JP On Gaming

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Black Sails for Rhym released


After a lot of time and poking around with them, touching and tweaking them over and over, I decided it was time to stop and get these adventures out.

Many of you have played "Black Sails", my tale of pirates, scholars, dragons, and intrigue. It is an adventure I longed to write for so long, one I was very happy to get to write. Since Saggakar plays in Faremh, which is landlocked it was not really the best place to set a nautical adventure.

You can get it here on Drivethru RPG or RPGNow

I am really happy to release this adventure, let me know what you think of it!


Edit: Fixed the links

Monday, December 18, 2017

[Old Pro Tricks] 10 points to a paranoid sandbox campaign

I have been talking and participating in a number of threads of recently, challenging myself to post valuable insight from the many, many years of DMing, writing and playing RPGs. Every so often, I write something there I think has a lot of value that should be re-posted here.

The other user asked a long-winded question about what he called a "Unstructured narrative", basically he wanted to create a sandbox "but not quite". His question was how to create such a setting and how to have his players suffer form paranoia and avoid choice paralysis. I was quite taken by the question because it is one I struggled with - and failed quite a lot - during my long career. He asked for methods to accomplish that.

Let's see...
Pathfinder RPG Check
Making my players paranoid of what was coming up next. Check
Providing them with a sandbox where they can drown to my heart's content. Check
Keep the PCs in one place for longer than possible. Check

So I had to reply.

The biggest problem you may have is that players simply do not know what to do and don't know where to start.

Things I would do before setting them completely loose.

   1- Present the NPC and feature interaction with them. Not just *"Hi! I'm Bob, I'm your cousin blacksmith, do you want a sword?"* But something more meaningful.

   2- Make sure the NPCs bring in some of the questions you want the PCs to ask themselves. Ideally, following the rule of three. They will figure it out and take it beyond what you thought.

   3- Your NPCs should also share some possible avenues of resolving conflict, "You should take care of those Hatfields... they are jerks". Again the rule of three is a good way to start.

   4- Avoid the whole thing depending on a Sense Motive check (made or failed). A single check should not unveil everything.

   5- Provide the PCs with visuals (or at least a list) of the major suspects. Since they come from town, they should not spend their time exploring and wondering who is who. They WOULD know that Tim sleeps with his neighbors' wife. They WOULD know that Mrs Buttons is the gossip queen. They WOULD know that Father Smitty sleeps in the church on warm afternoons. Etc. All these things are good to provide right off the bat.

   6- The NPCs should FEEL like they are doing something. For example, the guards does not sit at the gate all day waiting to charge gate tax. They get called upon for things of various importance: Mrs Buttons' cat in the tree, looking at a murder, fighting off marauding orcs/goblins, breaking up a brawl. This gives the PCs an added reason to talk to the NPCs: What happened today and what did you do about it?

   7- The death of such a campaign is when the players don't know what to do because they do not have enough things to do. Ideally, overwhelming them with hooks, stories, avenues of investigation. Why? Because if they can't handle everything, guess what the mayor/lord has to deal with? His hands are tied too.

   8- Make sure EVERY PC has some personal story/ plot to deal with. Even the orphan who knows nothing about his past should have something. This may not be immediately obvious, but perhaps the spinster Miss Kara looks longingly at the PC... Every character should have a thread or two that is related to HIM/HER.

   9- Split the party... Yes, I said it. There should be time when the party will split. If they do that and you run the two groups separately, that will create some paranoia. When you do that, this leads me to the big one:

   10- Make sure everyone has equal time with you. Not everyone is as interested in a total sandbox.

What you ask for is VERY possible and doable. In the early parts of the campaign, provide the PCs with a little guidance: offer a few possible missions and ideas, see if they want to take them.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

FOE releases Spiderfen: Terror in the trees

It's been too long since FOE published a new product. This is a book that has been actively worked on for quite a while. Pretty much from Day One of Saggakar. Spiderfen is a book that is filled with ideas to adventure in that forest.

The book deals not only with the city and seat of House Faremhi, but also the Forest surrounding it.

This book contains:
- A history of the city of Spiderfen and the Forest
- Detailed descriptions of its most important sites and features, such as the Kiflan River, the populous eastern forest, the dark and mysterious western edges.
- Odd races of the Spiderfen Forest, including driders, fey, and hareen or feral halflings.
- The city of Spiderfen is mapped and fully detailed.
- Four First One Houses
- Major NPCs described
- Unique locations and plot hooks
- Guards and spiders fully statted out for 5th Edition and Pathfinder
- Material used extensively for the Legacies Organized Play Campaign

Content of this book is usable for the Tyrants of Saggakar, but can be used in any campaign using BOTH 3rd and 5th edition of the world’s oldest role-playing game or Pathfinder Role-Playing Game. However, it is mostly system-agnostic and its content could be easily adapted to any game system.

