JP On Gaming

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

NeoExodus Legacies: Post-PaizoCon Narrative

Senator Tlotoxl sat in his office in Awanesa frowning at the report before him. Written in the tight, symmetrical hand of Janissary Hausis, the news was not good. The Janus Horde had nearly leveled the barely reconstructed city of Trovaska. The Arman Protectorate kept Confessor Karena as their prisoner. Sightings of First Ones: First Ones and shape-changing horrors throughout the city.

The report detailed how the Protectorate was increasing its defenses and strengthening its garrisons. The Raina returned to Mureath for her safety. Protectorate senators had admitted in open senate that “the only way to rid the barn of its mice was to send more cats.”

The implication was clear. The orders from Mureath were clear.

A little too clear.

The Arman Protectorate military was sending more resources into Sametia. Worse, every man, woman and child that would fall in their hands would be summarily murdered to satisfy the zealous bloodlust of the Protectorate. Janissary Hausis reported that General Gronnovitch – now promoted to voivod of Arman Sametia by the Tsarina – was holding public “justice”: just a fancy word for public execution of any Sametian captured. These spectacles pleased the revenge-hungry crowds, especially when wrapped in religious iconography.

The senator had no doubt the Dominion would also increase their military presence. Though their methods were different, the results would be the same. There would be no peace in Sametia until every nation of Exodus had bled all of its children dry.

I’m getting too old for this, the senator thought to himself with a prolonged sigh. I made a terrible mistake, all in the name of peace and the defense of the Imperial Alliance. He placed the report on the desk. Wearily, he reached for a cup of tea he sipped without enthusiasm. “What now?” He asked aloud.

He jumped in surprised when he received an answer. “WE GO HUNTING! ENOUGH STAYING IN SHADOW! NOW WE HUNT! TEAR OUR ENEMIES TO PIECES!” All this time, a massive enuka warrior remained standing by the window. “ENOUGH TIME WASTED! NOW YOU ACT!”

The old senator looked at the Prelate of Awanesa, the massive Neck-Ripper. His first instinct was to reject the enuka’s suggestion but he stayed his tongue. Maybe it was time to act out in the open and try to end this masquerade. He now had blood on his hands, the blood of the children of Sametia and of every nation that broke the treaties of the Imperial Alliance.

The senator pondered some more as Neck-Ripper mimicked tearing apart some unseen enemy with childlike joy. The grunting of the Prelate brought a smile to the old man’s wrinkled face. Neck-Ripper may not be overly bright but I doubt many share his opinion, thought the old man. Perhaps it is time to use the resources of the Imperial Alliance to strike back. For the past year his people had kept tab on the enemy without striking back.

“You are right my friend, now is time to strike back. Call the others! Though we will do so from the shadows, we will strike back. Our enemies will feel the power of our unseen hand, the power of the Imperial Alliance,” said the senator. Prelate Neck-Ripper bellowed his approval by pounding his chest.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Fandom Fest Post-Con Report

This past Friday and Saturday I attended Fandom Fest here in Louisville, KY. This was my first major event here and I really enjoyed myself. If you follow me on twitter (JPOnGaming), then you should already be privy to a lot of the content of this post.


After work on Friday, I headed over there, to see what was going on and to get a feel for the crowd. The registration lines both for attendees and volunteers had to be counted in miles. No, not kilometers, but miles. I opted to bypass them for now and register later.

From the registration, I get to the 4e room. The ladies there quickly offer me a seat – which I refused equally quickly, asking where the rest of the gaming was. I was told to “keep going down the corridor”.

So I do that and end up in a cul-de-sac where I can either go through this corridor that looks like a service corridor (with a cleaning lady and her supply cart) or go through a door where a seminar was in progress. Not too sure what I should do, I chose the door. Like a good adventurer, I opened the door, stepped through THEN understood where I was.

The gentleman who was talking was discussing about Yu-Gi-Oh and how it changed his life.


Intrigued by the many cosplayers who were hanging on to his every words, I decided to listen to a little more, thinking about how I would write this here at my blog. It was fascinated by the whole thing… much like one is fascinated by a car crash on the interstate. The conversation then shifted to “your best Yu-Gi-Oh moment.” For the next two or three minutes I was informed of stories of “that Japanese pack I bought at Target,” “the first pack I opened had the dragon-of-ridiculously-awesome,” and “the TV series was the best thing ever.”

I could not take anymore, especially hearing the gasps, nods and exclamation of support at these stories. I something against massive “mental masturbation” and that was one of those events. I’m sure the YGO crowd loved it, but as a non-CCG player and someone who strongly disliked the TV show (I hate playing card to watching a TV show where people play cards… ) That whole panel was clearly not meant for me. Seeing people move beyond the door at the back of the room, I decided to go there.

OH JOY! I came upon a group of LARPers. Another thing that is not for me… They too were very quick in trying to recruit me into their game – which was equally quickly turned down. They did point me to the right room for RPGs.

HUZZAH! It was coming on 5pm and I made it. I was where I wanted to be. There were a number of events, mostly board games. I am not a board gamer that’s a given. So I hovered around the room.

There, I got to play a game of Zombie High by Revival Games . ZH is a light, beer and pretzel type RPG where your typical high school stereotypes get to fight zombies. This is very much something you can pull out whenever you have an hour or two and play. Plus beating up zombies is cool.

