JP On Gaming

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

[Thanks for the Memories] Heroes of Rokugan

This past Gencon, Heroes of Rokugan ended its "five" year arc and fourth campaign. I've been involved as a player and a writer (earlier this year) with this campaign for six years. With the end of the campaign, came the news the campaign would move on to the new Edge/FFG system.

With that decision, which I agree is good for the campaign, I chose to step away from it. I love the "classic" AEG d10 system for its simple deterministic nature. After all, the 4th edition of L5R, is well over a decade old and is currently available from Amazon for the "low" price of... 300$! (plus shipping).

I've stated before that the new dice system does not do it for me. I could get into it, but I already have mountains of dice that do it for me. I've no intention to buy new ones. It's a weak argument, I know. I just don't want to put in the effort into this new system. Instead of giving a half-hearted effort, I am just walking off into the sunset and say goodbye to all the great people of that campaign.

Big thank you, everyone

Monday, August 29, 2022

[First Ones Monday] The Crossbow Assassin

While I was trying to decide which character I wanted for the iconics to support Power is Fickle, I painted up many characters. Seeing which character would stick.

Another Reaper Bones. This model is a wonderful assassin, with her hand crossbow. I used the bright red to make the dark of her skin. As I looked at her, I thought she looked like Eyriss from Warmachine (I added a pic of a model I painted in 2011).

Monday, August 22, 2022

[First Ones Monday] The Dancer

While I was trying to decide which character I wanted for the iconics to support Power is Fickle, I painted up many characters. Seeing which character would stick.

Another Reaper Bones. This gal was my alternate Dark Dancer before I settled on Amarilynn simply because I wanted the alieness of the spiderling. Had I not been able to make a model for Amarilynn, she would be the iconic dancer. She may be used as the iconic Master of the Veils.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Gencon 2022 After Action Report Part 7

Parts 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

In this seventh and final installment of my Gencon report, I am putting down the result of the critical event summary results. That way throughout the year, I will

Unavailable Heroes

These heroes will be removed from play rotation until something happens and they are made available again.

- Kolreka of House Ougozar the First One Mistress of the Veils (Wizard). She offered herself as a hostage in Tartarus to seal the alliance between the First Ones and the Titans.

Dead Heroes

These heroes fell and will no longer be usable for specials going forward.

- Marguerite the Belle Wizard. This princess was killed, swarmed by a growing army of zombies during the Battle of Seraklis.

- Osaphis the Sethru Bard. This brave desert warrior was killed by a giant boar while trying to sway the votes towards their options.

Elevated Heroes

These sidekicks survived through one of the specials and lived to tell the tale. As such, they now get the following. Reward for their bravery.

- Auset the priestess This brave priestess of Pharaoh, joined a ragtag band of adventurers in fighting the endless numbers of the dead. After the battle of Seraklis, she was put in charge of the reconstruction efforts.

- Baerius the Hoplite This brave soldier led a band of hero into battle. Having survived, he became something of a local celebrity in Mytenia. With the many losses, he was promoted to captain of the phalanx. A prestigious post that makes him a high-ranking member of the regular army.

Next Year

For Akhamet:

- With Saggakara's victory, she needs a few additional sites to complete he current plot. Can she be stopped in time? Can others discover what she is up to?

- Why did the Deep Tide wash over Seraklis? Is there a reason for it?

For Olympia:

- A monster of the size and type of Typhon means that it will need to be handle. You cannot release such a creature and let it roam freely. So that will continue into next year.

- The tale of Mytenia will continue

- The First Ones may have been delayed so their schemes may have to be diverted elsewhere.

- Two nations were promised control of the island of Xechasos... That will of course end in a meeting with tea and crumpets with a polite conversation. Yeah, right.

- Of the missing horses of Appolo, only one was not retrieved. I have the name in my notes somewhere. (I will edit this post with the info later)

Parting Thoughts

Gencon 2022 was absolutely fantastic for FOE. Great games, great people, and a crazy atmosphere.

