JP On Gaming

Monday, December 31, 2018

[Cryx Monday] Seether

This is a Cryx Seether I painted a while ago. One thing I did was not to put all the spikes atop the frame to reveal the glowing green beneath.

I originally thought about using it with Starfinder. I had a partial setting idea that would require a number of dreadnaught/ warjacks. However, as I gave up on that game, the idea just went stale... When I think of a scifi game that excites me, I'll roll that one out.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

[Battle Report] Gauls vs Roman using Warhammer Ancient Battles

I initiated ActionMan to not only a series of History-based podcasts, which are great to listen to while we go to and from a game (usual going TO, because he sleeps on the 'from' part of the trip). Thus he heard from the great of the late Roman Republic (Marius/Sulla, the Triumvirates), the Diodachy, the Wars of the Roses, the Three Kingdoms, the Tokugawa Shogunate, and more. With short 10-15 minute podcasts, these guys do a good job focusing on one topic. In a 2-hour trip, we get to listen to 7-10 of them, covering a wide variety of topics.

So, after a few times, I asked him if he wanted to try and play a game where he could command a force of his own. He enthusiastically agreed to play and we were on and ready to go.

This battle report is for our second day of gaming. We played on a previous occasion for both of us to familiarize with the rules. I hadn't played in over 5 years so it was good for me to go over things...

Giving the choice to ActionMan, he chose my Gaulic/Germanic force to face off against my Early Imperial Romans. The battle featured two 1,500 points armies.

ActionManus the Gaul

This army relies heavily on masses of warriors to grind and crush the enemy.
Characters (220 pts)
- ActionManus, Warlord with throwing spear and light armor
- Shaman
Warriors (727 pts)
- 30 x Warriors with leader, musician, banner
- 30 x Warriors with leader, musician, banner
- 30 x Warriors with leader, musician, banner
- 23 x Fanatics with leader, musician, banner
Cavalry (468 pts)
- 8 x Light Cavalry with leader, musician, banner
- 8 x Light Cavalry with leader, musician, banner
- 10 x Noble Cavalry with leader, musician, banner
Skirmishers (80 pts)
- 10 x Skirmishers with slings
- 10 x Skirmishers with javelins and bucklers

Pacmanicus Gaulicus

This army relies on the legions, with support from archers to whittle down the enemy. The elephant was added just because ActionMan really wanted to see how the elephants did in a fight. I was never impressed with the performance of Roman elephants in the game.
Characters (141pts)
- Pacmanicus, General with light armor and warhorse
Legions (1020 pts)
- 15 x Regular Legionnaire with centurion, musician, and banner
- 15 x Regular Legionnaire with centurion, musician, and banner
- 15 x Regular Legionnaire with centurion, musician, and banner
- 15 x Regular Legionnaire with centurion, musician, and banner
Auxilliaries (324 pts)
- 8 x Equite alares with leader, musician, banner
- 12 x Archers
- 1 x Elephant

The battle

ActionMan set up with a strong center... that is a LOT of warriors. From his left to his right, he had light cavalry, two units of warriors, his warlord-led fanatics in from of his noble cavalry, then his slingers in front of his final unit of warriors led by his shaman, then skirmishers in the river and a unit of cavalry on the other side of the river.

With my low number of troops I had to find a defensive line and hold it. From my left to my right, I had my cavalry, then a cohort in front of my general, then my archers in front of another cohort, the elephant and two cohorts. The cohort on my far right was place in a build-up area.

The first turn saw his army surge forward as I moved to occupy the hill.

First blood went to the Romans, as the cohort on the Roman right repelled and dispersed a unit of light cavalry, causing panic in his left. After a short clash of cavalry, his force prevailed and my horsemen galloped back to Rome.

The clash in the center between the fanatics and the purple cohort was brutal as I had to move another cohort to shore up my collapsing left and I managed to break his cavalry, which cause havoc among his units. The Roman center managed to break his fanatics and his impetus broke against the steel of my pila and gladii.

With his center collapsing, Rome was going to keep moving forward and conquer more of Gaul. A tight win where a few lucky wins on his either side would've made the difference. The battle in the center was decisive as he was winning one flank and I got the advantage on the other because his forces broke and ran.

