JP On Gaming

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Lost Pyramid of Neferheket reaches copper on DriveThruRPG

It seems that not that long ago, that I put down the first lines of what became the "Lost Pyramid". I remember that time well. I had just lost my job and was looking for one and desperation was setting in. It seems that those times produce some of the most creative products.

The Lost Pyramid is an adventure I wrote when I started Akhamet. It was written before the setting even had a name. I took the adventure to multiple cons, using it to introduce new people to the setting. It has a little bit of everything that makes Akhamet the awesome setting.

It is, in effect, a trip down memory lane for me. The adventure remains a solid one with many fun surprises, even for veteran explorers who have seen it all.

It is available today on DriveThru RPG.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Akhamet Player's Guide Reaches copper!

I cannot believe I missed this but a few days ago, the Akhamet Player's Guide reached copper Best-Seller level on DriveThruRPG! I keep two copies of the book (both WIP) next to me here as my immediate reference for my weekly Akhamet game (Shout-out to the gang!)

This is a big event as I have a few Akhamet books in the works: magic items, spells, and new monsters! I've been working on that next book on and off for a while now and its exact content is always evolving, as is its title.

If you don't have your copy, get it now on DriveThruRPG.com.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Akhamet: Two Numru

Those two characters were painted to represent the Akhamet iconic wizard, Futeb the Scholar. He is a character that may not get as much love as I think he should. He's a tough cookie - litterally as numru as hardy folk who like their goat-head are survivors. They make good wizards.

These miniatures are from Crocodile Games.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

[Release] Demonic Forces II: Graz'zt's Entourage Released on DM's Guild

I am happy to announce the release of a new product, Demonic Forces II: Graz'zt's Entourage.

These creatures were originally designed for the upcoming Witches of Pikemaster (currently being play-tested). I will have more information about this one a later time, with the British Shark doing a wonderful cover. Can't wait to unveil it.

The armies of the Abyss are formed of demonic humanoids, like the blighted. Three new demons to ravage and destroy the Prime Material plane and the planes beyond.

- The Caprazau, brutal demonic warriors
- The Dark Cherubs, vile monstrous children
- The sensual and fast Lantazu.

…and three named demons to lead them for the glory of the Dark Prince.
- The Avatar of Graz'zt
- The Oracular Glabrezy Red Hierophant
- Graz'zt Herald, the caryatid gargoyle Zeravina

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Monday, October 4, 2021

[Kinda Book Report] Glen Cook's Water Sleeps

Way back in 2019, before everything stopped, I was lucky enough to meet Glen Cook and buy the final omnibus of the Black Company. In both my 2013 and 2014 retrospectives, I reported that I did not enjoy that the previous offerings. Going so far as nothing that I don't think I will read any more of this series [...]. The characters become stale and boring.

The sequel is Water Sleeps. This installment is very much a transition book, setting up the final mega climax of the series. Truth be told as much as I disliked the previous, this one seemed to provide more answers than the previous two which did not answer anything. They were just a slow build-up, building up towards nothing.

Water Sleeps moves to the endgame. Finally some answers are given, and though not everything is revealed, the final book, Soldiers Live should be filled with explosions and world-shattering events. I can't wait to read it.

I said the previous characters were stale... Well now most of them are gone! And ten years have passed! And the Black Company is "no more."

Okay Glen, you have my attention. I'm reading.

My one strike against this one is that it FEELS like a setup for the next book rather than a complete story. Most of the threads are still on-going, and we see a few resolution.

So a score?

I was stumped. This was NOT the best book ever, but I enjoyed it more than a little. So I did the following: I went to my list of other ratings on this blog and looked at the entries. Comparing to others, I can give this one a 4/5.

Yes, I will read the next installment in the series! I have an omnibus!

Sunday, October 3, 2021

[Kinda Book Report] Avengers West Coast: Sins of the Past

I never read the West Coast Avengers during its first run. Frankly, I did not care about it AND none of its members really drew me to read the series.

So this was my introduction to the series, something I was looking to. This book covers issues 10-16 and Avengers Annual #15 and WAC Annual #1.

One thing I like is the storytelling style of the Jim Shooter era at Marvel. Regardless of when you start, the issue is a jumping off point to the series. The art is fine and the stories are okay.

My biggest with it is that as a group, they do not have the power to do much more than beat up on people: no mystic, no energy-blaster, and no alien (Wonderman being the oddest one in the bunch, and Tigra's powers are those of a tiger...). It is the most mundane group of superheroes I read in forever.

