JP On Gaming

Thursday, May 31, 2012

NeoExodus: Meet the (new) Iconics

With PaizoCon approaching, I have been working hard to get everything in line. One of the projects I've been working on has been the creation of not one, but two new Iconics for NeoExodus. The two iconics have brand new art from LPJ Design AND miniatures that I built for them. One thing

The first character is Akarma, a Sametian-born Kalisan Witch. She has her owl familiar, Scavenger. One recurring joke I had was to create a Kalisan with the Cannibalize feat (yes, the Kalisans are cannibalistic), and have Profession (cook). I find it so ironic and fun.

The other is the Cardosian Machinesmith, Milka Branislaw. For more information about the machinesmith, check out Classes of NeoExodus: Machinesmith. I took part in the creation of the class, and I really like where it has gone: a mix of Star Trek engineer, steampunk mad scientist and Viktor von Frankenstein. Milka, I saw as a definite support character, someone who provides some ranged support, but whose main focus is to help make the party's life a lot easier.

So there you have it: two new Iconics for NeoExodus. I may do a few more before PaizoCon. Time will tell.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Talking Interactive: NeoExodus at PaizoCon 2012

Yesterday as it was Memorial Day in the US and I got to run a play-test for "A5 Battle of Trovaska", the NeoExodus interactive adventure for PaizoCon. I find it funny to say that because there is no Organized Play campaign for NeoExodus (yet).

I spent every available moment for the past week (but more so on Sunday). And AGAIN, as I'm feverishly writing the adventure guess who pops up in my Skype? That's right, Louis Porter! If you don't know, whenever he shows up with a "can you Skype?" this means that I have to argue with him why his latest idea is "not exciting". This time, since I was writing the Interactive, he wanted to get the full low-down about what I was writing, why it was "awesome", asked about the timing, the situation, the NPCs, then he would start saying "I don't like that name".

That's right... he hates the names of almost every NPC I come up with. Lucky for me, I could tell him "THAT'S THE SAME GUY AS IN [name of other adventure]. That's name is not changing!" We would argue some more, and eventually he would give in, but grumble about "the name is not exciting". Best ignore him when he rants.

I want to give a HUGE shout-out to his wife Carla who I really, really love. Why? Well through her I was able to have Louis beat up! It was the most awesome thing ever to come out of Florida. Yep. Thank you Carla!

So after two hours of reading the interactive to him (arguing about names, explaining what the NPCs' goals were (which didn't bring about as many argument as their names, surprisingly)), he went to bed and I was able to write for another two hours or so (which included creating and formatting stat blocks for baddies).

It was armed with a eleven-page adventure (short, I know) that I left home for Enchanted Grounds that morning. I was worried about a number of things. Which is exactly why I wanted to run a play-test!

- Will the adventure fit in a 5h time slot?

- Is the whole event too complex for new players (my play-test group included people had played NeoExodus and some who had not)?

- Are the combats too easy/ difficult?

- What would the PCs do?

- How would they react to the story?

- How would the rule element I had work, and would the players react to them positively? I cannot go into details about it, but I used a set of rules published by LPJ Design in the adventure (because it fit well enough in there), but having never used them myself AND expanding them for the dual purpose of simplicity and integration, I

In short, I was my usual neurotic self about every details. I am a huge fan of interactive as special, break-the-mold events, and this one is no exception. For the first time with NeoExodus, the storyline of the world can be changed. In ways that can be subtle or not so subtle.

I want to thank Brett, Homer, Joe, Ryan and Todd for participating and giving me some awesome feedback! We also had a few home brew characters joining the fray: Homer's Kalisan barbarian and Ryan's Sasori monk. I think Sasori and monks have struck a chord with a number of you... It's the second one I've seen at a NeoExodus table! Happy to see more new characters.

