you enjoy best?

CM: GM. Pretty much hands down. I love to play, though I don’t get many chances. Writing allows me to get more ideas out of my head than just running does, though it more closely resembles work. But GMing is what I’m best at; improvising reactions from the world based on the actions of the player characters, giving NPCs their own voices, engaging the players on whatever level works best for the individual player, and giving the players challenges while still letting them shine… It’s my favorite role at the table because it’s the one that lets me be the most creative in a lot of ways.

Next week, part 2.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monte Cook is Peyton Manning playing defense

All this week, the internet and was abuzz with the news of Monte Cook returning to Wizards of the Coast. Fans on all side of the edition war see this as a big announcement, something that will completely change the RPG world. His return will bring a new era of peace and prosperity, something that will end the edition war because of his return. Because he is back, suddenly 4e will become the top game it was during 2008-10.

I don't think so.

Monte has done a LOT of things for the RPG industry. He is a great rules thinker, someone who approaches the game from a rules perspective, with ideas that are definitely "outside the box". Yes. he wrote game settings and a few adventures, but I would not classify those as his major achievements. Rethinking and rehashing rules in new and novel ways is the biggest impact he has on the game. Nothing against Monte, but his return to WotC will not make me fly to buy 4e products, nor do I think lines will be forming at local stores to get the products. That would be like calling a plumber to save the Titanic.

A word of caution. For those who expect to enter their local game store tomorrow and find that 4e has been completely redone and that it is completely different will be in for a sad disappointment... First off, books take a while to write, edit, review and publish. I would expect to find a number of new books where Monte participates relatively quickly, to show the fan base how involved he is. But that would be little more than a smokescreen. It would allow Monte and the D&D designers to work on 5e. I would expect to see a lot of new approaches to 4e paradigms. Similar to what we saw with the Book of Nine Swords in 3.5 (I shudder just thinking about that book, god I hated that book).

But WotC isn't stupid. They are not calling the plumber. With Monte, they are recalling the engineers who built the USS Enterprise (whichever one you want it to be). I have to admit that, like many on the internet, I believe that Monte's return heralds - or mostly confirms the future coming of 5e/AD&D. With Monte's addition, the game will go in new directions, and likely have a chance to retake the first seat in the RPG industry.

Monte posted on his blog where he asks people not to speculate about what he is going to do at WotC. I mean COME ON MONTE! The gaming industry is not big enough that we cannot guess what you will be doing. Dr. Phil says it best "Past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior". As a (NFL) football fan, I would not hire Peyton Manning an put him to play defense (if you don't know who Peyton Manning is Google his name). We are talking about a rule-thinking genius and game-design superstar.

What would YOU ask him to do?

Monte may not want to be drawn into the edition war, but by going to WotC, he took sides in it, and us bloggers will post, analyze, guess and react to such an announcement from whatever sides we are one. While many have given up on 4e, we have not given up on WotC. 5e is that one glimmer of hope we still hold on to. With Monte, WotC have a stud to take them to that finish line. Since he spent most of his time in the 3.5 side of things, he might bring to WotC some of what people wanted to see out of 4e but did not get. I have been reading a number of other blogs that discuss this at length and most people agree. Monte might be the final nail in 4e's coffin. I won't cry over the poor, dead corpse of .

Why am I, a well-known edition flamer, happy about this announcement, then?


Yep. Competition brings out the best in people. With 4e the way it's been going down in flames like it has, I have the impression that WotC gave up on the edition war. They put their money and time in the Neverwinter campaign setting (which I never opened, as I do not open 4e books). It felt like they gave Paizo the crown and phoned it in. Why that may seem to be good news, a strong WotC will push my Paizo overlords to outshine themselves and come up with new and innovative products to keep their top seat.

Which in turns means that *I* will get better products.

Welcome back to Wizards, Monte!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

My New Pathfinder Character

A small post to display my latest Pathfinder Society character: Viviana Alterborg min-Zawree. Viviana was a young girl that was taken captive by a vampire, fed upon and finally freed by none other than Naadhira (to whom I introduced you to in this previous post). Well turns out Naadhira converted a number of the poor refugees to her own cult...

