JP On Gaming

Monday, March 26, 2012

Best NeoExodus Adventure: JP vs. LPJ

The other evening, LPJ asked me the following question: What are the best three NeoExodus adventures written? I was taken aback by the question (a little). For one main reason: What makes a good adventure?

LPJ does not hide the fact that for him, White Plume Mountain was the best adventure. He likes big, nasty traps, and death. For me, Call of Cthulhu's The Masks of Nyarlathotep is the best adventure/ campaign ever published. The scope of the campaign, the story, the involvement needed from everyone makes it unique.

If you ever talk to LPJ about adventures, he'll ask you two things: 1- How many death will it generate? and 2- How many are you planning to kill? That's the honest-to-goodness truth, and why he constantly posts that I keep saying "NO" to him.

Which I do.

All the time.

Not because I'm opposed to death (quite the opposite), but killing a PC is not a goal in itself. It's too easy.

So I began to think -again- on what makes an interesting adventure. I thought of the process by which I select for an adventure location and setting. It is important to note that sometimes I think of my main plot in generic terms then as I refine and define more of it, the other pieces fall into place.

I'll use the Scarlet Pimpernel as an example of each of those points. Love the Pimpernel... If you don't know who that is, I recommend reading about it. Its great fun.

I see four elements in there that need to come together.

A story This is the biggie. What are you trying to say with the adventure? What does the adventure add to the overall knowledge or feel of the world? Is there some revelation you want to present the players? Every adventure should advance the plot somehow. Getting some big treasure is not a story to me, it's the plot device.

Every one of the Pimpernel's adventure has him rescue or plot the rescue of a person in France using a particular clever scheme to do so. Who they are and how they got into their current predicament is important as it gives the Pimpernel a reason to hop into action. Why would the SP save THIS person over the thousand of others?

A location (or setting) I've bemoaned about this in many Organized Play: the setting is not used enough as justification for adventure. The setting IS cause for adventure, not just a backdrop. Too often great settings are pushed to the background where only our fan-boy nature revel and giggle at their utilization.

The Scarlet Pimpernel travels to France to rescue French aristocrats (and others). The location is France, the evil, bloodthirsty regime of the Grande Terreur when the Revolution turned upon itself and its children serves as both the backdrop and the catalyst to the action. The setting forces the SP to do a number of things: it marks him as an enemy of the state; it gives the Pimpernel a number of antagonists; it forces him to avoid direct, lengthy or noisome confrontations; should he get caught he will be guillotined at once.

But the setting does much more, The Pimpernel puts his life on the line every story. This makes him a hero. He embarks on these mad quests to free people, out of his moral sense of right and wrong. The SP is helped by a number of contact and good folk who also risk their own lives to help him. In many way, the SP serves as a beacon for good people in an otherwise dark and dangerous time.

Sounds familiar?

Combats/ Challenges I've stated before many times. Combats must make sense. It's okay to surprise the players with a monsters/enemy they don't expect. It's NOT okay to suddenly pop up a villain the PCs had no way of knowing or that breaks the flow of the adventure. I also call this challenges because it is not always a combat. Sometimes, the PCs have to think themselves out of a bad spot, so "challenge" may be more appropriate than combat. This logic in the set up and apparition of the challenge must fit the setting.

Back to the Pimpernel, his arch-nemesis Chauvelin appears at inopportune times, or the Garde Nationale blocks the SP's way or prevent him from doing what he wants. Their apparition is often a surprise (to the reader), but they do not feel out of place.

Integrating everything The best adventures are those I cannot take from one place, slap another name on it and be done. Generic adventures are be fun but they don't give me a feeling of completion, of overall cohesion in the game world, that I don't matter in the grand scheme of thing. They feel... transitive, between two bigger and better things.

For the Pimpernel, this creates a mixture: Chauvelin would not make as much sense anywhere else. His nemesis' power comes from the fact that he has the power of the French government behind him. It wouldn't be as great if the stories were set in Russia, America or Austria... So you have a package that provides a venue for adventure. Every elements of the story works to create the atmosphere and the adventure itself.

Back to my talk with LPJ about quality adventures. Applying those four principles to NeoExodus, I came up with the following top 3.