Here are some pictures of the setup for the games... I did not have all the correct minis for the villains (yet). But the proxies were "close enough". One other thing... The terrain for this one reuses none of the pieces I use for A1 Encounter at Ramat Bridge, allowing me to have two different boxes a not have to mix and match at game time.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Avatar Of the Kaga: The C series

With the "A" series being the core story, and the "B" series form secondary story elements, the "C" is not very different from the "B". However, they need to be distinguished by one major element. To this date, every one of this series has been funded through Kickstarter. Also, this series is all about unique or standalone stories. Though they are related to the main campaign, they really are standalone.

I can see our introductory material to be part of this series. So many material to write!

C1 - Undying Legacy of the First Ones

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...

An adventure for 3rd level characters.

Notes: Funded through Kickstarter, our first Free RPG Day adventure, and one I am very excited to hear from all you. The play-testers enjoyed it, and provided some important feedback. This one is, like "Encounter at Ramat Bridge", an introductory adventure into NeoExodus. It addresses a number of concepts and unique elements of the setting without going too deeply into them (the way "Sashenka", "Slavers" or "Trovaska" do).

C2 - Origin of Man

The Armans and the Nasians share a number of common traits. They are taller and share the characteristic blonde hair. However they live on opposite sides of NeoExodus. One man thinks he holds the key to proving that both share common ancestry. All he needs is a group of adventurers to escort him.

An adventure for 7th level characters.

Notes: Origin of Man was the first project I worked on for LPJ Design. This adventure was one that is pretty nasty, and was originally written for 4th level characters in mind. However, with later work on the setting (I wrote this basically without a setting), this adventure needed to be revisited in-depth (I wouldn't say a full rewrite but a MAJOR rewrite, as well as bumping the adventure from 4th level to level 7). And so we did it as part of a Kickstarter. This one I cannot wait to run!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Rhulic power grows! Herne and Jonne

When I first read about these guys, everyone just blasts and calls them everything from "useless" to "only if you play Durgen". Well after one game with them, I LOVE these guys! The Scatter shooting ability while not damaging to jacks, can make whole light infantry units disappear. And best of all, they can be included as part of my tier 4 Gorten list! For the same price as the Horgenhold Artillery, yet they can move!

True, They may not be as powerful as they could be if I ran Durgen as my caster, but I like what I've seen so far. I think they will replace the artillery from now on...

Oh! And the models are pretty cool too!


Monday, May 21, 2012

Avatar of the Kaga: NeoExodus Adventures "B Series"

My post on Series "A" on Friday gave information on the core series of the campaign. The "B" series includes longer adventures that are not necessarily crucial for someone to experience the main plot. However, each of them expands on some of the concepts of the campaign, giving a GM and a player an actual experience of a location, a monster, or a group of NPCs. These would be called Soft points in "Arcanis-talk".

Although unintentionally, all the adventures in the "B" series are longer, more involved adventures, requiring a few game sessions to complete.

B1 - Cold Visitor

When a high-ranking member of the Dominion asks for you to come and meet him, do not make him wait. What he wants you to do is quite simple but may require more than a simple trip to Gavea. His wants may require you to be better prepared than you ever though you had to. Short trips sometimes make for a long journey.

Part one of the Forgotten Secrets of the First Ones series. An adventure for characters levels 5.

Notes: Cold Visitor was originally written in the 3.5 days of NeoExodus. When I got my hands on it, I immediately fell in love with the plot (which is inspired by one of my favorite movies of all time). The plot was solid, the story was solid. I revamped it for PFRPG and corrected a few things that weren't in-line with the Campaign book. Mostly, it was expanding the NPCs and the story to add a few pearls.

B2 - Curse of Lannil Island

The island of Gavea is a mist-covered island off the western coast of Exodus. A map to a long lost treasure as your guide, you will have to survive strange alliances, fields of sugarcane, and the curse of Lannil Island.

Part two of the Forgotten Secrets of the First Ones series. An adventure for characters levels 5.