The mechanics are very simple. You have a 4 attributes ranging from 1-5 that gives you a number of dice to roll for skills based off that attribute. Skills are rated +2 or +5, which is a static bonus to add to the roll. The skills are very “simple”. I played “The Artiste,” a twitter-obsessed liberal type. My best skill was “Mimic” which allowed me to imitate others, and pass myself off as a zombie.

This is very simple and quick to play. AJ, our GM (I played with a fellow named Scott who was Barnaby the Geek) did a really good job of keeping the game lively and exciting. I must admit that I did not do much, especially compared to Barnaby.

A few highlights:

- Barnaby is being pursued by zombies so he tries to hide. Then his phone starts buzzing as I tweet him inane updates about what I’m doing.

- Later when he sees me, he throws his cellphone at me “I don’t need your f’n constant updates!!!” he screams at me. So I immediately tweeted that I would sue him.

- As a zombie shuffles after us, I exclaim “OMG! That’s like, Todd Brannigan. He had like a total crush on me!”

That was really fun and quick. I hope to see more of it in the future.

Then the evening slot had a number of offering, however I decided on a World of Darkness-based Ghostbusters game.

Yes, you read it right.

I took a seat at the table, picking the first character in front of me… The cheerleader! Yup I’d be playing girls all day! Tanya – the Cincinnati Bengal Cheerleader who missed the tryouts and went looking for another job – was an interesting character. Not the brightest of the Ghostbusters, she kept making Buffy references.

Best quote: Tanya says something about Star Trek. The other PC says “I’m surprised you know anything about Star Trek!” Tanya: “Well yeah! I know all about it… Chris Pines is like the hottest! I just don’t know who that weird wrinkly guy was.”

In an adventure that was full of wrong, we could not stop laughing.

Good times.

I was really hungry after that so I stopped at the Waffle House, ate and then sleep.


Saturday morning I was carpooling with Chad (the VC for Kentucky) and Randy, a GM from Florence near Cincinnati. I packed my stuff and had it by the door to be ready for when the two of them would show up. Our expedition made it to the Galt House just before 10. We got our badges and headed to the gaming room (once more passing the 4e room and the larpers).

We all set up our stuff and chatted with the locals: Chad and Randy for their PFS slot at 1. I hung my NeoExodus “Widowmaker Scarlet” display (note to LPJ, I really would like Haru-Anon).

With everyone standing around waiting for 1pm, I offered to run one of our intros – Spreading the Word – which runs about 1.5 hours. Just enough time to do it. I like the adventure because it introduces a lot of our storyline to players while at the same time being simple to play. Oh and the combats are FUN to run. Player got to experience the Janus Horde to its full glory. My dice were hot. REALLY hot.

Next slot, I ran another run of Call of Cthulhu my “Dark Trenches” adventure which is quickly become one of my favorites to run. Really fun and does not require any knowledge of the Mythos at all. A lot of very wounded soldiers left in the trenches… Really dark times… It was fun to run some Cthulhu veterans with some CoC noobs.

For the evening slot, I did not get to play anything. I played the PFS game that happened (In Wrath’s Shadow) so I decided to drift around.

I went to find a Starbucks. Would you believe that on a Saturday night, the two I visited were closed… at SEVEN THIRTY PM. The streets were full of people… without coffee. So I did a nice long walk instead. Saw a few sights of downtown – I really like the look of these old buildings: some have towers on the top, much different than the mid-to-late 20th-century architecture of Colorado Springs (which has a different charm). I took a little information regarding touristy things I could take the family to do and just enjoyed the crowd and the cosplayers.

I got to see Michael Roker (from The Walking Dead and a lot of Syfy movies), but he was swarmed by hot girls. Can’t blame him for giving them more attention… I’d do the same!

Returning to the Galt House, I sat down to watch a Horror Short showing. Some of these movies were really good while others were pretty terrible. But still a gory and fun way to spend an evening. I love horror movies and these did not disappoint. My favorite was a zombie-themed short called “Dead to me” about a girl who lives with a zombie boyfriend. It was REALLY FUNNY.

After that I returned to the game room where I took part in an impromptu game of Formula Dé. I love that game. Sadly, I must report that my PacLaren did NOT finish the race… She crashed in the next to last curve of the Monaco Grand Prix.

After that, the guys called it and we headed to eat something. I told them that I never been to White Castle so they resolved to take me there. I can say that I did not miss much. Somehow I expected something… better. Still a good experience to have, but I much preferred my Waffle House late diner of the night before. A lot.

That was my experience at this year’s Fandom Fest.

High points

- The room was COLD. The AC was on and we enjoyed the chill of the room. No sweaty gamers in there.

- Met a lot of new people

- The players were willing to try different things

- The guest list was very nice! I loved the fact that some designer (such as the former TAPS Grant offered players a chance for people to play his game).

Things I would like to see improve

I will preface this section by saying that things went really smooth overall and these are really meant to improve the event for the next time around. I spoke of these points to Matt, the Gaming Coordinator. He was very receptive to the feedback and I think we’ll have an even better event next year.

- The RPGs felt organized a board game meeting. Unlike board games, RPGs require a lot of preparation. Events started and ended at random times.

- A good, clear, easy to find schedule would have helped that. As it happened I had no idea of the planned times until I spoke with Matt about the points herein. Then I learned there was such a thing.