The book is available through DriveThru RPG, RPGNow and should be available through the OpenGaming store (not yet there as of this publication).

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Back in the saddle

After the sad events of October when I was suddenly without employment, I spent the last six weeks in a frantic dash for a new job.

Frantic is the word because i spent more time on the phone during that time than I did for the whole of the two years prior. I had to start up my outlook calendar just to keep track of who I talked to and interview appointments. On days I would wake up without any calls, I would end up doing a string of unexpected calls.

I am not complaining. I have, and have positioned myself to have a skill set that is in high demand in the Nashville market. Those of you who do not know, I am a software engineer. I write and think of code for a living.

He best part of this madness is the place I am in now: starting a new job. Who'd'a thunk that going back to work would be like a vacation? I knew. After the previous scramble in 2015, I knew.

This time, I had to choose between seven positions. Many of them really good ones, and turning them down was difficult. Decisions are not about making friends, but making the right choice for me, my family, and my employer. A place for that sweet spot... Where I believed I could grow my career the most. It was difficult indeed. Especially when salaries were all very good. I angsted and tossed and turned over many nights. It came up to a coin toss between two places.

But as usual, with a decision came peace.   I slept so well, snored for sure. I had a job again.

So I am currently sitting in a Waffle House waiting to meet my contact so that I can start... In just under 40 minutes. The routine returns...

I know Thanksgiving is behind us but I still feel the need to thank so many people. Every recruiter who gave me the chance to showcase what I could do, every employer who wanted to pick my brains and see if my skills could help them. My family in Montreal for their support from afar, my friends in Tennessee and Kentucky.

But the biggest thanks I have to give goes to my immediate family: my three kids: Jojo, Kitty, and ActionMan who fulfilled their part of the bargain I offered them, to do good in school while I found a new job. And my wife, Julie who supported me during this time, a real rock. I am sure she will be more than happy to see me leave the house and the Dr Phil marathon to end...

I almost forgot Dr Phil whose sixteen years on tv gave me a lot watch with from my sofa. I mean have you ever met a guy named Philip (and its many spellings) who wasn't a great guy? (There is one, the current premier of my native province of Quebec...)

Now enough blabbing let's get back to work!

Monday, November 27, 2017

[Akhamet] Insight into design of a new campaign setting

I have been working non-stop on Akhamet, my idea for a mini-setting with an adventure path linked to it.

So I put together a few bullet points that give insight into this latest idea.

Akhamet is NOT like Egypt

Akhamet is not Ancient Egypt. The presence of active magic, the presence of many different, intelligent races, the gods’ direct involvement in the affairs of the world, and the geography are all different.

Throughout the history of Ancient Egypt, it was a nation connected to the rest of the world. Akhamet is an insular nation without any neighbors.

The gods themselves are named and based on the gods of Egypt. However, their portfolios, domains, and attitudes are not the same.

Akhamet is like Egypt

Akhamet draws upon Ancient Egypt: the architecture, appearance of the people, the people’s view of the world, the desire for peace, and the ecology. These serve as great

Its gods, peoples, legends, cities and stories are quite different. While this setting is inspired and draws from Egyptian folklore, it is not.

Dead Rise

Dead bodies left unattended and without receiving proper funerary rites arise as undead creatures, typically ghasts, ghouls, or zombies. These creatures roam about, hunting for the living.

Priests of Anubis cannot mummify everyone using the full rites, so the gods provided their priests with spell to prevent this.

God among us

Pharaoh is a living god whose home is the palace in Ophara. As the god of the Sun, he is eternal and benevolent. Any word of His immediately becomes law.

The recent announcement of his illness and new state is highly unsettling for the people of Akhamet, for to doubt or wish ill of Pharaoh is to commit a major crime. Therefore his current status makes most people try to avoid talking about it.

No Heir

Much like the previous point, Pharaoh has over a thousand living children, the Retids. None of them ever dreamed or was ever groomed for the throne if Pharaoh were to die. The retids spend their lives trying to reconcile their divine nature with their common ancestries.

A few princes begin to think of themselves as potential successors to their father. More than a few are gathering loyal forces in case of an eventual civil war.

Priestly Administration

The civil service is composed of priests dedicated to one of the many gods of Akhamet. In any areas, priests rule over the populace. They serve as barristers, magistrates, professionals, scribes, and local rulers. Priests touch every aspect of life.

While not all priests are altruistic or moved by the plights of the locals, this arrangement brought stability, peace and prosperity to life.

There is no idea of a separation of church and state, or a lay administration. Saying such things, could be considered seditious.