A big thank you to all who made this happen:

- The Players who attended (and came back to play with us),

- Those who springboarded my bad thoughts and ideas

- The GMs who made a smashing job! Adam, Bill, Jason, Logan, Marissa, Steve, and Will

- All the playtesters who played and gave me feedback on the adventures.

- The kids Friday group: ActionMan, Caden, Kitty, and Tommy who screamed in anguish as I crushed them for the battle interactive.

From the bottom of my heart: Thank you!

JP - OUT

Parts 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Monday, August 15, 2022

Gencon 2022 After Action Report Part 6

Parts 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 7

Divine Interventions

More than a few people decided to call upon the gods. Sometimes, it helped...

- Athena appeared and spelled out her desires clearly. Some people discovered that even the gods have no control or information about what lie beyond the Mists...

- Zeus blasted someone with lightning, so angry was he at the events unfolding.

Outcomes (Adventures)

- Akhamet 1: Dead and Buried Saggakara retrieved her magic item!

- Olympia 1: The Marauding Titan A wedding has been arranged, even if the arrangements remain to be made...

- Olympia 2: Best Served Cold (From Memory) The criminal did not manage to escape Mytenia and paid for her crimes.

- Olympia: Hexcraling the Cyclopeans Only Notus, Ares' horse of the southern winds was not rescued.

The three "regular" adventures will be available on DriveThruRPG "shortly."

Outcomes (Specials)

- Back Door to Hades The First Ones special I ran on Thursday. The Titans and the First Ones did sign an alliance and traded hostages. The First Ones freed multiple titans, including Ypogeios (who ravaged Seraklis), the Tarrasque, and Typhon.

- Battle of Seraklis The city of Seraklis was attacked first by the undead of the Deep Tide. When it retreated, a massive Titan, called Ypogeios attacked and destroyed large swaths of the city. While heroes from Akhamet and beyond fought off that monster, Prince Diogenes led the priests into invoking Pharaoh to banish the creature. Much to rebuild.

- Mytenian Coronation After much deliberation, games, and challenges, it was decided that Princess Kreomene would be crowned queen of Mytenia. She won with a narrow margin of 10 votes vs 7 for Queen Aria, and 5 undecided votes. With the goddess Eris getting involved, someone present poisoned the wine of the Spartian Ambassador, sparking open warfare with Lexos.

- Mytenian War The public murder of the envoy led to all-out war. Forces loyal to Mytenia, scored a major victory (which I did not think possible). They allied with the bullywugs of King Klarglbur, bribed the enemy general, trained the militia and helped organize the population, creating a corp of combat nurses (that helped them during the battle). However, the battle was not against the Lexosian, but against an army of titans emerging from the depths of the earth! They inflicted a major beating on the titans, severely hurting the titanic dragon that flew around and took on every table. Chosen Patrons Zeus, Apollo, Artemis, Hades

- Reforging the seal It was time for heroes to gather and beat back the titans. They reached out to the Aetian Empire, the Minosian Empire, and the Spartian Hegemony for help. With added troops, they invaded the island only to find... a couple of titans and mercenaries! Then they were given a green acorn to bind and close the portal where the titans. After hearing of the alliance, they chose to bind the portal to the First Ones instead, allowing Typhon and his titans to escape to threaten the might of Olympus.

A rumble growls beneath your feet, making everyone stop to look around.

The ground turns upon itself, sending everyone flying. The floor and ceiling begin to tango in a vigorous dance of death. You scramble towards the exit.

Seeing the sky provides only the barest of respite as the island moves. The mountains now loom over you, evermore with each passing second. The seas bubble and churn as even the waves themselves can’t seem to decide if they want to come or go.

The skies suddenly turn dark, turning red, then purple, then a dark shade of grey, none of these having to do with clouds. The land breaks apart, revealing massive cracks as sections of the island are projected into the air!

Only then can you see the entirety of what is happening. The massive titan that slept beneath the island stood up.