- The schedule had back-to-back-to-back events. No times for a food break. The hotel had “food” but it was hotel food: overpriced and disgusting. Without any place “right across the street” there were no good alternatives within a 5 min walk. I think having a 5-7 evening break would help a lot. This was a very common grievance among players.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Funnies: NSFW A porn mag for the 40k adept

This is NSFW but pretty funny. Click to see it full-sized. I'd love to read some of these articles...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Road Trip. Updates. Writing. PFS. NeoExodus. Everything.

Last week, I spent a fair amount of time last week on the road, driving through Colorado, then Kansas, then Missouri, then Illinois, then Indiana and finally into Kentucky…

A total of 1100 miles (or 1770km) of sitting by myself, thinking about NeoExodus; gaming in general; how the landscape of Kansas made me think of Sametia; the potholes on the road; how ridiculously warm Missouri was (99’F with nearly 100% humidity); what football team will I get to watch on TV this year; why Illinois only has a speed limit of 65mph when there is nothing to see/do; how I can hide my sunburnt left arm from the sun; what character(s) I would like to play; which character(s) I would NOT like to play; thought about abandoned writing projects; wondering who I would meet here; a few ideas for some fiction pieces; wondering if my family will enjoy Kentucky and how they will integrate. I think you get my drift.

I had a LOT of time to think. I mean a LOT of time.

The Music

I add the list of CDs I listened to on the way, in addition to the local Country Music stations in Salina, Kansas City, and St-Louis. For some reason the programming of my Colorado channels matched to country station. I’m not a big fan of it, but I don’t dislike it either. And it was a nice to hear something different. Plus I figured if I’m to live about 2h from Nashville… I’d better get up to speed on it.

Avantasia The Metal Opera Part 2
GenesisSelling England by the Pound
GenesisA Trick of the tail
Fairyland Score to a new beginning
Iron MaidenBest of the Beast
MarillionClutching at straws
OasisDefinitely Maybe
Rush 2112
RushPower Windows
The CureGalore
YesClassic Yes

NeoExodus Plotline: Legacy of Lies

With the changes made by the PaizoCon people, I had to juggle a few things. But that’s all right. I thought some more about next year’s plotline and where I wanted it to go. I now have to write it all down… A monumental task indeed! But definitely a fun one… I will have to talk to LPJ about it. If he ever comes online when I’m around! But fun stuff. I think he will agree.

For the past few years now, NeoExodus players have been skirting the plots of Arem’Shehr, the Khaynite. This year might be the one where they come to meet him/her face to face…

Yup, Legacies players may get to take down the Big Bad Guy!

Notice that I said *MAY*. That’s because such a confrontation will be decided by adventure results.

I have decided that next year’s theme will be Legacy of Lies.

Gaming in general

One of the things that irked me recently was a discussion I saw where a player equated being Lawful Good to being an overly goodie-two-shoes while the player of the LG character was just an insensitive jerk.

One thing about alignment systems is that they promote this kind of thinking where “everyone of a given alignment must fit this mold”… “Except if you’re chaotic neutral then you are evil but just not all the time”. I never tell people my alignment (or pretty much anything, ever, except to the GM) to avoid getting into those types of discussions. They annoy me.


One of the things I really like about the World of Darkness is that it uses a Nature/Demeanor combo to give GMs and players guidelines on how the character would act. This duality can create a lot of unique characters. I still try and think of my characters in these terms then add the alignment as a third element for the character. By doing that, I get a good idea on how the character would play, and how he/she would react to moral decisions. I don’t see alignment as the nature/demeanor part of someone. Rather it is the person’s moral compass upon which their nature will play.

Oh and the “I’m neutral so I don’t care” argument is TOTAL BS. One of the major changes in 3e+ is that “neutrality” or “balance” is no more an active force. At least not in alignment terms. Neutrality or balance may be a force in the game world that seeks to maintain balance between order and chaos (a la Moorcock).

Back to the irking - being a lawful good insensitive jerk is quite a change from the norm, but not something I think is impossible. The question of how/why that character is like that can be multiple. Maybe he doesn’t realize it. Maybe he just swears constantly. I would be surprised if the character would be insensitive on purpose. But sure, it happens to the best of us. We all made some insensitive comment about others whether we meant it or not.

I know I have.

Then again I make no claim to be Lawful Good (I am true neutral).

Characters I would like to play

I would really like to play an Enuka Shamanist cleric or druid. I also thought about making a female gevet bard (performing suggestive dancing) – I got this idea off a devilish woman on an ad. I think it was for a “Gentlemen’s Club” in Missouri.

NO, I did not stop. I only watched the ad as I drove by.

I also thought about building PFS characters, though I came up somewhat dry. Most of the ideas I had felt flat. My next character will be Sicarus, a Razmiran Missionary. Based on the numerous Kentucky jokes I endured, I am thinking of making a dwarf character called Road Kill Joe who hunt possums and eats “animals crushed by wagons and carriages he finds on the road.” Definitely make him some type of mutt combatant: Ranger/Barbarian/Gunslinger/Fighter combo… Should be fun for sure!

YES there is a little Duck Dynasty influence there…

Characters I have no desire to play



Abandoned Writing Projects

You remember 2010? Remember Akos? Well I have been thinking about it recently and about whether or not I would like to revive it. I spoke with some of my old collaborators and was given a GREAT idea on how to expand/tweak it. Maybe even publish it on my own… I am juggling a number of ideas.