I got annoyed when the plot took the WCA to some hellish region, but they could do nothing, having to turn to Hellcat and the Son of Satan (from the defunct Defenders) who became protagonists for a few issues.

The Annual had an interesting plot until the reveal when you go: WHAT!? And again the resolution was made by non-active members. However how the two teams work together to resolve the problem is interesting and the pace does not let up.

Giving a score put me in a quandary. Storytelling was entertaining, but the team has nothing unique about it. The characters are randomly assembled. Yet the plot moves forward and is interesting. That made me settle for a 2.5, rounding it up to 3/5.

Will I buy another title? Maybe, but without enthusiasm.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Gencon Player Perks

These random miniatures, most of them are from Akhamet. It's been a while since I painted, but they were fun to do as one-offs.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Gencon GM Perks

These models I gave to the GMs. They each got an Erote and a hoplite with the first letter of their name (Will got "A" for Allen).

Friday, September 24, 2021

Gencon After Action Report Part 4

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Lessons

Naming the adventures "Part 1-X" is really a good thing because people want to play the whole story. I will strive to do something similar in upcoming years.

Running three distinct specials is just too much work. It's awesome to run, but it is so much work ahead of time. I am thinking of running fewer - or perhaps longer - specials.

I took Monday off (as I write this report) and that was a great and good thing. I did very little, except sleep, eat, and play with the Dora the Dog.

Masks and a beard that's not like a Moses is difficult when you have to talk for long period, particularly as a GM. I got me a big turtle but it meant I did not feel the mask as it rode down my face. So I kept pulling it up and up.

Thanks

Running and putting together an event such as this cannot be run without a lot of people. I'll start with the easy ones: the Gencon staff and the Marriott staff who gave us a home for four days.

Putting together events like this, and being willing to put up with my madness requires dedicated and quality GMs. I want to give a big thank you to Matt, Randy, and Will who not only gave their time, but made my meager writing come to life and pop with excitement. To you three: a big thanks. You guys made my Gencon.

A special thank you goes to Spicer who led the Marriott HQ crew. He let us whenever there was something happening and everything that was going on with the hotel, a locked door, and other small issues. Made it so we never had to worry about anything, and when I had questions, his entire crew were awesome, personable and very friendly.

Getting all of this together required the help of many a playtesters to give the adventures a trial run before show time. There were many including all three of my kids, Tommy and Miah (the neighbors), Florent and Florence, and the con GMs. They provided me with insight on how to tweak or change elements that did not work as well as I thought or wanted. In the end, the result were a series of different adventures where different types of characters, types of players, could evolve and have fun together.

How could I not thank the players who spent their time with us at the con. You guys are the reason I/FOE put together these events and try to outdo ourselves with every convention. You give us a lot to think about comes time to plot the next element of this grand pseudo-campaign that is the FOEniverse! A big, heartfelt thank you.

A final thanks goes out to the Heroes of Rokugan crew who played and GM'd with me in those precious slots.

Final Thoughts

I left this year's event in very high spirits. FOE will come back to Gencon next year with some new. The car ride back to Nashville was an opportunity to come up with more and adventures to expand on the stories we played. We discussed many ideas including a day-long special, potential plots for the future, how rope/ roll in different threads.

But right now, I will sleep and take some time off to rest and recharge the idea batteries.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Gencon After Action Report Part 3

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 4

Saturday

Saturday, I was not scheduled for GMing. I kept myself as a backup if anything happened. So I got myself tickets to the Rokugan Larp and Battle Interactive.

For the Larp, it turns out I was the highest-ranking member of the Lion clan (I wore my Predators' jersey). Through great work from my fellow clan members, we managed to obtain most of what we wanted. Yay! Great work to the lions!

After the game, I ran back to the Marriott to make sure the guys had everything they needed. They did not need me and soldiered on.

As an added bonus, I got to listen to them practice their craft on the adventures I wrote. It was awesome to hear them and their take on the material. Made for interesting takes. Kreon, the main character of all these adventures was presented three different ways, but like Doctor Who, everyone recognized him regardless of the GM who portrayed him. I just could not stop smiling.

Photo by Philip TchouNext was the battle interactive. We were protecting the capital city from the Phoenix Master of Water gone mad. I joined a group with three other shugenja. A fun group, that included Brian-F. Throughout the game, Brian and I talked about things, including thoughts about Rokugan and Arcanis. We agree on many things and hope for many more about these campaigns we love. Made time fly by!