Yes, the cult was born at some point during Tomb of the Iron Medusa. Scott (my GM) did not allow me to forget the cult. So when I had to come up with a new character idea for Society play... Viviana was born!

I like to think of Viviana as a female "Igor". She carries on the works of her mistress, whatever they are. Viviana has a lot of unique ticks. Looking forward to sending her through the new Pathfinder Module "Feast of Ravenmoor" on Saturday.

I also created a samurai name Obata Masamori but when I got to sit down and play the role of melee thug was already taken.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blog Merge

Well after thinking about it for a while, I have decided to consolidate my two blogs into one. Since I post a lot more on JP on Gaming, I decided to import all the posts from my rarely-updated JP on Minis blog. This will allow me to have more frequent updates and post the occasional minis here. Being a big fan of "One-Stop-Shops", I thought it would be a good idea to do so with my blogs also.

I will also be able to clean my RSS feed a little and have everything be nice and clean. Okay, most of you would not see the difference, but to a code monkey like me, it does.

JP On Gaming does draw more traffic than the other one, that's for sure.

Gone over 200 posts!!!

The merge allowed me to go over 200 posts! Woohoo! I was sitting at 196 before the merge and now have 222 (well 223 with this announcement).


PS: and you thought the blink tag had gone away forever! MUHAHAHAHA


In case you did not know, I am putting together another Doctor Who RPG. I won a few Daleks on Ebay and painted them up. I chose the black and gold motif, for the early Daleks. These Daleks are for me, and not commissions.

I really like how they came out. Enjoy





Monday, September 19, 2011

Not down with OPP today

Well it happens sometimes... As you can all guess, by now I won't be posting an Organized Play Person post today.

Why you ask? The biggest issue is that I am waiting on responses and approval from no less than three people. You see when I approach the people I interview, one of the promise I make them is that I will not publish anything without their consent So, sticking to my principles I prefer to wait than to have a bunch of people angry at me.

Now, that is not to say that there is anything in those interviews that could be considered offensive or that might anger them (or you), no. I am just being pedantic and a stickler to my own formula. It has yielded a number of good and interesting interviews (the number of views corroborates this), and I seek to make sure that the same level of interview persists and that the people whom I interview see the gain and want to participate in these interviews.

So, for the nay-sayers out there, I still have 4 interviews in various stages of completions. So this series will continue.

I have also been thinking about doing interviews with other industry people. Go beyond the "usual" suspects and the big names. I mean talk to some of the 3PP people: publishers, writers, developers and even con organizers. That series will reach beyond Organized Play, and should hopefully give you, the readers a glimpse into the glamorous life of people in the RPG industry. A life full of riches and admiration by the masses.

Ahhh to dream...


Thursday, September 15, 2011

JP sits down with Mike Brock [New PFS Campaign Director]

Last night I drove up to Denver to meet with Mike Brock, the new Pathfinder Society Campaign Director for a talk about the Society, the future, how to build the local community, problems I had, what were my plans to expand locally, things I would like to see (and not see).

We were scheduled to meet at PF Chang's at 7:30. So I got there early, with Colorado under such the rain fall of the year, I got there slowly and safely on I-25. I will tell you that those who wisely stayed home did a good thing. I-25 was quite slick with a lot of standing water. I did not know Mike was also coming up the same interstate (he left from somewhere in Texas IIRC (Mike can correct me)).

I had a number things I wanted to talk about, in addition to the email I already sent to him. Something I read yesterday really got me going and I was fuming. I got there at 6:45. I realized I left my laptop at home. So I had nothing to do... Yes, I am one of the *those* people who do not have or own a cell/ blackberry/ iphone. Don't have one, don't want to have one.

Lucky for me, PF Chang is in the same location as a mall. Walking it is. I have to say that walking through the mall - something I dislike to do - allowed me to get out of the rain and changed my unhappy thoughts to level-headed ones. After 30 or so minutes, I got back to the car. Head to PF Chang's, get a table. It was about half-past the hour. That walk did wonders. I was upbeat, ready to tackle my new boss with a positive outlook, excited to see what he would say and what he wanted to bring to PFS.

I sat down, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

8 o'clock.

I finally ordered some food (blood sugar getting low), guessing that something happened and that he was not coming. I was eating my orange peel chicken looking sad and morose... Something must've happened. Saddened (by the fact that I could've had some pot roast with the kids), I ate slowly.

