JP On Gaming

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Yearly retrospective 2015

For a few years now, I have been posting a yearly retrospective. It is a time for me to go over the highlights and think back on the year. So here it is: 2015.


This year was marked, for our family by our move to Tennessee. I lived by myself and played weekend Dad from January to July. It was tough but worth it in the end.

We are also landlords now as we could not sell our house in Louisville without leaving with a major loss. I love Kentucky and hope to go back there one day.

I am sad to announce the death of my good friend "Char" which I had since 2002 on my return from Ireland. He and I traveled from coast to coast, across ALL north american countries. Yup that's Canada, the US, and Mexico. Took us to cons during the days of LG. Moved with my to Colorado, then to Kentucky, and lasted most of the winter... Now I have a "new" car to build memories with...


- Humana After the events of last year, I decided to end my position there. I did not liked nor fit in well to their culture. It was time I left, and have no regrets.

- NFIB Shortest position of my life: six weeks. It is a place whose goals I supported, but that had an IT director who was a... well... I avoid cursing on this blog but you can figure it out. Give you an idea, out of a team of four, there had been thirteen people in the year prior. Once he left (once I was already gone), things stabilized there. The time after I lost my job there were the most stressful and busy of my life. Lucky for me, the Nashville job market for IT is rather hot, so I was able to get a number of interviews really quickly and find myself a new job.

- Eco-Energy From late March to this day, I have been working for Eco-Energy as a lead developer. My work there started a little rocky as I'm unconventional as a developer, but finally after a good talk with the boss about what I wanted to do, how we could help each other, things have really taken off. I am working on a web service system to serve as a hub for all our different systems. Very interesting and a lot of new technologies to learn and put into place. I am extremely optimistic about the amount of work we will get to do.

First Ones Entertainment

This was a very good year for First Ones Entertainment (FOE), I want to thank all of those who downloaded and/or purchased any of our products over the course of 2015. As of right now, my hope for the next year is to make it so I can pay my authors more. I pay them a percentage based on sales.

- Tyrants of Saggakar Without a doubt, the biggest event in 2015 was the reveal and release of our own setting, Tyrants of Saggakar. Drawing inspiration from historical sources, and what I think is the best elements from other settings (stuff from LPJ Design and Fantasy Flight) all placed together. The result is a world I am extremely thrilled to discover with my players as we expand it through our Legacies campaign. It's a world that is not completely set in stone just yet, so authors get to have a lot of freedom with what they want to come up with.

I published a number of small sourcebooks for Saggakar on RPGNow which are available here: Tyrants of Saggakar Setting bundle and our growing collection of Legacies adventures Year 1 Adventure Bundle

- Player's Guide My biggest personal accomplishment was the release of the Tyrants of Saggakar Player's Guide into physical form! You can get your own hardcopy of Tyrants of Saggakar Player's Guide by clicking the link. It is also available through Amazon and a number of other channels.

- New author In 2015, FOE added new author Randy Price to our group of writers. His adventure, ToS1-05 Path to Ambition really got both our collective juices going. Expect more from Randy in 2016, including a sourcebook for Onero, the city he introduced to us in "Path" (which will also appear in "ToS1-07 Doud where's my cart", by yours truly).

I have been talking with a few other people about writing material for Saggakar. I can't wait to see if those things get done. If they are, it will create a whole new aspect of Saggakar I hadn't considered at the start.

- Returning author James McTeague returned to Legacies this year with a murder mystery adventure in ToS1-04 House of Mirrors. Really an investigative, Clue-like story that works in Pathfinder. I cannot wait to run this one.

- Legacies From NeoExodus to Saggakar There is no doubt that losing the license to produce NeoExodus adventures hurt me. FOE had a nice collection of products for that setting and losing the rights to sell them, was a blow. Albeit, it turned out to be a blessing. It saved my friendship with LPJ. It forced me to focus on Saggakar, making it better and focus my energies there. So from a negative, came positive. LPJ and I talk on and off about stuff. I will be participating in his kickstarter next year. But more on that later.

Legacies now has grandfathered all the NeoExodus material and adventures so if you have a NeoExodus product and want to use it, you can indeed do so.

- Legacies Expands into new venues This year, I am extremely proud to report that other GMs have run Legacies adventures in Ottawa, Canada (thanks Steven-M!) and Philadelphia, PA (thanks James-M). Next year, I hope this will continue to grow as we get more and more adventures and products.

Books Read

- Pathfinder Tales: Prince of Wolves by Dave Gross Although I am not overly taken by fantasy novels, this one turned out to be rather imaginative. The story could've gone so many directions that it really kept my attention throughout. A lot of twists and turns, moreso than the other Pathfinder novels. I also got to play fan boy by Facebook-chatting with Dave Gross (the author) about one point I did not quite grasp while reading the book. I think this one is definitely my favorite of the Pathfinder novels I read (dethroning Winter Witch).

- Rethinking Extreme Programming Something more on the professional side. If you read this blog, you may have read that I am a strong proponent of agile programming and that I apply its concepts to my writing. This book I was offered at work.

- Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity Gauntlet Aftermath These two I got as a deal on Free Comic Book day. I will say the stories within are uneven. Art was good, but the plot left me unsatisfied.

- Essential Classic X-men Vol. 2 I always wanted to know how the early X-men (pre Giant-Sized) interacted with each other. Turns out it was pretty much as I expected. The stories are very much in-line with other 60s-era Marvel: boy loves girl but won't tell her. Though here, there are two boys vying for the girl.