Highlight of the game was when we fought the master of water. In short, we softened him and his guards. A little. Then he beat the snot out of us. I survived by using special certificates. It was, I think, the only time in the campaign where I participated in such a unique/ major encounter. I only survived through the use of special certificates. I got my butt kicked and left to the side at the entrance of the palace. Memorable, with a story to tell about it.

Thanks to Ryan who ran it for us. Thanks to Cory and Parker for the final encounter. Thanks to the group who took me in for the day.

Back to the Marriott to listen in on the final scenes of the guys.

Sunday

Sunday was the final special, and the fourth installment Kreon's Woes, The Apology of King Kreon. Being Sunday morning, the eternal question of "How many people will show up?" And both Matt and Will shared that concern. I did not say much and tried to be conciliatory, but that question was on my mind as well.

However, fourteen brave souls woke up and arrived in time for the game and had to make a final judgement on poor Kreon.


(thanks of Matt for the pic)

The special went off very well as the players embarked in the craziness of the story. The mingling brought a lot of different and new perspectives to the different tables, making everyone think about their ultimate choice.

Everything done, we loaded the car and drove back to Tennessee without any serious events. Sleeping at home was nice.

Critical Events Summary

There are quite a few things to report from the events. Events that will affect the game worlds going forward.

Starting with Akhamet, the PCs explored some of the city of Algazan and returned with the following items that will need to be investigation and researched done to discover what they are:
- a magical copper bowl
- a magical gold bowl
- horrific writings in Horyrehmet
- odd windchimes
- a mysterious slab of pearlescent material they were unable to bring back but that sucked in two of their numbers.

Next on to Olympia, four of the adventures dealt with Kreon, his family, and his kingdom. After all was said and done, the following became clear:
- Queen Dionea was returned to Kreon's court
- General Klephos and his troops were rescued from the Lexosian
- Queen Aria was released and allowed to return to Lexos
- Zeus offered mercy to Kreon instead of smiting him with lightning
- Saggakara learned of the ancient crypts near the Pool of Athena.
- Kreon was taken by the Furies to be forever reminded of his shameful behavior.

These events may (will) influence future events in the world. Exactly how remains to be seen. I still have time to think about that before having to write anything.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 4

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Gencon After Action Report Part 2

Part 1 | Part 3 | Part 4

Thursday

I slept poorly. I was nervous, excited, and filled with new ideas. There was much to do before 8am:
- get food and coffee (our hotel had a McDonalds nearby and I have something of a love affair with their coffee).
- set up the room: the banner, the book table, make sure everyone was ready.
- set up to run my own game
- get the badges (we arrived in Indy too late to pick them up on Wednesday)
- calm down and give a short prayer

It is always nerve-wracking waiting for the players to show up. Not only that, but would they like what we offered? Were the adventures good? Were they too niche/ complex/ difficult? Would they want to come back for additional slots? How many people would not show up?

For the first slot, I ran the Akhamet adventure: Burned and Cooked which is an interesting investigation that exposes elements of the setting.

One worry I had, was that Randy who was to GM the second slot but he had to run from one place to the other and may be late. But he was got to the game on-time and was ready to roll when the players arrived. Yay!

For the second slot, I ran Border Aflame, an Olympia adventure that is the most combat intensive of the two.

Then came the first of three special adventures: Digging in the Dirt. I worked on this one, then jumped to the Olympia ones, then came back to this one. Here, I thought of having the adventure location as the BBEG rather than having a monster. This made the story different and advanced the overall plot I wanted. Now the biggest issue we had: Randy runs fast, I run slow and we had a touch point where the PCs could meet each other.

The final part of the adventure involved the PCs searching a palace for any magical item. Now the place was not immense, and it had numerous rooms, challenges, and magic items to find. I'll provide more information about what was found.

Well in spite of that snag, we got it off pretty well and the players enjoyed the adventure and hated the city (hands wringing).

Then it was a quick drive back to the hotel to sleep.

Friday

I slept better as the pre-con jitters passed some. Many people talked about playing more FOE games and were excited about it. I was looking forward to a new day of adventure!

In the morning, I ran a slot of Lovers' Dawn, a story of love, betrayal, and Kreon. I had fun running this adventure inspired by watching too much Maury Povich Show.

For the afternoon, I hoped to catch a game of something OR serve as backup. Since I was not needed, I got to run across the ICC to play some Heroes of Rokugan.