Suddenly, OH JOY! Mike and his Father-in-law!

I cannot say most of what we talked about. [NDA]. However, I can say the following things. Mike has a LOT of good ideas. It shows that - unlike his predecessors - he came up from the ranks. That he saw the campaign from the trenches, as a player, as a GM, as a Venture Captain. No disrespect to Hyrum or Josh, but having experienced the campaign like "most of us" has given him a point of view that is different and new.

I told Mike things I wanted to see. How I wanted Paizo to work more through the Venture Captains, for writing projects, for non-mission critical things. And the topic I've been calling for for a long time now: local interactives. With the mixed reviews Blood under Absalom received locally, possible locally-written events would definitely be huge draw at larger conventions. It might even spark the local cons we saw during LG that were "All-LG events" like "Brookfest" and "Weekend in the County". Those local mini-cons were truly part of the local gaming scene and that generated some "Gaming Tourism" outside the major cons. I would like to see people from other places travel again. Another topic we discussed was getting kids and family into the game. Having three young ones myself, the topic hits close to my heart. We discussed and exchanged a few ideas.

Now don't let that fool you, I was not the only one who presented ideas and debated them. Mike has a lot of ideas on what he wants to do, how he wants it done, and a plate more than full already waiting for him. Be prepared for changes to the campaign.

Normally, I would be rather wary of so many changes. But my talk with Mike has not dismissed my natural cynicism. It smashed, crushed and destroyed any doubt in my mind. The nomination of Mike will change things in the campaign, I'm sure. It will shake some trees no one thought of shaking for a very long while. Changes that REALLY have me excited. I do not believe that he will get to implement ALL of his ideas, at least not immediately. But Mike struck me as the sort of guy who will push his ideas and vision through, and not give up halfway.

Good times ahead. I drink the Mike-flavored Cool-aid. (HEUH! That sounds wrong no matter how I put it.)

Paizo has done a good move, no doubt. Thanks Paizo for choosing a great guy!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Doctor Who: Reign of the Daleks

The scene opens a blasted wasteland cityscape under a grey sky. In the distance, fires rage, dark plumes of smoke leave a dark haze that obscure the view. The scene focuses on a ruined building. At first, one can only distinguish moving shadows through the haze.

As the camera moves in, two women dressed in torn and damaged combat fatigues appear. One is feverishly working on a device

"Advanced post Delta-1 to base. The enemy is advancing from the west. We need urgent backup. Repeat. send backup."

An energy discharge.

The two women take up position and begin firing controled bursts at the enemy. In spite of the haze, a mechanical voice breaks the silence. "Enemies of the Daleks will be exterminated. You will bow to the master race. Exterminate. Exterminate."

This is the introduction to an upcoming Doctor Who adventure I will be running for my friends Bill and Jacque on Oct 2.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Writing NeoExodus Fiction

If you’ve been following my Twitter feed (@jpongaming) you know that I’ve been working on some NeoExodus fiction. Like when I did Nanowrimo in ’09, the experience of writing fiction is something very different for me. When writing adventure, you only need to worry about the outside factors and let the PCs interiorize what is going on. I have not yet decided how to publish the story, perhaps on this blog in installment, perhaps in a NeoExodus Novella book. Things are still in the air.



Monday, September 12, 2011

Organized Play People: Jay Babcock, part 2 (4e, Living Divine, NDA)

When last we left Jay, he was telling us that he was writing all 11 rounds of adventure for the first year of Living Divine. Without any further introduction, let’s go back to Jay.

JP: When you say campaign year… Is it real-time year or Gencon-to-Gencon?

JB: Real-time year.

JP: In an average week, roughly how much time do you devote to campaign-related duties?

JB: At least 40 hours, or so. It's easily a second career.

JP: A difficult one: I give you a magic wand and you can only use it to make your campaign better. What do you do?

JB: I'd save it for a rainy day. It may sound cheesy, but we are exactly where I want us to be, at this point. Wherever I've seen changes I've wanted to make, I've been able to just make them. It's a great benefit of being completely autonomous.

JP: Play, GM or write? Which do you enjoy best?

JB: Writing. You may as well ask a fish why he swims. It's just what I do, and what I've always done.

