JP On Gaming

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Curse of Strahd II: Griffon Hill Manor released on DM's Guild!

After months of writing and play-testing, I can finally publish Curse of Strahd II: Griffon Hill Manor, a sequel inspired but a complete revamping of the original Ravenloft II. The result is something that is much more runnable with 5th Edition and adds entire new segment.

When I first wrote it, I told my player "Bah, we'll be done in 2-4 sessions," but I was wrong. We played for 30+ hours! This is game where a GM gets to use all the tools of his craft. This is very much a sandbox with tools to respond depending on the actions of your players.

It was great to see the players scratch they heads but then discover things piece by piece, until it formed a mosaic around them. The British Shark did a LOT of new art pieces for this one, much in the same style as his pieces for Apple of a Mother's Eye and Real Housewives of Ravenloft

This one came together quickly, and was touched and retouched to perfection. I am very happy with the results of this one.

Get it now on the DM's Guild.

Want a free copy? Become a FOE Patron before Nov 1st.

Dreams of Dust now a Copper Best Seller!

Almost two years ago, I published this adventure on the DM's Guild based on a previously unreleased Pathfinder adventure that was first played at Gencon years ago. The port to 5th Edition came with a massive expansion, turning this from a four-hour adventure to something that takes many sessions to play through.

The adventure is one of horror - as all good Ravenloft adventures are, but it is a horror that is much different that the Gothic horror of Curse of Strahd.

I love mentionning this adventure to my players and see the fear and terror in their eyes. That curl of fear that appears on their lips. DEEEEEEElightful. All this without any signs of gore or anything too nasty. This is one of those horror that is terrifying because of the ramifications of what it entails, not because of the graphic nature of the plot, which is something that I like and am very proud of.

The new pieces of art Irene drew for this one are just great! Really dig them.

You know what... I just might run it for the kids... It will be awesome! Muhahahaha

Now just letting everyone know this adventure has just reached the Copper Best Seller list on the DM's Guild. I'm so happy.

Until Nov 2nd 2020, it is on sale for 25% off! Get it now!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

FOE at GameholeCon Nov 5-7

On November 5-7, I will be attending GameHoleCon online this year and I have three events on the tickets. Two for Akhamet and one for Rhym. These adventures were originally scheduled for Gencon but... Well... Things happened. So I plan on offering these adventures at other cons, building up to Gencon 2021...

I put info about the games and the time slots in which they are running. The time slots are links to GHC's site.

Legacies: The Half-Crazed Mummy Everything was fine until a half-insane mummy walked out of the desert. A 3rd-level 5th edition adventure set in the Egypt-inspired setting of Akhamet. Part of the Legacies Campaign.

- Friday 8am-1pm
- Sunday 8am-1pm

Legacies: Royal Scepter of Alarian A rich aristocrat wants a scepter no one heard about for centuries, surely it will be easy to find. A 3rd-level 5th edition adventure set in the Rhym Campaign Setting. Part of the Legacies Campaign.

- Friday 2pm-7pm

Friday, October 23, 2020

Beast of Tawaret Defeated By Prince Diogenes

Yesterday, the Peleset Ambassador, Prince Diogenes, supported by heroes of Akhamet defeated a massive sea serpent that destroyed many villages and even an armada sent against it.

Brave Prince Diogenes brought his foreigner knowledge to bear as he guided the heroes into the belly of the beast itself after destroying a cult of Tawaret the Destroyer.

The triumphal return of his band of brave heroes was met with celebrations across Khemaphis. The Church of Seth is quick to remind everyone that Prince Diogenes came to Akhamet under their guidance and that he has become a well-adapted member of society thanks to their guidance.

Thank you to Prince Diogenes and his cohorts!

PS: Congrats to Amenheti, Lam, Neferhana, Prince Rytek, and Sha'do for escorting Diogenes in his adventure

Thursday, October 22, 2020

[Kinda Book Review] X-Men Blue Vol 2

At the same time as I bought Young Inhumans, I picked up this X-men title with both excitement and apprehension. By now, you must know that I've been a fan of the X-men from the time I picked up a comic at summer camp. Great characters, great storyline. My apprehension came from the fact that modern comics are not my thing.

So the story picks up with an intro/recap of the situation (good). Captain America leads Hydra and USA, California is a land for Mutants controlled by Hellfire Club. A lot of eyeroll, but fine, I'm still in.

The Team is composed of the original X-men/X-Factor with some alternate Wolverine. They seem to be some type of reincarnation of the originals. Since I missed the first volume, I did not get their origins and there were very little to allow me to figure it out.

The new dynamic is as follows: Jean is the leader, the reliable and powerful one while the others dance around her. Unlike the doubt and angst-ridden girl that would turn into a flawed woman that would become the most powerful creature in the universe (Phoenix). She has no flaws and is tough, decisive, and precise at all times. Even later when she and Cyclops get a full mental merge, she can read all of Cyclops' mind but she can close hers off. Pretty Mary-Sue-ish. Bad character design.

Now Cyclops is relegate to being the boytoy of all the women in the story. Jean, the White Queen (Ex), Miss Sinister (Ex, when did he become a lingerie gal?), Goblin Queen. Jean calls him out on it "Which evil gal did you not get with?" which was a fun bit. Other and mental-joining Jean, he has no personal development.

Iceman's stick is that he's gay. And is very much a token character otherwise. He has little-to-no interesting development. Limited development. I like his power tweak where he does get some enlarge into a massive snow golem is cool.

Angel has fire wings, which is cool. Even tho I much prefered Angel's original thing. The Fire and Ice thing looks good but is not really used through the volume.

The one character who has an interesting storyline is Beast. He learns some magic and that is interesting, could be a longer story but it pays off as it gets into a big event.