Akhamet is yours

The idea of this mini-setting is to provide a basic framework to create adventures with an Egyptian-them. The content of this book is to support the adventure path.

How can I help with Akhamet

I am looking for people wanting to write for Akhamet: I want land, desert, island settlements written, sidetrek-style adventures (like a one-page dungeon). If you are interested in helping out and getting yourselves some writing credits - and a little cash, contact me directly at

Sunday, November 26, 2017

[Starfinder] Sailor Scouts... for adults

With Starfinder released, I bought a number of futuristic miniatures, from Foundry's Near Future range. I sold quite a few already and I kept a few to myself. However, my mix feelings towards Starfinder mean that I will not need to keep them.

These scantily-clad ladies I got the idea of painting them in an updated/ adult version of the the Sailor Scouts... They were definitely fun and a challenge to paint right. So little clothing is rare these days and well...

I do love me some bikini babes.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

YARRR! Pirates Gallore!

This group I won as part of a reward from a Kickstarter I took part in. A full crew of Halflings pirates! Can you say "Yarr" in a high-pitched voice?

The sculpt is good and simple, but very effective, reminding me a little big of Old Glory miniatures, but with MUCH better faces.

These guys paint up really well, and so quickly. My main complaint was when I was done, I wanted to paint more.

I added the Reaper cook to the crew because... well having a cook is always awesome.

Friday, November 24, 2017

[Undercity] City Guards

Here is a mob of city guards. These guys are from Croe's Cutthroat set, but I got this mob from the Undercity game. I am not overly impressed with the crispness of the details, so I opted to paint them in three groups of six.

These guys will serve as guards and all-purpose soldiers.

Friday, November 17, 2017

New Art for Akhamet

As I keep working on Akhamet, Zam keeps sending me these awesome pieces of art, completing the iconic characters (the others were posted in the previous post). I will be posting additional info on the races.

Monday, November 13, 2017

[ArcadiaQuest] No more pets

The final batch of Pets for Will's ArcadiaQuest. I am quite fond of the Mogwai and the turtle!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Akhamet: A new mini-setting/adventure path from FOE

All this quiet time... I miss you guys, my reader.

Since becoming unemployed, I have not been idle. Between the interviews and work-related training, I came up with a wacky idea. As I churned the idea in my mind, I kept liking what I had. So here goes....

This is a setting inspired by ancient Egypt. Here, Pharaoh (not "the Pharaoh" but "Pharaoh") has ruled the land as a god-king for millennia. Just recently, the priest announced that He is dying. Speaking of Pharaoh dying, or not being king anymore is heresy...

Hand in hand with that, I have been thinking of a short adventure path to accompany the setting. I have the first adventure mostly done. I have two encounters to do. So I should soon be able to run this for people.

At first, I planned to do this for both Pathfinder AND 5e, but as I began to get into it, I decided to focus on 5e. Why? Simplicity of design, speed of design, and well I am much more in a 5e frame of mind. Doing only one system allows me to go faster. Plus who knows, I may decide to make a Pathfinder version later!

My idea for this is to have the adventure be allowed as part of Legacies, so you can play the adventure and get rewarded for it in the campaign, much like the Pathfinder Modules or the big adventures from the Adventure League. AL do it quite interesting...

Without burning too much yet, as a lot of stuff is still in the works, I leave you with some of Zam's art for the project. She has been doing awesome work for me and I'm very excited. There will be more coming. The following are going to be used as pregens for Akhamet games!

So what classes do you think they should be? What class would be fun to play with these guys?

[ArcadiaQuest] More pets!

Monday, November 6, 2017

[ArcadiaQuest] Pets gallore

Here are a few ArcadiaQuest pets I have been holding to for quite a while now. These are more of Will's collection.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Service is Eternal for 5e released!

You may have been wondering why I have been rather quiet on this blog for a while, and I have to say I missed it. I miss writing for it. However, with this crazy week I had, I did not have a lot of time to spend writing. I did however, take some time to write and complete work on a book I've been working on for quite a while. Of course, I mean the 5e version of "Service is Eternal", the book to the First Ones of Saggakar.

I always thought of this book as a "monster book", but one where you create and build serious enemies. So the balance in design that I value everywhere else here takes a backseat as I want to make the First Ones to be more than just monsters.

This new edition was an opportunity for me to not only review material for the setting, but also to add elements to it that were not in the original, Pathfinder version. So let's go over some of the changes that are in there.