Over the years, I've had hundreds of folks come up to me and say 'I'm buying you a beer, I had so much fun'. There is no greater feeling than that... knowing that you were able to hit the mark, that solidly. And while I'll never knock GMing, your audience is, at most, a half-dozen folks at a time. But take pen to paper, and that table becomes a room of tables, and a schedule of conventions. It's utterly amazing!

And hey, free beer!

JP: Do you have any links of websites where people might learn more about the campaign?

JB:Our site is

At the moment, we're transitioning the site from a sneak-preview version to the full campaign version.

Also of note is the Living Divine Facebook page which has a LOT of good stuff. ( Among which is some art like the one at the beginning of this article (used here with permission), I found both disturbing and interesting at the same time. These are taken from flash animations that should come out with the finalized campaign website. I'm quite intrigued I must say.

JP: How do you plan on distributing the adventures? Will you sell them or simply make them available for download?

JB: We will be selling them - and already are. All the details will be on our new, finalized website..

JP: Why did you choose 4e? Wouldn't it make more sense to go with a growing system like Pathfinder?

JB: I'm not interested in having an edition debate with you. I don't share your obvious prejudice.

That said, we have extended an open invitation to anyone who wants to come in, and translate our materials to the Pathfinder (or any other) system. So far, those that have considered it have talked big but never stepped up to the plate.

JP: Translating stuff from one game to the other doesn’t work well IMO. There will always be a lame duck. Since game rules are part of the adventure and encounter design, you can’t just translate from one to the other. Skill Challenges are a good example: something very unique to 4e that kinda works in Pathfinder. Encounters that mix traps with combats generally mesh better in 4e. Is that mix of encounter something that pushed you to 4e or just a personal choice?

JB: We weren't pushed to 4e. My games will always stay with the latest D&D rule set, as long as I am still as deeply involved with the RPGA/BMG community as I am. It wouldn't be possible to do both, otherwise.

JP: You really think the 4e community is growing? REALLY? Locally it’s being kept alive by a few highly dedicated volunteers and re-players. Any insight?

JB: I'm privy to numbers on the national level. In that context, they are growing rather dramatically.

That said, I know there is a decent contingent of folks that like 4e, but have grown tired of Living Forgotten Realms. That crowd is making LD and AoA flourish, rather nicely. We've been managing to pull some of them back to the game.

AoA is Ashes of Athas, another organized play campaign. Teos and Chad who run the campaign will be interviewed in a later installment of this series.

JP: I went on the record saying that 5e is coming at Gencon 2012 (announcement). What are your thoughts about that?

JB: Folks said that last year, too. Eventually, they'll surely be right.

JP: When do you expect 5e to come out? Any secret info?

JB: If I had such info, I would be under NDA, and thus unable to say anything. So it's a pointless question.

JP: AH There it is again! The NDA MONSTER… you have NO Idea how often it sneaks up on me.

JB: Believe me, I do. I've been on both sides of them, more times than I care to count.

JP: What impact do you foresee a future edition having on the Campaign? Is that something you considered?

JB: Sure, we've considered it on a high level. We'll probably go with whatever is the current edition is... it's the audience we want to cater to. No different than if a campaign chose the Pathfinder system - they'd likely want to stick with the latest edition.

JP: Thanks Jay! Frank discussion… I expected nothing less. It was very fun. I’m a bit sad that there isn’t a Pathfinder version (yet) of Living Divine, because I really liked your Bissel stuff. I can keep praying (just like I pray for a Pathfinder version of Heroes of Arcanis)…

JB: Praying won't make it happen. We don't have any die-hard, skilled Pathfinder folks on our staff... so we won't attempt a translation on our own. We'd only do it if we thought it'd be done right.

JP: I can’t say I’ll try it myself (4e is something I gave up long ago and have no interest in picking up again, and I’m too much of a do-what-you-say kinda guy to lie). I leave the final word to you.

JB: Spork!

Friday, September 9, 2011

JP To Andorans: get a sap!

Some people have asked me why I keep calling the Andoran faction scions of evil, merciless, bloodthirsty, ravenous killers. In Golarian, the nation of Andoran embrace freedom from slavery, freedom from tyranny, egalitarian ideas and a dedication to spreading their views to the world.