3- Slavers of the Dominion/Undying Legacy of the First Ones I know, I promised 3, but really these two come at the same spot, but for completely different reasons. "Slavers" is an adventure that has heavy role playing potential - and extremely funny. "Undying Legacy" is great because it is such a great introduction to NeoExodus. Not as role-play heavy, but a nasty, fun discovery of NeoExodus.

2- The Sashenka Incident written by the excellent Jon McAnulty, this one has more to do with a political thriller. Following events in Ramat Bridge, move to the political scene of NeoExodus... For some nasty surprises. Just because you are in town doesn't mean things are civil and polite...

1- Encounter at Ramat Bridge this was the first adventure and really one I think sets the tone for what comes later. I have to put this one at the top. Having ran it a number of times, I know this one is fun for BOTH the GM and the players.

I'm torn putting them in order... I love all four for different reasons. One thing is for sure: NeoExodus adventures are a different breed than what other companies offer right now. Their mix of role-play (based on player decisions) is the only one out there for the Pathfinder RPG. One of the fun things is that a GM running NeoExodus can easily adapt or include material from other companies to give players some breathing room.

Those are "just" four of the NeoExodus adventures we have in the works right now. I have been working on a rework of previously-released (3.5) adventures, but updated to include some material from the Campaign Book and some of the other books I am working on. I hope to get a full list of them out shortly.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

NeoExodus: It's finally here! Real Books!

So tonight I came home with dinner. We all sat down to eat and about halfway through the meal when my wife casually mentions "oh yeah, you have boxes at the front door."

I immediately stood up, ran to the door, swung the door open and to my great joy... A box from LPJ Design! Finally, my NeoExodus books had arrived!!! I told the kids to get out of the way (because they too were curious!) Their little faces at the idea of "Daddy's book" was priceless. Knowing what I had, I willed myself to wait until 8pm before opening the box.

So I will do that with you just now! Let us open this massive box of goodies together

The box itself.

The box opened, revealed the packing is revealed

BOOKS! The NeoExodus books! Real books!

The stack of NeoExodus!

A first look inside: prestige classes

More Art

Part 1 of the feats

Part 2 of the feats: two full pages!

If you want one of those bad boys, contact me, I have them for sale for 25$ each (which is like 2$ less than you can buy them for online). Unsurprisingly, these are in EXTREMELY limited numbers and quite a few of them are already assigned to people.

Now I will finally own my own copy of this awesome book.

Don't worry... you can still order them directly from so those are not the only ones out there... Just the only ones I have.

Okay I will leave you now... I have a book I need to hug.




Sunday, March 18, 2012

First Warmachine Tournament: a lesson in humility

Last week, I posted my thoughts about playing in the upcoming Warmachine tournament at Gamers' Haven here in Colorado Springs.

With much anxious energy, I painted up a few models (the ones that appeared in my previous blog). After posting my army, I made some small changes to it caused by my inability to procure a raek, in under 24h.

So I had to change.

I procured an Ogrun Warchief and a teraph instead and decided to "make it work". Main Army
   Vayl, Disciple of Everblight
   Shredder (x2)
   Blighted Nyss Archers (6)
   Blighted Ogrun Warspears (5)
   Spawning Vessel (6)
   The Forsaken
   Blighted Ogrun War Chief
Reinforcements (7 pts)
   Nephilim Soldier

When I came to the first game, I realized I forgot the harrier's card, so I changed it to an additional shredder. It did not matter because the first scenario did not have reinforcements. But still.

Game 1: Rick's Cygnar (Epic Caine)

Dustin arranged the players in groups of Noob (me) and those who are used to the game. By memory Rick had Epic Caine, Arcanist gun mages, two grenadiers, Boomhowler's Mercenaries, Kell Bailoch and the big storm engine. The scenario was control the flag. Well, the short version: he made over seven tough saves (I needed him to fail only one). Then when I could not break his line, and my own troops were failing, at doing anything, I tried other things.

And they also failed.

Through some bad moves, Vayl ended up exposed. She was dead a moment later.

Result: Defeat 0-1 I did not managed to score a single kill point either!

Game 2: Vince's Skorne (Epic Makeda)

This was a kill box scenario. This will be the shortest of the report.