Although the Gauls had been defeated on this day, their army would certainly be able to regroup and fight another day.


The Lessons

The field of battle had too many terrain pieces that prevented ActionMan from maneuvering, and it helped me with my smaller Roman force. Next time, we will have "only" six pieces of terrain - we had 8 or 9.

ActionMan wants to play a Macedonian Phalanx next.

As for me, I really like the Romans. They are versatile, solid and powerful. I most likely will play them again next time.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

FOE to Launch Patreon Page in 2019

One of the many things I have been working on to grow FOE is a Patreon page. I plan to produce some content for it: I will have bunch of short "One-page dungeon" adventures, maps I drew, new races, monsters, NPCS, and anything else you propose. Some of it will be 5e-focused, but I expect to post a lot of it in a system agnostic way. I do have a few ideas for other random things. Things I'm not sure this blog is the right place to fit it. Whether you are interested only in 5th Edition game material or not, you will still find great material for your game from that Patreon.

I am building it up now and will make an announcement about when it will be ready. My goal for it would be to provide small products, such as races, encounters, short adventure ideas, and art.

Now, before you ask, YES, all content posted on the Patreon will be available for the Legacies Organized Play Campaign. So by joining, you will get additional game-friendly material.

No, this blog is not going away. It will remain as what it is: a place where I post thoughts about gaming, pictures of miniatures... There is no plans to change it.

One question people asked me was whether FOE would use a Kickstarter. I do have a few products that COULD be kickstarted. I reached out to someone I think is one of the greatest minds in gaming marketing: my good friend LPJ and he was very forthcoming with his insight into how to use crowdfunding. I spent time thinking about it before finally deciding to pull the trigger on this.

Update: The Patreon is now live! You can see it First Ones Entertainment Patreon

Friday, December 28, 2018

A Shackled Mind is a Clear Mind - Tomes for 5th edition released

I am very happy to announce the release of FOE's latest product: a 5e port of the highly successful "A Shackled Mind is a Clear Mind" written for the Pathfinder RPG. This is more than just a straight port, new tomes have been added to the book, namely the Book of Thoth, which allows you unlimited power!

You can get this new book on DriveThruRPG

Monday, December 24, 2018

Dreams of Dust Final Playtest report

This past Saturday, I got to finally run the upcoming "Dreams of Dust" adventure. This is my first foray into the Ravenloft setting. I did run a few campaigns in there way back when, but I never liked the way the Mists behaved or how the "setting" worked together. I do like how you could get people from a variety of worlds get together...

This is one of the things that actually happened, and that made the game special for me. My playtesters did a similar things and I thought that was really cool.

Speaking of playtester, David, Joe, Jon, and their crew gave me some invaluable information on how to improve the adventure and the biggest problem they reported - not knowing what they should do - was addressed. Unlike other adventures, there is no "this is what you must do"-type of introduction.

The adventure is more than simply going and beating up monsters - though there is some of that. The environment itself is hostile in ways that make the adventure much more difficult for the PCs.

The party was, based on their home worlds:
Akhamet Sadjam the Storyteller (numru bard) and Terata (anubian rogue)
Forgotten Realms Iva (tiefling warlock)
Rhym Sad Willow (darkling (undead) rogue)
Tyrants of Saggakar Zombie-Slinger (anuka fighter) and Sister Atusa (human cleric)

This adventure can easily run for a full 15-hour run. There is so much to do in there. No only set encounters, but random ones too that serve as resource drains and to keep players guessing about what and where is safe.

The structure of the adventure does allow for additional players to be added later, and stick them into this messy situation.

I have a few more things to touch upon with the text, but the adventure works, it is solid, clear, and with a challenge level that is not overwhelming, but that should challenge most parties.

Thanks to Will for taking pictures of the game.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

What is the ideal size for an adventure? Part 3

Part 1 | Part 2

There is one thing about writing as a stream of consciousness, the way I started with the first two parts of this series. You keep getting ideas and more thoughts cram into your head. One thing I like about blogging vs vlogging is that the mass of craziness that fill my mind has to be organized. I can't just blurt out twelve things at once. So while I originally planned a two-parter... I had to expand this to a third part...

