JP On Gaming

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...

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Post-Apocalipticon After Action Report

Last year, I planned on attending this con, but decided to cancel my plans after I lost my job and had to find a new one. As money got tightened, cons were the first thing to get cut.

This year however, the situation is back to normal and I was able to attend. Despite an open invitation, only ActionMan wanted to go, so it would be a boys-weekend.

We were going to play Adventure League all weekend. As the two of us were Tier 2 (I was level 8 and ActionMan's Sir Patrik character was level 6), we got to play higher level.


I left work at my usual time (around noon), and headed home. There, I prepared our luggage and made sure our stuff was ready to go. As soon as ActionMan arrived from school, we jumped in the car and drove down I-24 towards Chattanooga, then on to Cleveland. Yes, there is a Cleveland in Tennessee!

My phone ran the Kings and Generals channel where we learned and talked about subjects as varied as the Roman Empire, Greek "Empire", Samurais, the Wars of the Roses, and Napoleon. I do this by myself: listen to History documentaries while driving, but having someone else who is interested in the subject is great. Plus, having him learn as many things as possible is a good thing. After videos, we talked about what we listened. One of my favorite conversation was on Caesar's conquest of Gaul and the battle of Alesia in particular.

Our first stop was Bea's Restaurant in Chattanooga where we ate great southern home cooking. It got us talking about random subject, much lighter subjects.

Then, I happened to go to DiceHead games who did held the convention. I had originally planned to go, get us registered and make sure we'd know where everything was. They had moved since the last time we went there.

Turns out we arrived just as a game was about to start! So we sat and got to play some year 5 adventure.

The adventure was fun, but it did drag on way too long. ActionMan finished the adventure sleeping on a bench.

After that, we headed to the hotel and slept.


Up early, we drove to a McDonald's by the mall. I must admit that I do like McDonald's mcmuffins and their coffee, particularly their coffee. From there, we went to the parking lot. However, there did not seem to be any open doors... So we did what every good gamer would do...

We sat in the car, eating and waited for someone else to arrive and show us where to enter the mall. We made our checks and five minutes later, we were inside the mall finishing our food.

The morning game turned out to be a 7-player table, which I really dislike. Players were fun, but we plowed through. Three paladins with support win, which we did.

After that, we went to the Steak and Shake, just like we went to back in 2015.

The afternoon game was the first Year 8 epic. I looked around, worried... There were only three of us: Varius the elf wizard, Sir Patrik the half-orc Paladin, and me, Local Boy Mik (the yokul drunk). We did pretty good and succeeded throughout.

In one of many fun elements, my character cast a spell in a wild magic zone which resulted in the apparition of a unicorn. The unicorn is the symbol of his goddess (Mielikki for the initiates) so my drunk guy started talking to the unicorn as if it were his goddess. Laughs all around.

For dinner, we walked the 15 minutes to the local Golden Corral. ActionMan and I like that place very much so we went. The walk was a good change as it allowed us to move between slots.

In the evening, we did an adventure from the Elemental Evil story. I did not quite understand what we had to do, so while we succeeded - I think - I don't know for sure.

I went to the hotel to watch the end of the Predators' game and then the end of the Alabama-LSU game. Sleep was good.


The two of us got up and went to Denny's for a good breakfast (I was not planning on the two of us having lunch until late). An older gentleman there came to congratulate me on having a conversation with my son rather than letting him on the phone as we were talking about some geek stuff, most likely history. I liked it.

We made it back to the mall and played one last adventure. This one was from year 2. Fun stuff. My bard managed to fail a deception check, with a +13, with advantage by rolling a pair of snake eyes on d20s... Sheesh.

Then we packed one final time and were off back to Nashville.

ActionMan did not last long... he slept almost right away.

The Good

- Got to play the desired tier all weekend Every one of the games ActionMan and I were registered for through Warhorn went off on-time. True, some tables were lighter than others, but I prefer than over tables of seven players.
- Played with ActionMan The two of us played together all weekend. I really like playing with him because he comes up with creative solutions us grumpy old gamers don't entertain. Still I got to buff him quite a lot and he kicked butt.
- Fun players The guys we played with added to the game and were good sports. As a bonus, this was the first time I got to play with Jay-A at an AL table. We played together at WitchHunter and Arcanis previously, and he GM'd for us at an event in Knoxville, but we never sat on the same side of the table at once. It was, as expected a fun time playing with his mimicking tengu...
- Playing in a mall Yes, we played in a mall, in an open space. That's one of the most unique element of the convention.