Notes: A sequel to Cold Visitor, also written for NeoExodus 3.5, this adventure had a lot of good things going for it. However, it felt a little too... similar to its predecessor in implementation. My work on this one included an expanded introduction/ conclusion and making it much more freeform, allowing the GM and the players to really dictate the pace at which the adventure progresses. Oh! And I added some extra villains... for good measure.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Avatar of the Kaga: NeoExodus Adventure "A Series"

I've talked at length about how I wanted NeoExodus to have an evolving storyline where the players were not only a part of the events, but integral players and influencers of what transpires. However, every adventure must not be critical to the history of the world. It's one of my big gripes against Forgotten Realms (the novels mostly) where every book/trilogy changes the world in a way that it is always world-changing. No. While I want to see the story evolve, I don't want to see the gods slay each other on a monthly basis or every named NPC die every other day.

The A series I see as the "core" campaign. The events of this series are far-reaching and major for Exodus. Playing through this series, the PCs get involved in a greater story. To use PCI's terminology those adventures would be "hard points".

Don't read those as "the only good adventures" because that would be wrong. The other series are not as good or interesting, that's wrong.

A1 - Encounter At Ramat Bridge

Things are brewing along the Abaddon River. The armed forces of the Arman Protectorate are preparing something. Across the river, the Janus Horde is on the move and their raids are growing more and more frequent. A powerful Imperial senator needs to know what is going on and, with any luck, stop the situation from escalating.

An adventure for 3rd-level characters.

Notes: This introductory adventure into NeoExodus was first run at PaizoCon 2011. This was, outside the play-test, the first public game of NeoExodus ever. The adventure has since been run in Colorado and Idaho to positive acclaim. Definitely a show piece adventure (the fort at Ramat Bridge is just so cool to play in).

A2 - Ruins of Trovaska

The summons was clear and simple: you were needed for a simple task of exploration in dangerous territory. Large payment was mentioned, with possibility of even more. It seems your employer's letter only let out a few important details.

An adventure for 3rd-level characters.

Notes: This adventure was play-tested publicaly at NeonCon 2011 (in Las Vegas, NV) and first offered to the public at Genghis Con 2012 (in Denver). This adventure was written after A3, as a way to expand on the plot of "Ramat Bridge" to explain more of what is happening. This adventure will be offered at PaizoCon 2012.

A3 - The Sashenka Incident

The small village of Sashenka finds itself in the path of an oncoming whirlwind. An invasion of a nearby country and a somewhat strategic location at the juncture of the Kyan and Abaddon Rivers made this community into a hotbed of intrigue. One particularly troublesome group is seeking to exploit the tensions and foment a greater war.

An adventure for characters levels 5. This adventure follows elements of Encounter at Ramat Bridge.

Notes: Written by the excellent Jonathan McAnulty, this political thriller addresses a number of themes we want NeoExodus to be known for. Set in the aftermath of the events of "Ramat Bridge", the "Incident" is extremely important for the campaign plot.

A4 - Slavers of the Dominion

Grokfa Polina Vlaklov, a powerful noblewoman needs help taking down a group of slavers that have been plaguing the Protectorate's western border. All you need to do is offer yourself as slaves and find out who is the leader of the cartel. This adventure is an expansion of The Sashenka Incident.

An adventure for 5th level characters.

Notes: This adventure was inspired by the above-mentioned "Les esclaves d'Al Anfa" in its theme and goal: slavery. However, after a similar premise, the plot takes a life of its own. This adventure is clearly intended for more mature audiences. It is such a unique adventure that straddles on the deadly and the comedic. Perhaps one of the adventure I like running the most because of it. Although it was planned to run at NeonCon 2011, it didn't happen. This adventure premiered at Genghis Con 2012 in Denver.

A5 - The Battle of Trovaska

The Northern Army of the Arman Protectorate has been in Sametia for months now. So far, the Janus Horde has refused to meet it in the field, favoring hit and run attacks. But this situation is about to come to an end. This adventure is the finale of the "A" series and its results will be compiled into next year's storyline.