I moved up, forgot to move the carnivean. Vayl in front. Vayl dead. I tried to save myself, but she was dead before I got a second turn. The game took longer to set up than to play. I was pretty bummed out. Again, not a single kill point. I had a SMALL chance to kill his dragoons (which might have given me some respite), but I failed, brought both to 1 damage, but not killing.

Vince is a great player, a good guy and someone who has a lot of game experience. He shared some very good thoughts with me after the game.

Result: Defeat 0-2 Again, not a single kill point!

Game 3: Jon-Eric's Retribution (Ossyan)

Jon-Eric is my good buddy. He and I play frequently together. This was a multiple objective control scenario.

This one started better for me. I was able to hide in the forest and my carnivean survived the assault of his two dragoons (to smash them). Then my ogruns smashed into his two heavy jacks, hurt but failed to kill them. The fight ebbed and flowed, but it was clearly to my advantage. When I kicked Vayl's feat (cat and mouse), I surrounded Ossyan with the Carnivean, a teraph and two ogruns and he gave up.

But really the highlight of the game, for me, was the Forsaken triggering his blight bomb close to his jack that was camping on 8 focus... FORTY EIGHT points of damage. Very, very nice.

Result: Defeat 1-2

Overall and lessons learned

I need to play more to better understand the rules.

Use more dwarves. (Bring them for scenarios without reinforcement).

I'll have to take up Dale on his offer for additional games.

I'll try to attend other events to see if I can get out of the "noob" level.


Friday, March 16, 2012

The Legion... ready for action!

As promised... the final model of my Legion of Everblight!

First are my two converted shredders to harriers. The wings would not hold for some reason, but these little buggers seem to be flying.

Next is my new teraph I wanted to have a ranged beast to add some variety to my all-melee monsters. It came out great! I like the sculpt. It's very like the carnivean.

Next my two converted shepherds. They are not the best, but they work. I don't plan to use them too often, so its fine.

Finally, my new Ogrun Warchief to give my warspears some added humph. This bad boy makes my 5-man ogrun squad worth 11 points - as much as a carnivean. Experience shows they were powerful without him. They are are going to be just brutal. I LIKE!


Skarre: Ships in the Night Thoughts and Armies

Ever since I read about this army from No Quarter #37, I've been intrigued by it. From the days I was a boy, I was always fascinated by pirates and their age... Now I can play them in a miniature game I like! Looking at this list, I think this is one of the only lists in the game where you can field more models than points... at 35 points, I field 46 models and at 50 points, an impressive 67!!! Granted the army has limited anti-heavy capabilities, but it should slow down pretty much every body... It's a hordes-style army. I would be very intrigued about how it performs on the battle field.

Skarre, Ships in the Night

Warjacks: All non Character
Units: Black Ogrun, revenant units
Solos: Skarlock Thrall, warwitch siren,undead solos with jack marshal.

Tier 1: models listed above
benefit: Non character seadog units, freebooter warjacks, and mariner warjacks these are now friendly cryx models.

Tier 2: requires 1+ revenant unit
benefit: revenent's gain advance move

Tier 3: requires 3+ bonejacks with pathfinder / flight
benefit: bonejacks wit pathfinder/flight gain Advanced Deployment

Tier 4: requires 3+ seadog units
benefit reduce cost of Sea dog units by 1

Thinking ahead to tomorrow's tournament I decided to build a 35pts army to see what I'd need to get this army on the road. But I know Skarre won't take part in tomorrow's tournament: I don't even have her... yet.

Looking at my 35 point army, I would need to add Skarre, the scavengers and the revenant crew.. Lucky for me, I have some plastic Cryx bonejacks I could convert... So that's a few models I wouldn't have to buy.

Skarre, Ships in the Night (35pts)

Models: 46
Pirate Queen Skarre
Press Gangers (Leader + 9 Grunts)
Revenant Crew (Leader + 5 Grunts)
Sea Dog Crew (Leader + 9 Grunts)
2 Sea Dog Crew Riflemen
Sea Dog Crew (Leader + 9 Grunts)
Sea Dog Deck Gun
Sea Dog Deck Gun

For the 50 points army, I add a full unit of Blackbane's Ghost Raiders, a full unit of press gangers and one extra rifleman. This makes the army into a huge mob! That's what a pirate army is... Very interesting. With the addition of my cannibals (See my previous post), all I need are the undead warriors...