The Wolverine-like guy is the least interesting and he takes away from the plot overall by really only adding a not-Wolverine-Wolverine guy.

Now the villains are so packed in this and their motivation is nebulous at best or overly simplistic and boring. I cannot decide which. Those villains were the best part of the X-men. Magneto. The Hellfire Club. The Goblin Queen. They had motivation that were easy to understand and that were relatable. They appear here but most of them are just bad reflections of these originals. It's like the writer wants all the villains to be mysterious and unknown so they all just come about doing random things "because they are bad."

Sooooooo. To come to a rating... The story/character development is a 2 or 3 due to the holes and nebulousness of some of the villains' goal but the action scenes are cool. The art is a solid 4: the characters are well-drawn and the action is clear and enjoyable. That said, I will settle on a strong 3/5. I expected to rate this much like Young Inhumans but this was a much better story. Heck, there were things happening that weren't just someone being a b*tch.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

[Kinda Book Review] Young Inhumans 1-12

A few weeks ago, I went to Z's Comic Lair, my FLGS. I had a stash of old trade books I wanted to sell. I sold them and took a bunch of new ones in exchange. One of these books was "Young Inhumans".

I always liked the Inhumans, dating back to the early days of the Fantastic Four where Medusa and Crystal replaced the blander Invisible Girl. I expected a tale involving them or Black Bolt. But no. Young Inhumans is about a group of Inhumans chosen to come to Earth as part of an exchange program. So they go to the University of Wisconsin.

The premise is as flimsy as the story itself. Once they get there, they are the target of unrealistic random racism reminiscient of the 1950s. With characters that border between interesting and boring. The pace is so slow that effectively nothing happens most issues. I can sum it up here: They get chosen, Nahrees is a bitch, Plant-guy is "dark and mysterious" Oh and he's played by Tom Huddlestone, Alaris is manic-happy, San is present.

I mean, what you have is a collection of scenes that rarely build up to much more than eye-rolling.

The Villain? Racism. What do they do against it? Nothing. Some characters get love interest as bland and predictable as the premise. Oh yeah. There is the "villain" who is this black industrialist (Sam L Jackson) who is "really not evil."

Nothing happens. No villains face them. Characters without development. They accomplish nothing in twelve issues. Slow-ass pace that lead nowhere. No wonder why I dislike most modern comics.

Even Medusa's cameos do not help the story. She just appears as a "strict mom who won't tell you what to do but criticize when you don't do it."

The rating would be an easy 1/5 but the art is pretty good, so I will give it a 2/5. Nothing to see here, folks. Just move along. There is more story, and a more compelling one with character evolution and development, in a 1980s Ron Jeremy film.

Monday, October 12, 2020

FOE Patreon: Free Adventure for All Patron Lord and Above

As a special gift this month all Patrons level Lord and above will receive a copy of Curse of Strahd II: Griffon Hill Manor. This adventure clocks in at 120 pages!

It features new art for this adventure drawn by the British Shark. This is a complete retelling of the Classic Ravenloft II adventure.

Perhaps the most ambitious FOE adventure yet! This is a huge one full of surprises that completes and expand upon the Ravenloft lore.

You can check this post on the FOE Patreon

Adventure Creation 101 Friday Oct 16th

This Friday evening, I will be running a short seminar with the kids of my Friday group. However, if a few starter GMs want to join, I would be fine with a few join in.

The event will run from 18:30-21h CDT on Friday night using Skype.

We will go over the basics of writing/ preparing your own adventures. From the original idea to the production. We will cover encounter creation, overall adventure creation, polishing, and running.

The theme will be Halloween monsters. I asked everyone to think of a monster typically associated with Halloween. This can be skeletons, ghouls, vampires, witches, whatever, anything you want.

Next preparatory step: think of a short way to use the monster in an adventure in a few sentences.

The vampire lives in a dark castle and feeds on maiden from the village

Bring a few pieces of scrap paper, a pen/pencil/sharpie and your ideas.

If you are interested, contact me directly through email, Facebook, one of the many ways in the internet.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

"Stealth Missions" are not all about Stealth!

I was lurking on Reddit about how to run "Stealth" adventure. He was thinking ofrunning a game in the style of Assassin's Creed: mostly moving around, avoiding detection, and fighting the least amount possible.

I thought this was worth cross-posting here. This is the answer I wrote:

The thing about "stealth missions" and how to run them successfully and in an interesting way, is to NOT be "just about Stealth". True, the goal is to not be detected but unlike in computer games where you just have to move from mob to mob and hide, TTRPG require "more".

This include:

- Using Deception to disguise yourself as guards or servants
- Find out what a password is
- Prevent the enemy from raising the alarm
- Climb around obstacles/well-guarded areas
- Parcour

Notice that I avoided to give specific checks because the players may have a variety of spells/ feats/ abilities to mitigate the challenge. Spells like alter self, disguise self, invisibility, spider climb, or even sleep may be used. And those are just BEFORE the action.

There is something to be said for Before the action: obtain duplicate of keys, passwords, outfits, and plans.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Rahadin becomes latest FOE Copper Best-Seller!

Rahadin, Dread Knight of Ravenloft is the latest FOE product to reach best seller level. This idea of mine as an avenue for expansion of Ravenloft for this character who terrorized my players more than Strahd did I think. They pitied and understood Strahd but he repulsed and disgusted them. They feared his emotionless and flawlessly calm demeanor and had planned to send every remaining dusk elves against him.

A good idea that did not play out that way, but a good idea nonetheless.

Big Thanks to the British Shark for his drawings of the murderous dusk elf. (Yes, there is another piece of art inside...)

It is currently available on the DM's Guild.