JP On Gaming

Monday, February 28, 2022

Splinterverse dives into Witches of Pikemaster

Splinterverse provides a great intro and announcement about Witches of Pikemaster on his Youtube channel! He spends a full four minutes going

Starting a 1:21:22, he goes into great details about everything. Check out Splinterverse episode #43.

However, while preparing for this post, I listened to the rest of the episode and quite a few products piqued my interest. Now I need to sort what I want (what I really really want).

Witches of Pikemaster is available right now on the DM's Guild. Get it today.

Big 'thank you' to Splinterverse!

Saturday, February 19, 2022

[Release] Witches of Pikemaster on DM's Guild

It is with great pride and joy that I announce the release of my latest product on the DM's Guild, Witches of Pikemaster.

When I bought Descent into Avernus, I felt greatly dissatisfied with it. The plot is thin and Mad Max-ing over and over loses its veneer quickly. So the idea came to me: could I write a "Better Avernus"? So I began to take it apart, trying to write a more engaging storyline than a series of fetch/ kill missions.

I jotted down a number of ideas on my post-it board and began to move them around. These ideas included things that made me thought of devils or "devilish activities". One element that sat on the bottom of the board was a single word. Witch

That's when I remembered an adventure I wrote for Living Greyhawk called URC8-04 Witches of Pikemaster, inspired on an overdose of witches movies and adventures. I think I watched a Warlock marathon on SciFi and a Salem Witch Trial. Per the format of that campaign, the adventure was very focused on one main scene I had a blast writing.

From this 4h adventure sprung an adventure I mirrored on the classic modules, with one problem linking to the others. Rather than "just" designing dungeons, I chose to create or expand upon locations of interest, including planar locations in the Abyss, Avernus, and the Outlands.

So I decided to merge the two into one campaign-size book, with the idea of the witch trials serving as a catalyst for adventure. It took about a year to write, edit, and playtest. Shout-out to ActionMan, Billy, Corey, JP2, Marvin, and Sarah.

I would be remiss not to mention the awesome artists who made these hellish visions of mine come to life. Niall Arts, The British Shark, and MedievalKyte especially. They rolled with the strange requests I sent their way for odd characters and monstrosities. The book is full of commissioned art.

If you are looking for a campaign that his many of the classic tropes and delves into classic D&D lore, this one's for you.

Get Witches of Pikemaster on the DM's Guild today!

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

[Kinda Book Review] Essential Hulk #1

At this year's Free Comic Book day, I bought a number of essentials at really nice discount. I really like this series because it gives many issues in one single book.

I read Hulk stories in 2018 and 2019. One I liked and one I did not. I was particularly looking for the origins of the Hulk and his first adventures. This is Stan Lee and Jack Kirby at their most creative, with Steve Ditko taking over many issues. This group of superhero giants coming together adds to the value of this volume.

From reading the story, it seems they had little idea how Hulk functions early on. He goes through a series of alteration - such as Hulk turning to Banner when his heartrate goes up. Or Hulk coming out at night. We go through a series of transformation. At fist, this annoyed me, but eventually, I decided to see this as Hulk/Banner transforming over and over due to the Gamma Rays.

However, the stories are pretty bland. Banner wants to rid himself of Hulk. Hulk wants to be left alone. Betty Ross likes Banner but doesn't mind Major Talbot. Thunderbolt Ross wants to destroy the Hulk. Oh yeah and Rick Jones the teenager runs around trying to help Hulk.

Compared to most other superhero titles, there are few villains with any significant plan. Stand-outs include the Leader and Abomination.

This was entertaining but it was weak. The nostalgia factor bumps up my final score to a 3/5. It's not as entertaining as other #1s, such as Iron Man, Spiderman, the Avengers, Thor, Daredevil, or the X-Men. Having read later stories, it gets better than this. But that #1 bumps up the rating.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

[Kinda Book Review] Soldiers Live by Glen Cook

Soldiers Live is the final (time-wise) book in the history of the Black Company. Here we get most of the answers for many of the mysteries from Water Sleeps, which I read last year. I bought the two in an omnibus I bought from Glen Cook himself. Like the final chapter of Julius, I didn't want to finish this book. I was excited and curious as to how it would end. Now that we have all the "main" characters together once again how would this go.

Without spoiling, in a very "Glen Cook"-y sort of way. While some characters survived to receive odd rewards, other get decent death scenes, some are killed off-screen during a battle, and others well. Others just survive.

We are given more explanation about the Plain of Glittering Stone, about the history of the Black Company (of which some elements remain nebulous enough to stay interesting). The future of the Company is effectively one rooted in the past. I enjoyed this book quite a lot and remained curious until the end.

I think this one was not as good as the Silver Spike but had enough interest to keep me reading morning and night.

This book is better, I think it is better than Water Sleeps. So between the two, I will settle on a 4/5 simply because it was good, but not 5/5 good.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Bittersweet Joy of Ending a Campaign

Finishing a campaign is always bittersweet. After months of campaigning going back to last summer, the first run of "Witches of Pikemaster" for the DM's Guild has come to a close.

There is something sad about finishing such a campaign, such as when I completed Curse of Strahd or the sequel I wrote for it, Curse Of Strahd II: Griffon Hill Manor. There is some relief, but also a feeling of melancholy.

I felt a similar feeling when I completed my reading of Le Troisieme Testament: Julius. Bittersweet joy.

Now the finale played out very much like I wanted it: it was epic, with many close calls from the PCs, a battle that had many shifting elements (thanks to fun lair action that added surprise to the encounter - and made it much tougher).

Looking back at this campaign, it was thought in the mold of the "Old Classics" and is steeped in the AD&D lord of the late 80s/ early 90s with elements from Monster Manual II,

So to ActionMan, Billy, Corey, JP2, Marvin, and Sarah - a big thank you for going along with this crazy idea of mine filled with cavorting, innuendos, and of course, witches.

I leave you with action shots of the final battles of the campaign. I put no comments on them, but they were both bloody affairs the players were very glad to pull their carcasses out of. (click to see larger versions)