Yes, there would be a number of common traits with NeoExodus: the political element, the shades-of-gray approach. Writing the campaign book for NeoExodus really taught me a lot and the No-Longer-Akos campaign setting would benefit from that.

Even better, it could have some (distant) ties with NeoExodus and other 3PP game worlds! Yes… I thought of that. Have the one-off cross-world plots. Always intriguing. Always interesting. Right now, I do not have the time to really focus on that. But I just might get to it in the future. I may be touching it here and there as I get the fancy.

Some of the initial constraints I had are no longer present (since it is going from a collaborative effort to a one-man project), so I have a number of things I need to rewrite, tweak or change. One of those things is the map itself I plan on changing the whole layout and expand it.

Then I have another setting idea I’ve been toying with. This one is clearly different and I plan to incorporate elements of what I think Primeval Thule is going to include. A lot of different influences for that, I am actually thinking of calling it “a setting extension” rather than a full-blown setting. A lot of ideas need to be sorted out in my head first. This one is a LONG LONG LONG way down the road. We’re talking years.


I have been reading a fair amount of fantasy fiction lately. Namely, the Dragonlance Chronicles, but also some Dark Sun novels (Rise and Fall of a Dragon King), some Pathfinder novels(Winter Witch, Blood of the City, The Worldwound Gambit), some stuff I got from PaizoCon, and even some old favorites (Agatha Christie – okay she’s not a fantasy writer).

In addition to writing a few short pieces of fictions, I came up with a number of ideas. Usually for short stories, ever since I read Edgar Allan Poe in 10th grade I’ve been a fan of the format. Short. Sweet. Simple. Not over complicated. With an evil ending. Just like I like my TV, my movies, my adventures, my plotlines. Well… Poe formed a lot of things in my still young and impressionable mind.

I have a few pages written for it already and will be refining the writing for it before I submit it to LPJ. Yes, these are NeoExodus fiction. But I also have a few ideas for more “generic” fantasy (as in not NeoExodus-specific but could be set there).


Well as of last Friday I have been in Kentucky and enjoying myself. Miss the kiddos & wife, but other than that… Good news all around! It’s weird to be back in an apartment after living in a house for seven years. No screaming kids to wake me up. No wife pulling the blankets.

Yeah… I miss them.

At least I get some decent writing time! (I say that and I didn’t do much more than watch TV and play Close Combat II from Saturday thru Monday nights)


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

More of JP's art from 1980: Luke you so fat!

More found art from 1980... This time I predicted the future with Luke getting rather chubby.

Luke's outfit from The Empire Strikes back is all there, including the pockets... In all it wasn't all that bad. I still think I should keep to writing.


Monday, July 22, 2013

The Dragon Kings: Interview with Tim Brown

Tim Brown and Troy Denning both have a unique place in my heart. In spite of never having met either of them in person. It was the fall of 1991. I had just started CEGEP. I won't go into specifics about Cegep but it’s like a pre-college structure that exists only in Quebec, during that time you do very little except meet friends, girlfriends and play a crap-load of RPGs. At least I did.

So back to the story, I went to a local game store (don't remember which - I visited so many in the days). After talking to the guy, I picked up this new D&D campaign setting called Dark Sun. Wow! I really liked the twists and the potential! So new!

I quickly started a mini-campaign.

When the 4e version was announced I was torn. I do not like 4e but I still looked through their Dark Sun material. In the end, I chose not to get involved with it but I still hoped to play it in the future (some of the stuff). Then I came across his interview on

I was hooked so I sent Tim an email about offering my services as a writer. We got to talking and this interview came to life.

I must admit throughout this interview I was having something of a fan-boy moment.

JP: Hi Tim! Thanks for doing this for the readers of "JP on Gaming". I really appreciate the opportunity for this interview. How would you introduce yourself to a ground of avid (and rabid) gamers?

Tim Brown Hello, JP. Thanks for blogging about me and my new project. For starters, I should say that I’m an old-school role-player who’s lead a double life as a game designer and a musician for most of my life. I’ve been fortunate to play with some really great musicians and work for some top-notch game companies, including Game Designers’ Workshop (GDW) and TSR.

Before TSR

JP: 2300AD is a game that has reached cult status. I must admit that I never got to play (a lot of reasons, but simply: it didn't happen). Can you tell us a little about the game?

TB GDW was a phenomenal learning experience for me. Honestly, I got to learn from some genius-level game pros there, like Frank Chadwick, Marc W. Miller, Rich Banner, John Harshman, Loren Wiseman, and John Astell. I had done some design work for the Traveller game, and got to be a principle designer (along with my friend Lester Smith) on their more hard-science RPG that eventually became 2300AD.

We aimed for a gritty, near future game universe, with believable scientific advances and realistic depictions of a burgeoning human presence in near space. There was a fair amount of xeno-war against the strange Kafers, as well as exotic, thought provoking sci-fi adventures on the colonial frontiers.

JP: What are, according to you its high points and perhaps some elements you learned and have sought to bring to later publications?

TB I designed the core of the Star Cruiser space combat game for 2300AD, and it won an Origins Award. Also, I wrote two different sci-fi adventures for the game that definitely leaned more toward the cerebral rather than the ‘gun-toting’ side, Energy Curve and Nyotekundu Sourcebook. Fortunately, the fans embraced them, and from that point on I’ve never feared going over the audience’s head. People are smart; they figure things out.