I ran like a madman first to get a ticket, next to reach the HoR location... Only to find that I was one hour too early for their slot! So I visited the vendor hall. Not really wanting anything more than some Chessex dice, I wandered around. This cavernous hall was cutsmaller

No worries, I just stood around and talked to people. Especially my friend Bill-M. So we talked about our characters, and I told him a few of the secrets of mine (he's usually a GM, so that's fine). Fun chat, you know. Two old gamers talking about their characters...

Came game time, I sat at a table with... BILL AS GM! And to make things more interesting... Bill ran a very interesting game in which he used the information I told him against me in the adventure, adding an extra personalized touch. I really enjoyed the adventure and it felt special to my character. Thanks Bill!

My playing slot over, I ran back to the Marriott to get ready for the second special, The Spartian Queen.

Matt and Will held the fort like champs and we spent a few moments going over the adventure, making a few last-minute tweaks. This one again, Will ran fast, I ran slow, and Matt was in the middle. But we nonetheless got through it all, and the appearance of Zeus and Hera at the end added some weight and gravitas to the adventure.



If you are worried about me being mask-less, don't worry, I pulled it down, took the pic, and brought it right back up.

Part 1 | Part 3 | Part 4

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Gencon After Action Report Part 1

Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Gencon 2021 was going to be a unique experience. Masks all-around, a smaller attendance, an NFL football game next door on Sunday, many regular vendors would not attend, social distancing, all-around questions about what would happen and how it would go. Well, we have the answers to those questions.

The vibe around the con was one I will describe as "not like Gencon" at the same time as "totally Gencon."

Confused?

The lack of massive over-crowded events as I moved about the Indiana Convention Center (ICC), made everything feel different. Not bad. In fact, I compared this year's Gencon to Origins, where I never feel like I'm running around in a panic, have time to talk to people I meet, and don't feel like I'm in a rush to get everything done. It was odd and refreshing all at once. Before drawing any conclusion whether this was good/ bad/ indifferent, let's go over Gencon, touching on the highlights.

Wednesday

The day before Gencon... I was working. My original plan was to start early, finish my day around 1 or 2pm. Pick up Matt. Then pick up Will. Then drive to Indy, getting there around 8pm (because of the +1h time difference). It was a good plan. An easy plan. One that should be easy to implement. This allowed me to avoid the Nashville traffic.

But that's not QUITE what happened.

Turns out, I was added to a group to participate in an interview for a new (and well-needed) resource on the team. The meeting that planned for 14:30. DANGIT.

Well... That's nothing bad... All I had to do was leave Murfreesboro an hour early, join the interview from Will's house (he lives on the north side of Nashville, passed the traffic).

But then I was added to another interview, finishing around 1pm!

The best plans... Why not step out of the interviews, JP? Well I enjoy doing those. They are fun and I like to see if I can read the people well enough. (I like to think I've been pretty good so far).

In short, all went well enough. I realized my old PC was a junker. The interviews went well, I gave my thoughts and am waiting on leadership's final decision. We got stuck in traffic while in Tennessee, but from there, we flew to Indy as we (Will) talked about gaming, work, etc. I used the last 40 miles to talk business. And give my final recommendations to the guys: make sure ppl have fun, a few other notes about the adventure. Answered questions, etc.

Then we were in Indy, dropped Matt, checked in, headed to Dennys, then sleep.

Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Monday, September 20, 2021

FOE Library for Gencon

With time,the FOE catalog grows and grows. This is (part) of what I am taking with me to sell at Gencon. This is the growing number of books I have to carry with me. Soon I will need an SUV to carry this library.

There are 2 Akhamet books, 1 Olympia book, 2 for Saggakar and 1 for Rhym. As I am not pushing much for TOS and Rhym my numbers are smaller. 

And a small overflow of Olympia books...

And with everything gathered for the con... I have more and more stuff to bring all the time. And that is after dropping a lot stuff: extra books, extra banners, extra cardstock, and even many of the GM battle maps!

So there you have it... all I will have to load into my Elantra. Oh and did I mention I was also loading two GMs and their stuff in there???

Oh MY!!!

FOE Gencon Goodies!

This year I gave out special goodies to FOE participants at Gencon! This means hand painted miniatures!

The GMs (Randy, Thor, and Will) each got two. And the table captains for each of the three specials will get one. These minis will be given at (near) random... (Okay I forgot on Friday night but gave them after Sunday's )

Monday, September 13, 2021

Olympia featured on Splinterverse

Splinterverse, a YouTube that goes over and gives overviews and first impressions of products from DriveThruRPG and DM's Guild (among other things). He gave a good overview that really captures many of my ideas when I wrote Olympia.