Because of the many side ideas and thoughts I came up with were related but not really formed, I put them at the bottom of the text file for later as I kept on thinking about shorter stuff. But then, after I completed the two posts (it was one I decided to later split in two), I saw the many ramblings and partial thoughts: "Masks x 3", "I3-5", "longer=more dev/harder" and a few that just don't make sense. Enough rambling, here is the post, after a little clean up...

Mega-Modules or Adventure Path

Having put down my thoughts on one-shot modules (Part 1) and on tournament adventures (Part 2), I had more to say about mega-modules or the adventure path format.

Those old modules, with names we all know: the Tomb of Horrors, the Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, and Castle Greyhawk became household names the same way Paizo's Runelords are now part of the gaming universe. The reason is deceptively simple:

Because we played them.

Old guys like myself all have tales of someone doing something stupid in one of these adventure and creating comedy gold. I mean, it is funny to see your friend getting disintegrated because he touched the big red button.

I do not play many of them, because of the logistics and time to complete. I was able to play through one of Paizo's adventure paths (Reign of Winter, shout-out to Chad and Evan who GM'd it for me), but never got a chance to play in a 5e mega module all the way through (I played parts of them as part of the Adventure League).

Back in the days, I played Desert of Desolation (I3-5), Egg of the Phoenix (I12), and significant parts of both Queen of Spiders, and Temple of Elemental Evil (T1-4) back in the day, including the PC game of ToEE.

The best thing about them is the amount of story and adventure there is to do, all in the same theme. It's not just to get in, beat up the goblin king and get out. From fairly innocuous beginnings, your character becomes involved in a greater plot, in some massive affair. This means that you get to take part in something massive.

That is also their biggest downfall. Because there is so much to do, and often the plot becomes personal to the PCs, after one or two characters die, or after a few player cycle in and out, the party's motives are difficult to maintain. I will tell you of the Mask of Nyarlathotep in another post for a good example of this. Plus remembering all the details of what you did two years ago because of the long time between games. Back on track, After the 4th book of an adventure path - or the third full dungeon level - the initial motivation for adventure is not as strong, and the question of "why are we doing this again?" props up. I find it difficult to keep up the interest from that point.

Another strength/weakness is that such large-scale adventures have a theme: WotC's Curse of Stradh and Paizo's Carrion Crown is Gothic Horror, Reign of Winter deals with the mythology of Baba Yaga, Tyranny of Dragons deals with Tiamat and dragon cults, Wayof the Wicked deals with evil characters, etc. There is a lot to do. The flaw? Some people have no interest in the theme. Say you don't like long wilderness exploration (I'm not really that much into it), then a mega-module is just not for me. The chance of me running it is zero and the chance of me playing and giving the game a high level of interest as something I love is not the same.

Dang... the strength of these modules is also its weakness.

Looking at their physical size, WotC's Curse of Stradh, Dragon Heist, Princes of the Apocalypse all are 256 pages, while Paizo Adventure Paths and 6 books of 64pages (each book has 32 of adventure and 32 of setting), they are now reducing this to 3 books, a decision I am very happy about because it will keep the plots more concise and address the issues I mentioned above. Three books means your opening motivation easily holds through. Also, the best ideas are the ones that win through.

These adventures are written by different people, each with their own style. As a small publisher, this is one of the toughest type of product to create. But as a GM, and as a player, a bigger scope adventures are more rewarding to take part in because you get to delve more into the party dynamic, get to play with more things.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

What is the ideal size for an adventure? Part 2

Check out Part 1 of this essay or sort.

The Convention Adventure

What used to be called "tournament modules" during the days of RPGA... These are mostly self-contained adventure designed to be run and played in a 3-5 hour time slot. These are the adventures for Pathfinder Society (PFS), the Adventure League(AL), and the Legacies Organized Play Campaign. They adventures average around 20-25 pages, with a high variance (typically on the higher end).

The Adventure League has a large boiler plate that takes a number of pages, but that provides a good way for the GM to interact with the setting.

Pathfinder Society adventure do not have that, and tend to get right to the point, often without giving the GM some important setting notes or sending the GM to a different book with more information, later years have remedied this problem to an extent.

