JP On Gaming

Saturday, December 31, 2022

[Commission] Will's Yeti army

During the fall, Will asked me the following seemingly innocuous question: "Hey would you mind painting and getting paid in product?" My answer was a tentative yes, not sure what he meant. In effect, he offered me a pile of L5R/ Clan War miniatures to paint his Yeti army by Crocodile Games.

I stated many times how much I love painting Crocodile Games (makers of Wargods of Aegyptus, Olympus, and Hyperborea) because paint jobs come together quickly and just look good.

"Yep," I ended up answering. A quick trip to a Waffle House (another blogpost of an adventure if there ever was one) and I returned home with a case of mini and a huge bag of models for me. YAY! Of course, that meant painting. Which was a good thing since I was in a painting funk for a while. But no more.

One thing Will asked was to have bases as though they were on ice or a glacier, not the easier "just snow." An interesting challenge. I would have to make a test or two.

So, now to the bases... this elusive glacier...

I watched a few tutorials and how-to on youtube, but I did not like what they ended up with. The ones I saw were overly complex and I had one big issue: unlike them, the minis were already glued to their base, and well-glued too... However, these videos gave me many different ideas on how to accomplish what I could do.

Now, there is nothing like experience, doing it, and trying things to see how they play out. So I made a large base using a zombie and some stone/sand and a lot of open area to paint. I had a fun time with this one. The body was done quickly to focus on the ice. Despite this, I was able to find something that would work on the smaller bases.

The final result works nicely, the area is perhaps a tad overly blue for "real" ice, but the effect works. I gave this to Will as an objective marker.

Looking at the models, they are fairly basic: fur and abs. So I wanted to add some highlights, something that would be interesting. So the leather straps were simple, as were the wood on their weapons. No, I settled on the stones of their weapon. My first thought was to go black or red but after a quick test, it just didn't do it for me. The black just vanished and had no pop while the red was just the opposite: it popped too much and drew the eye from the rest of the model.

So I thought about about an effect I did earlier on my Hordes Trollbloods: a green with yellowy highlights. But again, a test proved this was not right.Close but not what I wanted.

So I simplified the work and focused on more basic elements: the dark green base with only minor highlights of bright green for the rock. I loved the outcome. It was subdued but enough to draw the eye without drawing too much attention from the rest of the model.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

DND Holidays Game Day After Action Report

Akhamet GebiteOn Dec 27th, was the first Holiday D&D Game Day where I hosted a small game day where we played D&D all day.

The format was simple: three GMs, three adventures, three hours each. Sitting back, I believe that without consulting each other, each of us ran an adventure that focused on one of the three pillars the game: combat, exploration, and social.

The first adventure was run by young up-and-comer GM ActionMan who presented our team of adventurers with a heist-style job in a tale of revenge and plunder. Many choices were presented and we succeeded in leaving with money in our pockets and our hirer happy, her revenge fulfilled.

The second adventure was Will's season-appropiate tale that put us face to face with many favorites of the holidays. Filled with Will's very unique humor style, we laughed while trembling in fear.

The final adventure was mine and the PCs had to go up into the mountain to find a rare flower to cure a young woman from a strange curse or disease. A tale of travel and exploration... They made it and only realized what it was... They played the adventure without a single combat! The traps took care of them really well and sank their resources and hurt them.

As I write this, I realize that I have not taken a single picture of the event. Oh No!

So, it was great to see faces I haven't seen in months, if not longer, and meeting new faces. I think this event may become a yearly tradition! I had a lot of fun and I saw smiles all around, after the painful frowns.

Again thanks to everyone who participated as a player and as a GM.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Dark Gifts of Ravenloft goes Silver Bestseller

First off, Merry Christmas!

CoverJust as the year ends, another FOE product hits a benchmark!

This time it is Dark Gifts of Ravenloft made from a collection of handouts I made for my players as we went through Curse of Strahd during 2019-20.

These handouts allow the GM to secretly pass notes to the players as they go through the Amber Temple.

Best part of those handouts? Remembering what happened as we played through. That was where two party members got lost to insanity having accepted too many things in there. One flew away on his new wings (Ragdoll, the tiefling warlock), and the other told off the party and disappeared amidst the snows (Billy Bonescrusher). The pair had been very often used as comedic relief for their hijinx and boister that they would take over Barovia.

Billy and RagdollNeither of them would have made things much better for the populace. They would have exchanged a tyrant for another. Still it was fun smack talking each other about how once Strahd was taken down, they would have a death match to determine who would rule.

This death match took place later, as the PCs entered Castle Ravenloft for the final showdown, Billy and Ragdoll had their final clash. The party almost bit the dust on this one... A lucky counterspell prevented Ragdoll from burning half the party in a fireball that would have killed most of the group.

Good times... We all knew it would end up that way...

With the party having to take out these two.

But few things rest easy in Ravenloft...

Including Billy and Ragdoll...

