Archive for November, 2013

One For All and All For One!

November 25, 2013 1 comment

Iron Mask Miniatures‘ recent Kickstarter of a Dwarven version of the Three Musketeers was just delivered and I’m thrilled with the results. I pledged $40 for the mid-level reward of four musketeers with several optional hands, rapiers and daggers. One thing I really like about a miniature line is the ability to customize, and this set comes with more options than I know what to do with.

P1010564 P1010565

The miniatures were sculpted by John Pickford, a Citadel miniatures sculptor well-known for his many many iterations of all things dwarfish (and goblin). There’s many more models and options available, including ogres (employed by the Ogre Cardinal Richlieu, of course) and female dwarves representing characters from the Three Musketeers, including the Queen and Milady deWinter.

If you follow the Iron Mask Miniatures’ blog, you can see the progress of the stretch goals in production. I am keen to purchase more, and he is working on a “proper web site” to sell more, but in the meantime, if you are interested — you can follow the instructions here: ORDER INFO. I hope he gets his store up and running soon!

Finally, last week I told you all of two Kickstarters currently funding: Lark and Eagle is a comic book written by our own Steve Johnson and Role Play is a series of “dice portrait” illustrations on tee shirts by Lee Bretschneider. There’s two weeks or so left on Lark and Eagle, but only two days on Role Play. Don’t miss out on either of these great Kickstarters!

In other miniature news: I’m currently working on Baba Yaga for Scott‘s “Reign of Winter” Pathfinder Adventure Path. She’s a fun old gal to paint, but since I took the base off I’m having issues keeping her upright to paint. We’ll see how it goes. I’ll post more pictures of her as I go along, but here’s how she came out of the box (minus the base), and I added in the tiny little pin for her arm.


Categories: Uncategorized

Kickstarter and Convention Round Up

November 18, 2013 Comments off

lne1While not strictly gaming related, one of our Skyland Games guys has created his very first Kickstarter: the comic book adventures of Lark & Eagle. The story is about two down on their luck heroes given a second chance to earn redemption after a disastrous mission by a new reality television show called “Hero Overhaul”. The comic is written by Steve Johnson and will be illustrated by Toro Diego and lettered by Tom Orzechowski.

Another friend of mine, Lee Bretschneider has his own Kickstarter currently funding: Role Play, a series of dice portrait tee shirts. Lee is an awesome illustrator and was the creator of one of my favorite tee shirts: Go Gnolls! Being a former Seminole and avid D&D player (plus an afficiando of all things gnollish), it speaks to me. I’ve worn the other one down to where it’s beginning to fade, so it may be time to hit Redbubble and pick out a new one.

dieshirtsLast weekend, I attended MACE in Charlotte, North Carolina. MACE has been held for the last couple years just a few hours away from home, but I’d never attended although the other Skylanders had. Steve and I both attended and I had a blast. All the Pathfinder I could care to play and/or run, plus boardgames, Mecha- Warhamm- Warma- Hordes… or whatever it’s called, and even some LARP, MACE has something for everyone. At least in the Pathfinder Society tables, I found it to be a total “couples con”. Every single game I ran or played had either one or two couples at the table. I’m not saying it’s unheard of, as we have a married couple in our local home game, and we have a few that attend our Pathfinder Society Lodge days at The Wyvern’s Tale, but couples playing (at least that many and that consistently) was a new experience for me. It’s always good when your significant others are involved in your hobbies, and a convention is a good place for a weekend getaway too.

In January, several of us are attending SCARAB in South Carolina. I went last year and had a great time, and this year they are moving the convention to a bigger and better space. I’m still wiped out by my weekend game-fest, but looking forward to this one coming up… and with luck I’ll be wearing my new d12 tee shirt and reading the first issue of Lark & Eagle while I’m there.

Veteran’s Honors: Bringing Experience to Your Game

November 11, 2013 Comments off


It’s Veteran’s Day here in the US, and it occurred to me that we put a lot of emphasis on not only honoring our veterans, but also on the benefit of that experience in differentiating proven soldiers from rookie soldiers.  We see this in movies, books, games and just generally in real life. How do we bring that to a game like Pathfinder RPG without demonstrating a difference in level or other relative power?  Sure, there is a reason why we call them “Experience Points” but here are a few penalties you might apply to the untrained farmboy picking up a sword for the first time:

Condition: Rookie – Characters 0-1st level suffer from the Rookie condition at the GM’s pleasure, and when heading into battle are forced to make a Will save based on 10 + (Opponent Hit Die) + (Opponent Charisma).  Success leaves the rookie unaffected. Failure makes the Rookie subject to one of the following conditions (roll or DM’s choice):

01-10 Frightened – Character immediately makes a second Will Save based on the same DC.  Failure indicates the character is so unmanned by the daunting adversaries before them, they attempt to desert.  Success leaves the character Shaken.  

11-20  Shaken – Character has mastered his fear, but it still shakes his hand.  If character rolls Natural 1 on an attack roll or takes more than 10% total hit point damage during combat, make another Will Save or become Frightened.