An adventure for 3rd level characters

Notes: This adventure will be run only once: at PaizoCon 2012. This will be our first "battle interactive" event. As such, it will determine events in our adventure for the next year. Should be a blast!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Avatar of the Kaga: NeoExodus Adventures

One of the many points of discussion at LPJ Design (and I have to assume most other RPG publishers as well) is the question "How can we get people to play more of our stuff?" Though LPJ doesn't want to hear it, for me the reason many of us old-time gamers remember fondly playing through the old TSR module: I6 Ravenloft, I13 Egg of the Phoenix, "The Temple" (of Elemental Evil), City of the Spider Queen, White Plume Mountain (for LPJ)... Those name evoke among the old, old guard memories of insane traps, combats and "you have to know what [name] did here". Though I did play games from those days I don't want to go back to the heydays of 1e or 2e. I quit playing D&D because the game was too restrictive... But that's another rant/post.

So... To me, the success of these adventures came not from the fact that they were great or solid adventures, in fact most of them were just elaborate death traps where you could laugh at your friends for doing stupid things. Then you would meet up with "a random cleric walking through the dungeon on his own" and you'd watch your buddy do the same stupid crap. Again. Then meet a cleric. It was fun. Lighthearted, but really fun.

Although I have never been a big fan of the dungeoncrawl, I realize their need and importance in fantasy gaming. I was lucky enough to be given games with a strong story and plot component. L'Oeil Noir's "Le Fleuve du Désastre", "Le Tournoi des Félons" and the one adventure you could never live through: "Les Esclaves d'Al Anfa". Okay I won't spoil the punch, but the first one is a murder mystery. The second one's plot involves the PCs trying to stop a big political assassination and the third one is just... Well... it's nasty! You should not be overly surprised that the themes I mentioned find themselves in NeoExodus! Seriously... don't.

With the firm conviction that the best way to sell a setting like NeoExodus is play in it. To discover it through adventure. To experience it. The only way I know how to do so is by playing in adventures. By making adventures that would reveal a little more of the setting to the players (and eventual GMs).

One company that does a great job of doing exactly that is Paradigm Concept (PCI). Where all of the major elements of their storyline happen in their adventures, allowing the players to make up their minds about how they feel about what's going on. Paizo does well, but in a different way, through their adventure path, the players get to discover about a place in the world and get to explore and experience it.

At LPJDesign, I wanted to bring a little of both these approaches. And so far, I think we are doing fine. The problem: the adventures aren't out yet (I won't go into detail, but they are "about ready to go").

Tomorrow, I'll detail the 4 different series of adventure we have written for NeoExodus! Stay tuned as there are going to be a few surprise announcements in there... (but don't tell LPJ)


Tales From the Auction: Cryx Army, Part 3

This is the last part of this series on the Cryx army from January's auction. I have a few more pictures to post.

The only one I have a story about are the nightwretch at the bottom. As I tried to put the mini on the base, I realized - to my horror - that the leg was sheared. I tried to glue it, but the shear was just too bad and the foot sheared. After looking for way to fix it, I could not find a way to fix it correctly and the location of the shear was just bad. I tried to do it but didn't feel confident in the stability of the miniature. I ended with doing it like this so I can get to use it both as an active or as a broken jack...


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tales From the Auction: Cryx Army, Part 2

The Cryx Satyxis raiders are females imbued with dragon blood. After I bought them and began assembling them, I noticed that their horns were missing and that their whip-like lashes were broken off. So I added self-made whips and painted their horn-less heads. I did not want to paint them with a black scheme presented by Privateer Press. I never use black as a base color anyway. Their colors are dark reddish-brown, green and white.

The second group is not quite Cryxian in itself, but I will use them as part of my Zombie pirates army... I have more zombies in the works and those I built from inspiration by The Angry Lurker (shout-out) who has a number of zombie minis on his blog. Mine are built using a mix of Wargames Factory's Zombies and Numedian light infantry. I foresee a lot of usage on these guys...

Oh the flag! The flag is the Cryx flag of the pirate queen. Heavily splattered with blood... For good measure.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Call Of Cthulhu: Dark Trenches Characters

I have finally come up with the way I want to create the characters for Dark Trenches... Another little gem...

First off, each character is given a basic concept with a character sheet (clergyman, dilettante, drifter, journalist, professor, and policeman). To that base, I will add to each character a "military training" package taken from "No Man's Land". At this point we have a basic character.