A long serpentine tail with a body made up of vines. No, made of serpents. No, made of draconic creatures intertwined into a torso, two wings, two arms, and a featureless face. The monster stretches its massive limbs, reaching east to west, while serpentine hair can tickle the stars themselves. The name of such a creature lives on in legend: Typhon!



You’ve escaped Xechasos. As the rowers pull you away from the island, you can see armies of titans walking on and into the massive body, forming a tide ready to disgorge.

Typhon almost vanished over the horizon when he roars over the waves with a fury imprisoned for ages. “Tremble, Olympus Typhon is free again!”

* * *

In another world, a pair of Protoi generals approached the ArchDespot with concerned looks.

“Your Ruthlessness… The portals, they are locked from the other side. We cannot open them.”

“What of the titans?” asks the crowned woman.

“All our divinations report a monster has been loosed upon the world. It is taller than the clouds.”

“Well then, let them destroy themselves while we find a way to bring our troops for mop-up operation. Things are going better than I planned.”

Poor Xechasos was promised to two empires and part of the population would be resettled... Chosen Patrons Artemis, Athena, Hades Poor Xechasos was promised to two empires and part of the population would be resettled... Chosen Patrons Artemis, Athena, Hades

Parts 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 7

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Gencon 2022 After Action Report Part 5

Parts 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 6 | 7

Conclusions

It was a very good Gencon for FOE. Every event ran as planned with enough players to safely go on (not tables of 2 or 3).

I listened in on games throughout the weekend and really enjoyed the different styles and flavors.

So what do I take away from this year's Gencon?

- Have a spare tire Pretty self-explanatory.

- Masks/vax As you can see by the pictures, outside of the main Convention Center, they were mostly-optional. I hope this hysteria will end this year. The vax-line was just ridiculously long on Wednesday and it really proved little. I hope all that craziness ends with 2022.

- New GMs I will admit that I was worried about the new GMs. Since I never met many of them prior to the con, each came through like champs. A true all-star lineup. With the con ending, I can honestly call Adam, Bill, Jason, Logan, and Marissa, my friends (I knew and called Matt & Will friends already).

Jp watching his titan army disappear - Don't run/write 5 specials in one year By special, I mean a multi-table, one-shot event. Five was just too much. As I don't want to redo the same thing twice, I really pushed myself. I think next year, I will have three (or four) specials with four "regular" adventures. This will allow to keep the formula fresh and tweak it.

- Pimp myself out Quite frankly, this is something that Matt brought on the carride back. Offer a "special", much like I did for "Back Door to Hades" this year. But perhaps offer multiple times during the con. I am thinking of a "Welcome to Ozaka" or something else. I have time and choices to decice what I want.

- Run Morning and Evenings I came home with my voice and my health intact.

- Sidekicks I created sidekicks as replacement characters. These were well-received and behaved pretty solidly in spite of the events. One player event asked to play the sidekick two events in a row! I was surprised and pleased at once.

- Recap mods With FOE having run an ongoing campaign for multiple years now, I need to have adventures that can bring new players up to speed, if only for the important events. I would hate for a new player to be completely lost. I want them to know the events so they can make educated choices.

Parts 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 6 | 7

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Gencon 2022 After Action Report Part 4

Parts 1 | 2 | 3 | 5 | 6 | 7

Saturday

Saturday came much like Friday. With a pinch of sadness, I realized Gencon was more than half over... But onwards!

For the morning, I ran Dead and Buried again. Once again, I chuckled as they sought the answer to the problem posed before them. Fun GMing times once again.

GMs for Morning: Bill (Best Served Cold), Marissa (Marauding Titan), JP (Dead and Buried), Matt (Hexcrawling the Cyclopeans)

My afternoon was free. I hit the dealer hall once again. This time, I roamed about randomly. That's when I got to meet Wes-R at the Chessex booth, an old friend from Denver. We did some catching up. It was great seeing him again as I hadn't seen him in about a decade! I really hope to see him again next year!

After that, I returned to the FOE room, making a quick stop by the Baldman Games room where I spoke with my old buddy Konrad-B, also from LG days. Great catching up with him.