Skarre, Ships in the Night (50pts)

Models: 67
Pirate Queen Skarre
Blackbane's Ghost Raiders (Leader + 9 Grunts) Press Gangers (Leader + 9 Grunts)
Press Gangers (Leader + 9 Grunts)
Revenant Crew (Leader + 5 Grunts)
Sea Dog Crew (Leader + 9 Grunts)
3 Sea Dog Crew Riflemen
Sea Dog Crew (Leader + 9 Grunts)
Sea Dog Deck Gun
Sea Dog Deck Gun


Thursday, March 15, 2012

New Kickstarter Project!

Yesterday marked the first of the launch of our new NeoExodus Kickstarter project for another NeoExodus adventure: Origin of Man. This one is off to a great start! Join in now to get some of the goodies for the adventure (and force me to do stuff).

I already have an outline for this... I like it. I like it.

Follow this link to Kickstarter to pledge and take part in this exciting project.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

First Warmachine Tournament: Thoughts

On Saturday, I am hoping to play in my first Warmachine tournament. I don't hold very high expectations about my scoring, but I am looking forward to getting some games against different opponents. Waffling, I came up with four armies I could use.

Then I read that I had to provide 7 points of reinforcements. After playing with my Rhulic army points a little, I could not field enough of them (the numbers didn't line up correctly) So I dropped the Rhulic army from the lot, leaving me with two armies to play. The First is a Legion of Everblight with Vayl and the other is a pirate army with Fiona the Black as the captain. Then, just for fun I created a themed Fiona list. I'm just not sure I have enough pirates to field that one! Unless...

Unless I use some of my Foundry African tribesmen as substitute pirates. They will simply look awesome and who doesn't like the idea of having pirate WITH cannibals. I can just see the combination on the table. Not very PC, but the look on the table... It would look awesome! War paints and all... A death cult with cannibals a match made in big cauldron heaven!

Okay, now I begin work on re-basing some of those boys too add to my pirate horde. Who'd'a'thunk that writing a blog post would give people ideas on how to build their armies?

Do I have enough bases for this?

Legion of Everblight

This army is a generic Legion Army. Though I would like to play something themed, I just don't have the right models to make them work. Maybe I will in the future.
  Vayl, Disciple of Everblight
  Nephilim Soldier
  Shredder (x3)
  Blighted Nyss Archers (6)
  Blighted Ogrun Warspears (5)
  Spawning Vessel (6)
  Blighted Nyss Shepherd
  The Forsaken
Reinforcements (7 pts)
  Blighted Nyss Shepherd

Highborne Commission

Ever since I played with Fiona, I have enjoyed her as a caster. Plus, the idea of running an army of pirates can't be beat. I mean... Pirates! YARRR! Add a caster who is a necromancer and worshiper of death and you have awesome written all through the sky.
  Fiona the Black
  Press Gangers (10)
  Sea Dog Crew (6)
    Mr. Walls Sea Dog Crew Quartermaster
  Sea Dog Crew (6)
  Sea Dog Deck Gun (2)
  Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios
  First Mate Hawk
  Professor Victor Pendrake
  Rutger Shaw
  Taryn di la Rovissi
Reinforcements (7 pts)
  Steelhead Halberdiers (6)
  Ogrun Bokur

Devil To Pay

Same comments as above, but this army is themed to Fiona. An entire army of fanatical death-worshipers ready do die for their priestess... Just awesome!
  Fiona the Black
  Press Gangers (10)
  Sea Dog Crew (10)
    Mr. Walls Sea Dog Crew Quartermaster
  Sea Dog Crew (10)
  Sea Dog Crew (6)
  Doc Killingsworth
Reinforcements (7 pts)
  Sea Dog Crew (6)
  Kell Bailoch

Monday, March 12, 2012

Talking interactive: Arcanis First Battle Interactive

A little Arcanis report for a change!

I made no secret that I really love the Arcanis campaign setting and have had a not-quite-love affair with the Initiative clock. My biggest gripe with it is that I never get to play as every Arcanis event has been during a PFS event or at a time or place where I cannot go. So I kept grumbling in my corner (as if I needed any excuse for more grumbling).