Check out the feature: Splinterverse on Olympia.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

[Released] Olympia Campaign Setting, part 3

So what is unique about it?

I took the races that first appeared in Gostor: Amazons, Olympians (now renamed "Demigods", and split into Demigods and Favored who earned the attention of a deity), Medusans, Nymphs and Titanborn. I edited them to make them more balanced. I took the most standard of each type and placed it in the book. For example, only the maliad nymph appears in the book.

Next, I decided to spend time on clerics. Since I opted out of using many undead, giving clerics turn undead would give a class's main ability becoming useless. So I gave everyone of the Twelve, a domain of their own. These domains heavily change how a priest from Aphrodite plays versus a priest of Athena or Zeus.

There are new feats, backgrounds, spells, and a few pieces of gear.

One of the most interesting element created are for the greaves: legs, foot and arm protection. When you wear them by themselves, there is no bonus. If you wear them with a light amor, you gain a +1 to AC but your armor becomes medium armor. Heavy greaves do the same but bumps your armor to heavy.

Why should I care? Because this creates added variety in look and abilities.

The creatures in the book cover a variety of types: beasts, giants, monstrosities some legendary, other mythic monsters with from a variety of levels. I wanted to make this a good primer but not a full list monster book.

One controversial entry - actually twelve - one for each of the main Twelve gods. Yes, I provided stats for the gods!

There may be times when you get to fight them. However, defeating them banishes them to Olympus where they are ridiculed by the others gods. I debated about giving them a "sliding stat block" where they would have a CR 4, 8, 12, and 20 version so the gods "level" with the PCs. They are gods.

As the PCs grow in power, they will face different deities. I did put Eris, goddess of Discord, in there as a Challenge Rating 6 adversary, giving you a variety of level challenges.

Do what you want, make it fun, make it epic, create a new legend! That's why I wanted to do when I started this.

Part 1 | Part 2

You can get your copy of the book today directly from DriveThruRPG: Olympia Campaign Setting.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

[Released] Olympia Campaign Setting, part 2

Design Choices

One thing I learned with LPJ is that you never do the same thing twice. Always give it a different

Regardless, I began to put down more and more ideas. As I added elements, writing one

Here are some of the unique design choices I set up for myself.
- The gods have no alignment. They act as they wish without regard for morality. They act based on their personalities.
- Few undead. After Akhamet, which is a land filled with undead, there would be few of them here. Sure, basic ones like skeletons and zombies are fair game.
- No Blood War. The gods are above everything and they command both celestials and fiends.
- The gods are present but not always there. The gods have to be involved in adventure, but I don't want them to appear for every little things
- Nothing is permanent. Again, as a reaction to Akhamet where things change very little over time. Here things have a short life span. People, kingdoms, gods, etc, all change over time.
- Mortals have agency. Mortal are the puppets of the gods, but they control their actions and destinies.
- Not a history lesson. This is an RPG. With magic. History is the inspiration, and we move on from there into something awesome.

So a lot of history melding together. Maybe reading those books of Greek history pay off.

Part 1 | Part 3

You can get your copy of the book today directly from DriveThruRPG: Olympia Campaign Setting.

Friday, August 27, 2021

[Released] Olympia Campaign Setting, part 1

How long has it been? How long since I first began talking about writing a book for D&D based on Greek Mythology? I will say 2018, when I started showing Akhamet to the people at Conglomeration in Louisville KY (sigh I'll miss that con).

At the time, I began writing some basic ideas. I'll be honest and say that I dropped the ideas I had. Why? They sucked! They were little more than a rehashing of historical events without anything magical. It bored me. I looked at the document every few months, only to be reminded how much I hated it.

Inspiration came to me while watching a random TV show, I think it was Dr Pimple Popper. Yeah. Nasty.

So I came up with the idea of a series of power wells that would serve as focus power points. I leave up to you how I made that connection...

Now I had something unique: power nexus. So from here, I needed to come up with adversaries. Some would seek to destroy the nexuses, some would seek to corrupt or control them. I spoke with friends about this, and the concepts refined into something more and more interesting.

Over the course of 2020, I returned to this book. While working on Ravenloft material (Real Housewives of Ravenloft and Curse of Strahd II) and the Akhamet Player's Guide. Yes I know, maybe I should focus, but I follow the flow of inspiration...

Part 2 | Part 3

You can get your copy of the book today directly from DriveThruRPG: Olympia Campaign Setting.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

FOE and Organized Play Part 2

Continued from Part 1 where I stated the many reason why it does not really makes sense for FOE to support and run an Organized Play (OP).