Let's talk about Dark Sun

JP: Can you tell us how you came involved with Dark Sun?

TB I volunteered. It was that simple. In 1990, TSR decided they wanted to launch a new AD&D campaign universe, and I raised my hand.

JP: What attracted you the most about the final product?

TB The fact that we had broken the Tolkien-esque fantasy mold for AD&D. No other setting had done that so far, and we got a great response from the fans.

JP: Dark Sun throws a number of typical Tolkien-esque tropes on their heads. They are elves that aren't tree-huggers, dwarves that don't spend their time mining, etc. Did you start out with that as a goal to "make it different" or is that something that grew as you developed the setting?

TB We definitely wanted to make it different from the start. In fact, our original concepts were way out there, without any connections to elves, dwarves, or halflings. We decided to reign that back a bit and I’m glad we did. The result was more relatable than where we were initially heading.

JP: Dark Sun was (IIRC - and I am likely very wrong) the first AD&D setting that came out simultaneously with a novel/fiction line. How did you and Troy Denning juggle that?

TB Dark Sun was a study in simultaneous development. We made the game world and its fictional characters and story lines along with all the art all at the same time. After a long period of general development, we split off into specialties. Troy mapped out the novels and began writing, and I created more of the game elements.

JP: How much did the novels influence the design of campaign setting or vice versa?

TB Again, it was largely simultaneous. The idea for the mul warrior race came up during early development, as well as the slave rebellion as part of a meta campaign. Those turned into Rikus and Neeva. We had a general plan for the Dragon Kings and Troy let that play out in the novels.

And on to Dragon Kings

JP: Can you give us a quick low-down about the Dragon Kings?

TB Dragon Kings is a new sandbox where I can play with all my fantasy setting ideas and my musical ambitions, as well. I’m calling it my ‘spiritual successor’ to Dark Sun, in that it share several key themes, like a world in decline and desperate struggles just to survive.

JP: From the Athas.Org interview, psionics seem to be a big part of both Khitus and Athas. Is that a personal preference? Are you a big fan of psionics?

TB I always liked psionics as a unique means to manipulate the world. It makes a nice counterpoint to arcane and divined magic. I’ve always like that it implies the mind tapping into enormous reserves of energy.

JP: Right now you are presenting this as "system agnostic". That's a pretty interesting take and something which I really like about systems likes the OGL and Savage Worlds offer. Am I to understand that the campaign book will be "setting only" (fluff only, no crunch)?

TB Yes, the hardbound campaign book will be setting only, with rules intensive PDF supplements for different game systems. The supplements follow the campaign book chapter for chapter, presenting all the rules and stats for the each system, be it Savage Worlds, Pathfinder, or what have you.

JP: Are you planning on having new races or new twists on old favorites, like Dark Sun's dwarves, elves and halflings? Or will we meet completely new races things we've never encounter before?

TB More the latter. If Dark Sun took one step away from Tolkien-esque fantasy, I want Dragon Kings to take two steps.

JP: Some gamers, particularly Dark Sun big-time aficionados, are accusing you of "re-doing Dark Sun without paying IP rights." I first heard of the project through one such tweet and it got me intrigued. So I went to find more about it. How would you answer these nay-sayers?

TB I would enjoy making new Dark Sun products if that were possible. I seriously petitioned to get the IP rights to Dark Sun on two different occasions, but they are ‘unavailable.’ By making Dragon Kings thematically similar, I can explore themes that I always enjoyed in a game setting and also introduce elements that are completely new, such as the musical creation and presentation, as well as open the world up to players who enjoy some other already established rules systems.

JP: Are you planning on writing adventures for Dragon Kings? Can we expect something along to line of a number of one-shots or something more like an adventure path or like the old Dark Sun Series of adventures?

TB I’m primarily a fan of adventures that can be resolved in just a session or two, so we’ll probably go in that direction.

JP: Are you planning to have an evolving storyline for Dragon Kings? Something like the death of Kalak and the rise of Tyrian Freedom in Dark Sun?

TB Yes, we have a couple of meta plots in mind, but I hope to resolve them within a year or so of publication so the game world becomes fairly ‘set in stone.’

JP: You have announced that you would self-publish. Are you planning to use crowd-sourcing (Kickstarter or Indigogo) to fund the endeavor?

TB Yes, we plan to run a KickStarter campaign once the bulk of the writing and key art and music are finished or at least well underway. Look for that around the beginning of September.

About the Musical Album

JP: Perhaps one of the most unique and intriguing aspect of the Dragon Kings project is the simultaneous release of a music album. How did that come about?

TB I’ve always thought there was a connection between themed rock albums and game universes. This is an opportunity for me to bring two aspects of my own life into play in a single project.

JP: For the GM at home, what would the album add to their game? I mean, will it be songs to inspire them while they prep or something to put in the background to set the mood?

TB The album will be primarily world immersive. The story it tells follows a single hero from obscurity across the world to a climactic confrontation with evil. Anyone who hears it front to back will get a vivid, emotional image of the Dragon Kings world at large.