But that's not what they do.

Most Andorans are there to kill anything that opposes them or their ideas. They are willing to stoop to any devious and dirty trick to achieve their lofty goals.

To the Andorans I have met, it is clear that the end justifies the means. So they kill, poison, murder, kidnap, cheat, without batting an eye... Most of them rationalize it with a simple "That's what my faction leader asked".


I mean. REALLY?

"I was just following orders" was the defense used by some of history's worse (and most documented) war criminals. Orders should not supplant one's own sense of morality, one's own sense of right and wrong. Especially when one defends such grand and lofty ideals. It didn't work then and it doesn't get past this history aficionado! Ideals and principles should be defended, upheld and shown to the world as values for good. Not a sullied altar to all the underhanded tricks done in its name.

Now, my Andoran reader... What can you do to change public perception of your evil-filled organization?

Start offering quarters. Buy a sap.

Respect an honorable surrender.

Don't follow blindly.

Now go back to your murderous ways since you must slay, murder and poison so that liberty triumphs. Have fun doing it. I know you like it.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tacticon: The Scores, results, and sad news...

Okay I have to admit that I stalled on this one... Why? because I expected to have a few changes - which didn't happen. Now some of you have characters that are named "Can't Read Name" or "Write Clearer", but the numbers are all in. Finally. So , without stalling any more...

Judges Scoring

Wow! Even higher than was originally reported to me! Six GMs got perfect scores! Congrats to Bryan, Dave, Jeff, Troy, Ted and Orion! You give are definitely in a class apart! Such a feat is remarkable! That gives us twenty judges (out of 25 PFS judges) with a score above 9. The others are not far behind, and missed this group by very little (the lowest score was 7.667.) Continuing with number fun, the average rating of PFS judges (all of combined) was a whopping 9.33! That is an accomplishment in itself.

My own 9.167 looks pretty crummy, but that is still over 90%. I'll take it as a win. Getting 9s and above is something that deserves particular notice in my book.

I cannot tell you all how proud I am to report those numbers. It makes me feel.

For those of you who didn't make the top 20... The ball is really in your camp! I'd love to get ALL of my judges into the 9+ group! Hopefully the players' feedback was useful.

Thanks again GM.


Faction Scoring

Now on to the winning faction for Tacticon... The arrival of the new factions has not changed the trend that appeared over the last two cons. For the first 3 days of the con, Taldor took the lead early in faction points (I posted the results every morning on the Rocky Mountain Pathfinder yahoogroup). Taldor lead by 7 after Thursday, 4 after Friday and Saturday and finally drop down to third in the final rankings! (Tables of 4-5 Andorans didn't help Taldor).

So once again evil, mayhem and death rules over Denver! Congrats to the Andorans who takes home the title! This time it's not even close! 12 PAs over Osirion...

It is interesting to note that all the old factions still dominate the scoreboard, as they occupy the top 5 spots. Too bad my beloved Qadira finished last! I gave PAs to Taldor and Cheliax for the con...

A few words about the new factions. Clearly the Silver Crusade is proving to be the most popular. I have to say that I expected the Lantern Lodge to be at the front of that group. Looking forward to Genghis to see how the numbers turn out once those currently new characters begin to level up and older characters retire...

Total for Andoran108
Total for Osirion96
Total for Taldor91
Total for Cheliax84
Total for Qadira48
Total for Silver Crusade31
Total for Lantern Lodge26
Total for Grand Lodge21
Total for Sczarni11
Total for Shadow Lodge11

There you go! That was your Tacticon report. See you at Genghis Con... Actually my next such report will most likely be from Neoncon in Las Vegas.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tacticon: The Scoring Sheet

I want to thank Scott Dunphy for sending the original Word documents of the sheet to allow us to play with if we wanted.

I never thought that my post from yesterday would trigger a flurry of off-blog emails and IMs dealing with the potential changes in the DGA GM scoring system. Some good discussions with a number of ideas being exchanged on how to improve the scoring sheet and player to GM to coordinator feedback. Thus far, there has not been any final decision, just a few ideas.

So I throw the idea out there to you, the readers. What type of feedback do you find the most useful as a GM? What irks you the most as a player? What do you consider the most important that a GM do when he runs a game? The floor is open.