21 -30 Sickened – Nerves about the battle to come lay hold of the character, turning their stomach and making their weapon arm unsteady. This lasts 1d6 rounds.

31-40 Unprepared – Character has prepared with such nervousness that the are subject to the “Don Hastily” penalties for wearing armor until they can take 1d6 to adjust (tighten straps, refasten buckles, etc.).  For mages and other unarmored casters, this reflects disorganized materials, foci, etc. and requires a DC 10 + (Spell Level) Concentration check as they grope for materials and recall phrases on the tip of their tongue. This can bee offset by 1d6 rounds of adjustments to their spell component pouches, scrolls and foci.

41-50 Uncovered – The character has yet to learn how to effectively utilize cover, and subtracts 2 from any AC bonus provided by cover for the duration of the combat.

51-60 Uncoordinated –  Character is so intent on his opponent, he fails to work with other fellow combatants on the battle field.  Character does not threaten for purposes of flanking for duration of the battle.

61-70 Hesitation – After Defendant commits to an action, defendant must make an additional Will Save if they choose to attempt a different action, or must continue in their present action for an additional round.

71-80 Overconfident – The character recklessly attacks the first available opponent by moving as close as possible to the enemy and attacking.  While this carries with it no inherent penalties, it may put the character in a strategically undesirable position and subject to attacks of opportunity, etc. 

81-90  Premature Celebrant – After felling their first foe, combatant must take a full round action to celebrate (perhaps prematurely), fists raised in glory, before taking their next action. 

91-100 Death Before Dishonor! – The character is so determined not to be a coward, they cannot withdraw from an enemy without succeeding at another Will save, regardless of what is best for their fellow combatants.




Categories: Uncategorized

Lessons from reading rulebooks all the time

November 4, 2013 Comments off

I take it upon myself to champion game systems I think are great. I’ve been talking up Dungeon Crawl Classics since the beta, and have recently played a lot of Star Wars Edge of the Empire. Reading rulebooks cover to cover can be a really arduous task, mostly because they are meant as reference guides rather than gripping page-turners. Recently my wife asked when I was going to read a “normal” book again. Frankly, it’s been awhile since I have and there are a few reasons for this. Kickstarter is a main culprit. I’ve cut back recently, but I used to relentlessly hunt down cool gaming projects and new systems. Soon I realized I had more systems than I’ve even fully read, let alone have time to play! On the other side of the coin, reading these systems gives me new perspective on my current games, and a lot of them draw on universal themes that can be applied to many systems.

epicdeathFor instance, I really enjoy the character creation statement from Numenera (and now The Strange). For the uninitiated, Numenera characters can be described succinctly using a simple statement: (Character) is a (Adjective) (Noun) who (Verbs). The pre-gen character I played during our session at the Wyvern’s Tale was ‘Leve is a Strong-Willed Nano who Wields Power with Precision.” In Numenera those elements also have mechanical benefits, but it also works to sum up your character and let’s other players know what he is about in just one sentence. To me, it is an awesome balance between a four-page backstory that no one ever reads or remembers, and a mechanical description of your PC (I have a 3rd Level Paladin with 18 Charisma). This could really be applied to any game. In Edge of the Empire for instance, I have a Rodian Smuggler that is as handy with a blaster as he is in the cockpit of a starship. Not as succinct, maybe, but you get the idea.

Fate Core CoverAnother example is FATE. FATE is a fairly rules-light system that utilizes fudge dice (or now FATE dice) that are typical six-sided dice, with either a +, -, or nothing on the side. The core mechanic is that tasks have a difficulty number. Whenever your character attempts an action that is either actively opposed by an NPC or passively opposed by the circumstances surrounding the action, you roll 4 dice and add (or subtract) the result to the corresponding skill for your character. This result is compared to the difficulty number, and if you beat it, your character succeeds! The most important element I took away from FATE is *when* to call for a roll. The idea is to only roll when failure is interesting. I mentioned this briefly in my thoughts after running a few Edge sessions, but it is really true for any system that uses dice for task resolution. In my experience, when a character wants to do something, a GM is usually better served by letting them attempt it. Maybe they are coming up with a cunning plot to get around whatever obstacle the party is currently facing. If it seems like a reasonable request, allow it. If it would be an interesting twist if the situation went one way or the other, call for a roll. Example: The player asks if he can locate a cart or wagon outside of the tavern. Is it reasonable that a cart or wagon would be outside a tavern? Probably. Is it interesting if there isn’t a cart? Not really. Sure, ok, yeah, there is a cart, with a sad looking donkey attached to it. Player wants to steal it to pose as a farmer to get past the guards at the gate. This situation calls for probably a whole series of rolls, each with their own twist on the narrative. Does the owner notice the theft? Do the guards believe the characters ploy? Either of those would be tense rolls for the entire group, and could send the story in exciting directions!

I still have yet to thoroughly read Savage Worlds, TechNoir, Wandering Monster High School, Cortex, Tunnels and Trolls, and Burning Wheel. Plenty of more systems to keep me busy for a long time! Even if I never get the time to play them, I feel like I can learn from them and apply those concepts to games I do make time to play.

Categories: kickstarter, RPGs, Tips