JP: Okay I am a big fan of 70s prog-rock. I'm a huge fan of Rush's 2112 and Hemisphere, Genesis' The Lamb lies down on Broadway (though anything with Peter Gabriel and/or Steve Hackett), Pink Floyd's The Wall and more recent stuff like Dream Theater's Scenes from a memory or Stratovarius' Elements (Parts 1 and 2). Am I in known or friendly territory? Do you have a sample link to some music to get us in the mood?

TB I’m with you, right down the line, there. We’re working on the music now, with former Queensryche guitarist Mike Stone writing much of the material. We’ll have some music to share soon that should wet your appetite.


JP: If people are interested in participating or helping out, how can they?

TB The best thing to do to help is to get the word out across social media. Follow us. Like our pages. Encourage others to do so, too. Then add your thoughts to our forums and other forums as well; we’re putting links to existing Dragon Kings forum discussions on our site, so please chime in and keep the conversation going.

JP: Are you looking for freelance writers/ artists/ musician?

TB For the present, no, but if the game is well received and as we make follow-up products to support it, then yes.

JP: Thanks Tim for spending this time. I'm still all giddy about it. *JAPANESE SCHOOL GIRL GIGGLE!*

TB It’s my pleasure. Take care!

Did I tell you how much I enjoyed this conversation? And how much I want to see this project succeed? Pass the word everyone!

Here are a number of links to let you know more:
The Dragon Kings Project Website
Join he Dragon Kings on Facebook
Follow the Dragon Kings on Twitter


Friday, July 19, 2013

Off into the Sunrise...

Eight years ago, I left my wife (then girlfriend) and 7 months old daughter in Quebec City for the road trip of a lifetime. My friend Steve-H and I drove from Montreal to Colorado Springs. On the way, we stopped to play in Detroit, then a full weekend in Iowa before finally rolling into town.

It was 2005.

Little did I know the many people and faces I would get to know over these past eight years here in Colorado. It is with more than a sad heart that I accepted a new job out-of-state, in Louisville Kentucky. I've been at my current job for each of those years and worked with great people and I will always cherish my time with PGI.

But work is not the only thing. Not for a gamer.

During that time, we saw 3 editions of D&D (3.5->4->PFRPG), three major Organized Play Campaign with which I was involved: Living Greyhawk, Living Forgotten Realms and Pathfinder Society. NeoExodus Legacies is still growing and though I would like to I won't put it as one of the "major"... yet. So many people have come and gone and returned.

I met LPJ and produced NeoExodus with him. Then we came up with Legacies with D'Anne and Linda (and feedback from you guy too).

To this day, I feel proud of the community I've been a part of for those eight years. Bunch of passionate quality people that you have here. I cannot try putting down the full list of people who left an impression on me during that time. I would forget too many people. However, I can safely name the following people.

D'Anne N who has been my partner in crime through Living Greyhawk and NeoExodus. Brutally frank, she and I did some awesome things... And would have brought the County of Urnst to a level never before seen. Blame 4e! Now she is my sounding board for Legacies...

Lenny L a true friend from the first game I played here in CoS. He and I clashed (a lot) about 4e, but through it all, we both respected and liked each other.

Linda W-R who took my jests with good humor and who now runs a tight ship with the DGA and Legacies.

The Colorado Venture-Officers: Bryan, Everett, Jacque, and Martin. These guys are making CO even better than I did. Keep it up guys!

The people at my job... Kept my family fed and allowed me to play, run and get all this done.

All the GMs who put up with my in-game antics. You know who you are... kudos! Keep running fun events above all else.

I also want to give a shout-out to the local games stores that saw more of me than maybe they wanted: Gamers' Haven and Petries Family Games here in Colorado Springs. But also to the stores in Denver: Bonnie Brae, CollectorMania, Enchanted Grounds, and Total Escape Games.

I played with you, I GM'd for you, I lead you. But most important, I got to be one of you.

Thank you Colorado.

See you at Tacticon.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

JP at PaizoCon 2013: An extensive post-mortem, Part 3

This is the third and final installment of my trip to PaizoCon. You can read part one and part two of the series on the blog.

The Preview Banquet

I have been quite vocal about not being overly excited about last year's preview banquet. Not for any specific reason (though the endless applauding for everyone, their two dogs, four cats and blue-ink pen, individually felt excessive). So this year, I chose not to participate. Plus one of the good things about twitter is that as soon as anything interesting was announced, I got notified by like 20 tweets!

Still I think it is a good time for Paizo to show off their new stuff to avid fans.

I have to admit that I'm really not digging most of what is announced for next year. Bestiary 4 is "fine" (but I haven't bought #3 so I'm not sure I'll get #4). The strategy guide is clearly not for me. The Mythic stuff is safe on the store shelves: I have no desire to play that and the AP that goes with it.

The one bright highlight for me was the announce of the new Adventure Path set in Osirion. Ancient Egypt is such a great vehicle for adventure. It evokes images in any gamer worth his salt: pyramids, sphynxes, mummies, great magic and Osirion does capture that. I am really looking forward to it and hopefully have a chance to play that.

Random Shots

LPJ Design It was great to see LPJ in person again. He and I have diverging views on... well pretty much everything, but that mixture creates something intriguing, dynamic and fun. Plus he paid me! So that's a HUGE WIN!

I also go to meet with Jeff Lee, the head writer for NeoExodus. He cranks up some great stuff for us.

My Other Boss I also got to talk with Venus De Coy, head of Lady Ophelia, for whom I did some work earlier this year. I am looking forward to seeing the finalized books for her Kronea campaign setting.