Legacies adventures are the shortest of the lot, around 15 pages. The older Pathfinder averaged around 20 pages, while those for 5th edition average 13 pages.

So there is a wild disparity of size here. The amount of dungeon and plot differs wildly between all of them, making an accurate comparison difficult. I personally like the idea of doing 1 thing on 1 place to avoid confusion. Since there is limited time, focus is better. I think the 2-hour adventure of the AL are a great example of this. You have one job and you do it. There is little side plots to speak of.

Monday, December 17, 2018

What is the ideal size for an adventure?

What is the ideal size for an adventure?

A fairly simple question, but one that requires a lot of clarifications, and different answers. I will go over a few types of adventure: the stand alone and the convention product. Each has its own answer, and subset of questions and precisions. I may do one for the larger-scale adventures in a later post.

I am more interested in the format, and especially the amount of dungeon locations to include in each.

Stand alone module

I am not thinking of a Paizo-style Adventure path or a WotC hardcover, but a one-shot stand alone adventure.

When I think of like the classic I-series of adventures, like I3 Pharaoh or I6 Ravenloft, these adventures are "only" 32 pages long, with the maps printed on the covers. These adventures are very tightly coupled with location of events, with the overall plot woven through the rooms of the dungeon.

Paizo has followed suit with a similar products. However, Paizo had the advantage of years of play, their adventures do have a stronger plot (usually), and many elements are tied to a time or other event and they are better organized (20+ years of gaming shows), but the overall is still quite similar to the original.

Looking at the two products, the old TSR had much more dungeon in them, typically 1-4, while Paizo's adventures are much less dungeon-focused, relying on encounter locations. Still, they both end up at the 32 page mark.

So this makes me think I am looking at creating a product between 30 and 40 pages, with a sweet spot around 32. So around 15-16k words.

More to come in Part 2 of this self-interrogation.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Cover preview: Dreams of Dust

Coming soon to the DM's Guild...

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Ships of Akhamet

Last last year, I built myself a small fleet of ships to use with Akhamet, and I am just getting around to posting the pictures. These ships are designed to be functional in a game sense, rather than display pieces. For the past year, I have been using them extensively for a variety of games and adventures.

This is the biggest of the three ships I did, and I staged a mock battle on it for you guys. Plus, having miniatures is always cooler.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

NerdLouvia 2018 AAR

[Photo from NerdLouvia Facebook]

For my last event of the year, I headed back up to Louisville for NerdLouvia, an 18+ convention. There was tabletop, board, and video gaming.

I woke up at 5:15 and after turning and tossing, I decided to get up, touch up on some files - I would not call that writing - then got ready to leave.

That's when the horror hit me. It was snowing in this early morning... SNOW! The doom of the South! I drove up I-24, then I-65 and the skies cleared up pretty much as soon as I reached the border of Kentucky. From then on, it was blue skies and dice rolling.

The con was at Spalding University, in a building around a century old. It had that "old school" feel (yes, pun intended). With all the RPGs in one of the old ballroom. And when I say old, it had balcony and a mezzanine. Of course, its original charm had since been completely removed in favor of a neutral-color sheet rock walls. A shame for something that once must have been a draw. Oh well...

First my first game, I ran an abridged version of "Panacea" for Akhamet. Fun group. I used the opportunity to test a few things and gauge the level of difficulty. Some areas need beefing up and others are fine.

As some of the players stayed for the second slot, I decided to run something different, but still in Akhamet. While I had an adventure ready to go, I opted for my secret alternative. A sort of extension/ expansion of "Panacea" which deals with some of the fallout and follows up on the events the PCs just dealt with. This was very informative for me as a writer because they used methods of investigation that I can say were "novel". In the end, they rescued the person and a good time was had by all.

My GMing time over for the day, I allowed myself a chance for some gaming. I had secretly brought some PFS characters in the hope of playing with Chad and Holly, but they left, so there was no reason for me to play that. I then looked around and decided to try the Louisville Multiverse, which is a local organized play thing. I am always curious about how different OP groups work and their rules. I looked at my box of miniatures and built a simple human druid called "Brown Fox of the Wolf Tribe" with a plains Indian way of talking. "Be like the eagle walking on the plains" and other such nonsense. I had a good time dispensing wisdom that way. I am curious about it and will want to see if I can play or do more with these guys.