GMs for Afternoon: Bill (Best Served Cold), Will (Marauding Titan), Jason (Dead and Buried), Matt (Hexcrawling the Cyclopeans)

Mytenia under siegeThe evening was again another special. This time, Mytenian War. Following the evening and the shocking finale of the events of the previous night... Things had to get sorted out. With the army of Lexos with their Spartian allies at the gate, how would the PCs succeed in getting the situation resolved.

This adventure drew on many of the active threads of the weekend. A mix of action, diplomacy, and surprise made this adventure quite memorable. But the highlight were really the GMs who made everything come to life.

GMs for Mytenian War: Adam, Jason, JP (Overlord), Logan, Will

Short drive. Pass out.

Sunday

We got up early, packed and loaded everything up. That left us almost two hours before kick-off... So why not get the Denny's meal we planned on taking last Wednesday? I will say... it was AWESOME. It was everything I wanted it to be. Really hit the spot before going to the game. Definitely better than McDonald's.

Only one event today: the capstone of everything. An adventure that both closed the mini-campaign AND prepared it for next year. We had 21 ticket sold but only a fraction of that number came. Instead of 4 tables, we folded one and had Adam played at Matt's table. And so... we began to close our story for the year...

Once again, it went great! A lot of interesting development. I will keep the outcomes for a later post...

GMs for Reforging The Seal: Adam (released to play), Bill, JP (Overlord), Matt, Will

Parts 1 | 2 | 3 | 5 | 6 | 7

Friday, August 12, 2022

Gencon 2022 After Action Report Part 3

Parts 1 | 2 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Friday

Riding on a high after collapsing from exhaustion, Friday promised a lot of new things. It would be the premiere of Matt's Hexcrawl event. And today the focus shifted to Olympia. I was really curious about the reception his adventure would get. I had an original idea about it but as I worked through, my ideas shifted. Still what I heard and play-tested of these short adventures were really fun. Much like Matt, less formal and more whimsical. It would be a good complement to our other events.

I ran the Akhamet adventure, Dead and Buried, an adventure that I had percolating for years (if you go back on the Gencon program, its original title of The Half-Crazed Mummy was on the program). I pulled it out for various reason, revised and re-tweaked. This finalized version, is definitely the best and most fluid of all of them.

There is a definite high point of the adventure that was so much fun to run as a GM, and I expect players really liked to find the solution, taking damage all along the way. It's a fun one on both sides of the screen.

GMs for Morning: Bill (Best Served Cold), Marissa (Marauding Titan), JP (Dead and Buried), Matt (Hexcrawling the Cyclopeans)

The next slot I had off, which was great as I was able to visit the Crocodile Games booth, walk around a little, and just take things slow. One of my only 2 slots off during the con. I used it to go meet with Leslie-F, my old LG buddy from New York.

My next slot was the second multi-table special: Mytenian Coronation. This adventure took me time to figure out, and got a fair bit of help from Florent and Florence. I knew what I wanted to do, and what dilemma I wanted to present, but my breakdown fell flat and overly pre-processed. With a different perspective, I was able to turn this into something really interesting to which I had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how it would go!

GMs for Afternoon: Bill (Best Served Cold), Marissa (Marauding Titan), Jason (Dead and Buried), Matt (Hexcrawling the Cyclopeans)

In the end, the final votes ended up 10-7-5! Just a few different rolls or decision could've made it go another way! One NPC voted one way because she was asked only by one group, and they rolled a "natural 1" on the D20.

I actually had very little to do during this one, boxed text at the start. Boxed text in the middle. Conclusion. Easy?

But that would not take into account that the conclusion rested on players' choices... So I would have to take notes and improv some of it according to what happened. And it was not just two three words, but quite a lot. I think it went fine.

During the game, I met and chatted with Pedro from PCI. It was great to see him again, in person. I've been a fan of their stuff for years and they definitely influenced my work and writing. There are things they do I don't like, but I still play and enjoy their games. A good chat between designers and game-runners.