Since I plan on running the adventure is a public setting, I want to make the characters unique, and give each of them some special, bonuses to skills, to give the PCs a chance. As such I have created four groups of backgrounds to complement each other.

The first group is a characters' youth. These skills provide some insight into what the character did when he was young.

The second group is a characters' hobby or generic background, which should flesh out the character even more. Maybe the character worked as a lumberjack or played sports.

The third group is a characters' ethnicity, representing the melting pot that was (and still is) Canada. How you view yourself in the war is given here. Yes, those views are stereotypical and hopefully, represent the feelings of the times.

The final group - and no doubt the most entertaining - is the "secrets" section. Of course everyone has a dirty secret. Each section before gives the PC bonuses to skill, and so does this one. The major difference is that this one may completely change some of the information your received above. It is up to the player to present this as a package.

Therefore, although the plot will not change, the characters themselves will. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out, but I think the players (and I) will enjoy this random "creation".

That's it for now! I don't want to spoil it, but it is going to be... Sanity draining...


Tales From the Auction: Cryx Army, Part 1

This post marks the last part of this series of posts on the armies I purchased at Gamers' Haven's auction in January. At the auction, I put my hands on a Cryx basic box. With the Legion, then the Circle done, these guys are all I had left to paint.

This first offering is for the two warcasters I own: Warwitch Denagra and the Pirate Queen Skarre.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Commission: Pathfinder Society characters

It's been a while since I posted a "commission" post, and I'm very happy to post the latest of my work for others. All three of these miniatures are to be used for Pathfinder Society play. The first two were done for Eric P and the third one for Brad W.

One great thing Eric did: he gave me the minis and color illustrations of how he wanted the models to look. There are some small deviations (the minis and the illustrations were not exact, but very close). The first one is a barbarian-type with blue face paints. The illustration had a lot very brass-looking metal (milky gold) with the usual silver so I did a few interesting color combinations: paint the axe flesh color, dip then cover with a thin layer of gold. The armor I used a gold/silver mix to create the brass effect. The model looks pretty good. The other guys is the Malifaux majordomo character I painted for Steve a while back. This time wearing a red outfit. The pictures don't show it well, but the three shades of red I use really create a depth of color.

As for Brad's explorer, the mini originally came with a sword and pistol. His was an older gentleman who took up exploring in his old age. He is dressed like a British of the Zulu war (research needed: NONE). He asked me to get rid of the pistol (as is not a gunslinger). I tried a few things: see how I could convert it to a light crossbow (the surface was too small and the xbow looked ridiculous), then tried another sword (the model looked to be in a weird pose, like he was dancing, wrong), then I tried a dagger (though Brad never mentioned the character fought two-handed). Finally, I turned to my bits box(es) searching for inspiration. And there it was... an ork head.

No, I didn't want to make the character a gruesome display of head collecting... On top of the head was a long, flowing mane. I had used that part to create torches before. I mocked it up with blue tac and I love the effect. Unlike with the two weapons, the old man looked like he was exploring some deep, dark dungeon, which as a Pathfinder, he is bound to do a lot of. The head, but particularly the skin tone and beard I just find amazing! The rest is fine too, but he beard really takes me back to the days I would dream about running Space 1889.



Friday, May 11, 2012

Call Of Cthulhu: Dark Trenches in the works

Recently, I have got to see the movie "Passchendaele" about the battle of the same name. This movie is VERY hard-hitting about the First World War. I strongly recommend to anyone interested in learning about the war. The images and the mud-filled horror. To add to my own interest and really inspire me, I've been watching the WWI in Colour series on the Military Channel.

With the centennial of the First World War coming up in two years, this I've been inspired.


I wanted to write something set during the First World War. That period, to me, is perfect for Call of Cthulhu. First, the whole thing, research. I started reading about the war. So much to do. So many offensives. So many "firsts".