- Teen Titans, vol 1 In sharp contrast to the X-Men, DC's Teen Titans are goodies-two-shoes without any clear personality. They are all fairly bland characters. For some reason they are saviors of teens, travel in helicopters. But the worse of all is Aqualad. For some reason there is always junk in the water nearby. The stories are great for kids ages 6 or 7, not teens.

- Essential Marvel Team-up Vol. 3 Though as a child, the X-men were my favorite comic series, the Team-up series came close behind. I liked how different heroes kept coming in for short meetings. Today, this is very much like an organized play campaign. Some players keep coming back for every game and others come in and out. It was fun re-reading some of the stories I read as a kid. I particularly remember the Spider-Man with Iron Fist. It was a very good story.

- Essential Power Man and Iron Fist Vol. 2 From the 80s, this series was gritty and grim, unlike the rest of the superheroes these two dudes have it hard. Although I am not a big fan of 60s' DC stories, this one didn't work for me. That said, I like Luke Cage and Iron Fist, but the support cast was well-used as driving forces for the stories. So though this is not the type I liked, I enjoyed the stories. Doubtful I'll buy another one of this series.

- Plutarch's Fall of the Roman Republic Biographic stories of five of the most influential men of Rome: Marius, Sulla, Cicero, Caesar, Pompei and Marcus Crassus. It is such an interesting book because Plutarch provides context, and he presents us the motivations of each man since their stories interact and cross-mingle with the other, making the narrative compelling and interesting. I particularly liked Cicero's addition as he is not a man of war first, like the others.

Gaming (Tabletop RPG)

- JP as a woman Perhaps the most significant event of the year, and the one that made people lose the most sanity was my Larping as Kermina Gallia val'Borda... Next year, I may be taking up my dress again... My wife doesn't like it too much, but the kids finds it very funny. I likened that dress to "wearing a long t-shirt".

- Arcanis I did spend a fair amount of time playing Arcanis this year and really enjoying myself doing so. Henry's complex story is great and expansive. I am looking forward to next year's events and adventures. I've been on an Arcanis drought since Gencon. There is nothing.

- WitchHunter Unlike Arcanis, I did not get to play as much Witchhunter as I would've liked. This new season seemed very interesting, and a-propos for my character. The first year had a good feel, of win and loss, the second year looked very good. However, every time I mustered at a table to play, more than six players would show up, bumping me off the table (I never play more than 6 player tables).

- Pathfinder Society I got to play a fair amount of PFS throughout the year. I played most of it online and have to say the quality of many of the players is going down. People cannot seem to think and GMs focus on minutia way too much. The adventures have a lot of new or "one-shot" sub-systems that really are annoying to play through and only succeed at making the game drag on, especially if your character does not have the skills (I usually avoid Perception as a skill unless I'm a rogue or ranger).

On a sad note, I am having issues with some of the local leadership, so I either have to travel further to play, play only online or start doing something else. The local Adventure League seems to be quite welcoming, so I may give them a nod.

- Pathfinder Adventure Path: Reign of Winter Finally hitting book 6 from Reign of Winter with Chad and the team. Like most adventure path, once you reach the high levels, the story becomes secondary to the massive, over-the-top fights. The group is fun, but the fights are a little too deadly, even the thug fights...

- Witchfire Trilogy I started to play a Pathfinder adaptation of this trilogy. Very fun, but I can't seem to roll above a 5 so combats are a long series of rounds without anything. Miss. Miss. Miss. Miss. Miss. Massive damage. Miss. Miss. Miss. Miss. Miss... You get the idea.

- 5th Edition I have stated many times that I was neither wow'd nor repulsed by it. It left me indifferent. However, I think I will give it another shot, and take the children with me. That way as long as there is a GM, we have a table!

Gaming (Tabletop RPG)

I must admit that things were very quiet on that front. I played a few games of Warmachine and Frostgrave, but that's pretty much it. Frostgrave being the game I played the most out of the two.

I painted a lot, though with a long break. I did literally nothing between January and September. Now I am working through my Reaper Bones.

Gaming (Cons)

I attended the following cons this year. I attended a number of new cons I had not attended previously.

- Winter Fantasy in Fort Wayne, In

- Arcanicon in Chicago, Il

- Midsouthcon in Memphis, Tn

- Lexicon in Lexington, Ky

- Origins in Columbus, Oh

- Gencon in Indianapolis, In

- Aethercon in the Aether...

- Post-Apocalypticon in Chattanooga, Tn

Post-Apocalypticon was the first con ActionMan attended, and he really liked it and wishes to attend some more. SCORE one for dad! We will be doing more events together and with the girls.


- 248 Posts 2015 was the biggest year so far for this blog, with me posting 248 posts! Again October's 44 posts was the biggest month of the year.

- 1000 posts Perhaps the biggest milestone for a blog is its first 1,000th post, which happened on September 3rd. I am proud of this blog, its content, its style, and its variety. I plan on continuing telling you all about my writer's issues, my thrills and shrills. Hopefully keep it entertaining, fun, and constructive.

- 30 Days of D&D This year, I did the 30 days of D&D challenge, posting one thing a day. I like having to think over a number of these subjects. Judging from your views and visits, I think you guys enjoyed this too. So I will need to come up with something similar in 2016.


- Star Wars: The Force Awakens There was only one movie worth mentioning for 2015. I saw others but who really cares? There was a new Star Wars movie. I will post some additional thoughts on it in a different post.

Looking towards 2016

2016 looks like it'll be a great and fun year for me, my family and FOE. I have a job I like, kids love their school and want to do more gaming. Julie likes where we are.

I have games planed for Legacies in England (shout-out to Paul-H), I have a trip back to Denver for Genghis Con. I will be going back to Origins and Gencon. I plan on returning to Kentucky for a con.


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