Well as you guessed, the answer to "Should FOE give up on OP?" My answer is Yes.

And No.

...

Okay, FOE will not run an OP like Wizards or Paizo. I don't have the manpower for that (and I want to focus on other things) or frankly the interest. I wrote for and ran OP campaigns for a decade and a half (2003-18). I say 2018 because from the time I published Akhamet, I already pulled back on the OP elements to focus on adventures and playing. I want to provide a fun product to showcase my settings, and the base game, though I'm pretty sure my settings are not what converted many people to a game (looking at you, Chad-N). Still I believe my products provide a fun experience and something different than "basic D&D."

So why keep up the OP?

I like OP campaigns. I played in some good and some weak ones. In some big and some small ones. In some for well-known and some obscure ones. I like the idea of building my own story and playing with a variety of people, not "just" my regular group.

So as I thought about this and discussed with people, I received different feedback and decided that rather than an endlessly ongoing campaign, I would try to create a mini-campaign where players would get rewarded for playing more FOE games at the con. Driving traffic to my tables yes, but also creating a demand for my games and a (more) unique experiece.

I searched and thought what I could do, and think I came up with a clever idea: a "reward" sheet that is valid for the con only. Take Gencon, FOE offers a total of 6 unique adventures, 2 Akhamet and 4 Olympia. I came up with the following restrictions.
- Must be simple
- Must not be paperwork heavy
- The rewards must be adventure and setting agnostics
- The rewards must be worth it at whatever levels (so I don't have to "just" write intro material)
- Very simple and intuitive

I played with the idea and settled on the following: A promo "card" (in a postcard format) that would double as a reward card for the campaign. So I came up with this basic design. I may very well change or tweak things before the con but this would replace a full-on OP campaign. A player would get the card, and regardless which character, level, setting (Akhamet, Olympia, Rhym, or Saggakar) he plays in, he applies the rewards to his character.

This means I can offer games of any level, from 1 to 20 with limited disturbance to the game. The biggest changes are the addition of 5 HP or potions.

What do you think? Comments? Anything I should add? Remove?

(There are a few extra surprises I added already )

Friday, August 20, 2021

FOE and Organized Play Part 1

It's been a while since I posted here about gaming. I have been in a cave writing, tweaking, writing, editing, tweaking, writing, editing, tweaking, writing, editing, tweaking, writing, editing, tweaking, writing, editing, tweaking, writing, and editing the upcoming Olympia.

One of the many things I have been thinking about was to find a way to encourage players from playing more FOE games. Now clearly one great solution is to run an organized play(OP).

For those who do not know what OP is, it is a way to play the game where a company offers adventures and common creation guidelines. Then a player gets to play a character across many events, with different GMs, different players, and in different venues. For those who don't know, go look at Wizard's Adventure League or Paizo's Pathfinder Society.

For a while, I ran Legacies as a smaller version of them and had a great time doing it but with time, the amount of energy I had to put into it versus the return was not worth it. I can't run enough to make this really worth it. Unlike other publishers, I am not happy with just the sales (I am not unhappy with just the sales either, to be honest).

So should I abandon the idea?

Well yes.

OP campaigns require many volunteers: GMs, writers, and event organizers to name but a few. I am lucky enough to have some great friends who help out and both do and have done awesome. I always love hearing them make my stuff sound and feel amazing.

I am busy. I have a wife and three children: two teens and a 12 year old, a day job, and only one life to live. While gaming is a HUGE part of my life, I also have many other interests that take what little time I have available. When I have leisure time, I would prefer to play games than to spend working at making sure the campaign has what it needs. It is a surprising amount of work.

So should I give up on OP?

Continued tomorrow on Part 2

Saturday, August 7, 2021

[Kinda Book Report] Xmen and Micronauts 1-4

Last year, while doing my Xmas shopping, I went to my local second hand comic store and found the full series of Xmen and Micronauts. A 1983 4-issue limited series and I got all 4 in one go.

For those who do not know: the Micronauts are superheroes who live in the microverse (remember that weird location in the Marvel Movies when Antman travelsback in time?) Yeah... Like that. That's fine. There is a full universe - the Microverse - to explore. The MCs know about the bigger world and the visited it a few times.

The MC come out as very flat and cardboard. They get drowned in the amount of characters present and none of them do much to resolve what is going on. Now, the main MC villain does get a lot more focus but in the end, he too is little more than the standard villain who is ruthless and wants to take over the world. Blah.