I was pretty happy when someone said I was a good storyteller, which made my day.

GMs for Mytenian Coronation: Adam, Jason, JP (Overlord), Logan, Will

Short drive. Sleep.

Parts 1 | 2 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Gencon 2022 After Action Report Part 2

Parts 1 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Thursday

Got up early (I mean I was too nervous to sleep, my mind raced with concern and Will snoring). I was (more than) a little cranky in the morning, but truth be told: an egg mcmuffin and a McDonald's coffee smoothed out my issues and sorted me out.

Will and Matt (who both did not have any GMing duties with me that morning) joined me to help carry my massive collection of stuff: the food, the smurf uniforms, the character sheets, the books, the minis. You know the massive collection of stuff.

I got everyone sorted out with the Smurf uniforms - except Steve, for whom I had ordered a massive polo... I'll get you next Steve with one that fits!

Hades faces off with the First OnesDuring day (2-slots worth), I ran a special one-shot adventure that put the players in the role of First Ones. In effect, they caused everything the other tables would be cleaning up the rest of the con. They arrived in Olympia, got involved in Mytenian politics, travelled to Hades, then to Tartarus, freed up a number of Titans, made a deal with Kronus...

You know what First Ones tend to do! The game went great and they really delved into the evil side - and I was happy that they kept their evil very cerebral - very manipulative. They did a smashing great job, bypassing some of the less important fights with their abilities. You know 11th level characters can do a lot.

GMs for Morning: Bill (Best Served Cold), Logan (Marauding Titan), Steve (Dead and Buried)

GMs for Afternoon: Bill (Best Served Cold), Marissa (Marauding Titan), Steve (Dead and Buried)

The evening had the Akhamet special. Unlike our other specials, this one had the players walk in, select a character from either the Akhamet party #1, party #2, the Olympia party #1, or the Princesses. In all, there were 25 characters to choose from. Having taken a character, they were invited to sit down "wherever there was an open seat."

Do you see the chaos this could create?

Do you?

Exactly, the GMs had NO idea who/what character would be at our tables. This made some really strong tables, and others who had a more difficult time. For example, my table has no one who could heal another without a healing potion! Fighters had second wind and that was it. In a battle interactive with many scenes of battle, it made for a difficult time.

One thing I decided to add this year, during the specials, any iconic who died during the interactive would no longer be available and would remain dead. The result would take effect at the end of the con. Someone DID die at my table (I will keep who for a later post).

After facing a massive horde of undead, and a massive titan, they stood victorious. It was a difficult fight with little mercy offered by the GMs. The city was saved, by a mixture of insane bravery and sheer determination. Smiles all around let me know that this was a success. They walked out bloody and battered, but as heroes.

GMs For Special: Jason, JP (Overlord and Table GM), Logan, and Steve

Parts 1 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Gencon 2022 After Action Report Part 1

Parts 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Before Gencon

Gencon started so long ago, around Christmas time when I started working on and planning the convention. What overall story I wanted to tell? What format did I want to use? What setting? What would I need? And most importantly, how to NOT make it all more of the same.

Something I learned and trained myself over the many years was to create stories and adventures that added to the overall plot but they were not the same with serial numbers filed off.

True, there are *TYPES* of adventures that will resemble each other: a dungeoncrawl, the exploration of a region, an event-based adventure, but as adding twists and subplots make everything different.

Although I had high-level ideas for the longest time, some came together better than others, and some frankly had me bang my head against a wall to complete.

I must thank Florent & Florence (both veteran FOE GMs) who did some late-night chats with me to sort my head out. And because it them, it did come together.

Wednesday

This year, I planned my Wednesday better. No working that day. The plan was... Leave Murfreesboro TN around 8:30am, pick up Will around 9:30 and be there around 14:00.

Why? Because this year, Gencon added vaccination status line and I never got a clear answer regarding the handing out of the GM badges. So getting there early would simplify everything. We'd have time to do some setup, then hit the Denny's for a good pre-con meal, yak some and finally crash with ample time.