Bundle Cover Dark Gifts of Ravenloft itself is Pay-what-you-want product but to reach this bestseller level, many of you thought it was good enough to pay for it and that is always something that warms my heart.

This product is part of the FOE Ravenloft Bundle. Where you can get this and many other Ravenloft products at 50% off!

Saturday, December 17, 2022

[Release] Races of Akhamet: Mesaru in English and Francais!

One thing I learned over the years is how creative people are and how exciting it is to talk about them regarding a product you wrote. It's like asking a gamer about his character's background... But on a whole 'nother level.

One such conversation spawned over multiple FOE product led to the question many dread asking. "What about your campaign? What cool things are you doing?" I'm sure many of you immediately went to some dark corner of your mind and retreated.

Not I. Ooooh no not I. "Malcolm" began telling me about his campaign plan.

I'll be honest and I was annoyed, jealous, and a little angry at what he revealed to me. Quite simply because I could not join and play in that campaign! It's like he hit everything I wanted to play in Akhamet!

As the conversation continued, he said "you know one of my players came up with a race of based on the fennec foxes of the desert." More conversation, an original draft, and I was sold.

The mesaru (rename) are a people who do not claim descendance from one of the gods. The idea intrigued me because my thoughts drifted to "everyone in Akhamet is linked to one of the gods..." But then as the idea sat in the back of my head, it gained traction and I liked it more and more with each passing moment. Of course, creating an exception to the universal rule made the rule of "everyone descends" from the gods better!

Not only that, but I plan to add a Mesaru as one of the new iconics to replace the now-deceased Osaphis! I will post an update on that later. Who is that character? You will have to wait!

I got to speak with Greewi and worked on a way to include them into "main" Akhamet. This product is the result of those conversations.

Want to get it for 50% off? This has been added to the Akahmet Bundle, giving you access to the setting, adventures, and sourcebooks. A lot of goodies! And if you bought some already, you may actually get it for free or almost free! Check it out.

This product is now available on DriveThru RPG.

Pour ceux qui parlent Franccedil;ais, ce produit est offert dans les deux langues ensemble!

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

[Kinda Book Review] Secret Wars by Marvel Comics

When I got into secondary school (roughly middle school), I met a guy named Clint-G and we hit it off. He was big into comics and got me back into the hobby. He would tell me about some really awesome storylines I'd miss in the years between my switching between the French comics and the English version (about 10 years difference). I was hooked. One of the stories he told me about was that of Marvel's Secret Wars. From listening to him, this was just crazy-awesome and that idea stayed with me for years.

I bought myself a copy of the Marvel Super Heroes adventure/campaign for the Secret Wars and the scope was just crazy. Of course, I never got to PLAY that. And looking at that adventure book today, I find that it is extremely bad. I mean, the only "plot" is to replay what the comic did. You know... super-railroading the players... There is just no chance it would turn out remotely well.

Last year, I managed to find a really cheap copy of the mini-series on Amazon and nabbed it. I placed it on my stash of things to read with great interest. I placed it under my copy of DC's Crisis on Infinite Earth to savor later. I am a big fan of Jim Shooter's work and could not wait to delve into it.

Well... the actual story did not match the decades of anticipation. Thinking back to 1984, it may have been absolutely great and fantastic, but I kept finding the holes in the plot: distances and locations unclear, no one caring that blocks of Denver came to Battleworld, no one worries about why and how some aliens live on the planet. It is just... bad. I mean the plot crawls forward as the heroes try to understand what the Beyonder means and how they can get out of their current predicament. Add to this the mutant/racist subplot that was big in the 80s.

Everything feels shoehorned into the plot. They need a healer? Oh there's an alien! The villains find themselves fewer than the heroes? Look we pick up randos from "Denver". The story is completely resolved and explained in the final issue rather than doing so gradually where we are just unsure of whatever is going on.

So I'm left with a clear disappointment. I wanted for it to be great, and all I got was good. Trying to think back to the original release, this would have been pretty important. From the Secret Wars, we got Spider-man's black costume. She-Hulk in the Fantastic Four. And Magneto in a truce with the X-men. So the outcome was more important than the story itself.

The art is good, the writing is "fine", so my rating will land on a 3/5. I expected to rate this well above Crisis on Infinite Earth but DC's book was just leaps and bounds better.

Monday, December 12, 2022

[Rant] What Paizo got right (and I got wrong)

Great Day in Taldor vignetteIt's not often that I admit that I was wrong. But the more I work at writing and expanding my own game settings, the more I have to give it to the people at Paizo. Now, don't get all excited (Chad). I have not played Pathfinder in years and just have no intention of doing so - mostly because I don't want to put the effort into organizing it.

I got into Pathfinder when it first came out, in 2009 and really liked what I saw of the rules. The game is solid and well-tested. I played it with great enthusiasm until 2017 or 2018.