First, a whole new section on First Ones Organizations. These organizations were mentioned in the original book, as feats and as prestige classes. I always felt these were not well defined enough in the original book. When I began thinking about them and how I had not used them much. I went back to my original material for them and expanded them. I did the Orders, but also redid the six schools, expanded and defined them. If you look at many of the main First One NPCs, you can already see where I was going with some of them, those secret background that have yet to appear in adventure and in material. I really like the simplicity of the 5e organization format. Although I initially wanted to expand the format, I opted against it, to let the GM on his own how powerful the school/organization is in his campaign.

The organizations are used for backgrounds, allowing for the creation of characters who attended the schools or trained with the orders and are either no longer members OR currently on leave.

The six races that were in the original book are still here: the half-elven Drovites, the commanding Exodites, the breeding Grexodites, the shadowy Harovites, the demonic Netherlings, and the halfling-driders: the spiderlings. But the coolest and most disgusting addition to the main races are the shapeshifting shogleths. I had these guys in adventures and when they transform from a humanoid into an ooze is always fun to describe and watch the players' reaction.

The new archetypes for the classes are based on what used to be prestige classes, such as the Dark Dancer (bard), the Kares'kor (fighter), the Jet Arrows (ranger), the Lords of the Whip (fighter), the Masters of the Veils (wizard), and the Shadow Blades (rogue).

Add new feats, new spells, new alchemical substances, new magic items, 5e version of the monsters, and sample First Ones.

You can get this book on DriveThru RPG and RPG Now. Check it out, leave a review.

Perhaps the biggest bonus is that it has a HeroLab extension! So get the book, and create First Ones through Herolab right away!

For those of you who enjoy Legacies, you get a special, "unique" LR that allows you to create a First One in the campaign!

Monday, October 16, 2017

No sunset this time

I just got the news that I was being cut for budgetary concerns from the job I occupied for the last 2.8 years. It had it ups and downs, but I enjoyed showing up to work and getting some really cool things done. While I am quite angry about this situation, I must focus on what is coming, on what I need to do next.

Over the last two years, I was able to really solidify the development situation, going from a house on fire to one of calm and peace. I set up a number of processes that made deployments simpler, quicker, and easier. I put in place code that simplified and streamlined the code, especially in the area of data access and unit testing. I am proud to say that under my watch (I'll give myself a 4 month grace period), there has been no major code issues. None that required a rollback or an emergency fix. Actually, I recall there was one... Still with 1.5 deployments a month, I'll take take.

I can't take it personal, because I know my performance was good and that I have nothing to be ashamed of. I did a great job. So good that they decided that I was not needed. A victim of my own success.

Still it sucks.

It provides me little solace to know I did nothing wrong.

I already contacted many of recruiters and have spent the day on the phone. I pray things will fall in place quickly.

I did find solace today in a few things. First, my wife is the most understanding and kind person I know. I mean, she is able to put up with me. Second, Since I posted the new on social media, I received a LOT of help and well-wishes from people all over the place.

Now enough wallowing in self-pity and let's get up and start getting my butt back to work.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Imaginarium After-Action Report

This past weekend was Imaginarium Convention in Louisville, Ky. I attended the cons last year as a guest, and this year, I went as there as support for JD, the man behind Rhym. JD was running panels and workshops.

The trip there took much longer than expected because I spent two hours trying to cross all of Nashville. For those who do not know, I both live and work in the south of Nashville. After a long time on the road, I got there. Since it was around 10pm local, I decided to make a stop at the convention hall to check in and see what was going on.

HQ had just closed for the night, but the gaming hall was still rockin', so I sad down at a 5e game for its finale. My introduction to the game featured all kinds of wrong, and the game delivered, laughs all around.

Then I check in to the hotel, only to discover that I booked the wrong weekend! The issue was quickly addressed and fixed quickly and I was shortly in my room ready for sleep, watching Guy Fieri on TV.

I got up early Saturday morning ready to rock. I did a quick stop at a local Starbucks for my morning joe and I was ready to rock. Everything was set up, with the looming shape of Fahran the tiefling cleric over me, I waited.

The first slot, I had only a single player show up. It was great to see Scott again, with whom I played last year. I could've joined either a game of Dread or a game of Wild Skies, but I did not really feel it. Rather, I was full of ideas. So I sat down and I wrote. I wrote up a storm at a writing convention!

Towards the planned end of the slot, Tom who I met at the very first Imaginarium and JD came around and we began to chat and talk about stuff. Yak Yak Yak. So much so that before I realize it, it was ten to two. I had not eaten yet!

The afternoon slot, I ran the newest Rhym adventure, Lord of the Desert. The ink on the adventure was still drying when I left for the con on Friday. A fun time for sure, though I did take a little too much time to get into the meat of the plot. It is a big adventure, with a lot to do. By the end, they were breathless and asking for more, always a good sign!

