JP On Gaming

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.