Then I went to my hotel and slept.

Sunday morning not up too early (for once) and I was back at Spalding ready to roll. I was able to park right in front!

I ran a game of Mythic Greece, once again testing out "The Crown of Zeus", reviewed since the previous week's run-through, and it does run pretty smoothly, with some interesting and varied combats.

The Good

- Central venue Central Louisville is a decent place to meet during the day. It was easy to get to and get out of.
- Food Trucks Just like at Imaginareum early in the year, they had a food truck parked outside. This made for a convenient place to get food. I did not note the truck name, but the guys on Saturday did a patty melt that was awesome. Great stuff. The fries were something of a let down, but that melt puts it in this category.
- Games I said it many times, but I really have a great time with Kentucky folk, both as a player and as a GM. That is one of the main reason why I go back so many times.

The Improvable

- Acoustics The room was very loud, and with my bad old man ears, I had difficulty understand everything my players said, particularly on Saturday. Nice looking room, but the flat surfaces reflect noise.
- Parking Saturday parking can be problematic with park meters and restrictions. It is no surprise outside main business hours, that place is deserted.
- Central venue Central Louisville is a terrible place to meet at night, the area is filled with bums and well does not feel safe after dark.
- 18+ Event I expect many will disagree with me, but the 18/21+ due to the on-site sale of alcohol limits the attendance. I could not take Jojo or ActionMan with me, and for almost everything that happened, that restriction added nothing.

The Conclusion

Great people. Great games. Some issues with the venue I can overlook. I would review the 18+ limit, at least for daytime events. But none of these nags are enough for me to re-evaluate my participation, and I plan on being back again next year, if the folk of Nerd Louisville are willing to have me run stuff again.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Supercon 2018 AAR

This past weekend, I drove up to Louisville, KY once again to offer games at Supercon. From what I understand, Supercon is the successor/buyer of what used to be Derby City Comic Con.

When Jonathan-M contacted me about running events there, I said yes as I love going back to Louisville, where I own a small piece of the American Dream... and own more of it every payday.

Not having planned for it much in advance, I only offered to GM on the Saturday, with a there-and-back on the same day.

The morning of December 1st was a wet one in Nashville, with heavy rain. I grumbled, but go in the car, hoping the weather would improve. And for most of the drive, it did. Heavy clouds loomed above (I kept thinking of the song Jacob's Ladder by Rush).

Only when I exited I-65 did the skies open and torrential rain poured down onto the poor cosplayers and this fat man with a bunch of books to sell and games to run.

I mean it was a 30 second super-shower event, with the kind of rainfall shampoo commercial set in the jungle somewhere. Of course, this was December, this was Kentucky, I am not a super hot woman (at least not outwardly), and I had no intention to wash. The two block walk to the convention center was cold and miserable.

The place was popping. The volunteer center was easy to find and within moments, I was pointed to a table where I had eager players waiting for me.

I started to set up only to realize that I took the wrong miniatures box. This would not be as problematic as you'd think except I had the character sheets and adventures in the box.

So I ran out to the parking, through the rain and back. Finally, I set up everything, had a good table, and I was really to roll.

I asked the guys how interested/ knowledgeable they were about Greek Mythology and they all replied they were really into it, so I ran "A question of Judgment", an adventure which has a lot of mythological references.

A fun adventure with twists and interesting combats, but most of all, a table that really enjoyed the many Easter eggs in there.

The adventure over, I had 90 minutes before my next adventure... a rare luxury at a con. As an added bonus, the rain had stopped by then, so I was able to walk around without getting drenched.

I spent at least 30 of them trying to find a place to eat. Let's be honest here, on weekends, downtown Louisville is a ghost town. There are very few places open to eat. The Smashburger was out of food - no doubt from the mass of convention attendees. I ended up at Friday's, a chain I'm never really enthused by. It was okay, but a small plate at a big price and a wait that seemed longer than it should'v been.