From a gaming side, Chaosium came up with a great product called "No Man's Land" that includes a number of GREAT appendices including offensives random charts, stats of gas attacks, Sanity. This book is so great that just these appendices make this book worth the cover price. I would not have to come up with the full spectrum of the rules. Also, NO WWI ZOMBIES. Yes they are great, but I didn't want to repeat anything from No Man's Land, or from the Call Of Cthulhu: The Wasted Lands game. So that was out.

To help me decide where and when to set the game up, I did a mental checklist.

What do people think of when they think of the First World War. And I tried to focus on stereotypes. - Gas attacks
- Trenches and stalemate
- German with spiked helmet (pickelhaube)
- Barb wire
- The Russian Revolution (rise of Lenin)
- Hell in the Mud

With those first details, this ruled out the eastern front. If you don't know: the Eastern Front was a very mobile battlefield with large offensives where large tracts of lands were exchanged.

The Western Front it was going to be!

When to set it took me a bit more time, and more fuzzy logic had to be used. I'll spare you all the details, but I ended up deciding on the second Battle of Ypres. During that battle, the Germans used gas shells for the first time in large quantity. Although both sides had used gas before, those were small "test shots" that achieved little. However, this time, the Germans managed to break the Allied lines but they failed to capitalize on it because their own soldiers were -rightfully- afraid of the effect of gas.

No Man's Land, set in 1918 uses Americans as its base. I wanted to be a little wider and use a regiment that I could re-use if need be. Looking at paintings of the battle, I came across Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) regiment (which is still active today). The regiment's "Originals" were decimated at the battle. Enough. I was hooked. I was also quite intrigued by the name. Princess Patricia was the daughter of the Governor of Canada at the time.

So now I had a time, a place, a group of actors, villains (the Germans), and a tie-in to the Mythos (no I will not spoil it here). Now came the time to put everything together with a few cool artifices and tools to make the game unique.

Since this is not going to be an on-going campaign (expect a lot of death and mad ravings by the end), I had some leeway. First off, I plan to have a basic character sheet (which I may post here later) with characters's skills and attributes. From there, I plan to have two random hand outs. Both of which will add some details to the character. For example (and those are not likely to make the final cut), one PC maybe have have some college medical training, giving him a bonus to his Medicine skill. Another may have had an affair with the Captain's wife, giving him some stealth bonuses, etc. The basic sheet + 2 mini handouts should provide a more complete background for the character, making him more than "a farm boy, a professor and an accountant stand in a trench".

I plan to run this event locally at two distinct game days: The City-Wide Game Event on the 19-20th of May (I'll run it at 5pm at Gamer's Haven and I'll be running NeoExodus' "Encounter at Ramat Bridge" at Petrie's at 2pm). Then I'll be running it at the charity event on June 2nd at Total Escape Games in north Denver.

I'll keep you posted on the advancement of this task. I plan to have a few WWI minis to post here soon (from Over the Wire games), and some writing developments.

Stay tuned


PS: BTW, if you are a member of the PPCLI and you read this, thanks for your service and please accept this work as an homage to the regiment and its distinguished history.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Iron Kingdom RPG Minis

With the impending release of the Iron Kingdoms RPG (more on that at another time). First is Goreshade before he became a Cryx Caster (the dead chick that comes with him will be posted soon). Next are two Rhulic dwarves: a Mekanik and a Pistoleer. For Flavor, I plan to use the Mekanik as a Dirty Meg, and the Pistoleer as Dougal McNail the master gunner.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Warmachine: More Mercenaries

This quick update is about my Mercenary army. It's been a while since I got to post some mercenaries.

The first miniature is Lord Rockbottom, paymaster of the privateers and a potential member of my Gorten' army. This mini is clearly inspired by Napoleon and one that was very fun to paint up. I chose the "classic" scheme - the scheme presented to us in the book. I thought of using Imperial green, but decided against it.

The next picture is for two Cygnar Longgunners unit attachments. I will be using them occasionally.

Finally, I have a non-Privateer Press Freebooter. This mini I got in a trade with my buddy Everett. I have NO idea what make it is. I added the wires and the engine on its back. I think it looks pretty good.