Overall Impressions of PaizoCon PaizoCon still has that "small con" feel to it, but it is growing. A LOT. In the three years I have attended the event, it went from a small local thing to a growing event. That's great and healthy for the game industry. A lot of big names cross its halls and are usually able to talk for a few moments with you, if only to say hi. If you have never been, I recommend it. Go! The place is full of devoted fans.

Will I go back next year? That is a big question. Do I *WANT* to go back? Yes, in a heartbeat! Can I go back? Is a different question. With the big family move, I am tempted to say "no." But I really want to go. So I'll leave my options open. I would really want to run more NeoExodus there.

How did NeoExodus do? NeoExodus is starting to get recognition and running events add to that. I had a number of people who returned and exchanged tickets to play. So that tells me they enjoyed the experience. The brutal, brutal experience...

The Trip I did say it but having a hotel with an airport shuttle was a big pleaser for me.

I hope to see PaizoCon keep striving and growing in the years to come.

That's it for this year!


Monday, July 15, 2013

JP at PaizoCon 2013: An extensive post-mortem, Part 2

This is a continuation of my trip to PaizoCon in long detail. You can find Part 1 here.

The Hotel

Like most Marriott, the Seattle one is a nice hotel. It is comfortable, nice and - unlike the Denver Hotels - has a staircase right next to the elevator! JOY OH JOY! You don't have to wait endlessly.

From the conference rooms to the room I shared with LPJ, was at least a half a mile! This was good for my wasteline, but absolutely horrible between slots! Me and my propensity for chatting endlessly...

But I really liked the hotel. Food prices were very high and from most account the Dennys was vile. I won't go into details, but it involves a number of (usually failed) Fortitude saves.

Lucky for me, I brought my own food. I stopped at WalMart to get some provolone, some ham, a small bottle of mustard, and bread. That kept me fed for most slots: lunch/dinner. So I only had to cover one or two meals at the hotel... Not a gastronomical delight but great for my pocket and I find these sandwiches tasty... So, a win!

A big win.

NeoExodus Special "As if it could get any worse"

Trovaska before the interactive
Above: Trovaska at the start of the adventure.

Few things really caused me more anxiety than the NeoExodus Special. For the third year, the plot could potentially be changed based on the actions of the players. And guess what? This year did not disappoint... Between the playtest and the game-time event, I tried to guess what people would do. And again I was in for a surprise. There are 2 major choices in the adventure. Choices that could make thing go either way. I was also worried about having too much boxed text in the adventure: it does include a lot more than our usual adventures.

One detail never to forget is that the political element in NeoExodus is something I always worry about "will the new players "get" what I'm trying to do." They did.

So with a lot of trepidation did I set up the table. It was great to see the Soceys at the table.

And so the story went on. I will post a narrative for what happened later.

I was surprised and in 1 of the 2 choices, the players chose the option I preferred. I had a great time.

Trovaska after the interactive
Above: Trovaska at the end of the adventure.

Playing Pathfinder Society

I got to play the Gencon special for PFS with my 13th-level seeker that went through the Retirement Arc. It was a lot of fun. I got to play with a team of guys who were all used to playing together. And the cheese was laid on THICK. And I mean... VERY THICK! All I had to do was go invisible, cast haste and wait for the fights to be done. I did use some battle field-control magic, and tried to back up the party whenever I could. It was a lot of fun. I cannot say that I do not have cheese of my own - I did. But limiting the baddies' movement was all I needed to do.

Our table just pwnd the encounters one after the next. BIG TIME. By using (some would say "wasting") my spells I did manage to run out of 5th level slots, but I finished the adventure with a fair number of spell slots still available. Thus Katharan is now a 14th level sorceress! So much new cheese to lay upon the world!

We had wands but no "real" healer. We did not really need any either. I didn't take any damage per se. I got feebleminded. Which allowed me to go and fetch me a sandwich in my room as I babbled.

My table mates had some very optimized characters, but were a blast to play with (usually such players are not interesting and bore me to tears). I just stood back and allowed them to do their thing - as if Katharan even did anything else! And thing they did. Overall our cohesion was good and poor Jon Choy got his monsters' butts kicked repeatedly. He tried. He really tried.

Sorry Jon. (I'm really not, but don't tell him)

I can't wait to see more of this Season 5 stuff. Seem interesting to say the least.

On Saturday night, I did manage to get myself onto an impromptu table of 4-EX Day of the Demon after missing it many times here in the Springs. As an added bonus, my good friend Everett (VL for Colorado Springs) was the GM. I played PFS-Katja, the PFS version of my character from my Thursday-night Reign of Winter game. She's just so fun to play and I have a blast playing her all the time. With so many sessions behind my belt, I know who she is so well.

Someone posted on Facebook that they thought I *was* like her until I broke character at a break. My pride was touched... I had a fun time even if I did have to force Everett to make the attack with "I would not hesitate against you, don't hesitate against me!" But we fought back from the brink. Epic you say? Yes. Yes it was. I'm not too sure how the story ends because by then, I was just dead tired.

Which leaves me only one last post!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

JP at PaizoCon 2013: An extensive post-mortem, Part 1

This past weekend was PaizoCon at the Airport Marriott in Seattle. It was my third-straight year participating, my first as a non-Venture Officer for Pathfinder Society.