Of the X-men, Ariel (later Shadowcat) gets more focus because of a mind-transferal. The others... are also drowned in the cast, giving them little to do. How many people are there? Oh yes, I forgot there was the New Mutants too. So we end up with three groups of superheroes in a limited series.

Truth be told, there is little to be told about this. It is very much a filler series using the X-Men to plug and introduce the Micronauts. And in that, it fails. Everyone comes out flat and boring and the best past of it is the nostalgia of it.

So a massive crowd of characters with no one that stands out. A run-of-the-mill story with a single surprise who I'll admit was interesting but drowned in the cast and uninspiring dialogue.

I can give it a 2/5. Skip this if you can. You will learn nothing from this series, nothing important happens. You discover nothing about this massive cast of 15 characters who all fight for space on the page. Sad really.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Curse of Strahd II reached Silver Best-Seller

I am happy to report that two FOE products reached Silver Best-Seller level!

Curse of Strahd II: Griffon Hill Manor is a loose sequel to the Curse of Strahd. It is a retelling and reimagining of the original Ravenloft 2. Simplifying many elements of the original to provide a way for a GM to be able to actually focus on what is going on.

To pull off successfully will challenge most GMs but the rewards are great when the PCs understand what is REALLY happening, that this is not "just" another vampire story.

This book came together very quickly but then I spent months just touching, tweaking, and rewriting. The ending itself went through at least eight rewrites. This one is the most exciting one, putting the PCs in the center of things. Unlike the original where you were just along for the ride without anything to do, or possibility of acting upon what they want to do.

It is currently available on DM's Guild

Friday, July 30, 2021

[Kinda Book Review] Superman Vol. 2: Trials of the super son

Continuing the series from "Rebirth" I started with Volume 1. This one, I happened upon during a later trip to the FLCS.

So this title continues the story of Lois, Clark, and Jonathan as they live in the small town of Hamilton. Here, Lois takes a job at the local newspaper. However, the big story here is the Robin (Damian Wayne) vs Superboy as the two clash with each other, while their fathers watch them resolve their differences.

Overall, this is a pretty laid back comic, with some action scenes and good writing. The characters are good and the interaction between them is interesting. There is one scene where the "Smiths" go to the carnival. Clark promises Lois he won't do any Superman stuff, but he catches a group of thieves and arrests them. The funny part is when they all go on the roller coaster, with the two attendants talking about how Superman just came and stopped the thieves, but do so in a gradual way. Their faces are awesome. Clark gets smaller and smaller in his pants while Lois looks more and more like a manga character who gets more and more annoyed. Jon in the middle keeps going "Up," "Up," "Up," as the coaster moves up. And as the the coaster begins to go down, Clark and Jon as really into it but Lois screams at Clark. Fun stuff any married man will understand.

Not much to write home about otherwise.

At the end, we meet a Superman/ Frankenstein's monster mish mash that looked pretty interesting. However, we do not learn much about his origins here.

I will rate this a 3/5. Not as exciting as others but nothing overly bad either. Very middle of the road.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

[Kinda Book Review] Alan Furst: A Hero of France

Taking a step away from comics, I picked this book up I received a while ago. So historical fiction/ semi-bio picks. Ever since my first visit to Paris in 1988, I have been interested in more.

But on to the book!

The story presents us "Matthieu" who leads a Resistance cell. He is athletic, intelligent, calm, prepared, and a great lover. In short, he has no flaws. Most of the characters in this story other than two of his allies are that type of character: cardboard, predictable, and without flaw. No, "caring about friends" is NOT a flaw.

Even the German captain who comes from Hamburg to track him down has all the right thing: he's not a nazi, patriot, good family man, not cruel, efficient, and competent. However, there is no confrontation between him and Matthieu.

I really wanted to like this, but the characters are fake and too good to be relatable.

So I will settle for a 2/5. This book is well researched and presents a number of interesting tidbits of information but in the end, only helps our hero be better.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

[Kinda Book Review] Justice League Vol. 7

Continuing the series from "Rebirth" I started with Volume 5 and Volume 6.

The previous volume left us a number of threads: the fan and Batman leaving, being the big two.

So for the Fan, the plot ends up with the League capturing him. Then out of the blue, Deathstroke appears and shoots him in the head, robbing the League of the choice about what to do about someone who knows the secrets of the entire League: secret identities, weaknesses, etc. Now getting to this is not super-surprise but I would have liked to see the League come to a decision about him. Instead, they are arguing about where to go. The issues are plentiful and this is an easy cop-out.