A few weeks back, the Arcanis Colorado Yahoogroup for possible dates for the event. In the end, Ryan Wendling (our local coordinator), set up two separate tables, one on Saturday in north Denver and one on Sunday in South Denver. Better still both me and my good friend Lenny signed up for the same event at Enchanted Grounds!

Lenny, his wife Tena and I carpooled up to EG for the game. My character (Kermina Gallia val'Borda) hasn't gone up a tier (or rank, or whatever it's called, I am still a starter-level character). Not built for combat and heading into a battle interactive... I am a dumb ass!

The table was composed of 4 of us: Gerrard val'Sheem (a bard and his wonderdog), Gustav val'Sheem (a two-weapon fighting punching bag), and Vladimir val'Virdan (a warrior in a big can). Lucky for me the other guys had played more and had a few advances.

I won't spoil you anything by saying this: it was a tough and fun times. Arcanis's minions hit HARD, and though they are easy to kill (if you hit). All of us, at one point of another got down to very few vigor points (especially Lenny and the dog, both of whom gathered a lot of aggro). I spent my time skirting the fights, trying to support "my boys" (I'm playing the granddaughter of my two other Arcanis characters). We had a lot of fun throughout the day.

After one long session of play, I still can't say the system is my favorite, it works well enough. The Arcanis storyline is... well it's the storyline that brings people in. And why you should go and check out Arcanis.


Oh! I know you'll ask, but I STILL haven't gotten a single advance in the campaign yet...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hordes: The Legion Grows Part 3

Yes, yes, I said everything was painted... so how come I have another post full of Legion? Pacing. That's right... Though I have a lot miniatures done, I'm bringing them to you, just a couple at a time... Making sure you can savor each one...

This installment has my five Ogrun Warspears and a unit of blighted Nyss archers.

I really like the ogruns as they are both an offensive and defensive unit. They can hold a flank or move to threaten one. They have always paid for themselves, even in game where I had no idea how to run them. They are great at mopping up or smashing units.

I am not a fan of the archers because they are very weak unless used in large numbers. Maybe I haven't found out how to use them... Other than as a way to feed my spawning...


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hordes: The Legion grows, part 2

This offering features Vayl, the Disciple of Everblight, the second warlock I have for the Legion. I really like her as she is a very spell heavy caster, which is extremely different than the casters I usually run: Lylyth and Gurten. So fun times. The paint job I did had her white. I like how she came out. I went for an effect of light snow on the metal pink areas.

The next three minis are my Nephilims, the first one is a soldier and the other two are protectors. To differentiate them, I converted one to hold his axe above his head. The result is so cool that I like the mini better that the original.

Inevitably, my Legion grows and grows! So quickly in fact that I have run out of models!!! Everything is painted but the two archers I converted into shepherds. Don't worry, I haven't run out of things to paint...


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Free RPG Day: Undying Legacy Playtest report

Without spoiling anything, here is a play-test report of Undying Legacy of the First Ones, the NeoExodus adventure for this year's Free RPG Day.

I talked about this adventure in previous posts (Here and Here) as this adventure was the result of our Kickstarter project that ran over the December-January period. (So you know, we'll have another one starting in March.)

I've spent many long nights and a few mornings while "watching" the kids at my computer, frantically writing and expanding the story, tweaking the combats and adding some story elements. For although I want this to be an introduction to NeoExodus, I want the adventure to showcase and present what is NeoExodus.

The Party

There were five players (our sixth had to bow out at the last second (but I knew)): Martin playing Freija the human gunslinger, Homer playing Chenoa the prymidian bard, Jon playing Hans the human cleric of the Kaga, D'Anne played Karissa the p'tan rogue and Everett played Dema-ma (whom he played in a Sunday game of "Encounter at Ramat Bridge"). Of those, Martin had never played NeoExodus before, D'Anne never played it either but she owns the book. Jon, Everett and Homer all played NeoExodus before, so they had some idea of what NeoExodus was before.

No one opted to play Nose-Cutter, the Enuka Fighter, which I thought interesting. It would certainly make for interesting times.

I mean... When does an RPG adventure not interesting without a big, burly fighter? Or a cleric, or a arcanist or a rogue, you ask as I chuckle?

The Game

We started late (which is ALL Homer's fault, it has nothing to do with the fact that we were stuffing our faces with Casa Caliente's awesome burritos and we walked in 2 mins before him). So we sat down, introduced ourselves (this was the first time I met with Martin who freshly arrived from Australia), did some chit-chat and finally got down to playing.

