JP On Gaming

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

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Gencon 2017 AAR Part 1

With another Gencon in the books, it is now time to review its highlights.


Wednesday was perhaps the longest day of the year. With updates from Indy filtering through my phone, and the instant messages letting me know how awesome things were and were people were drinking. If you sent me or posted such an update on that day, then you managed to make my day go on and on...

4:30 rolled in and we discovered a bug in the code. Nothing new, something that has been there for a while, so I was able to leave in spite of it. We had a plan to address it when I'd return, so things were fine.

I go on the road around 5:30 CDT and drove up to Kentucky. I expected rain all the way through, but was only hit with a heavy downpour in the Nashville area.

I slept at the Motel 6 in Indianapolis East. I will simply say this: I didn't pay very much and I got what I paid for.

Sleep was difficult to come by, mostly because I was so excited and could not wait for the con to start.


Morning came and I showered, checked everything once more. My heart raced in my chest as I drove to the JW Marriott. I got there really early (it was barely 7AM when I got to my room and table). I walked the miles to the GM HQ to get my badge, tickets, and all the paperwork I would need.

I was back and set up all my stuff to run my game. It was House Cleaning an adventure that is simple, well at least that's what I thought... However, the players quickly understood the complexities presented to them and why what seemed at first very simple turned out not to be so... I really enjoyed running it.

The second adventure was The Sorrowful Lady. An adventure I wrote with more than a little humor, which when placed into Saggakar becomes a dark farce. Part tragedy, part comedy. It has some highly memorable NPCs therein.

My third and final slot of the day was the special, The Assar Gambit that took the PCs back to the Wastelands - a region a few people visited at Lexicon. I was very anxious to write more about it. I had to strip out some of material out of the Lexicon adventure and used it as the base for this one. The group that came really played into the story. And even went wild on some elements, with PCs playing dirty tricks on each other, with results that will have to be written in the campaign.

One down. I survived and rode high into the second day.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Four new adventures!

I just released four adventures for Legacies. Now you may ask "why only some in one game and not the other". Simple: Time. I have to prioritize one over the other.

Pathfinder RPG

These two adventures are "short" adventures usable a introductory adventures meant to be played in about two hours.

ToS2-04A - Service and Rewards - House Faremhi A slave-hunting adventure.

ToS2-04B - Family Treasure A test of truth and family relations.

5th Edition

These two adventures are "short" adventures usable a introductory adventures meant to be played in about two hours.

ToS2-54B - Family Treasure A test of truth and family relations.

ToS2-55 - As Oracles and as Warnings A full-length adventure set in Spiderfen.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


First Ones Entertainment

It's been a long time coming... I am currently putting the finishing touches on a revamped For a few years now, the site lay partially completed, in a state I really did not enjoy much. But I did not have the time or the inspiration to complete the re-work.

Fast forward to July 2017.

As I stared at the blank page of one of my Gencon adventures, I began to draw on a spare piece of paper some squares. Just simple shapes. As I stacked together more and more boxes, inspiration struck and I immediately knew how I wanted the site to look like.

I put down a few things, such as ideas how to use the awesome art Irene and others produced for me. I giggled and laughed like a madman as the whole thing began to take shape.

Then the laughing stopped abruptly. I knew how I wanted it to look... Now I had to actually make it. I spent a few evenings trying to fix the site as it was, with JQuery and Javascript only... but it did not look as I wanted. I just could not get it exactly as I wanted.

So I dropped everything. Literally. I decided I would use a different type of technology, one I was not very familiar with. Oh yes, I've done and worked on a number of ASP.NET sites over the years, but this one was the first one I would build FOR ME. To fulfill my vision.

Many sleepless nights followed before I published my project to and began to testing it, making sure the links worked as I expected. And I liked what I see... It is simple, usable and quick... Just like my vision.

TLDR New look for