I made a short stop at Dunkin' Donuts where the lady gave me like 50 munchkins (you will recognize my Canadian-ness when I kept calling them "Timbits") for the price of 10. SCORE.

My second table was made up of a large group of guys with varying degree of experience and interest in Greek Mythology. So I play-tested "Crown of Zeus", an upcoming adventure using Greek Mythology.

The adventure has a few problem that I will address and fix before the final release. It will be interesting. Less mythological-based than the previous, but still in the tradition of the Greek tragedies of old.

That done, I hoped back in the car, this time without any rain and drove back down to Nashville. Those final 30 miles beyond Nashville were very tough. The coffee I had was wearing off.

And sleep was good.

Word of the day: Goblin Pirates

This is a collection of goblin pirates I got from the Undercity box game by Privateer Press. I got the game at a big discount and while I've no interest in playing the actual game, the miniatures themselves is what I bought the game for.

I added the necessary banner because... well how would people know you are a pirate without a black banner? These minis being plastic makes it so converting is not a major worry...

Plus... I mean... Pirates..

Friday, November 30, 2018

Akhamet Iconic Characters

One thing Paizo has done very well was to create and use their iconic character in different scenes for their books. These characters became associated with the brand as its logo and trade dress. That was a very wise choice and something I plan on doing for Akhamet (and for all my other settings).

So without much further ado, here are the six iconic characters for the Akhamet setting. Clicking on the picture of their miniatures will open a bigger version.

These characters we created with material found exclusively in FOE' Akhamet setting, available from DriveThruRPG.


Male Horite Cleric of Pharaoh, Folk Hero
Born to a simple family of brewers, you grew up staring at the majesty of the Sun, amazed and fascinated by its power and glory. You joined the priests of Pharaoh to bring His glory to the common people. To this day, you share a bond with the common folk.


Female Ubasti Wild Sorceress, Wife of Pharaoh
You have always been pretty so when you were married to Pharaoh, you rejoiced in your good fortune. The day after your wedding, your veins filled with newfound. You are curious about magic, its relation to the gods magic, and the many places of power in the world.


Male Sethru Fighter/Bard, Scavenger
Born in the desert, you became a man of many talents, that a glib tongue and the firm application of a weapon were equally useful. You love the idea of getting rich and hire yourself as a scholar and a wandering tutor. What you don’t know, you fake.

Princess Akat

Female Retid-Khemite Paladin, Initiate of the Order of Lost Princes
Born to a disfavored concubine of Pharaoh, you grew up learning from the mummies of the Order of Lost Princes. You became fascinated with death and the Afterlife. Reaching adulthood, you joined the Church of Anubis as a necropolis guard. You inherited Jackal’s tail from your mother.


Male Khemite Ranger, Sailor
Born on an island on the Endless Sea from a sailor father and a priestess of Khem, you heard the call of the Lady-of-the-Waves from the day you could walk and dreamt of seeing the world. You join Pharaoh’s navy one day when your mother looked the other way. You have been traveling the world since.


Female Gebite Rogue/Wizard
You spent your youth reading about the greatest constructions in Akhamet, the lives of their builders, and the secret side notes left by other in these scrolls. You know how build and repair public works, but also how to break into them. A skill you keep to yourself as you work as an architect and an engineer.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

[Review] Five Great Stores where you can play

Everyone has their own favorite store. This list is slightly different in that I wanted to list places I got to play I particularly loved to do so. You know, us gamers are creatures of habit and where we play feels like a second home where we create legends for ourselves.

This list is a mixed list with some places I associate more with table top RPGs, while others I spend most time war gaming.

While making this list, I noticed that each place rated so high because of an experience or a particular story.

To qualify for the list, the store must have room to play and actively welcomed outside games or gaming-related activities on-site, inside the store.

The list is in alphabetical order for simplicity. All these places are great.

Honorable mentions

These stores were taken off the list because they either closed, changed, or barely failed to make the cut.