A few words about Exodus, and boxed text...

The game proceeded well. I do have a few things, notably as transitions, things that are clear in my mind, but that didn't make it onto the page. The inevitable grammar and weird sentences to correct, some elements I feel are lacking to the adventure (which I noted, added and did not tell my players about).

The flow was good, the progression of the PCs through the story was good, I do not feel they were lost in the setting at anytime, they knew what was going on, what to do and the skill checks did not seem over-burdened. Although they did spend a lot of time in one location rolling an average a '2' out of about 10 d20 rolls!

The Setup

At the request of a priest of the Sanguine Covenant, the PCs travel to a small border village in the Caneus Empire besieged by a tribe of calibans. Aggressive, barbaric, cannibalistic and dangerous, the calibans are a threat to civilized people everywhere. More is afoot than initially believed. That is the blurb I am currently working on.

The Combats

Combats were challenging, without a doubt, but none could be considered overpowered. I found them fun, entertaining and exciting... and most of all flavorful. That last one is important to me. Flavor and "feel" of the monsters used is important


I need to tidy up things, and a few more notes before sending this one to editing. But overall, I'm happy of the adventure and it should be fun to run at play at Free Rpg Day. I'm very happy with what I have and look forward to making it... well better once all the tweaks and notes are integrated. I am very anxious for Free RPG Day to see how many people will play the adventure and provide some feedback to us.

The adventure is rather isolated from the rest of our NeoExodus adventures in that it does not use any pre-existing characters, nor does it work off of the main storyline, at least not directly. Still the style and feel of NeoExodus is there.

A level 3 introduction to NeoExodus!


Monday, March 5, 2012

Pathfinder Society at Genghis, Part 4: Final thoughts

Read the previous parts of this series: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Random Shots

New Society Members Before the con, I printed out 40 new Society numbers. I already had about 20 in my organizer box. Well at the end of the con, I'm down to about 15 numbers. This number of ~45 does not include the numbers some of my GM had in their own kits. In all another good con to initiate new players to Society. My Intro GMs (Josh, Sam & Jess) all got perfect 10s for these tables. Well done guys!

GM Versatility I love to free one of my judge to play for a slot, to complete a table or do something else. But there is little I love more as an organizer when I can turn to one of my guys and say "I know you are scheduled for this adventure, but can you run this one instead?" Though I try to avoid giving the GM a "cold" module, I was able to limit this to one or two over the course of the weekend. I had to do a lot of juggling, with table numbers and all my GMs responded very well and were extremely helpful. A big thank you

I won at painting ! I'm happy to report that Stephen won the Malifaux event at the con, using the minis I painted for him... I was surprised when he reported that there was no score for painting! OH well... I'm not able to claim that he won "just because of me"... That sucks.

Coming Up

After talking about Genghis Con, now is time to talk about what's coming up next.

I've been talking with Jeff Kokx about holding some type of GM boot camp (Jeff has really been spearheading the initiative and I've been tagging along). Just because you made the list doesn't mean there might be some room for improvement, in your style, table-side manner, attitudes, etc. I would love to see all my GMs scoring perfect 10s everywhere. Stay tuned to this blog and to the Rocky Mountain Pathfinder Yahoogroup


In my blogpost from last week, I stated that Pathfinder Society adventures in Absalom were overdone and that the city was overused. It was pointed out to me (by Mike Brock) that Absalom was the site of 28 Society adventures (including the intros, and modules). Which made me realize that this was about 20-25% of everything that's been released for the campaign so far. Why then, do I have this nagging impression that I'm always adventuring in Absalom?

That has to be a future blog post written all over it. I'm gonna obsess over it.


I know I thanked Paizo prior to the con for the swag they graciously sent me. Throughout the con, Scott or myself had novels for people to win, and had a few left at the end, which I passed on liberally. The offering of swag was a good way to mitigate the lack of a chronicle during the interactive.

In closing, let me thank Paizo and Mike Brock for his support of the con, in swag and other ways. In the end, I believe we ended up with a solid, fun con. A big shout-out to my Con-Mistress, Linda Weygant who bravely tolerated my grumbling over everything (she should know me by now). Thanks