I had not planned on being there originally. But LPJ sent me a ticket and I had to do it at that time. My wife put one restriction: I could not leave the house on July 4th. I agreed - and enjoyed some ribs with the family. Those bad boys were GOOOD. We also did a bit of shopping and rested for the day. It was fun.

I got up at 3am to catch my 7am flight out of Denver. No problem - there wasn't any snow this time! I left in flip flops! Woohoo! After an unremarkable flight - I slept through most of it.

I did, however finish Dan Brown's "Angels and Demons" which I thoroughly enjoyed btw. I loved both A&D and The Da Vinci Code. I managed to guess the ending correctly and also avoided the movie and the spoilers on the "History" channel. I can now binge on them (I did the opposite on The Da Vinci Code - to my dismay). I can't wait to see the movie with Tom Hanks...

I arrived in Seattle, got a coffee and headed for the con. It was already in full swing. I just missed the first slot (which I knew I would so I had nothing planned for it). I spent the slot with LPJ at the seller's both. We talked with each other (a little) and with players/ writers/ suppliers (a lot). Now I am far from a booth babe and I am the kinda guy who's sale technique is "playing the setting beats out all the cool lines I can give you." It must've worked because I GM'd a number of guys later. I also met with Jeff Lee, Head Writer for NeoExodus. It turned out to be a very fun first slot.

Good news, bad news, arguments, threats. Yes, it was exactly how you would expect a meeting between LPJ and I. And it was entertaining.

The People (Paizo & Venture Officers)

I got to say hello to a lot people with whom I played over the years, including but far from limited to fellow/ former Venture Officers. (okay I'll forget a lot of you, don't be offended): Alistair, Az, Brian D, CA, Dan, Eric B, Robyn, Ryan from Montreal, Scott-eh, Venus

plus the Colorado crew: Jacque (and Bill), Everett & Martin. A shout-out to Wes who never made to the con but with who my prayers and thoughts were - and still are. Get better, mate.

The people who run this campaign day in, day out are a great bunch of people. Knowing them personally is a big plus in my life. As I plan to move halfway across the country, this is doubly so. Already I have spoken to the Russ-A in Cincinnati and Chad in Kentucky to help/ run/ cross-pimp campaign with them. You might soon read about some new stories... Just a few more days.

One thing I was dreading to some extent was a meeting between Mike Brock and myself. Not that I was expecting much - we're both too old. But one thing I wondered was "how will he greet me - if at all?" I must admit that I had not really made up my mind about it: whether to be a jerk or not. I doubt I would've been been anything but polite and formal.

Well to his credit, Mike was the first Paizo Employee to greet me by name, with a simple "Hi JP." As corny as it sounds, it re-kindled my respect for the man. We have our differences on many subjects but I can respect him nonetheless. Good job, Mike.

I also got in short chats with SRM, Liz-C and SKR. As I spent most of the con running to my table or back to my room. Very nice and approachable people overall.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Now I have a general for my WSS!

I have been painting up some War of Spanish Succession troops for a while now. This model is one that I got a long while ago that I just haven't painted. The model is some type of dragoon but I fancy him as a general or an officer.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Time for NeoExodus at PaizoCon!!!

In a few minutes I will begin my yearly pilgrimage to the Mecca of gaming: Seattle, WA.


I'll be running NeoExodus Legacies - basically the whole time and spend the rest with friends! Come say hello! I have some great adventures to run.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Legion of Everblight: Stringers

Before the big move, I have been not-so-slowly using my store credits, emptying my many FLGS in the process. So as I was looking for impulse buys, I found these little bad boys. It was the same day I found the dwarf arcanists I posted on Monday (see them here). I did not have any of them so I bought them! Painting used the same scheme I used for the rest of the army. I can't wait to use these little monsters.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

My mini-Reapermas!

Okay... When Reaper had their massive Kickstarter, I anguished at fact that I was in a money pinch at the time. So I did not get that Mini-palooza. I cried myself to sleep for months. Then a plan formed in my mind. I would trade Minis for paint jobs! YES!

Eric-P gave the following for my witch character. There is something very "Katja-like" about the model. She is one of the townsfolk. I gave her a simple paint job with a plaid dress. She looks very homely, pretty much like the character!


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Final June Commissions

Perhaps the final two commissions I will do for people here in Colorado. The first model is for Alex. His character is a scantily-clad barbarian female. Since the model is naked, I could not make a unique pattern on her clothes, which I did - on her skirt. I went wild on the cloak and gave her a tiger skin.

But perhaps what I like best of the model are the face tattoos. Really make her look fierce.

The next model is for Stephen-B. He had a Mage Knight dual pistoleer model. He wants it converted to wielding bombs. So with a bit of sculpting, I created shards, one red with "TNT" written on it and a green vial with "something" inside. I also repainted the model pretty much the same color it has before.

Painted the face to more than the blob that was there before.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Warmachine: The New Arcanists look good!

With a new Warmachine book on the horizon, I walked into Gamers' Haven and was delighted to find a new type of dwarves to increase my forces of Rhul!

I have yet to try them out, but I like their ability to cast a spell after they take out a model. Really gives them a nice ability. This paint job was very easy. I didn't want to paint them gold like my warcasters, so I did a drab brown leather undercoat and dry-brushed the armor. The result is shiny, but a shiny that's not as eye-popping as my casters.