The Bad

- A little pricy In retrospect, the cost of the con did seem a little steep. For the five games we played, that was 14$ (7$ each).
- Attendance A big complaint I have about many of the smaller events I attend. People, please try and attend local and nearby events if you can. This will make them bigger and better, and create the community as a whole.
- Unprepared GMs Now one of the issues I had was that more than one GM frequently apologized for not being prepared... That irked me. If I pay 14$ towards a game, having the expectation of having a GM that is at least prepared. That says nothing about the GM himself, they all seemed like good guys. That is the one thing that really nags at me.

Speaking with Stacy, one of the organizer, this is a rebuilding year for the AL community in Eastern Tennessee following the departure of a major player, Ginny, for Chicago. I've seen it before when a big name leaves the area, there is a period where things are in flux as many people do not support other games unless someone they trust vouches for the event. Hopefully, by next year, there will be more people attending the con.

I expect things will change next year, with more attendees.

So in the end, there is a strong possibility that we will return next year.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

[Rant] Pathfinder 2: Will it suck?

So I have been talking to people about Pathfinder 2.0 quite a lot. Not so much to understand the mechanics, but to see what people think about it.

Overall, I am not overly confident

Let me preface this with the following:

- I have yet to crack open the book ActionMan won as a participation prize at Post-Apocalipticon. I did my best to stay away from all the rules changes until I get to see something final.
- I dismissed anyone's comments going along the lines of "I will never play PF 2e, I'm a PF 1e for life!"
- I dismissed anyone's comments going along the lines of "Paizo is just after my money".

I am not a good target for play-testing. As a small-time publisher, what little free time I have is spent working on my own products. So running a play-test game for someone else's material

The 4th Edition play-test really burned me with their changing of rules that really got me intrigued and that I wanted to see more of. Ever since that time, I've followed such things from a distance rather than involve myself in the nerd raging over things I can't control.


Following the logistics of it all... I believe Paizo has sent their books to their Chinese printers and that they are in the process of being printed as I write this. To get everything in by Gencon, you can't wait for the month of May. That does not worry me too much. Why? Because Paizo has shown itself to be quite willing to amend and correct their books in subsequent printings. That's a good thing.

The illusion that the rules are not already set is something that irks me. That the rules people are testing today match the currently-printing version is an illusion. So Paizo will keep "tweaking" until the very end will keep players intrigued and engaged.

After all, Paizo understands that the purchasing of a book is not the end of it. To stay in business, people must play the game for it to be successful. But more than that, the more people play, the more they will ask for. And Paizo are masters at providing the druggies with their monthly fixes of Adventures, Player Guides, and other source books.

Wizards followed suit, publishing less material, but increasing its quality and focusing on people playing.

As a 3pp, I would love to embrace it, but more and more, Pathfinder = Golarion = Pathfinder Society, with all these elements and words being interchangeable in the gaming community. That is difficult to break as many Pathfinder players do not grasp the idea that the game can be set in non-Golarion. That irked me greatly and was one of the reasons I completely abandoned playing and writing for Pathfinder last year.

I make no qualms that I dislike Golarion as a bland mishmash of rehash of other things. The best elements are hidden among a lot of flavorless stuff. Most nations can be described in a single sentence. I do not think I will ever run any Golarion-based adventure again. (Not that I ever did, outside PFS)

I can also announce that FOE will be working on a new series of products that will be released for PF2. Not too many details yet, but it is coming.

So in my discussions, I can see there are two clans of people: Some will love, some will hate.

Who will love this: Current Pathfinder players who really love the game. The millions and millions of Venture-Everyone will keep playing and running the same adventures (since there are no more Venture-Players, only a massive hierarchy of agents). Even if many complained "I'm staying 1e forever", most are moving or moved to PF2 (Hi Chad!)

Who will not care: Those who abandoned or never embraced Pathfinder or who do not care of the setting. This is the majority of people. PF2 may get them to give it a look as it comes out, but I do not think it will retain a large number of these.

My final comments: This is a product that will have a great production value, look awesome. But like Starfinder before it, will please their current fans, with a small amount of return folk.