Let me know what you want as a GM and what you would like to tell me, the coordinator as a player.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tacticon is over...

Let me get back on Tacticon in Denver this past Labor Day Weekend.

Back in June, I publicly stated that I wanted PFS to be the biggest organized play event at Tacticon (and going forward) (See this post). I made no secret of it, I wanted to be bigger than LFR (that had so far been the biggest event).

Well... I am proud to say, that my goal has been reached. We ran 58 tables at the con while LFR ran 50. Making me very happy! Still Wes did an awesome job of mustering all those people! Now comes the hard part... staying on top! It sounds a lot easier than it is to do. Still I believe that we have a strong community that CAN support it and that will once again turn out for some exciting PFS action. I can't wait to start setting up Genghis Con this February.

That's right, I agreed to run PFS at Genghis Con. A few among you have already offered to GM, staff or Iron Man (Marathon) the con. I won't marathon it for sure... But could...

I want to thank Linda Weygant who was the RPG coordinator. She took a lot of my whining and pleading for "more tables" (especially for the Gencon Special). Now I'm sure she will make me pay for all that when she gets her hands on the upcoming NeoExodus Campaign Book... (Stay tuned I will have more news about NeoExodus to post soon!!!)

It was good that I was able to release a few of my judges to play. The only reason I was able to do that was because you guys provided me with enough volunteers that I was able to do that. Having a few spare GM on hand really helped me relax and enjoy the con.

Now those who attended the con had a chance of getting one of two boons: Extra Trait and the chance to play a Tengu. In all, I gave out over 60 of those boons... so the little squakers should make an appearance near you! All of them should be signed using my patented stamp technology, but a few might have escaped my vigilance, so if a players asks you (the GM) to sign one, go ahead and sign it.

The Tacticon boons I got with (again) a lot of pleading, whining, grovelling and asking. I have to give great thanks to Mark Moreland, the current PFS developer. Mark came through for me big time. I have thanked him personally. I invite all of you to let him know how you feel about the rewards (through the Paizo Forums or by email). Having these boons were "nice to have" and just more icing on the cake. It was fun to pass at people's tables and see them wish for a "20" or a "1".

On a more personal level, I want to thank the poor GMs who had to suffer through me as a player (in play order): Nick, Ted, Homer and Troy. The Mistress is Great!.

Speaking of GMs... I have mixed news. First off, the number of "perfect 10" GMs dropped from what it was at Genghis. However, the numbers of 9s and 10s was very high. Yes, there were a few lower scores, but the VAST majority was right up there. I am waiting on Linda to give me the final numbers for PFS GMs. Seriously, you guys did an awesome job and I received a LOT of positive feedback from players who wanted to play more. I hope to see increased attendance at local events.

Continuing my thoughts on the GM rating system the DGA (Denver Gamers Association) uses. Linda, Jennifer and I thought about it and it may get revamped somewhat at upcoming DGA events. I won't say specifically WHAT we discussed until Linda announces her final decision on the topic, but I think there might be some new development there.

The reason we got on that subject of the rating... Players, if you plan on rating a GM below 7, PLEASE leave a comment for the GM/Coordinator. Some people gave ridiculously low scores to your GM without explanation. That's is NOT GOOD. The GM then comes to me and says "what did I do wrong? They didn't say anything!" If a GM was bad, tell him what you did not like. Why was he unprepared? What ruined your fun? There are many things to put down. The important thing is to get the GM to improve for the next con/ event. Some GMs scored average-to-poor at Genghis really got some nice scores this time around. I was very happy about that.

Don't simply copy the score the player above gave. Think for yourself and give scores that you feel is appropriate. The goal is not to blast the GM (please come and talk to me about that). Like all the coordinators, I seek to make everyone's experience better and sometimes a quick chat works. I took time some time to talk one on one with everyone who asked a minute of me (no, when I'm stuffing my face I'm not available).

Next time: The final Fame totals, GMs scores and looking forward to Genghis

Yes. That is a great ploy to get you to come back again!


PS: Thanks to Russ Brown for the picture of the RMPathfinder Banners featuring Rocky.

PPS:If you have more pictures of the banners, please forward then to me! I'd love to post more.