After that, Tom, JD and I headed to the Sichuan Gardens for a Korean-prepared Chinese feast. I was famished by then. I must say that I wolfed down anything that came within arm's reach. Over dinner, we talked about a lot of things as I ate and ate.

After that, I got into my car to see my hockey team was getting crushed. Sigh. The drive south was uneventful. Sleep. Sleep was good.

The con had moved from its previous location near the airport for the Ramada Inn in J-Town (next to my Kentucky home). The venue is fine even if there is nothing closeby to eat without taking your car.

I will send to the convention folk, that the gaming-related panels and the gaming programming should be made so that game slots and game panels do not clash with each other. I really think this would allow both GMs and players to have time to participate in as many events as possible. I think that could really help the gaming room. Attendance seemed low, but that is only from my own limited perception.

I am interested in going back next year. Though I will plan to have all my panels in the morning, then GM afternoon and evening. I would also like to plan my time better so I get to meet different writers and publishers.

That's it for this year!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

[ArcadiaQuest] The Jester

In my previous post, I posted about the Marillion jester from the band's early and quite hallowed days. Like many fan, I prefer their early stuff (with Fish).

I'm not fully satisfied with the picture, but not with the model itself, I really like.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Wonderpage is Moving

Way back in 1996, I opened a website on my university's servers to put content from my many World of Darkness. I called it quite simply, Pacman's Wonderpage. The name stuck and I used it to this day...

Before I left college, I moved the Wonderpage to Geocities. That was years before Yahoo got a hold of it. I built up my site so it would contain everything I wanted. It was great fun to built and experiment with html technologies. Before Geocities closed down, I moved to a GoDaddy hosted website, simply

When came time for the big redo and move to PHP in and around 2008-09, I setup everything I wanted.

Tonight, I am moving the Wonderpage once again, to a new hosting solution. I will be reviewing a lot of things on the Wonderpage, maybe updating parts of it to a different type of technologies. It remains to be seen... Should be fun for sure...

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

[ArcadiaQuest] Six Fun Ones

Six more from Will's Inferno collection.

The first group includes a witch, Baron Samedi, and a Tiefling. The witch came out really nice, her sculpt is very good and quite dynamic. She comes out as very anime-ish and the paint job really brought out all the character of the model. Baron Samedi has a similarly great sculpt. Finally, the third one is a demon-woman whose red color

The second group is also pretty cool. First is Kate Beckinsale's character in Van Helsing. I really like her hair. The next guy is Perseus as presented by Harry Hamlin in the original (and still best) Clash of the Titans.

The second group is also pretty cool. First is Kate Beckinsale's character in Van Helsing. I really like her hair. The next guy is Perseus as presented by Harry Hamlin in the original (and still best) Clash of the Titans. The third and final one has is the jester. This jester was painted based on the jester imagery from the early Marillion, whom I learned that Will was also a fellow fan. All the best freaks are here, as they say!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

[ArcadiaQuest] Six more

Six more for Will's collection! The two I have a particular story for are in the second group.

The lady in the center looked very much like one of the characters in the Dark Crystal. I gave her a big white dot in her eye to represent the glow of the crystal she holds. The wings came out really nice I think and is another highlight of the mini.

The big guy... He game out MUCH darker than I wanted, and though I liked his skin color. I painted his beard using black, but was completely invisible over the skin. I was faced with a choice: do I repaint the model in a lighter color OR do something. I really liked the dark skin as he really popped when placed with the whole group. So I opted to repaint his beard and eyebrows. The end result is a rather unique-looking character.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

[ArcadiaQuest] Six Characters

More from the Inferno set!

The First pic has three character... none of which I have much to say about.

The second group has the two Drow and a mad alchemist. I really find interesting that the male drow's eyebrows and face-dot forms a big eye!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

FOE now on the OpenGamingStore!

I am really happy to report that FOE is now (finally) on the OpenGamingStore. John and Debra are both really super awesome with my procrastinating. I still have a LOT of work to enter all of the FOE catalog on the store.

This means that you now have four locations where you can get FOE products!, and now the Open Gaming Store!

I will be adding more to their site over the coming days. Check them out!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

[ArcadiaQuest] Inferno

I am currently working on Will's collection of ArcadiaQuest - Inferno miniatures. Here are the first three.

The guy on the left is a type of Greco-Roman warrior, a Hercules of sort.

The guy in the middle could be one of several guys. Gandalf or Moses parting the Red Sea. I am particularly happy how the white of his tunic and the white of his hair and beard came out. One is really white/cotton and the other is gray. Nice effect on a simple paint job.

The last character is a Xena lookalike. She has a simple palette but a great sculpt.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

September Setting Sale means 33% off FOE products

DriveThru RPG is making a September Setting Sale. This means that all of FOE's setting books are 33% off! Great time to pick up the Rhym Campaign Setting or the Tyrants of Saggakar for Pathfinder or the Tyrants of Saggakar for 5e.