Is that bad? No. That is really BRILLIANT. They have hordes of rabidly dedicated fans who are waiting to throw money at them. Why leverage them for a few more years? I'd do it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Maliad Nymph: A new race for 5e

Continuing my series of Greece-inspired races for 5th Edition. This one will be the final entry in the Nymph series...

Nymph: Maliad

The maliad were born from the blood of Gaia when Cronus castrated Uranos. Originally associated with the ash tree, the term now encompasses all forest nymphs. Maliads are curious about the world of men, have a basic understanding of it and are the most likely to interact with mortals.

Maliad love to be chased, like a doe in the forest. As such, they love to tease those they love by running away. They are the most likely to run away from their home to see the world.

Maliad Features

Your nymph character has several traits in common with all other nymphs.

Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma and Dexterity scores each increase by 1.

Age. You grew very quickly from a young age and matured around age ten. From there, you will change very little the rest of your lives. You can live up to ten centuries.

Size. Nymph are the same size as human females. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Female. All nymphs are female.

Hard to hold. You have advantage on any saving throw to escape being grappled.

Language. You can speak, read, and write Common and Sylvan.

Beauty. You may cast sanctuary on yourself, using Charisma as your spellcasting ability. You regain use of this ability when you complete a long rest.

Forestwalk. Plant formations do not slow you down, unless they are magically affected.

Monday, November 12, 2018

[Ravenloft] Dreams of Dust Feedback

This past week, I received feedback from my playtesters. You may remember my public call in this call from October 2. I must say the three groups who ventured into the adventure provided me with some very useful feedback. Without spoilers, I will try and summarize some of the best elements that came back.

- Play time is around 12-hours: This makes it a little longer than I expected, but that is also a good thing, putting the adventure right in that sweet spot where you get to play up to 15h depending on your party. Good.
- Needs a better introduction: The introduction was short and simple on purpose. However, this did not go over well and everyone mentioned that the party spent time trying to discover what to do.
- The story works: Both GMs and players reported that the adventure was well-organized with a very sandbox-y story. Almost all GMs mentioned that the multi-point way to resolve the plot really stood out. I was very glad to hear this one because I spent a lot of time trying to break the railroad A-> B-> C solution I initially came up with.
- The difficulty is about right: I got a lot of variance on this one, some encounters were described by one GM as "going from overly easy to near-tpk". The variety of encounters played into that, as there are many different types of encounters. The frequency of the random encounters will be scale back a little.
- The variety is about right: The creatures in the adventure add to the situation at hand. As such, I cannot put in all the monsters I would like to put in there in order to remain consistent. The adventure mixes straight combats, skill/guile encounters, and even a few social encounters.
- Needs to add more art: I had some in there and cut it out from during first-pass edit. These will be back.

So how did it end? One party got TPK'd (due to bad tactics and dice roll), one are nearly done, and the other one blasted through. So this all confirms the feedback.

The parties were HIGHLY varied in composition, and the challenges affected them differently. What some thought was difficult, others breezed through. That for me, is a big win.

Big Thanks to David, Joe, and Jon.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

New Races: Naiad Nymph for 5e

Continuing my series of Greece-inspired races for 5th Edition.

Nymph: Naiad

Naiads are nymphs of springs, ponds, and those waterways too small to be ruled over by a greater divinity. Naiads prefer freshwater to salt water dwellings and the confines of such waterways to the vast expanse of the sea.

Naiads are reclusive, shy and quiet. They observe and obsess over those they love from the safety of the waters. They do not always understand that other creatures do not share their affinity to water and have lured many lovers to a watery doom.

Naiad Features

Your nymph character has several traits in common with all other nymphs.

Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma and Dexterity scores each increase by 1.

Age. You grew very quickly from a young age and matured around age ten. From there, you will change very little the rest of your lives. You can live up to ten centuries.

Size. Nymph are the same size as human females. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Female. All nymphs are female.

Language. You can speak, read, and write Common and Sylvan.

Beauty. You may cast sanctuary on yourself, using Charisma as your spellcasting ability. You regain use of this ability when you complete a long rest.

Hard to hold. You have advantage on any saving throw to escape being grappled.

Hold Breath. You can hold your breath for up to 15 minutes.

Natural Swimmer. You have a swim speed equal to your land speed.