But nothing went according to plan.

Oh, I was able to pick up Matt and Will at the appointed time. Great.

But about midway through Kentucky, the problem hit.

Pic by Matt Thor GoodmanI say hit because as we passed a truck, I believe something flew and hit my front tire. The tire shredded and I was able to stop (safely) by the side of the Interstate.

To get a tow truck (I had no spare) took about 4hours:

- The company sent a truck to mile marker 48 in Tennessee (over 100 miles back)

- The company sent directed a truck to Franklin KY (50 miles back)

- The company canceled the truck because I refused to give them my credit card over the phone (to someone I never talked to before), after I offered to pay cash.

- When the truck arrived, we had to leave one of our number behind (Matt offered), I told him Google showed a Taco Bell nearby, so he headed there.

- As we were in the tow truck, the driver decided to cut the median... AND WE GOT STUCK!

- The drive used his jacks to push the truck... but it was going INTO the INCOMING FAST LANE! We eventually got unstuck.

- The Taco Bell was closed, replaced by a gas station and Subway. (He did get to visit ALL of Park City, KY - which was not a needed bonus). We did get a nice picture of the goat to hillarity (From Will and I).

- Will tried to get HIS company to send us a truck and that caused more snafu. They sent a truck after he called to cancel AND we were at the Firestone dealer.

But finally, we got back on the road.

After a six hour delay... We picked Matt up and rolled northwards.

We finally got to Indy around 8pm having eaten only snacks.

We got through the vax-check line, which had to be about a mile-long. It was litteraly going all over and around the Convention Center. Granted, it moved quickly, but it was just insane. I'll give additional thoughts about it in the conclusion for the con.

After about two hours, GM HQ was closed for the night. Our game room in the JW was also closed. So in effect, the only thing we accomplished in my list of things was to get to Indy and get through the vax line.

We went to the hotel - after I passed right in front the Denny's...

Will and I kept yakking and yakking. (and yakking)

Parts 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Monday, August 8, 2022

[Meet the Iconics] All the First Ones Iconics together

The First Ones Iconics made for Power is Fickle.

Amarilynn

Female First One (spiderling) bard 11 (Dark Dancer)

From a young age, you trained as an entertainer with your mother who was a Dark Dancer too. From her, you learn the secret dances of the school. Like many spiderlings, you prefer to manipulate events rather than control them directly, let others take the fall.

Blarg the Underhanded

? First One (shogleth) fighter 11 (Kares’kor)

From the moment you gained consciousness, you knew you wanted to be adored and worshipped by others. Thus, you became a gladiator since shogleths are low on the totem pole. Not interested in fighting fair, you met with a Kares’kor master and learned to fight dirty, you don’t care as long as you win.


Quanah of the Jet Arrow

Female First One (netherling) ranger 11 (Jet Arrow)

From a young age, you trained as a bounty hunter, chasing down rebels and escaped slaves. After finding a copy of a secret book “The Jet Arrow: A Shot out of the Dark.” You joined their order.

Kolreka of House Ougozar

Female First One (harovite) wizard 11 (master of the veils)

You trained at the Althrezzar School where you spend years learning about the many planes of existence, their relations with each other, and how they could be conquered. You are not merely interested in them for scholarly pursuits, but seek to subjugate them.

Koryo of the Whip

Male First One (grexodite) paladin 11 (oath of the Whip)

Trained from birth to be the a brute and the enforcer, taking slaves and forcing them into service. You learned are merciless and draw pleasure from knocking opponents off their feet.

Barkah of House Ougozar

Male First One (drovite) rogue 11 (Shadow Blade)

You are a Shadow Blade, one who strikes from the shadows and vanish before retribution is possible. You trained at the Na’Zathal School where you studied poisons.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

[Titan Tuesday] Stonemen

More goodies for Gencon just before I leave for Gencon!

The Olympia Campaign Setting can be the home of any number of monsters and creatures you can imagine.