Or you can opt to expand your knowledge of the Tyrants of Saggakar setting with either the ArchDespotate of Faremh, or one of the location books, including the new Markelis: City in the Mists or Randy's awesome Onero: City of Sins.

Perhaps you are looking for something to spice up your own campaign? Check out Service is Eternal, a book on the First Ones or the many tomes and spells of A Shackled Mind is a Clear Mind.

Or maybe you just want to complete your collection of Saggakar by getting the Tyrants of Saggakar Bundle

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Paizo fails again

Paizo does many good products, but they do not get the message about one of their really very crappy product. I can safely say that I will not purchase any of Paizo's GM screens.

And I love GM Screens.

Why? Because they make them the "thin and high" rather than "long and wide". Their screen links the long edges together and this make it a product that loses all value to me.

Unlike Paizo, WotC has got it right (one of many things). WotC's GM Screen are linked by the small edge, making their screens lower and much wider.

A lower GM screen allows for the privacy a GM wants and needs when running a game: hide maps, art of what the PCs have yet to encounter, module notes, and a bunch of other things. A GM screen is not merely used to hide dice rolls (though that IS one of its function).

Another great benefit is that when the GM sits down, the low screen makes it so there can be a flow of discussion, it does not completely cover the GM's face. I feel like there is a feeling of community and shared experience rather than the ultimate tower of GMing. If you know me and my GMing style, I encourage discussion not just with the NPCs, but between the party as well and the low screen allows me to fade into the background yet hear everything that is happening.

A low screen makes it easier for me to reach and access miniatures or draw on the map without having to put an armpit in a player's face. Okay I don't do that, but you get the point that I have to reach over or around everything and invade someone else's personal space.

For some GMs and their style the high vs low screen does not matter, either because they simply do not use one or use one off to the side/ on a side table. But I use the screen on the table in front of me and I like to feel included with the players (if only to plot their later demise and backstab them at the right moment).

So although the screen is visually nice and filled with nice and useful information, it will remain on the shelf of my FLGS. I do have a 4e game screen AND a 5e one. Both of which are low and wide and have used both.

I will leave you with a repost of a picture of the Rhym one-shot to show you what I mean. You can see my bald head in the background. The screen is up, but the players can see me move my hands and I can easily reach over... And that is why I will not buy a Paizo screen until they make them useful. And mean low and wide.

Btw, I don't need them wide because I'm a big guy myself... But it helps.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

[Rhym] The Awakening a One-Shot Campaign

This past weekend, I ran my first home game in a very long time. I had an interesting idea to bring together a very hodge-podge group of characters. Both as characters and in-person.

After our original plan for Labor Day feel through, I was really bummed, but I bucked up and talking to my players, I visited some local groups and recruited new people. As with any such gathering, you never know who will show up and whether the party will gel together.

Well... Things went really well from the time they woke up in their cells... The players were awesome and they really got into the madness of the story (which married a dungeon crawl with more intrigue).

The characters were:
- Sister Atusa, A human life cleric (Order of the Eye)
- Belladonus/Belladona, A Haver bard
- Hyree, An Amazon Ranger
- Keevin, A Ptahn Monk
- Om-za, A Kynean sorcerer
- Togg, A Hareen (feral halfling) fighter

I created these characters to both showcase FOE products, but also cover a wide variety of character types. Each character had different abilities than the other iconics from either Saggakar or Rhym.

Ashe drew the following character, who plays Sister Atusa cleric of Knowledge. The awesome drawing depict Sister Atusa hiding behind the large Amazon, Hyree. It seems that she has a growing phobia of the written word. Whenever she hears "There is something written", she now hides... Or they send the illiterate hareen ahead of them. Funny what a few glyphs can do..

Here are a few action pics.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Markelis: City in the Mists released!

I just finished Markelis: City in the Mists for Tyrants of Saggakar, I am reminded of the amount of work that must be done on a product AFTER the writing is done. This include: layout and pagination, editing and correcting, and the art selection.

When I first started as a writer, I did not do much about that, but with time, I do it more and more. The editing in particular is time-consuming but makes the final product so much better. For that phase of the product I print the PDF and go about covering the page in red rewrites and tightening the text.

What is Markelis? It is the city swallowed in the Mists, former capital of the ArchDespotate. I had most of the details I would need for it written before the Origins special. From that skeleton, I grew the locations and clarified things. I mean the Origins version was very workable for an adventure, but not enough for a full book.