Everything in this book feels like an easy cop-out. There are difficult choice to be made, but the League makes none of them. They skirt the issue, talk it out, but never come up with any plan to fix anything. Now to be fair, they recognize that many of the problems are not easy, but would've liked to see them try and settle things. Wonder Woman goes and plays with the children but the other do very little. I do not expect to fix societal problems, but at least provide some ways they can work. If you worry about displaced people, move them. YOU HAVE TWO GREEN LANTERNS! At least provide short-term relief. Dig a ditch. Something. No, they don't they just keep the two warring factions apart.

Still, unlike the dumb presentation of those topics in (puke) Deathstroke at least here, the League presents both sides of the problem and recognizes these issues as complex without a single easy to identify cause. I'll give them props for that.

So in the end, despite its many failings, I'll give it a weak 3/5. Not great, just "okay"

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

[Kinda Book Review] Justice League Vol. 6

Continuing the series from "Rebirth" I started with Volume 5, I was curious to see what would come after the "Justice League Kids" plot.

In short, not much.

The title of the trade stems from an operation that goes south and a nun is killed with Wonder Woman's sword. Okay, strong start. But that story fizzles out from there and just become "background" as they deal with other, mundane, and eventually less interesting plots. There is no big trials, with anything to mention.

The League discovers that someone they call "The Fan" who is a big supporter of the League, in a stalker-sort of way got a lot of information from the Watchtower and knows a lot about the league. This plot will continue into the next volume. Also, Batman gives up the leadership of the League to Cyborg.

I like the are but this is a not overly exciting book and really sets up what comes next more than anything happening here. It was "okay" so I will give it a weak 3/5. The art is great and there is a clear feeling of something happening.

Monday, July 26, 2021

[Kinda Book Review] Captain America: America First

Captain America. After Chris Evans' turn in the suit - which I thought was pretty good, I was excited to find a trade with Cap. At a quick flip-through, this was a collection of war stories. Good!

The book contains three stories. Operation Zero Point, Prisoners of Duty, and Commie Smasher.

The first two stories are "okay." Cap. Evil Nazi doctor. Punching. Explosions. Hot girl (who Cap makes no moves on). Girl dies.

Operation Zero Point has decent art. But resembles more a movie where every move Cap makes is drawn. It reads super-fast since there is almost no dialogue. There is no morality, no serious choice to make here. Cap = Good. Nazi = Bad. Punch = Face. At least give cap some meaningful choice here: destroy the nazi UFOs but kill the other prisoners. Something. Weak writing.

Prisoners' art is pretty bad at times and is a retelling with Cap of the Young Indiana Jones tale when he is taken to the escape-proof castle. Do you think a castle will hold Cap? Nope. Okay this one has an partial choice to it: Cap swears he'll rescue a nurse. Then he breaks out, comes back but her place was bombed in an air raid. Puts a downer on things and robs both Cap and the Nurse of the choice of what to do next. In the end, this was a futile story with crappy art that almost has interesting writing.

The final story, Commie Smasher, was written by a complete idiot, drawn by a drone, and edited by a total moron who has NO IDEA what Cap's Lore is. I mean... Even fans who know Cap only through the MCU know that he was frozen from World War II until "recently." Right? I mean Steve Rodgers spent the 50s encased in ice.

1955: Cap/Steve Rodgers goes after a terrible and overly predictable communist subversion plot in the States. A bad imitation of McCarthyism. The only thing about this story that's any good is the art - which resembles something drawn by classic Disney. Btw, without Cap, this story is "fine," not great and rather forgettable.

My rating for this one is a 1/5. After two uninspired tales, getting that non-sensical tale that completely ignore mythology of the character. Finally done with that crap.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Dreams of Dust Reaches Silver

Ravenloft Dreams of Dust is a stand-alone Ravenloft adventure set in a unique setting. It targets a different type of horror, one that is rarely a concern in more D&D games. This pressure turns the adventure from a horror story to a zombie-less survival horror game. Without spoiling anything, this adventure challenged every group of 5th-level characters who crawled out of it.

Dreams of Dust was the first adventure I wrote specifically for the DM's Guild out of an idea I had for Tyrant of Saggakar. One could say that DoD is a version of Saggakar's Ravenloft.

One tidbit: after I completed the writing of the adventure, I added a scene where the lone survivor of the playtest appears to help the PCs a little. I thought that was a nice touch to add. Even if I was cruel to the poor kobold...

It is currently available on DM's Guild