Le Donjon, Montreal and Québec City, QC, Canada It is with great sadness that I heard about the demise of the Donjon store. At one point, they were a powerhouse in gaming. They were the first to offer in-store gaming in Montreal. Before them, you went to the store, bought stuff and left. The Donjon allowed for the creation of a community. They also had a number of interesting goodies, like second-hand material. Do you know how awesome it is when you are starting to build an army and you can buy a bunch of space marines on the cheap? Later on when I lived in Quebec City, the gang there was really special.

Games Workshop, Dublin, Ireland Website Now there was a time when there were no gaming stores in Dublin. There was only the Games Workshop. I spent many a Sunday there, trying out new armies or playing with any newcomers. As I had a few armies in those days, and I only played with painted stuff, the staff were lenient with me. I helped them sell games while playing a game I loved.

Moonlite Comics, Frankfort, KY, USA When Jay sold the store, things changed. First off I left for Tennessee (no Chad, I do not regret the move), but the new owners took the store in different directions, focusing more on video games. They also moved across the strip mall, which took away some of its charm. The store is still there, but the attachment I felt for the place has gone. Now, the new place is nice and clean, and will patron it again next time I'm in town.

Enchanted Grounds, Denver, CO, USA

Website My relation with Enchanted Ground start way back around 2006-07 or so, during the days of Living Greyhawk. It was a starting coffee shop with gaming stuff for sale. I thought it was a "fine" place. Good price, good coffee, good people.

It was not until the began to run Pathfinder Society in September of 2009 that this place joined this list for me. Jeff and his crew did a stellar job offering a multitude of games, and they still do so. I mean where can you get all you can drink coffee AND play with great GMs? This is an awesome place. They opened a second location after I left Colorado, of which I get feedback that it is as positive as the original one.

I got my fifth PFS GM star there, with a table of local all-stars. So this place is indeed filled with good memories.

Gaming and coffee? I mean brilliant business plan.

Games Workshop, Paris St-Michel, France

Website This one has a special place in my heart. It was the winter of 2000. The store arranged for a week-long "tournament"/event wherein players would play at the store during the week against a random opponent. Anyone who won was invited to the finals on Saturday. So there I was, Canadian guy showing up with his Fleur-de-Lys covered vanilla chapter space marine with units of scouts. I could see them chuckle behind me as I deployed my army. They put me up against one of the stores toughest and best player. I knew my army and its strength. When he got tabled (after a tough match-up, this was no cake walk), the store was quiet. The store owner invited me to come in on Saturday and play some more.

Saturday came by and I showed up bright and early. This time, I was matched with a kid who played dark eldar. Again, wiped him out, while giving the kid advice on how to beat me (which went against the advice his friends gave him).At that point, the store crew began to pay attention to me as more than just a tourist and they asked me to help referee other games before being matched against a Dark Angel player who scoffed at my lack of lascannons. I destroyed most of his army in the closest match thus far. By then, it was clear to everyone that this Canadian guy with his flag and blue marines was no joke. I lost in the final because of my mistake of focusing on the wraith lord when I should have killed the rest of his army. But still I showed that I was good.

From that day, until my departure for Ireland, the crew welcomed me every time I stopped by. They asked me to provide advice and insight to the younger players and help their parents make good choices. I make a point to stop there whenever I am in Paris.

Gamers' Haven, Colorado Springs, CO, USA

Website The Haven is a place I frequented every week from the time they moved to their current location all the way until I left Colorado. The gang there is awesome and their model of "People who see people play want to buy". It works. I spent so much money there, well-spent shall I add. Rob and Troy are just awesome guys, who know their business, their products, and their customers. Everyone who works there is like that. This is a gamer store for gamers.

I ranked GH as my favorite store in this post for reasons that still stands.

Griffon Feerique, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada

Website In the same post, the Griffon ranked second. This is a place where you can play, where I learned to paint miniatures, where I bought my first 40k models. Many of which I still own.

Great gang there, miss 'em.

Petrie Family Games, Colorado Springs, CO, USA

Website Petrie's started off as a small shop I could see from my house. I did not pay too much attention to it initially, but after going there a few times for their events, I really liked its laid back, friendly, and as the name says family-focused approach. Like one year, they had Santa come over. The picture I took with the kids is still on the family fridge.