The product is one that will be a first for FOE. It is published for BOTH 5e and Pathfinder at the same time! It includes new magical items and artefacts to be found in Markelis and new monsters, including some NPCs (an anuka ghast called King-Of-Mists).

Markelis, City in the Mists

Twenty years ago the Mists came over the city and took more than half its population. The former capital of the ArchDespotate of Faremh was abandoned in a hurry, its treasures left behind.

This book contains:
- A history of the city of Markelis
- Detailed descriptions of its most important sites, such as the Spire of Skulls, the Temple of Man, and the cemetary.
- Adventure locations and plot hooks
- Three new monsters: Ethrereal Worms, the Tar Mummies and the Warrior Daemons.
- Two fully-statted out NPCs: the ghast King-of-Mists and the blind erinyes Rodwenza.
- A city that will be used extensively for the Legacies Organized Play Campaign

This book is a great addition to the Tyrants of Saggakar setting. I am really excited to see this one come out!

You can get this new book from the usual sources: DriveThruRPG or RpgNOW

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

New Art: The Monsters

I said it before, and I will say it again, every time I get new art, it is like a mini-Christmas. Opening the message and looking at what I will find inside. I have been blessed with working with so many great artists in my time at FOE. I never worked with artists before, so that was one of the many things I had to learn when I started working at FOE.

These new pieces are from Zamy Zam, a new artist I am working with. I really like her work. For her first commission, I asked her to draw my kids as adventurers.

Monday, September 4, 2017

[Review] Gundam F-91

Another one I got while in college.

This one takes place much in the future of the UC - to the point where it has nothing to do with it. A space colony is attacked by a group of... huh... I guess "space pirate" is the closest thing. This group, the Crossbone Vanguard has vague undertone of Zion or the Titans, but not really, but kinda. They are led by a poor imitation of Darth Vader.

Turns out one of the local kids was really a secret princess of this group and Vader's daughter. The Vanguard launch a major offensive where they retake the girl and take over the colony.

A group of kids manages to escape the colony with a Gundam they take in a museum (!) They go on to fight against the Vanguard, whom the girl above has since joined-ish. Guhhh.

Then there are many fights, culminating with Vader-Mobile-Suit-Of-Doom and its destruction. Awesome.

This movie bored me to tears. The adults are all so stupid, deciding to send kids to fight against MS. I mean this whole movie makes no sense in the Gundam UC timeline. The plot is a gathering of bad cliches from the series. And this movie dates back to 1991...

But perhaps the worse is the ending where it says "The End... or is it the beginning?" Trying to be cute, but it failed big time.

Story: The story is a bad re-hashing of Star Wars and Gundam, but coming on the weak side of both. You learn nothing here and the potential threads for the future lead nowhere. 2/5 Really just doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

Characters: The characters aren't very bright all around, other than Cecily (the girl) who shows some flashes of brilliance. I would not want to see any of them again, and guess what... I never did!

Animation: The animation is bad, even for something of that time. 1/5, there is nothing to write home about here.

Overall: Overall this is a 2/5. Watch this only if you are completionnist fan of the Gundam Universal Century. You won't miss a thing if you skip it.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Gencon 2017 AAR: What I learned from Gencon 50

Here are Part 1 and Part 2

This post is the third and final installment of my look back at Gencon 50. Here, I will focus on the lessons learned and what if anything I plan on doing going forward.

I am using a simplified format based on the retrospective of a sprint in Agile development. This makes the result more interesting to read.

What I learned:
- I have great friends It is always great to realize how many people I know and highly value, and how many of them I meet at Gencon. I got to spend a little time with my friend Florent and meet his girlfriend, he came to visit us before the con but this was great to see them both. I chanced upon both guys from Gamers Haven in CO, Rob and Troy, and got to spend a couple of minutes chatting with them. I also met a kid who I ran a game two years ago and he was really excited to speak with me. I said hello to the PCI/Arcanis folk but did not want to take too much of their time as they were busy selling books.
- I enjoyed running 5e more than Pathfinder Although I personally prefer to play Pathfinder, I find that the table of 5e have been more enjoyable to run and less filled with details and minutiae. Rather, the plot and the story flowed more naturally. I am thinking that my personal style of writing and GMing lends itself better to 5e.
- I need to bring more GMs For the past two years, I have been selling out games consistently. There is demand for what I offer. For next year, I want to become one of the Premiere Groups and get better locations to run my stuff. This means I will need another GM to run more events.
- I get little repeat business At Gencon, I run a lot of different people, with different faces at every slot. People either go to play one thing (such as PFS or Adventure League) OR go about playing a variety of systems and settings. Until they discover the awesomeness of FOE, I will draw mostly from the latter group.
- Gencon is HUGE If you haven't gone, it is. It defies reason. It is also part of its draw. This leads to me being forced to not being able to meet everyone I want to see. For example, this year I missed Chad-N and Jen-M who I wanted to meet.