I remember looking at the Golarion Setting Book. Multiple times. And every time, I kept getting the impression of something missing, like I was drinking a Kool-Aid drink into which there was too much water. Sure it TASTES like something, but the full flavor is not there. Like everything was in there, but that it lacked some meat.

For years, I kept that impression.

Then earlier this year, I decided to give a new look. And won't you be surprised, I found the book to be extremely well written with just enough material to make it viable. And therein lay its genius: the razor's edge upon which it thread. Just enough.

Could it use more? Yes! For most of the nations in the book I find myself wanting to learn more about them. There is just enough to tease my taste buds. Just enough for me to create an adventure there. Having since written multiple settings (Akhamet, Olympia, co-wrote Rhym, and soon Ozaka), I found myself in awe of the Golarion setting book for its simplicity.

So what did I get wrong back in the day? How did I come to this impression of incompleteness? Of water-down Kool-Aid? I mean the book is the same. How could I have changed so much?

On the one hand, clearly experience. With more writing, I could appreciate it more.

On the other hand, I guess the issue was that I could not find good hooks for the stories *I* wanted to tell. That while good, nothing reached out to me. The light flavor of historical elements with fantasy elements just did not feel like it went deep enough. While this latest impression remains, I have to review my thoughts on the rest of it.

This is a solid product that deserves the praise it earned in the past and the accolades it garnered.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

A Little Update

It has been many years since I gave this blog some attention... Well no more!

I added the third column to make accessing interesting content quicker (with less scrolling).

I made a new head banner too!

After so many years, it is a change I am still getting used to. Good news is: I can always tweak or change things around and this post will remain true!

[Release] Races of the Planes: Rogue Modron

While writing Witches of Pikemaster I came up with the entry for the Rogue Modron. Modrons are automaton creatures of ultimate law. However, sometimes, one of them go "wrong" and begin to think for itself. Whatever the event, they become pariahs among their people and hunted down to be killed on-site. Luckily, modrons are rare in most places.

One of the main inspiration for this race came from MedievalKyte's awesome art. I mean that little monodrone just looks so cute. I mean, who would not want to take it with them on an adventure?

This small product is meant to create some truly unique characters that will add spice to any group.

When a modron faces something that challenges its view of the world, its mind shatters and opens to a broader reality. With such revelations, they become rogue modrons. For the rest of their lives, rogue modrons travel the multiverse seeking the meaning of life through a long string of adventures.

This book allows you to create a rogue modron for your games. Includes a new race and a new feat for your rogue modron character.

Want to get it for 50% off? Races of the Planes: Rogue Modron has been added to the FOE Character Option Bundle, giving you access to new character races, such as the Githzerai, the Princesses, and the Rogue Modron. A lot of goodies! And if you bought some already, you may actually get it for free or almost free! Check it out.

This product is now available on the DM's Guild.

Friday, December 9, 2022

[Kinda Book Review] Port of Shadows by Glen Cook

So early this year, I completed the final book of the Black Company, Soldiers Live, which I really enjoyed. Around that time, I found a copy of the latest book, "Port of Shadows", which was a story set between The first and second book of the series... A long time ago.

Now if you are interested in reading the books, I recommend you read them in publication order. This book includes many reference to names and characters that were not known at the time, and you would be extremely confused. Heck, having read the full story, I was still very confused in parts.

Now, this book has many things that drove me nuts, and made its reading difficult, chief of which are the many names used for the many characters: Baku, Blessed Baku, Firefly, for one. For most of the story you keep reading wondering where this whole thing is going and how it will end.

Now, without going into spoilers, this book gives me the clear impression that it should be part of another cycle, with a few book to complete or expand the story. Most of the books of the Black Company (and indeed most of Cook's other material), then to have an end where you can either decide to continue or stop reading. In the end, the final twist left me... unsatisfied. I expected something... better/ more exciting/ less vague and I refuse to set my mind on time travel as a way to tie everything together.

I waffled between a 3/5 and a 4/5 for this one. For most of the book, I was really invested and wanted more. I devoured the book, burning through its pages. Then the ending... So I'll average it to a 3.5/5 which rounds out to a 4/5. I'm not fully satisfied with this but it will do. It's an easy 3/5 for anyone picking this up without having read a few other novels of the Black Company.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

[Kinda Book Review] Essential Avengers vol 4

Again back to Marvel Comics with another Essential-series book. This time, it was the Avengers vol 4. As a child, I found the Avengers stories to be highly uneven, and this book did not change my opinion.

Quite frankly, the book was "fine." And that means that there is very little that is memorable here. The art is fine. The stories are fine. The characters are fine. But nothing that really jumped out and got me very excited, it was... (as you guessed it) fine.

Perhaps the best part of the story is the crossover with Hulk, serving as a touchpoint with Essential Hulk vol 4. Whereas the Hulk's plot continues into the micro-world, the Avengers go on to deal with a different problem.

Fine rates an easy 3/5 and there is fairly little more to say about it.