Cam has always been super supportive to me as an independent game publisher and writer, something I was always very grateful for. Of all the stores on this list, Petrie's is the only one that I felt the kids could come and enjoy themselves. At the same time, adults could participate in events there and enjoy themselves too. All night gaming? Yes, this is the place!

Monday, November 26, 2018

[ArcadiaQuest] Koalas? Gorillas? Cute and Deadly

And here are the final ArcadiaQuest models for Will. These guys are cute, cuddly, lovable and oh so deadly!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Gostor Nymph Released for 5e

For the past few weeks, I have been posting a few new races that generated a lot of interest on the many groups where I shared them. Many asked me about about some the details of how to integrate them into their campaigns.

Well I had most of that already written when I posted the first "New Race", with all three of the nymphs. At that time, I thought I was done but feedback made me go back to the drawing board on a few things. The constructive criticism I received made the end result better.

So I am very happy to announce the release of Gostor: Nymph. Like all our 5e offerings, this one comes with a Herolab import so you can build your characters without having to do the math yourself.

As an added bonus, you can get it with the 33% off from the Black Friday/Cyber-Monday sale on DriveThruRPG!

Friday, November 23, 2018

[Campaign fail] Star Wars RPGs

I hate the way the Force is presented in the older Star Wars RPGs. Unlike what we see in the movies, where the jedi use the Force to get pertinent and useful information, what I see is an endless string of spellcasting where skills are effectively never used, in favor of constant use of the Force.

The party looks for someone in a bar: "I used Force Mind Scan to find out who knows something."
The party tries to fly and avoid the asteroids: "I used the Force to push the asteroids out of our path and into the path of our pursuers."
The party tries to sneak: "I used the Force to fog the stormtroopers' minds."

This is something I notice years ago when I tried to run Mage: The Awakening (shows you how long that was...) where the only thing the players did was to use magic for literally EVERYTHING. Their skills, backgrounds, stories, all fell to the wayside in favor of magic. This annoyed me greatly.

At first I blamed the players, but they weren't to blame. They just used what the game gave them.

As one of the biggest failed campaign I ever ran, I tried to put some additional rules designed to curb the use of magic. But all it did was to curtail creativity and made the game unwieldy and legalistic. Exactly the opposite of what I thought the game should be.

So what did I do? I gave up. I ran other games. I raged against it.

Recently, I got into a PbM game of Star Wars where I play a gungan Holovid star who played in a million roles. Think of a gungan Nicolas Cage, or Ernst Borgnine, or Troy McLure.

After just a few post, guess what?

You guessed it. It was a Force-o-rama with the jedi having only one ability: the Force. Piloting? Force. Shooting? Force. Stealth? Force. Interrogation? Force. Combat? Force.

Pfff... I could not stop the cavalcade of Force power but I must say it is difficult to prevent it. There must be a major disturbance in the Force wherever our party goes...

So I decided to just take it in stride, and just enjoy myself. Since I am not running the game, I don't have to worry about it and I just play my characters.

A Solution?

A possible solution may be to provide a system from the Doctor Who RPG (DW:AITAS) story points wherein the character has a finite number and may spend them as wanted to do something meaningful. That's how the Doctor goes around but not open every door unless they influence the plot (though this latest one over-spams the sonic, which is getting old).

Nope... There I go again trying to add subsystems to change the game... Sheeesh...

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Black Friday Sale: 33% off all FOE PDFs

Just a quick word to let you all know that the entire FOE catalog is on sale now through CyberMonday. Its a great opportunity to get your copy of Akhamet or the new full-color PDF of Rhym!

Follow this link to the FOE catalog on DriveThruRPG.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

[5e] A new cantrip: Buzzing Bee

I have been thinking of the creating a cantrip to break concentration and I came up with this. I can see this as a cantrip for Bards, Druids, and Warlocks.

Buzzing Bee

Conjuration cantrip
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous

You summon a single bee that appears in a square occupied by a creature you can see. If the target creature is concentrating on a spell, it must make a Concentration check DC 10.

Monday, November 19, 2018

[ArcadiaQuest] The Demon Court

This post has been months coming... At least 8 months in the making. It just waited in my Draft box...

This is Will's entire demon court for ArcadiaQuest...