What I will do:
- FOE is going back to Gencon in 2018
- Offer one adventure and perhaps a special This year, I rushed to complete three adventures when I could have just as easily ran just one. I like the idea of a special and Gencon is the perfect place to run this.
- I will ask for one or two other GMs Next year, FOE will offer multiple tables run with another GM or two. Perhaps have one set of adventures set in Tyrants of Saggakar and one set Rhym? That's something I still need to decide. I still have a few months to decide.
- I must look at my phones during the day Meeting Florent almost did not happen. He had free time when we could've met but I did not look at the phone until MUCH later.
- Focus on one system I think I will focus on 5e at public events going forward. I had more success running games of 5e than Pathfinder (but that is for a completely different post).

What YOU can do
- Let me know if you want to GM for FOE at Gencon. I have no idea of perks yet.
- Let me know if you have an idea. Whether for an adventure or anything else.

This is it. Gencon is in the books.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

New Release: Gostor Thirty 5e Feats with Herolab plugin

I had just finished with the Tyrants of Saggakar Player's Guide and I had to cut a few things out of it. Then I worked on Rhym and I had to trim some material that did not feel fully flavored. I still have a number of snippets of rule elements: feats, spells, random ideas, partial stat blocks.

Like many other writers, I keep a list of these on a cutting floor. These few files are filled with half-formed ideas: names, one-line ideas, and even a few entries that needs cleaning up but that I don't need immediately. So one day, I looked at the list and saw that it had grown beyond "just a few". So I decided to look into them and develop them.

That I wanted to use some of them for an upcoming adventure has nothing to do with it... So I spent many evenings refining, talking about them and running a few playtests. Because one thing I personally am quite conscious about is game balance. I do not want these feats to overpower the game.

With my list coalescing at thirty (it originally had 34 but some I decided to take out), I thought about using them... so I created a HeroLab file for them.

So it is with great pride that I announce the release of Gostor: Thirty 5e Feats through DriveThru RPG, RPGNow, and now DM's Guild. The price for the book includes the HeroLab extension!

Saturday, August 26, 2017


Continuing my series about my experience at Gencon 50. Catch up on Part 1.


Back to it, I set up my games and got ready for my first game of the day. It did not look good for it as I had only a single ticket sold for the event. At the appointed time, my one player, Milford was there and we spent most of the slot chatting about Saggakar, gaming and Starfinder. After a while, I offering him to run something and I ran him through Service and Reward: House Faremhi. A short adventure that did present the setting and the campaign. A fun game.

The afternoon slot was for the first run of The Sorrowful Lady using Pathfinder. This was the first game that would allow me a head-to-head of the two systems. Other than some of the combat, the final encounter plays REALLY differently, the flow was very similar. They understood the dilemma and the challenges of the decision. I really enjoyed running this one.

The evening slot was the one I was perhaps looking most forward to. Why? My good friends Brandon and Nate were participating.

So I start with my typical story, explaining the setting and how it affected the world. Off we went into a land of utter madness. I mean really.

Bluntly, the game did not go well. To players obviously did not understand the dangers and pitfalls of Saggakar. That going to evil is easy, but avoiding it requires strength. These two guys just went for it hook, line, sinker, fishing rod, boat, pier, and heck even the whole town. They used interesting tactics (to say the least). And finally up and left.

That always sucks... We finished the adventure, but their options and choices became much more limited.

Day 2 ended on a rather bad note because of it. It wasn't the great experience I always want to give the players. I did not sleep too well that night, though not because of excitement.


I woke up with a stiff neck and not feeling as great as I wanted. But today, I got to sleep in 15 minutes more... I was not running anything that day.

I spent the day in Rokugan, fighting against gaijin wanting to take a city we liberated years ago. In the afternoon, I played in the LARP. I must say that while I enjoy these Larps, I just don't get as much enjoyment as I do from a regular game but it is still worth playing. I really enjoy my Crane shugenja.

I got to my hotel "early" and crashed. The day had gone well, I enjoyed myself and the poor ending to Friday had faded in the background.


Last day of the con... Sundays are always an interesting times at cons because you never know who will show up and when. This year was no different. However, I had a family show up, ready for gaming. Black Sails is a perfect Sunday morning adventure: it is lighthearted, simple, and fun. I mean... pirate ships... PIRATES!!!

With a lot of YARRR and action, it was an awesome end to the weekend. From the high of Thursday to the low of Friday, Sunday brought it back up into a clear and definite positive. I turned in my paperwork and was on my way home in no time.

Gencon was over.

Next: The Lessons of Gencon 50